While looking for a home for a couple of my stories, I discovered a small independent press that was set up in 2010 by Stephen Minchin. I asked him to partake in this months interviews because he is a NZ publisher!
Why did you start your own Publishing House?
I started Steam Press because there didn’t seem to be anyone in New Zealand publishing the books that I wanted to read. I was sure that there were a decent number of authors out there writing New Zealand science fiction and fantasy, but there’s so little available, and a lot of what you can find has actually been picked up by publishers in the US or UK and then imported back into New Zealand.
The weird thing is that the local publishers who are cautious about New Zealand speculative fiction do import spec fic books – if they’ll happily sell The Passage, Twilight, and the Harry Potter books in New Zealand why do they think that locally written novels in a similar vein won’t sell here? I figured that the best thing I could do was set up a small press and try to prove those major publishers wrong about the local market.
This is all based on the assumption that these guys who’ve been in publishing for years don’t know what they’re doing, which is clearly insane. You never know unless you try, though…
What sort of stories are you looking for?
I’m looking for stories that I’d like to find as a reader – top quality science fiction, fantasy, horror etc that’s written by kiwis. Where it makes sense, I’d like stories to be set in New Zealand or have a New Zealand connection, but clearly that’ll work better for some genres than others.
There are plenty of publishers out there who will publish books that are set in the US, and plenty that’ll publish a high fantasy epic, so those aren’t what I’m really after. If there’s someone out there writing a steampunk novel set in 19th century Otago or a horror story that takes place in Wellington, though, I would love to talk to them.
Who have you got signed up so far?
I’ve got three books signed so far, and they are all coming out in 2012. The first – The Prince of Soul and The Lighthouse – is by Fredrik Brounéus. Fredrik is a Swedish guy who has been living in Dunedin since 2009, and he has written a brilliant sci-fi set in Otago and Southland. The second book is still kind of under wraps, but it’s by Matt and Debbie Cowens who are English teachers from the Kapiti Coast. This book is due out in June / July and will be… interesting. It may annoy some people, but everyone else will love it. The third book is by Auckland author Michael Morrissey, who is this year’s Writer in Residence at Waikato University. He has written a hugely entertaining, fast paced, and thoroughly mind blowing sci-fi thriller which I’ll be bringing out in October / November.
These books are very different, which I think is a Very Good Thing. I want to publish a wide range of genres and am absolutely stoked to have these books to show the public what they’ve been missing out on.
As far as 2013 goes, we’ll have to wait and see.
What is the lastest release – Prince of Soul and the Lighthouse – about? And where can we people get a copy
The Prince of Soul and The Lighthouse is all about a Dunedin high school student by the name of George who discovers that pretty much everything that’s wrong with the world – overpopulation, environmental disasters, extinctions – is his fault, and that he needs to fix it. There is a conspiracy of global proportions, a beautiful woman, a Buddhist special-mission monk, and George’s grandfather. Who happens to be a zombie. The story is a wild ride that’ll definitely make you laugh, and may make you see Dunedin in a new light.
The Prince of Soul
is available through all independent bookstores (i.e. everyone that isn’t a major chain that starts with a W), or you can buy the paperback (or environmentally sound ebook!) through the Steam Press website at www.steampress.co.nz