Richard Thomas, frequent contributor to Pantheon Magazine, has an exciting new project in the works. Gamut Magazine promises to be a fantastic addition tot he world of genre publishing. Check out the Kickstarter here, and contribute if you can!
SR: This fabulous idea of yours seems to have sprung up from nowhere, but you’ve clearly put a lot of thought into it. How long have you been planning this project?
RT: I can remember sitting in a cafe in Chicago with two friends of mine, Pat and Barkley, and talking about Gamut as a zine. That had to be 15 years ago. About ten years ago I crunched the numbers again, and again recently, but the print and shipping costs didn’t work. The online version is something new, that I think could really work, be something special, a cool place to hang, read, and interact.
SR: You have some of my favorite authors on your list of future contributors. MOST of my favorites, actually. What’s your strategy for reaching out to busy authors and asking for stories? Did you threaten Paul Tremblay with pickles?
RT: I know better than to threaten Paul with a pickle. Luckily I’ve worked with most of the authors who are contributing. The ones I haven’t worked with, I’ve probably dropped a note on Twitter or Facebook to say how cool a story was or something. Some I didn’t know at all, but love their writing. A few reached out to me, and I read their writing, and thought, “This is great, they MUST be involved.” All of the authors are voices that inspire me, influence me, and move me, in a wide range (a gamut, you might say) of emotions. Plus I think it helps we’re paying ten cents a word.
SR: If you could have any story from any author from any time period for Gamut, what story would you choose?
RT: Without a doubt, Will Christopher Baer. I tried to get Godspeed at Dark House Press, as well as a story for The New Black, and his agent never heard back from him. His trilogy, especially Kiss Me, Judas, really influenced my own voice. He’s become a bit of a ghost, but man, I hope he resurfaces.
SR: I know you’re going to begin with solicited content, but do you have an idea of when you might open up to general submissions?
RT: Hopefully later in 2016. If we publish new stories and reprints every week, I’ll need 52 of each, so that leaves at least a dozen I’ll need from people that aren’t already involved.
SR: You’re well-known as a mentor to many emerging authors. What advice do you have for authors who would like to submit to Gamut? Any editor pet peeves to avoid?
RT: You’re too kind. Here are some pet peeves and things I love. Don’t open with dialogue. Don’t use the work FUCK in the first sentence, or 100 times. Have a good hook, and a powerful ending—usually they’re related. Innovate—don’t write the same plot, use the same monsters, tell the same story. Be YOU. Be that special snowflake I know you are. Be weird, but not for the sake of being weird, be different, surprise me. Make me care about your characters, and make me feel something. What does my pal Chuck Palahniuk say? “Teach me something, make me laugh, and then break my heart.” Do that.
SR: Thanks for bringing an exciting new project to the lit world, Richard!
RT: THANK YOU! For supporting this, and being a part of it, too.