Jamie is a non-binary Kiwi who’s always been wondering ‘what if?’ They write stories about ghosts, monsters, love and how the world could be. Jamie grew up in Wellington but now lives in Auckland with their wonderful spouse and a round cat.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?
I live in Auckland but grew up in Wellington and lived there all my life until 2014. I moved up to be with my then-girlfriend (now wife!) and I don't regret a thing (Auckland is warmer <3). I'm a genderqueer non-binary author, and I like to write contemporary romance, paranormal queer romance, urban fantasy and really anything with monsters involved. I've always loved monsters.
2. What drew you to those particular genre?
I've been all over the place in my work and I expect that to still be the case in the future. My first published book was a young adult ghost story, and I'm like, 90% of the way through the sequel to that, but I found a community in gay romance so that's my happy place now.
[Jamie's The Suburban Book of the Dead and the first book of their Jaxon Knight Fairyland series.]
3. What are you currently working on?
I'm excited about a couple of projects that will be coming out towards the end of the year, both are urban fantasies set in Auckland, and one's part of a shared universe project with some really awesome local authors. The Witchy Fiction project is all New Zealand based authors, all writing about a witch protagonist in New Zealand. Mine is about a witch who works at a public library in Mt Eden, Auckland. It's in edits at the moment. My other current work in progress is under a pen name, which is doing quite well with magical pirate romances...
[Jamie Sands' Witchy Fiction novel Overdues & Occultism]
4. What inspired you to write it?
I used to be a librarian at the public library in Wellington, and I have some fond and not so fond memories of my time working there. I also knew I wanted to have a paranormal investigator character, because I've always wanted to be one, and I love watching things like Buzzfeed Unsolved, or Most Haunted. So then I had the great location of a library in this little quirky village in the middle of a big city, two interesting characters, and I went from there.
5. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, panster or somewhere in between? How do you research?
I'm a plantser. I used to be a pantser and just go wherever I felt right, but the feedback on those manuscripts tended to be that it was hard to follow the plot. So I've switched to planning using beat sheets and then improvising scene to scene. Sometimes the characters demand a different direction for the plot and I have to revise my planning, but that's okay.
As for research, I generally Google as I go or get in touch with someone who ought to know. Once I have my plan, I'm too excited to start writing to hold back. If I get to a part where I need to fact check something I'll make a note to myself in the manuscript and then keep writing. I'll come back to the research later.
6. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?
I have a series of romances all set at a theme park in the States, and it was a lot of fun reading interviews and accounts from people who have worked at Disneyland, all the rules they have and the touching stories of meeting little kids. I've had some weird research, such as what did people use for lube in the 1800s, what crystals are best for healing, the history of the Māori Battalion, as well as where to stab someone so that they're hurt but not incapacitated. My Google search history is an eclectic place!
7. What’s the most personal story/scene you’ve written and why?
Most personal is an interesting one, because in some ways all my characters are aspects of myself. I did particularly enjoy writing Haru in one of my Jaxon Knight books, because I got to pour all my writing self-doubt into him. A lot of my characters have anxiety as well, which is directly from personal experience!
8. Who are your literary influences? In what way?
Neil Gaiman is a big inspiration for me. His blend of utterly ordinary and totally bizarre has always appealed to me. I also have to shout out to Francesca Lia Block for her Weetzie Bat books, inspiring me to be more lush, more strange, and really get into the emotions of the characters. I'm also very inspired by Stephen King and Joe Hill's recent work.
9. What books are on your bedside table right now?
Very good, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse and Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall and The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix. I'm very bad at just reading one book at a time...
10. Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?
Follow Jamie on these platforms!
Liked this interview? Sign up to Nikky's mailing list to get more updates, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox!