Would you like to introduce yourself as an editor (or writer, or any other hats you also wear…) Oddly enough, it's only recently I've come to actually consider myself any editor, and it's all because of The Myriad Carnival. Primarily I'm a writer, I suppose, but about two years ago the concept of a dark carnival anthology sprang into my mind, and I couldn't shake it. It's been a rocky road from there, so I'm delighted that the finished product is finally out. When I began The Myriad Carnival it was my first foray into editing an anthology -- now I'm practically an old hand, with another (Threesome: Him, Him and Me) due out next month, and three more that I'm working on this year.
Summarise your latest book from Lethe in five words! Dark, queer, weird carnivale seduction.
Was there a specific kind of story – a feel, a style, a character, etc. – that you were looking for when choosing stories? There was -- in fact, I probably went above and beyond the call of duty and created what is technically known as a 'sizzle reel' before I put out the call, in which I cut together a video of film clips to music to give a sense of the style I wanted. (I'd put in a link, but it breaks every copyright law...) What I specifically wanted was a dark, lyrical style, a Tim-Burton-esque sense of the gothic mixed with the poignant, seductive texture of magic-realism, and I have to say, the writers really delivered on that front.
Is there an elusive story somewhere that you’d love to find but never quite have? (In other words, what’s the perfect recipe to get into the next anthology…) With The Myriad Carnival I think I actually got every story I wanted -- except one! The concept for the anthology spun out from a piece of flash fiction written by a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless). The piece was about Luminous Black, a Victorian gaslamp that came to life and played the violin for money on the smog-shrouded streets. It was a beautiful piece, and I commissioned a full version of the story for the collection, but for various reasons it never came to be. The anthology is dedicated to Luminous Black, in the hope that one day I'll get his full story.
In your reading, did you come across any new names (whether they are included in the anthology or not) that are ones to watch for the future? The great treat for me in editing The Myriad Carnival was being able to seek out stories from writers who I adored, but when I had about three-quarters of the table of contents full, I opened submissions, which meant I also had the pleasure of reading stories from writers previously unknown to me. Raymond Luczak's September Song is a beautiful story, and B.R. Sanders' The Sharpshooter is a gem (plus, there's a name to keep an eye on right there), although I was more than well aware of both of them before I opened submissions. My most precious find through open submissions though was Sarah Caulfield's Nettlestings: A Fairy Tale, which is a wonderful story that I absolutely adore (and I have never written to accept a story so fast!). I will be enthusiastically watching for more of her fiction in the future.