Charles Tan Interviews Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.

Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.’s anthology The Grimscribe’s Puppets is a 2013 Shirley Jackson Awards nominee.

Charles Tan: What made you decide to do a tribute anthology to Thomas Ligotti?

Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.: I had just finished reading Tom’s The Conspiracy Against the Human Race and had an idea for a story based on it. I ran my idea passed Tom and he kindly gave me permission to write the tale. When my novella, “and this is where I go down in darkness”, was done, Tom said it was a wonderful tribute to him and his work and I began thinking of doing a second tale, that’s when the idea of other writers I admire doing tributes to him hit me. For a couple of days I couldn’t shake wondering what John Langan or Cisco might come up with, so I asked Tom if he was okay with the idea of a tribute to him and he said yes, from there it was simply a matter of which writers to ask.

Charles Tan: What was your criteria in selecting the stories for the book?

Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.: Voice first. Simon Strantzas, Livia Llewellyn, Michael Cisco, Robin Spriggs, Gemma Files, and Kaaron Warren, to name a few, I can never get enough of their work and to have the opportunity to read another tale by them is what fueled my list of invitations. Idea and composition second, but when you’re working with mighty talents like Cisco or Gemma Files or Livia they’re not things that are going to pop up on the radar.

Charles Tan: What were the challenges in editing/publishing The Grimscribe’s Puppets?

Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.: Finding a publisher took almost 2 and a half years, the first five said, great idea, but it won’t sell. After getting the green light for the project from Miskatonic River Press it was smooth sailing (to the last, every writer was a pleasure to work with) until I got to the order of the final ToC and the introduction. The final ToC took a whole week of this one goes here—I think? Maybe? Does it?—and that one has to be there. I can’t recall how many intros I tossed out before settling on the one I used.  

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