Find out what author Jamison Shea is reading

Article | Issue: Jan 2024

JAMISON SHEA (they/them) is a dark fantasy and horror author, flautist, and linguist. Her debut novel I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me is an edge-of-your-seat thriller. Good Reading for Young Adults caught up with the author to discuss everything from what she’s reading to her latest novel.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Black Swan meets House of Hollow in this villain origin story.

Laure Mesny is a perfectionist with an axe to grind. Despite being constantly overlooked in the elite and cutthroat world of the Parisian ballet, she will do anything to prove that a Black girl can take center stage. To level the playing field, Laure ventures deep into the depths of the Catacombs and strikes a deal with a pulsating river of blood.

The primordial power Laure gains promises influence and adoration, everything she’s dreamed of and worked toward. With retribution on her mind, she surpasses her bitter and privileged peers, leaving broken bodies behind her on her climb to stardom.

But even as undeniable as she is, Laure is not the only monster around. And her vicious desires make her a perfect target for slaughter. As she descends into madness and the mystifying underworld beneath her, she is faced with the ultimate choice: continue to break herself for scraps of validation or succumb to the darkness that wants her exactly as she is, monstrous heart and all. That is, if the god-killer doesn’t catch her first.

From debut author Jamison Shea, this unforgettable novel lifts a veil on the institutions that profit on exclusion and the toll of giving everything to a world that will never love you back.

 

WHAT’S JAMISON SHEA READING?

What are you reading now? 

I’m finally catching up with The City We Became and its sequel The World We Make by N K Jemisin. I got them the moment they came out, but now I finally have the time to sit down and really enjoy them. 

 

If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only have five books – what would they be? 

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, Me (Moth) by Amber McBride, and My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. 

 

Where is your favourite place to read? 

My green velvet sitting chair from Ikea that feels very cosy alongside a blanket, candle, and rose tea. 

 

Do you read one book at a time or multiple? 

Multiple, one print book for the day and one ebook for late night when I can’t sleep. 

 

Do you use a bookmark or fold the corners of pages? 

Bookmark, but anything can be a bookmark including fallen leaves and shopping receipts. 

 

What inspired your novel I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast Is Me? 

I grew up loving monsters and dark fantasy stories like Jennifer’s Body or The Craft and wanted to write one where the monstrous girls get to live and stay monsters in the end. They’re so much cooler that way. 

 

Your story is set in the world of ballet – what’s your own connection to this world? And how did this inform your story? 

I never danced ballet, but I’m a classical musician. At the heart of the story are all the ways I would’ve changed myself to be the perfect flautist and how hard it can be to learn that technique isn’t everything. But ballet has way more body horror. 

 

What do you hope readers will take away from this novel? 

It’s okay to quit things if you’re miserable. Some sacrifices are too great, sometimes people and institutions may ask too much of you, and it’s okay to say no. Walking away can take a lot of strength and self-love and self-preservation too. 

 

What book character would you be, and why? 

In my own book, I’d probably be Ciro because he’s barbed like a cactus but has a heart of gold deep, deep down. Otherwise, I’d say Zachary from The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. 

 

If you could meet one author (living or dead) – who would it be and why?
I would love to listen to James Baldwin speak about anything at all: life, love, the secret to happiness, what he had for lunch that day, anything. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

jamison-sheaJamison Shea was once a flautist, violist, anthropologist, linguist, choreographer, dancer, professional fire alarm puller, digital producer, and account executive-but they’ve always been a writer. Born in Buffalo, NY and now surrounded by darkness and gloom in Finland, when Jamison isn’t writing horror, they’re drinking milk tea and searching for long-forgotten gods in eerie places.

 

Author: Jamison Shea

Category: Children's, Teenage & educational

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Hotkey

ISBN: 9781471414862

RRP: $19.99

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