Interview with Jason Sizemore of Apex Publications

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I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a number of Apex Publications books lately, and I’m thrilled to have Managing Editor and the owner of Apex Publications, Jason Sizemore, visiting today! He’s going to tell us all a bit more about Apex and his roles in the company.

Welcome to Books, Bones & Buffy, Jason! I’m so pleased to have you here. I’ve enjoyed so many titles from Apex Books, and it’s a pleasure to be able to ask you some questions. Tell us about your role at Apex Publications. Do you wear more than one hat?

Apex has three primary villains (me, senior editor Janet Harriett, and marketing/social media editor Lesley Conner) and a whole army of beloved minions. Typically, when I share this information, I’m met with surprise that we’re such a small company. And I take such surprise as a great compliment!

Being a small (dare I say…tiny?) business, this necessitates all of us wearing different hats. I edit. I design books (not the covers…those I have done professionally). I run our websites. So on and so forth.

Your co-editor is Eugene Johnson. Can you explain your roles and how co-editors work together to create a story anthology?

In our case, we agreed on the anthology theme and came up with a list of writers we would like to see tackle the theme. Both editors had to thumbs up any story that went into the book. From the artwork to the editing, it was a very collaborative process.

    Appalachian Undead      Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00075]

How did the idea of Appalachian Undead and Mountain Dead come about?

Eugene and I are both Appalachian boys (he’s from West Virginia, I’m from eastern Kentucky). We both love zombie fiction. It felt like a good combination for us to present to readers.

What is the most challenging part of editing a story collection?

I would say finding the right tone for the story collection as a whole. For any anthology, you’re going to have a set of stories good enough to make it into the book, but for various reasons won’t. In the case of Appalachian Undead, we wanted this to be a serious horror anthology, but not dark. So we needed a balance of occasional humor mixed in with the gore and scares.

These collections contain stories by both new and seasoned authors.  Was it difficult to find a balance between the two?

We went into the project knowing we wanted a mix of seasoned pros and new blood. We also wanted to attain an equal balance of male/female (though this is hard to dictate as we’re at the mercy of the quality of the stories submitted). Finally, even though the theme was Appalachia, we did want writers with different perspectives to be represented.

It is much easier attaining a balance of new versus established.

You are also the publisher and executive editor at Apex Magazine. Can you give us some background on this online magazine and tell us how the two companies fit together?

Apex Magazine is a short fiction zine of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Much of what we publish leans toward magic realism, new weird, and darker SF and fantasy. We’ve had the honor of being nominated for the Hugo Award the past two years! You can read the zine for free at http://www.apex-magazine.com.

The magazine is a separate entity from the book side of the company. Although we do run ads for Apex Publications in Apex Magazine and sometimes reprint authors from our book line, the zine is not a platform to promote the books. It is a separate piece of genre tastiness all its own.

Do you have any advice for writers who may want to submit stories or novels to Apex?

Apex Magazine is generally open to submissions nine months of every year. Our guidelines page is: http://www.apex-magazine.com/submission-guidelines/.

Our book line won’t be open to submissions for the next six months. We have a backlist of inventory that we need to publish before we take on anything new. Sorry!

Can you give us an idea of what’s next at Apex Books?

Coming soon is The Book of Apex: Volume 4 of Apex Magazine. This is an anthology that collects all the original fiction published in issues 30 through 44 of Apex Magazine into one print book.

After that, we have a novel from J.M. McDermott titled Maze…it is a hard one to categorize…certainly weird, dark, and spec-fic.

My readers would like to get to know you better. Please tell us three things about you that can’t be found on the website.

  • I was once featured in the Wall Street Journal for my love of pumpkin spice latte. Being the hipster that I am, I’m starting to stick my nose up at the spice and am considering other coffee options. Maybe your readers will have some suggestions?
  • I was kicked out of high school English class because I answered “Dr. Seuss” when the teacher asked me who my least favorite writer was. I learned a hard lesson that day—don’t disrespect Dr. Seuss!
  • George Romero said to me “You would make a great zombie, you know that?” Sometimes it is difficult being so fair-skinned.

