Posts Tagged ‘silvia moreno-garcia’

diversity

About a week ago there was a massive blowup on Facebook regarding diversity within a anthology Table of Contents (ToC). Someone posted the signing sheet for the Borderlands 6 anthology and a lady asked Thomas F. Monteleone, the anthology editor, why there was so few women in the ToC.  Tom responded in a very defensive and extremely rude way, which lead to calls from some for readers to boycott the anthology, and multiple discussions on various peoples’ walls about inclusion and diversity within genre fiction, with a special focus on how editors decide on the Table of Contents for their anthology.

Catherine M. Grant wrote a great piece on the incident on her Tumblr here:
http://catmgrant.tumblr.com/post/140484977019/the-sausage-fest 

Personally, I’m not sure I agree with any call to boycott the anthology… There are a lot of lovely and talented writers who would be affected, including women, and including several who are not established writers and are trying to get their fiction out there to readers.  That being said, I’m sure an argument would, or could, be made that a few privileged people taking a hit for the point of bringing down elitist/racist/sexist editors and making a stand for diversity and inclusion is a small price to pay.  Maybe that’s a good argument, I don’t know. I can certainly understand someone feeling that way; I can emapthise.

Interestingly enough another anthology ToC released recently, Nightscript Vol. 2, escaped comment regarding inclusion and diversity. By my reckoning of the Nightscript ToC, there are 21 stories 2 of which are by People of Colour and 4 of which are by women (only one more lady than Borderlands 6). I suspect the reason this has escaped comment is two-fold, 1. no one has actually raised issue with it (is it a problematic TOC, particularly in light of BL6? Genuine question.)  and 2. CM Muller hasn’t come out and made a number of crass and rude comments and been quite offensive in the process.  Now, for CM Muller’s sake, please don’t start a giant internet pile-on. I don’t know the details behind nightscript… maybe it was blind read and open submission only. Maybe only 20% of the submissions were women and 10% by people of colour. Maybe it was advertised in 50 different places online and the call went loud and wide. Don’t know, and ultimately that’s not really the point or my intention here at all. I’m merely pointing out that, in the grand scheme of things, Borderlands 6 isn’t necessarily uniquely homogeneous.. for whatever reason, it’s in line with a lot of other TOCs out there.

Regardless of all this, this made me think about my own current anthology project and what I’ve done, or haven’t done as far as diversity and inclusion goes. Have I done enough? Could I do more? Does it even matter?

I’ll start with that last question.  I’m somewhat mixed ancestory (a few non-Anglo/Celtic ancestors in the family tree above) although the vast lion’s share of my genetic make up is Anglo-Saxon/Celtic stock, including parents and grandparents on both sides. My surname is Scottish, placing me as a member of Clan Dewar. If I look in the mirror, my skin is white. English was my first language and I was raised with all the privileges a white person enjoys in Australia. My wife, ethnically Lebanese Arab, is a Muslim; our children, three beautiful girls, are People of Colour. I am also Muslim. I speak Lebanese Arabic  [understand a lot more than I can speak] and can read fusha Arabic. I’ve had people tell me to “go back to where I came from” and call me a terrorist for no reason. We’ve had pigs heads thrown in our local mosque and had our place of worship trashed… so if I’m not a Person of Colour (I don’t consider myself to be one, although I don’t really identify as being ‘white’ either) , I’m probably a little more tuned in to their struggles (I hope).   So, you can see why—for me at least—diversity and inclusion are important. My entire existence revolves around diversity and inclusion. I’m not just making lip service when I say that a writer’s race, colour, creed or orientation is not a determining factor in whether or not I dislike or reject their work.

