In the series of Timelines Anthology interviews, today I am talking
to author and editor Iris Feindt
[©2013 to I.Feindt]
Can you describe your work as editors of the Timelines Anthology
Where to begin? The Timelines team is very small – it consists of Sherry Ashworth, Livi Michael and me. Because our team is so small, we have to wear many ‘hats’. The ‘editing-hat’ is only one of them and it involves the following things:
Setting a timeframe for the whole anthology project, deciding on a theme for the anthology, thinking about an appropriate audience in relation to the chosen theme, deciding on a house-style for all writers to use, reading all the submitted stories, discussing all the submitted stories, deciding which stories to include, deciding on a running order, making editing suggestions like: what should the writers change, add, tease-out and cut-out?
We then have to feed all of that back to the writers. The writers are then asked to make the suggested changes and the whole process starts again until each story is polished enough for publication.
Our time is also taken up by things like: Proofreading, writing a blurb for the back of the book, approaching other authors for cover quotes, negotiating budgets and print costs, finding illustrators, setting and organising a launch date and deal with distribution. We also try to keep the writers and illustrators informed. Marketing and selling the anthology are also very important to what we do.
As you can imagine all of this takes a lot of time and I can’t remember a single day in the past 11 months where I didn’t do at least one Timelines-related activity.
What do you like most about it?
I really like it when everything comes together. At first you’re just surrounded by 17 single short stories but eventually you can see this rounded anthology emerging, which is always really exciting. It’s also nice to see the writers involved getting excited about it – it creates a wonderful buzz and makes the work worthwhile. I also love it when people want to get involved – I taught Writing for Children with author N.M. Browne earlier this year and was thrilled when she offered to write a short story for Timelines.
What do you like least about it?
Negotiating budgets and the amount of red-tape that is often involved.
How did you come up with the idea of doing historical short stories?
Sherry Ashworth came up with the theme. If I remember correctly she thought it would make an excellent theme because stories set in the past actually allowed the writers to be inventive – there are no modern ‘story-telling-restrictions’ such as the internet and mobile phones. The theme also gives scope for a lot of subgenres: there could still be romance, action, thrillers and so on.
Do you think there is a market for children’s short story?
This is a tricky question. I think, and I know Sherry and Livi will agree with me, that there is. The big publishers however might not agree because there are hardly any anthologies of short stories for children out there. Good job Timelines is coming out in October to change that!
And to let you know, Timelines will launch as part of the Manchester Literature Festival at John Rylands Library on Saturday, 19th October, 1pm – 2.30pm.
thank you very much Iris for this insightful interview