Happy Day-After Thanksgiving—or Black Friday, as they call it! We hope all those who celebrated this past Thursday had wonderful days and safe travels. Today, for our Friday Spotlight, we at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester are happy to shine our light on our good friend John M. McIlveen! We originally got to know John as a part of the New England horror community and as an author. Today, we’re proud to introduce him as not only an excellent author, but the editor in chief of Haverhill House Publishing.
And we’re also happy to celebrate Small Business Saturday, TOMORROW, November 25, with Haverhill House Publishing! In addition to John, our 65 James Street store will host several Haverhill House Publishing authors giving us readings throughout the day, from 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM.
John M. McIlveen is the author of the paranormal suspense novel, HANNAHWHERE, winner of the 2015 Drunken Druid Award (Ireland) and nominated for the 2015 Bram Stoker Award (HWA), and two story collections, INFLICTIONS and JERKS. He is a father to five daughters, Editor-In-Chief of Haverhill House Publishing, and works at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. He lives in Haverhill, MA with his wife Roberta Colasanti.
Haverhill House is the umbrella to imprints Twisted Publishing, Mystical Words, and forthcoming imprints YAP (Young Adult Press) and YAP jr. (children titles), and Sophic Press (tentative).
Thank you so much for joining us for a blog interview, John! What inspired you to open Haverhill House Publishing? What is the story behind forming a small press?
There are many reasons, foremost my love of words, books, and knowledge. I originally opened Bradford House Publishing with the Twisted Publishing imprint. A series of unfortunate events caused its early demise, but left me with the longing to create and publish more. A divorce ruling made it impossible for me to use Bradford House again, so Haverhill House was born. Twisted, being an imprint, was allowed to continue. The beauty of a small press is the freedom it allows to venture in different directions and to take risks without adhering to demands of the large presses. Their need for the best-sellers or big-name authors drastically narrows the window for exploration and causes redundancy. For example, how many Gone Girl clones popped up after Gillian Flynn’s big hit? How many apocalyptic series followed The Hunger Games craze, like Divergent and The Maze Runner? While any publisher (and author) would love a runaway best-seller, I appreciate the freedom of not having that demand hanging over me.
Being a small press allows the luxury of creating a gorgeous, high quality product that is seldom seen from the mass-produced book publisher, especially with limited editions. Twisted’s production of T. M. Wright’s Strange Seed was our first foray into limited editions. There were many lessons learned, but it was all top-quality material, and with the Rick Sardinah illustrations and the blind-stamped cloth cover boards, it was a beautiful book. Bo paperboards here. And the Corinthian leather deluxe edition was absolutely gorgeous.
We have five limited editions planned this year.
- “An Ocean Dark” – Christopher Golden
- A yet unnamed collection of monster novellas from Brian Keene, Karen Koehler, Craig Shaw Gardner, Nicholas Kaufmann, and one more anonymous author.
- “Cyclops Road” – Jeff Strand
- And a two-volume non-genre specific project: Man/Woman
What kinds of books can readers expect from Haverhill House publishing? Now and upcoming?
Expect a very wide variety, hence the various imprints. The will be three memoirs, a volume of poetry (so far), a series of non-fiction titles “Historic Haverhill,” two children’s books, a YA, and a whole lot of fiction…mainstream, horror, fantasy, suspense, and more. Stay tuned.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced becoming a publisher? How have you handled / are you handling that challenge?
Submissions. We have had a slew of submissions, but I’d estimate less than 10% are from woman, people of color, LGBT, or other diversities. One of the way’s I’ve handle this is that I’ve directly contacted some authors with very distinct voices who I feel will fit in well. Another way…[see the next question].
What dream project/s are you extra excited to be part of as a publisher, and why?
We are working on a limited edition two-volume (possibly four if one and two are well-received) project simply titled Man/Woman. The “Man” volume will be a non-genre specific collection of writings from a widely diverse selection of writers who are – or identify as – female, as will the “Woman” edition be written by a diverse selection of writers who are – or identify as – men. There is a lot more to this project, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Just think of the possibilities.
What would be the Haverhill House “manuscript wish list” for authors looking to work with you?
Foremost, Haverhill House and its imprints want unique voices writing in all genres. We are not only horror, as many suspect.
Helpful hint: Some of the editor’s favorite authors are John Irving, Margaret Atwood, Dennis Lehane, Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, Lionel Shriver (read her!), Jonathan Carroll, Toni Morrison, Kit Reed, Chuck Palahniuk, and of course, Stephen King.
We do not want splatter, gore, or tropes that are beat to death. Zombies, vampires, urban fantasy, and hard sci-fi will likely not be accepted.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a publisher that you’d share with others looking to go into publishing?
Ask me again in five years.
What is your favorite part as publisher in the life of a book from submission to final product?
Working with the author.
Thank you so much, John! For those of you interested in learning more about Haverhill House Publishing, check out their website www.haverhillhouse.com, or stop in TOMORROW, November, 25, from 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM to meet John and several of the Haverhill House authors. Support your local businesses and local authors this Small Business Saturday with Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester and Haverhill House Publishing!