Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Interview: Steve Clark/Tasmaniac Publications

***Steve Clark is an awesome dude—witty, and funny, and kind—as well as a great publisher. Tasmaniac’s limited edition novellas are beautiful and the stories gripping. I first stumbled onto them when Steve released Tom Piccirilli’s The Nobody and Mr. Clark hooked me up with a special deal (I know, I’m lucky.) Since then we’ve exchanged a lot of emails and I signed up to receive #12 of each book he puts together. They are a steal and some of my favorites to curl up with.

LT: When did you realize you wanted to publish some of the best authors in the business?

SC: I’d been wondering what it would be like to be a small press publisher ever since I started collecting small press titles some ten years ago, thinking it must be a wonderful endeavor to commission a piece from an author you admire, have it illustrated, bound and released to the public in the hope that they appreciate their talent too. The beginning of 2007 became a turning point, when I realized the only thing stopping me living out this dream was myself. Life’s too short to dwell and ponder so I went for it!

LT: What was your first title?

That would be Paul Kane’s THE LAZARUS CONDITION. A very different take on the zombie theme that was unlike anything I’d read before. I was asked to review Paul’s SIGNS OF LIFE, a year before Tasmaniac was established, and loved it. I was also a sub-editor on DARK ANIMUS issue 10/11 and pushed for Paul to offer a story, he came back with DIG THIS, and the rest is history.

THE LAZARUS CONDITION was such a special project. Wonderful illustrations from Dion Hammill with an introduction from US director Mick Garris (The Stand, The Shining). Paul also wrote the bonus short story, DEAD TIME, which later became adapted by Steve (30 Days of Night) Niles as NEW YEAR’S DAY, an episode for the US series FEAR ITSELF. With blurbs from Simon Clark, Tim Lebbon and Christopher Golden I just couldn’t of asked for a better launch.

LT: How long have you been involved in this nitty gritty biz?

SC: Woops! Kinda answered this in question one but yeah, 2007 was when I put my serious head on and pulled my finger out.

LT: What titles/authors can we look forward to in the future?

SC: What? And give away all the surprises in one hit! 
Next up is Tom Piccirilli’s THE LAST DEEP BREATH, our second Pic release following THE NOBODY. If you like fiction to grab a hold of you and threaten a swift kick to the gut then give this man a try, his noirellas take some beating.

We have our second FESTIVE FEAR anthology due out Christmas along withBrett McBean’s CONCRETE JUNGLE – the first of three novellas based on Brett’s Jungle mythos. There are going to be a couple of guest writers (one established, one new blood) offering their own take on this apocalyptic vision with each release. I’ve recently seen the cover from Steve Crisp (renowned for his UK Headline / Laymon series) and it’s excellent. Steve will be doing all three covers with Keith Minnion providing all the internal illustrations.
Next year will see our first all-hard cover release, BONE MARROW STEW by Tim Curran. A massive collection of Tim’s work heavily illustrated throughout by Keith Minnion. Beyond that my lips are sealed!

LT: Who’d win in a fight- You or Chuck Norris?

SC: The Good Guys Wear Black Norris would kick my ass quite easily thank you. The Walker, Texas Ranger Norris would also kick my ass with those terrible one-liners.

LT: Why did you specialize in novellas?

SC: Simply put, I personally enjoy reading them. Kinda nice to take a break, stretch out and read a substantial story in one sitting. I think for as long as Tasmaniac is around novellas will always be our main focus, but that isn’t to say there won’t be a different kind of project thrown into the mix from time to time.

LT: What interest do you have outside the publishing world?

SC: No prizes for guessing reading is high on the list! Always seem to have a book close at hand. Used to have a hobby farm and enjoyed breeding pigs (Large Whites) but my wife and I sold that property and bought a general store & post office, which pretty much takes up our time. My bulldog, Bubba, is getting on in years now and I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my constant companion. I enjoy watching cricket and the occasional box set on DVD. I also enjoy putting a smile on my wife’s face.

LT: What do you think of the growing digital formats? Will you incorporate any more e-packages like the great Simon Clark bundle you offer now (I bought and read it, and it’s a steal at 99 cents)

SC: Digital is here to stay, offering the publisher a cheaper option to distribute titles, whether they are novels, novellas or short stories. It also makes the decision easier for a publisher to give new authors some exposure, which is good for the genre. The Simon Clark e-package, THE CALLING & OTHER WRAITHS, was released in 2008 (before the digital hoopla boom) and was an exciting project for the author and myself. Incorporating the story, THE CALLING, being an accompanying piece to the novella, STONE COLD CALLING, a non- fiction piece where Simon offered writing tips to the budding scribe in us all and a short video shot by Simon, it was a fresh extension to the novella release.

Having said that I have no desire to release titles through the digital format. Better publishers than myself are doing it, and to be honest I don’t enjoy the experience. I much prefer a physical page to turn; as it stands I spend too many hours in front of the computer screen. A book in my hand equates to leisure time and is a million miles from anything work related.

LT: Real quick: Three favorite horror movies?

SC: Jaws - will always be my number one choice. Parents took me to the cinema to see this when I was seven and I’ve never been that scared since. I can watch it again and again.

Session 9 – because the last line freaked me out!

Angel Heart – great book, Mickey Rourke was at the top of his game, Robert De Niro, Courtney Pine on the soundtrack. Just perfect.

LT: What three books have moved you the most?

SC: Will There Really be a Morning? - Frances Farmer (autobiography)

Factotum – Charles Bukowski

Tooth Fairy – Graham Joyce

Touch Tasmaniac links: Killer Novellas at Tasmaniac

LT: Thanks a bunch for giving us your time, Steve!

SC: My pleasure Lee! Currently reading your novel NURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN and it’s a wonderful page-turner. Keep it up!

LT: Hey, you’re not supposed to give me a shout out. LOL. Thanks again. You rock, man!


K.Hinny said...

Steve and Lee, great interview. I especally connected with the "The only one that's stopping me is myself..." That's why I started writing. Those realizations are the most eye opening and greatest to have.

Good luck to you in all of your venture's Steve. Can't wait to check out your site. Thanks for posting Lee. I always like to find new places, since I'm a noob.

Lee Thompson said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Kara! I agree, too many people stop themselves from doing great things. You're always a sweetheart. And you won't be a noob for long. Pick up one of Tassie novellas and enjoy yourself! Hugs. :-)

Rich said...

Excellent post! I'm not familiar with Steve's company, but if they're publishing Tom Piccirilli, I better take notice.

Informative and interesting.


Lee Thompson said...

Hey Rich! Thanks for reading. Yeah, definitely check out Tasmaniac. At least for the Tom Piccirilli novellas!

abrokenlaptop said...

Fantastic interview. I certainly enjoyed it. Way to rock, Steve and Lee!


Lee Thompson said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Mercedes! You're a sweetheart!