Athena Andreadis Interview by Catherine Lundoff
You’ve recently taken over as the publisher of Candlemark & Gleam, an established small press with an eclectic speculative fiction catalogue. What inspired you to acquire the press?
When I was putting together The Other Half of the Sky, my first science fiction anthology, I searched for a publisher – and, in hindsight, unknowingly dodged several bullets. The only person who gave me fair terms (without prompting on my part, yet) was Kate Sullivan, the founder of Candlemark and Gleam (C&G). I owe Sam Montgomery-Blinn of Bullspec many craft beers for suggesting Kate to me and doing the introductions.
Kate proved an ideal collaborator: discerning, meticulous, conscientious, professional and results-oriented. She carefully and lovingly prepared The Other Half of the Sky for what became a triumphant publication arc: the anthology went on to win unprecedented awards and accolades (including a Nebula for one of its stories) way before the “X Destroy Y” mode became safe to attempt – achievements that are even more momentous when one considers C&G’s infinitesimal PR budget.
Kate ran C&G single-handedly in addition to a full-time day job. On my side, I had long wanted to nurture science fiction that combines quality craft and three-dimensional characters with a non-triumphalist sense of wonder, awareness of scientific principles, and original universes. When the heroic effort tired Kate and she was contemplating closing down C&G rather than see her vision and standards compromised, I told her of my own vision – and here we are!
C&G published a number of first time authors and several series, such as Anne Johnson’s Green Light Delivery and Blue Diamond Delivery; do you plan on continuing with some of the same authors and series?
Indeed, we will continue to publish several of the authors who are already part of the C&G family. In the past, C&G published a wide variety of speculative fiction subgenres and showcased many new authors. Although that big-tent policy will continue, I’m eager to have science fiction become the major tributary stream of C&G – especially stellar talents whom I consider neglected due to the publisher/editor stampede to be “edgy” (if only).
Will you be open to author submissions?
C&G will henceforth publish primarily by invitation and referral. This will allow us to pay close attention to each work, from editing to divider ornaments. However, we will also respond to queries with one-page synopses and a representative sample of the submission, ten pages maximum. Those who wonder what I’m likely to consider and like can look at The Other Half of the Sky or the (invariably large-context) reviews of SFF works at my blog.
What are your immediate and long-term goals for C&G?
My immediate plans are to publish the half-dozen projects in the C&G pipeline and solicit new work. Already about ten SF authors whom I deem major talents are willing to show me completed or in-progress work. It's a fitting symbol and a good omen that To Shape the Dark, the younger sibling of The Other Half of the Sky, will be the first book brought out by C&G under its new astrogator. It’s also flattering and exciting that some of the novels in progress are expansions of stories in The Other Half of the Sky or To Shape the Dark.
My long-term goal is to make C&G a beacon that elicits work that doesn’t fit cookie-cutter molds. We’ll be looking for novels or collections of linked stories (plus the occasional anthology), primarily science fiction. Cross-genre/interstitial and SF/F hybrid works are fine, ones with mythic/historical echoes even better. My own taste is eclectic, flexible and unibrow and I will freely confess a weakness for evolved space opera. I want to see nuanced swashbuckling, works whose universes, societies and inhabitants are unusual and diverse beyond lip service (Anglophone SFF is far more parochial that it likes to think).
Originality of concept and quality of craft will be the paramount selection criteria. I consider the process of sculpting a work a dialogue between author and editor. Having read across genres in four languages, I’m impervious to glitz du jour and what I call “rediscovering black holes”. A related aspect of this is that C&G will be a no-primadonna guild. We will be professional while being nurturing, and I’ll expect our collaborators to match this mindset.
Of course, “it may be that the gulfs will wash us down” as is the fate of many small presses with limited resources that must at least stay solvent, unlike bigger presses that can run semi-infinitely at a loss underwritten by the parent company. I don’t underestimate how strenuous and risky such ventures are, including the defection of successes to venues that can pay them more. But I ran a research lab on soft money for two decades. In many respects, this is very similar. Kate will stay with me for at least a year, so I’ll get the benefit of her experience and expertise; others have generously rallied to my call for some help with managing. I hope to take the small but sturdy C&G starship on many journeys.
“…for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.”
- Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event, throughout the month of January. I'll be doing a guest post on host author K.T.Grant's blog on writing lesbian and bi characters in historical fiction, 1/12/13.
