The Literary Remains Drive-by: R. B. Russell

Ray Russell is the other half of Tartarus Press. He is a writer, publisher, illustrator and all-round nice guy. His work inlcudes the collections Putting the Pieces in Place and Literary Remains as well as the novella Bloody Baudelaire, all of which have met with critical acclaim. He has been shortlisted for a Stoker for ‘In Hiding’, while TP has won a Stoker for Excellence in Specialty Publishing, and a World Fantasy Award for the Strange Tales anthology. Below, he talks dream anthologies and donuts.

1. Your dream anthology line-up (you may have up to ten authors, dead or alive)?
As this is a dream, could I please have:

  • “The Ressurection of the Dead” by Arthur Machen
  • “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson (first draft)
  • “The King in Yellow” (original play)
  • “The Reunion” by Lilith Blake
  • “Kubla Khan” by Coleridge (complete text)
  • “Azathoth” by Edward Pickman Derby
  • a selection of the love poems from Wayside Bundle by Constance Hargreaves
  • choice excerpts from The Ghost of Pierrot by Peter Madley
  • some of the more pathetic episodes in The Mad Tryst by Sir Launcelot Canning
  • and finally, the concluding chapter of The Spaces in Between by C.W. Blubberhouse.

2. What was the impetus behind starting Tartarus Press?
Originally it was to put into print work by and about Arthur Machen.

3. How do you find a balance between editor/publisher and writer?
I don’t; it’s always a compromise.

4. You were shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award for ‘In Hiding’ in 2010 … you’ve won one for the original Strange Tales anthology – describe truthfully your reactions each time.
I felt a lot of pride when the Strange Tales anthology won, and believed it to be entirely justified. It’s a great collection by some wonderful writers. To be entirely honest, when I heard I’d been shortlisted for one of my own stories I was convinced it was an error (partly because there was a mistake in the title in the original announcement.) I had to contact the WFA administrator to make sure they had shortlisted right story. I’ve always had the nagging doubt that they mixed me up with somebody else.

5. Donuts (or doughnuts) or danishes?
As you’re offering . . . Danishes please 🙂

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