Welcome back for this week’s author interview! Today, I’m thrilled to spotlight author Jamie Lackey. She’s the author of Left-Hand Gods, Moving Forward: A Novella of Life After Zombies, and The Blood of Four Gods and Other Stories, as well as an accomplished editor.
Recently, Jamie and I discussed her inspiration as a speculative fiction author as well as her genre favorites and her writing plans for the future.
A couple icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer–the first thing I remember writing is retelling of Disney’s The Little Mermaid when I was in elementary school, and I just never stopped. Though I did stop copying Disney movies. Eugie Foster, Peter S. Beagle, Octavia Butler, and Lois McMaster Bujold are some of my favorite authors.
You’ve written in the horror, science fiction, and fantasy genres. Do you remember your first experience with speculative fiction? What are a few of your personal favorite genre books or films?
I think the first speculative book I read was The Hobbit, in about third grade. The Last Unicorn is one of my favorites for both books and movies. I also really enjoyed both the book and movie of The Martian. I also really love pretty much every Pixar movie.
You’ve written a great deal of flash fiction, which I personally feel is one of the most unsung yet wonderful lengths of fiction. What is it about this particular length of stories that appeals to you?
I like how direct it is. There’s not a lot of time in flash fiction for red herrings or digressions that don’t really matter to the story. I’m a pretty impatient person by nature, so it always makes me happy when a story just gets on with it. I also like how quick it is to both read and write. As a writer, I really like finishing things, and flash fiction stories are about the easiest things to actually finish.
You’ve been a slush pile reader as well as an editor, both at Electric Velocipede and on the Triangulation anthology series. How has being on the other side of things changed your perspective of the writing process?
It helped me to understand that rejection really isn’t personal. It also helped me to see things that lots and lots of people do that don’t really work and try to avoid those things myself.
You’ve written a novel as well as over 150 short stories. How does your process differ between long versus short fiction?
Short fiction is sooo much easier for me. The process is essentially the same, but longer things are so much more work.
If forced to choose, which is your favorite part of the writing process: plotting an initial idea, working on a first draft, or polishing up an almost-finished piece?
I think the polishing up is my favorite step. That’s when I think about theme and that sort of big picture thing, and when the story really coalesces into what it’s going to be.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on one novel–a Pride and Prejudice retelling where Mrs. Bennet trades Lizzie and Mary to a witch to make Lydia a boy.
I’m also working on a handful of short stories.
1. An epistolary story where the letters are from an artificial intelligence that can travel from one person to another by eye contact, and addressed to a girl whose mind it lived in for a few years.
2. A fantasy story where the emperor stole all the magic in the world and doles it out as he pleases.
3. A group of angels meeting up to make people’s days better in tiny ways.
4. A hollow earth story with feathered riding dinosaurs.