A team on an expedition to explore a mysterious canyon in the Australian outback encounters Cretaceous-era dinosaurs.
by Deborah Sheldon
Genre: Horror, Action, Adventure, Dinosaur Lost World
Australia’s outback hides a mysterious canyon. Hidden deep within is a forest of pine tree that dates from the Cretaceous Period. A megacorporation sends in a team of experts to research this canyon for botanical riches.
The expedition enters a no-man’s land formed 100 million years ago when Australia was still attached to Antarctica, and dinosaurs ruled the super-continent. But the canyon has more prehistoric and dangerous species than anyone could have possibly imagined.
Trapped and terrified, unarmed and unable to communicate topside, the team’s extraction deadline is six long hours away.
The frantic race for survival is on.
Interview With Deborah Sheldon
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself?
I’m an award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia. I write short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum of horror, crime and noir. My latest release is the action-packed horror novel Cretaceous Canyon.
My award-nominated titles include the novels Body Farm Z, Contrition and Devil Dragon; the novella Thylacines; and the collections Figments and Fragments: Dark Stories and Liminal Spaces: Horror Stories. My collection Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories won the Australian Shadows ‘Best Collected Work’ Award, was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award and longlisted for a Bram Stoker. My short fiction has been widely published, translated, shortlisted for numerous Australian Shadows and Aurealis Awards, and included in various ‘best of’ anthologies.
As an anthology editor, I’ve won the Australian Shadows ‘Best Edited Work’ Award twice: for Midnight Echo 14 and for the anthology I conceived and edited, Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies.
Other credits include TV scripts such as NEIGHBOURS, feature articles, non-fiction books, stage plays, poetry and award-winning medical writing. You can visit me at http://deborahsheldon.wordpress.com
What is something unique/quirky about your writing habits?
The shower is where I get most of my writing ideas. Perhaps a spark for a short story, the solution to a plot problem in my current novel or a fetching story title. The ritual of hair-washing somehow taps into my creative brain like no other activity.
And I can’t explain why! It’s not like I’m in the shower trying to brainstorm. The insights come to me complete from my subconscious without any prompting. Well, I’m not going to question or try to explain it. I’m just grateful that it happens.
Who is your hero and why?
My husband, Allen. He’s my best friend, and the best person I’ve ever known. We’ve been together nearly 30 years. He always believes in me as a writer, even when I don’t believe in myself, and I wouldn’t have my current career without his love and support.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
When I’m not writing, I’m a homebody. My hobbies include reading, watching films (particularly old black-and-white classics), gentle exercise, cryptic crosswords, pencil drawing, cheesemaking, breadmaking and cake decorating. I enjoy cooking for my husband and son. I also have a penchant for losing myself down Internet rabbit holes, which often begets writing ideas.
Describe yourself as a writer in five words.
Productive, committed, pedantic, curious, restless.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve considered myself a professional writer since 1986 when I sold a feature article on steroid abuse to an Australian bodybuilding magazine. I was 18 years old, a first-year university student doing a BA in writing, literature and philosophy. After graduation, I concentrated on feature articles, TV scriptwriting, non-fiction books and medical writing.
Quadrant magazine published the first short story I ever wrote, “300 Degree Days”, in 2005. I became much more focused on fiction in 2007. While my fiction has always been dark, and of the glass-half-empty kind, my first pure horror story was published by Midnight Echo in 2015. This story, “Perfect Little Stitches”, went on to be nominated for an Australian Shadows ‘Best Short Story’ Award, and was included in various ‘best of’ anthologies.
I’ve been writing in the various subgenres of horror ever since.
What literary pilgrimages have you been on?
In 1989 after finishing university, I travelled Europe for some 12 months. In Sicily, I made a literary pilgrimage to the small town of Corleone, in honour of Mario Puzo’s character Vito Corleone from The Godfather. Locals in Palermo warned me not to go, but I was 21 and invincible. As I walked through Corleone, the townsfolk stopped what they were doing and stared at me. Yes, it was unnerving. I cut my visit short and caught the next bus out of there.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
The budgerigar. (Americans call it a parakeet.) I have a great fondness for this native Australian bird, and we’ve had two domestic budgerigars as pets. RIP Atlas and Zeus.
DEBORAH SHELDON is an award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia. She writes short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum of horror, crime and noir. Her award-nominated titles include the novels Body Farm Z, Contrition and Devil Dragon; the novella Thylacines; and the collections Figments and Fragments: Dark Stories and Liminal Spaces: Horror Stories.
Her collection Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories won the Australian Shadows ‘Best Collected Work’ Award, was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award and longlisted for a Bram Stoker. Deb’s short fiction has appeared in many well-respected magazines such as Aurealis, Midnight Echo, Andromeda Spaceways, and Dimension6, been translated, shortlisted for numerous Australian Shadows Awards and Aurealis Awards, and included in various ‘best of’ anthologies such as Year’s Best Hardcore Horror.
She has won the Australian Shadows ‘Best Edited Work’ Award twice: for Midnight Echo 14 and for the anthology she conceived and edited, Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies.
Deb’s other credits include TV scripts such as NEIGHBOURS, feature articles, non-fiction books (Reed Books, Random House), stage plays, poetry and award-winning medical writing.
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