INTERVIEW: Books in the Big Sky State
Riverfeet Press founding publisher Daniel Rice interviewed in the Montana Press Monthly.
(Below is the full interview with Montana Press. Excerpts published in Vol. 4, Issue 2 - Feb. 2021)
MT Press: When was your press founded and what inspired its founding?
Daniel Rice: I’ve had a love for books since I was a kid, and simply put, decided to publish books that I would enjoy reading. We published our first book in 2013, and I’ve enjoyed reading every single one of them.
MT Press: What are some of your proudest moments as a publisher?
Daniel Rice: This is generally when I place that first printed copy into the hands of the author. So much of a books’ creation exists internally and alone, that when we finally have a tactile representation of all the time and mental energy, it feels really good. We also love hearing from readers because ultimately that is what we are attempting to do – share stories that connect people.
MT Press: What kind of books do you publish and what kind of authors do you like to work with?
Daniel Rice: Our books are focused on themes of wildlife, wilderness, adventure and the environment. Our authors have a close connection to the natural world, whether this be fly fishing, mountain climbing, sky diving, hiking, wildlife observation, or meditating in a meadow – it is what drives them, and us, to experience life.
MT Press: How do authors find you and how do you find authors? How should authors go about contacting you regarding a book they want to publish?
Daniel Rice: The writing and publishing industry is a communicative network of people mostly looking to help each other out – especially in Montana. As such, most of the authors who have approached us have come from word-of-mouth. Many also discover us through web searches, and contact us direct through our website or email. We also utilize the Missoula based company Submittable for submissions to our periodical anthology series: Awake in the World, and currently have submissions open for Volume 3.
MT Press: Who are some of your favorite authors that you publish?
Daniel Rice: Is it okay to say all of them? That would be the truest response, because we are highly selective of the projects we take on, which is largely influenced by the author themselves. Through the process of creative production, and given that we focus on specific themes that we share an interest in, we develop a relationship of trust, appreciation, and oftentimes friendship. Recently in Montana we’ve had the pleasure to work with some exceptionally gifted writers, including Tom Harpole, Marc Beaudin, Tyler Dunning, Chris La Tray, Randie Adams, Jerry Bonnell and David Stuver.
MT Press: How many books do you publish each year and do you have any books coming out this spring?
Daniel Rice: The number of books we publish each year is determined by the number of books we come across that inspire us. This typically ranges from 3-6. One of the books we are really excited about for this spring is a historical account of Caroline McGill, that we are publishing in coordination with Amber and Cyndi of the 320 Ranch near Big Sky. McGill was the first Pathologist and female doctor in the state of Montana, and what really drew us to this project was her environmental ethics and her belief that she could help cure tuberculosis patients by bringing them to the wilderness. This spring we are also launching a 10 Year Anniversary edition of our first publication, The Unpeopled Season.
MT Press: How would you describe the publishing scene in Montana?
Daniel Rice: Montana is rich with stories. As such, there are some incredible books being produced in this state, covering a wide platform of genres. It’s really inspiring to see what other Montana publishers are creating, and I admire the work of folks such as Territorial Press, Bangtail, Mountain Press, Farcountry and Riverbend.
MT Press: Where do you think the industry is heading?
Daniel Rice: To answer this, I will think of how Montana is viewed from the outside. When other states think of Montana, it’s unlikely their first thought is of our literary efforts, and when it is, they likely think of Jim Harrison, Thomas Mcguane or Norman Maclean, who were all gifted writers (wish I could’ve published them!), but they also all kind of fall into a similar genre, which shapes the perception of Montana. I think with the work being produced now, we are heading to a place that will share more stories and shift the paradigm of how Montana is perceived into one that more fully represents the diversity of people who live here.