Okay, so how about we start with an ice breaker. Llama, wombat or hedgehog? And why?
[Tart note: We have a winner kids! Llamas always win!]
*cough* Sorry, where was I?
Maybe we should head for the actual topic at hand. Do you have a favorite sort of speculative fiction?
I grew up reading Anne McCaffrey and liked soft science fiction. I’m really into paranormal romance at the moment. (And that is the genre of my next book.)
What is the earliest speculative fiction you fell in love with (any medium)?
I’m sure there were earlier children’s books, but I read The Hobbit when I was eleven and loved it. The following year I fell in love with The Chronicles of Narnia.
I'm a believer in the writing ethos... we are sharing a universe. And you get a chance to see that play out. As a reviewer for this anthology, were there any recurring themes you found surprising (or overdone?)?
I went through each story myself and they are all very different. Themes that might seem played out (zombies, a dying earth) are given a fresh spin. I was really impressed. [Tart note: Very diplomatic. Not even an overdose of flesh eating fungus?]
And if you could give us maybe three things, for advice to future submitters, that really pull you into stories like these, what would they be? (and does a story need all three, or will one or two of them do it?)
First is voice. I know that’s so hard to nail. But the narrator/main character has to have a unique and memorable voice. It’s all about adding personality to your characters. Make them come to life. Second, the words have to flow naturally and with good grammar. When I first began writing, I was notorious for using passive words, especially “was.” Now I really notice passive voice and the overuse of adverbs such as those ending in “ly.” They really yank me out of a story. The third thing actually has nothing to do with the story, but it’s critically important - the query letter. I get so many query letters that are, well, not good. They don’t follow the proper format, nor do the writers send me what I ask for in the submission guidelines. I know there is so much pressure to create a perfect query letter with a great hook, but I’d be happy to see one that included every item on the submission list and for a genre I publish! So, I guess a story needs all three, because without that last one, I won’t even get to the other two. [Tart note: But queries are so hard! But yeah, I see how a good one makes your job a lot easier.]
Tell us a bit about Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.. How long have you been around? How many books do you publish a year and in what genres?
Do you and/or any of the other editors have wish lists? Particular stories you are just dying for somebody to write--stories you really want to publish or characters or settings you'd like to see?
I would love to see some paranormal stories or science fiction. Space opera is our best-selling genre and I’d like to see more adventures set in space. Fun ones with memorable characters. I also want to see some paranormal, especially romance. People still devour it, including myself! Bring me a fresh spin on the genre. (Without delving into pure evil.) [Tart note: So I've got this great Cthulu romance idea... I call it The Tentacle Tease... no?]
And finally, when looking at the stories submitted for Parallels, was there a particular delight or surprise that really made you give a shout, or made your heart race?
You want me to pick a favorite? That’s not fair. They were all really good. Let’s just say I decided to bookend the anthology with the strongest entries... [Hey, I had to try!]