Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein are the editors of Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, which was released from Twelfth Planet Press in early August 2014. They were kind enough to drop by to talk about the anthology, but before they do, allow me to introduce them by stealing from their bios.
Julia Rios is a writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator. She is one of the three fiction editors for Strange Horizons, and host of the Outer Alliance Podcast (celebrating QUILTBAG speculative fiction). To find out more about her work, including her fiction, non-fiction, podcasts, narration and anything else she might be working on, visit her website www.juliarios.com. You can also find her on Twitter as @omgjulia.
Alisa Krasnostein is World Fantasy Award winning editor and publisher at Twelfth Planet Press and part of the Galactic Suburbia Podcast Team. She was Executive Editor of the review website Aussie Specfic in Focus!. Currently working on a PhD in Publishing, in her spare time she is a critic, reader, reviewer, runner, environmentalist, knitter, quilter, and puppy lover. For more information, visit her website www.twelfthplanetpress.com. Or find her on Twitter as @krasnostein.
Thank you, Alisa and Julia for being here! First, could you start off by talking a bit about how Kaleidoscope came to be? Where did the idea for the anthology start? How did you go about making your vision into a reality?
We’ve both been passionate about new stories that challenge some of the dominant voices for a long time, so it’s natural that we’d team up for something like this. We got to know each other originally because we are part of the speculative fiction podcasting community (Alisa is part of the three times Hugo nominated Galactic Suburbia, and Julia hosts the Outer Alliance Podcast and is part of the Hugo nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show). In May of 2012, Alisa listened to an Outer Alliance Podcast recording of a WisCon panel on heteronormativity in YA novels, and was interested in developing a project in response to the discussion. The rest snowballed from there. A vigorous email volley turned into regular Skype chats, and by the time we met in person in Toronto at the World Fantasy Convention later that year, the planning for Kaleidoscope was well underway.
What was your editorial process like? I assume there were certain authors you knew you wanted to work with from the start. Did you have an open reading period as well? For the authors whose work you solicited, did you ask for a particular type of story, or let them run wild? Did anything surprise you about the stories you received?
We sent a lot of invitations to writers, and those invited submitters had the chance to send their stories in early. We bought a few stories before our crowdfunding campaign opened in October of 2013, but one of our goals was to have an open reading period so that we could find new voices. We asked everyone for the same thing: contemporary stories with diverse protagonists. We wanted the feeling of the settings to be relatable and recognizable to teens even while they were full of wonder. Within those guidelines, though, anything was fair game. We were surprised by the depth and variety of the stories we received. We started out thinking this would be a fantasy anthology, but very quickly decided to change the guidelines to allow for science fiction because the science fiction submissions were so good.
What made you decide to do a YA anthology in particular?
Alisa had been wanting to branch out into YA with Twelfth Planet Press, and Julia has always enjoyed reading YA, so it seemed like a great opportunity all around.
You’re working together again on Twelfth Planet’s Year’s Best Young Adult Speculative Fiction series. Aside from that, are there any plans for a second volume of Kaleidoscope? Or any other anthology projects you’re working on together?
We’d love to do a second volume of Kaleidoscope, but right now we haven’t made any firm plans beyond the Year’s Best YA Science Fiction and Fantasy. We’re in the process of putting together the 2013 volume right now, and we’re also reading for the 2014 volume.
Aside from your editorial projects with Twelfth Planet, is there anything else either of you are working on or having coming up that you’d like people to know about?
We’re both still podcasting, and Julia’s still editing for Strange Horizons. Alisa’s working on a PhD in publishing, managing Twelfth Planet Press, and wrangling her nearly one-year-old daughter. It’s safe to say we’re both keeping busy!
Thank you again for stopping by. Congratulations on Kaleidoscope. It’s a wonderful anthology.
Thank you for interviewing us. We’re thrilled that you asked.
Interviewer’s Note: I seriously cannot recommend Kaleidoscope enough. It is a wonderful anthology, and you all need to go out and buy a copy right now.