Although Dallas-based Baskerville Publishers began making critical waves soon after Jane Howle founded it in 1992, with a strong literary list that includes Peter Landesman's The Raven and Austin Wright's acclaimed Tony and Susan, the once-flourishing small house has not published a new title since 1996. Under new owner Ronald E. Moore, however, Baskerville's revival will become apparent in spring 2003, with an anticipated release of six new titles equally divided between literary fiction and music.
Moore, a Fort Worth, Tex., health-care entrepreneur, past president of that city's opera company and self-styled "autodidact," became a Baskerville investor five years ago with an agreement that he would have first-refusal rights should Howle ever decide to sell the independent company. After he sold his health businesses, the native Texan learned that Howle had decided the time was right to move on, and the transaction was completed last October.
Moore has relocated Baskerville's 54-title backlist and office to Fort Worth, and began reintroducing his new acquisition to agents. To help raise Baskerville's profile, Moore has also initiated a relationship with publishing industry attorney Alan Kaufman in New York City, started gathering input from such well-known writers as Madison Smartt Bell and launched a Web site that announces "Baskerville Is Back!" For editorial assistance, he turned to Camille Cline, formerly a trade acquisitions editor at Taylor Publishing in Dallas. Currently working with him on a freelance basis, Cline will become Baskerville's editorial director once Moore's revival efforts develop further momentum. Moore's "current preoccupation" is lining up a distributor.
"I don't think I would be doing this if I had not been successful in my previous 21-year career," Moore said, "nor if Jane had not established a tradition for me to build on."