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  • Writer's pictureCraig Norris

Sues Cummings on Her Silent Trilogy, Media Influences, and Publishing Journey

Episode 48 - With host Craig Norris, Taylor Lidstone and guests Sues Cummings.

First Broadcast on Edge Radio, Friday 29 September 2023.


Interview with Sues Cummings, the author of the Silent Trilogy, an urban fantasy series set in Hobart. We’ll discuss how she created her ‘X-Men meets Good Omens’ magical world, her journey as a writer, and how she got her books published. To learn more about Sues Cummings and her work, you can check out these links:

I hope you’ll join me for this exciting conversation.


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Transcript

This transcript was generated by audio-to-text AI and may not be 100% accurate. If you have questions about any of the information found here, please contact us.


Speaker 1

There is nothing wrong with your radio.

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Do not attempt to adjust the volume. We are controlling the broader questo. For the next hour, we will control all that you hear.

Speaker 1

You are about to experience the knowledge and insights of the medium mothership.

Craig Norris

Alright, welcome to media mothership broadcasting out of edge. Radio studios in Nepal loomba. Who about Tasmania? Just push on and I'm your host Doctor Craig joined as always by Lord Taylor and special guest sues Cummings. Fantastic to have you on. Sues great to be on. And we're going to deep dive into some of your work as people know on media mothership. We explore everything in and around the world of media, pop culture, how it can shape our understanding of the world around. Yes. And if people are keen to get visual, hopefully this time it's working. They can go to YouTube or Twitch where we're live streaming under media mothership or listen to us on the Edge radio website edgeradio.org dot AU or the FM. System which is a little crackly. Yeah, at the moment a little bit of crackle, but you might like to think of that as the the media womb you're in. That kind of. Yeah. Well, some people use white noise to help them.

Sues Cummings

Some flavouring for that.

Craig Norris

Sleep. So this could be a kind of hypnotic.

Taylor Lidstone

Crackle to make you angry.

Craig Norris

Crackle maybe. So today we're going to discuss the Susan's silent the silent trilogy.

Sues Cummings

Yep. So my book series, yes.

Craig Norris

Piece of work I. Have to get the mic a. Bit closer or I could turn you up a bit.

Sues Cummings

OK.

Craig Norris

Also yes if. There are questions that people have during our show. You can SMS us on the. Studio number which is 0488811707 or post a message on the chat. Oh no, you can't do that. I can't get this.

Sues Cummings

The SMS line then.

Craig Norris

Yeah. Do the SMS line. Yeah. OK, just push on today, yeah.

Sues Cummings

I think the media issues are great timing because we are talking about an older medium books print, old time medium, so some technological issues that goes with it.

Craig Norris

That is true. Well, yeah, without any and and sometimes. Actually, it's those older mediums which can't be less policed.

Taylor Lidstone

Exactly. That is why you should start streaming with the book.

Craig Norris

I'd. I'd still screw it. Up some.

Sues Cummings

Just open up a Google Doc and just type in it real time. People can come and watch you.

Craig Norris

Yeah. Yeah, that's right, because my streaming will be visual face to face streaming. Like, come to this cafe at this time where I'm live streaming my.

Sues Cummings

Reading cracked out the typewriter, just like hang around behind me and listen to when you hear the Ding of the end of the line and come along and have.

Craig Norris

I'd be really. A rate, it's interesting cuz I mean there is a bit of history around media platforms that used to receive a lot of. Policing, but then fell by the wayside. And then they became the location for the firmament of revolution. So the civil rights movement in America, for instance, many people point to the significance of the church pulpit that this used to be a space that was heavily. The monitor censored, like in the 18th 19th century, but then by the 20th century television radio cinema was more under the public scrutiny and the pulpit was a space that could recruit and activate. Black America to.

Sues Cummings

I didn't know that. Yeah, that's really interesting.

Craig Norris

Forget the author, it was so many years ago. Anyway, we're not here to necessarily. Talk about that there might be revolution in the work that you're creating those issues.

Sues Cummings

Oh yeah, they. My book series does touch on touch on revolution as a topic. It is kind of about a magical war, so you know there's. The magical wars started by attempted revolutionaries, and then there's like counter protests and counter revolutions and things like that.

Craig Norris

So I guess to to fill people in.

Sues Cummings

Oh yeah.

Craig Norris

Grabbing your author details on Amazon, it says here that you're a a single headed single headed, non binary Tasmanian. That's right, who's living in Southern Island cities, which I love. The idea of Southern Island cities where you've resided to, of course, Hobart. Yeah, but also Kagoshima.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, Kagoshima in Japan, I lived there for. A year in high school, which was a great experience. It's very hot and humid there, so like kind of the opposite to our idea of a southern island.

Craig Norris

Yes, because that. Would be closer to the equator to space where.

Sues Cummings

Yeah. So yeah, so it's like usually about 40 to 45 degrees in summer and 90% humidity.

Craig Norris

Right. So you've got where is. So you got Fukuoka. That the island was up and you got Okinawa, right?

Sues Cummings

Yeah, it's down South from Fukai Fukai, but before Okinawa, it's like the last city on the Quichua Islands. Before you start getting into the Okinawan islands and the Amami Islands.

Craig Norris

Right. It's really intriguing and that was a exchange. Location for students.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah. I've never heard of it. I just, like, got my exchange student packet in grade 11 and it said. You're going to kabush. Mama. So I googled it and the thing Kagoshima is most known for is having one of the world's most active. Volcanoes. Wow. So just to be like, no.

Craig Norris

I do. Was the volcano.

Sues Cummings

Ohh yeah interrupted like 3 * A day every day that I was there but. It's like mostly just like. Little bursts of ash, like little ash farts.

Craig Norris

That yeah, that doesn't sound too. Scary. No it.

