We started the interview by discussing how Jonathan and Elizabeth’s company, Collective Tales Publishing came about. Initially, Elizabeth was working for Jonathan as a personal assistant, but also had an editing business alongside. As Elizabeth moved away from working for Jonathan and began branching out in her writing, their friendship developed with a writing being a key common interest. When the pandemic struck, and Jonathan lost his job, they decided to begin a publishing company to publish their anthologies.
We then went on to talk about the benefits of having a work and writing partner that compliments your skills, and their different strengths and weaknesses. While Jonathan comes up with a large variety of ideas to try and has his own business degree, Elizabeth’s organizational mindset and skills in web design contribute immensely to their business partnership.
We talked briefly about their individual journeys. Prior to starting Collective Tales, Elizabeth was a journalist and wrote a number of articles for print-run newspapers. Now, in her creative life she writes a lot of horror, but is also interested in poetry and dystopian fiction. Jonathan was interested in writing from a young age. In college Jonathan got a few things published, and after college he got a job as an editor. For a long period, he didn’t write creatively, being focused on his career and family life. But with encouragement from Elizabeth, he started dipping his toes into the creative stream once again and now writes science fiction, fantasy, horror and poetry.
We then talked about their favorite authors and who they feel influences their writing the most. Ashley followed this up with a question about whether they ever write together, or whether their partnership is confined solely to publishing. Although they haven’t shared a project from the beginning, they often gain insight of each other’s projects during the drafting phase and will edit each other’s work. They mentioned working together is on the cards in the future, but as of yet they haven’t found the right project or a process that works for them.
Next, we discussed their motivations for starting the publishing company and their biggest challenges so far. They wanted to give new authors the opportunity to publish and see how it can be possible. But equally, as a business, the stories they choose for their anthologies and the authors they work with must present themselves professionally whether they are new to the game or not. This doesn’t mean knowing all the ins and outs of publishing, but rather being open to changes and all parties approaching the project with respect for one another—a crucial element in any working relationship.
This diverged into a discussion about their first anthology, Collective Darkness, which is a collection of carefully curated horror stories. They try present a variety of stories, but craft an overall ‘feel’ to the book by providing their writers with a common theme. They also mentioned they try to avoid stories that are too explicit in order to publish it as widely as possible and keep the stories at an appropriate level for both teens and adults.
Finally, we asked what’s next for Collective Tales Publishing. Recently released is Deluxe Darkness, a trilogy of anthologies that includes Darkness Between, Little Darkness, and Collective Darkness. Also, later in December they plan to release Collective Fantasy, and finally Collective Visions has just closed for submissions and will be released in spring next year. They are also collecting submissions for other projects and welcome authors to apply on their website. Currently, submissions are open for Collective Chaos where they are seeking stories within the cosmic horror or apocalyptic genres with a theme of ‘world-ending chaos’, and for Collective Humanity, which will be an LGBTQ+ anthology with the theme of ‘metamorphosis’. If you are interested or would like to learn more about Jonathan and Elizabeth at Collective Tales Publishing, please visit their website, or catch up with them on Instagram at their handles: