Interviews Feed

PK Interview: David J Howe and Stephen James Walker of Telos Books

Death-of-the-Day-380x0The UK has a fantastic small press scene. To celebrate the people behind the imprints - and help out the writers that are looking to them for publication - we've quizzed a number of editors about the nuts & bolts of their submissions process. This week, our guests are David J Howe and Stephen James Walker, from Telos Publishing.

Pornokitsch: Thanks for taking part! Could you tell us a bit about Telos, and the books that you publish?

David J Howe and Stephen James Walker: We are Telos Publishing Ltd, a small independent press run by David J Howe and Stephen James Walker.

We have two imprint areas: the main press, which specialises in non-fiction, particularly guides to film and television; and Telos Moonrise, edited by Sam Stone, which presents fiction in a number of different genres - horror/fantasy/science fiction/crime/romance/erotica - mainly for the e-book market, but also in paperback editions.

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PK Interview: Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards of Alchemy Press

The UK has a fantastic small press scene. To celebrate the people behind the imprints - and help out the writers that are looking to them for publication - we've quizzed a number of editors about the nuts & bolts of their submissions process. This week, we're hosting Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards, from Alchemy Press.


Dead-water-cover-003cPornokitsch: Thanks for joining us - could you tell us a bit about who you are, and what bookish things you're doing?

Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards: We started Alchemy Press in the late 1990s with a National Lottery Grant, so we’re now over 15 years old. Our first book was a slim volume of Damian Paladin stories by Mike Chinn. The press won the BFS award for best collection in 2000 with Kim Newman’s Where the Bodies are Buried. And in 2014 we won the award for best small press, also from the BFS. Among our titles are the series anthologies, The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Fiction and The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic.

PK: What are the stories or the novels that you want to publish?

PC & JE: There is no one genre or sub-genre. We’ve published fiction that ranges from science fiction to horror, heroic fantasy to the supernatural. I guess the underlining theme is “weird” – however one defines that word. And, of course, good writing, good characterisation, good stories. For example, check out our collections by Peter Atkins and Bryn Fortey and David A Sutton to get an idea of our tastes – and especially the stories in our anthologies, too.

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PK Interview: Ian Whates of NewCon Press

The UK has a fantastic small press scene. To celebrate the people behind the imprints - and help out the writers that are looking to them for publication - we've quizzed a number of editors about the nuts & bolts of their submissions process. This week, we're hosting Ian Whates, from NewCon Press.


The RacePornokitsch: Thanks for taking part, Ian. Mind introducing yourself to our lovely readers?

Ian Whates: I’m an author and editor and operate my own independent publishing house, NewCon Press, founded in 2006. Via NewCon I publish across the genre spectrum, specialising in anthologies and collections but also releasing novels and novellas. NewCon currently has 50-odd titles to its credit, with a raft of releases scheduled throughout the rest of this year and next.

PK: Generally speaking, what sort of work do you look for - what are the stories or the novels that you like to publish?

IW: Very difficult to define. NewCon started as a home for short fiction, at a time when there were increasingly fewer venues for that form, but as time progressed the repertoire has expanded; the Press has also released a number of novels, many of which have come into consideration for awards. I like to publish established ‘big’ names because a) it’s thrilling to do so and b) it attracts customers, but equally I enjoy featuring the work of new and emerging writers alongside the better known. When it comes to deciding what makes it into a book and what doesn’t, I use a very simple criterion: if I’d be happy to pay my own hard-earned dosh to read a given story, it’s a strong contender.

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PK Interview: Alex Davis of Boo Books

The UK has a fantastic small press scene. To celebrate the people behind the imprints - and help out the writers that are looking to them for publication - we've quizzed a number of editors about the nuts & bolts of their submissions process. This week, we're welcoming Alex Davis of Boo Books.


ElectricPornokitsch: Thanks for joining us - could you tell us a bit about who you are, and what bookish things you're doing?

Alex Davis: My name is Alex Davis, I've been working in the world of writing and publishing, and just over a year ago I decided to take the plunge and start my own small press, Boo Books. We aim to publish local writing talent alongside national and international names in a range of anthologies and novels.

