2020 Snapshot: Pamela Jeffs

Pamela Jeffs is a speculative fiction author living in Queensland, Australia with her husband and two daughters. She has numerous short fiction pieces published in recent national and international anthologies as well as magazines including AntipodianSF and Andromeda Spaceways Magazine. In 2017, 2018 and again in 2019, Pamela was nominated for Australian Aurealis Awards for her science fiction and fantasy works. Her debut collection titled Red Hour and Other Strange Taleswas released in March 2018 and her follow up works titled Saloons and Stardust: A Collection and Five Dragons in 2019. For further information, visit her at www.pamelajeffs.com or on Facebook at @pamelajeffsauthor.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

My publications and projects in recent years have focused around speculative fiction short stories. This includes several collections including the sci-fi / fantasy collection Five Dragons and my sci-fi / weird west offering titled Saloons & Stardust: A Collection. I have also co-written a science fiction anthology titled The Zookeeper’s Tales of Interstellar Oddities with Australian author, Aiki Flinthart.

Five Dragons, I am very pleased to say, was nominated this year for an Aurealis Award in the category of ‘Best Collection’. It is a work I am quite proud of, particularly due to how came it about. The concept was developed to create a series of standalone short stories tied by a common theme. The theme I chose was dragons, and the fictional world of Eridan set the stage for the dragon theme. Each story was then given a random variable that was only provided at the completion of the prior story. The progressively provided variables were: Fantasy, Underwater, Steampunk, Monster Mash, Historical Fantasy.

Each story was written, not knowing what the next episode’s variable would be. This presented for me an interesting challenge because while it could be considered limiting, it instead inspired me to bring together concepts and plot threads that I may not have ordinarily pieced together. The linking together of the collection as a set essentially had to evolve retrospectively, growing as each variable was made known.

In contrast, writing The Zookeeper’s Tales of Interstellar Oddities with Aiki Flinthart required good fore planning which is necessary for any collaborative affair. This shared world anthology, following the stories of four interstellar characters, showcases our different writing styles against an exciting and rich shared-world backdrop.

As for projects currently on the go, this month’s focus is on completing a novella titled Wilder that is currently in the final stages of editing and slated, hopefully, for publication later this year.

2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

To date, my best publishing experience has been working with the small press publisher Falstaff Books and their editors Margret S. McGraw, Misty Massey and Emily Lavin Leverett. The anthology they published titled Lawless Lands – Tales from the Weird Frontier saw my Aurealis Award nominated short story ‘Cards and Steel Hearts’ featured alongside incredible international authors including Seanan McGuire and Faith Hunter. This project incited my love for the weird western genre and offered a wonderful opportunity for me to explore the inclusion of western settings into my science fiction work. It’s a fantastic anthology for those who like to read such things and I was honoured to be a part of that process.

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge?

There are many exciting speculative fiction works out at the moment. My best recommendations would be to check out the Verity Fassbinder books written by Angela Slatter, Aiki Flinthart’s stunning mosaic novel titled Blackbirds Sing and Eugen Bacon’s science fiction novel, Claiming T-Mo. These are all very different books, written with different voices and presenting different themes, but all are a great read and are created by outstanding Australian authors whom I admire.

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