Liz Grzyb was born in the middle of a thunderstorm in Perth, WA. She is the editor of five original anthologies and co-edits the award-winning Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror series for Ticonderoga Publications.
Kisses by Clockwork was launched at Nacton in June 2014. I’m reading it now and loving it. Can you tell us about your process of collecting and editing the anthology, and any highlights of the experience?
For original anthologies, I usually have about a six-month reading period, and hold the stories I like until the end (and usually a month or two more to make sure of the final selection.) Although it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down the stories, as they’re so good! In the end, it comes down to what will work well as a group, not just what I personally like.
Once I’ve chosen the lineup and we’ve contracted, I’ll start working on the stories with authors. Usually we’ll go through the story back and forward two or three times until we’re both happy with it. Then it all goes to Russell, who does the layout and design, and we have galleys for the authors and I to proof. Most of the time at this point I write an introduction, which I didn’t have time to do with Kisses by Clockwork, as I was a bit caught up this year in small things like weddings and honeymoons!
The highlight of the whole experience for me is when the authors have the book in their hands. Although maybe it is when I get to write the emails telling an author that yes, we are going to buy their story for the book. Or possibly when we’ve both worked really hard on the story and we’re really pleased at how it’s turned out. The process has many highlights.
How has your style as an editor developed over the many anthologies you’ve produced?
I don’t think my style has changed much, but maybe developed in terms of being able to go through stories in different ways – not just looking for errors, but actively looking for ways to improve the story. My anthologies have changed a bit though, as I feel able to choose narrower themes rather than sticking with tried and true ideas.
What projects are on the horizon for you or Ticonderoga – or would you prefer to incubate them quietly until you’re ready to unleash them?
At the moment, Talie Helene and I are working through the last elements of the 2013 Australian Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, which like KbC, was a little delayed due to life stuff this year. And I’ll start reading madly for the 2014 volume soon, too.
I’m also reading for my next original themed anthology, Hear Me Roar, which you can find more about on Ticonderoga’s website. I’m hoping this antho will be broader in the speculative genres than the last few, which have been more focused on fantasy and dark fantasy with only a smattering of horror and science fiction in the mix.
What Australian works have you loved recently?
I just read Garth Nix’s Newt’s Emerald, which I adored. It combines many of my reading indulgences – historical romance, mystery and magic!
In terms of short fiction, I’m loving the work coming from Margo Lanagan, Angela Slatter, Faith Mudge, Richard Harland, Kaaron Warren, Lisa Hannett, Kirstyn McDermott, Kim Wilkins, Angela Rega…
Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?
I don’t think there’s been a lot of change in the way I work. I suppose the editing process has become a little more streamlined without as much hard-copy to deal with, but we’ve always had a finger in the electronic media pie and we’ll continue to expand this, as well as work on hard copy books.
As a reader, I think ebooks will continue to grow. I personally love being able to download a new book instantly, in the middle of a conversation about recommendations. Although there’s always going to be something special about a real paper book, and there is certainly no danger that we’ll be getting rid of any of the bookshelves in our house anytime soon.