Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have formed an incredible editorial team over the years. There isn’t a writer in the genres of horror, science fiction or fantasy that doesn’t secretly dream of at least landing on the honorable mention list at the back of their yearly anthology. They haven’t just worked together on the Year’s Best series, but on beautiful collections of retold fairy tales such as Snow White, Blood Red and Black Heart, Ivory Bones, Sirens and A Wolf at the Door. Separately, they’ve accomplished a pretty daunting list of things. Ellen Datlow is currently the editor of SciFi.com, and has edited several anthologies, including Off Limits: Tales of Alien Sex, the Omni anthology series, Little Deaths, Vanishing Acts and more. Terri Windling is a talented artist and folklorist, and is the author The Wood Wife, The Winter Child (with illustrator Wendy Froud), and other books, as well as short stories and essays on myth. These two ladies have opened the doors for many of us, giving us worlds to explore, sometimes familiar, as all things mythic are, sometimes scary, and sometimes alien. Today they’re taking us off the path...and into the backstage area, to give us an entirely new perspective on this well loved anthology series, the creative process, and themselves.
Cindy: Looking at my copy of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, all I can think of is, how do you guys do it? It seems like a mind-boggling amount of work! Can you tell us about the process? Do authors send you stories?
Ellen: Basically, I read short horror fiction throughout most of the year, although I take a brief month or so break during the time I hand in my horror half and begin reading for the next year. I prefer to have publishers send me magazines, anthologies, collections, and printed out web stories. The only reason a writer should send me her own story is if it's in an obscure publication that I can't get or access.
Terri: Because fantastical stories also appear outside the genre, I read many literary journals, mainstream collections and anthologies and children's collections each year as well as the standard genre publications. It makes for a lot of reading -- and you're right, it is a mind-boggling amount of work.
How do you decide what to keep and what to put on the honorable mention list...or leave out all together?
Ellen: As I read, if I like a story I will put it on my honorable mention list. The stories I am most impressed with get an asterisk so that I can go back and reread them when I'm ready to make decisions. Once in awhile I'll like a story so much on the first reading that I'll decide immediately that the story will be included in the book.
Terri: When I'm reading during the year, any story that truly impresses me gets put onto one of three lists: Definite, Maybe, or Honorable Mentions. It takes a rare story to immediately go on the Definite list, which consists of stories I know I'll definitely use for the volume. Most stories that I like a great deal go onto the Maybe list, which gives me time to think about them. Stories that I like, but that aren't quite exceptional enough to end up in the volume, go onto the Honorable Mentions list. At the end of the year, I generally have five or six stories on the Definite list, and a very long list of Maybes. I read all the Maybes over again, often several times, and make the hard decision about which to move up to the Definite list and which to move down to Honorable Mentions.
Cindy: What magazines do you look in the most?
Ellen: I look at every genre and non-genre magazine (other than literary journals) that run dark, horrific material. This ranges from Analog (which I try to get a reader to look at, as it rarely has anything that could be construed as horror) to The New Yorker and includes everything from larger circulation magazines such as F&SF and Asimov's SF Magazine to miniscule circulation small press magazines that might include horror. If a venue contains horror I want to see it. However, most of my choices come from original anthologies or collections. There are very few professional horror magazines in existence today.
Every year I try to find a volunteer reader who will slog through the material least likely to provide anything I can use. Examples are Analog, which mostly publishes hard sf, or amateurish horror magazines that might possibly have a gem embedded somewhere in their pages. But it's difficult to trust a reader. I want my reader to pass on material that could be considered dark--and I have a broad definition of dark material.
Terri: I find stories in a wide range of magazines including F&SF, Realms of Fantasy, Asimov’s, The New Yorker, Harpers, The Paris Review, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet...plus I keep an eye on literary and university press journals which sometimes publish the odd fantasy or magical realist story. On the web, SciFi.com and Strange Horizons. For poetry, small literary journals are my best source for good material, and I look at everything from The Chicago Review to Poet Lore. It's a lot of material to get through each year, so like Ellen, I have volunteer readers whose tastes I trust to help me winnow through it all.
