This is the second part of my interview with Adele from Fox Spirit (you might want to read part one). It follows along the same lines as the first part but has some background about the editors and what they are likely to enjoy. There is also some advice on submitting your work to Fox Spirit which could be handy for some people. Adele also comes across as energetic and focused but with a touch of fun and frivolity when she talks about her business and this is no different. More importantly I feel it projects directly in to the type of people and works that Fox Spirit puts out. That’s quite enough from me.
Q. How would you describe your editorial team?
My editorial team…. I don’t think they’d mind if I described them as mad as badgers. The short version is that my team is family, they are all properly in it with me and it wouldn’t work if they weren’t. There are a bit (?) crazy and very willing to jump off a cliff with me without bothering to look over the edge first.
Kate Laity ‘The Prof’ is phenomenally smart and knowledgeable and delightfully twisted and irreverent. A writer and an academic, she’s also extremely effective and focussed when she wants to be. If the Noir books ‘Weird Noir’ and the upcoming ‘Noir Carnival’ are a glimpse inside her mind then you should arm for bear when you go in. And probably also Kraken. I’d also suggest if you ever get a chance to see her present live on a subject go and do it.
Mhairi Simpson is a flurry of activity, writing for others, self publishing, editing for me, working on cover art and the rest. She has my tendency to only be happy when she’s juggling three things too many and she has a tremendous eye for detail and is a tough editor. She’s put together a fantastic collection with Eve and left to her own devices pulled in a great line up, including Juliet McKenna and Adrian Tchaikovsky.
FS is still holding submissions open for a charity cookbook (with accompanying stories) called ‘Fantastic Treats’ proposed and being edited by Andrew Reid who has written for Fox Spirit and has stories in Nun & Dragon and the soon to be released Fox & Fae. Andrew is a fantastic writer and baker and can be seen at conventions behind the baked good playing trivial pursuits. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with the book, but we do need more submissions. As a cookbook we are looking for it to be a little larger than the usual anthology.
Our copy editor Daz Pulsford also works with the likes of Crossroad Press and has been a real life saver, least of all because anyone who checks the website will have spotted my casual approach to spelling and grammar. If I like something I largely leave Daz and the writer to work together to get it right. He also provided me with a second opinion on occasion and double checks my accounts, and generally supports the process.
Not technically an editor but key to the team is Gav Pugh of Handebooks who does my conversions and formatting. The age of kdp and createspace et al has brought with it a torrent of criticism of poorly prepared final products and Gav is responsible for making sure everything we put out works properly and gives the reader a good experience in all formats.
Q. What advice would you give to authors that would like to be published by Fox Spirit? What will you not even consider and what are the things that usually cause rejections? What are you looking for from new authors?
My advice, read the submissions guidelines. I do not take unsolicited manuscripts so look at what we have open and send it in the correct format. Be polite, submit to the correct person, if I have a guest editor, they are your first point of call for that book. Don’t’ be afraid to be different, I like different. I also like dark, twisty, weird, whimsical, odd and a bit surreal. It doesn’t have to be all those things at once. There are some free stories available on the site, it’s worth taking a look at those if you haven’t read any FS books, it’ll at least give you some feel for things I’ve already gone for. A lot of the books have samples available on their main page too. My name is on the website, so if you write to ‘dear editor’ I will assume you haven’t read it.
Q. Do Fox Spirit have any super secret plans that you can hint at or just plain tell me?
What we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world.’ Umm well we have nine more Fox Pockets to put out, and various other things which are talked about on the website. We are quietly working away on a Jo Thomas’ werewolf novel and a collection by Geraldine Clarke-Hellery. We are putting together a collection with Steve Lockley, so lots happening.
I may have had hypothetical discussions about doing a couple of imprints in the future, maybe a ‘fox cub’ line and it’s been suggested I might like to take a look at something raunchier at some point, hypothetically speaking that would be the ‘Kitsune’ line. But it’s all entirely hypothetical at this point of course, and it’s not as though I have any authors who’ve expressed interest in those or anything. Honest. You believe me right? *looks shifty*
Q. You’re stuck on a desert island and you only have five books to read. None can be Fox Spirit books. Which five would you want to have with you?
Dessert Island books. Five? That’s five crates right?
1 – Imajica by Clive Barker. A book with enough complexity that no matter how many times you read it you have forgotten more than you remember, wonderful characters and a rich world to lose yourself in.
2 – The Office of Lost and Found by Vincent Holland-Keen. I actually have a line of this book tattood on my back. It’s my only tatt. It’s a bonkers ride, dark, funny and on occasion utterly beautiful and if leaves you with enough wild threads of thought to entertain you for years. Or drive you mad and have you talking to a basketball in three weeks flat.
3 – London Macabre by Steven Savile. Something to remind me of England and keep me grounded, but also have werewolves, golems, secret societies and you know, hell burning. You can see why this made the list right?
4 – The Mangrove Legacy by Kit Marlowe. Because pockets and cheese, and light entertainment and kidnapping and well sometimes a girl on a dessert island wants a sort of romance novel that’s somewhat peculiar.
5 – Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. It’s important to believe in magic and friendship and possibly also Wales. This is a strange and lovely story beautifully told.
There are soo many other books I could have chosen for this list and if you ask me again tomorrow I might.