Friday, October 31, 2014

Six Questions for Mike Lafontaine, Editor-in-Chief, Vending Machine Press

Vending Machine Press is a new and independent journal aimed at giving writers an avenue for their writing to reach a wider audience. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Mike Lafontaine: Well I have always 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 naively wanted to create a modern day version of the Beat Generation writers that had an avenue for their writing and a place where likeminded people can get published and foster a writing community where everyone could meet up in a bar and talk about writing and get drunk. 

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

ML: An interesting protagonist or antagonist. Clear concise writing the narrative flows and the story builds to something. It could be a life changing moment or simply walking out of a convenience store with a six pack of beer. 

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission (besides the converse of the above)?
ML: Well obviously some submitters have never read any of the stories in past issues - others submit stories with spelling mistakes, poor grammar, wacky fonts, just the standard rookie type errors.

SQF: As of this interview, you’ve published five issues. What has surprised you the most so far?

ML: The quality of the writing. It has been consistently good which is hard when sometimes I have to decline a writer who is a very good writer it's just that the story they have submitted although a good story it does not fit the aesthetic of the journal.

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, Cease Cows, DOGZPLOT, Word Riot, Fried Chicken & Coffee, Montucky Review, Mad Swirl, Red Fez, PANK, Hobart, Camel Saloon, Cheap Pop, Whiskey Paperto 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 the journal would be Pavement I think it's “Slanted and Enchanted” at the moment, It’s a great record but I think my aim is to be “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” with the First Birthday Issue coming up it will totally be at that level. There are some very fine writers in that issue.

If the journal was just a single song I think it aspires 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.

NEXT POST: 11/7—Six Questions For Pamela Tyree Griffin, Editor, The Shine Journal

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