Why SF? Asking kindred spirits in the SF community the story of why they give back and create forward.
Colleen Anderson's fiction and poetry have appeared in over 100 publications with recent work in Over the Brink, Polu Texni and Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. She is a two time Aurora Award finalist in poetry. As well, she edits poetry and fiction for CZP, and is co-editing Tesseracts 17. New work will be coming out in Bull Spec, Bibliotheca Fantastica, Fantastic Frontiers, Artifacts and Relics, Deep Cuts, and Chilling Tales 2.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.~Nelson Mandela
Interviewed by Tegan Lott
1)Steve Vernon and yourself will be editing Tesseract 17. What do you hope to include in "Speculating Canada From Coast to Coast to Coast"?
Tesseracts is a distinctly Canadian anthology, which means it reflects the diversity of Canadian writing. If any Tesseracts should do this, Tesseracts 17 is the one. From Coast to Coast to Coast should include writers from all regions. While we will look at quality first, we want more than stories from Ontario. We're less likely to take stories of the same old tropes, unless there's a unique twist, so sending your best writing will give you a better chance.
I would love to see stories from the Maritimes, and the territories, from writers of all cultures. So far, I think we've only received one from those areas. Canada is a large country where climate and land often dominate us. This theme comes out in movies and stories. I think we may have some of those, as well as hopefully stories that embrace the uniqueness of Canada, whether that's through Wendigo,Sasquatch and Ogopogo (or some other made up myth) or through traversing the wilderness in new ways, or politics with a twist.
Lest we be flooded with sasquatch stories, I'd like to see true diversity in the poetry and fiction we receive; everything from Steampunk and ancient lands, to space-faring and nano-tech. From horror to humour, I hope we'll have a true rainbow of tales, and excellent writing in all of them.
2) Why, in particular, did you decide to edit Tesseracts 17?
The Tesseracts anthologies are put out by Edge Publishing. Every year Brian Hades chooses editors and the themes for the yearly anthology. Brian approached me at When Words Collide and mentioned there had been complaints of too much focus on Ontario (sorry, guys) so he wanted to make sure that this Tesseracts reflects all of Canada. I'm not sure but I think many of the past editors have also been from Ontario or Quebec.
Brian chose Steve and I, partly because we are on opposite coasts, and we have enough of a track record of publications, editing and judging. Steve and I co-edited the Rannu poetry competition last year, as he was the previous year's winner and I was the runner-up.
For me, personally, I've wanted to edit an anthology for a long time. Rhea Rose and I tried to sell an idea to Brian a while back, so this has been a long-term goal. Of course I love to write, but I want to help shape the face of speculative fiction, and support writers. If I could afford it I'd do my own anthology as well.
3) How are personally involved in the writing and poetic community?
I'm part of SF Canada and our e-list allows for a virtual community. I've never met Steve Vernon in the flesh but we know each other to a degree, and I asked him to do an introduction for my reprint collection Embers Amongst the Fallen. SFC gives me a chance to talk writing with others across Canada. I'm also part of HWA (the Horror Writers Association) but I haven't been able to explore that community as much. And of course I go to a couple of conventions when I can.
I don't do as many readings as I used to in Vancouver but I'm thinking it might be time to re-energize that. Toronto has a very large and vibrant writing community, and they seem to always have readings and launches and other writing related events.
Here in Vancouver, there are only the pricey writers festivals and a few readings that are not always well advertised. Vancouver has been accused of being a no-fun city and a cultural black hole. The arts struggle here and I'm not sure it's because of size.
I'm thinking I might start out with holding writer cocktail parties and then maybe finding a suitable venue for doing some readings. Something is needed to bring writers together and we have very little. Vancouver is so laid back that we'll never have a world-class convention (WFC, WHC, Worldcon) because no one wants to organize.
I also run my blog www.colleenanderson.wordpress.com where I talk about writing among other topics. Like I said above, if I could get the money together I'd do an anthology, partly so I could support the writing community, and help new authors. I also edit for Chizine, as poetry editor (with Carolyn Clink) for the online magazine, and as a slush reader for manuscripts. I always try to give some constructive advice if I reject a story because, as a writer, I know how hard it is to be published and how thankful I was any time I received a clue as to what wasn't working in my story.
Who knows. Writing and editing are my life and I would love to immerse myself even more in the community so the future will evolve with what I'll do.