Kali, thank you for joining us. Can you tell us about who you are and also about your writing: for example, what genres and themes do you write in and about, and is there anything that has influenced your choices?
I live in Meanjin Brisbane, but my soul resides in Western Australia. Before writing and mothering and settling down, I was an anthropologist, initially in Bangladesh and then in Native Title in the Mid-West on the lands of Yamatji Peoples. I have an MPhil in creative writing and an MA in writing, editing, and publishing from UQ. I started writing fiction in 2014 following a public service redundancy. My first manuscript was selected for the Queensland Writers Centre/Hachette Australia Manuscript Development Program. Both this manuscript and my second were longlisted in the Bath Novel Award in 2016. The second was eventually published in 2018 as The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge by Hachette Australia and Little, Brown Book Group. At this point, I mainly read and wrote historical fiction. After a string of unpublished full-length historical manuscripts, I decided to try something new. I’d never written short fiction before, so took a workshop with Dr Angela Slatter to ‘write a short story in one day’. And that I did. I then applied successfully for a grant from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Individuals Fund for a short story writing mentorship to continue developing my craft with Angela. With such a gifted and generous mentor, I felt encouraged to explore more speculative, dark, and witchy themes in my fiction.
Can you tell us a bit about your publications and writerly highlights, and what else we can look forward to seeing from you in the future?
The highlight of my writing and publication career is having my short story “Needles” published in The Dark, in July 2020. It was the first place I’d submitted that story. I still pinch myself that I landed it in such a prestigious publication. Then I was fortunate to have “The Little Helper” accepted by Louise and Geneve for Trickster’s Treats #4. Incredibly, in 2020 I will have a third story published. “Let Shadows Slip Through” will appear in the second issue of New Gothic Review on 23rd October. While I have ideas for historical novels, I really enjoy writing speculative and Gothic short stories, so I reckon I’ll continue with these into the foreseeable.
This year has presented a lot of challenges for many of us. Instead of discussing those, what are some of your 2020 highlights?
I have been very fortunate in 2020, with a job that transitioned to working from home. The period when Brisbane was in lockdown and the children were home from school was probably the most well-balanced my life has been in fifteen years. I live in a semi-rural area, mostly off-grid, with a veggie garden and chooks. Getting back to my permaculture principles has been the highlight of 2020. I did a Permaculture Design Certificate in 2013, but the demands of work, kids, and writing (if I’m honest) meant that I had largely let this go.
You can find out more about Kali here:
I am on social media far too much, so you can find me on Twitter @KaliNapier, on Instagram @kali.napier, and on Facebook @KaliNapierAuthor. I have a website that needs a drastic overhaul: https://kalinapier.wordpress.com/. My novel The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge can be purchased at the usual online book retailers. “Needles” can be read and listened to here: https://www.thedarkmagazine.com/needles/.
Thanks, Kali, for talking with us. Fabulous. We can thank that redundancy for seeing your stories in the world. Looking forward to what we see next.
Kali's story "The Little Helper" appears in Trickster's Treats 4: Coming, Buried or Not! , a charity anthology in support of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.