- Guest blog on author Cathy Pegau's blog on the topic of "In Person Events for Writers."
- Author reading on Wednesday, January 23rd at 7PM at Subtext: A Bookstore in St. Paul
- GCLS Conference Blog - guest blog on my experiences at the GCLS Conference. TBD
- Marscon - March 1-3, Minneapolis. Attending professional.
- Portland Lesbian Book Salon - March 3. Q&A by phone, since I can't make it to Oregon, alas.
- Quatrefoil Library - March 16th, Minneapolis. Quatrefoil's new location - annual women's fiction reading with several other authors.
- Hour of the Wolf Radio Show, WBAI, NYC. Tentatively scheduled for March 19th. Reading and interview.
- WisCon, May 24-27th. Attending professional.
- 4th Street Fantasy, June 21-23. Attending professional.
- CONvergence, July 4-7. Attending professional.
- DreamHaven Books, Comics and Art - August 1. Diversicon Guest reading and signing by Jack McDevitt, Roy Booth and me 6:30-8:30PM
- Diversicon 21, Aug. 2-4. SPECIAL GUEST <g>
- S.E. Wisconsin Festival of Books - September 20-22. I'm scheduled for a panel called "OUTspoken and OUTfront: LGBTQ Writers Moving Beyond Binaries" on Saturday, 9/21 in the afternoon.
- North Country Gaylaxians Book Club - October 8th, Discussion of Silver Moon at Quatrefoil Library, St. Paul 7PM.
- Minneapolis Lesfic Book Club - October 30, Discussion of Silver Moon, 7:30PM (not generally open to the public - contact me for details if you want to attend).
- Howl Out Cast - November 13th. Podcast interview about my work, my life and a lot of other things.
- 2013 MNSpec Writer's Showcase - Group author reading at the Acadia Cafe, Minneapolis. Sunday, November 17th, noon.
Somewhere in here, I'm signed up to do some mentoring for GCLS and a few other things which are very much TBD. All in all, I'm hoping to keep it a lighter year than 2012 so I can get in more writing. We'll see how that goes.
I'm off to a jolly morning at the MN Arboretum with a friend, then running errands, then taping a Cocktail Hour podcast with the redoubtable and wildly entertaining Cheri and Megan. And that is very nearly the end of my scheduled appearance/interview/podcast dealies for 2012. I actually have a couple of weeks off from publicizing, then it's Gaylaxicon 2012 followed by the Twin Cities Book Festival and I'm actually done for the year, barring additions. Whatever will I do with myself? Oh yeah, write another book and start all over again!
2012 Guest blogs:
"Do's and Don'ts of Author Self-Promotion" - on Morgen Bailey's writing blog.
Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event I did a guest post on host author K.T. Grant's blog on lesbian protagonists in science fiction and fantasy.
Whatever: The Big Idea: Silver Moon
"Writing Silver Moon and Menopausal Werewolves" at the Skiffy and Fanty Show Blog
Good Lesbian Books - post on my favorite "starter" books with lesbian protagonists/themes.
"Adventures in Marketing: Promoting My First Novel" on author and editor Deborah J. Ross' blog.
"The Highs and Lows of Promoting Lesbian Fiction" on The Scarlet Letter ezine.
"Genre and Border Crossings" at Lisabet Sarai's Beyond Romance
SF Signal Mind Meld - "Directions that SF Hasn't Taken" (with Kelly McCullough, David J. Schwartz, Michael D. Thomas/Damien Taylor and Ayleen the Peacemaker)
Menopause and The Single Werewolf: Ten Questions with Catherine Lundoff, author of Silver Moon on author Tracy S. Morris' blog.
Author Roxanne Bland interviewed me at
Skiffy and Fanty Show - "Influences on Modern Fantasy"
Reading from Silver Moon, Broad Universe Broadpod Podcast for Pride Month.
Alternate History - Broad Universe Broadpod Podcast, includes a reading from my collection A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories.
Readings Goes to the Wolves - multi-author interview and reading on lesbian werewolves, includes a short reading from Silver Moon
"Exploring Beyond the Borders: Breaking the Conventions of Genre in SF/F/H." Broadly Speaking Podcast with Larissa Niec, Julia Rios and Kris McDermott.
Episode 49 of the Cocktail Hour - "Catherine Lundoff and SIlver Moon"
KFAI, Write On! Radio, interview and reading from Silver Moon (second half Rachel Gold)