Jeani Rector is an impressive woman with a strong sense of purpose. As you read the interview below (which is also posted on White Cat Magazine), I think you'll be impressed by her combination of talent vision, self discipline, and focus. Add to that the fact that she's a great person, and you'll see why I was so anxious to interview her.
Editor: Jeani, you’ve had wonderful success as a writer, an editor, and most recently as the publisher of the online magazine at www.thehorrorzine.com, but for those of our readers who are being introduced to you for the first time, can you tell us more about your career?
Good question! I started off as a writer, and I would submit short stories to online magazines. Suddenly the recession hit in 2008, and all sorts of zines began folding. When even The Harrow went defunct, I asked myself: “Who is going to replace these zines?” I must have been looking into a mirror when I asked myself that question. LOL
Serendipity happened. I got an offer to join in a website building class free of charge, a freak thing. I said, “Let me think about it.” No I didn’t! I said YES!
Start-up costs for The Horror Zine weren’t cheap. I had to purchase the name and also the domain space because I didn’t want to use any free websites like webs.com or weebly.com. I wanted full control and ownership of what goes on my site, and you don’t get that for free. Plus there was the website software costs: I use Adobe Dreamweaver, a very expensive choice, but that was the negative of being invited to a free website building class…they used Adobe products. AH HA! Nothing is free! There was a catch! Too late now! I’ve been caught in the catch!
So anyway, I started The Horror Zine in July 2009. And at the end of this year, 2011, I am going to register The Horror Zine legally as a small business. I need to do it in anticipation of the book titled WHAT FEARS BECOME: AN ANTHOLOGY FROM THE HORROR ZINE , which will be available in October or November 2011.
Editor: Your hard work has been rewarded with numerous prestigious awards. Can you list some of them for us and explain the process by which your magazine was selected?
Well, thank you! Not numerous awards, not yet. But The Horror Zine has won the 2010 Predators and Editors Awards for Best Fiction Magazine and Best Poetry Magazine. We have been Long Listed for Best Magazine by the British Fantasy Society twice. And we did have a presence at the World Horror Convention in both 2010 and 2011.
You have to remember, The Horror Zine has only been operating since July 2009. Give us another year, and maybe we can add to that list of awards!
Editor: The Horror Zine has been a tremendous success and in large part many of us attribute that to your talent at both bringing out the best in people and encouraging established writers to contribute to your magazine while you bring them together on your site with talented writers who deserve recognition. How exactly do you that?
Because I had been a writer, I knew a lot of magazine editors. Trevor Denyer of Midnight Street Magazine (who incidentally wrote one of the best ghost stories I have ever read) introduced me to Ramsey Campbell, and one thing led to another, and now The Horror Zine is frequented by best-selling authors.
The Horror Zine has been privileged to publish such “masters of the macabre” as Ramsey Campbell, Graham Masterton, Joe R. Lansdale, Simon Clark, Piers Anthony, Tom Piccirilli, Elizabeth Massie, Melanie Tem, Ronald Malfi, Conrad Williams, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Scott Nicholson, Jeff Strand, Gregg Hurwitz, and the current issue features Susie Moloney.
But I never forget our mission: to support and promote struggling writers, poets, and artists. So even though we have a lot of star power, we also have some of the most talented newcomers and lesser-knowns in the business.
You ask: “How do I do that?” I do it by treating my contributors with the courtesy and the respect that they deserve. I work hard and remain honest. They are all important to me, every one. And I am grateful to them all. And I tell them that, because I mean it.
Editor: Where do you see your writing and publishing efforts taking you in the future? Will your emphasis be more on your own writing career or will you focus on becoming even more successful as a publisher?
Another good question. Can I dodge this one? No? LOL.
Okay, here’s the deal: I will be leaving my full-time job as an analyst this December to devote more time to The Horror Zine. But! Leaving an eight to five job frees up time that I can use to finally begin writing again. And the next book I write will not be horror; it will be historical fiction about the 1930s Great Depression in the Midwest USA. I have run the idea past the literary agent I have, and she agrees to represent that book. Pretty nice to get an agent even before I write the first word for that book!
So stay tuned folks! Kind of like, “But wait! There’s more!”
In the meantime, come visit us at http://www.thehorrorzine.com, and look for the book WHAT FEARS BECOME: AN ANTHOLOGY FROM THE HORROR ZINE coming out around Halloween 2011. WHAT FEARS BECOME not only contains works by most of the writers I have already named, but it will also contain a never-published-before story from Bentley Little. How’s that for a teaser?