PJ Ballantine – NZ writer and podcaster

Philippa is a Wellington writer, possibly best known for her novel/podcast serial Chasing the Bard, and podcast Erotica a la Carte If you haven’t read/heard any of her stories yet, you should definitely head over to her site and check it out. Her latest novel, Geist, is coming out in 2010 (so keep an eye out for it!)

She’s been kind enough to answer a few questions for me, so I hope you enjoy 🙂

Have you always had a passion for speculative fiction; and what do you think attracts you to those kinds of stories?

I have always loved the genre. My Dad read me the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings as a kid, and that was the beginning of it all for me. What I love about the speculative fiction market is the shear possibility. There are no restrictions about where you go or what you write about. You not only create characters but the entire world they live in. There isn’t a genre that can match it and I think that is why I, and thousands of other people are drawn to it.

I know you’ve collaborated with other creators of speculative fiction, what has been the most exciting part of that for you?

Finding the right collaborator is a wonderful experience. Writing is such a lonely exercise usually, it is amazing when you find someone you can write with. You can have the most fabulous brainstorming sessions, and your editing is just so much better with an experienced eye that is as invested in the world as you are. I have found in the collaborations I have been in that my partners fire me up. They provide inspiration, motivation and a real enjoyment. That being said I have had one collaboration fall through the floor- so I would say chose your collaborators carefully.

What advice would you give others interested in collaboration?

Pick someone that you can argue with and still remain friends. Also find someone whose style is not that different for yours–if you have to stretch your style too far to match theirs it will show

I think that New Zealand is an exciting place to be in: sometimes because of the small scale of the country it means we have to be a little more creative in the way we approach things – what do you think has been the most positive thing about being a writer in New Zealand, and what would be the biggest challenge you’ve had to face so far?

I think being a kiwi has actually garnered me more attention than if I had been just an American- at least in the podcasting novelist world. Also having a different culture, heritage and history to pull from is a real asset. We’re seen as exotic and anything that can make you stand out from the crowd is a great thing.

You’ve done quite a bit of podcasting, when did you first think to try that out; and how have you found the experience?

I first dipped my toe in podcasting in early 2006- the fault of my fellow DragonMoon Press author Tee Morris. I have found the whole experience wonderful- there is a real community vibe to the podcast world and through it I have made a lot of friends- some of which have gone on to be collaborators, beta readers and fans.

It also is a great way to hear mistakes, inconsistencies, and anything not quite right with your writing.

Are there any other forms of media that you think you might explore in the future?

I am tempted to try out video- but I know it is a heck of a lot of work- even more than full cast podcasting!

Finally, something just for the fun of it: If you had to choose a friend solely on their taste in movies, which five movies would best represent the kind of friend you would want?

District 9
Lord of the Rings
Jane Austen Book Club
Master and Commander
The Matrix (just the 1st one please!)

Once again, thank you Philippa for your time, it’s always a pleasure 🙂


2 thoughts on “PJ Ballantine – NZ writer and podcaster”

  1. Speculative fiction eh? First time I’ve heard that term I believe. Great post though, a little different than the usual! 🙂 I guess Philippa couldn’t be my friend though, ’cause I really don’t like Lord of the Rings… then again, I’m a fantasy MMO player, so that doesn’t make much sense.

    I wonder if what I’m writing could be considered speculative… I mean, it involves real world places, but the further into the book you read, the more decayed and rundown everything becomes.

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