As part of my continuing efforts to learn how to be a good and conscientious editor, to practice what I preach, to understand whether and how and to what extent fiction can inspire and encourage people to change the world for the better, here I am pleased to present the second in a series of interviews, this time with editors Adria Laycraft and Janice Blaine, who were so good as to include a story of mine, “Deer Feet”, in the Edge Publishing urban fantasy anthology Urban Green Man: An Archetype of Renewal.
Michael: Tell me a bit more about how you envisioned your anthology’s theme. What kind of stories were you hoping for?
Janice: Adria had the original idea for a Green Man anthology. It was suggested that we needed to narrow it down in order to create a continuity within the anthology, so we decided to bring the Green Man into modern society. How would he react if he saw what has become of the contemporary world. Personally, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was amazed at the variety of stories that were submitted.
Adria: I think we really wanted stories that gave the feeling that it was time to face the consequences of the harm we’ve done to the planet, in the form of its protector waking up to start a process of renewal…which is of course the theme or meaning of the green man: renewal. Further to that, we discovered many well-educated and well-read people had never heard of the green man, and to me that was just a sign of the problems we face. So it was super fun to re-introduce this mythology into the world.
Michael: Did you do anything special when seeking submissions?
Adria: We spread the word best we could using a website, Facebook page, and listings on Duotrope and Ralan. If you’re a writer looking for markets, you should be on those sites regularly! The publisher also had a call for submissions online, and made announcements through social media. We had our fingers crossed we would get enough submissions…and ended up with enough to fill a dozen anthologies!
Janice: Many people found out about it through simple word of mouth. The theme attracted lots of attention.
Michael: Did you seek out writers from marginalized groups, and if so, how?
Adria: We didn’t specifically seek out marginalized groups. I’d rather it was normal to accept stories from anyone who submits in good form and on time, regardless of race, gender, or anything else.
Janice: We received submissions from all over the world. The Green Man is an archetype. He shows up in many cultures, in one form or another. And I believe the state of the environment affects us all, regardless of who we are or where we’re from.
Michael: Is the set of stories you ended up with different from what you expected?
Adria: The stories that came in, including many we couldn’t take but wished we could, never failed to amaze me. They were on theme, and yet somehow took the idea to places I never could have thought up myself. It’s thanks to the authors that Urban Green Man is the amazing read that it is!
Michael: How has the anthology been received?
Adria: Really well! The book itself continues to sell, which is pretty cool, and the stories received some wonderful reviews.
Michael: Would you have done anything differently, given the chance to do it again?
Adria: Ask for more money? Hahaha…
Michael: Do you have any editing advice for me?
Adria: It’s fun to find a balance between bending the rules a bit and holding the line, when it comes to choosing what to keep. It’s also fun to fall in love with stories and get to be the one to put them out in the world. Just follow your heart, is all I can say. I’m sure you’ve got the technical stuff well in hand.
Michael: What’s your next project?
Adria: We’ve pitched an anthology of World Tree legends called Twisted Roots to a small press and are waiting to hear back. There’s a little idea bug to inspire you!
Michael: Thank you!