Does race, colour, creed, orientation etc. play a part in me liking or accepting an authors work?  In my opinion (and I think in the opinion of some fantastic editors, such as Ellen Datlow, Jeff Vandermeer and Silvia Moreno-Garcia), the onus is on me as an editor to cast a wide net and draw in different people when I put forward invitations for a project. As Silvia Moreno-Garcia recently said (paraphrased, because I’m too lazy to look up her actual Facebook comment) “If it’s not the job of an Editor to choose the authors, what the fuck is their job??”.  And she’s right. Sitting back and claiming  “Oh but these are just the people that submitted to me” when you haven’t widely publicised the call, you haven’t given any indication or impression that you want to read anything but white male authors, and most of your anthology has been collected via invitation anyway…. that’s lazy and pathetic. And it’s not gonna get you the mystical ‘best story’ because the best fiction isn’t just, per defaltam, by white males.  I’m still learning but, moving forward, I’m determined not to be that editor.

With the original Suspended in Dusk anthology, 43% of the authors were women. I had authors from 4 different continents. I had authors who were married or single. I had authors who were mums or dads, and authors who  were not. I had multiple language speakers, English as a Second Language speakers. I had people who were primary carers for aged or infirm loved ones. I was pretty happy with that book. Upon reflection though, everyone in that book was white.  Even the writers from Africa were white, for God’s sake.

With Suspended in Dusk 2, I decided that I could once again make an anthology which had a very strong showing of fantastic fiction from women. I was confident I could do it—Women are among the best, if not the best, dark fiction and horror writers. Truth be told, I didn’t actually consider much beyond that,  including race, ability, religion, sexual orientation, when seeking out authors to contribute to the anthology. Slowly however, I found some diversity creeping in spite of my laxity. One of my favourite authors who I invited, has Native American heritage. The artist who came on board to do the internal illustrations is gay, a second African author that was not in the previous anthology (although she too is white! But it’s not up to me to judge someone’s African-ness) threw in her story.  This combined with the strong inclusion of women authors, I felt, was at least step in the right direction. I’m learning and I feel I’m asking the right questions at least, and so I hope that I can get an even better mix happening in future projects.

One thing I’ve done with Suspended in Dusk 2 is invite a few of the authors (both men and women) who had stories in book one to submit a story to the second anthology.  My reasoning here was because I like their voice, they were good to work with and they’re not established authors. I felt (feel? I still feel that way, but the die is cast now, rightly or wrongly) that I would be able to help them develop their skills through my editing process.   I sought to balance this out, particularly because I’m also cognisant that I don’t know all the writers out there,  by having a couple of open submission spots that would allow me to be exposed to authors I didn’t know or hadn’t thought of, and to provide members of wider community with an opportunity to be a part of the anthology.

In hindsight, I’d probably do a number of things differently:

  1. Read more widely to get a handle on who is who and who is writing what, and thus expose myself to work by authors of different backgrounds.
  2. Explicitly state in the submission guidelines that I’m open to stories from people of diverse backgrounds. (Anecdotally this gives some people courage to submit their story.)
  3. With Suspended in Dusk 2, I advertised on twitter, Facebook, The (Submission) Grinder, Absolute Write Forums and Litreactor.com forums.  Next time around I will consider what other methods of advertising my submission call might reach more diverse groups.
  4. To capitalise on points 1 and 2, include more open submission spots.
  5. Think more open mindedly about authors from different backgrounds who could write the kind of fiction that I think would address my anthology theme and aesthetic, when deciding who I send my invites out to.

I don’t know who is the gold standard in this regard, although some of the editors I mentioned earlier do a very admirable job. They’re certainly amongst those who I look up to and hope to imitate. I don’t know when an editor is doing “enough”. I do see encouraging signs though.

One of the projects that sprung up recently is Richard ThomasGamut Magazine.  The Gamut Magazine kickstarter raked in over $55000USD and is a fully funded project launching soon. One of the best things about Gamut  (aside from the fact that they’ll be paying their staff and paying contributing authors 10c a word!) is that they look like they’re going to be a really inclusive market. They’ve got a great mix of men and women on the staff, 60% of the contributors they have lined up to launch the magazine are women. They’re open to fiction of most genres and they’re specifically open to fiction from people of all backgrounds. One might argue, they’re after fiction from the whole gamut of folks out there (badoomtish!).  I put some of my own dollars down on this project and gave up 5 copies of Suspended in Dusk for Richard to use  as incentives for backers and I can’t wait for this project to take flight.

