LSQ has a group of wonderful editors reading and preparing stories for every issue. They’ve graciously agreed to answer some questions so we can all get to know them a bit better. Today we get to learn more about Tara Calaby.
Hi Tara! First off, please tell us a bit about yourself. Have any super powers or secret talents?
My mind is a giant warehouse of obscure facts that serve no actual use in day-to-day life. Some may call that a detriment. I choose to believe it’ll come in handy one day.
What’s your favorite indulgence?
Salt and vinegar crisps. Although “indulgence” implies that I eat them far less often than I do.
What random objects do you use to bookmark your books?
Theatre tickets and shopping dockets are probably the main ones.
What are your thoughts on fanfiction?
I think it’s an excellent practicing ground for writers and a fun way for fans to engage with their favourite books, films and TV shows. I’m glad that creators are becoming more and more open to fanfiction, because it does a lot for the popularity of a fandom.
That said, it’s always frustrating when fanfic is submitted to LSQ. We want *your* universe, not your favourite author’s.
What do you think about YA literature and its popularity with adults?
I’ve never stopped reading YA fiction, so I’m mostly just amused that now it’s become the standard. That said, I feel like sometimes young adults themselves are suffering from the trend. The big publishers these days are always looking for books with crossover value, and I think there’s a lot to be said for the books that *don’t* resonate with adults as well as with teens. I miss the days of 100-page YA novels, which were accessible to all kinds of readers and much easier to get through than the current 500-page tomes.
Do you think much about whether the stories in LSQ or your own stories are respected as literature?
I generally think that modern literary fiction has a very different goal to my writing and to the type of writing I enjoy. I like a bit of substance with my style. People who consider genre fiction inferior to literary fiction are just revealing their own personal biases and I’m never bothered by that.
Do you think things are getting better for women in speculative fiction? How about in other areas?
If I went into detail here, it would involve many thousands of words of angry feminist ranting. Suffice to say, I strongly believe that things are getting worse for women. Increasingly so.
Most writers are lifelong readers and books tend to be important to them. What books or stories have most influenced your life (genre stories or otherwise)?
I love the classics – anything by Zola, Austen or the Brontes, and I also adore Dracula and The Woman in White. I’m an enormous fan of the Sweet Valley universe, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Stephen King has been a big influence since an early age, and I love Sarah Waters. I’m fussy with my fantasy reading but I have a Dragonlance collection that is rather frightening in size.
I’m always fascinated by where and how people work. What is your writing setup like? Any tools you enjoy using?
I have a desk that doubles as a sewing table and a computer that’s dedicated to writing, editing and studying, as an attempt to keep my head in the right place. Of course, despite all this, I tend to end up scribbling stories in notebooks.
What got you excited about being an editor for LSQ?
LSQ is such an amazing venue for women’s writing. I’ve always been a huge fan of its mission and its content, so I was ridiculously excited when I got the chance to be a big part of it. My involvement is, and will always be, something that I’m extremely proud of.
What gets you excited about a LSQ submission?
I’m excited when we get a good horror submission. I love the genre, but there’s a real dearth of horror markets at the moment and I think that’s been reflected in submissions. More generally speaking, I love crisp, concise prose, great ideas and excellent female characters. I’m a sucker for a piece that says a lot between the lines. Diversity is amazing and I’m always excited when we get pieces by writers who live outside Britain, Australia and North America. LGBT+ characters score a few extra points from me when I’m reading a story, and if it’s a strong feminist piece with a lesbian protagonist, I’ll be particularly pleased.
What have you been up to lately? Do you have any books out right now? Are you working on anything new?
I recently got married to my lovely wife Ephiny and planning the wedding has been taking up a lot of my time. I’ve also been very busy with study, as I have recently completed a Grad.Cert in Gender Studies to fill in some gaps before applying for PhD programs. With all that going on, I’ve not been in the right place for much fiction writing, but I’ve had several things published this year, including a couple of blatantly feminist pieces that tied in very nicely with my studies!
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
I have a website at http://taracalaby.com and I really need to get better at updating it now that I have a little more free time!