Two oft-repeated tenets for writers: “Write what you know” and “Write what you want to read.” In this era of digital platforms and self-publishing, the dream of seeing what you want to read become a reality has become tantalizingly close. For Christa Seeley, what she wanted was a magazine that published young adult (YA) speculative fiction. “It just felt like this huge hole in the short fiction market,” Seeley says. “And I wished someone would start up a literary magazine that addressed this. And then I thought – why couldn’t I do that?”
Enter Inaccurate Realities. A literary magazine to be published quarterly that features young adult speculative fiction “in all its forms. Science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, horror, dystopian, steampunk, cyberpunk, alternate history and everything in between.” The name of the magazine is from a Douglas Adams quote (from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe) : “Reality is frequently inaccurate.” Seeley and fellow editors Andrea Modolo and Sara Eagleson had considered other names, but kept coming back to this one. “I love the way one event can be totally different depending who you ask,” Seeley says. “It’s all about perspective. And I think that’s something fiction allows us to have. A different perspective.”
A different perspective is definitely what Inaccurate Realities presents. This reader, at least, is highly impressed by the project. Rather than simply wishing to read a YA speculative fiction magazine, Seeley, Modolo and Eagleson are making it happen. They are spreading the word through social media and raising funds through an Indiegogo campaign (3 days left as of press time!). A love for reading has set this project in motion, and it will have to be a community of readers that will make this happen. By launching an Indiegogo campaign and by reaching out to personal contacts through social media, the magazine turns into far more than a project by three women. Rather, it becomes a cause that anyone who wants to see a YA speculative fiction magazine on the bookshelf can get enthusiastic about.
In this interview, Flipping the Page speaks to Christa Seeley from Inaccurate Realities about her love for speculative fiction and ambitions for the magazine.
What sparked your interest in speculative fiction? What’s your favourite book and who’s your favourite writer in that genre?
I feel like I’ve always loved speculative fiction, but I think the real catalyst was Harry Potter. I grew up with the books and they were definitely a gateway drug. I devoured books like His Dark Materials, Dune, Lord of the Rings, and The Mists of Avalon in my teens and then never looked back. I love other genres too, but science fiction and fantasy will always be my favourite. I think that speculative fiction can help us think about ideas and problems and humanity in ways that contemporary fiction can’t. It’s not limited by anything. As for the favourite book/writer I thought I’d ask the whole team…
Christa: Favourite book is an impossible question. I guess I could say the book that influenced me the most was Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. But I also love Douglas Adams, Marion Zimmer Bradley, George Orwell, Neil Gaiman, Aldous Huxley…I could go on forever.
Sara: I’m a fan of Terry Pratchett and the Discworld novels, mostly because of the amazing world building and lovable characters.
Andrea: Favourite author for me would be Neil Gaiman or J.K. Rowling, because it’s J.K. Rowling.
Given the challenges of starting a new venture, particularly in the hyper competitive and rather unstable publishing industry, why was it important to do this?
It was important for me to do this because it’s something I’m passionate about. I want to connect readers with work that will appeal to them. I work in Canadian publishing and I’m a blogger and though it can be difficult, I also find it extremely rewarding when someone tells me they really enjoyed a book I recommended. I also think it’s important because often times speculative fiction gets looked down on or pushed aside and I don’t think that’s right. Speculative fiction can speak to people just as effectively as literary fiction. Better sometimes – depending on the person. Hopefully our readers will be those people.
Given the current focus on digital media, as well as the costs associated with print, why did you decide to do both print and digital versions? Also, why a magazine instead of, say, a blog?
Due to the costs associated with print, it will primarily be distributed digitally. But we know some people don’t have an e-reader or they prefer to read in print. There’s so many print on demand options now, we decided it wouldn’t hurt to give people the option. And it actually never occurred to me to do a blog instead. When the idea came to me it was always in magazine form. A couple of stories, some author interviews, all together in one package. And I like the idea of people actually receiving something that they can access whenever rather than relying on the internet or website bookmarks/RSS readers, etc.
Who or what have been your biggest influences and inspirations?
There are so many amazing Canadian YA authors right now and we’ve been lucky enough to get to know a good handful of them. Lesley Livingston, Adrienne Kress, Joanne Levy, Megan Crewe, Tom Ryan, Morgan Rhodes and Courtney Summers to name a few. Seeing how hard they work and how dedicated they are to their writing and their fans is truly inspirational.
How has the response been?
The response has been really positive so far! A lot of readers and writers have told us that they’re really excited to see what we do with it. Every month we’re focusing on a different “theme” and there’s been a lot of excitement for our second issue’s theme of “time travel.” Must be all those Doctor Who fans out there.
We were really lucky to partner with Patchwork Press during the IndieGoGo campaign. They donated ebooks, query critiques, and helped with some of the marketing. We’ve also had a lot of support from the Canadian book blogger community. They’re an incredibly enthusiastic and supportive bunch that myself, Sara, and Andrea are lucky to be a part of.
What are your goals for this project for the next three months? The next five years?
The next three months are all focused on getting the first issue ready and launched. It’ll be out in October, followed by the launch in November. So in that time we want to spread the word about the magazine and make sure it’s on readers’ radars. Next five years? Still going I hope! Eventually I think we’d like to have Inaccurate Realities available in stores. Maybe have a few more stories in each issue. There’s a lot of possibilities and we have a lot of ideas!
What impact will Inaccurate Realities have on the books/publishing market and on the community of readers?
We’re hoping that Inaccurate Realities will be an opportunity for new writers to get their name and their work out there. We’re also hoping the short fiction format will help bring some new readers to speculative fiction and/or young adult literature. I think people are more willing to take a risk with a short story or a novel, but that could be the taste they need to further explore the genre.
Dream big: What would be your dream piece for this magazine? (e.g. which author dead/alive would you love to feature in an interview, or whose work would you love to publish)
This is another list that could go on and on! In terms of authors we’d love to interview, I think it would have to be Douglas Adams. He’s an inspiration to a lot of aspiring authors and we named our magazine for him! Also J.R.R. Tolkien since he’s what people think of when they think of fantasy.
As for work we would love to publish? It would be amazing if we could feature a piece of short fiction from Lauren Oliver, Victoria Schwab, Rachel Hartman or Marissa Marr. We think those four are doing really amazing and creative things in YA and really admire their work.
The first issue of Inaccurate Realities will be published in mid-October. It will be available on Kindle and Kobo as well as direct PDF and EPUB sales through the website. Print copies will be available on demand through Createspace.
There will be a launch party on November 9 and Bakka Phoenix Books (84 Harbord Street, Toronto) from 3 – 5 pm.
Check the Inaccurate Realities website to stay up to date on news and events. Inaccurate Realities is also on Twitter (@InaccurateLit), Facebook (InaccurateRealities) and Pinterest (Inaccurate Realities).
The magazine is also accepting submissions. Their first issue, to be published in October 2013, explores the theme of fear. Submissions are due August 15. More details on submission guidelines as well as themes of upcoming issues here.