Guest Blogger: Phyllis Wheeler
Castle Gate Press is the newest small Christian publishing house on the block. What are the editors looking for?
At Castle Gate Press, we want to promote a Christian worldview in the general marketplace, publishing quality fiction by authors with unique voices whose stories may not fit into neat little categories. And we want to nurture authors and draw a wider audience to works written by Christians.
Are we a CBA publishing house? No, in that we don’t feed into Christian bookstores. Yes, in that we promote a Christian worldview in the works we publish.
Here’s a better idea of what we’re looking for: polished, well-written stories that are set in the real world and have something weird going on. This could be time travel, science experiments gone wrong, the supernatural, space travel, and so on. The underlying genre can be varied. We’re especially interested in works that other publishers have passed on because they span genres.
It’s a Wonderful Life would fit here, as would Spiderman and Back to the Future. But not The Wizard of Oz.
Does the author’s Christian faith need to be evident in the work? No. We are confident that the underlying worldview will shine through.
What’s the story of Castle Gate Press? How did it get started?
Suzanne Hartmann and I first met online several years ago in an ACFW critique group. I read her first chapter and wanted to read a lot more. But she dropped out of the group, citing time commitments.
Soon after, we met in person at the St. Louis ACFW writers’ group and instantly found a lot of commonalities. Not only are we both writers and editors, but we’re both into faith-based homeschooling. While Suzanne’s a published author, I have a successful business writing and publishing computer-science curriculum for homeschoolers.
Then we realized that we both love to write and read in the same neglected niche: stories set in the real world with a fantastic element, like the secret agent with super strength that came from a medical experiment in Suzanne’s published novel, or the girl who talks to angels in one of my WIPs.
It didn’t take long before Suzanne and I also discovered the Lord was calling each of us to aid new fiction writers. Through all these coincidences, was he calling us to work together and publish books?
Many writers complain that there are not enough publishers interested in speculative fiction, so there was and is a need. We could both edit. I knew how to set up a publishing company. Why not start one to meet the need we saw?
Two years passed while we received encouragement from Jeff Gerke and Grace Bridges, looked at the time needed, prayed, and weighed the risks. Finally the time seemed right. Last summer, we took the plunge and set up our website and marketing plans. We started taking submissions Jan. 1, 2014. If you have a finished manuscript with a touch of the fantastic, we’d love to see it.
Castle Gate Press, where the fantastic meets the real world. Check us out.
Phyllis Wheeler, publisher, writer and editor. Reviewer of Christian speculative fiction since 2008 at the Christian Fantasy Review. Homeschooling veteran. Wife and mother of four young adults. From St. Louis, Missouri. Find out more at http://www.castlegatepress.com