- Nikky Lee
10 Questions with Pamela Jeffs
Pamela Jeffs is an Australian speculative fiction author with a love for writing short fiction. She has published three short story collections, Red Hour and Other Strange Tales, Saloons & Stardust: A Collection and Five Dragons, co-authored an anthology titled ‘The Zookeeper’s Tales of Interstellar Oddities’ and has 70+ short stories featured in various national and international magazines and anthologies. She has been shortlisted for multiple awards throughout her career including numerous Aurealis Awards and a Silver Honourable Mention in the Writers of the Future Competition. For more information, visit her at www.pamelajeffs.com.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?
I am a speculative fiction author who lives in Brisbane, Queensland with my husband, two daughters and our dog, Sam. In what now feels like another life, I was an interior designer and as such my background is in interior architecture and design. When planning my stories, I love finding clever ways to apply architectural principals when worldbuilding. My passion is for adult short fiction with a particular focus on science fiction and weird western stories, and if I can by chance blend the two, even better. Sometimes I do branch out into other genres, but only when I am feeling inspired by a particular theme or idea.
2. What drew you to that particular genre?
I have always loved science fiction and I don’t think it was so much as being drawn to it as that growing up, I watched television shows such as Star Trek, X-Files, Star Wars, Twilight Zone and Dr Who. As such, these are the types of stories I tend to write now.
3. What’s your best known work?
My best known work to date is probably The Zookeeper’s Tales of Interstellar Oddities, co-authored with Aiki Flinthart. We completed this in early 2020, following her diagnosis with terminal cancer. It was literally a race against the clock to finish this book, and I am so privileged to have been able to work alongside her on the project. I was also honoured to see the book shortlisted for an Aurealis Award in 2020. I’m also currently working on a seasons inspired collection titled, The Theory of Seasons that will be published later this year.
4. What inspired you to write it?
Zookeeper’s was inspired by the shared love Aiki and myself had for science fiction. We wanted to write this book together as a fun project and it certainly was! Together we got the chance to build a universe, create alien creatures and evil villains. We designed space stations, seedy bars and starships, and we also got to save fictional worlds. Who wouldn’t love doing that with one of their best friends?
5. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, panster or somewhere in between? How do you research?
I’m a ‘somewhere-in-betweener’. I usually have a plan for where to start and where to finish, but things invariably change along the way…that’s what I love most about writing short stories, its easy for them to be flexible. In terms of research, I tend to Google as I go, researching, as I need, to ensure details are correct. I imagine if I ever wrote a longer work though, I would do my research up front.
6. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?
I research so many cool things, but I think the most interesting thing would have to have been mummies…Incan mummies, Bog Mummies and Egyptian mummies. I understand how this could seem morbid, but I really do find their stories fascinating! I was able to use some of this mummy research in my recent collection titled Five Dragons, which featured (in one story) a mummified dragon coming to life.
7. What’s the most personal story/scene you’ve written and why?
The most personal story I have ever written wasn’t actually speculative fiction. It was a dramatic story I wrote for a competition about my grandfather following his naval service aboard the HMAS Australia during World War II. This story was personal for me, because I never had the chance to meet my grandfather, as he died long before I was born. His passing was a great tragedy for my family and following his loss, they did not often speak of him. So this story was written to ensure that his life and legacy were never forgotten by his descendants.
8. Who are your literary influences? In what way?
I have so many different influences that it would be hard to list them all here. I could mention again Aiki Flinthart, who taught me so much when it came to writing. And Andy Weir with his work on The Martian or Janny Wurts, Raymond E. Feist and Terry Brooks. All have inspired me over the years. However, my main literary influence would be Robin Hobb with her Farseer series of books. I adore her imagination and they way she twists common tropes to create a rich and fantastic world. Her magic systems and characters are well fleshed out and incredibly engaging. Also, the way that she connects a reader to her characters. You can't help but become invested enough to love or hate them. It is also incredible the way she has carried the entire series of books all in a first person point of view. Hobb is definitely an author I respect and look up to.
9. What books are on your bedside table right now?
I have eclectic tastes when it comes to books so there are a few different genres on the list. At the moment, there is The Survivors by Jane Harper, Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames, Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women edited by Lee Murray and Gene Flynn, but my current read is Serpent’s Wake by Lauren E. Daniels. It is a book full of rich prose and symbolism and is just an absolute pleasure to read!
10. Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?
My books can all be found at all major online retailers. Ebooks can be found on Amazon. If its easier, you can also visit my website www.pamelajeffs.com for buy links to all books.
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