WIHM 2022: An Interview With Editor Angela Yuriko Smith
In celebration of Women in Horror Month, we are continuing to highlight some of the amazing work that women have been doing compiling and editing magazines and story collections in the horror industry. We’re continuing our Women Who Edit Interview series with Angela Yuriko Smith.
Could you introduce yourself, and tell us a little about you?
Sure, and thanks for having me here! Most of my life has been spent writing non-fiction for newspapers, online lifestyle and marketing. I moved into fiction in 2011 as the result of an argument at a writers conference. As a nonfiction writer I was offended to overhear a man declaring that nonfiction writers couldn’t do fiction because they had no imagination. I disagreed, my point being you had to be creative about what information you shared or you wind up with dull work no one will read. He disagreed that writing for a newspaper was just reciting facts, not creating worlds. I disagreed, he disagreed… we wound up in a yelling match in the hallway and were told we’d be kicked out of the conference if we didn’t calm down. We did, but that night I went home and started writing End of Mae to prove him wrong. It took me about 8 years to finish that novella but I give the victory to that loud, opinionated man. I think I proved I had an imagination, but he converted me to fiction in the process. Well played, sir.
What is (or was) the most rewarding aspect of editing an anthology, magazine, or collection?
Sharing the pleasure of being in print with other authors, especially newer names. I don’t think it ever gets old to see something made from thought make it to the page. That’s my main motivation. I was paid $25 for my first short story sale and I felt like I’d just discovered how to turn lead into gold. Someone had paid me real money for something I daydreamed! Everytime I can give that experience to someone else I get to live that triumph all over again.
What is (or was) the worst aspect of editing an anthology, magazine, or collection?
Doing it alone is the worst aspect in my book. When you have to edit, layout, procure, curate, design art, format… wearing too many hats results in a lot of headache. I put together my first anthology in 2013 and I had no idea what I was doing. Other than the stories and the cover art, which was contributed by Robin Wiesneth, I did it all. I don’t recommend this unless it’s a last resort. If it is a last resort, absolutely do it as the alternative is to do nothing. I feel lucky now to have an incredible team of support, both with the magazine, Yuriko Publishing and my own books. It’s always nice for someone to say you’re talented, but I think we are as talented as our support groups. It’s the editors, artists, marketers, agents, publishers et al that make us look good.
In your opinion, what are the most important aspects of creating a collection or issue?
Good, original writing, of course, but I’m pretty keen on work that can illuminate somehow. Whether it’s presenting another angle, introducing new possibilities, shining light on something that needs to be exposed… These are things that make me passionate about a collection. Having authors that are pleasant to work with is also pretty important. Being a professional and being a prima donna are not the same thing. In my mind, they are opposite.
Is there anything you’d like people to know about you or your work?
Since Tortured Willows, my focus has pivoted. I had to do a lot of research to rediscover my roots because much of my culture has been lost due to imperial suppression. I found a lot of third generation Uchinanchu searching as well, trying to preserve and resurrect our culture before it’s gone. Our languages are on UNESCO’s endangered list. Even second and first generation Uchinanchu are trying to reclaim that which was lost and learn what was forgotten. Beyond just preservation, there are ongoing human rights issues happening in Okinawa today that need more voices. Fiction and poetry are perfect platforms for sharing truths without slamming people on the head with a placard. I know there is a lot wrong with the world, but that means there is a big opportunity to do a lot of right.
I’m also offering a free writer craft series on my blog every Saturday.
If we’d like to cyber stalk you, where can we find you online?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok… a lot of the socials. Best place to find me is at angelaysmith.com. Everything links up from there.
Link(s) to anthology/magazine/etc. you’d like our readers to check out:
Besides Space and Time magazine at https://spaceandtime.net/ here’s a list of anthos and books I’ve been in recently:
Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas from Hex Publishing: https://amzn.to/3JBXUkh
Don’t Break the Oath: Women in Horror Vol. 4 from Kandisha Press: https://amzn.to/3Brlspa
Tortured Willows from Yuriko Publishing: https://amzn.to/3rPRUhI
Giving the Devil His Due from Running Wild: https://amzn.to/3LFhmhO
Weirdbook Annual: Zombies! from Wildside Press. https://amzn.to/3uRGoEe
Mark My Words: Read the Submission Guidelines and other Self-editing Tips from Yuriko Publishing: https://amzn.to/3sLjb48
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Holley Cornetto was born and raised in Alabama, but now lives in New Jersey where she writes dark fantasy, horror, and weird fiction. To date, her writing appears in over a dozen magazines and anthologies. To indulge her love of books and stories, she became a librarian. She is also a writer, because the only thing better than being surrounded by stories is to create them herself. In 2021, she earned an MFA in fiction writing from Lindenwood University. She is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association.