Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today: Jamie Zaccaria works full-time as a science writer doing communications for an ocean exploration organization. She writes fiction and nonfiction in her spare time and also enjoys lobbying for important causes, making weird art projects, and hanging out with her pitbull and cats. She lives in New Jersey with her wife.
Thanks so much, Jamie, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
Jamie Zaccaria: I’m a bit of a mixed bag. My book is an eclectic mix of short stories that span a bunch of different genres and styles, which I think is a good representation of who I am as a writer. I like to try all different things from Grimm’s style fairy tales to gothic romance to 80’s style slasher.
JSC: Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.
JZ: As a queer woman, I’ve always wanted to see myself more in the horror (and other specific) genres. That’s why I love being able to write stories that put queer people (and especially women) front and center because I get to tell our stories in a fantastical way.
JSC: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
JZ: I am actually a scientist and science communicator by trade. I have my Master’s Degree in conservation policy and work full time for an ocean exploration organization. There are definitely some days when I’ve been in front of my computer for too long and can’t be bothered to write fiction. At the same time, all the amazing travel and experiences I am privileged to through my job definitely give me inspiration for my stories. I love my job and I love writing so even though balancing both can be tricky, it’s incredibly rewarding.
JSC: What are your favorite parts of publishing?
JZ: My favorite part of publishing has been working with the small (but dedicated) team at Wildling Press. The editors, designers, PR managers, and fellow authors have come to feel like a family to me and it has been such a positive and encouraging environment.
JSC: What are your least favorite parts of publishing?
JZ: My least favorite part of publishing is having to reread and re-edit my stories a million times. It really makes you doubt yourself as a writer sometimes but it has to be done.
JSC: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
JZ: Grammarly! I am not a classically trained writer and grammar and spelling are not particular skills of mine but Grammarly helps me with this, as well as other things when it comes to my writing.
JSC: If you could create a new holiday, what would it be?
JZ: Summerween – it would be like 2nd Halloween but would be in the end of June and would be more light-hearted, think of like a retro monster beach party vibe.
JSC: If you could choose three authors to invite for a dinner party, who would they be, and why?
JZ: I would choose Shirley Jackson, who is my favorite author, as well as Oscar Wilde because I think he would be a laugh, and lastly Shakespeare because, why not?
JSC: What book is currently on your bedside table?
JZ: I am currently reading You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron which is giving me all the retro spooky camp feels plus awesome diverse representation.
JSC: What are you working on now, and what’s coming out next? Tell us about it!
JZ: Up until now I’ve been a short story writer but I’m trying my hand at long-form. I have two ideas for longer novels (or perhaps novellas, if we’re being honest)- one of which would be a contemporary queer romance based on Alice and Wonderland and the other a cozy Halloween mystery.
And now for Jamie’s latest book: Lavender Speculation:
Enter if you’re daring and feel these tales raise goosebumps along your arms as they take you from modern New Jersey to fairytale lands and back again. From witches to werecats and spirits to surgeries, this collection puts queer women front and center in some of the most popular subgenres of speculative fiction. Horror, dark fantasy, and magical realism coalesce in this stunning collection of all things dark and divergent.