Sues Cummings

Wasn't too scary, but then, like, you know, you'd go there and they'd be like, oh, yeah, this, like, Rd that you used to get here that didn't exist before 19, like 12 or something like that. When the volcano last had its last bigger option.

Craig Norris

Right. And so that was kind of. Tree of life, right? You were in.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, I I was actually. I was working on these books there because at that point I had already had like, a publication offer that I was considering and. Negotiating with, but I ended up respecting that offer because I didn't like the changes. They wanted me to make.

Craig Norris

Mature sense.

Sues Cummings

To the things.

Craig Norris

So you were there though as as a.

Sues Cummings

Student. Yeah, a high school student, yeah.

Craig Norris

And since then you've it to say you've been juggling writing, academia, work in studies, and I should say, for Full disclosure that the academia part is where we crossed paths, right. I.

Sues Cummings

Yes it is. You were my honest supervisor.

Craig Norris

Yes, on a great project. I know Lord Taylor also. On his ex on a student. I feel like actually with the X-Men I could be Professor Xavier and I've got like 2X men in there. I wonder which X-Men you'd be.

Sues Cummings

I don't know which X-Men studies Pokemon.

Craig Norris

Yeah, your project was Pokemon and Taylors project was K pop. So great projects. So yeah, I supervised you. Your project was looking. Do you remember?

Sues Cummings

Yeah, my project was looking at how fans and audiences reacted to the translations in Pokémon, so like I would show the people taking the survey. A more literal translation of the Japanese net side by side with the localised translation, which is the translation made easier for people to understand as English native speakers.

Craig Norris

And this was. Like Funimation, during that period where Pokemon was being localised into TV in.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, there's four kids when they were like, you know, this the character would be holding up a rice ball and saying, look at this Jelly filled doughnut. Nothing beats a Jelly filled doughnut.

Craig Norris

America and Australia. So you had. Yeah. You had all these great scenes where they've taken really distinctly Japanese objects or saying. And they're just completely you're kind of. Avoided dealing with the foreigners and just said no, no, no. This triangle white object is a doughnut.

Sues Cummings

Ever like being seven years old and watching that scene and being like I've never seen a doughnut like that. That looks great. I can't wait to eat one of.

Craig Norris

Those doughnuts, and there's a little bit of violence that was turned down, wasn't it the scenes.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, there's quite a bit of violence, especially in the Pokémon manga, which is actually quite violent.

Craig Norris

And what were some of the violent sequences that?

Sues Cummings

I I remember there was like 1 where a little girl with like she's 10 years old. She's one of the main characters. Her name is Crystal. She was getting slapped by her.

Craig Norris

You were causing.

Sues Cummings

Mum and they just like completely removed that panel. And that was actually one of the ones where the fans reactant were kind of like, actually, yeah, maybe you should take that out. Maybe we don't want little kids reading the Pokémon manga to be like.

Speaker

Yeah. Wow.

Sues Cummings

Seeing parents slapping their.

Craig Norris

Kids. Yeah, because I guess unless it's having a story pale.

Sues Cummings

It was like the mum slapped her and then started being like, pull it together. She keep going. Keep doing this.

Craig Norris

Their characters. Ah, you're right. Right, right. So. With that kind of, you know, tough love.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, tough love. It's like it really didn't. It didn't add anything. You could have just had him. I'm saying, like, come on.

Craig Norris

Moment, which highly problematic. You can do it. Yeah. Yeah, it was a great project. We got excellent results. I've always wanted to try and get it published. We went through one.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, I was very happy. With the result, yeah.

Craig Norris

Effort. We got the feedback from I forget what the journal. Was we applied for?

Sues Cummings

I don't remember either.

Craig Norris

Yeah, well, and then.

Sues Cummings

But it it. It was while I was living in Japan, so it was a bit hard to organise things and yeah.

Craig Norris

But we I we should do a Kickstarter to get a pie and everything into Kickstarter. These things to get it published. You're lucky I'm not yet going to inflict a fundraising activity linked to the work we're doing. OK, we might get there, though. Last week it was for the K pop show. If Taylor's Facebook page gets 100 likes, we would eat these. Korean ramen we can find live on air.

Sues Cummings

I mean, you can try to plug getting more people to subscribe to my Patreon, but. I don't know what to offer that.

Craig Norris

And and we'll, we'll get there. Don't worry. Alright. So going through your bio you've worked in academia, work and stargazing. What's the stargazing link?

Sues Cummings

Oh, oh, it's it's just one of my hobbies. I just really like looking at stars and it actually links to the trilogy where they have this religion formed around stargazing. So it's kind of like a tongue in cheek way of being like, hey, if you're like an established fan of this reading my offer bio, then, you know, like.

Craig Norris

Right.

Sues Cummings

Yeah. So that's why that's in there.

Craig Norris

So you're you're you're also educating, right? There's there's a little bit entry points into star knowledge or?

Sues Cummings

Is it? I don't really remember. I don't think so. Sorry, the other thing, the other thing to know about these books is I wrote the first one like a. Long time ago. And it got published in 2019. So it's been a while since I like really looked at it. So a lot of the details now when people ask me just. Yeah, I think so. I don't know, maybe.

Craig Norris

That's great cause I have got tonnes of questions.

Sues Cummings

OK.

Craig Norris

Just on stargazing, what's your take on the light pollution in today's? Well in the night sky because of satellites? Do you? Yeah.

Sues Cummings

I don't like it. It makes, yeah, it makes it harder to see stars. And I was recently living in Sapporo, which is a much bigger city than Hobart. So it's like 3 or 4 million people, and I couldn't see many stars at all. Like I could barely see the planets and they're really bright, so I was always just like missing the stars and trying to get out to the countryside so I could look at the stars for a little bit hobarts. All right, Hobart's fine, like. You can still see most of the things if it's not Mona and they don't have. Yes, but yeah, I think. I think bigger cities are kind of missing out a bit, like you don't, even if you're not into stars. I feel like you miss seeing star. Like you'll get to a point where you wish you were looking at them that you might even realise you're missing.

