Name five random things about you. I’m the father of twin girls; I grew up as a huge baseball fan with a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of all sorts of trivia; I’m a lifelong Mets fan, which means I’m loyal even when it’s bad for my health; I’ve had several different musical groups, including solo ventures, but haven’t performed in public in fifteen years; I am an active volunteer with some widely different groups, including a Scottish arts organization and my hometown first aid squad, where I’ve been an active EMT for more than twenty years.
What was your favorite aspect of collaborating with other authors? I enjoy the whole thing about these ventures – the solicitation of stories, reading them, the thrill of acceptance for both the writer and for me, and receiving the final product. I don’t think anything beats holding that final work in your hands.
Was it a difficult decision to choose whose short stories to include? Yes and no. In Spring Fevers and The Fall, the quality stories were immediately apparent. But we also received many “pretty good” stories that we ended up not accepting. The decision can be difficult because you’re trying to decide whether to invest a copy editor’s time and energy in a story and balance that with the other stories that demand time and attention. Plus, with The Fall, we were well aware of the number of potentially similar stories we might receive because of the nature of the theme. We wanted the final stories to stand on their own, in a sense, and feel unique and distinct.
What is the Fall about? It’s a collection of stories that envision the apocalypse. How we interpreted that was stretched a little here and there, but basically it was about individuals or societies in the midst of or in the wake of total change. One thing I looked for in each story was whether the values of those individuals or societies changed as a result of the challenges ahead of them. And was change a good thing in that situation? But in this collection, we made sure to bring a fair amount of humor and fun to the end of the world as we know it. Jean Oram wrote what essentially is a short romance. Mindy McGinnis posited what God might do if he had an iPhone. And Cat Woods penned an amusing story about a Little League game between little saints and demons. But we also have Judy Croome’s story, “The Last Sacrifice,” which is decidedly not amusing. It’s pretty grim, and I think folks will either love it for the exquisitely crafted tale of faith and family that it is or hate it for the cruelty and seeming willful ignorance that some might infer.
What makes it different than other short story anthologies? That’s hard to say. I think most anthologies include stories that make you pause and some that you just smirk and say ‘That was nice, what’s next?’ But I believe that what distinguishes The Fall is the quality of the writing. There are stories here that I believe could have been published in well known literary journals. I’m proud to be the publisher and I keep working to get them in front of people who haven’t fully understood what this new publishing revolution can mean for writers. This is an opportunity to get your work in front of millions of eyes, but the power is in collaboration.
When did you become interested in stories about the Apocalypse? Well, I’ve always been intrigued by life and death situations and the challenges that people face as a result of them. Frankly, I think most people are curious about how the end of the world will come and what it might look like – and whether we can stop it. I’ve long been a reader of science fiction and fantasy, but it’s not so much for the other worldly elements – lord knows I love well crafted world-building – but rather the sense that humanity and truth are universally significant. To me, a well written apocalyptic tale should leave you wondering what the hero of the tale will take with him or her to show that the world of the past wasn’t lost in vain.
Want a free book? Elephant's Bookshelf Press also released a short story anthology you can try for free called Spring Fevers.
Find it on Amazon or on Smashwords.