Cindy: How did you guys meet and start working together? How does a partnership like this work?
Terri: Jim Frenkel, the creator and packager of the Year's Best series, asked me, when the series began, if I'd edit the fantasy half of the book, and he asked Ellen if she'd edit the horror half. We knew each other socially (I still lived and worked in New York then, and people in the sf/fantasy field tend to know each other), but we'd never worked together before. In fact, however, we don't work in tandem on Year's Best. I don't get involved with the horror part of the book, and Ellen doesn't get involved with the fantasy part. Occasionally we'll talk about what we've been reading or recommend things to each other, and occasionally we'll chose a story together if it falls into the realm of dark fantasy (between fantasy and horror). But otherwise our work for Year's Best is quite separate.
Soon after the Year's Best project began, Ellen and I decided to collaborate on another anthology, Snow White, Blood Red, consisting of adult retellings of fairy tales. We liked the partnership so much that we kept going and have edited many other anthologies together now. For these other anthologies we work together more closely. We both read all the submissions, and discuss them, and only chose stories that both of us like. Ellen's a better line-editor (in my opinion), so she tends to do any line-editing required on the stories in these anthologies (which are originals, rather than reprints). I enjoy writing more than Ellen, so I generally write the book proposals and introductions. There's a lot of discussion between us on all aspects of each book, generally by e-mail, sometimes by phone, and occasionally over dinner when I'm passing through New York.
Ellen: As Terri says, Jim Frenkel approached us and suggested we work on the YBFH. I'm not going to repeat everything she said but we've found working together very easy. We don't really work on the YBFH together, although we'll occasionally confer and decide to "share" a story -- ie, each use half the wordage in our respective sides and both initial the introduction to the specific story.
But working together on our original anthologies has been very satisfying. We each have our particular strengths and divide the work equally. As far as choosing the stories, we both have to like a story in order to buy it. One or the other of us will work with the author on various rewrites -- depending on the author and how much time we have.
Terri does the overall intro to each anthology. Terri puts together a Further Reading list. I work with the authors on their bios and afterwords. I generally do the final line edit on each story. We edit each other's intros and bios. I think mostly Terri has decided on the order for stories, although I go over it and make suggestions. I handle the financial arrangements.
Cindy: Does the fact you both live so far away [Terri divides her time between England and Arizona, while Ellen lives in New York] effect your partnership?
Terri: Not a bit. E-mail keeps us in daily touch. Before e-mail, we used phone and fax. Ellen: We've always had a fine time working together—e-mail makes it easier than ever.
Cindy: The dedication for the book makes it sound like you guys are passing on the torch? Why is this your last anthology?
Terri: I'm the only one leaving the project -- Ellen is staying. Kelly Link and Gavin Grant will be editing the fantasy half of the book starting with Volume 17, and Ellen will continue editing the horror half.
A book like this takes an enormous amount of reading, research, and writing time each year. Unlike Ellen, I'm not a full-time editor - I divide my time between editing, writing, and painting, and I've reached a point where I need more time for the latter two areas of my life. I love Year's Best and have been quite happy working on it for 16 years, but I've decided it's time to let someone else take over so that it no longer dominates my schedule.
Cindy: How were Kelly Link and Gavin Grant picked to succeed you?
Terri: Ellen, Jim Frenkel, and St. Martin's Press allowed me to hand-pick my successors, so I know the book will be in good hands. I chose Kelly and Gavin because I've been impressed by their editorial work at Small Beer Press, and because I know that their literary tastes are similar to mine. The "flavor" of the book won't change. The fact that Kelly and Gavin will be able to split the work load between two people is a plus. It's fairly overwhelming otherwise. Also, Kelly and Gavin live in the U.S. year 'round, whereas I live in England for half of every year. It made it a particular challenge to keep abreast of U.S. publications each year while being so far away. My U.K. mailman is already grateful that he's not lugging book packages to my door all the time. Mind you, I'll miss all those free review copies....
