Our first guest interviewee is Inanna Arthen, writer, editor, publisher, Harvard doctor, and just plain awesome person. Through her company, By Light Unseen Media, Inanna publishes fiction and non-fiction content entirely on vampires.
How do you want people to contact you (website, e-mail, Facebook, blog, Twitter, address, storefront, etc.)? They can e-mail me at email@example.com , or through my websites, http://bylightunseenmedia.com and http://inannaarthen.com. I'm Vyrdolak on Twitter and Inanna Arthen on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Your publishing company, By Light Unseen Media, deals exclusively in vampires. What is it about vampires that intrigues you so much? Why do you think they have such a hold on people's imagination?
The vampire is the ultimate metaphor for the dark side of the social contract. As soon as the word "vampire" entered the English language in the 17th century, it was applied to unlikeable figures such as landlords and lawyers. All the tension between abuse and empowerment, sexual give-and-take, what we have to do to survive versus our impulse to nurture and help others--the needy, predatory, parasitic, powerful vampire symbolizes all of that. For me personally, the vampire is a way of exploring issues I faced growing up as a gifted but socially ostracized child and teenager. My vampires have powers and advantages that are a mixed blessing. Their "unlives" are more complicated, not easier, because they still need and want to be connected to the human world. There is no vampire subculture in my fiction.
What inspired you to start your own publishing company? What are some of the benefits you offer to writers and readers through By Light Unseen Media that they can't get anywhere else?
I'm fiercely passionate about vampires, books and publishing. My publishing company is a life-long dream. I spent years acquiring relevant skill sets for it. I started it because I got funding. The benefit I offer to writers is a lot of savvy and vision about how the publishing industry is changing and how writers can retain lucrative careers and not end up even more marginalized and low-paid than they are now. I'm a writer myself so I'm very sympathetic to writers' concerns. For readers, I offer four decades of in-depth study of the vampire genre and my determination to provide a wide variety of vampire-themed material to suit all tastes.
What books and projects are you working on currently? What do you have coming out for readers?
On August 15th, I'll be releasing Gideon Redoak by Anne Fraser, which just got a starred review in Publishers Weekly. I'll be releasing Cat the Vamp, a dark YA novel by Christina Martine, in time for Christmas. In early 2010, I expect to release Krymsin Nocturnes by Joseph Armstead and the second book in my own series, The Longer the Fall. You can follow updates on all of these books on By Light Unseen Media's website, bylightunseenmedia.com.
What was the greatest lesson you have learned about writing in your life?
Learning to evaluate and critique my own work accurately and effectively, which is very difficult. Too many aspiring writers rely too much on external feedback. They don't learn how to challenge and critique themselves, and they sacrifice their own voice trying to satisfy the contradictory biases of other people.
What do you find to be the best part of being a writer and in running By Light Unseen Media? On the flip side, what is the hardest/most difficult part?
The best part is being so familiar with all the aspects of the publishing process, from the writer's p.o.v. to the marketing side. With most traditional publishers, there's a huge disconnect: the publishers don't understand writers and writing (or readers, for that matter), and authors don't understand the publishing industry and the business side of writing. I have a clear view of the whole picture. The down side is playing so many roles. I'm writing my own fiction, reviews and articles, I'm editing, I'm designing, I'm marketing and promoting. I could use 48-hour days and an eight-day week.
How do you balance the many hats you have to wear as an author, an editor, a publisher, and everything you must do for yourself and your company?
I have a really scary multi-colored To-Do List. I journal every day and I copy the To-Do list into the current day's entry. I highlight things I've worked on and delete them when they're entirely done. I use the "follow-up" flags in Outlook mail, too. I try to keep myself on a routine. I exercise every day, I'm on a strict diet, and I stay on a very regular sleeping schedule. I work seven days a week. I haven't had a true "day off" since 2006! But I love what I'm doing with my life.
What is it about horses that inspired you to help through the Blogathon? Do you have a story about a horse (or horses) in your life - or how horse/s may have affected your writing?
I love horses, and all animals. My mom was born on a farm in central
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