Yesterday I ran the first half of my recent interview with Prime Books' award-winning horror editor Paula Guran, who's responsible for some of the most popular genre anthologies out there today, including the annual Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror series. (Check it out here.) After the jump, check out part 2 of our chat, and learn about some of Prime's anthologies and novels that will be out in 2012.
What's next for you? What anthologies are you working on now? And how have you gone about selecting the themes?
In addition to editing some great novels and acquiring for 2013, I've just finished Witches: Wicked, Wild & Wonderful and am close to done with Obsession: Tales of Irresistible Desire. I'm making decisions on The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and working on content for The Mammoth Book of Angels & Demons (Constable-Robinson/Running Press) as well as Extreme Zombies, Ghosts: Recent Hauntings, Rock On: The Best of Science Fiction & Fantasy, and, for the winter holidays, Season of Wonder. I'm trying to line up what I am doing for 2013 – which will probably include two all-original anthologies.
As for themes, I try to look for something that's interesting to me, that I know I can find great stories for, and that I think will sell.
What other horror or dark fantasy offerings does Prime have in store for 2012?
January: Everything is Broken (a novel), John Shirley – tsunami hits West Coast. April: Sword & Blood, Sarah Marques (novel) -- vampire musketeers August: Living Dead Girl, Susan Sizemore (novel) – a young woman becomes one of the shinigami (soul-reapers responsible for ridding the world of evil, vengeful ghosts). October: Royal Blood, Sarah Marques (novel) -- vampire musketeers number 2 November: Bloody Fabulous, Ekaterina Sedia (anthology) – the theme is the dark side of fashion
What's the secret to constructing the perfect anthology?
I'm not sure anything can be perfect, but any good anthology needs well written stories and variety. If it's themed, variety within the theme. You also need something of a mix of styles, within the context, and even of length and pacing. You compose an anthology somewhat like one composes music. There is a lot of thought (and a lot of reading) put into such a composition. Reprint anthologies are a chance to allow folks to discover great fiction that they may have missed when first published, perhaps find new authors to seek out. You are also presenting stories in a new context, sometimes even providing an informative overview of a theme or era.
What recent anthologies have impressed you outside of those published by Prime?
Ellen Datlow had a stellar year, even by her own high standards, with Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, Supernatural Noir, and (with Terri Windling) Teeth. Ann and Jeff Vandermeer hit another home run with The Thackeray T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Exhibits, Oddities, Images, and Stories from Top Authors and Artists. I really enjoyed Welcome to Bordertown by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner...I have a stack of anthologies from the World Fantasy Convention and more I'm reading... There are more.
Do you ever worry the market will become too saturated with anthologies?
Not really. I think it can become saturated with too many of one kind/ theme or another, but not overall.
How has Prime managed to grow despite Borders -- and many Barnes & Nobles stores -- closing?
We do good books. Past that, we are working with our distributor, Diamond, in getting those good books into more channels.
In real life, what's your greatest fear?
I'm not frightened of the supernatural. Humans do truly scarier things than anything nonhuman. Otherwise my personal fears are probably very mundane--like earning enough to make a living, worrying about loved ones, and the like
Thanks for all of your time, Paula.