Celebrating Texas Independents: An Interview with Will Evans of Cinestate

“The literary landscape springs from the Texas soil and expands to bring the world to Texas as well, and that’s awesome.”

-Will Evans


Texas has a thriving literary scene. Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities in your own state, especially in your own backyard? In conjunction with Texas Independence Day, we’re partnering with some of the state’s greatest Independents to host a series of free and open events across the state throughout the month of March.

These panel discussions will focus on the great opportunities for writers and readers that Texas has to offer, from independent presses, to journals, to bookstores, and beyond, while also answering writers’ burning questions about the publishing process, submitting to presses and journals, catching the eye of an editor, and more.

Our panel discussion in San Antonio will be held at The Twig Book Shop tonight, March 6 at 6 pm (details and address here). We’ll be speaking with four distinguished panelists, one of whom is Will Evans, co-founder and president of Cinestate. He was just part of our panel in Odessa last week, and he’ll be joining us for additional panels in Austin, Houston, and Dallas throughout the month (details and dates here). To learn a little bit more about Will, we interviewed him about the literary landscape in Texas.

Scribe: Can you share a few thoughts with us about the Texas literary landscape? What makes it unique, and what opportunities can be found here for writers, readers, and publishers?

Will Evans: We at Cinestate are always amazed at the strength and the diversity of the Texas literary landscape, the cinematic quality of the writing, and the visionary talent that springs from our midst. Because of the sheer size of the state, we can lose sight of the fact that Texas has one of the strongest literary communities in the country. We have much to celebrate.

The writers, the publishers, the universities, the literary organizations, the institutions, and the foundations all combine to form a larger whole. The diversity expands to every individual in the state, in every city and town. The literary landscape springs from the Texas soil and expands to bring the world to Texas as well, and that’s awesome.

Scribe: What do you see as the role of independents (publishers, journals, booksellers) in Texas’s literary community, and what do you find most rewarding about the work you do as an independent publisher?

The independent literary community is the lifeblood of the literary arts in Texas. Our independent bookstores provide a home for writers, publishers, teachers, and readers to come together to meet, to share ideas, to learn from one another, to have a good time, and to revel in the beauty of the written and printed word. Being an independent publisher is all about relationships: the relationship with authors to see their vision achieved, and then the relationship with the reader to connect them with their new favorite books. These relationships are’t possible without the independent literary community that is built by the local community for the local community.

Scribe: Tell us a bit about one of your upcoming programs, events, or publications that you feel exemplifies the spirit of being independent in Texas.

Dallas Sonnier, my co-founding partner in Cinestate, and I created this company to celebrate the independent literary and film communities in our state. We’re proud to live and work here, and to make this amazing state we live in even more amazing. We’re in the midst of pre-production for what will be the first movie we shoot in Texas, a reboot of the classic Puppet Master horror film franchise. We’ll be shooting it all in and around Dallas. It’s so important to us to be able to live in Dallas and to work with the local film community.

This fall, we’re also launching our inaugural publishing season, including a really powerful debut that fell into my lap and blew my mind: an un-put-downable sci-fi/horror novel like nothing I’ve ever read. It’s called The Megarothke, and it’s by a writer named Robert Ashcroft who’s from the Austin area. It was very important to me to include a Texas writer among our first books.

The plan for Cinestate is to continue to shoot movies in Dallas when we can, and to sign as many Texas-based authors as we can. We’ll take the best of Texas to the world, from right here in Texas.

Thanks, Will!

RSVP for the San Antonio panel here. Visit our website for additional cities and dates throughout the month of March.

Are you a Texas independent (publisher, journal, bookstore, etc.) interested in participating in future event and/or learning about other opportunities for partnership and promotion? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at wlt@writersleague.org.


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