Craig Norris

My kid was really disappointed a few weekends ago when right at night and they were saying, oh, the the night sky is amazing. Then those stars and they said they're they're satellites. Stars. You see how it's changing?

Sues Cummings

Colours. That's. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I. But I think we are very lucky here in Hobart. We can see a lot of them quite easily.

Craig Norris

And the auroras?

Sues Cummings

Yeah. And the Aurora, I saw the Aurora two nights ago.

Craig Norris

No way, I keep missing it.

Sues Cummings

It it helps, it helps to have like a camera setup.

Craig Norris

I didn't see.

Sues Cummings

I don't remember the details of how to set it up, but there's like the Aurora Facebook group that talks you through how to set up a camera to keep an eye out.

Craig Norris

Yeah, right. For it that makes it easier to see it. So your camera, right? Yeah. So, yeah. Right. So through the camera. And you can get a.

Sues Cummings

You can like, get photos that you can get like a colour balance on the camera. That makes it easier to see if the Aurora is there, which then like if you're already looking for it. It's a bit easier to see it naked eye.

Craig Norris

Yes, yes. So some of. That appears in the. Book some of that. So you've also worked in education, and that was the support all time was working in education.

Sues Cummings

See this is the. Thing that offer buyer is out of. Date. Ohh, let's update it. Life. Ohh no. Yeah. So it's like, you know, it says lived in Southern cities. I've since lived in a northern city in northern Japan. That's the floor. Yeah. And I was a teacher there.

Craig Norris

Anyway, go on. Right. Sapporo, of course.

Sues Cummings

I think the worked in education was because I used to work promoting student exchange programmes. Like after I got back from mine.

Craig Norris

Do you still? Do it instance jewellery, jewellery and fast food. Are are those going?

Sues Cummings

On. Oh, no, I mean, I did work at hungry Jacks for a bit, and I did work at Pandora for a bit.

Craig Norris

Right. Hungry Jacks any horrible stories?

Sues Cummings

No, no, no.

Craig Norris

But no, sorry, I shouldn't put. You on Mr Mark.

Sues Cummings

No horrible stories, but I have never eaten hungry jacks and I never will.

Craig Norris

Right. Well, it's like I guess you know people that become vegetarian after they. See how sausages are made, right? It's. Interestingly, probably the inverse works as well some people.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, sure.

Craig Norris

Become even more hungry Jacks. My kids want to work if that's them.

Sues Cummings

I mean, definitely some of the people that I worked with there were like always recommending things to me. Like you got to try this. You're like. This but I. Was always just like I just spent like 4 hours looking at this. I don't want to eat it now.

Craig Norris

So your first series, the Silent trilogy is a culmination. Smith Segue is a culmination of everything you wanted to read as a history and magic loving creatine.

Sues Cummings

That's yeah.

Craig Norris

What, like as a history of magic loving? Creatine. I'm thinking. You know, when I I was in history and magic. Well, history and fantasies are difference between like like magic loving is that.

Sues Cummings

Oh, I think I said magic in the bio because I was like, this isn't hard fantasy. It's like a much softer event. No, it's a much softer level of fantasy. It's literally set in her, but.

Craig Norris

Right. The of the rings.

Speaker

It's not.

Sues Cummings

It's there's not that much.

Craig Norris

Yeah, this is Sue.

Taylor Lidstone

It's a magical place.

Craig Norris

I think that can go. Totally hard. I mean ******** fantasy.

Sues Cummings

Ohh, you know, I mean I said that, but like my editor didn't cut down like so many descriptions of her. But like we don't need to waffle on so much. About how pretty you think this place is.

Craig Norris

Yeah, cause it wasn't. Yeah, cause I I. I think one of the interesting things would be, you know, the media pilgrimage thing, right? People reading something that's located in a location. And and then wanting. To visit there. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You were saying it's kind of, yeah, there's not too. Much there and I've I've been careful.

Sues Cummings

I mean, I said that when we met up, but then like when I came here to Sandy Bay Campus, I was just looking around like, oh, there's like scenes from my second book set here. Really. Yeah. There's, like, a scene at Stanley Berkeley Theatre. There's like, a description that I wrote of the fountain outside that my editor. Shut down.

Craig Norris

All right, do excellent radio dramas with AI. We'd love to take this work and do a live audio radio drama in location.

Sues Cummings

That would be interesting. I'm not sure. How you'd adapt it?

Craig Norris

Well, we just put it into. OK, that's good to do it for us. No, we. Wouldn't do that. At first with Plan C.

Sues Cummings

At best.

Craig Norris

All right, so about references in the Silent trilogy and. So you're at history and and what would the history and magic loving experiences as a team that that was some of the? Catalysts with some of the.

Sues Cummings

So I think the magic is the more obvious ones. So like I'd read a lot of fantasy books, I'd read a lot of wonder maxima style, which Scarlet Witch, which I mean I haven't watched one division. How shameful is that? But but I've read the comics it's based on. Yeah. Yeah. So I love stuff like that.

Craig Norris

Want to make right? Yes.

Speaker

OK.

Sues Cummings

And I kept noticing this like trend in fantasy and magic based fiction where like. People are oppressed for being magic. I think one of the famous Australian examples is the urban Newton books by Isabel comedy, which are like.

Craig Norris

Right. Urban Newton? Yeah. Ryan Nets. OK.

Sues Cummings

Great, great boss. And she's a lovely person. I met her one time and she was very kind to me, even though I was like. Shaking, like reading one of my rooms. Hi. And I think like Harry Potter is also kind of an example of that. Where like the magical people are hidden. But like why?

