Behind the scenes

Peter Grant explains why he chose Castalia House and what it is like to work with “the most despised man in science fiction”:

Vox was my editor in getting the book ready for publication.  He stated up front that he wanted to ‘make a good book better’, not try to remake it in his image, or make it into something it wasn’t.  I found him a very effective editor indeed.  He went through my manuscript and made many proposed changes, averaging two or three per page, but did so on the basis that these were his suggestions rather than his demands.  I was free to accept or reject each of his proposed changes.  In about two-thirds of cases, I went along with his proposals.  They did, indeed, make the book better.  In the remaining third of cases, I went with what I’d originally written, or re-wrote a few lines, because I felt it fitted in better with my vision for the book and what I hope will be the series into which it will grow.  Vox accepted that with aplomb.  The man’s a gentleman.

There will doubtless be those who’ll be disappointed that I’ve chosen to publish with a man, and a publishing house, that they regard with the same revulsion as the Devil regards holy water.  To them I can only say, go read what my friend Larry Correia had to say about Vox last year.  I endorse his sentiments.  I don’t share all – or possibly even most – of Vox’s opinions, but then he’s never asked me to share or support them in any way, shape or form.  He’s merely tried to be the best editor he can be, and help me be the best writer I can be.  I’ll be damned if I condemn him because of past history or exchanges to which I wasn’t a party, and in which I had no involvement at all.  Not my circus, not my monkeys.  I certainly won’t demand that he embrace political correctness.  As you’ve probably noted from my blog header, that’s not exactly a position I embrace myself!

Vox shares my perspective that the ‘classic’ Western genre is ripe for revival.  I’ve grown very tired of romance or erotica masquerading as Westerns – to my mind, they’re neither, and belong in a different category.  I’m also fed up with the historical inaccuracies and fantastically high body counts of many so-called Westerns that are nothing more or less than violence porn (and sometimes actual porn as well, given the number of sex scenes they contain – something that would be anathema to every one of the great Western authors).  I tried to write in the classic style, and Vox actively tried to help me do that.  I appreciated his input.

Castalia House is a small publisher at this stage, but it’s grown in stature and in the diversity of its offerings.  I’m honored – deeply honored – to join authors such as Jerry Pournelle and Martin van Creveld in its stable.

I’m very glad to hear that Peter feels that way, as we are all delighted to have such a talented, knowledgeable, and above all, exceedingly decent man join our band of renegades, rebels, reactionaries, and recidivists.

We may be outnumbered, but we are never, ever, outgunned.

And I’m pleased to learn that I was able to help Peter realize his vision. The primary role of the editor is not to catch every typo, position the book for marketing, or police its content in order to ensure its compliance with the social justice Narrative, it is to help the author accurately transform the story he sees in his mind into an articulated reality he can share with others.

An editor can improve a book or he can ruin a book, but he must never forget that the book is neither his vision nor his story.