Cindy: Why do you think short stories are such an important medium?
Ellen: Horror short stories are the lifeblood of the genre. There are far more classic horror stories than novels. I think supernatural horror particularly (in contrast to terror tales and psychological horror) is more effective in the short story or novella form than the novel. This is partly because so much of horror is atmosphere and that's more difficult to sustain the longer you go on. Also, I feel that the supernatural is more difficult to pull off because it is by it's nature illogical. So the author must work harder to maintain consistency, suspense, and a suspension of disbelief in the reader. This is easier in the short form than in the novel form (in my opinion).
Terri: There's been a dwindling market for short fiction every since the heyday of magazine fiction began to wane in the middle of the 20th century. Since I personally love short stories, I enjoy being able to support the writers of short fiction by providing a market for their work, and by presenting it to the public in volumes that readers seem to enjoy.
Cindy: What are the trends you see cropping up in short stories now? Do you think by reading the trends in short stories, you can see what's going to happen in the genre as a whole? Are short stories and anthologies being changed by the internet?
Ellen: Are you talking about horror short stories specifically? I don't read enough in the novel form within any genre to make judgments regarding overall trends...but there seems to be a rebirth of the ghost story, as written by Glen Hirshberg, Terry Lamsley (who seems to have disappeared), Terry Dowling, Jack Cady...and the continuing resurgence of the cross-genre writer who writes sf/f/h equally well. I've been talking about and praising these writers for several years now: Elizabeth Hand, China Mieville, Graham Joyce, M. John Harrision, Jeffrey Ford, Kelly Link, Andy Duncan, Nicholas Royle, Kim Newman, Paul McAuley, Carol Emshwiller, Conrad Williams, Pat Cadigan. There is a whole generation of brilliant cross-genre writers in the UK.
Terri: Trends in fantasy short fiction? It's very difficult to find good short fantasy fiction of the "imaginary world" variety, perhaps because it's hard to build convincing secondary worlds in just a few pages. I'm personally intrigued by all the good 'interstitial fiction' we're seeing these days, by which I mean fiction that falls into the interstices between genres and categories, or that crosses borders between genres. You'll find good examples of this in the New Fabulist issue of Conjunctions (#39), or the Polyphony anthology series.
Cindy: Terri, I’ve been admiring some of your artwork, as well. What do you think the parallels are between creating with paint and creating with words are?Have you ever done...or would like to do...any of your own covers?
Terri: I find them to be very different skills, and very different creative processes. That's what interests me in doing both. They use different parts of my brain. Writing is quite intellectual for me, whereas painting is more spontaneous, nonverbal, almost trance-like. It's good to go into the studio and give words a rest.
I've done covers for other people's books and found I didn't much like doing it. I'm not temperamentally suited for cover illustration - which involves pleasing a publisher's marketing department, not the book's author (who almost never has any say over the cover), the book's editor, or the book's potential readers. I prefer doing work for gallery exhibition, which is more personal, more spontaneous.
Cindy: Why do you think some writers are brilliant short story tellers, but lousy novelists, and vice versa? Why do you think some people can do both?
Terri: They are different art forms. Some artists can paint, some artists can sculpt, and a few are blessed with the ability to do both - yet an inability to do both in no way lessens the achievements of other painters and sculptors. So it is with writing short stories and novels -- or poetry, screenplays, or nonfiction. They are all different art forms, with different technical requirements.
Ellen: As Terri says, writing stories and writing novels take different sets of skills. Some writers are "naturals" in one form or the other. Others, like Robert Silverberg and Barry Malzberg, can do both equally well.
Cindy: What are some of the mistakes you see first-time writers making?