Craig Norris

Yeah. Yeah, there's there's, there's a a sense of the underground, the repressed, the secretive that shouldn't be seen in a world where. Yeah, the humans can be. Who they want to. Be and be public and live, but yes, Harry.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, right. Yeah, and there's this. A lot of like hatred towards the normal humans and that like uh in in a lot of these books honest. Like just like, oh, there's normies. They don't understand us magical people and our magical ways. Yeah.

Craig Norris

In the Harry Potter.

Speaker

Right.

Craig Norris

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cause I guess Harry Potter has that with Muggles and the discrimination.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, exactly.

Craig Norris

Of the characters that have parentage, that's both human muggle and.

Sues Cummings

Yeah. Yeah. So I just like wanted to write something about magical oppression that was different because what I noticed in all these magical oppression stories is like, even when they're set in the real world, like Harry Potter. The only oppression that exists is of magical people. It like kind of erases everything else. You know, there's no homophobia, there's no transphobia, there's no racism. It's just magic. You're you're at Hogwarts now. There's no racism, there's definitely transphobia now and.

Craig Norris

That becomes an.

Speaker

Actual one.

Sues Cummings

We know but.

Craig Norris

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, that's interesting. With the transphobia issue, isn't it because yeah, it does present almost that Star Trek universe, right? Everything. Everyone's together and. OK. But then you know that there there still are fractures. There still is. Like I think what JK Rowling said that before. That came out about her. Yeah, transit. There was the sense that she was saying she never explicitly stated Dumbledore was gay, but she would be fine with that interpretation, something like that.

Sues Cummings

No, she she, like came out and said Ohh he is gay. I just never.

Craig Norris

Wrote it. Right. Which sounds you know, kind of like having a cake and. Eating it too. Right. Like there's.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, it does a. Bit, yeah. So it's just like, I don't know. I was just interested in me like, well, what? Would it look? Like if there was, like, magical people who were oppressed and then these other issues that they had. Do like how would it factor as another access in which people can be?

Craig Norris

Oppressed existing levels of discrimination. So the we'll get around to publishing the set, but then it goes on to tell a little bit of the story. So the science trilogy is an urban fantasy series set primarily in Hobart, Australia. As you said, it tells the story of. Diane Nessa is. Yeah. Vanessa. Yeah, anisa. And not so hidden. Magical community focused primarily on their Princess Lao Yamaguchi.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah. Low, short for total, I mean, yeah.

Craig Norris

Right. And his family. Nova Jaanus, Crow hot fire. And Carmen Eastman. Ohh yeah. Right. So those. That that spaceship building up front. I can remember like the the the. The the story is that there's been an amnesia. There's those people to forget.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah, yeah. There's there's a lot of layers to this story. It's kind of hard to just like explain, because I wrote like the story on 2 levels that's like this. The story that's happening with the narrator. And then the story that's happening with the actual main character. Wow.

Craig Norris

Right. Is that why? I guess we, I mean you we were talking about the references and one of the snappy. Elevator pitch lines that your work or this trilogy has been linked to is X-Men meets Good Omens.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, I yeah, that's.

Craig Norris

Why so within the space or how? Or let's how how does the? Trilogy Draw upon those kind of fantasy comedy or superhero genre elements is there so.

Sues Cummings

I think the reason so I I didn't pick the X-Men meets good armens line that was picked by my publisher. I do. I love X-Men and I love good omens. So like it's appropriate. Those were definitely big inspirations for me growing up. I read them both a bunch when.

Craig Norris

Do you like this too?

Sues Cummings

I was a kid because X-Men of course.

Craig Norris

Classic comic book series about. Many people see it as one of these uniquely political comics, where as we're talking about, you know, magic is a space of of oppression. In essence, it was, yes, superhero mutants. As a surrogate to talk about oppression, civil rights.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah. I think it's actually been very helpful in that respect. You know, like it's been able to get like some main some of these ideas out there in the mainstream in a more comfortable way for some people. But yeah, in in my books, there's literally a part where the narrator, who is a human, says, yeah, so these dinners. So they're like, basically X-Men.

Craig Norris

Right. Yeah. So so is that so how does magic exist within your world?

Sues Cummings

OK, so the being called Vanessa, they have innate magic, but usually their magic manifests in one or two natural abilities. So for example, someone might be able to. Conjure and manipulate fire and that's it. That's all they can do with their magic. There's one character who's like ohh man, all I can do is manipulate salt. And part of the the setup for these magical characters is they don't trust science. You know, they're magic. Why would you trust science if you can just like, summon fire out of nowhere? So a lot of the time, people will have, like, ideas like, oh, you think that self manipulation isn't helpful? You know that the ocean is salt, that there's a lot. Of salt and human. Yes. So this is like all these ideas of how they could use their magic that they don't know because they don't.

Craig Norris

Right. Science, right. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Because the science of figuring out how salts connected to human bodies is not obvious. I mean, what? That was not mediaeval knowledge, I assume. I mean, I'm from.

Sues Cummings

Engage with. I don't think so. So a lot of it's just like very surface level stuff. Like they just observe things like, oh, that's literal water. I can manipulate that. Then you like, there's water in the human body and they're like. No, there's not. Don't speak science. To me, science isn't real.

Craig Norris

And in this universe is magic out. Does everyone know magic or?

Sues Cummings

So that's that's why the amnesia thing you mentioned before came in. So like the magical people deliberately hide themselves because there aren't that many of them and they don't think that magic is that helpful. It's just like. Something that for a lot of them is just like, Oh yeah, I can just. Telekinesis something from across the room, and that's about it.

Craig Norris

Right. But they keep it. Secret. So they're not experimenting on by the governments and.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah, something like that. They they just, like, feel uncomfortable because they're outnumbered. And a lot of them like. Just live in normal human society. And don't really have much of A community of our vaginas.

