The Thrill Begins: Interview with EQMM Editor Janet Hutchings

I’m thrilled to have interviewed Janet Hutchings, editor of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, as part of the “Publishing Panel” series at The Thrill Begins, an online magazine for International Thriller Writers. The interview is timed on the eve of the magazine’s 75th year—and of Hutchings’ own 25th year at the helm of what Stephen King called “the best mystery magazine in the world, bar none.”

Here’s a quick excerpt—a single q&a exchange:

EQMM’s Department of First Stories is a terrific feature—a celebration of fresh talent in each issue. When did this begin, and in what ways has that continued to be such an important part of your work? Are you able to chart how many of your submissions are indeed from new writers?

The Department of First Stories began in 1949.  I’ve always enjoyed this department. I came to EQMM from a book publisher that I guess you’d call a “discovery house.” Two-thirds of my list was composed of first-time novelists. It was a thrill to bring those new authors into print. I experience a little bit of that excitement each time we buy a first story. And I do not feel that the quality of the first stories is much, if at all, behind that of the work of our more seasoned writers. In fact, there’s sometimes more genuineness to the first stories than we might see in later work. Often I get the feeling they’re drawn from intensely personal experience.

Now that we’ve got a submissions server on which to track what comes in, it would be possible, I suppose, to determine what percentage of the work is from new writers. I don’t know offhand,  but it’s a lot.

Read the full interview here.