Oh, also check out the POC Destroy Horror anthology. Silvia Moreno-Garcia will be editing it and it’s opening up for submissions soon. I think the book will be fantastic and I’ll be making sure I grab a copy.

 

 

 

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Sophie Yorkston is the extremely talented and awesome editor of SQ Magazine. She took home the Australian Shadows Award for Best Edited Publication, for SQ Mag issue #14 (IFWG Publishing). She’s quite active in the speculative ficiton scene and has several short stories of her own published. I look forward to reading more of her edited and written works!  Thanks so much for dropping by, Sophie!

SYorkston
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
SY: I’m a bit of a wanderer (my muse is too) who has lived all over the east coast of Australia. I’m also the Editor in Chief of Australian speculative fiction ezine, SQ Mag (which best of all is free!). In my day job, I’m a scientist, with a love and interest in many scientific fields, and I think that really gets into my writing.
 
Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something mad you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?  
SY: I admit, I started out with horror as my first foray into the genre, somewhere between Christopher Pike and Goosebumps. My tastes evolved, but for me it’s a toss-up with exploring the dark side of supernatural beliefs or alternatively how easily humans cross the line with misguided morals. A story I’m writing at the moment is all about people responding violently to someone they perceive “deserves” it. 
 
Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies? 
SY: That’s a very difficult question to answer. I really like the stories where there’s an element of futility, in that whatever the protagonist does, they still get caught in the mire. 
 
Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?
SY: My current published works include a short suspense story titled Downpour in Subtropical Suspense (Black Beacon Books). A friend of mine said it reminded him of Alfred Hitchcock’s brand of fright, and I thought that a high compliment indeed. I also have a fun story called Manuka Mischief in a kids Christmas collection from New Zealand’s Phantom Feather Press. I’m shopping to find the right home for my favourite story I’ve written. And not to forget SQ Mag, which I edit, and whose Australiana edition won the Best Edited Work in last year’s Australian Shadows Awards. Still pretty chuffed about that.
 
Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audioboo
SY: My work is largely about in short stories, but I think translating them to audio formats is a great way forward. And so many are so suitable to short film as well. One of my hobbies is photography and I think there’s a lot of scope for horror in visual mediums. Horror as a genre is a gold mine, particularly in its ease of translation to many different media types.
 
Q. What are you working on at the minute?

SY: My computer and notebooks are always littered with dozens of shorts, from scrappy notes through to polished pieces striving to find a published home. I’m also chipping away slowly at a magical realism novel that was inspired by my time living in Canada.

 

Q. You’re an editor as well as a writer. Do you have a preference? 
SY: I love to write, and I was lucky enough to fall into working with SQ Mag and with IFWG Publishing (both Australian and international imprints). Editing is mostly wonderful, apart from having to deal out rejections, because it opens you up to a lot of different stories and voices. If you’re lucky, you get to work with some of the true professionals of the business and learn something. But I have to admit, my own words on a page is still a special thrill.
 
Q. What attracts you to editing the work of others? And is there any quality or skill etc that makes a good horror editor, specifically? 
SY: I’ve always wanted to help; I’ve unofficially been editing work for decades for friends. We all get too close to our work and need the help of a little perspective. I don’t know that it’s only a horror genre issue, but I think what makes you a good editor is being able to hear your writer’s voice and not overriding that, to make their story the best it can be. It also helps to read widely to know the tropes of your chosen genre, in as much as you can (only so many hours in the day and many of us have day jobs). Lastly, I have to say, because part of it means I get to know new (at least to me) writers, and do what I love (second) best: read!
 
Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?
SY: Don’t make me choose! There’s many I love for different reasons. Anne McCaffrey, Audrey Niffenegger, Margaret Atwood, Emma Newman. Their explorations of the dark ways of human relationships and interactions are a real draw for me. 
 
Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with?
SY: There’s some amazingly well run publishers (who coincidentally are run by women) in Australia producing great works and anthologies; Fablecroft and Twelfth Planet for example. I’m in awe of what they’re doing. Some of the anthologies showcasing women behind the stories and at the centre are pretty exciting, like She Walks in Shadows (Innsmouth Free Press, eds. Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles), Hear Me Roar (Ticonderoga) and the Women destroying (Lightspeed & Nightmare magazine) have been great for us as readers to know who to keep an eye out for.
Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?
SY: Oh, so many! I’m trying to diversify the voices I’ve been reading: The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu; I’ve just finished and am reviewing Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. I’m also trying to support Australian and New Zealand writers and read and review as much as I can.
 
Q. What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the  challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?
SY: I think the greatest challenge for women in genre is that we’re silenced purely by the gender we were born into, unconsciously or otherwise. Including our experiences and our stories. Horror luckily has some excellent editors who are more egalitarian than others, who rectify that by giving equal credence on the basis of excellent writing.
 
Q. Why is Women in Horror month important? 
SY: I think it’s really important to make sure we work against a system that actively works against female writers. Particularly given we have such a wealth of talent here in Australia with internationally-recognised writers like Kaaron Warren, Angela Slatter, Margo Lanagan, and that’s just off the top of my head; there are many more excellent writers than I have named here. And for the lack of recognition of excellent writers in our own countries. 
 
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
SY: Connect up with other writers and offer to help beta read their work. You learn so much about your own work from the very first time you do it. And if you’re lucky, you end up with a great group of friends!
Plus, read, read read! (And don’t forget to review if you got any enjoyment at all!)
 
 
Website: www.sqmag.com
Book Links:

https://mail.google.com/_/scs/mail-static/_/js/k=gmail.main.en.OVq8hpf-I6w.O/m=m_i,t,it/am=PiPeSMD83_uDuM4QQLv0kQrz3n9-95FiZ889_H9vAojULwD-b_b_AP4P3pu2UA/rt=h/d=1/t=zcms/rs=AHGWq9CKi-kYNM_Rzj3abb7zTohAY_Qxkghttps://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/?ui=2&view=bsp&ver=ohhl4rw8mbn4https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/?ui=2&view=bsp&ver=ohhl4rw8mbn4

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WIHM Questions

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Simon Dewar <simon.dewar83@gmail.com>

Feb 1

to sophieyorkston

Hey,

See below … attach your approved and endorsed personal image I can post with the interveiew.  If there is anything you want me to ask or want to discuss, let me know. Now is a chance for you to have take the mic. Make my blog your bully pulpit if you like.  I might shoot back some additional questions (*if I have time) based on stuff you say.
Thanks
S.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something mad you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?
What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?
What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?
(*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook
What are you working on at the minute?
You’re an editor as well as a writer. Do you have a preference?
What attracts you to editing the work of others? And is there any quality or skill etc that makes a good horror editor, specifically?
Who is your favourite woman writer?
Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with?
What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?
What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the  challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?
Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you?
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Website:
Blog:
Facebook:
Twitter:
Lnkedin:
Pinterest:
Amazon Author Page:
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
Goodreads:
(* Any order you like and if I’ve missed anything, just type it in.)

Sophie

AttachmentsFeb 15 (2 days ago)

to me
Hey Simon,
Sorry this has taken a little while to get to you.
Hope it’s not too late!
Sophie


Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2016 21:28:05 +1100
Subject: WIHM Questions
From: simon.dewar83@gmail.com
To: sophieyorkston@hotmail.com


Hey,

See below … attach your approved and endorsed personal image I can post with the interveiew.  If there is anything you want me to ask or want to discuss, let me know. Now is a chance for you to have take the mic. Make my blog your bully pulpit if you like.  I might shoot back some additional questions (*if I have time) based on stuff you say.
Thanks
S.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a bit of a wanderer (my muse is too) who has lived all over the east coast of Australia. I’m also the Editor in Chief of Australian speculative fiction ezine, SQ Mag (which best of all is free!). In my day job, I’m a scientist, with a love and interest in many scientific fields, and I think that really gets into my writing.
 
