Hi: Is that your first question?

No, you just make me nervous. So…who are you? My name is Robert James Russell, and I’m the co-founder (along with Jeff Pfaller), of the new quarterly literary journal Midwestern Gothic.

Uh…what’s all that about? Well, we strive to catalog and show off the very best in  Midwestern fiction.

What in the hell is Midwestern fiction? Good question. It’s, you know, fiction from the Midwest, a geographical region covering roughly the very western part of Pennsylvania, through Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, down to Missouri, over to Kansas and straight up to North Dakota (with everything in between, of course).

Well, what do you mean by “Gothic”? Gothic can mean a few different things.  First, it can refer to “Gothic fiction” which combines elements of horror and romance.  Second, it can, as with Southern Gothic (a literary subgenre),  mean the inclusion of less-than-admirable characters and, more often than not, big sweeping (and at one time controversial) social issues and themes.  We at Midwestern Gothic take away from the latter definition a sense of realism, and that is what our Gothic is based on—we want real life in the Midwest, good, bad, or ugly. And, even if the pieces aren’t physically set there, we want to see how the Midwest has shaped so-and-so as a writer, causing you to produce the pieces you have.

So what is it you’re looking for? Just what I said: We want real life, about or inspired by the Midwest, written by those who have lived or currently do live here. Poetry or prose…bring it on.

When’s the deadline? The deadline to submit for our first issue is February 18th. We will not look at any titles after that date.  Period. (Well, unless we owe you a favor or something.)  The first issue will be printing at some point in March (details on a specific date to come).

Oh, yeah, and what’s with wanting photos? On top of trying to become THE compendium of Midwestern writers and fiction, we really want to catalog the Midwest through different people’s eyes, and year-round we accept photo submissions on our site.  Once you submit, assuming it’s what we’re looking for and not harmful in any way, we’ll post to our site. Four times a year we’ll scour our archives and choose an image to be the cover of the next issue of Midwestern Gothic. Fun, huh?

Got anything else to add? Not really. We’re excited to start this journal up, and we really think we’re doing something different here.  Check out our site for even more info, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and if you are from the Midwest, or have lived here, do send us a piece—we’d love to check it out.

Last question: Do you want to go out sometime? No. You’re not my type.