Updated: Mar 9
Thank you, Jamie Sands, from "Jamiesand.blog," for publishing my question and answers time all about me and my article on "Self-care."
If you would like to read more, please follow the link to learn a bit about me.
In exchange, I am publishing Jamie's article below.
This is called a guest post swap. If you are interested in a guest post swap or writing for "The NZDream" blog please email me today email@example.com
Introducing Jamie Sands
Blogger and author from New Zealand
My blog: Jamiesands.blog
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Jamie-Sands/e/B08KH3J1B4
Jamie grew up in Wellington and was a library devotee and constant reader of fiction from a very early age. Their fiction covers Romantic Comedy, Horror, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, and Cosy Mysteries; all have a romance element and highlight queer characters. They’ve had stories published in Baby Teeth horror anthology, Enamel literary magazine, and self-published by a number of roleplaying games. They live with their wonderful wife and a round cat called Mochi. Jamie would like to move into Tokyo Disneyland.
Why do I write?
Here’s a question that’s popped up a couple of times for me lately. Why write?
I’m a hybrid author, which means I have self-published books and I have books published with traditional publishing houses. I like the word hybrid because it makes me feel like some kind of weird monster/human lumbering around in the dark woods, really to spring out at some unsuspecting passer-by.
But more seriously, writing is a hard slog. The planning, the act of writing, the editing and revisions, and then the marketing. Trying to find the readers who will love your stuff, who will understand what it is I’m trying to say. And that’s the crux of it for me.
I want to find an audience to speak to.
My most recent publication is my best example for that, but the first time this happened was as a result of Auckland zinefest. Before I published books, I published zines - little folded booklets photocopied in black and white featuring my doodles and words, each one about a single idea. One of my zines is called Dress, and it’s a rumination about my relationship to gender and femininity. A few days after Auckland zinefest I got a message request from a stranger on Facebook. It said something along the lines of “sorry to bother you, but are you the Jamie who wrote a zine called Dress?”
Intrigued, I replied that I was, and the message followed “thank you for writing it. This is so close to how I’ve been feeling, and it’s so good to know that I’m not alone.”
It was a powerfully heady feeling.
I’ve chased it ever since. I write in a few genres, romance and urban fantasy being the main ones, and I strive to include people like me. People with anxiety, people who love all genders, people who exist outside of the gender binary, and people who just don’t know where their place in the world is. Then I give those people's adventures and happy endings. It seems like a small thing when I write it down like that, but some days it feels like what I’m doing is wildly audacious.
My most recent book Onesies and Ouijaboards is a short Young Adult novel about a young person in Mt Eden, Auckland, learning how to use magic. I wrote it in part because in book fairs and conventions I’ve encountered teens who were interested in my urban fantasies, but wanted to read something with no romance in it. “I can do that,” I thought. Then I made the main character, Arrow, non-binary and agender.
I didn’t know the words non-binary and agender until I was in my thirties, and I had all sorts of personality crises over realizing the truth about myself. I wanted to write a story about a non-binary person where the conflict in the book wasn’t about that. They just happen to be non-binary. No angst, no bullying, no having to come out to people. Sounds simple, right?
Books like that are few and far between.
The book was written in November and edited over Summer. I published it on February 9th as part of the Witchy Fiction project. Before that, I sent an ebook copy to a friend to read and review, and she read it to her non-binary teen. Inspired, that teen sent fanart of my main character and then of me. I was over the moon. The feedback kept coming. My friend reported that the teen was loving how someone like them was the hero and their gender wasn’t a big deal. I dedicated the book to this teen and sent a paperback down to them. My friend sent me a video of the teen clutching the book to their chest, squealing with happiness, and bouncing in circles.
That’s why I write. So that I can get reactions like that from people who have never seen themselves as the hero of a story before. And that’s why I’m going to write another book about Arrow and their adventures.
In this small way, I can make the world a better place, and that’s worth everything.