Interview: Henry L Herz, editor of Beyond the Pale

Please welcome Henry L Herz to the blog! I loved his new anthology, BEYOND THE PALE, and he kindly answered a few questions about it, and more!


henrylherzWelcome to the blog! Will you tell us a bit about your new anthology, BEYOND THE PALE?
Twist my arm, Kristin. 😀 As you can tell, I’m VERY excited about BEYOND THE PALE. It’s a dark fantasy anthology featuring an amazing cast of talented writers. Here’s what’s included:

  • “Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela” by Saladin Ahmed (author of Throne of the Crescent Moon)
  • “The Children of the Shark God” by Peter S. Beagle (author of The Last Unicorn)
  • “Misery” & “Shadow Children” by Heather Brewer (author of Vladimir Tod)
  • “Even Hand” by Jim Butcher (author of The Dresden Files)
  • “Red Run” by Kami Garcia (author of Beautiful Creatures)
  • “Pale Rider” & “The Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones” by Nancy Holder (author of Wicked)
  • “Frost Child” and “South” by Gillian Philip (author of Rebel Angels)
  • “A Knot of Toads” by Jane Yolen (author of Owl Moon)

You’ve got some amazing names in this collection. What do you look for in a good story, and how do you go about choosing stories for a collection?
I started with a theme, then reached out to authors whom I admire. The theme of BEYOND THE PALE is stories that skirt the border between our world and others. Was that my imagination, or did I hear something under my bed? What was that blurred movement in my darkened closet? There is but a thin Veil separating the real and the fantastic, and therein dwell the inhabitants of these stories.

noun “pale” refers to a stake (as in impaling vampires) or pointed piece of wood (as in a paling fence). “Pale” came to refer to an area enclosed by a paling fence. Later, it acquired the figurative meaning of an enclosed and therefore safe domain. Conversely, “beyond the pale” means foreign, strange, or threatening. So, BEYOND THE PALE was a perfect title for this anthology. And the cover art is stunning too.

You’re not only an editor, but an author as well! When did you start writing, and what do you love most about writing, and reading speculative fiction?
I was a reader of speculative fiction well before I became a writer. I’m pretty sure WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE got me hooked on fantasy in elementary school, and THE LORD OF THE RINGS sealed the deal. Like many people, I love temporarily losing myself in a fascinating world of someone else’s creation.

beyondthepaleI wrote my first children’s book, the fantasy early chapter book Nimpentoad, about three years ago. Initially it was done purely to get my two young sons interested in reading fantasy. But two unexpected things happened. First, my sons gave me feedback, and so the project morphed into a collaboration. Second, I got enough positive feedback on Nimpentoad that I was motivated to indie publish it. I haven’t looked back since.

I’ve collaborated with my sons on my writing projects since then, and I’m pleased to share that our picture book MONSTER GOOSE NURSERY RHYMES (just what it sounds like) is scheduled for traditional publication by Pelican in Spring 2015.

What authors or books have had the most influence on you, as a reader and an author?
Ha, I think I gave away the answer to that question already. I loved the escapism (and artwork) of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, as well as the idea of playing with monsters. The incredible world-building and range of emotions of Tolkien’s writing also had a profound influence on me.

If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
Great question, but hard to answer. I think I’d respond generically that any of the iconic speculative fiction that I first read as a child, like THE LORD OF THE RINGS, FOUNDATION, EARTHSEA, NARNIA, or DUNE, would offer a very different experience if I could read them for the first time as an adult.

What’s next for you?
By the time this is posted, I will have finished moderating a science fiction/fantasy literature panel at San Diego Comic-Con. My amazing panelists were Dr. David Brin (The Postman), Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires), Jason Hough (The Darwin Elevator), Marie Lu (Legend), and Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin). As you might imagine, my near-term focus is on getting the word out regarding BEYOND THE PALE. Thanks for your help with that, by the way. I just sent submitted an alphabet picture book parody manuscript to some humor book publishers. And I’ve got several fantasy picture book manuscripts in the final polishing stage. Never a dull moment.

Keep up with Henry: Website | Twitter

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