Ellen: New writers should not write to market. They should write about issues they feel passionate about. If you feel strongly about an issue it will show in the writing. This doesn't mean to be pedantic. The best fiction has a point to make and does it gracefully, within the confines of good storytelling and believable characterization.
Terri: Lately, because computer technology has made self-publishing an easier and less expensive venture, I'm getting a lot of review copies of amateur books by writers who would be better advised to hone their craft before committing it to print. The best thing you can do as a beginning writer is to write, write, write - and read, read, read. Concentrating on publication prematurely is a mistake. You don't pick up a violin and expect to play Carnegie Hall within the year - yet somehow people forget that writing also requires technical skills that need to be learned, practiced, honed. If I had a dollar for every person I've met who thought, with no prior experience, they could sit down and write a novel and instantly win awards and make their living as a writer, I'd be a rich woman today. It's unrealistic, and it's also mildly insulting to professional writers who have worked hard to perfect their craft. Of course, then you hear stories about people like J.K. Rowling, who did sit down with no prior experience and write a worldwide best-seller...but such people are as rare as hen's teeth. Every day I work with talented, accomplished writers who have many novels in print and awards to their name and who are ‘still’ struggling to make a living. The thing I often find myself wanting to say to new writers is: Write because you love writing, learn your craft, be patient, and be realistic. Anais Nin said about writing, "It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing."
Cindy: One of the things that writers...especially unpublished ones...often talk about is the sort of Catch-22...where, it's hard to get people to notice your short stories noticed if you're not published as a novelist, but it's hard to get a novel published if you don't have any short story credits. Have you found this to be true?
Terri: In the fantasy field, a really great story will get published, whether you're a new writer or not. Editors like Gordon van Gelder at F&SF and Shawna McCarthy at Realms of Fantasy are thrilled to discover great new writers. Shawna in particular publishes a lot of emerging writers in her magazine. We regularly publish stories by unknown writers in Year's Best -- this year there's a brilliant fairy tale retelling by Theodora Goss, which is her very first published story. No editor that I know of ever says, "Wow, this is a great story -- but I'm not going to publish it because I'm unfamiliar with the author." It just doesn't happen.
What does happen is that good stories get turned down every day, simply because the competition is fierce. You have to be more than good, you have to be exceptional. If your work isn't yet exceptional, you need to keep on working on it until it is - or else think about another career. Writing is an art, but publishing is a business. It's competitive, and if you want someone to pay you professionally for your work, you need to reach a fairly high level of expertise.
And yes, if you're trying to get an agent or editor to look at your first novel, it does help if you have some story publications to your name (if your stories have been published in professional venues, not amateur publications) , but it's not an absolute necessity. As we discussed earlier, not all novelists are good at writing short stories and vice versa, and editors and agents know this.
Ellen: If a story is good it's going to be noticed--by an editor and then an audience. I published Ted Chiang's first story in OMNI and it won the Nebula Award. I published most of William Gibson's early short fiction--it didn't win awards but the stories have been reprinted over and over. It's actually easy to get a short story published. . .but published well is a different issue. I believe writers should be paid for their work--they should not give it away for free.
Cindy: What is the best part of being an editor?
Ellen: Finding a wonderful story in my submission pile and working with a writer to make his or her story as good as it can be.
Terri: It's always a thrill to be able to say to a never-before-published writer, "I want to buy your story" or "I want to publish your novel," and to share their excitement. That's why it's a mistake to think that editors are prejudiced against new writers. We love to discover new talent. Mind you, its easier to buy stories than novels from new writers, because publishing houses have to invest such a lot of money in publishing a novel, and it's often hard - in bad economic times - for an editor to convince the bean counters at his/her company that taking on a new, untried writer is a good idea. But editors generally ‘want ’ to do this if they possibly can, and if your book is good enough, they'll often find a way.
Cindy: What are some of your career highlights?
