Q&A with Animal Attraction editor, Vincent Diamond
Q: Tell us about Animal Attraction. How did you come up with the anthology?
A: This project started out in a Torquere Press live chat. I'd initially proposed the idea as a Taste Test but no one else followed up with me on it, so I decided to try it as an antho. So many of my own stories involve animals, like “Lions and Tigers and Snares” currently in Men of Mystery from Haworth Press, and “Wrestling Gators” which is in Country Boys.
Plus, I live in Florida. There are animals everywhere!
Q: You’re donating part of your proceeds to animal charities. Why?
A: Because animals can’t get together and do their own books. There’s a dark part of me that realizes we’ve screwed over most of the animal kingdom, one way or another, so helping out Peace River Refuge & Ranch along with In Harmony with Nature, is a small way to give back. I can’t save all the endangered species on the planet but I can help feed a once-abused tiger or buy some hay for a horse who was starving.
Q: Tell us one thing about yourself that your readers would be surprised to know.
A: I did my Master's Thesis on serial murderers. No, really, I did.
Q: You write as well as edit -- which do you find harder and why?
A: Oh, writing is so much harder for me. I like the "having written something" part of the process because that feels really good, but man, the actual writing part? Gads. Grim agony most of the time. Mostly because I can't shut off the internal editor, which is my own fault.
Q: What is your favorite genre to edit? To write? To read?
A: I'm pretty flexible when it comes to editing. Well, I do like fiction more than non-fiction and lemme tell ya, some of the non-fic projects I've done... Let's just say I know *way* more about software implementation than I really want to.
For writing, I like it all. I write mainstream fic, a little horror, quite a bit of erotica, and I'm shopping an action-adventure novel right now. (About a tiger; is anyone surprised?) For short stories, when I see a call for submission, if I don't have a solid idea within about ten minutes after reading the call, I'm not going to and anything I write without that bam of initial inspiration is going to feel forced and tired.
For novels, of course, it's a whole different dog to walk. You've got to love the story enough to work on it for months on end and dream about it and know everything about your characters you possibly can. Fun, but grueling.
Genres? Horror, suspense, mainstream, erotica. Wait, pretty much only male/male erotica, to tell you the truth. Traditional romances don't really work for me, and I can't say I'm a fan of Clancy-esque military/political thrillers.
Q: What's the best part of editing? What's the hardest thing about editing?
A: The best part is helping an author to really polish up a piece and make it glitter. Or getting a really wonderful submission and know that readers will love it.
The hardest part for me is trying not to mess with an author's voice too much in the name of consistency and coherence. Some authors do have a distinctive way of working words, and you don't want to go too far in revising that. I probably haven't mastered that skill just yet.
Q: What kind of characters appeal to you the most? Does the answer change if you're coming at it as an editor or as a writer?
A: Characters need to feel real to me, as a writer or an editor. They have to be flawed and show those flaws in some way. They need to have some emotional depth and it needs to be on the page. Flat characters, blithely jumping from one bed to another don't work for me in romance/erotica. If they don't care whose bed they're in, why should I? As a writer, I work pretty hard on "show, don't tell" so as an editor, I'm a stickler for that.
What are you working on now?
A: Proofing and editing multiple projects for various clients.
Prepping my application for a writer's workshop next year.
Sorting out a novel-length story in my head, getting ready to make that oh-so-scary commitment to actually write it. Gulp.
Practicing to pick up the correct diagonal when trotting a horse clockwise. Counter-clockwise, I'm fine but for whatever reason, clockwise? I ain't got it.