Editor Interview: Vintage Script

This interview is provided for archival purposes. The listing is not currently active.

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

A: Historical writing mag

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

A: I love Mslexia for the diversity of women writers, anything that publishes groundbreaking poetry such as Poetry Review, and BBC History magazine is great for general historical articles.

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

A: Goodness...there are so many! My tastes are very diverse! I think Dodie Smith, author of The One Hundred and One Dalmatians and I Capture The Castle is probably my all-time favourite. She could write beautifully and with originality and wit for both children and adults. I love Nabokov, but can't claim to completely understand him. Ian McEwan is a favourite contemporary writer. There are so many more but these are my top three. I also love many less well-known writers who have featured in Vintage Script magazine - Katy Darby, David Williams, Edward Clark and Bernie Deehan to name but a few.

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

A: Vintage Script is an eclectic collection of the highest-quality writing. Where else could you find an article on an ex-Emperor of Ethiopia alongside a story of how a letter from Geordie railway pioneer George Stephenson inspired a song lyric? We love new, unpublished writers as much as the better established ones, and are happy to consider submissions on any topic of history.

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

A: Keep it simple, original and think about your content. A well-written piece on an unusual aspect of history will do really well, or maybe a story written in an original, understated style.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: As I said before, an unusual perspective of history, or maybe a very personal perspective of history. Above all, it has to be beautifully and simply written, showing a command of and reverence for language.

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

A: I think the most common offence is too much or overstated description - my advice is to be ruthless when it comes to adjectives and adverbs, and think about how you can 'show' the reader rather than 'tell'.

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

A: It's useful to know a few details, but submissions are judged purely on their quality, so at the beginning of the process we really don't need to know any background information.

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

A: We like to give every piece a fighting chance and read to the end...however, on a few occasions I have had to reject an article or story after the first paragraph simply because of the quality of writing. You HAVE to engage and impress the reader straightaway!

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

A: We try to evaluate purely on quality. Sometimes we can afford to be a little lenient when it comes to the word count if there's space in the magazine, but if two pieces are neck and neck, the one that goes over the word count gets rejected.

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

A: My day begins in the evening after my children have gone to bed! Quite often I am editing in my pyjamas with my son and daughter sleeping in the bed next to my desk! After being distracted by Twitter, making cups of tea and foraging for chocolate, my editing starts in earnest. I usually work till about 11 or 12 at night, editing, reading submissons, replying to emails, writing my blog and updating the website. After I've signed off I have a last peek out of the window at the dark Suffolk countryside, and the cloud of vapour from the sugar beet factory, and go to bed exhausted but with snippets of writers' submssions filling my dreams...

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

A: Vital. I don't think you could successfully market your publication in this day and age without them. Having said that, Vintage Script is a printed magazine and is not available as an e-publication, because so many people want something they can actually hold and feel and bookmark in an old-fashioned way! But I would be lost with technology.