An Interview with Publishers Weekly's Rose Fox

Like many publications connected to book culture, Publishers Weekly has been changing in response to a changing landscape. A little over three years ago, they turned over the science fiction/fantasy.horror reviews editor job to Rose Fox, and launched PW's Genreville, where Fox regularly blogs about industry news along with her partner Josh Jasper. Fox's energy and progressive approach have given the SF/F/H section of the magazine a definite boost, and provided genre fiction with a new public forum.

Fox comes from a literary family--her parents, Charles Platt and Nancy Weber, are both writers and met at a party attended by, among others, Harlan Ellison.

Platt is a British writer associated with the New Wave science fiction writers of the 1960s who has since become a naturalized U.S. citizen. His cult novel The Gas (written for the infamous Paris publisher Olympia Press) deliberately pushed buttons and boundaries, and William Gibson endorsed his The Silicon Man as a "wholly new and very refreshing way" of exploring cyberspace.Platt has also been widely praised for his journalism, especially his work for Wired and Make magazines.

Weber, is best known for her memoir The Life Swap, in which she recounts her efforts to exchange lives with another woman in the 1970s. Her fiction credits include horror (The Playgroup), category romance (eight for Berkley Jove's To Have and to Hold and Second Chance at Love lines), mainstream fiction (Brokenhearted), and young adult (Double Solitaire) titles. A professional chef as well as an author, she currently focuses on essays, travel and culinary journalism, and other nonfiction.

I interviewed Fox via email recently--about her family and her work at Publishers Weekly. Would you describe your childhood as being "literary" in the sense of being surrounded by books, writers, the whole culture?

Rose Fox: Oh, absolutely. Both my parents are writers. My aunt and uncle are writers. My mother's father and grandfather ran a printing company. I have ink in my veins. I grew up surrounded by books and words (my mother is a word game fiend) and writers of all stripes. Do you remember if there was a time when it first dawned on you that your father and mother were published writers? Growing up, what did that mean to you?

Rose Fox: It's just something I always knew. I should mention here that my parents split up when I was quite young, and I lived with my mother and only visited my father once a week or so. While my mother was raising me on her own, she supported us with her writing, so a typical day would be her in one room with the typewriter and me in the other room with the babysitter. I didn't see my father at work as much, but I probably assumed he was a writer before I actually knew it, because writing is just what parents do!

Rose fox 
(Rose Fox portrait by Omar Rayyan)

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