Name: Evan Kingston
Role at Red Bird: Fiction Editor and ebook converter
How I became involved with Red Bird and why I agreed to do it:
I met Dana during a class on bookmaking in Hamline’s MFA program; I spent most of the semester cutting myself and spilling ink everywhere, but she apparently learned a lot because the next time I saw her, she’d started this awesome chapbook press. After several years of staying in touch as an admirer of the press, she reached out to me saying they had several recent fiction submissions but no one with a dedicated fiction background to read them.
I’d never even considered chapbooks as a way to publish fiction, so the idea intrigued me. I’d also spent some time on editorial boards for rock,paper,scissors and Water-Stone Review during my MFA and, having recently graduated, was missing that sense of connection to fresh work that wasn’t my own or a close friend’s. As a result, I took the position and quickly became a big believer in the fiction chapbook.
Recent Red Bird project(s):
I finished out last year working on “Niagara Falls” by Beth Mayer, probably the most rewarding project in my time at the press so far. I loved the story as it was first submitted, but Beth had such a passion for revision that we reconsidered everything from the plot and characters to the formatting of the footnotes and cropping of the cover. I loved that it was one long-form short story taking up the whole chapbook because, in many ways, it was like the book itself became an integral part of the story, every detail contributing equally to the final experience of the whole. Over the course of many drafts, I think we ended up with a beautiful and cohesive final product.
A little about my own work and what I am currently working on:
I’m currently self-publishing a serial novel called Slash. A metafictional erotic thriller / comedic murder mystery / romantic slasher, the novel is about the pleasures and dangers of reading and, as such, is supposed to be fun to read—my attempt at something both literary and pulpy. With that in mind, I’ve really gotten into the serial, cliffhanger-heavy aspects of publishing it, trying to follow in the footsteps of such greats as Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Stephen King. So far, I’ve published the first two episodes, with five more following every two months throughout 2014; each episode is available in all major ebook formats, but I’m also hand-cutting my own little physical version as well. Much uglier than anything Red Bird would put together, I’m wary of calling them chapbooks; they’re more an homage to the xeroxed fanfiction ‘zines that play a part in the novel. You can learn more about the novel at www.slashserial.com and check out the ‘zines atwww.etsy.com/shop/SlashSerialNovel.
My favorite thing(s) that can be found in the public domain:
On my commute to and from work, I like to listen to audiobooks, and librevox.org is a great free source for works in the public domain. Even better, each chapter is read by a volunteer, so you get a diverse group of voices all collaborating to tell you the same story: one day it is a gravel voiced Irishman, the next, a young lady in Florida with a bird cage by her computer, and then a little old lady from India. After spending an hour a day on my bike this summer listening to them read me George Elliot’sMiddlemarch, I’m currently doing the thing where I only let myself listen to one or two of the final chapters every week; I just don’t want it to end.