Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on Julie Saint James this Friday! Julie is a 21-year-old trans woman from Connecticut. She recently finished writing her first novel, By Accident Strange and Outlandish, a drug-fueled fantasy full of interdimensional travel. She was also part of our “Creators in the Trans Community” panel that kicked off our Pride Month celebrations with the Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts.
Thank you so much for joining us, Julie! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
Recently I’ve been writing a lot about drugs. I like it when someone or something ushers me into a new world and it catches me off guard. Drugs can totally do that–even if you’ve played around with a given drug a bunch of times, it can still have a few surprises up its sleeve. I try to reproduce that effect in my writing.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
There’s this demoness in By Accident Strange and Outlandish who, as I was writing her, I discovered that she was kind of me…but then I discovered that she was kind of a bitch. That makes me hate her a little. Sometimes, when you’re writing, it’s like looking at yourself in the mirror when you’re really high, and you find things out about yourself that you didn’t really want to know.
What was the inspiration for your work? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
By Accident Strange and Outlandish is a fake translation. It’s a fictionalized version of my trip to Colombia a few years ago in which I find a manuscript in a lime green binder and I translate it from Spanish to English. Meanwhile, I’m living in Latin America, so I’m kind of translating myself from English to Spanish, and I’m also trans, so there’s a lot of translation going on. For this, I was inspired by Yoko Tawada’s work. She does this cool thing where she writes in either German or Japanese, then gives it to a translator, who translates it to either Japanese or German. She does a lot of fascinating things in the worlds between languages. I would recommend reading her surreal short story, “The Bath.”
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
Fiona and I have talked about doing a collaboration where a girl listens to They Might Be Giants and finds herself in a strange world called Dial-A-Song Land, which is composed of the characters and places of They Might Be Giants. Neither of us have been super serious about it so far, but I hope we do get around to it at some point, because I think it’s a super fun idea that we can do a lot of things with.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
I haven’t actually published anything yet, so your best bet if you want to see more of my work is to reach out to me and help me get published :p
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Go ahead and add me on Facebook. I’m pretty sure I’m the only Julie Saint James on there.
Thank you so much for the great interview, Julie, and for sharing your work with us at the “Creators in the Trans Community” panel. We look forward to seeing more of your work and carrying it in our store in the future!