Happy Birthday, Stephen Jones, born 4 November 1953
- Just because everybody uses language, that doesn’t mean that they can write even tolerable prose.
- I have to come up with a concept, sell that to a publisher, and then approach those authors who I think are best-suited to whichever particular project I’m working on. Every anthology is different – not just on a thematic level, but also how it should be pitched at the reader, who it should be aimed at.
- Language is always changing. That’s what makes it so exciting.
- I’m a good organiser, I think I have an aptitude for putting things together. My background as a TV director involved many of the same skills needed to be a book editor. I can write – I’ve done non-fiction books, journalism, scripts, introductions, all those kinds of things – and I’m also a solid, creative “ideas” guy.
- I love what I do. And I do it to the best of my ability. It’s my world — I live and breathe horror fiction every day. Why wouldn’t I be proud to stand up for a literary genre I wholeheartedly believe in, and want see my work proudly labelled as such?
- Publishers, imprints, editors, designers, marketing people all come and go. The work will always survive in one form or another.
- A book is also a physical thing. It’s tactile. It has pages, a cover. Sometimes it has a distinctive smell. It can be held. Loved. Cherished. Collected. You can’t do that with an e-book. Again, this is something that I personally like and crave about the whole reading experience. There’s nothing better than settling down with a good, well-made book.
- One of the great strengths of horror fiction is that it can encompass so many areas of literature and film. You can have a western with horror elements; you can have a science fiction story that includes horror; you can have a crime thriller which involves horror. However, it doesn’t necessarily work the other way around. For me, horror is the most imaginative field I can work in, because it allows the most scope for creativity.
- One of my most common complaints is with writers who do not read through their manuscripts before they submit them. They write their stories and they’re in such a rush to put them into the envelope, to get them off to the editor, that they don’t bother to sit down and read their hard copy. They don’t check for spelling errors, repetition, or plot inconsistencies, and it drives me insane. Once they’ve written a story, if they would just sit on it for a few days and then go back to it, many of these errors would be glaringly obvious, even to them. If they only did that, their story would be a hundred times better.
Stephen Jones is an English writer. He edits horror anthologies, and he is the author of several book-length studies of horror and fantasy films as well as an account of H. P. Lovecraft’s early British publications. Some of his titles include Clive Barker’s A-Z Horror, H.P. Lovecraft’s Book of Horror, and Horror: The 100 Best Books.
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