Conferences are the big thing now days. It’s how people learn what is new and trending with writers, books, games, movies. This year come September a new conference is being launched by a vivacious group of Indie authors and publishers. Imaginarium!
I had the privilege of interviewing Stephen Zimmer, one of the conferences organizers about the event.
Tell us what Imaginarium is, what your goal is and your vision.
Imaginarium is a convention that is entirely centered upon creative writing and storytelling. This includes authors of short stories, novellas, and novels, but also includes screenwriters, game-designers, poets and lyricists, comic/graphic novel creators and more. With over 140 panels and workshops organized into 12 categories, Imaginarium has a massive amount of programming, but the atmosphere will be anything but stuffy or somber!
Making this event more unique than the usual writing conference is that fact that Imaginarium has all of the fun of a convention atmosphere. It features popular convention elements such as a masquerade, gaming room, a film festival, vendor hall, and much more. The relaxed environment combined with rich programming content is definitely going to make for an atmosphere highly suitable for networking, learning, promoting, and having fun. This will be an event where it will be very easy to meet people and talk with them in a comfortable environment.
The venue is fantastic. The Crowne Plaza in Louisville is right next to the airport, so you don’t have to drive into the city at all to reach the venue. It is directly off of I-65, so it is easy to get to from a main interstate. Loads of free parking and first rate facilities make for a gem of a location. WonderFest, the popular toy and modeling convention, is also held here.
I really want to see a full-scale annual convention where the storyteller/creative writer is the central theme. Having a full spectrum of creative writing, such as books, comic books, screenwriting, game-design, and other areas is beneficial in an entertainment climate where there are so many crossover projects, addressing multiple mediums. If creative writers, storytellers and the like support Imaginarium, I do see it as becoming a wonderful, growing annual event with a lot to offer its attendees. I encourage everyone to help us spread the word!
Is this conference just for writers?
Though centered on creative writing and storytelling, this event is also perfect for editors, publishers, cover artists, readers, agents, bloggers, reviewers and many others involved with the worlds of books, eBooks, comics and graphic novels, movies, game-design and areas related to the programming spectrum covered at this event. There are specific programming categories related to these areas, such as our World of Editors, Song, Stage and Screen, and Social Media, Blogging and Reviewing categories. So while the center of the event is creative writing, there are a lot of related areas that encompass far more than just writers in their appeal.
How long have you and your press been in the science fiction and fantasy business?
As far as Seventh Star Press goes, we have been in operation for just over 5 years now, having gotten underway in the spring of 2009. The press currently features a family of 20 authors, 6 editors and 5 cover artists/illustrators. We have a line of anthologies and just announced a new imprint, Seventh Starlight, for speculative fiction titles with significant romantic content. Science fiction and fantasy, and their related subgenres, are the foundation of what we do.
What are some of the literary achievements that have affected you? What authors are your gurus?
As far as my own writing goes, I am simply happy to continue on course again after enduring a rocky 2013 with a difficult loss in our family. The Rising Dawn Saga and the Fires in Eden Series are back on track fully. The Undying Light, book 4 of the Rising Dawn Saga (dystopian/apocalyptic cross-genre series), was launched on July 5th at a special event in Lexington, KY at Joseph Beth Booksellers. I am continuing with the Chronicles of Ave and Hellscapes short story collection and will be working on some new Harvey and Solomon Steampunk Tales. I completed a new sword and sorcery novel this spring starring Rayden Valkyrie, a character I love a great deal who debuted in a short story contained in the Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword anthology.
My biggest influences are J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, both having been introduced to me during my childhood. Since then, many others have come to be counted as influences, from David Gemmell to Glen Cook, Guy Gavriel Kay, Clive Barker, C.S. Friedman, Robert E. Howard, George R.R. Martin and others. I am always pleased when a reader can detect an influence of mine, as that is a tribute to the legacy of that writer.
You’re having a film festival at the conference, can you tell us about that?
The film festival screenings will take place on Saturday, September 20th. The festival will feature all genres in areas of shorts, features, documentaries, and music video. We really hope to grow this component which ties into the screenwriting programming that we have.
Our first Imaginator (a special honored guest) related to screenwriting is Jeffrey Reddick, the creator of the Final Destination franchise. We are thrilled to have him with us to kick off this area of the event.
Tell us about the vision you have about bringing the writing community together.
I want all attendees at Imaginarium to come away from the event in a better position than they arrived in. This growth can be in a single area or a combination of things, such as new contacts, new projects and opportunities, raised awareness, expanded knowledge and skill sets.
I believe the healthiest path, and the one that produces the best results, is the one where a writer’s competition is with themselves and not with others. Lifting other talented writers up and being mutually supportive is the kind of atmosphere that breeds success.
Many times over I have noted that the most successful indie authors I know tend to be the ones who are helpful to others. It is a win-win approach that fosters positive energy and one that Imaginarium embraces to the fullest extent. Bringing together all genres of writers affords various kinds of writers access to insights and perspectives that are not easily gained elsewhere. A fantasy writer may benefit from having stronger mystery elements in their work and at Imaginarium they will get an opportunity to learn from and interact with writers whose full focus are mystery elements. Likewise, mystery authors may gain wonderful insights about building a believable environment and world setting from a fantasy author. The cross-pollination, I believe, is going to result in nothing but good.
Anything else that is important to you that SF and fantasy enthusiasts might want to know?
We have so much to offer science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts, whether they are primarily writers or readers. Authors in these genres at Imaginarium will be very accessible and we have a dedicated Speculative Fiction category with loads of genre-specific topics. Other categories related to the worlds of blogging, editing and publishing also relate, especially to attendees who are writers. I certainly hope everyone gives it a look and if you can make it, come out and help us launch a fantastic new creative writing event!
Learn more about Imaginarium on their website.