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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Interview with Tim Marquitz & Tyson Mauermann (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Tim Marquitz and Tyson Mauermann are the gentlemen editors for Manifesto UF, a collection which is proving to be quite a read. I'll be reviewing it soon and so until then, here are Tyson and Tim as they tell us how this anthology came to be...

Q] Thank you for this opportunity and welcome to Fantasy Book Critic. Could you tell us about the inception of this anthology and how did the both of you come together for this project? 

Tyson: When Tim approached me to work on Manifesto UF, it was to help take on more of the work and to also give me the experience to see a project from its inception all the way to publication. Tim and I have been collaborating together on his last few novels and in a way this was the next logical step in our relationship.

Tim: Stacey (from Angelic Knight Press) and I spoke about me doing more anthologies for her after Fading Light. She told me she would happily take one a year, and we pretty much agreed on that idea. Manifesto is round two, and I wanted to do something different than horror and figured urban fantasy would be a good choice given my background.

It was when I sat down to really process the anthology that I realized I’d probably dug a deeper hole than I was ready to climb out of. Having worked with Tyson on the Demon Squad books, it seemed a no-brainer to ask him to help. He said yes, and here we are.

Q] Urban fantasy often takes potshots from readers and bloggers who take disdainful stands against it. Some of their claims have merit but many others are collateral damage from PNR. With this anthology, what are you folks aiming for? 

Tyson: There is no doubt that Urban Fantasy has a bit of an uphill battle for a lot of reviewers and readers. Even I only have a few favorites and tend to ignore others. What Tim and I set out to do with this anthology is to define the genre. To find some of the best examples from very talented authors that would help define Urban Fantasy. It’s not all about vampires but angels and demons to dragons and monks and everything in-between. If anything, we are just trying to showcase the genre with a range of stories that should appeal to even the discernible readers.

Tim: My hope was that I could bring some small measure of my small reputation to bear on that exact problem. I wasn't looking for disguised PNR. While I wanted a broader range of stories, our goal was to toe the line of urban fantasy and showcase the difference between the two genres. I think we succeeded, and while there might be sex in the book, there damn sure isn't anything resembling traditional romance.

Q] Can you tell us about the lineup of stories assembled in this anthology? How did you go about parsing through the stories for the collection? 

Tyson: We first went about choosing which stories we felt would help define Urban Fantasy and from there Tim and I decided to make the collection never really hit a low. The anthologies that we have read tend to stack the front of the collection with the best stories and then they start to fizzle. We said from the beginning that we would try to keep the collection at a high point and the slower stories would be spaced out keeping the reader entertained and eager to see what is next.

Q] This question is for Tyson, who is a reviewer and now has made a competent switch to the editorial side. How did this come to be? 

Tyson: Competent may be an exaggeration but I'll take what I can get. When I started reviewing I was a high school English and History teacher, specializing in helping students improve their writing skills to prepare for the state exam. As a hobby I started blogging about what I read for good or bad and my website wasn't generating the hits I was looking for so I joined up with a few fellow reviewers and started a new website, Speculative Book Review, that has had moderate success.

As a reviewer, and I am sure you are the same way, I go into my reviews with the goal to stay true to myself and followers; when Tim wrote Armageddon Bound, introducing us to Frank Trigg and his Demon Squad series, I gave him my honest opinion and we kept in touch. From there, a friendship developed and he asked me how I would feel editing a novel in the future. And the rest they say is history.

Q] Tim, I remember for the last couple of Demon Squad titles, Tyson has taken on the edits. Could you recall for our readers how this change occurred? 

Tim: It was a pretty natural progression of our friendship. Ty has been giving me honest and blunt criticism and praise regarding my work for a while now, both in reviews and behind the scenes. When I realized he was looking to move into the editing world, it seemed a smart move to put him to work. I needed someone to clean up my mess, and he was willing to do it. His presence forces me to become better at what I do, and that can only be seen as a good thing.

Q] This question might be a bit difficult, but among this varied collection which ones are your favourite ones as a reader for you both? 

Tyson: Tim and I didn't fight over any of the stories in the collection; we each felt that the stories chosen had to be in the collection. At one point we had 17 or 18 stories already accepted and had planned to cap it off but a handful of amazing stories came in last minute. After we both had a chance to weigh in on their inclusion; we felt they were strong enough to be in the anthology. As for my favorites, it is difficult to choose but being a reviewer, I really pull for Dharmasankat by Abhinav Jain and Toejam and Shrapnel by Nick Sharps, they are polar opposites story-wise that are well-written by two outstanding authors who I hope make it in the writing world and deserve success.

Tim: I’m not going to play the favorite game here because I like all of the stories. Wouldn't have put them in the book if I didn't.

Q] Conversely among all the stories, which was the story/s that surprised completely depending on the author’s previous work or pedigree? 

Tyson: The first story that comes immediately to mind is Zachary Jernigan’s I’m an Animal, You’re an Animal, Too. Anyone who has read his debut No Return should expect something completely different, I know I did.

Tim: I think Salyards’ stands out because it’s so different from what he’s known for. He and I had discussed it ahead of time, so I knew it was coming, but I love the fact that Jeff went left field for his piece and didn't conform to anyone’s ideas as to his writing.

Q] So what can readers expect from this amazing collection and what should they be looking forward to according to you? 

Tyson: Aside from the stories mentioned above, a few of my favorites are Timothy Baker’s Front Lines, Big City, he manages to wrap a lot of background into an action-packed story that could easily become a series of novels, it left me craving for more. Adam Millard’s Savage Rise is one probably my all-time favorite in the anthology as it leaves you with a lot of questions and begs you to find out what comes next.

Q] Will this anthology be a one-time thing or is there a possibility for it becoming a series perhaps exploring further exploring different aspects of this sub-genre? 

Tyson: Tim and I have plans to do more anthologies together in future. I know Tim has a lot on his plate right now with Kaiju Rising and as soon as he finds some breathing room we will more than likely start hashing out ideas for the next one. A sequel hasn't really been tossed around much but anything is possible.

Tim: There will definitely be more, but likely not until next year. Ty and I are separately processing our interests and will get together at some point to decide what we do. He’s been getting bombarded by folks wondering what we’re gonna do, and I've have a few private conversations regarding ideas, so whatever we come up with, I imagine it will be something fun and enticing.

Q] In closing, are there any last thoughts or comments you’d like to share with our readers? 

Tyson: I just want to say thanks for having the two of us; the whole process has been surreal. I check in on FBC several times a week to see if there is anything I should be reading and to now be featured is something I never saw coming. I also want to thank everyone involved with the anthology.

Tim: Definitely thanks for having us. I want to thank Tyson for all his hard work and Carter Reid for the fantastic cover, as well as the Angelic Knight folks who have been nothing but supportive of me. I think the authors in Manifesto created a book that will resonate, so I hope folks go out and read it. Thanks, everyone.

NOTE: Thanks to Tim and Tyson for the pictures.



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