We hear a lot in the writing world about age being a deterrent for writers (too young or too old to publish). How do you feel about age and the impact on the ability to publish?
Interesting question. Can you be too young? Sure. Can you be too old? Sure. I think it really depends on the individual. If you read a LOT, a wide range of books, and live an active life, you can write great fiction at an early age. Some say you shouldn’t write until you’re 40, which is kind of what I did. The idea is you have to live and love and lose, etc. I kind of get that, too. How can you write a sex scene as a virgin? Might be tough. But then again, it’s fiction—I’ve never killed anybody, but I’ve written some pretty dark stuff. I wouldn’t really worry about age, as a writer. Just read, and study, and read more, and practice, and read, and get better, and take more classes, and evolve, and read, and fail, and hopefully along the way, find your voice. Chuck Palahniuk didn’t start until he was 35. Donald Ray Pollock, not until he was 50, and he won a PEN/Something. If you’re good, people will buy your work. Period.
Pure opinion: Have e readers damaged reading? Writing? Or opened the door to a more diverse readership and diverse authors? What are your thoughts?
Man, that’s a tough question. I think people will read however, wherever and whenever they want to. There are some crummy eBooks, but also some lousy books with the big six, too. If I hadn’t put two books out with Random House Alibi in eBook format, I never would have gotten blurbs from Irvine Welsh, and Chuck Wendig. I was running out of options, and RHA was excited, and that has done a lot of exciting things for my career.
What do you see as Gamut’s role in the online magazine realm? What niche will it successfully fill?
I don’t see a lot of neo-noir, speculative fiction with a literary bent. Most of the top magazines and websites tend to focus on one genre or another, but then again, I feel like we’re going to become part of the landscape, blending in and complementing other publications. We share a lot of the same authors, so in that sense, we’re family. We’re going to pay ten cents a word, which is double the current pro rate, so that should help us stand out. I think there is a demand for weird, dark, innovative fiction, and the authors certainly want to get paid.
What will an issue of Gamut contain?
New fiction, reprints, columns and poetry on a weekly basis. I hope we can expand our monthly budget to allow for new content on a DAILY basis—Flash Fiction Fridays, for example, or our second stretch goal, Stripped: A Memoir, for our Saturday Night Special serialization. We won’t really have “issues” per se. And we’ll also have original artwork with every story.
Last question: This is a shamefully personal request and is a bit off topic, but I have to hear about your trip to Transylvania last summer. Details, please. I need to live vicariously through others. LOL
Dawn, it was so much fun. So wild. It was way out in Romania, two hours east of Bucharest. The hotel / bed-and-breakfast we were at had a peacock out front, cured their own meat, made their own cheese. You could see old men on the really steep hillsides with scythes, cutting the grass. When we went to the forests, castles, and cemeteries it felt much older, very creepy, like anything could happen. When the priests blessed us the first night I wasn’t sure if they were protecting us, the hotel, or offering us up to some dark spirits. The food was great, the people very nice. I’ll have a big essay on my trip up later this year with a new online magazine (not Gamut) that will get into a lot more detail, but I had a blast. Brian Evenson will be teaching it this summer, so it’ll be even better. Wish I could return.
Thanks so much, Richard, for stopping by to tell us more about Gamut. Please ask questions or make comments after you check out Gamut online.