PK: What are the stories or the novels that you want to publish?

AD: It's hard to tell until it lands in your inbox really. As a press we have a regional remit - we love to publish East and West Midlands writers - but ultimately we're very open as per genre and style. Great characterisation, a strong plot and - for me - something quirky and unique to set it apart from the other subs you're dealing with.

PK: Any advice to authors on the physical part of submissions - type, spacing, etc?

AD: I always use the term 'neat and tidy'. Single or double spacing doesn't bother me at all, a nice simple font like Arial or Times New Roman, headers with page numbers and author name... it's not rocket science, just try and make it easy for us to read, be it on screen or on paper!

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PK Interview: Joanne Hall of Kristell Ink (and Many More!)

The UK has a fantastic small press scene. To celebrate the people behind the imprints - and help out the writers that are looking to them for publication - we've quizzed a number of editors about the nuts & bolts of their submissions process. This week, we've cornered Joanne Hall, who works with a number of independent publishers.


Airship ShapePornokitsch: Hi! Mind telling us a bit about yourself?

Joanne Hall: Hello! My name’s Joanne Hall, I’m a fantasy author and slush reader for Kristell Ink, a specialist fantasy and SF publisher based in Oxford. I’ve also co-edited a number of anthologies for Wizard’s Tower Press, including Airship Shape and Bristol Fashion.

PK: Generally speaking, what are the stories or the novels that you like to publish?

JH: Personally, I have a soft spot for heroic fantasy and post-apocalyptic SF stories – Kristell Ink publish all kinds of fantasy and SF, as well as dark fantasy on their sister imprint, Tenebris. But whether I’m looking at novels for potential publication or short stories for an anthology, I’m looking for some quality that lifts a story above the rest of the submissions, whether that’s because it’s funnier, or smarter, or more moving. I wish I could tell you what that quality was, but it’s elusive, and it varies from story to story.

The main thing I’m looking for is something in the story that makes me want to keep reading it, and if that doesn’t happen in the first twenty or so pages for a novel, or on the first page if it’s a short story, then I’m afraid I’m not going to consider it any further. I know it sounds harsh, but when you’re swamped with submissions and can only take a few, you want to pick the ones that are most engaging.

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PK Interview: Adele Wearing of Fox Spirit Books

Aunty-Fox-72ppiThe UK has a fantastic small press scene. To celebrate the people behind the imprints - and help out the writers that are looking to them for publication - we've quizzed a number of editors specifically about the nuts & bolts of their submissions process. First up, Adele, from Fox Spirit Books!


Pornokitsch: Hi! - and thanks for taking part! Mind telling us a bit about yourself?

Adele Wearing: Hi, I am Adele Wearing / Aunty Fox from Fox Spirit Books. We are a skulk of fearless genre warriors cheerfully stomping over traditional genre boundaries in seach of a good tall tale.

PK: Generally speaking, what sort of work are you looking for?

AW: We like things that play with genre's things with a different tone or perspective, we love diversity in our writers and characters because it brings a wider range of voices. Personally I am looking for characters that interest me and storytelling. I would rather work with a writer who needs technical improvement but has a great exciting idea, than one who writes flawlessly but doesn't pull me in.

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PK Interview: Kim Curran on Dwarf Eggs

Bluefairy

Pornokitsch: Hi, Kim! So, you've started watching Once Upon a Time. What do you think?

Kim Curran: Hey! I had so many people rave about this series, even my mother in law of all people, that I started watching it with a lot of trepidation. Would I enjoy it? Would it live up to the hype? Would I have to admit to my MIL that I hated yet another thing she loved (we've only just recovered from the trifle drama).

Then I started watching and after the first few episodes I was so relieved. It was a fun, hugely entertaining, women-led story and I was really looking forward to binging all, how many are there now, six seasons.

And then I got to the dwarf egg episode...

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Illustrating Harry Potter: 6 Questions with Jim Kay

Flourish & Blotts - Jim KayJim Kay is one of our absolute favourite artists. His hauntingly beautiful illustrations for A Monster Calls won a well-earned Kate Greenaway Medal.

