Ratty looked anxiously in the mirror this morning. He'd seen me perusing the website of Vladimir Sivtsevich Volodja, an international Russian illustrator whose email had just popped into my box. Yes, I wrote back, I love your sophisticated, witty and often tender illustrations, but for now will have to make do with the old Pen-cils and paintbrush. Naturally, Ratty wonders if he mightn't be rendered a little more suave (not to say consistent) at the hands of a professional.
Talking of comparisons, none will be made in the case of our next 10k author, Aaron Blaker. Nor can I find much about him online (although I see he's had stories in Best NZ Fiction #6 and Takahe, one placed second in their annual competition). Okay, not exactly undiscovered but it's still exciting to be introducing a potent newish voice here at Rosa Mira. I first read Aaron's short novella, The Siren, aloud in the car between Geraldine and Oamaru. When I finished, the driver and I, momentarily silenced by its power, put out our bottom lips in the gesture that says, gosh, that's a rare one, that needs to be published. Looking at his other stories, too, I can say that his writing is marinated in the currents of desire, provocation, yearning, and mistrust that swirl beneath the light-spangled surfaces of life in these islands, and steeped in the close reading of his literary elders — but distinctly his own.
Set in Tolaga Bay on NZ's East Cape, The Siren is both deeply humane and darkly uneasy; dark in the way of so much NZ fiction, but suffused with blessed light. We're editing it as I write. More anon.