Thu 21 Nov 2013
by Bonnie ZoBell
David LaBounty is an editor by day and a playwright by night. LaBounty’s plays have appeared on stages both large and small, and with his wife, Robin, he runs Blue Cubicle Press, home of the literary magazines The First Line and Workers Write!, and the chapbook series, Overtime.
Bonnie ZoBell: Hi David. So glad you could leave your cubicle today long enough to talk to us.
David LaBounty: Hi, Bonnie. Actually, I was kicked out of my cube a few years ago, during the grand experiment of “working from home.” But it looks like many companies are recalling their home workers, trying to refill their cube farms.
BZ: Overtime has an unusual theme that runs through all of the work it publishes. Could you tell us a little about that?
DL: We focus on stories and poems from the workplace. One of our literary journals, Workers Write!, is an annual collection of tales from a particular workplace. Overtime is a series of chapbooks—usually one long story each—where work is a central theme.
BZ: To your knowledge, do any of the writers’ bosses get upset about their particular workplace being written about?
DL: Not yet, but I think (hope) the caveat that these are works of fiction–names and places have been changed—gives us some cover.
BZ: Does Overtime have a philosophy?
DL: Not much in the way of a philosophy, but I think our mission is to document the history of work. How has work changed over the years? How has it stayed the same? What kind of work is not around anymore? But, first and foremost, we want to entertain.
BZ: What would you say your press is looking for in the way of fiction submissions?
DL: We’re looking for stories that entertain, but that also educate people about jobs or work situations they may not know much about. The best stories are about situations that people can relate to. Most may not know what it’s like to work on a shrimp boat, but many people can relate to working a grueling job to escape an even worse personal pain.
BZ: What mistakes do you see writers making who submit to Overtime?
DL: Simple stories: I got up. I got dressed. I went to work. My boss yelled at me. I went home. The End. Sounds ridiculously straight forward, but we receive a lot of those types of submissions.
BZ: What’s your idea of a perfect submission?
DL: Anything that makes me forget I am an editor judging a story.
BZ: Name a few writers whose chapbooks you’ve published and tell us a few words about their chapbooks.
DL: We’ve published two stories by Mickey Burriss: Hour 2: “I Wish I was Hosey Hitchcock,” a story about a boy in South Carolina in the 30s who befriends a cotton mill worker, and Hour 14: “Route 28,” about a young man who travels to Florida during the summer to try his hand as an ice cream truck driver in the 50s. Hour 29, our most recent issue, is “Twenty-First Floor” by Miha Mazzini, a story about a man who attempts to climb the corporate ladder one bathroom at a time.
BZ: If you could put a fold-out in one of your chapbooks, who or what would it be of?
DL: I’d love to be able to include old WPA posters. Just love the artwork, the colors and fonts. I’m a graphics geek.
BZ: Talk a little about the production of your chapbooks. What size are they? How are they made? Perfect bound, stapled, or? How much color do you use? What is the page range of most of them?
DL: Overtime hours are 5×7, stapled, and handmade. The only color is the cover paper (ten colors that are cycled through). Most range from ten pages to forty in length.
BZ: Do you accept manuscripts all year round, or only during certain times of the year?
DL: We accept submissions year round.
BZ: Are you interested in chapbooks from new writers who haven’t had books or chapbooks published before?
DL: Yes, we are interested in new writers. I’d say 75% of the authors we’ve published hadn’t published a book or chapbook.
BZ: Is it okay if the stories people submit for chapbooks have already been published?
DL: Yes, we’ve published a few chapbooks of previously published stories.
BZ: Thanks so much for talking to us today, David. May cubicle-workers everywhere get an extra day off next week!
Bonnie ZoBell’s fiction chapbook The Whack-Job Girls with Monkey Puzzle Press was released in March 2013 and her short story collection WHAT HAPPENED HERE is forthcoming with Press 53 in spring 2014. She’s received an NEA fellowship for her fiction, teaches at San Diego Mesa College, and is Associate Editor of The Northville Review. For more information, visit www.bonniezobell.com.