Welcome to the blog Faye, it’s a real pleasure to have you here. Can you tell us a little about Roast Books? Who are you? What do you do?
Hello Nik, thanks for having me on. Well Roast Books is an unusual little publishing house which produces literary titles with an emphasis on quality of presentation and design. We like our books to look good as well as being delicious to read. It’s a tiny organisation and so far we’ve produce about 4 books a year.
How and why did it get started?
I was interested in the idea of literature that was suited to the modern lifestyle, reading for on the spot entertainment, so I decided to produce some contemporary novellas. There is a dearth of interestingly presented book. Not enough new authors are given the opportunity to publish their work. So Roast Books began as a remedy to these things. An A-Z of Possible Worlds [see my interview with its author here - Nik.] was a really exciting project, because the short stories can be read individually, at the readers’ convenience, but are packaged as a complete work. …….
What do Roast Books do best?
Take chances! I am proud of the care and attention that goes into each title, and I think in the case of ‘An A-Z of Possible Worlds’ the packaging really suits the work, we haven’t compromised on that just to make it easier to distribute.
Who’s the ideal reader of a Roast Books title?
Five foot four, brown hair, glasses, with a healthy amount of facial expression. Oh and book lovers.
What sets you apart from other independent publishers?
We are more independent. No, um..I’m not sure really. I have a huge amount of respect for what other indies are up to, and I learn a lot from watching how other indies function. But I hope that our niche will be the aesthetic pleasure of the books, as well as the emphasis on short fiction.
Is there a particular sort of fiction you have a soft spot for?
Writing that lends itself to interactivity and unusual presentation.
Why the focus on shorter works?
With our ever busier lifestyles, I think there’s a real place for shorter works which people can enjoy in a shorter time, on the go, and carry around in compact form.
Can you tell us a little about Great Little Reads?
That series was a collection of 6 books, 5 novellas and a book of short stories. The idea was that in the collection there was something for every taste, a broad range of literature, each with a ‘list of ingredients’ on the back to help you select which one was right for you.
The Profit was an interesting title for last year, since it was very timely for the recession. It was inspired by Gibran’s the Prophet, and it replaced the protagonist with a city tycoon who spouts forth wisdom from love to mobile phones. Selling Light is a lovely little seaside novella with a real feel good factor. And of course Lizard, which was also personal favourite of mine. I think the author, Leonore Schick is going to be producing some pretty interesting stuff in the future.
What ingredients does every great story have?
Sometimes it’s combinations that you would never expect to work that make for something really interesting, where the list of ingredients has been thrown out the window and its all about instinct and inspiration, (sorry if that’s taking the metaphor too far!)
And every Roast Book?
Our submission guidelines are deliberately sketchy, since originality, not only of writing, but potential in the way a book can be presented are really important.
What’s been the highlight of your time with Roast Books?
The highlight is probably seeing a finished product, being able to touch and hold something which has been months in preparation (and breathing a sigh of relief when you’ve checked it over for problems).
What kind of feedback have you had so far?
Well if it wasn’t for the encouragement and support of readers who appreciate our titles things would be a lot tougher. It’s not an easy industry, and one that seems to have a lot of problems at the moment, so Roast Books is just trying to find its little place within all the madness.
What’s next for you? What are your plans for the future?
In addition to continuing the search for outstanding new writing, and packaging it with an emphasis on design, I’m working on developing a medium in which more authors can show case their work through Roast Books, and get exposure. This weekend I’m going to the sea-side, but I guess that’s not really relevant.
Anything you’d like to add?
Nope, just thanks for having me here and for taking an interest in what Roast Books is doing!