Shane Staley is the managing publisher of DarkFuse. He is considered by many as one of the most influential editors and publishers of the modern era horror scene. He was the founder and editor-in-chief of the legendary specialty press Delirium Books (1999-2012). Staley started his publishing career in 1995 with a ‘zine called The Darklands Project. Since then, he has published more than 300 books in his career and has been a part of launching some of the most important writing careers in the horror genre.
Shane took time from his busy schedule to do a rare interview. This is a peek into the mind of one of the most prolific contributors to dark fiction in the world.
To connect with Shane, please follow him on Twitter (@TheShaneStaley).
You were originally an author, how did you get into publishing?
I think it came mostly from an overwhelming disinterest in the current publishing companies of the time. Each were publishing the same established talents to make a buck, but few were taking on newer and oftentimes more talented authors. So I wanted to change that. At the time I was getting published in the same magazines as some very talented young authors, but the book publishers weren’t picking up their longer works, so I started my own publishing company to get their work out on the market.
As both a publisher and a writer, do you find it difficult to switch hats if you want to sit down and write a story?
Actually, I find it almost impossible to switch gears without having distance between the business and the art. You use two totally different sides of your brain handling the business and creating the art of fiction. I always told myself I’d publish till I was 40, then get back to writing full time, but that hasn’t exactly happened.
Would you talk about the upcoming DarkFuse lineup? What authors do we have to look forward to?
DarkFuse will be streamlining offerings a little over the coming year and focusing on bigger (novel) releases. Our core roster will be returning with new books, including Willie Meikle, Greg F. Gifune, Jon Bassoff and Tim Curran, to name a few.
How did DarkFuse Magazine come to life? Would you tell us about some of the ideas you have in store for us?
DF Mag has always been a for-the-love-of-it project. Somewhere to be able to showcase shorter works which we can’t really do in book format or digital due to the already ridiculous low prices of novels and novellas on the market.
We’ll be experimenting with more serial works and original fiction, as well as some behind-the-scenes non-fiction that ties in with our book line.
I especially love the Tiny Terrors portion of the magazine. Would you expand a bit on that? Can tweets from past weeks be voted on again?
Well, I love Twitter. Love the concept and I use it personally as a creative tool for my own writing, so I challenged authors to scare me (and DarkFuse’s readership) in the defined character count Twitter allows, which is no small feat. Terror packed into small doses is an art in itself and it’s really fun to read what other authors come up with.
Each session we’ll present all the new Tiny Terrors that are submitted by using the hashtag #DFTinyTerrors and tagging DarkFuse’s Twitter account (@darkfuse) to our book club members to vote on which one was the best. Only the past session of tweets can be voted on.
Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?
I think H. P. Lovecraft was the first author that influenced me and close to the last. I mimicked his stories and prose for years till I found my own voice and style of writing and then I really kept from reading a lot of fiction in the genre because I wanted to distance myself from being subconsciously influenced by others’ writings and styles.
Who is Patrick Kill? Can his books be found anywhere outside the DarkFuse Publishing site?
Patrick Kill is a byline that should never be read by someone seeking good taste in fiction. He writes of a world that has no moral concept and has been banned from exiting the DarkFuse Magazine archives for fear the world will collapse if his work goes viral.
What are the next three books you’re planning to read for fun?
They will more than likely be tennis coaching books and tennis autobiographies. Outside of my publishing career, I’m about as driven to be the best tennis coach I can be, so I spend a lot of time going over video and reading within the sport.
If you could claim one DarkFuse/Delirium book as your own—think fame not fortune— what would it be?
It’d have to be The Bleeding Season by Greg F. Gifune. It’s a modern classic, timeless and something that will be as relevant decades from now as it was the day it was first published.
How do you want the world to remember you?
I’m not sure the world has a memory. If it does, and I’m to be remembered, it will be of no real concern, use, or meaning to me. Which is fair, as I will not be able to remember the world.
If that’s too artsy-fartsy of an answer for you, how about this…
Instead of the awards I’ve won, the impact I’ve made in publishing, I’d rather just be remembered by those who personally knew me as the good person I truly am: the friend, the father, husband, coach, etc. as well as for my sometimes strange sense of imaginative humor I’ve carried with me throughout my life.
Well, too bad! That’s all I got. Now go read a book!