Polis Books

Meet Chantelle Aimée Osman - Editor, Agora Books


1) What is the first thing you remember that drew you towards crime fiction?

The first time I had to dispose of a body…let’s just say I could have done a lot better. There aren’t really a lot of “how to” guides on the subject, so I turned to crime fiction.

When I was growing up, there wasn’t quite as much oversight on what was considered appropriate for the ‘kids’ section of the bookstore. I remember specifically The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright, where every night, a dollhouse rearranged itself to recreate the grisly murders of the protagonist’s great-grandparents that happened in the house, that she must solve. The next authors I recall making a huge impact on me are Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels), Katherine Neville and Michael Crichton. And of course, Poe.

2) Print or Ebooks?

It’s hard for me not to say print-only. There’s nothing better than the feeling of a book, and no happier place for me than looking at shelves full of them. But, I travel so much, the ebook is a god-send. I used to pack one set of clothes, and the rest of the suitcase would be books. Ebooks make it a lot easier—and lighter. One thing I do insist on print for are graphic novels. I need to hold those in my hands.

3) What’s on your nightstand at this moment?

Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey, Mark Derry

Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut, edited by William Rodney Allen (I got that one at a recent trip to the Vonnegut Museum in Indianapolis)

The Cabin at the End of the World, Paul Tremblay

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts, Simon Garfield

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

Coyote Songs, Gabino Inglesias

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil, Jeff Lemire & David Rubín

Also, my glasses, a bottle of red wine and dog treats.

4) What are your goals with Agora?

Honestly, it’s selfish. I want to find the books I want to read and put them on the shelf for other people to discover. Reading is about seeing the entirety of the human experience, and there seem to be a lot of gaps in publishing right now. I hope to find stories that fill those.

5) What's one thing about yourself that people may not know?

Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Let me refer you to my psychiatrist.

6) You’re stranded on a desert island. You have three books with you, and three people to keep you company. What books and which people are with you on the island?

Books: Three-Fifths, Remember, The Ninja Daughter

People: John Vercher, Patricia Smith, Tori Eldridge