Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Kaz Augustin
By OFW Editor: Michael Keyton
Published: July 13, 2013

Accomplishment: Kaz Augustin is a Malaysian-born writer of science-fiction, romance, and permutations of the two. Although science-fiction romance (SFR) is her first love, she also dabbles in fantasy and contemporary action romances. She has been nominated for a CAPA award and been a Spectrum award finalist.

Has a book every made you angry. If so, which one and why?

A lot of books make me angry :), but if I had to choose one then, right here right now, it would be DARK STAR SAFARI by Paul Theroux. Theroux deliberately tackles a difficult subject (Africa) and then seems hell-bent on having absolutely no opinion on the continent whatsoever! He's an American who attempts to distance himself from every single policy of the United States and how it affects Africa, even as he travels the damn place, breathing in its dust! As a result, he comes across as disingenuous, and I'm being kind. Look, the guy doesn't have to agree with me politically; I read and enjoy people like Lee Rockwell and PJ O'Rourke, for Chrissakes (and I'm a committed socialist!), but just have some damn opinion on something, especially in a non-fiction travelogue like this. DARK STAR SAFARI would be a great book without Theroux in it.

Which author makes you jealous and why?

Stanislaw Lem. Because of opportunity. I look around and all I see are talented writers, and creative artists in general, struggling hand-to-mouth on a daily basis. This isn't right. It isn't right that someone can make billions from making a string of trades that will essentially destroy a developing nation's economy, while others who are creating works to be enjoyed are dying because they can't afford to live.

Lem lived at a time, and within an environment, that meant that he could write, earn a living wage, and have his works widely printed across the world. And please don't talk about censorship. If you don't think there's censorship in this squeaky, "free-market" world of ours, you have rocks in your head. It was just a bit more obvious in the Warsaw Pact.

Is there a well trodden meme you’re tired of reading?

Save me from another USAian saving the world!

Every writer has a weakness, what is yours?

What, you mean besides my socialist tendencies, cynicism, low boredom threshold, arrogance and eternally tetchy nature? (I'm actually quite charming if you can get past all those.) I have to try very hard to stop my anger leaching into my prose. I am forever grateful that I have a Developmental Editor (DevEd, for short) who is strong enough to stand up to me and tell me when I'm getting too ranty.

How would you like to be remembered?

I don't care one way or another. What I write (even the science-fiction), I write for my time, for the events and objects that are influencing me in the here and now. To think that that would somehow remain relevant to a reader a century or even twenty-five years from now indicates incredible hubris, in my opinion. The world will decide on what it remembers, good or bad, one way or another. It's not up to me.

Is there an over-arching moral theme in your work, if so what?

Everybody has a point of view. Even those we think of as villains (with the exception of neoliberal capitalists, natch! ;) ) have their own motivations, agendas, feelings. Everyone comes from somewhere, and it's important to remember that the somewhere is different for every single person and may form a world- or galaxy-view that is different to yours or mine.

In Indie publishing what is more important, talent or marketing - and don't say both - which is more important?

Neither. :) I've seen talent fail and I've seen marketing fail. I think the most important thing, indie or trad, is the ability to plug in. By that, I mean coming up with something that "plugs in" to the prevailing zeitgeist. Talent and marketing mean nothing, and count for nothing, if you can do that. That's why this whole business is a a writer, you're forever hoping to hit an invisible target.

That's the bad news. The good news is, there are actually multiple targets, some smaller than others. You can aim in the general direction of where you think the jumbo target is and perhaps hit a smaller one, but it may not matter, as that smaller one's enough to keep you in whisky, pig trotters and black sausage for life.

Jeez a pinko and what was so goddamned wrong about Americans saving the goddamned world? We've been doing it since 1918. It's what we do and we're good at it. Damn good. And we eat steak not trotters and black sausage. I could feel my neck prickling, and the room blurred in in a sickly red mist. I heard loud music, and then someone was shaking me.


"What gives, kid?"

"Nothing gives, Clay. Kaz has gone, and you were a sweety."

"I was?"

"You surely were, Clay. You bought all of her books there and then."

"I did?"

But Sheri was smiling, and I didn't argue.

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