Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Q & A: Questions and Anthology Answers with Christina Fugate

As an occasional contributor to anthologies (and perhaps a future anthology editor), I always welcome the chance to talk to those who have put together a popular collection.

Christina Fugate edited
The Mothering Heights Manual for Motherhood: Volume 1 , released in May and recently held the number one spot in the mothering category at Amazon. Christina is a filmmaker, columnist, blogger and (need I say this?) a mother. I picked her brain just before she pulled the computer plug for a few weeks to enjoy some California summertime with her husband and children.

LR: Any topics or themes in the essay submissions which surprised you?
Christina: The use of the word perfection, over 96 times.

LR: Anything which you expected to see, but didn't?
Christina: I was surprised more moms didn't write about working at jobs outside of the home and how one juggles (or not) family life and personal needs.

LR: How many submissions did you receive?
Christina: I received over 100 submissions; 28 essays are featured, and I also invited submissions from several poets.

LR: When you decided which essays to include, what were the main criteria?
Christina: I looked for a unique voice and point-of-view in the essay. Sometimes that was in a form of a story, list or anecdotes. Some of the decisions were not mine but those of the previous publisher I was originally working with on the book. Once I took over the project, I did not have time to re-edit the manuscript and make the Mother’s Day deadline.

LR: Tell me about the title and subtitle.

Christina: The "manual" idea came from the fact that my husband has car manuals all around our house. One day, I thought to myself, I need a manual to tell me what to do with parenting. The subtitle came from the question posed for the essay contest and my continual griping about doing laundry and cooking.

LR: You turned around the print anthology pretty quickly. And you also ran, concurrently, an
online essay contest.
Christina: This was a lot of work and a natural diet. (I dropped poundage which is now back on.) I would never advise someone to host a contest, collect the entries, edit and publish a book in five months.

LR: I love the book's
trailer. What's on tap for promotion in the coming weeks?
Christina: I am taking most of August off to re-group. This has been an exciting but stressful time. I had an intervention from my husband who has insisted I put my laptop away and spend time offline relaxing. But I am doing some private book events and a reading at
Joseph Beth Booksellers in my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky on August 23.

LR: How can contributors to anthologies help to promote the book and themselves?
Christina: They need to toot their horn more! Send a copy of the book to their local newspapers and radio. It is so hard to get published, but an anthology can open a lot of doors.

LR: Tell us about your next project.
Christina: I am finishing up Transforming Matter, a film I have been working on for four years. It tells the story of poet
Donna Hilbert and her struggle to find love and happiness after the sudden death of her husband.

1 comment:

Michelle O'Neil said...

This is a great interview. I admire Ms. Fugate for her accomplishments and for unplugging her computer!

Twitch, twitch at the very thought.

You would make an AWESOME anthology editor.

P.S. Thanks for your ideas today. They will help me immensley!