Ellen: I love editing and since I'm doing exactly what I love doing--both at SciFiction and on anthologies-- right now is my career highlight.
Terri: Highlights? Publishing the first stories and novels by writers like Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Midori Snyder, Charles de Lint, Patricia Wrede, Pamela Dean, Sheri Tepper, Steven Brust, Megan Lindholm (aka Robin Hobb) and many others who have gone on to successful careers in the fantasy field. Putting art by painters such as Thomas Canty and Robert Gould on fantasy books for the very first time. Convincing Jane Yolen to write adult fantasy, and Joyce Ballou Gregorian to finish the Tredana trilogy. Meeting and working with some of my own heroes, like Fritz Leiber, Evangeline Walton, and Patricia McKillip. Working with Ellen Datlow. Forming the Endicott Studio. Being called "the Angela Carter of America" by an art critic in France. He was wrong of course -- I have a long way to go in the "adult fairy tales" field before I'm even fit to shine her shoes, but it was a thrill nonetheless.
Cindy: What would you say to someone who wanted to become an anthology editor? How is being an editor different from being a writer?
Ellen: Everyone thinks they can edit a good anthology. They can't. It isn't just reading and buying every story submitted. It's deciding which stories to buy, turning down those that aren't right for the anthology, whether by a big name or not -- and editing the stories chosen -- or working with the author to make the story good enough to publish. Editing is a hands-on process from buying a story to its publication. It's the anthologist's job to shape the anthology. Shaping an anthology involves giving it a context, with an introduction (short or not, author bios, sometimes an afterword). I hate anthologies that have no author bios -- they feel sloppy, unfinished to me.
I know of a few people who edit anthologies for a living. I don't believe one can do this and produce consistently good anthologies. Putting together a good anthology takes time and thought. I feel very strongly about this. If too many bad anthologies are published it damages the credibility of all anthologies. This is what happened with the Roger Elwood anthologies in sf. They became a joke, saturating the anthology market which went into decline for a number of years after Elwood moved out of sf. Editors have a responsibility to readers to publish the best they can.
Terri: I agree with Ellen that editing anthologies is not as easy as it looks. Editing, like writing, is a skill that takes time to learn, and I find anthologies put together by amateur editors are often painful to read. As Ellen notes, books of that type can put people off reading short fiction, which does our field a disservice. The best anthology editors are those who have had professional editorial experience in the sf/fantasy/horror field -- who have been book editors or magazine editors first.
Advise? If someone is really serious about a career as a fantasy editor, then I'd recommend moving to New York and spending some time working in the editorial department of one of the major sf/fantasy publishers there. That's how I did it, at any rate. I spent many years as a full-time editor in New York before it was feasible to be a part-time editor located elsewhere. When I tell people this, they often balk at the idea of moving to New York -- but honestly, if you're truly serious about being an editor in the field, New York is where the heart of our industry is located.
Cindy: What are some of the aspects of the editing craft that you could live without?
Ellen: I know this will sound silly, but I dislike having to write out 20 royalty checks at a shot for the anthologies that stay in print and earn out (it's a boring job but someone's gotta do it).
Terri: Rejecting stories or novels is always hard and unpleasant. I'm not a mean person; I don't like turning people down.
Cindy: Terri, how has being an editor effected your writing?
Terri: On the down side, editing takes time away from writing. On the up side, editing has made me a more critical reader, which is always a good skill for a writer to have.
Cindy: How does what you edit...your tastes in what you generally work with...reflect on your own work? Or is it a totally different animal?
Terri: It's quite different. As an editor, particularly for Year's Best, it's my job to recognize and publish good stories even when they're not entirely to my personal taste. As a writer, I'm free to follow the dictates of my own taste.
Cindy: Is it hard to exchange one hat for another?
Terri: I don't find it hard. The only thing I find hard is having enough time for both of them, and for painting too.
Cindy: Ellen, you do a huge amount of work for SCIFI.COM....
