Vending Machine Press is a new and independent journal aimed at giving writers an avenue for their writing to reach a wider audience. Every bi-monthly issue we will publish the finest stories and poems from around the world. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Mike Lafontaine: Well I have been fascinated by Jack Kerouac and The Beat Generation writers, since I was a teenager. I always wanted to be part of a place where writers could get published, I very naively wanted to create a modern version of Beat Generation writers that had an avenue to publish their stories and poems and me and my co-founder, Marcus, are hoping that Vending Machine Press (VMP) is a place where likeminded people can get published and further their writing careers and perhaps sometime down the road all the writers who have been published could get together and hang out and talk writing and drink whiskey that would be cool.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
ML: A consistent narrative, a clear voice and not boring, it must have some thing to say, as we state in our submissions page in our website. There is no theme. Write whatever you like. It could be about the love of your life or about wandering around drunk in Walmart at 1am in the morning. Whatever it is, make it interesting.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission (besides the converse of the above)?
ML: Incoherence, spelling mistakes, stories that appear to be first drafts, just sloppy writing, overall, not so much the poetry we receive. It has always been consistently good. We want more poetry. We don’t get enough of it.
SQF: As of this interview, you’ve published five issues. What has surprised you the most so far?
ML: It has been a steep learning curve. There are only two of us running this journal myself and Marcus, the other co-founder. There have been times when there have been disagreements, but overall it’s been an interesting experience and something that hopefully continues to grow. We have had wonderful feedback for the issues so far, so that pleases me.
SQF: What magazines do you read most often?
ML: I guess I look at a lot of journals I always have. I am a writer myself so I dig
Literary Orphans, Split Lip Magazine, DOGZPLOT, Word Riot, Fried Chicken & Coffee, Montucky Review, Gutter Eloquence, Mad Swirl, Sundog Lit, Red Fez, PANK, Hobart, Camel Saloon, Cheap Pop, Whiskey Paper, Cease Cows, to name a few.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
ML: If your journal was a band which band would it be and what album in their discography?
I would say our journal would be “Pavement” I think we are “Slanted and Enchanted” at the moment. It’s a great record. I think we aim to be “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.” I don’t think we are yet, but our First Birthday Issue in December should hopefully get us to that level. If we were just a single song, I think we aim to be “Alison” by “Slowdive.” That’s one of the most perfect songs I have ever heard.
Thank you, Mike. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
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