Craig Norris

Right.

Sues Cummings

Yeah. So. The setup for the first book is that the leader of Dinosa decided she was fed up of this right. She wanted to have a dynastic continent where they could openly exist, and she talked with her advisors and was like Australia. That's it. We're going to go there. No one will care. It's out of the way. It'll be great.

Craig Norris

It's like playing the board game risk, right? Yeah. And then you? Can win, yeah.

Sues Cummings

So she started trying to do that. Didn't go well. There's there's not many of them. They're outnumbered. Australia's got like a military and stuff.

Craig Norris

And this is set in the contemporary world that that move to say Australia would be a great location for us to.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, I. That I think like in the books it happened in, like, hang on, let. Me, let me. I think it was. Like 2010. Yeah, 2010.

Craig Norris

Right. And I don't want you to spoil too much of the book, but I do like that premise of so a group of people like Magneto, kind of.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, very much like Megan. She was the leader of her names. Amiah. Yamaguchi's mother. She was very much like, I want a better future for my kids. Because I grew up hiding so much about myself from the people around me, I don't. Want to do? That I don't want my kid to do that. Sir, it's very motivated by that. And you know, it didn't go well.

Craig Norris

What happens when they get to? It's such a. Fascinating story and.

Sues Cummings

I mean, they kind of just, like get to Australia and start using magic in public to try and scare and manipulate people. And the Prime minister's like. That's terrorism.

Craig Norris

Was that Tony? Abbott at that point.

Sues Cummings

I I I'm not allowed to say who it is, but you can probably figure it out from the subjects. Yeah. Yeah. So they're like, kind of like struggling. And it comes like negotiating things like that.

Speaker

Oh, OK, right. Yeah.

Craig Norris

Right. What a fascinating concept to have.

Sues Cummings

But the way that the way that the book starts is like the narrator who is unnamed for most of the series. So I'll just say like the. Narrator a lot. The narrator woke up one day and was like, hey, this war thing is over and nobody's remembers these janessa. And every time I ask someone about it, they just start, like staring off into space and humming.

Craig Norris

Right.

Sues Cummings

What's up with that?

Craig Norris

And that's where the book starts. So there was an invasion of Australia. It didn't go well. And then like the humans won. But then then there's something that's caused everyone to forget that that's happened.

Sues Cummings

There's something that's caused everyone to forget. Yeah, and the narrator remembers all of it. Right. And then she's visited by these people who say, hey, so we kind of covered it up using math, like magic to mind. Control people using music. But you're deaf, so it didn't work on you. And we're here to, like, square that away.

Craig Norris

It's a fascinating idea that a. A. A kind. Of neurodiversity or a disability is a superpower. Yeah, space has allowed them not to forget.

Sues Cummings

And like you know, they pretty quickly realised that like ohh this is like some mind control thing that's not gonna work on me ever because I can't hear it. And I can just take my hearing aid out. If this person tries to mind control me again.

Craig Norris

Yeah. And that's back in 2010. Because I know there was that just recently there was that Netflix thing about the horror thing with the hearing aid, the alien invasion.

Sues Cummings

Oh, I don't know about that. I should. I should look into that, yeah.

Taylor Lidstone

What are you talking about? Bird box, where the blind people had the superpower?

Craig Norris

It was the one with the. Guy from the office. How was the father? There you go. There's just make. Foods I'm just putting little crumbs of half remembered information because I'm not seeing the series or the movie. We'll follow it up on a later. All right, so you set up this really interesting space. So it's curated through. Yeah, the eyes of the human who doesn't quite get it. Yeah. And you see, it's it's super queer and has lots of of bonus stories.

Sues Cummings

Oh, that's right.

Craig Norris

So it's quite a fleshed out.

Sues Cummings

Ohh yes.

Craig Norris

Well that you.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker

Need it.

Sues Cummings

So, like the bonus stories are because because it's narrated through the point of view of this human who doesn't quite get it, there's a lot about the dinosaur culture that she doesn't understand and frankly doesn't care to understand. So she misses a lot. And as my friends are like reading it, they'd be like, hey, I want to hear more about, like, this character.

Craig Norris

Right.

Sues Cummings

From their point of view, so I released these bonus novellas and stories and things from the point of views of other characters where you can see like. More easily the disconnect between what they think versus what the narrator thinks.

Craig Norris

How did you? Engage with the audience. How was your material initially released and people gave you feedback?

Sues Cummings

Oh, is a long story.

Craig Norris

What was that? What was the space that was listed in? We still have the 25 minutes.

Sues Cummings

Sir, I started writing this in high school. I was just like kind of playing with that. I didn't think it was going to amount to anything, but I had this friend who was like, what are you writing? What are you working on? So I'd show that friend. Chapters of. And really, the reason that I finished it in the first instance was because of this friend saying I want to know more I. Want to know? More I want to. Know more, right? Yeah. So first it was just like sharing with that friend and immediate friends. And then because friends reacted so positively to it, I gave it to my English teacher at Trina. High school. Shout out to Mr Powell and Mr Powell was like. I don't like how often you use the word emar, but you should publish this.

Craig Norris

That's really encouraging. Did you seize? Like, can't be D in?

Speaker

It and go ahead.

Sues Cummings

I did, yeah. I I just. Immediately started sending it out to publishes.

Craig Norris

How do you do? That you just look in the. Internet. Yeah, yeah.

Sues Cummings

The Queensland University University of Queensland Press does release this book. And has all this information about things you can do, but no. You just look on the.

Speaker

Right.

Sues Cummings

Internet like just. Open a book that you like and you'll have the publishers information. Then you Google it and then click on the submissions tab.

Craig Norris

So you were sending out. Was it the? Whole books. You were sending one or just? Little just the first book, silent.

Speaker

It like.

