Why we published: Things Falling Apart, by J.W. Schnarr

It was Robert Runte who introduced me, virtually, to J.W. Schnarr in 2011. Schnarr apparently had an armful of novels and short horror collections in which we might be interested, some of them self- or previously published, some debut.

J.W. Schnarr
in one of his classier moments

I have to admit I was a bit squeamish about considering a horror writer, having somewhat of an antipathy for the genre’s penchant for gratuitous violence and gore, particularly aimed at women and minorities. If I’m going to look at horror, it’s more in the vane of dark speculative fiction. Caitlin Sweet’s, The Pattern Scarscomes to mind. But I also had to acknowledge the fact if I was going to build upon the successes Five Rivers had already achieved, I was going to have to make a press that wasn’t just the Lorina’s Favs Press. 

So it was with a deeply embedded bias I finally agreed to even look at Schnarr’s work. What I read was unlike anything I’d read before. Schnarr’s writing cannot be called mild. Not by any stretch of the imagination. He gets right into the dirt and muck and mire of a situation and drags you along with him, and although there were many stories in the collection that simply made me gag, I also realized here was a writer unafraid to make his readers feel not just emotion, but extremes of emotion.

And didn’t I want that kind of writer among the fellowship we were building here at Five Rivers? Didn’t I hold dear the concept Five Rivers was willing to take on writers who dared to cross boundaries, redefine genre, and just tell really engaging stories? Yep. I said that. Me. So it looked like either I was going to live up to those very pretentious statements, or tuck tail and call myself a hypocrite.

And thus I agreed to publish J.W. Schnarr’s collection, Things Falling Apart, which released August 2012. It’s a decision I don’t regret.

We’re now about to release a second collection of Schnarr’s, A Quiet Place, due for release December 1, 2013. I believe in this second collection you will see clearly how Schnarr has grown as a writer, how he has invested increasingly in his characters instead of the slap and crunch of rending flesh, how he now relies upon the surgical precision of psychological terror over physical. 

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