Spotlight: Crosshair Press

It’s with great delight we welcome the team at Crosshair Press to the mic. I (Rebekah) had the privilege of meeting two of their team members, Katie Morford and Amy Williams, at the Realm Makers’ writers conference in 2014. I’m also pleased to point out that Katie is part of the Flash! Friday family (she posts as K.L. Morford). In fact this very week she came away with the first runner up prize (woot!); her story “Hope Rising” won an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Flashversary contest.

I’ve grown to respect this team a great deal. After reading this interview, you’ll doubtless understand why. 

Welcome, CP!

Crosshair press large logo

 

Let’s start with the basics. Who/what is Crosshair Press? Why does the world need another publisher? And what’s up with the A-Team obsession? 

Crosshair Press is a small indie press dedicated to developing authors and publishing books where adventure and biblical truths intersect. After years of seeking a publisher that embraced books that could include speculative elements, action/adventure, and biblical truths (though NOT necessarily a “Christian” book), we finally decided we’d have to start our own press!

L-R. Amy, Katie, Amy, Carrie.

L-R. Carrie Lemke, Katie Morford, Amy Davis, Amy Williams

The four founding ladies of Crosshair Press had been in a writing critique group together for several years, so it was a natural step to embark on this new adventure together. As for the A-Team references, we truly have a fun, united team spirit amongst the four of us. We noticed early-on that we each fit one of the roles of the A-Team characters (Amy Williams, planner and idea person; Katie Morford, the “face” of the operation; Amy Davis, the fun and quirky one who finds the unexpected solution; Carrie Lemke, the quiet one with the most BA characters of any of us).

We believe in quality and professionalism, but there’s also no reason why we can’t have fun doing it!

L-R Amy Williams & Katie Morford

L-R Amy Williams & Katie Morford

You’re two months into your second year (congratulations!) and already have two books under your belt. What’s the experience been like so far? What’s surprised you the most? What about publishing might surprise other writers? 

As you say, so far we’ve released two books. One, entitled Nameless, is a space opera adventure novel with elements of humor and romance. The other is a romantic comedy, Finding Fireflies, telling the story of a 30-something single church secretary who befriends a prostitute and has to team up with her childhood crush to save her new friend. 

We’ve been blown away by the tremendous response and support from people from many different walks, from little old ladies at church to high-level executives and publishing industry professionals.

We love the opportunity to be involved in every step of the creative process, from writing, content editing and working with beta readers, to staging book cover photo shoots, cover design, production, and promotion. It definitely requires a lot of time, hard work, and Starbursts (brain food), but seeing the books come together and people being entertained and touched by the stories is worth it. 

You’re novelists and short story writers yourselves. What’s it like sitting on the other side of the desk? How has donning publisher hats changed you as novelists and the way you approach your own writing? 

Well, we’re not fancy gentlemen in very fine hats, but I think participating in the publishing process has helped us tremendously as authors, because now we’re always thinking big picture when we’re writing. Who is my audience? How would I describe the theme or plot of this story to someone? How do I want people to respond? Has this story been told before? How can I make the setting/plot/characters unique? Previously, these are questions we wouldn’t have considered until the book was complete.

Plus, doing content edits for others helps us identify problems in our own work sooner because we’ve trained ourselves to look for them. 

We’re pleased to note that the first contest you held was a flash fiction contest. What’s your take on flash—is it here to stay?—and how do you think a writer’s flash skills might help when it’s time to write a novel? 

With seemingly greater demands our time than ever before, many readers are turning to flash fiction for bite-sized portions of their fiction addiction. We also think learning to convey emotion and story in very concise fashion, as required by flash fiction, is invaluable when it comes time to write a novel. A novel, after all, is nothing more than a connected collection of “flash fiction” scenes designed to tell a larger story.

We love how you also offer critiques and mentoring for writers. What inspired you to add that service? In these days of so many writers going indie and small house, what other traditionally IRL writing services/relationships do you foresee going the online route? 

We’ve had so many talented, experienced authors come alongside us in our own journey, it was natural to want to help other writers learn to tell their stories more effectively. In our discussions with up-and-coming authors, the most common problem we noticed is many writers are submitting manuscripts with intriguing concepts but flawed execution.

To be ready for publication, these stories need improvements to plot, story, character, setting, etc. visible only to another trained eye. We want to empower these writers to tell great stories, without being discouraged by repeated rejection from publishers simply for lack of an experienced editor to journey with them. 

Futurecast for us: in 2025, paper books: yes or no? And will the world have lost or gained by this? 

One of the biggest surprises for us has been the enduring demand for hard copies of our titles. While ebooks are definitely a convenient avenue for distribution, there’s nothing like the smell of a new book in your hands. We predict that hard copies of books, though they may become more of luxury item or double as display pieces, will still hold their place on our shelves for many years to come. And we certainly hope they do. 

What’s 2015 look like for Crosshair Press? Are the rumors correct in saying you’re opening your doors to submissions this year? 

We’re off and running in 2015 and it’s shaping up to be an exciting year! Our romantic comedy released in February, our political thriller with a hearty dose of humor comes out Memorial Day (that’s 25 May for our international readers), and Namesake, the sequel to our sci-fi release, Nameless, will be coming out at the end of the year. We’re also looking at a YA epic urban fantasy option for late this year or early next.

Combined with our day jobs as full-time nurse, mommy, freelancer and globe-trotting missionary, we have our plates full. But we’re still hoping to be able to open up to submissions this year. So keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page for any announcements!

When you do open your doors, what sort of novels will you be looking for? What advice would you give writers who’d like to submit to you? Will the writers need to be agented?

Agents aren’t required, but make sure to read our writer’s guidelines as our process is a bit different than conventional publishing. We also suggest reading our blog and previous titles to get a feel for what kind of stories we like!

Generally, we love character-based adventure stories with strong themes and funny dialogue. Extra points for creative and unique concepts or storytelling methods.

What advice/encouragement or special messages would you like to leave with the Flash! Friday community? And just how much do you adore dragons?

It’s great to see such an encouraging and engaged community of writers! I (Katie) have recently wet my feet in flash fiction and y’all were so welcoming and affirming. Thank you! We’d love to talk, so stop by our social media pages or website and say hi. We might even introduce you to our resident dragon mascot, who is so incredible that we can’t tell you about him for fear Rebekah will steal him away. {Editor’s note: What if he wants to go, hmmm?}

THANK YOU SO MUCH, CP, for taking the time to chat with us today. Best wishes for a successful 2015 and beyond!

Crosshair press small logo

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One thought on “Spotlight: Crosshair Press

  1. Thanks, Rebekah, for organizing such wonderful interviews each week! Love hearing about what the FF folks are up to, and also to see the various opportunities that are out there for the writers that grace your board. Great stuff here! 🙂

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