Micheal Harding is a sound archivist by day and electronic sound artist/musician and horror, supernatural and crime writer in the moonlight. His collaborations have been shown in Australian art galleries. His most recent written work, The Price, was issued by Stormy Island Publishing in Salty Tales and he has appeared in Australian Speculative Fiction. He co-published a fanzine called Manifesto back in the late 90s with Simon Starling and their long running musical project Vladivostok has issued a large volume of material. He lives in South-Western Sydney with his wife and daughter. He likes sharks.
MWS: Hello Micheal. How are things going?
MH: Hi Melissa! Well, I'm on holidays right now so I
guess things are pretty good.
I'm in Sunny, sorry I meant smoggy, Beijing, China. It's hot.
MWS: Have you been to China before or is this your first time there?
MH: I've been a few times. I've been coming since 2008. Though neither of us have been back here for a few years. My wife is from Beijing and we're visiting her family. I'm at her sister's place right now.
MWS: That's great you get to visit! . You said like sharks, which is your favorite?
MS: Probably the Blue Shark. Because unlike every other shark out there they always look kind of worried.
MWS: Probably are, they've seen some things, Would you ever go in a shark cage?
MH: Well, I read a book recently, about Great Whites, and the author went with some researchers off the coast of South Australia.
The chain holding the cage snapped and it started falling to the sea floor. They were surrounded by white sharks. Something to think about.
MWS: I'm guessing he survived if he wrote a book about it. I would probably still go. I have a serious shark love. lol It's on my bucket list. Let's dive into some interesting things that you do. As stated in your bio you co-published a fanzine (Manifesto) in the latter part of the 90's. Is that still something you are doing and available for people to read past issues?
MH: Manifesto was a one off. We did it when we had a punk band
going on and it was a way of getting noticed. Nobody else was doing things like that. It was such a dodgy in-house job but it always sold out. I was wondering if anyone kept their copies or if they were turned into cat litter. I have one issue personally.
MWS: Do you think you would ever do something similar or perhaps your own magazine with short stories?
MH: I probably would. I'm sure I get some good contributions. I have a few stories that need a home anyway. Manifesto rebooted, why not?
MWS: Working with music as you have, do you write songs?
MH: Not so much anymore. My friend Simon Starling and I are still doing Vladivostok when we have the chance and we've written some
good stuff over the last couple of years, but it's still waiting to be finished or released. Time can be hard to find.
MWS: I can relate to that. Never seems to be enough time in the day for anything. Being a sound archivist and electronic musician, has any music ever inspired a story for you?
MH: Oh, all the time. I like writing that is like music. Music is layers.
MWS: Have you ever read a book you wanted to do a soundtrack for?
MH: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. That would fun.
MWS: What is in your TBR list right now?
MH: Heaps! I'm getting through Shane Maloney's books,
I want to read every one of them. A book on Factory Records, some 50's noir, and I bought a two for one the other day. Matt Haig's How to Stop Time and a trashy airport type novel about a massive shark -- the megalodon. I think that one might be crap but hey, it's a shark.
MWS: This is true. I've watched a lot of shark movies-even though they should not have been made-just because they were shark movies. lol. You're a writer dad. How old is your daughter?
MH: She just turned nine months, It's one of reasons we're in Beijing right now. So the fam can meet her. We also have a brand new nephew, he's new too. it's a kid zone. There's a seven year old here too.
MWS: Lol. Whew! I know the feeling, I have four myself. Do you read to her?
MH: Yeah but she's more interested in eating the books. I have a book that said read to your baby anything is fine, except Stephen King. So, I read her a few pages of Misery. haha
MWS: I'm sure she found it to be a delicious tale. Let's talk about your Salty Tales story, The Price.
Is there something that gave you the idea for it?
MH: Um, a dream? I literally woke up one morning and it was almost all there, just wasn't sure how to put it together. You know how dreams are?
MWS: Sure do! Do you have any other stories published?
MH: I'm happy to say that this is my first! It was the story I always wanted to "debut" with so I'm happy about that.
MWS: Any submission plans for upcoming anthologies out there?
MH: A few. A horror piece set, funnily enough, here in Beijing, around this very area I'm in now. some others that are probably too Australian to find a home outside of my country. Or even, too Sydney.
MWS: Horror story sounds interesting. Keep me posted on that. Aussie pieces, too, I like to read things that aren't based in my own country.
Do you prefer to read the same genres you write for?
MH: So do I. Though lately I've been trying to read a bit more local stuff. cult classics, like Death in Brunswick. I used to write a lot of horror and I thought that's what I was going to focus on but lately it's been crime. In terms of reading, I read anything that sounds interesting. Non-fiction too, plenty of that
MWS: Sounds great! Have you set any writing goals for yourself? Such as what a book of your own or just more submissions?
MH: I have a few goals. A few more successful submissions and I'm writing something big at the moment, I'm close to 20,000 words in. A crime story about a failing rock band set in Sydney.
MWS: I look forward to reading more of your work! I love a good crime story! Lastly, what advice would you give someone who is trying to get their own stories out there?
MH: Um, I'm not sure I'm qualified to give anyone advice! But okay. Read. Read like a reader AND a writer. Polish your work and show it to people who'll tell you if they don't like it. Don't show anyone your first draft. Keep trying. Rejections are good. Also, don't show anyone your second draft either.
MWS: That's perfect advice actually!
MH: Thanks Melissa!
~ You can more about Micheal's music and words below.~
Aussie Speculative Fiction-