What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something mad you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?  
I admit, I started out with horror as my first foray into the genre, somewhere between Christopher Pike and Goosebumps. My tastes evolved, but for me it’s a toss-up with exploring the dark side of supernatural beliefs or alternatively how easily humans cross the line with misguided morals. A story I’m writing at the moment is all about people responding violently to someone they perceive “deserves” it. 
 
What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies? 
That’s a very difficult question to answer. I really like the stories where there’s an element of futility, in that whatever the protagonist does, they still get caught in the mire. 
 
What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?
(*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
My current published work include a short suspense story titled Downpour in Subtropical Suspense (Black Beacon Books). A friend of mine said it reminded him of Alfred Hitchcock’s brand of fright, and I thought that a high compliment indeed. I also have a fun story called Manuka Mischief in a kids Christmas collection from New Zealand’s Phantom Feather Press. I’m shopping to find the right home for my favourite story I’ve written. And not to forget SQ Mag, which I edit, and whose Australiana edition won the Best Edited Work in last year’s Australian Shadows Awards. Still pretty chuffed about that.
 
Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook
My work is largely about in short stories, but I think translating them to audio formats is a great way forward. And so many are so suitable to short film as well. One of my hobbies is photography and I think there’s a lot of scope for horror in visual mediums. Horror as a genre is a gold mine, particularly in its ease of translation to many different media types.
 
What are you working on at the minute?
My computer and notebooks are always littered with dozens of shorts, from scrappy notes through to polished pieces striving to find a published home. I’m also chipping away slowly at a magical realism novel that was inspired by my time living in Canada. 
 
You’re an editor as well as a writer. Do you have a preference?
I love to write, and I was lucky enough to fall into working with SQ Mag and with IFWG Publishing (both Australian and international imprints). Editing is mostly wonderful, apart from having to deal out rejections, because it opens you up to a lot of different stories and voices. If you’re lucky, you get to work with some of the true professionals of the business and learn something. But I have to admit, my own words on a page is still a special thrill.
 
What attracts you to editing the work of others? And is there any quality or skill etc that makes a good horror editor, specifically? 
I’ve always wanted to help; I’ve unofficially been editing work for decades for friends. We all get too close to our work and need the help of a little perspective. I don’t know that it’s only a horror genre issue, but I think what makes you a good editor is being able to hear your writer’s voice and not overriding that, to make their story the best it can be. It also helps to read widely to know the tropes of your chosen genre, in as much as you can (only so many hours in the day and many of us have day jobs). Lastly, I have to say because part of it means I get to know new (at least to me) writers, and do what I love (second) best: read!
 
Who is your favourite woman writer?
Don’t make me choose! There’s many I love for different reasons. Anne McCaffrey, Audrey Niffenegger, Margaret Atwood, Emma Newman. Their explorations of the dark ways of human relationships and interactions are a real draw for me. 
 
Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with? 
There’s some amazingly-well run publishers (who coincidentally are run by women) in Australia producing great works and anthologies; Fablecroft and Twelfth Planet for example. I’m in awe of what they’re doing. Some of the anthologies showcasing women behind the stories and at the centre are pretty exciting, like She Walks in Shadows (Innsmouth Free Press, eds. Silva Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles), Hear Me Roar (Ticonderoga) and the Women destroying (Lightspeed & Nightmare magazine) have been great for us as readers to know who to keep an eye out for.
What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?
Oh, so many! I’m trying to diversify the voices I’ve been reading: The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu; I’ve just finished and am reviewing Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. I’m also trying to support Australian and New Zealand writers and read and review as much as I can.
 
What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the  challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?
I think the greatest challenge for women in genre is that we’re silenced purely by the gender we were born into, unconsciously or otherwise. Including our experiences and our stories. Horror luckily has some excellent editors who are more egalitarian than others, who rectify that by giving equal credence on the basis of excellent writing.
 
Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you? 
I think it’s really important to make sure we work against a system that actively works against female writers. Particularly given we have such a wealth of talent here in Australia with internationally-recognised writers like Kaaron Warren, Angela Slatter, Margo Lanagan, and that’s just off the top of my head; there are many more excellent writers than I have named here. And for the lack of recognition of excellent writers in our own countries. 
 
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Connect up with other writers and offer to help beta read their work. You learn so much about your own work from the very first time you do it. And if you’re lucky, you end up with a great group of friends!
Plus, read, read read! (And don’t forget to review if you got any enjoyment at all!)
 
 
Website: 
Pinterest:
Attachments area

Sophie

12:32 PM (39 minutes ago)

to me

Hi Simon,

I was just going to email to ask if you could include a link to SQ Mag as well. http://www.sqmag.com

I also spotted some typos/mistakes in my replies–crumbs. Probably what happens if I do these things late in the evening. I’ve bolded the questions below where I made answer changes if it is at all possible to just copy paste those responses.
Thanks Simon for the opportunity. It’s been great to see all the interviews, and to see writers whose other spec fic stories I’ve enjoyed that are also horror!
Sophie

From: sophieyorkston@hotmail.com
To: simon.dewar83@gmail.com
Subject: RE: WIHM Questions
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2016 19:21:52 +1000

Hey Simon,
Sorry this has taken a little while to get to you.
Hope it’s not too late!
Sophie


Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2016 21:28:05 +1100
Subject: WIHM Questions
From: simon.dewar83@gmail.com
To: sophieyorkston@hotmail.com

 


Hey,

See below … attach your approved and endorsed personal image I can post with the interveiew.  If there is anything you want me to ask or want to discuss, let me know. Now is a chance for you to have take the mic. Make my blog your bully pulpit if you like.  I might shoot back some additional questions (*if I have time) based on stuff you say.
Thanks
S.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a bit of a wanderer (my muse is too) who has lived all over the east coast of Australia. I’m also the Editor in Chief of Australian speculative fiction ezine, SQ Mag (which best of all is free!). In my day job, I’m a scientist, with a love and interest in many scientific fields, and I think that really gets into my writing.
 
What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something mad you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?  
I admit, I started out with horror as my first foray into the genre, somewhere between Christopher Pike and Goosebumps. My tastes evolved, but for me it’s a toss-up with exploring the dark side of supernatural beliefs or alternatively how easily humans cross the line with misguided morals. A story I’m writing at the moment is all about people responding violently to someone they perceive “deserves” it. 
 
What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies? 
That’s a very difficult question to answer. I really like the stories where there’s an element of futility, in that whatever the protagonist does, they still get caught in the mire. 
 
What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?
(*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
My current published work includes a short suspense story titled Downpour in Subtropical Suspense (Black Beacon Books). A friend of mine said it reminded him of Alfred Hitchcock’s brand of fright, and I thought that a high compliment indeed. I also have a fun story called Manuka Mischief in a kids Christmas collection, The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales, from New Zealand’s Phantom Feather Press. I’m shopping to find the right home for my favourite story I’ve written. And not to forget SQ Mag, which I edit, and whose Australiana edition won the Best Edited Work in last year’s Australian Shadows Awards. Still pretty chuffed about that.
 
Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook
My work is largely about in short stories, but I think translating them to audio formats is a great way forward. And so many are so suitable to short film as well. One of my hobbies is photography and I think there’s a lot of scope for horror in visual mediums. Horror as a genre is a gold mine, particularly in its ease of translation to many different media types.
 
What are you working on at the minute?
My computer and notebooks are always littered with dozens of shorts, from scrappy notes through to polished pieces striving to find a published home. I’m also chipping away slowly at a magical realism novel that was inspired by my time living in Canada. 
 
