As we continue to celebrate our tenth year of publication, we’re highlighting and giving a special behind-the-scenes peek into the minds of the fantastic editors we have here at LSQ. Today, meet editor and blogger Cathrin Hagey!
LSQ: How long have you been an editor for LSQ? Tell us a bit about what drew you to the position and what you’ve learned while in it.
Cathrin: I think I began as an editor early in 2014. I first became aware of LSQ in 2011 and had a story published that year. I was a fan and read all the issues. In 2013, I left my job to care for an ill family member and began working from home. Shortly afterward, Jennifer [ed-in-chief] advertised for editors and I applied. Editing for LSQ has given me an opportunity to immerse myself in stories written by women-identified authors on a regular basis. Wading in like this makes me feel more connected to women from around the world, their flights of imagination, the issues they care about. The main thing I’ve learned is that, after centuries of oppression, we have only begun to reveal the stuff we can dream up.
LSQ: You’re not only an editor for LSQ, but also a blogger as well, writing the monthly column “What’s in a Fairy Tale.” Can you tell us a bit about your own writing? What prompted you to start this column?
Cathrin: I started my own website in 2010 (shameless plug: www.cathrinhagey.com), and as I was fishing for things to blog about, I came across the online archives of the Journal of Mythic Arts (https://endicottstudio.typepad.com/jomahome/), edited by Terri Windling, and the outstanding blog of author and folklorist Katherine Langrish, Seven Miles of Steel Thistles (https://steelthistles.blogspot.com/). These two resources not only reawakened my early love of fairy tales, they showed me that such a love is a testament to the power, depth, and significance of fairy tales to our evolution as conscious beings. My own writing has been influenced by this realization ever since.
LSQ: Where do you think women-identifying authors currently sit at the table of speculative fiction? What about as characters? What about in the future?
Cathrin: I don’t claim to know much, but I believe we are in the midst of a renaissance for women-identified authors of speculative fiction. The wave is cresting and it’s headed for shore. There is no going back.
LSQ: As an editor for LSQ, tell us a bit about the top aspects you wish to see in a published story. Are there sub-genres that you feel are over-submitted or under-submitted? Is there a sub-genre or topic that you would like to see more of?
Cathrin: I hesitate to prescribe certain sub-genres or to say that certain ideas have been over or under-submitted. It’s possible for an inspired author to take something time-worn and make it sing again. Anything can happen when the muse strikes. As far as what I like to see in a story . . .Wow! Where do I begin? A good story is always surprising in some way. It has momentum, a forward energy surge that keeps me reading. Its structure is sound, though it might be subtle. Characters have motivation and make me care whether or not their needs are met. Someone changes, for good or ill. A few sentences will make me stop, reread, savor.
LSQ: What are the most common errors in manuscripts that you come across (e.g., typos, plot holes, characterizations, worn tropes, etc.)?
Cathrin: Nearly every story has something that can be improved and at least one thing to recommend it. I’ve read so many stories now that I really can’t say what the most common error is. As for my pet peeve, it’s all about the typos. When there are more than ten, it takes me out of the tale. I hope that doesn’t sound petty.
LSQ: Do you have a favorite LSQ-published story, one that has stuck with you? If so, which one?
Cathrin: A lot of our stories have stuck with me, but the following really got under my skin, for various reasons: “The Woodsman” by Jan Stinchcomb for horror; “The Five Snowflakes” by Rebecca Harrison for fairy tales; “Her Data Like Fingerprints” by Ashley M. Hill for science fiction.