Ellen: Editing Scifiction for SCIFI.com is my full time job.
Cindy: Do you have any new plans for your area of the website?
Ellen: I’m thinking of some things to take up the slack when Michael Swanwick's "Periodic Table of SF is done -- which is quite soon. I might commission themed short-shorts, something I did successfully at OMNI over a period of ten years. Or see if Michael wants to do another (but shorter) series. We'll see.
Cindy: What are the pros and cons of having an online magazine versus a print one?
Ellen: The pros are that it moves much quicker than print and we can fix an error even after the story is live. Also, the length of a story isn’t ever a problem as there’s infinite space in an online webzine. The con, of course, is that you don’t have a magazine in-hand.
Cindy: When each of you actually gets to read for pleasure...no strings attached...what or who do you like to read?
Ellen: I often read suspense or hard-boiled mystery novels. I recently read Gibson's Pattern Recognition for the pleasure of it.
Terri: Oh, don't get me started! I love fantasy, I read it for pleasure, even after all these years. Pat McKillip, Ursula Le Guin and John Crowley are probably my favorite writers in the field, in addition to all the writers in the Endicott Studio group - but there are many others I also admire. In children's fantasy, I'm particularly keen on Philip Pullman, Donna Jo Napoli, David Almond and Jane Yolen - though my favorite novels recently were Midori Snyder's Hannah's Garden, Holly Black's Tithe, and Neil Gaiman's Coraline.
I read a lot of mainstream fiction as well - I particularly love Alice Hoffman, A.S. Byatt, Sara Maitland, Sarah Waters, Sebastian Faulks, and Elizabeth Knox. There's also a great deal of magical fiction by Native American authors being published these days - Louise Erdrich's Antelope Wife, Alfredo Vea Jr.'s Maravilla, Linda Hogan's Power, and Susan Power's Grass Dancer are a few recent favorites.
I'm a big fan of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, and Anthony Trollope - I re-read Jane Austen's novels in particular every year.Other fantasists say they read Tolkien every year, but for me it's Austen. I adore biographies, particularly biographies of artists and writers (and particularly those written by Michael Holroyd). And I love books that explore the philosophical side of art, such as Lewis Hyde's The Gift, Carolyn Heilbrun's Writing a Woman's Life, or David Abram's Spell of the Sensuous.
Cindy: Ellen, it seems to me that you are drawn more towards science fiction than to fantasy.... Is this so, and why? What is it about these genres that work for you?
Ellen: It's true to the degree that I've worked professionally at science fiction magazines/webzines. But I've always published a lot of science fantasy--that is fantasy that reads like sf and sf that reads like fantasy.
I grew up reading sf/f/h my whole life. If someone gave me a fantasy magazine to edit, I'd do that. I dislike romance fiction and naturalistic mainstream fiction (except for hardboiled mysteries). I prefer reading oddball fiction like that by Jonathan Carroll (one of my two authors at Tor as consulting editor there), Stewart O'Nan, and Harry Crews.
Cindy: If you're not working, what are we most likely to find you doing?
Ellen: I'd be at the movies, running errands, having meals with friends, shopping.
Terri: Reading. Recharging my 'creative batteries' with music. Walking in the desert (during the part of the year I live in Tucson), or walking in the woods (during the part of the year I live in England) - I firmly believe that down-time is as important a part of the creative process as work-time. Traveling. Hanging out with artist and writer friends talking about work. Getting a good night's sleep because tomorrow is another workday. (Was it Faulkner who said, "I only write when I'm inspired. Fortunately, I'm inspired at 9 o'clock every morning..."?)
Cindy: Someone offers you each two deeds, one is for a luxury Condo, one is for a Gothic castle...which would you take?
Terri: A gothic castle, for sure. My house in England is only a wee cottage, but it's 400 years old and has a thatched roof.
Ellen: The condo, because I know it'll have heat and hot water. And I know the Gothic castle will have neither. Although I'd much rather have a Victorian house with good heating and hot water than either of the above.