You’re an editor as well as a writer. Do you have a preference? 
I love to write, but I was also lucky enough to fall into working with SQ Mag and with IFWG Publishing (both Australian and international imprints). Editing is mostly wonderful, apart from having to deal out rejections, because it opens you up to a lot of different stories and voices. If you’re lucky, you get to work with some of the true professionals of the business and learn something. But I have to admit, my own words on a page is still a special thrill.
 
What attracts you to editing the work of others? And is there any quality or skill etc that makes a good horror editor, specifically? 
I’ve always wanted to help; I’ve unofficially been editing work for decades for friends. We all get too close to our work and need the help of a little perspective. I don’t know that it’s only a horror genre issue, but I think what makes you a good editor is being able to hear your writer’s voice and not overriding that, to make their story the best it can be. It also helps to read widely to know the tropes of your chosen genre, in as much as you can (only so many hours in the day and many of us have day jobs). Lastly, I have to say because part of it means I get to know new (at least to me) writers, and do what I love (second) best: read!
 
Who is your favourite woman writer?
Don’t make me choose! There’s many I love for different reasons. Anne McCaffrey, Audrey Niffenegger, Margaret Atwood, Emma Newman. Their explorations of the dark ways of human relationships and interactions are a real draw for me. 
 
Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with? 
There’s some amazingly-well run publishers (who coincidentally are run by women) in Australia producing great works and anthologies; Fablecroft and Twelfth Planet for example. I’m in awe of what they’re doing. Some of the anthologies showcasing women behind the stories and at the centre are pretty exciting, like She Walks in Shadows (Innsmouth Free Press, eds. Silva Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles), Hear Me Roar (Ticonderoga) and the Women destroying (Lightspeed & Nightmare magazines) have been great for us as readers to know who to keep an eye out for.
What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?
Oh, so many! I’m trying to diversify the voices I’ve been reading so I’m currently reading: The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu; I’ve just finished and am reviewing Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. I’m also trying to support Australian and New Zealand writers and read and review as much as I can.

Simon Dewar <simon.dewar83@gmail.com>

12:37 PM (34 minutes ago)

to Sophie

Cool. Got it. And thankyou 🙂  You’re coming up soon… along with Ellen Datlow, Lauren Buekes and so many women my brains is turning to mush.

Good fun though.
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Today’s interview is with wrtier and editor, Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Following on from her debut novel release, Silvia has been receiving a fantastic amount of well-deserved recognition for her work and I’m really pleased to be able to ask her a few questions.  Thanks Silvia! 

SMG


Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I have been writing since 2006, mostly short fiction. My debut novel, Signal to Noise, came out in 2015 and was named on multiple year’s best lists: B&N’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, RT, BookRiot, Buzzfeed, i09, Vice,tor.com and the Locus Recommended Reading List. My debut collection, This Strange Way of Dying, was a finalist for a Sunburst Award.

Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where you something made you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?

Horror is just one way to tale a story, it’s a tool, and I use that tool as necessary. I know exactly where I’m going into when I write a short story, so there are few surprises at that higher level. Also, a lot of the short story work I’ve done in recent years was solicited stuff so obviously I knew that if The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu: New Lovecraftian Fiction was asking for a story I was going to be writing a Cthulhu story. Actually, what I wrote for that is more like Mayan fish people in 1960s Mexico, but you get the drift.


Q. What is your favourite horror story and what about it specifically rustled your jimmies?

I don’t like picking favorites. With that said, Tanith Lee died last year and she is sadly not as known as I’d like to her to be. She also wrote a huge number of horror stories and novels, some very fine work there, and it’s worth a look. Some of her stuff is harder to get, but I recommend looking for her Paradys work or some of her short story collections.

Q. What have you written? And what is your personal favourite of your own work?

Everything. I write across genres and categories. I like to write short but with the market these days truly short novels, 50,000 word novels for example, don’t seem much in vogue.

Q. Do you have a favourite form or media for story telling?  E.g Short story, Novel, Audio drama or podcast, audiobook

No, but I don’t like series. My novels are standalones and I like to switch genres. My debut novel was called a literary fantasy, the second is urban fantasy and/or noir, the third will be a romance, fourth horror, and so on.


