Monday, October 22, 2012

The Whole She-Bang: Guest Post by Janet Costello

Today I welcome Janet Costello. For six years, Janet Costello has been the editor of Crime Scene, the Toronto Chapter Sisters in Crime newsletter. There she has also published interviews, articles and puzzles. She enjoys attending mystery conventions, especially when she can volunteer. Janet works as a commercial insurance underwriter to support her reading habit (and to ensure that habit includes a glass of red wine nearby). She is the Editor of The Whole She-Bang, her first anthology, is e-vailable for 99 cents now. The Whole She-Bang benefits the Children's Book Bank in Toronto that provides free books and literacy support to children.

Janet Costello:
What an Anthology Means to Me 

During my various volunteer activities in the mystery community, which to date include Sisters in Crime, Bloody Words, Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime, I’m often asked, “Are you a writer?”

My immediate response is, “No, I’m a reader.”

Being a reader opens a lot of doors. Other readers relate, and the usual exchange of favourite books ensues. Writers have all, first, been readers, so that passion is readily shared. But you can also probe them about their written work, and most deliciously delightful for me, their process.

When an expansion on why I’m not writing is required, I’ll explain, “I’m the newsletter editor for the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime. That’s how I’ve found my happy place. I sometimes write the articles on our meetings, and usually research and handle interviews with our author members. This helped me realize that I love shining the spotlight on others.”

After editing The Whole She-Bang, the first anthology for the Toronto Chapter, which celebrates their twenty years as part of Sisters in Crime, I’ve found another way to highlight the talent of our author members.

The motivation to edit for this anthology came from a number of sources. As a subscriber to EQMM for over 30 years, and reader of short stories from other sources as well, I am delighted in how much Sisters in Crime supports the short story. Several chapters have published anthologies, and some chapters regularly do so. From one of my earlier author interviews, I was charmed by Jane Burfield, who had co-edited an anthology. She made it seem possible for anyone with enough enthusiasm, and commitment to attempt the role. Later interviews with other editors made it clear that an anthology creates a wonderful opportunity for short story writers of all levels of success. My first Left Coast Crime was a very energizing experience, fueling my wish to expand my potential as a contributor to the mystery community. These, added to the wonderful feeling of belonging at every Bouchercon, for mystery writers at every stage in their career, gave me the courage to take the leap into fiction editing.

Editing is different from interviewing, of course. The editor is expected to do a bit of polishing. Yet, without being able to pose questions, the direction of the written work is set by the author, not the interviewer. Still, both efforts are about presenting the author at their best, and underscoring their unique attributes. Both efforts involve interacting with writers with varying degrees of experience. Side by side that variety is refreshing. The thrill of reading the story by an Edgar winning author was no less than the thrill of reading a story that is the first for what I expect to be a successful series character.

The Hollywood saying is, “Lights! Camera! Action!” Well the camera/viewpoint and action are readily evident in the stories. I’m happy to just handle the lights.

1 comment:

Linda Cahill said...

Congratulations Janets, shining a light on a terrific Anthology,theWhole She-bang