FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with our interview featuring author and editor, Kerrie Hughes. Kerrie has worked on several short story anthologies including the newly-released ZOMBIE RACCOONS KILLER BUNNIES  and GAMER FANTASTIC .
We’d like to share with you Kerrie’s thoughts on editing short stories, what she likes about the format, and her take on the current market.
Can you tell us how you got into editing short story anthologies?
I did research for my husband on the Vorkosigan Companion and ended up editing some of the book. Afterward, he encouraged me to submit the anthology idea MAIDEN, MATRON AND CRONE, and DAW  ended up purchasing it. I enjoyed that project so much, I submit ideas every year and they keep buying them. I’m up to 8 anthologies now with the newest purchase of LOVE AND ROCKETS. I recently branched out into non-DAW anthologies; the result is that TOR  purchased CHICKS KICK ASS, which will come out in 2011.
What do you love (or hate) about the structure of a short story?
Love the structure because it incorporates a beginning, middle and an end, but it doesn’t need a huge build-up of back story. I can pick up a book and read one story in the morning, then think about the experience all day. A good one can hang in my head for years.
Who comes up with the ideas for the anthologies you work on?
I come up with all my own anthologies. I submit about 4 a year to DAW and compile names for one or two larger ones throughout the year. If I get the right mix of “author” and “title,” I contact Tekno books so they can have their agent take it out for sale.
GAMER FANTASTIC is a fun collection of short stories about gaming. What can gamers expect in this anthology?
A fairly extensive mix of historical and speculation of gamer scenarios, using all gamer authors who are names in the business.
How do you ensure your submissions fit the overall theme of the collection?
I make sure my invitation summarizes the theme, and I make sure the authors know they can contact me at any time with questions. If something is off the mark too much, I send it back with suggestions on how to make it fit. I try to make the process painless by sending out reminders and contacting the authors from time to time, to see if the story is coming along or needs “Muse” assistance.
Can you share with us the story behind ZOMBIE RACCOONS KILLER BUNNIES?
I’ve been cracking a very bad joke for years about noises in the dark or incidents strange as being the work of zombie critters, usually raccoons, squirrels and badgers. It sort of evolved from there and I was stunned when it sold.
Have you ever thought about writing a short story yourself?
I’ve written several short stories for DAW and other anthologies. Also, I’m currently working on a novel with my husband John Helfers and a paranormal one on my own. I also have other ideas in the works for other authors to generate, but that’s all “hush hush.”
How long does it take you to put an anthology together from start to finish?
Anywhere from 6 months to a year.
Throughout the year, you often travel to different conventions. Can you share with us how this has helped you connect with fans of your work?
I don’t really think of it as fans of my work – I think of it as promoting my authors. I’m often surprised when I find out I have fans, but I think it’s a side effect of being a fairly vocal over-educated and experienced woman, who isn’t afraid to have an opinion without being a princess/bitch. You know what I mean.
Can you tell us a little bit more about CHICKS KICK ASS?
In CHICKS KICK ASS, you’ll read stories from 13 paranormal authors. 11 of them are NYT bestsellers and include Rachel Caine and Rachel Vincent, two of my favorite paranormal authors. I’m pretty excited! No romance, just action.
How do you choose the authors that will appear in your anthologies?
I read them and get a feel for what they do; they tell me what they would like to be included on. For every book, I pick two newer authors either based on what I’ve read by them or because people (whose work I respect) have highly recommended them.
For the aspiring short story writers out there, can you share your thoughts about the current short story market?
It evolves just like regular fiction. The tastes of the public tend to wane back and forth according to what events are taking place in the world. No one wants war stories and intrigue when a war has started or is going badly, so they buy romance and mystery. Then the war ends and techno-thrillers become popular again. Or the society evolves and a new market opens up. For example, Horror and Fantasy books have greatly benefited from video games and movies. The combination of the two has grown the new genre of Paranormal Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Short stories are making a new niche because of the rise of paranormal authors.
We’d like to thank Kerrie for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions, and wish her the best of luck on her editing and writing career. For more about the anthologies that Kerrie has worked on, be sure to watch FlamesRising.com for a sneak preview of ZOMBIE RACCOONS KILLER BUNNIES and upcoming reviews.