Weird West Author Spotlight: Pamela Jeffs

Welcome, Pamela!

Pamela Jeffs is an Australian speculative fiction author who loves writing short fiction. She has published five short story collections including the science fiction/weird western specific books, Saloons & Stardust: A Collection, Five Dragons and The Terralight CollectionShe has also co-authored the anthology titled The Zookeeper’s Tales of Interstellar Oddities and has work featured in anthologies including Lawless Lands: Tales of the Weird Frontier by Falstaff Books and SNAFU: Dead or Alive by Cohesion Press. She has shortlisted for multiple awards throughout her career including numerous Aurealis Awards, Ditmar Awards and has been noted several times in the Writers of the Future Competition.

About The Terralight Collection

This book features ten strange science fiction and weird western short stories by speculative fiction author Pamela Jeffs. From alien deserts to dystopian jungles, these tales engage the imagination. Amongst the various tellings you will find Van Helsing and William H. Bonney, A.K.A Billy the Kid, join forces to fight evil. A motley crew of mutants takes on alien invaders. A dying planet raises a ghost army to defend itself and a rusted dragon needs help to fly again.

Interview with Pamela Jeffs

Tell us about yourself – what is something readers would be surprised to find out? 

I’m a speculative fiction author who lives in Queensland, Australia. I am a daughter to a Greek immigrant mother and an Australian father and I’m proud of my mixed heritage. Part of my childhood was spent growing up in rural Australia. As a kid, I loved watching old western movies and action/science fiction fare like Indiana Jones, Star Trek, Star Wars and The X-Files. It isn’t much of a leap to understand why I now write what I write. 

The most surprising thing about myself, I think, is when people actually meet me in person after having read my stories. I’m often told ‘you don’t look like someone who would write such weird fiction.’ Popular opinion apparently suggests that ‘regency romance author’ fits better. Go figure. I may be one of the least romantic people on the planet!

If you were living in the Weird West, what kind of character would you be?

In real life, I am curious, creative and like to protect people who cant protect themselves. As such, I think I would most certainly want to be a smart, gun-slinging, kick-ass Marshall. I think defending the townspeople, taking out bad guys and being across all the strange things happening out on the prairie would suit me perfectly. I’d want to be the equivalent of a weird western, X-Files-type, Dana Scully.

Are there any other writing projects you’re working on?

I am currently working on another collection of weird western tales set in the same world as my Five Dragons collection. I’m having fun spending my time with tough gunslingers that face down interstellar threats, dragon souls that power alien tech and everything in between. I really enjoy being able to re-visit this world and play at mashing up genres to create new tales set in western landscapes. These settings are always such fun to work in. It’s something about the wide, open spaces that draw you on forever, dusty towns and strange technologies. In my opinion, these are all ingredients for a perfect story recipe.

What are you reading right now? 

I tend to read a couple of books at the same time. At the moment, I’m reading the novel ‘Warm Bodies’ by Isaac Marion, which is a really clever take on zombies during the apocalypse. I’m really enjoying how Isaac has twisted the trope of zombies to create a strong, character driven narrative.

And because I love weird westerns, I’m also currently reading a short story anthology by Cohesion Press titled SNAFU: Dead or Alive. I actually have a short story of my own, titled Patchwork Reapers, featured in this anthology, but it is the talent of the other contributors featured within that blows me away. There is such a great crew of amazing writers involved and their work makes for a collection of very cool stories. This book is such a great short fiction read with all-action, wild west, monster goodness. I certainly recommend it. 

Favorite Weird West Stories and Why?

I have a whole bunch of favourites! For movies and television, give me Cowboys vs Aliens and Firefly. Books – I love the Six-Gun Tarot by R.S Belcher and the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I think these stories and movies resonate with me best because they are all heavily character-driven. The protagonists are all complicated—wounded, complex, moral beings whose actions sometimes skirt grey boundaries. They are the saviors who are murderers given the right reasons, villains who can be heroes. These tales highlight and explore both the dark and light aspects of humanity. The stories are engrossing and relatable, even told as they are against the backdrop of weird/fantastical settings.

Learn more about Author Pamela Jeffs and Her Weird West Tales:

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