About Jason:

earbudsBorn the son of an unemployed coal miner in a tiny Kentucky Appalachian villa named Big Creek (population 400), Jason fought his way out of the hills to the big city of Lexington. He attended Transylvania University (real school with its own vampire) and received a degree in computer science. Since 2004, he has owned and operated Apex Publications. He is the editor of five anthologies, a Stoker Award loser, an occasional writer, and usually can be found wandering the halls of hotel conventions seeking friends and free food.

Some helpful links: *Apex Publications Website * Apex Magazine Website * Jason Sizemore Twitter * Apex on Twitter *Apex on Facebook *

Awesome interview, Jason! Thank you so much for stopping by! 

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Posted October 25, 2013 by Tammy in Author Interviews, Giveaways / 40 Comments

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40 responses to “Interview with Jason Sizemore of Apex Publications

  1. Bonnie Franks

    I would want to read this based on the cover alone! Thanks for the giveaway and the interesting interview.

  2. I’d be interested. The setting will be interesting… I grew up in rural WV. And I got out ASAP 😛 I looked up the census info, we had 800 residents (I wasn’t technically that city, but it’s what’s in the mailing address). I can’t believe there’s a smaller place! We had a little under 400 people in my high school (so, 400 people of high school age, in school, in the entire county :-P). I just can’t imagine a town being made up of that few people.

  3. I would love a copy of this book. I firmly believe the people of Appalachia can successfully take on the zombie horde. Being a southerner myself I know how enterprising people from rural areas can be. The zombies are goners. Great interview! michelle_willms(at)yahoo(dot)com.

  4. I found your blog through Rainy Day Ramblings. So glad to have discovered you and now following. I’m loving the cover art for these. I’ve read Rhiannon Fraters, Untold Tales zombie seres with this kind of cover art and The Amish Bloodsuckers series. There’s something about this cover art that sucks me in. Would be delighted to have a print copy and have got to read this!
    Mountain people should be able to handle a few zombies. I’m picturing the movie Southern Comfort. They are not to be trifled with and have their own code.
    Thanks for this giveaway and interview and helping me to discover a new author to follow!

  5. The cover art and the name alone tell me that this is a “must read” for me. I want this book. I can tell from the interview that this is one to be read in one sitting, forget about everything else, just relax and enjoy.

  6. Super cool to read more about the evil genius behind Apex. I have the old print editions of Apex Magazine through I think issue 13. A great interview.

    • Jason Sizemore

      Donald, that’s awesome you have all the old print editions. Not that I would call them collector items just yet, but I do get a lot of requests for back issues from folks looking to fill out missing issues.

  7. What I found most appealing about this anthology was that Apex anthology strove to find a “balance of occasional humor mixed in with the gore and scares.” I find horror and gore to be entertaining by themselves, but it’s nice to have humorous moments to “break up” the tension and give the reader’s a break.

  8. So, first it was “Harlan County Horrors”, now these two… Are you trying to say that Kentucky is even stranger, creepier and more terrifying that most Americans already believe it is? Actually, since I know Jason, I know that must be true. 🙂

  9. Being from the tiny, and terrifying, town of Harlan, Ky – I can only imagine the zombie apocalypse began there already. I love Apex!!

  10. Hey there, Tammy, I found your blog through the Dystopian giveaway hop. I was pulled in by Books and Buffy, lol. 😀

    Heya Jason! Omigod, did I read the end of the interview right? Did you talk with THE George Romero?? All someone has to do is say, “zombies,” and I am so there! I’m wondering why Dr. Seuss is your least favorite writer?

    • Jason Sizemore

      Hi,
      I did talk with THE George Romero. He’s a really, really nice guy. Not that I know him well. I got to hang with him for a few minutes after hours at one of these horror cons.

      Re: Dr. Seuss–Back then, I felt like he was overrated. I’ve mellowed on that stance as I’ve aged. Now I appreciate him as one of the earliest and best rappers to work rhymes.

  11. Danielle Jones

    Oh my I can’t wait to read this book. We don’t live to far from Eastern Ky. As soon as I saw the cover it made me think of all the times we ride thru there at night…lol gave me the creeps.

  12. Emi

    The cover art is great and the Appalachians are a great place for zombies because people keep to themselves up there.

  13. Kevin Jackson

    I love what Apex is doing. The books they release and their magazine are of consistently high quality and deserve a much wider readership so that they can continue to do what they do best.

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