Sues Cummings

Snip the first like 50. Pages of the first one silent. Yeah.

Craig Norris

And and how did that process go? Because I know in your bio you say it's been a long time coming because you keep rejecting your potential publishers.

Sues Cummings

Yeah. So for context, when I was doing this, when I started doing this, it was 2007. And my protagonist is a non binary bisexual Asian, so a lot of the notes I get back from publishers would be like we're really interested. It's a solid premise. It's a very interesting idea. Can you make it less gay? Yes, they wouldn't say it that directly, but it was always the clear subtext they'd talk about. Like you know, it would be more marketable this way or that way be more accessible to more people.

Craig Norris

So and and you didn't do that so.

Sues Cummings

And I said no because I was like, I'm 1516. That's too young to sell out.

Craig Norris

Yeah, you still got your ideas.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, exactly. So that was about 10 years like a for a 10 year period. I was like sending it out to publishers and then hearing back eventually and being like we're interested. Can you change this this. On this, I'm happy to say that the publishing industry has moved forward quite a bit in. That in the end, the last one that I ended up deciding not to go with, they were they were saying.

Speaker

Is we're interested.

Sues Cummings

In the premise. But this like whole layered narration thing is really convoluted and very hard.

Speaker

For people to.

Sues Cummings

Follow and I was like, yeah, that's fair. That actually is. Pretty convoluted and hard for people to follow. But I don't see a point in existing without that so.

Craig Norris

Umm but yeah, a little bit more constructive finally rather than.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, exactly. Then we don't really like that. You know, there's all these gay people and trans people and.

Craig Norris

So how did you finally navigate? That, as you say, you know, was a 10 year process and now people can access it through, you know, the the inevitable Amazon or Apple.

Sues Cummings

Yeah. So it's an Amazon and Apple books. So I met an editor at the last publisher. I'm not allowed to say any of these publishers. Names, by the way.

Craig Norris

Ohh good. Well yeah, I should have probably said the.

Sues Cummings

Yes, NDA's were signed.

Craig Norris

Community radio station.

Sues Cummings

I'm an editor there who was, like really into it and really believed in it. And she said to me, hey, you should self publish this because it's not going to happen in the industry in this time. So if you do that, I will help you self publish it. So she basically arranged the self publishing on Amazon and then later she got involved with this. In the press and now that in the publication press is managing it.

Craig Norris

Right. Yeah. Yeah. So the first step of self publishing, yeah. As a lead person, that's not done it. I think you could just put it up right without any help, like submitting an assignment to university, right? I'm sure it's a little.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, it's, yeah.

Craig Norris

More complicated but.

Sues Cummings

It's it's really not actually the thing I thought it was much more complicated than it is too. It's literally just go to Amazon, sign up for KDP Kindle Direct publishing, and they'll be like, upload a document, make a cover. All right. It's done.

Craig Norris

And that's pretty much, I mean, look. I mean, I mean, it's important to, I guess talk about alternative pathways and you can just allow work to exist within a a Patreon space. But if if you aren't going to get it to circulate, really sadly, there's a monopoly, isn't.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, definitely.

Craig Norris

In terms of.

Sues Cummings

There is, yeah, I was. I was, you know, the reason I ended up going with Amazon. I didn't want to go with Amazon was because every single publication available in 2019, all of them were actually Amazon under different names.

Craig Norris

Right. It would end up still Amazon, right? Ultimately, you know, you're looking at a.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, exactly.

Craig Norris

A digital piece that's downloaded? Yeah. Because I guess getting into into your dimex or your bookstore somewhere physically is a different world, right? It's.

Sues Cummings

Oh yeah, no, you can still do that. You just, like, ask them to stalk it, and they often will. But you don't really know. Yeah, it's.

Speaker

Visual size.

Sues Cummings

It's just like it's. It's more profitable for you as an independent author because an ebook spaces like Amazon, the author gets 70% versus if I were to do traditional publishing, I would get.

Craig Norris

Right.

Sues Cummings

At most 20%. And then I'd have to give a chunk of it to my agent or my or my editor, so probably more like 10%.

Craig Norris

Wow, that's that's a huge joke. Yes, yes. So it's a tough market.

Sues Cummings

It is a tough market, yeah.

Craig Norris

Have you been relieved? It's satisfying to to had this trilogy now out, and I know you're working on different projects. Yeah. So it's out. So it is good. It's worth all the.

Sues Cummings

Definitely, definitely. Pain. Yeah, I think so. Because, you know, at the end of the day, the reason I kept saying no. Those publishers was because I really wanted. To tell this story in my way. And I'm happy that I got to do that and I'm happy that I was lucky enough to have some support in doing that from my editor and things like that to help. Me feel. Honestly validated. In self. Publishing because it does have a negative stigma attached to it. Yeah, I don't think it should, but it does.

Craig Norris

Self publishing, yeah.

Speaker

But there's a.

Craig Norris

Lot of amazing work out there. I was talking with Hannah, the station manager, about, you know, various well known pieces. Like of course you've got 50 Shades of grey. Where the story? Goes it began as a Panther in twilight. Yeah, right. And it wasn't Twilight itself, also a fanfic.

Sues Cummings

Ohh no no no. Twilight was picked up by one of the biggest publishers in America.

Craig Norris

Right. Yeah, yeah, so. That's still. Original but yeah, then, then 50 Shades of grease. There are works which have existed. Just stand here.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, even things like the I think the Martian started off as a self published book on Amazon. Yeah. There's, like, some big examples like that.

Craig Norris

Yes, you could be the next one. Ohh.

Sues Cummings

We can only dream.

Craig Norris

So you already you were talking before about your readership wanting to get more information as you were growing it. So you know you was Amazon where you were putting your work out during all. This time to get that feedback.

Sues Cummings

No, so there was. Like a period where I put it online on some of the usual places where people put things online like I put it online on Wattpad and Rainbow Road and things like that.

