Our thanks to Meredith Allard, Editor of The Copperfield Review, for granting us this interview.
Can you tell us a bit about the origins of The Copperfield Review?
In 2000, I was looking for literary journals and other places where I could promote my first historical novel, My Brother’s Battle, and I was stumped to find that there wasn’t much out there. Very few literary journals listed historical fiction as a genre they published, and since historical fiction is my genre of choice I was worried about its lack of representation in the literary journal world.
Around that time, I saw a class about how to create an e-zine at Learning Tree University near where I was living in Southern California. I took the class, learned the basics of running an e-zine, and around September of that year Copperfield was up and running.
What do you think makes the stories you publish successful, and what is it about historical fiction that you think we need to see more of in the marketplace?
All I can say about the success of stories we publish is we must get lucky somehow when we make our decisions. We have certain tastes in the stories we like, and fortunately our readers seem to like the same stories we do. We’ve been fortunate in that The Copperfield Review has been the first published credit for a lot of up and coming writers, and a number of our authors have gone on to be included in anthologies, to publish books, and be nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Maybe we have a knack for spotting talent, but I’ve never thought of it that way. We publish what we like.
Historical fiction is a beloved genre, and there are often historical novels on the best-seller lists. But because it’s genre fiction there are a lot of literary types who write it off. The Copperfield Review showcases short form historical fiction—no longer than 3000 words—and that is something we don’t see a lot of, so we like bringing people’s attention to the short stories and novel excerpts. Good writing deserves to be seen—that’s been our belief since the beginning.
What do you feel makes The Copperfield Review different from other historical fiction publications?
We’re particularly proud that Copperfield is open to submissions from new writers. You don’t need an MFA or even previous published credits to be published in Copperfield. As long as we like what you’ve written, we’ll publish you. In our current edition, Summer 2013, we have a story called “The Colors I Dream In” by Devon Lawler, and it’s his first attempt at writing fiction.
What are you looking for from authors who submit?When submitting, what is the one thing you’d recommend authors not do?
Please, please, please read the submission guidelines and follow the guidelines exactly as stated. For some reason, we’ve been getting a lot of submissions lately that don’t follow our guidelines and those submissions won’t be considered for publication. Those authors may have submitted the Greatest Thing Yet Written, but if it’s a file attachment we won’t read it so we’ll never know. We need our guidelines as we weed through hundreds of submissions per edition. Authors who follow the guidelines are showing that they’re taking their submission seriously.
How do you determine what selections will be included in The Copperfield Review?
There’s no great mathematical formula we use to determine what we’ll publish. We publish what we like. I know that’s not much help for writers who want to submit, but there you go. I personally have more literary tastes for the stories I like, but sometimes a story will strike me because I’m interested in the historical period the story is about or it’s about a time period we haven’t published before. We spend a lot of time reading and rereading the submissions, and we make a lot of tough decisions as we put each new edition together.
Who are some of your favorite authors and what are some of your favorite books?
The Copperfield Review is named after David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, so that would be number one as far as favorite author and favorite book. Other favorite authors and books would be Beloved by Toni Morrison, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
What has surprised you most as an editor in the process of publishing The Copperfield Review?
There is a lot of undiscovered literary talent out there. I’m amazed at the quality of some of the submissions we’ve received. The general consensus in the literary world is that all the great talent has been discovered, and some places will only publish you if you’re already famous or well published. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to keep Copperfield open to newcomers. I wanted a place where people could find new favorite writers.
What are your long-term plans for the publication?
Copperfield has been going for 13 years, and we hope to keep it going at least 13 years more. We’ve been very fortunate in that over the last decade or so Copperfield has managed to carve out a small niche for itself as a market for historical fiction, and we have readers from all over the globe. Right now, we’re working on expanding our reach so even more people know about us. We’ve joined Goodreads, we’re on Facebook, and we’re always looking for bigger and better ways to connect with our readers.
You can find more information about The Copperfield Review at: