Samuel Maguire is a Brisbane author and trade-certified hot mess. His debut novel No Point in Stopping was published in 2018, and he has had work published in ScratchThat Magazine, Scum Magazine, and currently works as an editor for Tiny Owl Workshop. You can find more of his fiction, poetry, and brain-wrongs at his blog skydekkerix.com. He is currently editing a collection of short stories by Brisbane writers called Far-Flung, which is due to be released later this year.
Tell us a little bit about you as a person.
Well, on top of the whole heap of mental I’ve got going at the best of times, I’m a barista, a colossal nerd, and a soon-to-be dad. I’m from a lot of places, as my family jumped around a lot, but I mainly grew up in rural Queensland. I was diagnosed with Bipolar type 1 when I was nineteen, and I still experience vivid hallucinations and delusions of grandeur, but as a writer, I think that might just be par for the course.
I’m a barista and caffeine junky by day to pay the bills, and I work as a commissioning editor at Tiny Owl Workshop by night to pay the rest of the bills. I love both of these jobs, but of course commissioning new works, creative producing projects, and writing about wizards and spaceships are slightly more rewarding.
My other great interest is traditional games, mainly tabletop wargaming and pen and paper RPGs. I’ve been designing my own RPG for about twenty years now, and have since used that same system to generate a fantasy novel that is in the works with Tiny Owl. Mainly though I leave it just for fun and spending time with friends and family, monetizing your hobbies is a slippery slope.
How would you describe your type of art?
I am a writer first and foremost, though I do a little painting and drawing on the side. When I first started writing I mainly wanted to write horror, though because of what I was experiencing with my mental illness it was a short step from there into the genre I’m most comfortable in, memoir. I have since branched out into lit fic, fantasy, romantic comedy, sci-fi, poetry, and any blend of each of those genres. I love to experiment with genre, stylistics, and form, and I am just as likely to put a list or poetic line breaks into prose as traditional dialogue and paragraphs.
My list of influences is a hot gumbo. I initially started reading sci-fi collections in my primary school days, then Stephen King horror novels in my teens. After my first, brief stint at uni, I read a lot of lit fic and fell in love with writers like Annie Proulx, Cormac McCarthy, and Primo Levi. I’m strongly influenced by fantasy writers, ever since my dad read The Hobbit to me as a child. I’ve read The Lord of The Rings eleven times and watched the extended edition DVDs more times than I dare to count. I also love Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and their ability to weave humour through their genres of fantasy and sci-fi respectively. It’s something I can’t help but emulate in my own writing, as I can’t stop myself from making jokes even at the most inappropriate times.
How long have you been practicing your type of art?
I’ve wanted to write stories since I learned to read at four years old. When I finished high school, after a brief and badly thought-through diversion in a failed attempt to join the air force, I studied creative writing at uni. After being diagnosed with bipolar, I dropped out and found myself on the disability pension. At this point, I created a blog, and I think this was the thing that saved me. I was able to write with complete creative freedom and experiment with anything I wanted, so I wrote every day and developed a voice of my own. I wrote solidly from the age of nineteen to now in my early thirties, getting pieces published in a variety of places and getting my first book, a memoir about bipolar, suicidal ideation, and wizard fights, published in 2018. Now, after over ten years of working in the industry, I am back at university with unfinished business, namely finishing my degree and building a solid community of Brisbane writers to collaborate with.
What inspires you?
I tend to write very visually, I picture what the story I want to tell looks like and then describe it, so visuals tend to inspire me the most. Usually, I draw from visual art, my environment, or the completely wack nightmares I experience almost daily.
I also tend to feel very strong emotions due to my condition, and a lot of my memoir or poetry comes from me grappling with these emotions and coming to terms with them. Kind of like showing your working out in a high school maths sum. Writing is my way of processing my deeper thoughts, and the art I make often, is the by-product of this process.
Where can people find you?
I am on both Instagram (@maguiresamuel) and Twitter (@Skydekkerix), though beware, that way lies garbage. My blog is skydekkerix.com, and there you can find over ten years' worth of writing exploits of various quality. I keep the bad ones up because a healthy dose of self-loathing is good for the ego, though I am proud of a large amount of the pieces on there.