Saturday, October 18, 2014

Guest Blog by Jo Anderton - Day Jobs - October 18, 2014

Please welcome Jo Anderton to The Qwillery. Guardian, the 3rd Veiled Worlds novel, was published in June!

Day Jobs

Day jobs are usually necessary, not necessarily evil, often interesting, but always time consuming. Balancing them and a writing life can be a challenge. But you know who I really feel sorry for? My characters. They're used to hanging out in my study, lobbing ideas at the back of my head and generally bitching about the terrible things I put them through. Can you imagine how frustrating it must be to mope around in an empty room for at least eight straight hours a day? No one to harass into telling your story. No one to guilt-trip when they strip you of your hopes and dreams. I mean, they probably follow the cats around and shout story ideas at them, but cats don't listen to anyone.

But never fear! I have the perfect solution. If I need a day job to earn my keep… then so can they.

Tanyana, of course, works at an artsy architectural firm during the day. Actually, I don't know why she bothers involving herself as the main character in my Veiled Worlds novels, because she makes a bucket-load of money at her day job. She designs the kind of projects that usually get labeled 'public art', and half the population think are a waste of taxpayer funding, but are actually very important and sometimes even practical. They win awards. She actually quite likes her day job, because if she ever has to go on site then there are rigorous OH&S codes to keep her safe. They're much stricter about that kind of thing in Sydney than in her home city of Movoc-under-Keeper. It's very unlikely that she will fall eight hundred feet and land on glass, and even if she did she'd be in for a hell of a lot of compensation instead of a lifetime of drudgery as a debris collector. She doesn't even have to hide the silver bands of her debris collecting suit, wrapped around her wrists and neck, because her clients just think they're the most unusual jewelry they've ever seen, and someone with that kind of taste must be worth the huge amount of money she's charging.

Seriously, given what poor Tanyana goes through in Debris, Suited and Guardian, if I was her I'd just stay at work!

Kichlan… you know, I'm not so sure I'd give him the same advice. Kichlan gave up on a promising medical career to spend more time with his brother Lad. Worth the sacrifice? It’s always hard to tell, isn't it? He could be racking in the bucks by now, and probably saving lives and being generally awesome at the same time. Instead, he works a couple of low-paying jobs with flexible hours so he can always be there when Lad needs him. He probably likes the mail-centre job the most. It's mind numbing, but peaceful. No real stress, not compared to running a debris-collecting team and trying to keep Lad away from the puppet men 24/7. He one he hates the most is the fast-food joint. It's the way the oil from the deep-fryer stinks up his clothes. Which might sound odd, because he's used to smelling like muck from crawling around Movoc-under-Keeper in search of debris, but there you go.

His brother, Lad, has what you might call a kind of developmental delay. In Movoc-under-Keeper this can be dangerous -- the puppet men keep an eye out for debris collectors like him. They're special. But trust me, we do not want the puppet men to catch him! This doesn't mean he can't contribute and help out the brother who works so hard to look after him. Turns out Lad has a very spiritual side -- after all, he's regularly in touch with another plane of existence. He makes a bit of cash doing tarot and palm readings at the local hippie shop. He's also a wonderful yoga teacher. He's remarkably flexible for a man of his hulking size, and once his new clients get over that surprise they discover his soothing voice and calm energy. No one meditates as deeply as Lad.

So there you go, it's good to know my characters are keeping busy when I'm at work and ignoring them…

…Oh, apparently I forgot someone. And they're not happy about it.

The puppet men would like to let you know that they carry their weight too. Which is not very reassuring, because I'm not really sure they technically weigh anything. What do these creatures in their human-masks do when they're not trying to destroy two worlds and generally ruin Tanyana's life?

Actually, I don't think I want to know.

The Veiled Worlds

The Veiled Worlds 1
Angry Robot Books, October 1, 2011 (US/Canada and eBook)
       October 6, 2011 (UK print)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
     Cover Art by Dominic Harman

In a far future where technology is all but indistinguishable from magic, Tanyana is one of the elite.

She can control pions, the building blocks of matter, shaping them into new forms using ritual gestures and techniques. The rewards are great, and she is one of most highly regarded people in the city. But that was before the “accident”.

Stripped of her powers, bound inside a bizarre powersuit, she finds herself cast down to the very lowest level of society. Powerless, penniless and scarred, Tanyana must adjust to a new life collecting “debris”, the stuff left behind by pions. But as she tries to find who has done all of this to her, she also starts to realize that debris is more important than anyone could guess.

Debris is a stunning new piece of Science Fantasy, which draws in themes from Japanese manga, and classic Western SF and Fantasy to create this unique, engrossing debut from the very exciting young author Jo Anderton.

FILE UNDER: Science Fiction [ Sentient Matter | Cast Down | Cruel Betrayals | All Is Lies ]

The Veiled Worlds 2
Angry Robot Books, June 26, 2012 (US/Canada and eBook)
       July 5, 2012 (UK print)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
    Cover Art by Dominic Harman

The Veiled Worlds, Vol II

Tanyana has chosen to help the Keeper, to stand against the Puppet Men, who continue to force the Debris into unnatural creations.

And when even her own suit becomes aggressive against her, Tanyana must weigh some very personal issues against her determination to serve the greater good.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Parasite | Make Monsters | Hidden Strings | Needs of the Many ]

The Veiled Worlds 3
FableCroft Publishing, June 6, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
    Cover Art by Dion Hamill
    Cover Design by Amanda Rainey

The grand city of Movoc-under-Keeper lies in ruins. The sinister puppet men have revealed their true nature, and their plan to tear down the veil between worlds. To have a chance of defeating them, Tanyana must do the impossible, and return to the world where they were created, on the other side of the veil. Her journey will force her into a terrible choice, and test just how much she is willing to sacrifice for the fate of two worlds.

About Jo

Joanne is a writer of speculative fiction, and this is what she's always been. In Joanne's case, that tends to range between fantasy, horror and the just plain weird. Her debut novel, Debris (Book One the Veiled Worlds Series) was published by Angry Robot Books in 2011. Book two Suited was published in 2012. Guardian, book three, was published in 2014.

Her collection The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Collection! And she won the 2012 Ditmar for Best New Talent!

Visit her online at and on Twitter @joanneanderton


  1. Thanks, Jo.

    A novel I am reading now (YOUNGER GODS, Mike R Underwood) has a young protagonist who is balancing his day job (going to college) right along with saving the world...

    1. I just figured that if I had to have a day job, so did they! :)