Q. What are you working on at the minute?

I finished edits for my second novel, Certain Dark Things, which is about narco vampires in Mexico City, and I’m moving onto working on the final draft of what will be my third novel.

Q. You’re an editor as well as a writer. Do you have a preference?

Writing. I’m not interested in any editing projects in the near future.

Q. What attracts you to editing the work of others? And is there any quality or skill etc that makes a good horror editor, specifically?

I like seeing a project from beginning to end, from the concept to the final, bound volume being sold. It’s a process of discovery. When I edited Dead North, a Canadian zombie antho, the questions was what is zombie fiction? And is Canadian zombie fiction different from American zombie fiction? So it was a quest to see what the writers told me through their stories.

Q. Who is your favourite woman writer?

I don’t like picking favorites. However, there are very many women who are ignored. Many times you see lists of “horror” writers and not even Mary Shelley or Shirley Jackson make the list. To me that’s insane. People like Daphne du Maurier or Joyce Carole Oates have contributed multiple, magnificent horror stories but we often forget their work unless it’s Women in Horror Month. And even then it’s a bit of a slog. There’s also a big historical hole because women wrote for stuff like Weird Tales but a lot of them are forgotten. Anya Martin and I talked about how doing a retrospective, reprint anthology of women from the Weird era would be valuable, and I think she should edit it.


Q. Are there any projects involving other women that you’re looking forward to or would like to get on board with?

I edited She Walks in Shadows which was the first all-woman Lovecraft anthology last year, so I think it’s too soon for me to tackle anything else with a similar mandate. Right now that made it into the Locus Recommended List so I’m just going to bask in that. Someone should Anya, though, and try to put together a Women of the Weird Era book.

Q. What book/s are you reading at present and what is in your TBR pile?

Mostly non-fiction and non-genre stuff. Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, for example. For genre stuff: I got Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen for my iPad.

Q. What challenges have you encountered that are unique to being a woman in the horror genre, or can you describe some of the  challenges have you faced that are complicated by your gender?

Well, when io9 did an article on She Walks in Shadows I got some angry comments and a memorable e-mail saying we were menstruating all over Lovecraft and tainting his legacy.

Sometimes, spaces are just not women friendly. I left more than one Facebook group because it was just incredibly draining. There was one group where people kept putting pornographic images of women and some of us complained about it. We were told to stop whining. Listen, if I wanted to sign up for the Porno Image of the Day Group I would, but I thought I was in a horror group. But people tell you to shut up or tough it up. I simply left. Same thing when I commented on the cover art of something being kind of sleazy, you know, boobs and more boobs, the response was so rude.

You are just not going to get invitations to certain things because you are a woman and an afterthought to certain people. Not everyone, but I have indeed seen this happen where it’s like oh, circle of bros.

I’m fine about not breaking into certain markets or doing work with certain people. If they don’t want me, I don’t want them. After all, who wants to spend time with someone who honestly says stuff like “stop menstruating” or thinks women can’t write horror (yeah, I’ve been told this)?

In the end, I just choose my friends and associates carefully, and try to weed out the more obvious sexist pigs.

Q. Why is Women in Horror month important/important to you?

I feel sometimes it’s the only month anyone remembers women writers, to be honest. I wish it was a year round thing and that we didn’t to have an excuse to include women in the conversation, but sometimes it feels like it’s the one month a year we get to materialize in the field.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing since persistence makes the writer, but learn to be critical about your work.

Website: http://www.silviamoreno-garcia.com/blog/
Twitter: @silviamg

Book Links: (http://www.amazon.com/Signal-Noise-Silvia-Moreno-Garcia/dp/1781082995/

http://www.amazon.com/Certain-Dark-Things-Silvia-Moreno-Garcia/dp/1250099080/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1454369743&sr=8-2&keywords=certain+dark+things

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user_status/book/22609306-signal-to-noise

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28220785-certain-dark-things?from_search=true&search_version=service