2012 Snapshot Archive: Amanda Pillar

First published at Ian Mond’s blog.

Amanda Pillar is an award winning editor and speculative fiction author who lives in Victoria, Australia, with her partner and two children, Saxon and Lilith (Burmese cats).

Amanda has had numerous short stories published and is the Editor-in-Chief for Morrigan Books. She has co-edited the fiction anthologies Voices(2008), Grants Pass (2009), The Phantom Queen Awakes (2010), Scenes from the Second Storey (2010), Ishtar (2011) and Damnation and Dames(2012).

Amanda is currently working on the Bloodstones anthology, due out in 2012 with Ticonderoga Publications.

In her ‘free time’, she works as an archaeologist.

1) You’ve co-edited 6 publications and I gather you’ve promised to do it again.   What personality type is required to wade through the slushpile and find those stories worth publishing?

Patience; that’s the personality trait you need. You have to be very, very patient and your co-editor also needs to be the same. Before you both begin reading, it’s really important to sit down and discuss what you want – so that you’re both on the same page (so to speak) when reading submissions.

With slushpiles, it’s not always a matter of good story/bad story. It is about the ‘feel’ of the anthology (I know there are some authors who want to hurt me for saying that). I have rejected stories that have gone on to win awards; but they just didn’t play well with the other tales in the book. So picking stories – on your own, or with a co-editor – really comes back to remembering the guidelines you set and the end product you want to make.

2) You’ve just edited Damnation and Dames with Liz Grzyb.  What challenges did you and Liz face putting the anthology together, and what can we expect from it?

Damnation and Dames was really fun to put together. Liz and I made separate short lists, and there was very little variation in those choices. That made the squabbling at the end almost non-existent and our challenges fewer.

The biggest issue that I thought we faced (Liz might have a different opinion) was ensuring that there was an even balance of private investigator stories and non-private investigator stories. As with noir, everyone wants to write and read about the trench coat wearing, booze addicted protagonist. We were looking for that and more – and I believe we found it; with a balance of noir stories that incorporated the PI (both male and female, booze addicted and not…) and stories where you couldn’t find a trench coat at all.

You can expect giant monsters, zombie PIs, moonshine and shoes, and a variety of other quirky elements inDamnation and Dames.

3) Are you able to give us a hint of a story or stories you’re editing right now that you’re excited about and can’t wait to publish?

I am actually reading for Bloodstones right now, so I don’t want to give too much away (I haven’t finished the slushpile). But I am always excited about editing new stories and publishing them  – I picked them, after all!

4) What Australian works have you loved recently?

I can’t say how much I love the Ishtar collection. I know I co-edited it, but the stories from Kaaron Warren, Cat Sparks and Deb Biancotti are simply outstanding and were truly a gift for an editor. Three Aussie women writing amazing fiction – what more could a reader/editor want?

5) Two years on from Aussiecon 4,  what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?

I think that the biggest change has been centered around e-publishing. A lot of authors are looking for alternative means to publish their work – the big publishing houses (and even the small presses) are being overlooked for self-publishing.

How it will turn out in the long run…well, that’s the interesting part!

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