It always amazes me there are so many writer/editors/publishers in the independent writing community, but it really shouldn’t. I know, as the editor of jmww, that I just can’t quit it. I have to be involved as much as I can, getting my own work out there, and getting others’ work recognized as well. So when two crazy-talented writers–Paula Bomer and Ryan Bradley–got together to create Artistically Declined Press, I was officially stoked.
Jen Michalski: How did you and Ryan cross paths?
Paula Bomer: Ryan and I became acquainted through hanging at other indie lit blogs and websites, in particular htmlgiant. We just hit it off in some general sense. We trust each other, communicate well, and enjoy each other.
JM: How did the idea for Artistically Declined Press/the journal Sententia come about?
PB: The idea for the press and the journal was all Ryan’s, I have to admit that. It took some convincing on his part to get me involved, but now I’m loving it. At first, I was going to be the invisible partner and then I realized that it’s OK to put myself out there. Ryan had wanted to do a press and journal for a long time–he already had the name of the press and the website registered–and then we came up with the journal’s name together.
JM: In these times of indie press/journal explosion, what do you and Ryan hope to bring to the conversation?
PB: I think we bring our unique, different backgrounds and talents and experiences. Ryan’s enthusiasm is the most important and is quite catchy. He’s the young, energetic one and undoubtedly the one with the vision. I’m the middle-aged “experienced” one, having been an assistant editor at Fiction Magazine, the managing editor of Persea Books, as well as a foreign scout for the European publishers, Rizzoli, Plaza y Janes, and Goldman Verlag.
JM: You say on your site that you’re turned on by good writing; however, is there a particular aesthetic toward which you gravitate? Ryan?
PB: We actually are completely avoiding any singular aesthetic. That is something with which Ryan and I are in complete agreement–we really want an eclectic mix of styles. Our first book is Hush Up And Listen Stinky Poo Butt by Ken Sparling, a wonderful contemplation of fatherhood and what it means to be human by a Canadian author who is sometimes known as the author of “anti-novels.” Our first issue of Sententia, the journal, has powerful, non-traditional, mind-bending works by Keith Nathan Brown and Steven Trull, gorgeous poetry by the award-winning poet Geoffrey Nutter, a semi-autobiographical story by Shya Scanlon whose main character is named Shya, a stellar story by Mary Miller, the author of the great collection, Big World, as well as a truly outrageous and inappropriate piece by Scott Wrobel. And that’s just some of it. Ryan, who is handling the e-books himself and doing all of our design work, has already published our first one, Arise, by Bradley Bates, with the next one being by J.A. Tyler.
JM: You also state on the website that you have “big plans” for the press. Any hints for those of us who are impatient?
PB: Our big plans involve growth! More books! A more frequently published journal! Jackie Corley from Word Riot, Adam Robinson from Publishing Genius, Giancarlo DiTrapano from The New York Tyrant, and Roxane Gay at Pank! are our inspirations.