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Editor Interview: MoonPark Review

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Luminous Flashes

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: We admire all literary journals that strive to survive and continue publishing, often as a pure labor of love by the editorial staff. Some of our favorites include: Hobart, Smokelong Quarterly, FRiGG, Wigleaf, Copper Nickel, The MacGuffin, A Public Space, Black Warrior Review, and Mississippi Review.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: We love great writing, both long and short. Some of our favorites include: Jeannette Winterson, Jeffrey Euginedes, Michael Cunningham, Kazuo Ishiguro, Haruki Murakami, A.M. Homes, and Donna Tartt. One of us loves Charles Dickens; the other prefers Ernest Hemingway.
With regard to art, we both love Vincent Van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, and Edward Hopper. As a technique, Lesley is quite taken with trompe-l'oeil. She is also enamored with mid-20th century black and white photojournalism. Mary Lynn is particularly fond of Greek and Roman sculpture.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: We think we have a unique aesthetic at MoonPark Review. We only publish work that both editors agree is exceptional and our literary tastes are quite different, so a piece that excites both of us is usually pretty special. In particular, one of us is obsessed with clear, direct prose while the other prefers rich and surprising language and a nesting doll of secrets. If you can thread that needle of contradictory editorial requirements, you might be a MoonPark Review author.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Read our past issues and our submission guidelines. Please note we are a journal of short prose. We love flash fiction and prose poems but we do not publish verse poetry.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: A fresh story with crisp, clear language that makes us think and breaks our hearts just a little bit. Or a complex, elegant piece full of smoke and mirrors that opens like a secret blossom and makes us waltz each other around the living room. If you can do both we will surely publish and likely nominate you for a big prize.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: We are a start-up journal on a shoestring budget so we have an email submission process. We prefer stories to be included within the body of the email (as our guidelines indicate) yet we often get attachments. (Please, no attachments!) Also, we are a journal of short prose yet submitters sometimes still send us verse poetry with line breaks which we do not consider.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: A detailed cover letter is not necessary but we do appreciate a greeting. "Dear Editors" is fine, though if you use our names, it would be nice to use them correctly. I.e., we are "Mary Lynn" and "Lesley", both of which seem particularly difficult for submitters to get correct... We really don't want to hear your thoughts about the story in the cover letter. We'd rather the story stand on its own. We do ask for a short bio, which would be published with the story, if accepted. We enjoy reading them but they don't sway us one way or the other. The writing, not the writer, is what matters to us when making editorial decisions.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: At least one of us reads every piece to the end.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: Both of us read the piece multiple times, sometimes taking turns reading it aloud to each other. If we still aren't sure, we may set the piece aside and come back to it a few days later to begin the process again. We have accepted pieces within hours and others after several weeks.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: One of us works a very demanding full-time job and the other is retired, so we have quite different "days in the life" between the two of us. We have divided up the editorial duties based on the time we have available and our individual strengths. One of us serves as first reader, reading submissions and making initial assessments. (But as we've already described, both of us read most pieces and all pieces we accept are read multiple times by both of us.) On a typical day, in addition to reading submissions, one of us may be working on artwork to accompany a story for the next issue. At least once a week, the other of us does all of the communications with submitters (acceptances and rejections, etc.).

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: We are an online journal so of course we embrace the internet! It is our publication vehicle. We also have a MoonPark Review Twitter account and use that platform (as well as a lighter touch on Facebook) to promote the journal and its authors. We also use Twitter to connect with others in the literary community and discover new journals and writers.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: If we have substantial editorial suggestions for a piece we would like to publish, we may propose them to the author as a condition of acceptance. (Or we may make editorial suggestions to pieces that we aren't ready to publish, and invite the author to resubmit a revision.) For lighter edits, we also usually mention them upon acceptance as well. We don't do extensive line edits but we do provide proofs for each author to review and approve before the issue goes to publication.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Yes. We have nominated work to both the Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions. We intend to continue nominating for those and other awards in the future.