Forgotten Folio Society Interview
The Forgotten Folio Society was established over 30 years ago by a handful of like-minded friends interested in finding and archiving long lost stories and artifacts from around the world. Recently the society decided to set up a subscription service through Patreon to help maintain and share their archives.
What motivated the start of the Forgotten Folio Society 30 years ago?
We founded the society shortly after the unexpected deaths of some of our dear family friends. Max and Terrence Fernwood both passed away in 1986 in Victoria BC, and among their belongings was a chest of valuables.
In the chest were samples of correspondence and odd artifacts that hinted at fantastical events and mysteries from around the world. After sharing these stories with each other we decided to create a social club that would preserve these tales and collect more of the same, sharing them in private readings with close friends. It was our way of honouring the memory of Max and Terrence, by making sure the stories they had loved would live on.
Following that, what motivated the decision to make the archives and stories available to the public?
Our tireless Administrator, Mr. Michael Elliott, reached out to us. He was not a formal member of the Society but he was aware of our collection of tales and was trying to carve out a living by becoming a writer. Michael suggested that he could use our letters and artifacts as the basis for a series of short stories.
At first we declined his offer, but Michael was tenacious and so eventually we came to a compromise. We would provide our tales and artifacts if he promised to recreate them without any modification to the original narrative. Rather than fictional stories based on true events he would transcribe and copy our collection and offer them as part of a membership deal with the Society. This way the tales we have loved for years will remain authentic, they can find a new and passionate audience, and our new Administrator will receive a fitting compensation for preserving and overseeing the Society as we grow.
What kind of response, public or otherwise, has the Forgotten Folio Society received from making their collections public through paid subscriptions?
The response has been quite positive. Our new members are enjoying and engaging with the material, and the Society has been growing steadily since we opened membership to the public in December 2016.
We have had some internal conflict about opening our archives. Our first series of tales was interrupted at various points by some mysterious outside influence: packages going missing, stories being changed between chapters. But after our investigation was concluded we determined that this was simply a prank conducted by veteran members of the Society looking to scare our new members.
What drives the dedication to accuracy? Compared to the original artefacts and letters the Society has, how accurate or similar are the artefacts and letters being mailed?
We want to give our members the same feeling we had when discovering these stories for the first time: piecing together codes, peering at stained old correspondence, trying to decipher handwriting from the 16th century.
While none of our artifacts can be replicated with 100% percent accuracy, we are confident in the abilities of our tireless Administrator to mimic the distress these stories would have undergone before they finally reach our members. Many of our packages of artifacts are supplemented with items from the era to give our members the immersion these stories deserve.
Our letters series are often compiled from notes and research conducted by the original members of the Society, and adapted into short stories. Here we give our tireless Administrator a bit of creative license to translate these tales into something accessible to the rest of our members.
Who creates the artefacts and letters going out to subscribers? How much time does it take to create each set of artefacts/letters for subscribers?
Our tireless Administrator does the majority of the work. He transcribes the letters, recreates the artifacts, and mails them from our office in Vancouver. For the letters each chapter takes anywhere from half an hour to an hour to transcribe and package, while the artifacts take around two to four hours to complete per mailing.
What do you hope your readers and subscribers get out of subscribing to the Forgotten Folio Society? What is your overall message or mandate?
We wish to impart the idea that stories aren’t just something you read our watch, they’re things we experience. They change the way we see the world, and we want our stories to be as powerful and memorable as they were for us when we first experienced them. We want to create a community of people who appreciate the hidden stories of the world, and the alternative, interactive methods of storytelling that we are providing.
The Forgotten Folio Society firmly believes that the frontier is not just in the depths of our oceans or out in the far reaches of space. If you know how to look for it, the frontier can be right around the corner.
How many stories does the Forgotten Folios Society have that could potentially become available to Patreon subscribers?
This year we plan on providing six different stories to our members, three series of letters and three series of artifacts. We have outlined twelve additional stories that we will be telling over the next two years, and have even more tales in our archives that we will be reviewing and compiling for new members to enjoy and share.
Ellen is a freelance fiction editor, book reviewer, research assistant for Simon Fraser University, marketing coordinator for WCSFA, and member volunteer for Editors’ Association of Canada. As of September 2017, she will also be a master’s student of publishing at SFU. You can contact her via ellenmichelle.com for any editing queries and at firstname.lastname@example.org for book review queries.