September 10, 2012

Monstrous Ambition: an interview with Tim Marquitz

Since I'm dedicating this week to the Fading Light anthology, of which I am a part, it seemed only right that I corner the book's editor, Tim Marquitz, and ask him a few questions about his first time behind the wheel of an anthology. Enjoy.

Gef: Thinking back on those classic monster movies, like Godzilla Vs King Kong and Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, which two monsters from Fading Light would you like to see in a showdown?

Tim: Given the word monstrous is in the title, there really is a lack of classic monster-types in the anthology, which makes this a hard question to answer. While there’s a dragon, a doppelganger, and even a zombie, I think I’d like to see a battle on a more atmospheric and surreal level. I’d choose the beings in Regan Campbell’s "Torrential" and Gary Olson’s "Goldilocks Zone." It’d be like riding out a hurricane on LSD.

Gef: How about a bit of backstory on how the idea for this anthology came to be?

Tim: As I wrote in the introduction, I’ve been taking a number of my directional cues from my friend Lincoln Crisler. He’s a marketing and promotional machine whereas I’ve been way too content to write and leave the rest to chance. He and I talked about his experiences with Corrupts Absolutely? and it got me interested in the process. And as a firm believer that authors should help one another, I wanted to see if I could create something that would help open doors for other authors.

As for the specific backstory, I’ve always loved the dark imagery of storms. There’s something epic about the way the clouds roll in, how the earth shakes under a barrage of thunder. That image combined with Lovecraftian themes and movies like Stephen King’s The Mist are a wellspring of inspiration to me. What lurks inside those clouds, inside the fog that obscures our view of the world we know? It could be anything, and that’s what I wanted to know: what would authors imagine.

Gef: What preconception about editing an anthology was quickly dashed once you began Fading Light?

Tim: Not many, actually. I expected a lot of work (and I’m grateful to Rebecca Treadway and Stacey Turner for their help) and that’s what I got. What I didn’t expect was just how many stories I would receive. I ended up with hundreds of them. I also didn’t realize how hard it would be to choose between the stories I received.

Gef: How did the slush pile work out for you? In the introduction to the companion stories, you mentioned having to pass up on stories you liked. Was the wheat-to-chaff ratio better than you expected?

Tim: It worked out well…too well, almost. I received a ton of great stories, and found I had to stick closely to my concept or I’d never be able to finish the job. While there were some stories that were easily discarded due to them being something completely removed from what I wanted, there were many more that were spot on. At a point there, I was looking for reasons to reject rather than accept. And while that sounds bad, it truly is a testament to the quality of the stories I received and the limitations of cost and space that need to be taken into account.

Gef: I can't recall seeing an anthology come out with companion stories. What prompted this, and how did you go about it?

Tim: The idea was two-fold. First, the companion stories are going to be in their own book and sold separately (for 99 cents) as a kind of primer for the anthology. This would create an affordable option for readers interested in the anthology but might have some doubts. (eBook copies of the companion book will be provided free to folks who buy the trade paperback edition.)

Second, the companion book allows me and Angelic Knight to represent and support a few more great authors than we would have been able to within the constraints of the main book. There were simply too many wonderful stories to draw the line at less. I wanted to pack Fading Light with quality, and doing the companion book allowed this without forcing us to price the book out of reach.

Gef: Name an author who you consider a go-to source for great monster stories (only half points for citing Lovecraft).

Tim: As much as I like Lovecraft’s themes, I don’t really like his storytelling. It’s an old, dry style that doesn’t work for me beyond the world and pantheon he created. That said, I much prefer a Brian Keene or William Meikle book for monsters. Both write with a simplistic brutality and charm that hits all the right nerves. There’s no pretention. I also enjoy the occasional Eric S. Brown tale. All of the above authors write to entertain and they do it without fail.

Gef: What other projects do you have in the works and on the horizon?

Tim: I’ve just started work on the third and final book in the Blood War Trilogy, and I’m shooting to have it released by November. I’ve also started another novel, which is a sword and sorcery style with assassins and zombies, but I’m not really sure where it’ll fit into my schedule. I also plan on writing book five in the Demon Squad series before the end of the year, and I’m in promotion mode for Fading Light and my Genius Book Publishing debut, Prey/Anathema, both of which come out in September. I’m also finishing up a short story for an anthology invitation I’ve received and will likely submit to another before the end of August.

Lastly, I’ve a number of projects with publishers that I’m waiting to hear back on. Once I have those responses, I’ll have a better idea as to what I’m doing and putting out in the near future.

Thanks, Tim.

Be sure to pay Tim's site a visit and get your hands on a copy of this promising anthology.

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