Thursday, February 13, 2014

Behind the Masthead: Sam Martone

For the past two years, Sam Martone has served as our editor, overseeing all aspects of production and wielding his power like a tyrant. Kacie Wheeler, marching up winding mountain paths and tip-toeing across rickety rope bridges, caught up with him in his Editor Fortress to find out what he does in his free time (if he has any), what kinds of stories he hopes to see in the submission queue, and what he’s loved most about working on Hayden’s Ferry Review.

Kacie Wheeler: What is Hayden’s Ferry Review?

Sam Martone: Hayden’s Ferry Review is the monster under your bed.

KW: In what way is it a hidden monster?

SM: I like to think that the work we’re publishing in HFR is a strange and unknown yet really recognizable and powerful, which is a combination that ends up being a little scary.

KW: Tell me about your job at Hayden’s Ferry Review. What do you spend most of your time doing?

SM: My job is to make sure everything about the magazine runs like a well-oiled, literary-goodness machine. I coordinate with the editors and contributors, I communicate with the printers, I plan events, I make sure all the issues we mail out get to where they’re going. The simplest answer is it’s a whole heck of a lot of emailing. I’ve also been doing the layout for the past three issues, which is fun and takes me back to my high school newspaper days.

KW: I heard you were leaving HFR soon. Why are you leaving and who is going to take care of this well-oiled machine while you are gone?

SM: Well, I won’t be a student in the program for much longer, and since the journal is entirely student-run, that means we need a new editor to carry on. Dana Diehl, our current managing editor, will be taking the helm, and from now on, it’ll usually be a one-year position for each editor. I’ve enjoyed my two years as editor, but it’s definitely a tough job, especially when you're juggling other responsibilities.

KW: How do you spend your time when you are not working?

SM: When I have free time, I try to spend as many hours writing, reading, and playing Pok√©mon as I can. Right now I’m trying to breed a Speed Boost Venipede with perfect IVs [ed. note: Sam has since bred an Adamant Speed Boost Venipede with perfect IVs, as well as a Jolly Speed Boost Venipede with 5 perfect IVs].

KW: What sort of writing do you do?

SM: I write mostly fiction, though I’ve been dabbling in poetry and screenwriting classes this year. In my fiction, I tend to mess around with genre and form, but really at the moment I’m just trying to do as many different things as possible—I don't want to get stuck employing the same tricks all the time. Figuring out new ways to tell stories is what makes writing really fun for me.

KW: How was technology changed how literary magazines are run?

SM: When I first joined the staff of Hayden’s Ferry Review as a Special Projects Editor, we were already operating with our electronic submissions manager, and that seems like the biggest gamechanger—I can’t imagine the labor that must have gone into organizing, reading and responding to submissions when they were all on paper. Submittable, I’m sure, makes things easier for both journals and submitters, and I would imagine it also makes it easier for many potential contributors to submit, which means more voices out there have a chance at being discovered.

KW: Speaking of contributors, what would you like to see more of in submissions to HFR?

SM: I always want weirder stuff. That’s most exciting for me, feeling like I’m reading something I’ve never read before, a piece of writing that makes me go, “Oh, I didn’t know you could do that!” or “How did she pull this off??” Here is a list of more specific things I’d like to see in submissions: sentient hot air balloons, children who transform into fish, a man who keeps coughing up printer cartridges, Ke$ha, superheroes with really mundane powers, a magic pair of glasses, and a mysterious company that sells tiny factories in glass bottles. But mostly I want to see things that I never would have thought up for this list.

KW: Those would be pretty fun and interesting topics to read about! Overall, what have you enjoyed most about Hayden’s Ferry Review?

SM: Oh, this question is hard—I’ve loved so much about this job. I think for me the most rewarding part has been meeting with contributors at readings or at AWP and really getting to see how happy and excited about the issue they are. Even when we do our online reading, where contributors webcast themselves across the entire internet, it really helps to feel like we’re not just putting out a magazine but that we’re bringing a bunch of talented people together and establishing a loving community among people passionate about writing.

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Sam Martone is editor of Hayden’s Ferry Review and Associate Editor of Origami Zoo Press. He lives and writes in Tempe, Arizona.

1 comment:

BJ said...

Yeah Sam! Love the bit about the monster...