Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of Datura Books! What can you tell us about the impetus behind the publishing company’s creation, and what do you feel defines a Datura book?
Eleanor Teasdale: Thank you so much! I’m so excited to be telling everyone about it as we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes! My colleague Daniel [Culver] is a passionate crime reader and remembered that Angry Robot (AR) used to have an imprint called Exhibit A, which closed quite awhile ago before any of the current AR team were around. The mention of it made us sit down and think.
If we were to open a new imprint, we could make it match the feel that AR has whilst having its own identity that is driven by the passion and enthusiasm of the team for the genre. Crime is what all of us read when we aren’t work reading and that itch started to realize into the sort of books and voices we could bring to readers if we utilized our expertise!
For me, a Datura book feels fresh and commercial but delivers a great in-genre read. We’re looking for books with a strong sense of place and voice and, as ever, trying to be conscious of making the list varied and exciting.
BD: Along with your own wealth of knowledge regarding crime fiction genre, you will be joined by an incredibly talented team of editors to lead Datura. How would you describe your team and your collaborative approach to finding and developing new projects?
ET: Communication always! We have a pretty good sense of each other’s tastes and if a project seems like it might suit a colleague, we pass it on. The most important thing is trying to find those books which we want to read and we think our readers will, too! It’s always a mix between finding and approaching authors we want to work with and also seeing what projects agents bring to us.
BD: What can you share with us about Datura’s upcoming slate of books for 2023?
ET: Ah ha! Well, firstly, they are brilliant, and I’m so excited to get them out into the world and hear what people think.
Our first book is an incredible P.I novel set in New Jersey by Kimberly G. Giarratano. Think Veronica Mars grown up; an old cold case being investigated by a true crime podcast when one of the hosts goes missing.
Then, we have Spider by Azma Dar, which is a whip-smart, pacey psycological thriller about an ambitious and unscrupulous actress who, in spite of her efforts, is mostly famous for the on-camera birth of her child. Her third husband Tariq goes missing and Sophie is distraught – who could be responsible?
We’ve got Mother Howl by author Craig Clevenger, who wrote The Contortionist’s Handbook. Mother Howl is about the son of a serial killer who has to choose between his own freedom or helping those who suffered at his father’s hands.
Finally, on the release list we have a brilliant Dickensian historical crime set in a bloody world of railways by Adam Roberts. We’ve got a couple more that aren’t ready for reveal yet, but keep eyes peeled as they are both very exciting and different from the rest of the list!
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Datura’s catalog will connect with and impact readers?
ET: I hope the breadth of the list means that we find a lot of readers who might connect to the stories, but also, and most importantly, we’re trying to be very focused in making sure we are acquiring things which feel fresh and new but also within the genre. I always think that every book means something whether it’s a few hours of much-needed escapism for a reader or a book that they’ll return to time and again because the writing pulls them in and the story tells them something bigger.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Datura Books and Angry Robot Books?
ET: Socials! We’re pretty open and around, but, of course, we have a website, too. We’d love any mail list sign ups and have plans to offer exclusive extras and bits to anyone who does sign up to stay in the loop. We love to connect with readers – the most important thing for us is to listen to them and connect with them to help us buy their next favorite book and bring it to market!