Yesterday saw the release of ‘Off the Record 2: At the Movies’, a charity anthology edited by Luca Veste and Paul D. Brazill. It features short stories with movie-inspired titles from the likes of Matt Hilton, Claire McGowan and many more, including a story by lil ol’ me.
Luca stopped by to tell us what inspired the original idea.
OTR At the Movies is a follow-up to OTR, what brought about the idea for the 1st OTR?
It originated from reading many short stories over the summer of 2011. One anthology really caught my eye. ‘Pulp Ink’ was put together by the excellent Chris Rhatigan and Nigel Bird. What jumped out at me, was the hook. All of the stories were named after tracks from the ‘Pulp Fiction’ soundtrack. I then drank Jack Daniels and began thinking of doing something along the same lines.
That was back in August 2011. My ‘Guilty Conscience’ review site was a month or so old. I had one short story written, and knew very few people. What I knew, even at that point, was what I wanted ‘Off The Record’ to be. It had to be for charity, and in particular, something to do with children reading. And also, it had to be a genuine mix of writers and genres. So, I wanted big names in fiction sharing space with those who were just starting out.
How did you get so many ace writers involved?
I never worried about getting a “no” which meant I had no problem emailing any writer I may have had contact with in the past year and asking them to be involved. And thankfully, writers are, in the main, good people. As soon as they hear the word charity, they’re in.
Plus, it’s something a bit new or different for many of these bigger ‘names’. They spend most of the year writing a 100,000 word novel. I guess writing a couple of thousand words, about any subject they want with no pressure from a publisher etc, is a nice change.
Getting “unknowns” in was a bit trickier. I could possibly have done more there. Most of the writers from the first ‘OTR’ have returned, but there are a few new names. That came from reading short stories around the web and getting in touch with the authors of ones which stood out.
I’m still waiting to hear back from Stephen King though…
Who’s going to receive the profits of these books?
In the UK, the National Literacy Trust and in the US, the Children’s Literacy Initiative. Both charities deal with supporting literacy in children.
Why did you choose those charities?
I know how important reading was for me as a child. It’s an escape from whatever is happening around you in the real world, and that can be good for most children. It broadens your horizons and gives you hope. Anything I can do to help other children find that solace is important to me.
Any plans for a third volume?
Definitely. Not for a while yet, but it’s already being discussed. First one was song titles, this one is films…TV shows? Video Games? Not sure yet.
Do you have favourites from each volume?
It’s like choosing your favourite child…from ‘OTR 1’, I think Steve Mosby’s stood out. It’s a remarkable story which was picked out by the ‘Mammoth Book of Crime’ for wider publication next year. I also really enjoyed Simon Logan’s story, and Darren Sant’s sci-fi take on ‘Karma Police’.
From this one, I think there’s a few which I’ll re-read over and over. Helen FitzGerald’s autobiographical piece which is astounding. Stav Sherez’s tale of pregnancy woe, David Jackson’s ‘The Time Machine’ – which is Stephen King-esque -Tracey Edges story, which came in from an open submission, I loved that tale. There’s too many. I love them all!
Personally, do you have a favourite anthology that you’ve read?
‘First Thrills’ edited by Lee Child, I really enjoyed. But it has to be the one that started ‘Off The Record’, ‘Pulp Ink’.
Download your copy of ‘Off the Record 2: At the Movies’ here: http://amzn.to/UuxJvZ
Download ‘Off the Record’ here: http://amzn.to/MDkWDQ