Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Bill Campbell. He has recently co-edited the anthology Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond with Edward Austin Hall.

Bill Campbell is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumnus of Northwestern University. Throughout his varied and illustrious career, he has done everything from assembling Christmas toys in Cleveland; loading trucks, bookkeeping, and being an AmeriCorps volunteer in Atlanta; coordinating an elementary school literacy program in D.C. to teaching English as a second language in the Czech Republic. He's also the former publisher of the independent magazine, Contraband, and the music trade magazine, CD Revolutions.

Bill is the author of four books and has recently started a publishing company, Rosarium Publishing. His first novel, Sunshine Patriots, is a semi-satirical, anti-war, military sf novel. A special 15th Anniversary edition will be released next month. My Booty Novel, which he likes to call "fluff for nerds," came out in 2007. Pop Culture: Politics, Puns, and "Poohbutt" from a Liberal Stay-at-Home Dad was released in September, 2010, and his incendiary, anti-racism hip-hop satire, Koontown Killing Kaper, came out in February 2012 to much angst and consternation.

Bill lives with his family in the Washington, DC, area. You can follow his activities at the Rosarium Publishing site: http://rosariumpublishing.com/


Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?

I'm originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which means I love American football (the Steelers) and hoagies. I got caught by the writing bug when I was nine years old and have been writing seriously for some time now. I have four books out that are widely varied: Sunshine Patriots, an anti-war military SF novel, which we are about to re-release in December; My Booty Novel, which is a send-up of romantic comedies and writing; Pop Culture, a collection of my political and parenting blogs with a dash of satire; and Koontown Killing Kaper, which is an anti-racism hip-hop satire that was released last year.

You have co-edited a new anthology called Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond with Edward Austin Hall. What inspired you to edit this anthology?

Last year, while I was promoting Koontown, I would get into these discussions about Black science fiction, and a lot of times, all I would get was blank stares. Meanwhile, I knew that there were a lot of very talented writers of color in speculative fiction whose work should be better known. I thought, “Hey, someone should do an anthology of their work.” And, since I'm a very do-it-yourself kind of guy, soon thereafter, I realized that I was going to do it. So, I started a publishing company (Rosarium Publishing), asked my friends Ed Hall and John Jennings if they wanted to be a part of it, and less than a year later, here we are.

For how long did you work on this anthology?

I came up with the idea in December 2012. We posted the call for submissions this past January. The deadline was in May, and our official release date was October 18. It was a pretty quick turnaround, but all those days have been filled with incredibly long hours—not to mention families and day jobs—but it's been more than worth it. I am really proud of what we have accomplished so far.

What can readers expect from Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond?

The unexpected. But seriously, one of the reasons we named the collection “Mothership” is because we wanted to capture the spirit, in a literary sense, of what one could expect in a Parliament/Funkadelic album, which was the unexpected. We also wanted to give readers a taste of the diversity that many of these writers have to offer. So, we have stories from all the genres within speculative fiction. We have stories with and without overtly political content. We even have stories that some would most likely contest aren't speculative fiction at all. But that is the beauty and spectrum of the writers represented here. We felt that it was important to celebrate that.

Have any of the stories been published previously elsewhere or are all the stories original to this anthology?

Most of the stories have been previously published. We weren't particularly looking for original stories. We didn't even ask for them, and whether or not they'd been previously published hadn't even been considered. The important thing, for us, was that we put out the best anthology we could to represent the communities of writers we are representing.

What would you say to a reader who's thinking of buying Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond?

You will not be disappointed.

Will you continue to edit similar kind of anthologies in the near future?

There may be more Motherships in the future. The ultimate goal for that project is to one day have no need for such an anthology.

As far as Rosarium goes, we are striving to publish different, and maybe, on occasion, groundbreaking, material. We have an art book of John Jennings (who did the Mothership cover) coming out, as well as a graphic novel about a vampire tattoo artist called DayBlack by Keef Cross and a re-issue of Vern E. Smith's classic crime novel, The Jones Men, which has been called The Wire before The Wire.

We are also planning an anthology along similar lines of Mothership, but we also have several more that are not. Of course, we are a brand new publisher, dealing with all the obstacles and ups and downs that new publishers face. Right now, we really are just taking it one day at a time.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

I just want to thank you for the opportunity to talk about Mothership and to thank Ed, John, Kyra, and Gerald for helping with the project as well as all the writers who took part in it. I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude. And, of course, all the people who supported our Indiegogo campaign and the anthology itself are forever in my heart. I hope they are satisfied with the work we have done.

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