Craig Norris

And Rainbow Rd is kind of has a has a whole tonne of stuff. Some of its fan fix some of its original material.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah, yeah, same with Wattpad.

Craig Norris

And what path right?

Sues Cummings

It's just like. Just places where you can publish. It's meant to be books, but a lot of people publish their fan. Fix there. But they're like great platforms, but I kept finding, like, this isn't really like the right space for this. And so I kept trying to traditionally publish it because honestly, I just like the idea of having physical copies of it.

Craig Norris

And it's wonderful to see these books now in the studio really thick. How did you? So the cover and getting it printed on demand? Yeah. What was the process you went to to create the the covers and?

Sues Cummings

Yes, the physical copies here. It's Thursday. Well, I I drew the covers. Nice. Yeah, I did think about getting some artist friends to do it, but I was like, oh, I'll just do it. Save, save some money. You own it. Yeah. And.

Craig Norris

Yeah, yeah. I mean, yeah, symbolically, literally.

Sues Cummings

Yeah. So it's very easy. You just like, upload the cover and the content to Amazon. Unfortunately, you can only get print copies for Amazon at the moment. Apple doesn't have like a print press.

Craig Norris

So there's still. That very as we're talking about the. Start of the show, old school analogue engagements. Yeah, thankfully still there. Yeah. And so your your readership was being able to reach out to you through these different spaces you're putting in.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah. So all of them would actually follow me to places like, I think I even put some of it on live journal back when.

Craig Norris

Right.

Sues Cummings

Live Journal was a thing, so it's just like, follow me from different spaces. Like when's it finally going to come out? When's it finally? Going to be done.

Craig Norris

The sounds like a George RR Martin issue. Were they appreciative of the effort you were making? It was a kind of.

Sues Cummings

Ohh yeah, they're they're very kind and patient people. I'm emphasising patient in particular because there's two more bonus stories. I've promised people that I haven't finished and put out yet.

Craig Norris

Really. So there's. This is a decades long experience though.

Speaker

It's it's, it's you.

Sues Cummings

Know that thing of like I'll be saying. Ohh yeah, I'll write a bonus story about this character like one of them is about Lucifer's least favourite son and I was like, yeah, that's that's just going to be a quick little thing. You get most of what he's about through the book series and then suddenly it's been like a year since I started writing it. And it's 70,000 watts, which is like 300 pages, yeah.

Craig Norris

Wow, this is this least favourite song. Wow. So you've got a 300 page piece on list of his least favourite song that's within the universe of the Silence region.

Sues Cummings

It takes place during the 2nd.

Craig Norris

Wow. Wow.

Sues Cummings

So like all. The key information you already know it, you just get to know more about, like what he thinks about all of this, what he thinks about how much his dad. Doesn't like him. What can be? I mean I.

Craig Norris

Always love those moments in a. Of a a large significant body of work like. I'm thinking you're classics like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, where you have Hamlet, but then you have a shorts and it's not like Shakespeare. What's his name? Great.

Taylor Lidstone

Stop ad.

Craig Norris

Taking the same events that we know how they play out, but from a completely different point of view.

Sues Cummings

Honestly, I find it really fun to do as an author, so that's part of it.

Craig Norris

In fact, there was one I I came. From the comic book 1-2 Storm troopers. Ohh yeah, during a New Hope onwards.

Sues Cummings

Uh, that's cool.

Craig Norris

Yeah. Yeah. So you got two final pieces left.

Sues Cummings

They're almost done, I promise.

Craig Norris

But there are. New projects you're moving along. To can we tease out any details of what?

Sues Cummings

Yes, yes. Well, we've talked.

Craig Norris

Your plans are.

Sues Cummings

About fan fiction a bit today so. Or just publicly here on Edge radio, admit that one of the ones I wanted to be a. Yugioh fan fiction.

Craig Norris

Yugioh typing.

Sues Cummings

But then, like I started writing it and was like this is nothing like these characters so I'm like alright, it's just an original project now.

Craig Norris

Sounds like the origin story of. 50 Shades of Grey, right? That that's like meant to be.

Sues Cummings

Ohh no, it's nothing like that. Take.

Craig Norris

Them in that direction.

Sues Cummings

I promise. I promise. No point. I don't.

Craig Norris

Wow. So you were, but you used that as a kind.

Sues Cummings

Because they said, like there's this thing in the UK or law that I find really interesting, which is like they there's souls that get split in half and half of the soul will be reincarnated and the other half. Is trapped in a magical item really, so yeah.

Craig Norris

How does the soul get split so this? Is at the point of death or during your.

Sues Cummings

Dark magic.

Craig Norris

Life your soul gets split.

Sues Cummings

You know, they don't actually explain that it's a card game.

Craig Norris

Ohh but great advantage so really so the characters in Yugioh have themselves and then they have a a jam or an item which has the other half of their soul.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Yeah. The so would be like the light half and.

Craig Norris

Right.

Sues Cummings

The dark half really right? Yeah.

Craig Norris

You have characters that are like lawful goods, and they have the chaotic evil part of themselves in this jam.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, exactly. Like literally one of them is called Yami, which is Japanese for doff.

Craig Norris

Right. And he has that in it. He's a kayaking character.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, he he's the protagonist evil.

Craig Norris

Hoff. Wow. So you were setting up a exploration of that kind of additive comprehension. Like, what's this?

Sues Cummings

Yeah, I know. It's just like that idea of like reincarnation. And I wanted to like pair that with the idea of it as like justice cause in yugioh it's usually punishment. So I was like let's look at like. Restorative justice and prison through this reincarnation thing, like how do how do you keep punishing a soul forever? You know, that's not really fair.

Craig Norris

Ohh so that so that mechanism. Of splitting the soil is a punishment mechanism is. Sort of game as the.

