SQF: All Due Respect recently changed format from an online publication to a digital/hard copy magazine. In addition, authors are paid a professional rate. What was the thinking that went into these changes.
Chris Rhatigan: Our anthology, which everyone in the world should read (or at least buy, so that we can get rich), did quite well, so we decided to expand our modest operation. With the following we've established, we thought we'd be justified in leaving the blog format behind. And paying writers is something that I've always wanted to do. Lastly, our staff has tripled from just me to editor Mike Monson and publisher CJ Edwards, with Full Dark City Press--so now we have the capacity to eat the world. (Or something.)
SQF: What do you look for in a story? Another way to ask this is, What is it about a story that gives the author an edge over the competition?
CR: Write about crime from a criminal's perspective. That's still at the core of what we do. Spend a lot of time working over your prose. There's a misguided notion that language is less important in genre fiction. I think that's what makes golden-era noir and detective fiction (Chandler, Cain, Highsmith) so good is that the writing is superior. Sure, the plots work, but if you read a paragraph from any of those writers it's immediately noticeable how capable they are with language. Also, make sure to have a wealth of atmosphere (preferably of the grimy, bar floor variety) and a lot of attitude. And, oh yeah, format the thing according to our guidelines.
SQF: What's likely to turn your off to a submission?
CR: Someone who clearly hasn't read the magazine and sends us a standard police procedural. Unless your name is Lawrence Block, you shouldn't be writing about a hit man. Serial killer stories have also been done enough. Also, proofread the damn thing until your eyes hurt.
SQF: Which of the following statements is true and why? Plot is more important than character. Character is more important than plot. Plot and character are equally important.
CR: Character is more important than plot. Every plot has been done. It's those doing the doing (uh, characters) who make it interesting. Although, actually, I think style is more important than either. Style can take a lackluster plot and an average main character and make them unique.
SQF: What magazines, hard copy or online, do you read most often?
CR: Shotgun Honey, Beat to a Pulp, Needle, Thuglit, Crime Factory, Pulp Modern.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
CR: What else are you changing at All Due Respect?
We'll be including a featured author section each issue. This spot will be reserved for an elite, established crime fiction author. This author will contribute a short story and an interview. We may include other items, such as a review of the author's latest book, or a retrospective on the author's career, or a piece by the author about a crime fiction legend. Our hope is that bringing in these featured writers will expand our readership beyond the usual and highlight the best short fiction in the genre.
We'll also be including reviews, editors' choices for new and classic books, and other non-fiction.
Thank you, Chris. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 11/19--Six Questions for Alexandre Mandarino, Editor, Hyperpulp