SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Terri Jane: I started Severine because I read a lot of litmags, and because a lot of my friends are writers, and because I wanted a way to share writing that was shared with me to a wider audience. Without sounding too horribly self-aggrandising; I thought that other people might like the same kinds of art and writing that I liked.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
TJ: Firstly, I'm looking for something that grabs me. If I receive a submission and I wake up the next morning thinking about it, that usually means it's going in. I want to be excited about everything that's in an issue, and, so far, I have been.
Secondly; something that fits with the theme, in whatever capacity that might be. The themes are intentionally pretty broad, so that they're more open to interpretation. If it doesn't quite fit with the theme, but I really love it, I'll email the artist or writer and ask if I can hold on to it for a near-future issue. That's happened a couple of times.
Thirdly, I want Severine to be as diverse and inclusive as I am able to make it, because that's important. Submissions that are, help.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
TJ: If you're writing/making something that's misogynist, racist, or exclusive, please don't send it. Severine is not the place for it. Also, simultaneous submissions are fine, but cc'ing 20+ litmags really kind of isn't.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
TJ: Sometimes, but for the sake of time, usually not. Very early on, someone said to me that sending rejections is much worse than receiving them, and that's completely true. A rejection doesn't necessarily mean that the submission was bad, or that I didn't like it; sometimes it just means that it wasn't quite there, or that it doesn't quite fit with the theme or with the other pieces for the issue. I'm always happy to give feedback if asked, it just might take me a little while!
SQF: If you could have dinner with three authors, who would they be and why?
TJ: William Faulkner, because I love his writing and I would be a complete fangirl, even though I think he'd be utterly infuriating. And Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter, so that we could discuss feminist dystopia, and how frightening politics are. Maybe the three of us could gang up on Bill. Maybe he'd have to sit in the kitchen, sulking and smoking his pipe.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
TJ: I would've liked to answer something about where Severine is going, maybe because it was just a year (!) since the first issue, and I've been thinking about it a lot lately, so: I really want the magazine to be in print, so that's where I'm aiming, and I'd love to be able to pay contributors, because art and writing are valuable, and I think they should be treated as such. So hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, both of those things will come true!
Thank you, Terri. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.