The OF Blog: The wotmania Files: Interview with Richard Chizmar of Cemetery Dance (1/15/2003)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The wotmania Files: Interview with Richard Chizmar of Cemetery Dance (1/15/2003)

Below is the second of ten interviews that Kory did for wotmania in the first four months of 2003. This time, it is Richard Chizmar of Cemetery Dance. Kory has the introduction for this interview below:

Cemetery Dance publishes a magazine made up primarily of short fiction, limited editon novels, serials, novellas and comics. Of particular interest, beyond the high quality material itself, is that this may be a place for some our resident authors to submit work for publishing. Be sure to check out the link below to see what is available and for submission guidelines.

1 ) Cemetery Dance is a wonderful magazine, showcasing both new talent as
well as many of our favorite authors. It must be very rewarding to have
created an entity which allows you to work on the cutting edge of this
industry. Would you give us a brief chronology of the creation of this magazine?

I started the magazine in 1988, while still in college. We started accepting
submissions and sending out invitations during the Summer of that year and
published the debut issue in December. We published two issues per year for
a couple years, then moved up to four issues, then just recently increased to
bi-monthly. After 14 years of publishing , we're still excited about the
genre, still excited about publishing new talent right alongside the

2 ) Many of our members wish to be authors themselves. Would you provide
some suggestions on how to break into the field?

No secret formula. Just write as much as possible and read as much as
possible. Sit down and do the work. Have fun, take chances, keep working to
get better.

3 ) Your publishing arm of the company works with many renowned authors and
others who are on the rise or under-appreciated by the mainstream. How do
you go about choosing which authors you pursue for the company?

That's one of the best things about running the company. I publish the books
and authors that I personally enjoy, with no outside pressure. We don't buy
books by committee, nor do we have to cater to the usual market pressures, so
it's usually a pretty easy decision. If I like a book -- whether from
someone new or very established -- and we have room on the schedule, we'll
usually publish it.

4 ) How cool are Clive Barker and Stephen King? They, along with others like
David Morrell, Peter Straub, William F. Nolan and Dean Koontz, must be a
thrill to work with on a regular basis.

Absolutely, it's a thrill. I work with my literary heroes on a daily basis.
Some days I leave the office and realize I just spoke with the likes of
Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Ed Gorman, and Ray Bradbury -- all in the same
afternoon. I'm very fortunate to do something I love every single day.

5 ) You personally are the editor of some amazing anthologies and
collections. What drives you to continuously put these together? I imagine
the logistics involved must be overwhelming at times.

Yes, anthologies are a load of work, much more than folks realize until
they've done it themselves. Editing the actual stories is the easy part.
But when everything works and the book turns out the way you envisioned it,
an anthology can be very rewarding. As a matter of fact, I'm about to start
work on two or three more within the next month or so -- stay tuned!

6 ) The collection October Dreams and the novella series Trick or Treat,
along with many others, deal with the supernatural. Do you feel the authors
are relating their personal beliefs in the existence of supernatural powers
or simply telling a story?

Both, I'm sure. Just depends on the author and the specific story.

7 ) The novella series at Cemetery Dance has been very successful. What
advantages do you see with this format?

We initially envisioned the novella series as a way to present quality,
signed limited editions at a more affordable price and this still holds true.
But we've also discovered that many readers prefer this length of story.
Plus it's an attractive format to the authors because unfortunately there are
not a lot of markets for novella length fiction.

8 ) F. Paul Wilson, one of my favorite authors, is producing a serial story
for Cemetery Dance. This seems to harken back to older days, do you think
there may be a resurgence of this style?

There might be, although it's a tough act to pull off -- for both author and
publisher. I believe that another publisher is doing something similar with
Ray Garton.

9 ) Speaking of a return of older styles, your comic Grave Tales has been
enjoyable. Are there plans for more titles?

Absolutely, we plan some one-shot comic projects in the near future -- all in
this old-fashioned, traditional style. As far as Grave Tales is concerned,
the most difficult part has been finding good artists willing to work on a
lower budget.

10 ) Finally, how much reading outside of your own authors are you able to
find time for and are there any other authors out there that you would
encourage our members to check out?

Well, they should read all the Cemetery Dance authors, of course! Seriously,
between reading for the magazine and the book imprint -- and now for the
paperback line -- my reading time is overbooked!

Thank you for your time Rich, I sincerely appreciate it. Good luck with everything, I look forward to all the future brings from Cemetery Dance.


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