Monday, November 9, 2009

Interview with Tainted Tea Literary Magazine Editors Shane Toogood & Kris Fossett

Shane Toogood and Kris Fossett met while getting their Associates Degree in Communication Arts, Journalism at Delaware County Community College. They have now started a literary journal, Tainted Tea: http://taintedtea.blogspot.com. Read on for their insights on writing, editing, publishing, and everything in between!

Congrats on the first issue of Tainted Tea! Why did you decide to start this lit mag? And what was the process like? Any surprises/unknown difficulties?


Shane: Thanks so much, Dallas. And thanks for interviewing us. It’s been a long seven months. Tainted Tea started because Kris and I kept saying that we needed to do something to fuel the flames of our imaginations. Although we continue to write, we both have jobs that are completely out of the writing and publishing field. She’s a lifeguard and I answer phones for funeral homes.

One day, as I was dropping Kris off at home, the two of us wanted so badly to tell the other that we wanted to start a lit magazine. Seriously, we sat in front of her house in my frigid car whose bi-polar heat decided not to work that March evening. Finally, Kris broke the silence and asked me. I screamed “I was gonna ask you the same thing!” I kicked her out of the car and as I drove home the name “Tainted Tea” dropped into my head. We loved it. It’s seductive, alluring and great alliteration.

We did some PR and Kris made the beautiful, interactive blog. All that was missing was the submissions. Once they started coming in things really picked up.

Kris: Before our first submission in late July, we didn't know what to do without content to work with. But once we received M.C. Brody's story, which is published in the first issue, we really started working, having meetings every week that lasted for six/seven/eight hours.

Once we received submissions, the magazine was no longer just something for Shane and I to do as we worked our terrible jobs. It's about the writers. We both know how difficult writing is, and we know how much courage it takes to send work out to publications. We couldn't let these writers down. If anything, we had to continue to work on the magazine for them.

Shane: As for the biggest difficulty…we had an artist verbally agree to have his work in Tainted Tea. We dropped his art in the layout and Kris tried to get a hold of him to sign the contract. When she finally met with him he lashed out…I won’t go into too much detail, but we were just about ready to go to press, and we had to pull his paintings and rearrange the whole mid-section of the magazine. We wound up making deadline fine.

What was your favorite thing about starting Tainted Tea?

Shane: Hmm… morphing dreams into reality. As I gain experience for my goal of becoming a book publisher, we’re helping make our fellow writers’ dreams come true. We love reading the enthusiastic responses when an author is being featured in the magazine. I mean, when we first started the zine, Kris and I thought we would cater to young authors, but we realized that there are just as many young authors not being published as there are the young at heart. It makes me happy knowing that another writer is happy. Too sappy?

Kris: I love everything about Tainted Tea: the writing, the editing, the layout, even the PR, which I thought I would hate due to a nightmare internship at a design firm. Shane and I spent hours commenting and editing one submission, and when the writer sent it back to us, she listened to us, and her story improved by a thousand-fold. It ended up being the best story we published.

Like Shane said, I lifeguard to support myself, and if I didn't have Tainted Tea, I would feel like my talents are going to complete waste, and I would have jumped off a cliff awhile ago. Being an editor of Tainted Tea isn't a job for me; it's something that I enjoy doing. It's my passion.

Read the rest of the interview at www.writeonbooks.org/taintedtea.aspx.