Share this
Like us on facebook
For the latest news and reviews.




Satima Flavell

answers the Usual Questions

photograph, Satima Flavell, courtesy of the author; 220x330

Satima Flavell

On her web site, author Satima Flavell says, "I'm a writer, reviewer and editor, and sometimes an astrologer, a meditation teacher, a theatrical dance teacher and a belly dancer. But I'm an author and an editor all the time!"

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Quite early in my fledgling career, I made a point of chatting with fans at cons to find out what they liked or disliked in books. The following came across very clearly: most people prefer 3rd person to first, nearly all readers don't like it when you kill off a sympathetic character, and they want the nice guy to get the girl. (Woe betide a writer whose heroine decides to take up with someone other than the hero!) Almost everyone seems to dislike waffly or confusing stories and lack of action.

The use of long, unpronounceable names is another pet hate: long paragraphs is another. Flashbacks and flash forwards are also unpopular. So I have tried to avoid these pitfalls.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

At a convention in 2003, I did an informal mini-workshop with Lee Battersby. He told us to choose a building we knew well and change it to another use, then have someone approaching the building with a particular aim. I chose a nineteenth century neo-Gothic hotel I worked at in Devon, UK, in my backpacking days. It was easy to turn it into a castle, and to see a man leading his horse up a steep, cobbled roadway that led to the castle's gatehouse. The next day Lee had us read our scenes out loud to a panel that included Lynn Flewelling and Fiona MacIntosh, and they urged me to write the book. So the scene I wrote became the kick-starter for my trilogy, The Talismans. It will appear in book two, The Cloak of Challiver. Who could have guessed that from less than a thousand words, a trilogy would grow?

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Not one in particular, but early influences ranged from Enid Blyton through to Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. (I regret to say that my early scribblings reflected Blyton rather than the Big Three!) Mary Stewart, Anne McCaffrey, Roger Zelazny, L Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, and more recently Jacqueline Carey, Glenda Larke, Juliet Marillier and George RR Martin have served as role models.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Someone who knows how to escape from lifts or drive spaceships, of course!

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

A cannibal.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

Coffee! And a hydroponics plant so I could grow fresh vegies.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

To have lots of people enjoy my stories.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Having fun with my imaginary friends! It's like playing pretend games in primary school and always being the one who gives out the parts and guides the story.

submitted by Satima Flavell

9 July 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Manchester, England
Resides: Perth, Western Australia
Mostly non-fiction -- reviews, interviews and feature articles in The Australian, Dance Australia, Artshub and other journals. I have had a few poems and short stories published but right now the Talismans Trilogy eats up all my time and attention. Book 1, The Dagger of Dresnia, is available from Satalyte Publishing and Book 2, The Cloak of Challiver, will be out later this year.

Web site:


For posts about Melbourne events, places, news, reviews, giveaways, see our Facebook Page: