FBR favourite Tim Marquitz is back, only this time it's to promote the anthology he edited called Fading Light. Tim was able to attract a number of high profile authors to anthology, and fantasy readers are likely to be familiar with names like Mark Lawrence, David Dalglish, and Gene O'Neill. Tim has also included a number of smaller unknown authors, and a story from FBR reviewer Ryan Lawler called Light Save Us.
In the lead up to the release of Fading Light by Angelic Knight Press, Ryan has talked to Tim about all the effort that goes on behind the scenes when putting together an anthology.
Ryan Lawler: Hi Tim, welcome back to Fantasy Book Review. Last time we chatted it was all about you us an author. This time it's all about you as the editor of an anthology. Can you tell us all about Fading Light and the stories we can expect to find in there?
Tim Marquitz: Thanks for having me.
Certainly. I really wanted to create something different, and I think the broad range of dark fiction in the anthology made that happen. While all of the stories fit under the umbrella of the overall premise, I didn't restrict people to a genre or direction. The stories I received were all over the place with regards to how they interpreted the anthology prompt, and that was great. There's aliens and monsters and atmospheric anomalies and all sorts of darkness abound, but there aren't any real typical stories to be found.
Ryan: So where did the inspiration for Fading Light come from? Was something you had been thinking about for a while or was it more of a light bulb moment?
TM: There were a couple trains of thought behind Fading Light. The first was going back and forth with Lincoln Crisler as he arranged and coordinated his anthology, Corrupts Absolutely? I saw what he was doing and it sounded interesting. I liked the idea of masterminding an anthology, being the guy to direct the final outcome without actually writing it.
As for the imagery, I love what the movie The Mist accomplished, and wanted to create a book that fed off that. Being able to orchestrate that from a position where I could see other peoples' perspective was what drove me to actually do it.
Ryan: You got a number of big names on board like Mark Lawrence and Gene O'Neill. How did you go about securing these guys for the anthology?
TM: I'm not sure, to be honest. I got lucky.
In most cases, I've interacted with the authors in one way or another, either at conventions or online, and I simply decided to take the chance and ask them. It worked out, much to my surprise.
Ryan: The anthology was open to submission from anyone for a few months. How many submissions did you get? Did you have to read them all?
TM: You're seriously going to make me do math? Anyway, I received hundreds. And yeah, I read them all. While some were obviously not at the same level as some of the others, I wanted to be sure to give each and every one the opportunity to impress me.
Ryan: How quickly did you know whether or not a story had a chance at being included? Did you have a process for sorting out the wheat from the chaff?
TM: You know pretty quickly when a story isn't going to hold up to your expectations. Read a few lines and you can just tell if there's something there. I did, however, read all the way through the ones that didn't draw me in immediately to see if there could be some editorial adjustment that corrected the problem I had with it.
In the end, I rejected the stories that didn't resonate with me and my vision of the anthology. There wasn't any special process but given how many great stories I received, it was easier to reject than accept, in a lot of cases.
Ryan: What was the worst submission you received?
TM: I obviously won't name names, but I did receive some rather interesting poetry. Not only was it outside my vision of the book, it was just too far outside of what I wanted connected to the book. I really don't know how to describe it without being rude. Picture hillbilly BBQ.
On the other hand, I received a lot of great stories that just didn't fit. I got a Kafka homage that was terrific, but I just couldn't bring myself to accept it because it was too close to Kafka stylistically.
Ryan: So what else does the editor of an anthology actually do?
TM: An editor's first job in an anthology is to determine the focus of a book. They set up the concept and orchestrate the submission guidelines and organize the whole process. They select the stories and make whatever changes needed to make the stories part of a cohesive whole. Ultimately, the editor oversees the whole project from start to finish, like placing pieces of a puzzle together.
Ryan: Aside from Light Save Us which I know is your favourite short story of all time, are there any stand out short stories in this anthology that you would like to mention?
TM: Is that one of the stories in there? Doesn't sound familiar.
Anyway, all of the stories in the anthology resonated with me or they wouldn't be there. I won't play favorites for a number of reasons, but I was able to be picky because of how many submissions I received. The quality of the submissions allowed me to hold the anthology to the standard of my vision.
Ryan: Thanks for taking the time out to chat with us Tim. It's great to get some insight into all the effort that goes on behind the scenes.
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