Nine Questions for the Book Smugglers

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me screaming about the Book Smugglers Kickstarter. The Book Smugglers, Ana and Thea, are seeking some funds to help them publish the wonderful, diverse SFF they’re famous for. As of now, they’ve got nine days left, so we’re asking Ana nine questions!

1. What are you going to do with all this money?

A: Lots of things! The idea is to fund our next season of short stories at a higher pay rate to writers and with freelance professionals working on the ebooks to help us out. We will open a submission call for regular, paid contributors to The Book Smugglers – we will be looking for essays on SFF, Fandom, YA, Comics and popgeekery from all over the world. We also want to get a new look for the website! All with the view to prop up and give more room and visibility to diverse voices. Our mission as Book Smugglers is to discover, share, and amplify stories from diverse authors and perspectives–to make SFF fandom a more inclusive place, reflective of the world we live in (and the speculative other universes beyond).

2. What makes Book Smugglers special?

A: I truly think it’s our eclecticism, openness and true passion for good stories. From the very start we covered Romance, Urban Fantasy, Comics, SFF, YA and Children’s books on equal ground. We like to read vast and wide, and we are firm believers that a good book is a good book is a good book. We are trying to do the same in our publishing arm too – we have had YA stories and adult stories. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Noir and a lot of different things. We like to experiment!

3. What’s your favorite thing about being a Book Smuggler?

A: THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS. The reading and the getting excited when a great book comes my way, then being able to share the love with tons of people – both has a reviewer and as a publisher. In a more micro-way, one of the things I absolutely adore is to work with artists on commissioning cover art for our stories. That moment when an artist GETS IT, and you see a story you have been working on come to life in front of your eyes, is amazing.

There is another thing that I am incredibly proud of: that we are two women – a Hapa Filipina who grew up in Hawaii, Indonesia, and Japan (Thea), and a Latina and native Brazilian (Ana) who lives in the UK – who have been working incredibly hard in what is effectively a ten-year old business.

4. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since becoming a publisher of fiction?

A: Realizing that there is an actual limit to what the two of us can physically do. For the past ten years it’s been mostly the two of us doing absolutely everything. And the more we do, the more we want to do – it’s a spiral! This is part of the reason why we are doing the Kickstarter – so that we get help to do even more.

5. How do you choose the themes for your short story programs each year?

A: Thea and I are pretty much on the same wave length most of the time and it’s just super easy to come up with themes. We have two in-person meetings every year and that’s when we decide. One of us usually goes “how about… X”. The other screams: “THAT’S AN EXCELLENT IDEA”. And that’s it.

6. I have to assume you’re spending most of your time these days anxiously gazing at your Kickstarter; but when you’re not doing that, what have you been reading?

A: Right now, I am finishing Provenance, the new standalone novel by Ann Leckie, which is phenomenally fun. I just finished reading a new book by my TOP ONE WRITER EVER: A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge and it was amazing too.

7. Jane Eyre or Lizzie Bennet?

A: WHAT. WHY…. OK, fine, Lizzie. Because of her sisters too.

8. Star Wars or Star Trek?



A: Jenny, I VOW TO YOU RIGHT NOW. If we get funded, I will read the new Megan Whalen Turner IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE CAMPAIGN ENDS.

Y’all, I have been trying to get Ana to read Thick as Thieves since it came out. She is afraid it won’t live up to her hopes but it will. So please donate to their Kickstarter because you want to support diverse SFF, but also because goddammit Ana’s going to love Thick as Thieves and we all want that for her.