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Elastic Press Interview

Posted on 18 March 2004. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to the short story publisher Elastic Press, 'publishing at the edges of reality and fantasy'.

Tell us something about your background.

Elastic Press was started because I had been seeking a publisher for my own collection of short fiction, and had found the choice of markets to be very limited. Deciding to investigate self-publishing opportunities, I discovered that digital printing had effectively made independent publishing both flexible and affordable. As soon as I realised this then the possibility of publishing other titles, other than my own book, completely opened up. It seemed a natural gap in the market to promote those authors who had some fiction already published in the small press, and who needed something more substantial in print in order to continue making a name for themselves. Beginning with my own anthology (The Virtual Menagerie – short listed for a British Fantasy Society Award for best collection 2003), Elastic Press has since published six other books, and has a wide selection of interesting titles lined up for the next twelve months.

What kind of ethos is behind the company?

I publish the fiction that excites me and which I find impossible to ignore, regardless of any other considerations.

What kind of writers do you work with and why?

As Elastic Press develops I’m realising that my tendency is to publish writers with distinct authorial voices. Whilst each anthology often contains a mixture of genres, (such as Gary Couzens’ “Second Contact”) the author’s individual style holds the book together. I’ve also been quoted as saying, “we don’t do egos at Elastic”, which has a lot of truth in it. All the writers I’ve worked with have been down-to-earth human beings, whose writing speaks for itself.

Who are your favourite writers/writing and why?

I enjoy writing that challenges our perceptions of the world, whether in a serious or playful way. Authors such as Tom Robbins, Kafka, and Nabokov, are always high on my reading list; with Sartre’s Nausea probably being my favourite book. As far as short stories are concerned Raymond Carver takes some beating, as does M. John Harrison.

What excites you about a piece of writing- what keeps you interested?

This is a difficult question to answer because different answers occur depending on which stories come to mind, but overall I’d have to plump for the individual story’s atmosphere – its intrinsic rhythm which makes it original and envelops the reader in the fiction – regardless of plot or genre considerations.

And what turns you off- any big obvious no-no’s?

I’m not a fan of what I perceive to be bulk-standard horror stories, drug induced fiction, or literary stories which try to be overly clever for no obvious reason than to be overly clever. These kinds of fiction often don’t seem to have a heart and follow too many well-trodden formulaic paths. What I do like are character driven stories (such as Andrew Humphrey’s Open The Box and Marion Arnott’s Sleepwalkers published by Elastic Press in 2003), where individuals are often complicit in the dilemmas they find themselves within.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Zigeroon at 19:47 on 20 March 2004  Report this post

Interesting article reinforcing the requirement for a professional approach in identifying the market and confirming that the submission accords with the target recipient.

Colin-M at 11:44 on 22 March 2004  Report this post
As a small publisher, with a limited budget(just guessing), how did you get over the hurdle of distribution?

Colin M

Becca at 06:20 on 27 March 2004  Report this post
Interesting interview. The independant press and writers, (often the same people), supporting each other is what I want to see more of. There is a network of small presses now in the East of England, a good move, maybe things will become healthier for short story writers in the Uk from now on.

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