Sues Cummings

Mother. No, no, no, no. Sorry. It's it actually was originally like Amonga that had a bunch of different games that they played and then he created the card game and then it became only about the. The game to sell the card game.

Craig Norris

Yeah, cause it's now so heavily associated as. The car gamer, yeah. Wow. But then, yeah, raises all these questions of how that mechanic actually works, but then not explained in world and what the author is not terribly interested in fleshing that out. So yeah, fans.

Sues Cummings

Yeah. So like, I tried writing. That was like 16. And now I'm like, you know, 15 years later, like, you know, that's still an interesting idea to me. I'll. I'll just. I'll just acknowledge the yugioh alignments.

Craig Norris

Well, look if. It's far enough away from that space that, like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles instances set with heavy references to Daredevil, right? But it's it's a homage to that.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, I'm. I really am fan of like that kind of homage thing. Just like, yeah, you know, I think most media that people end up creating is deliberately or accidentally just a hodgepodge of everything that you've loved reading yourself. So why not be open about?

Craig Norris

It. Yeah, I've been always like that. Theory. Henry Jenkins has of. Fan fiction is importance that it can help people if they struggle writing. Let's say a a female protagonist. They're a male, so they hate. They, can't they? Can't get their head around what that identity means, but they're a huge Harry Potter fan and they know what Hermiones motivations are and actions are defined by and so they do a fan fiction about. Money. Not bloody well. Getting into a relationship with Ron Guy. All his thing was. Such a mistake. Anyway, you can read my fanfic on that.

Sues Cummings

I guess every day you're free like.

Craig Norris

I know. I do like that concept of. It allows you to just get to telling your story rather than writing really, really badly written characters, so it can be. A really useful way of developing the voice.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, I think so. I mean, I haven't actually written fan fiction for quite a. While but. I definitely use it as like a fun way to practise characterization, and people have always praised my characterization as the strongest part of my book series, so I'm like. There we.

Craig Norris

Go and it's interesting, you know, even though you you hadn't consciously anchored the silent trilogy around the X-Men and Good Omens. Nevertheless. Yeah, the literacy you have of character.

Sues Cummings

I mean, yeah, I'm.

Craig Norris

Enables people to link it to establish species.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think I think, I mean, I definitely put deliberate references to X-Men in there and good omens, I mean. The Good Omens book has a lot of footnotes, and this has. Footnotes. So it's like, yeah. That's it. That's the.

Craig Norris

So good. Yeah, it's more stylistically.

Sues Cummings

Yeah, there's like, a a comedy. And I mean, it's got angels and demons in it, and good omens has an Angel and.

Craig Norris

Right. The comic elements, yeah. A demon, so riding still ongoing. Yeah. Are you? So you've got some non yugioh? Kind of.

Sues Cummings

Always and forever. Set on Venus.

Craig Norris

From Venus, of course. Any more Australian or Hobart based work?

Sues Cummings

No, not really. So there is like.

Craig Norris

Edge radio based work.

Sues Cummings

Ohh, you know I could. You know, if you want me to start writing Edge radio fan fiction, I'll. I'll get on.

Craig Norris

That fundraiser fundraiser. You would like to donate to the Edge radio fundraiser. We'll get.

Sues Cummings

Pay my Commission rates.

Craig Norris

Yeah, we'll use that money to. Get an edge radio fanfic going.

Sues Cummings

You can like select peers and people can like choose tropes or characters and things like that.

Craig Norris

Totally, yeah, kind of yai. It happened, you know what are some other fancy troops anyway? We'll we'll look that up on TV troops. So. So. So if people want to know more, where can they go to find out.

Sues Cummings

So there is a website silent trilogy. Com You can also find my offer buyer on Amazon and Apple just by typing in Suez. SU ES Cummings CU double M igs. And yeah, give it a read. It's weird. Maybe you'll like it. Maybe you.

Craig Norris

Won't. Excellent. Well, I'm hoping to see cosplay in this universe of characters in this universe at the next.

Sues Cummings

Test prop. You know what, Craig? Some of the characters in it cost place. So you you you should give them all. All three of these massive massive. Books to read to like select out the cosplayers. Totally.

Craig Norris

I accept your. Challenge. Well, thanks everyone for listening. This has been a. Doctor Craig little Taylor. And a wonderful guest who's comings for media mothership on his radio show notes, including links to Suzie's work, will be available on the episode description on YouTube. Twitch all your podcast super. Yeah. Next week. Next, next Fridays are packs, right? The video game thing. So I might possibly do that will not go there. But think about it. I've got two people that are going to packs that I'm going to try to. Get on the show later.

Sues Cummings

Sounds good. I hope so.

Craig Norris

So you can listen to previous episodes of media mothership on YouTube twitch@radio.org dot AU or via podcast you can reach out to us via Facebook and Discord. We we're growing our discords slowly.

Sues Cummings

Guys, I'll go join your discord server.

Craig Norris

It totally rocks. In a echoey way. So if you've enjoyed listening to the show, do listen to some other Ed radio shows in a similar vein, like Millennial think with Hannah Miranda every Wednesday at 10 AM. Keep listening now to the radio. Coming up next is K pop unlimited with DJ TJ and DJ DJ TJ you're in the studio now. Is there any? Hence people can.

Taylor Lidstone

For the show's new music.

Craig Norris

Really. Yeah, it's so rare. Normally it's from the early. 2000s period.

Taylor Lidstone

Not new music mainly go groups though.

Craig Norris

No. Sigh again.

Taylor Lidstone

Yeah, yeah, unfortunately.

Craig Norris

Let's extend my cap of knowledge line. So you. On the show, all right. Well, thanks very much for. Listening, thanks again SUS for coming.

Sues Cummings

Thanks for having me. It's a great. Time, yeah.






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