I’ve known Richard Thomas in the digital realm for a lot of years. He’s been an inspiration for many writers and instrumental in bringing excellent stories to readers nationwide. Gamut is one of many projects he has under his belt and I thought the unveiling of it was a good time to introduce those of you who don’t know him to my friend and fellow writer as well as an editor, publisher, and good guy.
You’re well known around the blogosphere and the conference circuit and have an impressive CV. Can you give everyone a brief idea of who Richard is, where he comes from, his favorite writers, etc.?
I started writing seriously about eight years ago, but I’ve always loved reading and writing. I saw Fight Club, which brought me to Chuck Palahniuk’s writing, which I devoured. It woke me up, showed me what could be done. Taking a class with Craig Clevenger was my first real investment in my writing career. He told me to send out a story from our class, “Stillness,” which ended up in Shivers VI alongside Stephen King and Peter Straub. That got me excited. I started a low-res MFA program in 2009, at Murray State University, and that helped me to read a lot of excellent literary black sheep—Denis Johnson, Joyce Carol Oates, Cormac McCarthy, Mary Gaitskill, Haruki Murakami, and Toni Morrison, to name a few. At that point, I was pretty committed. In the past eight years I’ve written three novels, three collections, 100+ stories in print, have edited four anthologies, and am Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press. I’ve also got stories out this year in anthologies (Chiral Mad 3 and Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) alongside Stephen King, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, and Jack Ketchum. I’m drawn to dark fiction, a wide range—fantasy, science fiction, horror, neo-noir, transgressive, magical realism, Southern gothic, and literary.
We hear a lot about Kickstarter campaigns but I’m not sure how many people understand much about the process or why it’s an important element in our technology driven world. Can you tell us the steps you had to take to make the decision about funding an online magazine? How many people were a part of the decision making process and how many are involved in getting this off the ground once the money is raised?
It’s a big commitment. I didn’t have the $52,000 I needed to launch, so, having backed almost 20 campaigns over the years, it seemed like a good way to go at it. Seeing some publications close, and others shut the door to unsolicited submissions, if felt like the right time. Plus, everything else I’ve been working on has kind of brought me to this point. But more importantly, I wanted to create a community, for people to become invested (literally) in Gamut. They are helping to shape it, to make it happen, which should lead to a pretty passionate group of backers, readers, and authors. I did research for months, crunching numbers, seeing what all I needed to make this happen. Then I began the process of reaching out to 40 authors, to get their verbal commitment to the project. And then I put together my staff—Mercedes M. Yardley, Dino Parenti, Heather Foster, Casey Frechette, and Whittney Jones. Not to mention my columnists—Max Booth, Keith Rawson, and RK Arceneaux. AND, of course, my illustrators—Luke Spooner, George C. Cotronis, Daniele Serra, Bob Crum—and photographer Jennifer Moore.
Will Gamut feature published authors or a mix of published and on the verge of published writers?
A mix for sure. Some are very established—Stephen Graham Jones, Brian Evenson, Livia Llewellyn, Lucy Snyder, etc. Others are emerging, newer voices. Usman T. Malik just won a Bram Stoker award, the first Pakistani author to do that. Alyssa Wong is placing stories in so many great places, getting nominations. And then we’ll open the door to submissions later in 2016, if we can get our funding. We’ll be paying ten cents a word, double the current pro rates.
Can you define genre-bending or hybrid? One thing constantly evolving in the writing world is genres and some writers (and readers) have gotten lost in the shuffle. Is this genre filled with a wide base of writers? (As opposed to romance which is heavily skewed to female writers)
I’d say genre-bending is fiction that accents the main aspects of several different genres. A great example is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. It is certain fantasy, with extensive world-building. It is science fiction, with a lot of technology and science. It is horror, with some gruesome and violent moments, terrifying at times. AND, it is literary—thoughtful, insightful, and lyrical at times. Not to mention it kicked off the new weird movement. That’s really the sweet spot for me—dark, tragic, touching, moving, and innovative. What neo-noir (which just means “new-black”) focuses on is something NEW, so you won’t see “classic” anything at Gamut—horror, fantasy, science fiction, crime, etc. We will definitely have wide base of authors—it was very important to me to get men and women, in equal numbers, and to embrace a range (a GAMUT) of different sexual orientations, races, countries of origin, ages, levels of experience, cultures, mythologies—you name it.
I hope you enjoyed this first part. Watch for part 2 on Friday. Please take a minute to say hello to Richard in the comments and ask questions regarding this venture. PressRelease_Gamut