The following appeared on Richard Dasky's website on October 19th or 20th, 2007
Five For Writing: Selina Rosen
(Interviewed by Richard Dansky)
When you're talking with Selina Rosen, the one thing you don't get is the same old, same old. From junkyard space opera to a world where brie-eating Yumbies roam the landscape, Selina's work offers a seriously different approach from the mainstream of speculative fiction. Co-founder of respected micropress Yard Dog Press, Selina is also a champion of regional speculative fiction. Her most recent novel, a collaboration with Laura J. Underwood, is called Bad Lands and is available now from Five Star Press. Author, editor, and publisher - not to mention convention legend - here's Five for Writing with Selina Rosen:
1-Space salvagers. Jewish lesbian vampire hunters. Your heroines come from someplace very different than the usual science fiction protagonists. Is there a thread you see as binding them all together?
I'd like to give some deep metaphysical answer for why I build my characters the way I do. I'd like to tell you that I have a complex formula that I use to build them, but the truth is that I just like kick-ass women characters. There weren't nearly enough around when I was a kid, and I see a trend towards sissifiying female characters again. I write what I like. I give them all some extraordinary power because then it makes sense when they can do something a normal human couldn't do
2-Bad Lands seems to be a change of pace for you in a lot of ways - a collaboration instead of a solo project, and a murder mystery as opposed to kickass space opera (or the Bubbas). Is the start of a new direction for you, and what attracted you to the idea originally?
If you think about it, both Fire and Ice and Strange Robby were at least in part murder mysteries. I love a good mystery. When I first had the idea I knew it needed two authors to work because of the way I wanted to write the books it needed two voices.
I couldn't really tell you where the idea came from because it came in parts. I hope to be writing the Holmes and Storm mysteries off into the sunset. After all, mysteries have a broader audience than science fiction and certainly a larger audience than horror.
3-Yard Dog Press seems to be very much a regional press, which allows it to focus on material (the Bubbas anthologies, Redgunk Tales) that might not have made it through the "mainstream" publishing grind. What do you see Yard Dog's role as being as you go forward?
Well... we didn't publish Redgunk Tales, we just distribute it for Bill. As far as I'm concerned few things worth reading actually make it through the "mainstream" publishing grid. We're definitely regional. If you live in New York City you might not like our books, any place else you probably will. YDP's role in the future will be what it always has been, to give a voice to those the big shots want to shut up and give the readers a right to chose what they want to read instead of being told what that is by a room full of people so removed from who the readers are and where they live that they simply can't relate to the books. If you ask me... it's the big New York houses that are regional because 90 percent of what they put out serves only people from that very small part of the world. They'll say that more people read in the Northeast and use that as a reason to cater to them while ignoring everyone else, but maybe more people would read nationwide if they ever published things everyone else could relate to. Look at the success of, say, Charlaine Harris. If you write it, they will come.
4-Yard Dog seems to put a lot of emphasis on getting out to as many cons as possible, and to really making a presence when they're there. Why is this important, and what can you do with the Road Shows to top what's already been done?
We are a micro press - I'm not ashamed of that; I embrace it - but how can YDP get our writers any recognition among the sea of POD houses, shoe-string presses, and G-d help us all vanity press writers who don't know they are and pass themselves off to con-coms as the real deal? The answer, at least for us, is to give the books a presence at as many cons as possible.
The Yard Dog Press Traveling Road Show continues to grow and evolve. Of course our standard is still readings with interpretive dance, but we've also had the writers do different acts, everything from belly dancing to magic tricks. And we occasionally do something called the Merlene Show which is a spoof on Martha Stewart's show, set in the Bubbas of the Apocalypse universe. The different writers will write segments and then come up and interact with Merlene, Billy Dee, and Nedina. It's quite funny and is yet another way to showcase the writers' talent. One of these shows will soon be avalable on DVD. We are constantly coming up with new ideas, and I think if we keep in mind why we started it in the first place - low attendance at readings because most people have the attention span of a gnat - the shows will just get more and more entertaining.
5-The inhabitants of the Bubbaverse have traveled the world and gone off into outer space. What next, or is the world not yet ready for that?
Time traveling Bubbas. Also, for people who might want to dip in but not get drowned in Bubbas, Ben Bella Books will be releasing a Best of the Bubbas of the Apocalypse some time next year. It is a collection of the best stories from the first four anthologies.
Here endeth Five for Writing with Selina Rosen. Many thanks to Selina for taking the time to answer the questions. If you get a chance, I recommend checking out her work at her web site or at Yard Dog central, and checking your convention schedule to see if you're in the Merlene's Show's blast radius. Until next time...