When he was announced as the artist for the new, illustrated editions of the Harry Potter series, we were overjoyed. Even more so, now that the first glimpses of his work have been revealed. On the right is Flourish & Blotts, the magical bookstore of Diagon Alley, as brought to life by Kay's art. (Apparently this immensely details image is part of an even bigger work that shows more of the Alley. Whoa.)

Thanks to Bloomsbury for providing us with both the image and a short Q&A with the man himself. (Kay, not Potter.)

How did you feel when you found out you would be illustrating the Harry Potter novels?

Scientists say the Big Bang is to be followed by the Big Crunch, I feel I have firsthand experience of this theory, for hearing the news that I'd got the commission was an explosion of delight, followed instantly by an implosion of brain-freezing terror. From my point of view it is, without doubt, the best commission you can be given - I'm a bit of a control freak, so to be given the opportunity to design the characters, the costume, the architecture and landscapes to possibly the most expansive fantasy world in children's literature, well lets just say I'm extremely excited about it. However, I am also mindful of the huge responsibility this represents, I just want to make sure I do the best job I possibly can. 

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PK Interview: Mark Charan Newton and Retribution

RetributionLast year, Mark Charan Newton introduced us to the Sun Chamber's star (sorry) investigator: Lucan Drakenfeld, who, alongside his ruthlessly efficient friend Leana, managed to stop a series of hideous crimes in the nation of Detrata.

The Drakenfeld series - a fusion of Golden Age detection and modern epic fantasy - now continues with Retribution, in which Drakenfeld and Leana tackle a new case... in a new country. We managed to pull Mark out of his allotment long enough for him to answer a few questions...

Pornokitsch: The action of Retribution moves from the ancient culture of Detrata to the wilder, only recently ‘stabilised’ country of Koton. You’ve mentioned that Detrata was inspired by the Roman Republic; what influences went into developing Koton?

Mark Charan Newton: There were still a handful of Classical influences in Koton, but it was more of a deliberate contrast against those more formal structures. That contrast came from, to borrow from Borodin, those people "In the Steppes of Central Asia". I wondered how it would be if more nomadic cultures were not forced, but encouraged via a ruler to adopt a more Classical culture as their central political philosophy. With that loose inspiration in mind, bits and pieces were grabbed from elsewhere in history, but this was one of those more consciously made-up and/or fantastical peoples. A thought experiment.

PK: How do you create countries with distinct atmosphere and personality while still making them part of the same world?

MCN: That was always part of the plan from the first book, to create those distinct countries,  but the answer comes in two parts. The first is that it was more about keeping creativity fresh than anything else. I love creating new cities and new landscapes in particular - it’s part of the fun of being a fantasy writer. That’s what I need to keep me writing, in a sense.

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Three Questions with Kathryn Allan about Accessing the Future

Accessing the FutureAccessing the Future reached its funding goal last week, meaning this forthcoming anthology about disability in SF/F is on its way. As money comes in from funding and pre-orders, the publishers will be able to pay pro rates, so please consider pre-ordering this terrific project. With the success of anthologies like We See a Different Frontier, it is great to see another example of crowd-funding being used to launch projects that explore the future (and present) in long-overlooked and much-needed ways.

Kathryn Allan, co-editor with Djibril al-Ayad, dropped by a few weeks ago to recommend existing works of SF/F that explored the subject well. We invited her back to talk about what's next for Accessing the Future.


Congratulations on Accessing the Future's successful funding! One of the next steps will be the call for submissions. What kind of stories would you like to see?

That’s an excellent question and one I’m not sure I can fully answer because I’m sure what I expect now is not what I’m necessarily going to receive and end up loving. I guess I want to see stories that place a person with disabilities at the centre of the story as a three-dimensional character. I want that character to have strengths and flaws; I want the writer to have an understanding that disability is socially constructed.

Stories that explore the benefits and challenges of using technology to navigate the world (either physical or virtual) are most welcome. I also am interested in stories that explore the ethics of genetic engineering from a disability viewpoint: who gets to decide whose lives are worth living? Basically, any story that challenges ableist assumptions about technology, culture, space exploration, and future human development are the ones that I want to read.

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