In these dark days of an Origami Zoo Press on the brink of closure, many of you may have been clawing at your bookshelves, screaming at your stucco ceilings, wondering what on earth will ever be able to fill the void when we go. It is with that in mind that we embark on a multi-part interview series entitled WHAT WILL FILL THE VOID? wherein we spotlight other small and/or independent presses we love (and hope you will love too!). You can check out part one, with Michael J. Seidlinger of Civil Coping Mechanisms, here, and part two, with Justin Lawrence Daugherty, here.
Today we talk with Leesa Cross-Smith who, along with her husband, runs the already thriving, always lovely online journal WhiskeyPaper, which has recently thrown its hat into the chapbook ring.
Origami Zoo Press: Who/what/where is WhiskeyPaper Press?
Leesa Cross-Smith: Me and my husband, Loran. We publish one story (flash fiction) a week and a couple chapbooks a year.
LCS: Thank you much! Our main goal is to keep it chill. To be able to publish really great stories and unique, awesome chapbooks for years and years. I can only hope that people read the chapbooks and want to read the stories online and vice versa. We’ve published one chapbook and two more are coming at the end of October. All three authors have been published in WhiskeyPaper…there is always a certain feeling I’m going for whether it’s an online story or a collection of stories for a chapbook. It’s all one big feeling to me, executed in a couple different ways or many ways, depending.
OZP: Tell me a little bit about your first chapbook, Don’t Ask Me To Spell It Out by Robert James Russell, and how it works as kind of an “opening song” for the press, how it reflects what you hope your press will do/represent in the work it publishes.
LCS: Robert is a super-talented writer and he writes about families and relationships and his work has a strong sense of place. I love reading about those things. He’s also in love with nostalgia, like I am. Nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. Don’t Ask Me To Spell It Out was an easy decision for us because I knew Rob was easy to work with, I knew people liked his work and the chapbook was nearly perfect when he gave it to me, which always makes things easier too. It was a perfect “opening song” and all of the chapbooks we will put out will have two things in common: 1-the writing will be aces 2-the writer will be easy to work with. That is something extra-important to keep in mind…editors want to work with writers who are easy to work with, flexible, kind, appreciative. And I guess that can be said for any profession/project, right?
LCS: Yes! One is called BOTTOM OF THE NINTH by Wyl Villacres and one is called THE FACE OF BASEBALL by Robyn Ryle and they are both so good I am happily willing to put the WhiskeyPaper seal on the back of them. So stoked to get them out into the world.
OZP: Now that the paper part of WhiskeyPaper is a reality, will WhiskeyPaper ever start distilling its own whiskey? And/or printing stories on whiskey bottle labels?
LCS: Brilliant. This is totally something to put in our pocket.