The SFRQ editorial team
Veronica Scott: What attracted you to the idea of starting a magazine?
Kaz: Firstly, we’re not the first SFR magazine that’s ever existed, but the time seemed right to launch one. With even traditional publishers open to SFR submissions, we felt like we were on the cusp of something big, and we wanted to help that along by creating something that brought authors and readers of SFR together.
How did the three of you came together to work on it?
Kaz: We had various, informal dealings with each before. I think that’s a good way to judge team “fitness” because nobody was trying to impress someone else. As a result, we had implicit trust in each other before we began working with each other.
What is your target audience?
Heather: SFR readers come from all walks of life, but there are three groups most likely to find the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly (and SFR!) appealing.
Romance readers are one, particularly those who enjoy otherworldly characters and settings and action-adventure elements. SFR is full of experienced, sexually confident heroines, so it’ll appeal to readers seeking alternate kinds of romance fantasies. Oh yeah—the heroes of SFR range from powerful Alpha cyborgs to strapping starship captains to geeky scientists. The range, I must say, is breathtaking!
Geek girls would be the second group. SFR offers geek girls something that’s often missing from mainstream SF: stories told using a female gaze and often featuring heroines with agency. In other words, books that focus on issues important to women.
The third group is readers who like character-driven SF. “Sense of wonder” ideas are, well, wonderful, but their impact is only as strong as the characters behind them. Since SFR focuses on the intersection of love and technology, it’s a natural fit for readers who enjoy stories about the impact of science on our intimate relationships.
What’s the (brief) elevator pitch you’d give that audience on what they’ll find in SFRQ?
Heather: SFRQ is a free, downloadable e-zine—perfect for readers on the go. Features include SFR releases, short stories, opinion columns, reviews, interviews, and more!
What is the biggest challenge of doing a quarterly magazine?
Diane: Time management, probably. All three of us are working writers with kids. We have day jobs, books to write, children to raise, social media to stay on top of, and all the demands of everyday life. The Quarterly is truly a labor of love. The revenue we raise through ads goes to pay writers and artists—not us.
Are there any particular authors you’d love to have in an interview? Or write a story?
Diane: I personally love interviewing Gini Koch and Lucy Woodhull; just because they’re both hilarious.There aren’t any particular authors I’d love to see a story from, but, in general, I’d love to see more diverse submissions: some f/f, m/m stories and/or PoC characters would be fabulous.
What’s been the most satisfying moment or aspect of having the magazine out there?
Heather: The tremendous collaboration between authors, reviewers, and bloggers demonstrates how invested the SFR community is in helping the genre to grow, thereby making SFRQ 20% cooler!
How do you decide on the theme for each Quarter?
Kaz: We brainstorm. Because we also know each other’s strengths (and weaknesses), we find it easy to concede a point to the person with the most knowledge in each area. Also, we can’t do without cloud collaboration tools!
How do you celebrate when each issue is “put to bed”?
Diane: We hold a post-publication international conference call, which involves three different accents, all of us talking a mile a minute, and a great deal of cackling. Sometimes, there’s booze *grin*
What’s missing in current SFR?
Heather: Diversity, diversity, diversity.
SFR has so much potential to represent a wider variety of readers. A key way of accomplishing that goal is to feature more characters of color, LGBQT characters, and characters with disabilities. Especially heroes and heroines.
While aliens can sometimes be used to explore issues of race, they don’t equal true racial diversity. If readers can relate to aliens, androids, cyborgs, and superhuman characters, why can’t they relate to characters of color?
Everyone deserves to be represented in SFR, whether they’re wheelchair users, transgender, or PoC.
What is an SFR book (other than your own) each of you are feeling passionate about currently?
Heather: No fair! I can’t name just one book, so I’m going to cheat with two. Catherine Asaro’s ALPHA is my favorite android romance and P.J. Schnyder’s A GIFT FOR BOGGLE features the greatest geek-genius-heavyset hero ever.
Diane: I recently loved Alisha Rai’s NIGHT WHISPERS and am eager for more stories in that series.
Kaz: Oh no, I can’t do this! Just one book? Aargh. In that case, I’ll have to name my favourite SFR author, Cathy Pegau. I love her characterisations and the twists she puts in her books. DEEP DECEPTION is her latest.
* This interview appears with the kind permission of Veronica Scott and USA Today, where it first appeared.