Today, my guest is Shane Collins, Editor in Chief, over at THE SPECULATIVE EDGE, a monthly magazine of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, interviews and reviews in the speculative fiction genres. We discuss his decision to start up the magazine and check in on how the first four months are going.
Thanks, George, for interviewing me. I’m excited to be here! Static Movement was the perfect stepping stone after working as an editor at my college’s undergraduate literary journal. Creatively, it gave me 100% autonomy. I could pick themes like “apocalyptic” or “colonizing the solar system” and choose any stories I wanted. But after I finalized the manuscript, that was the end of my involvement. I really wanted to try my hand at the other side of editing a publication. I wanted to distribute to libraries and small book stores. I wanted to choose the artwork, collaborate with other editors and market on Facebook and other social media. I knew the creative end of editing but I hadn’t tried the business side and a monthly magazine seemed like the best medium.
I think – like you – I was raised on a diet of science fiction movies. I was raised watching Star Wars and Star Trek. The first movie I remember seeing in the theater was Jurassic Park. The first book I loved reading was The Hobbit. In college, though, I really delved into the literary classics. My own writing started to evolve too. For years I had only written science fiction and fantasy and suddenly I was dabbling in mainstream fiction. However, rather than ditching my love of science fiction for literary fiction, they fused together. The idea that science fiction could have literary merit was my basis for what I wanted The Speculative Edge to be.
Well, Shane, I am impressed that so far, you are right on time--four months, four issues. I understand you and your staff have other jobs. How do you find the time to get everything done?
Haha. It’s not easy. All three of us editors have lots of other things going on. Danielle – the assistant editor – is finishing her last semester at the University of Wisconsin in Parkside. She also currently edits for Static Movement and a third publication – Straylight Magazine. Chloe – the poetry editor – works one job at a law firm and another at a bird sanctuary. And I work as a substitute teacher at a local elementary school and as a tour guide at the Harpoon beer brewery. We’re a diverse bunch.
Now that the magazine has been up and running a few months, we’ve kind of gotten into a rhythm. During the week, I can usually get two or three days to dedicate to working on the magazine. That gives me enough time to (try to) keep up with submissions, to keep the website and Facebook page up to date, to answer emails and get feedback to and from authors, along with a million other tasks. This month, in addition to our regular issues, we’re also judging our first poetry contest, and are getting ready to release our “Best of the Year” collection so it’s feeling especially overwhelming.
Tell us about your staff.
Aside from the editors, there are a lot of other people who make The Speculative Edge such a cool magazine. John Carney is our film critic. He eats, sleeps, and breathes movies. He works on various film sets in Connecticut – last month he was working with Cuba Gooding Jr. Trevor is our book critic. Not including what he reviews for the magazine, I think he must read a book a week. Lately, he’s been into George RR Martin and one of Steven King’s series. He’s a student at Parkside along with Danielle.
Brooke – our highly esteemed intern – is a college student in Michigan. She completely handles our blog, she helps me read through submissions, and she’s currently working on an essay for an upcoming issue.
And last but not least, we have Blaise Lucey who handles all of our email marketing. If you get our newsletters, he’s the reason they’ve gotten so much prettier over the last few weeks. He’s also a think-tank for strategizing how to market the magazine and coming up with ideas for new content. He lives in the North Shore of Massachusetts and works as Constant Contact.
For our readers that may want to contribute, are you actively seeking submissions? If so, where should one go for guidelines?
We’re always looking for more submissions. We have a couple of themed issues coming up and the guidelines for our first annual Summer Fiction Contest will be going up online in a month or two. You can check out all of our guidelines here: sites.google.com/site/thespeculativeedge/submissions
What ingredients are you looking for in fiction and poetry?
Like any other publication, we’re looking for the best quality work we can find. For fiction, that means work that has depth to it. It should have memorable characters that develop over the story. Stylistically, I tend to love work that is dark and gritty. I think the best way to see what we’re looking for would be to get a copy of our “Best of the Year” collection when it comes out and check out the six stories I nominated for the Pushcart.
Tell us about some content you have lined up for future issues. What does the future hold for The Speculative Edge?
We’ve got some great stuff coming out soon. For December, we have an apocalyptic issue to celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar. It has a HUGE fiction section. Apocalyptic fiction has always been one of my favorite genres – I may even be slipping one of my own stories in there. We’ll be interviewing Jo Cannon – a UK author who published a great collection of apocalyptic stories a couple years back. And, with the rising popularity of survivalism and shows like Doomsday Preppers, we’re publishing an essay by James Wesley Rawles, author of How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, about prepping.
After that, Danielle will be guest editing a romance issue for February and also something special for April Fool’s Day. We’re currently conducting a reader survey that will help us decide where to go from there. We’re hoping to revamp the website in the future – that’s one of our big goals to do in the next six months.
Are you working on any other projects?
Oh, man, am I. Haha. I recently finished editing a pair of novels and am looking for representation. One is the first book of two in an epic military science fiction series about the first navy in space. The second book is a coming-of-age new adult book about a typical college student on a road trip with his ex girlfriend but with one caveat – he’s in ROTC and is about to become an active duty officer in the army for the next seven years.
And this January, I will be going on an adventure to the final frontier: beginning graduate school to get my MFA in Fiction at the Stonecoast program alongside Danielle.
Thanks for the interview, George!
Thanks to you for stopping by. You can visit The Speculative Edge by clicking on the link at the beginning of this post or right her
Please take the time to check out this exciting new magazine.