Cindy: Ellen, what do you like the most about New York? Do you think it's given you an edge? Have you ever considered leaving New York?
Ellen: I love New York for so many reasons. Because there's always something to do, somewhere new to eat, some place new (or old) to check out.
It's a beautiful city -- if you take the time to stop and look up, there are lovely old buildings in every style with ornamentation and new imaginatively built skyscrapers. There are parks, tree-lined streets (I live on one), mini-gardens all over the city. (If I ever retire I wouldn't mind doing a little gardening in one of them.)
Each area of the city is a different community with different textures. I can get excellent bread in a bakery or greenmarket here, a myriad of exotic cheeses and olives in a store there, great meat at the specialty butcher, go to an Italian store that specializes in mozzarella, or an English store that has incredible shortbread cookies, or to the Indian markets for nuts and dried fruit and halvah.
I'm pretty much in love with New York City and can't imagine living anywhere else. However, I do love visiting other cities and countries to see friends. I go to London every year for a couple of weeks, to Maine for a week, and other places. But my home and heart are in NYC.
Cindy: Terri, since you live in such entirely different places...Tucson Arizona, which I picture as hot and desert-like, and Devon, England, which is cooler, greener in the common imagination...I was wondering if it colored your work?
Terri: Yes, particularly my art. My color palette changes according to which landscape I'm in.
Cindy: Do you find yourself saving writing or art for one place or the other?
Terri:I do both in both places. But I like writing about the desert when I'm in the green hills of rural England, and I like writing about England when I'm in the desert. It's a way of keeping them both close.
But because I'm an ex-New Yorker, I find that I also need the creative stimulation provided by large cities, in contrast to the slow pace of life in either Tucson or Devon. So I try to spend a little time every year in New York, London, or Paris in order to keep my creative juices flowing. Then I go back to the country or the desert in order to actually get work done.
Cindy: Do you feel that one place is more mythic than the other?
Terri: Not at all. Southwest England is a land soaked in myth and folklore of course, but so is southwestern America. In Arizona, there is a large Native American population (consisting of several different tribes) and a large Mexican population. The myths of those cultures mix with the transplanted folklore of numerous immigrant groups from Europe and elsewhere, making for a rich tradition of stories.
Cindy: Terri, please tell us about The Endicott Studio?
Terri: It's a non-profit arts organization I started way back in 1987 to support art and fiction projects in the field of Mythic Arts. Readers can find out more about it on the Endicott Studio web site: www.endicott-studio.com.
Cindy: You took the Endicott Studio online in 1997. What made you decide to do it?
Terri: Since the writers and artists involved with Endicott are scattered in locations across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, the internet gave us a 'virtual studio' in which to meet, and a means of sharing our work with others interested in Mythic Arts.
Cindy: Has it been hard to gather such a fabulous cast of contributors?
Terri: No, not at all. Most of the writers and artists on the site are friends of mine and/or people I've been working with for many years. Everyone has been very generous with their time and their contributions. We all have a strong belief in the goal of the site, which is to support the works of "mythic artists" of the past, of the present, and of the future.
Cindy: What about the charities Endicott supports?
Terri: We raise money on the site for organizations working with abused and homeless children in my U.S. home community of Tucson, Arizona. Child abuse prevention is a subject I feel passionately about. If your readers are interested, they can find more information on our charities on the Endicott site, on the Endicott Kids page.
Cindy: Why are you drawn to myth and folklore?
Terri: That's too large a question to answer quickly! Okay, a short answer: I loved fairy tales as a kid, I studied mythology in college, and now the fantasy I love best today is that which is clearly rooted in fairy tales, folklore and myth. For a longer explanation, perhaps your readers would be interested in an essay I wrote called “Transformations,” published in Kate Bernheimer's Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales. A copy of the essay can be found on-line at: http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/rrtransf.html.