Interview with Serena Jayne
Updated: Feb 19
Serena writes across multiple genres and makes it look easy. From literary to romance, to something more trangrasive. For a flavour of her style, one of my favourites is "There’s No I In Team,"which appeared in Ghost Parachute. I'm so excited that she agreed to chat with me. Stick around to find out how she feels about twist endings and what her perfect ice-cream sundae topping looks like.
Meet the author:
Serena Jayne received her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She’s worked as a research scientist, a fish stick slinger, a chat wrangler, and a race horse narc. When she isn’t trolling art museums for works that move her, she enjoys writing in multiple fiction genres. Born under the sun sign of Leo, she is naturally a cat person. Her flash fiction has appeared in or is forthcoming in The Arcanist, Ghost Parachute, Lost Balloon, Shotgun Honey, Versification, and other publications.
Serena's picks were: 4-5-9-14-17- 19-24-31-34-37-38-39
Who would win in a fight, a piece of flash fiction, a prose poem or a drabble?
SJ: Depends on the fight. If it’s a dance off, the prose poem would win. In a street fight, the good money is on the drabble. In a bare knuckle boxing match, the flash has the endurance to deliver a knockout punch.
What’s your favourite piece you’ve had published, to date, and why?
SJ: Choosing a favorite is so hard. “A Noble Rot” was published in Space and Time Magazine and is included in my short story collection Necessary Evils. The story, my first attempt at writing weird horror, was inspired by a wine tasting trip to Niagara on the Lake in Canada, where a sommelier at one of the vineyards told us the history of the Viognier varietal.
What does your dream ice-cream sundae look like?
SJ: The ice cream would be something fun, like hazelnut or peanut butter/chocolate or cheesecake. No plain vanilla, thank you. Hot fudge, whipped cream, nuts, and oodles of chocolate sprinkles. I adore chocolate sprinkles.
Do you keep track of your rejections and what’s this year’s tally?
SJ: Absolutely. So far this year I’ve gotten eighteen rejections. I made sixteen submissions, and I have several pieces still under consideration from last year. Recently, I submitted to Clarkesworld for the first time ever. I told a close friend, “Hey, I was rejected from Clarkeword.” He replied, “You and everybody else.” For me, simply the act of submitting to a prestigious market like Clarkesworld is a win. Bonus, their form is user friendly, and they have a super fast response rate, which I love. Bottom line is that taste is subjective, and rejection is not personal. The only things writers can control is writing the best story they can and submitting those stories. I’m still waiting for my first acceptance of the year, but I’m not going to be too hard on myself since it's still early in 2022. I’ve got a mini bottle of champagne chilling in anticipation.
What is the album you could listen to on repeat?
SJ: Prince’s Purple Rain, Duran Duran’s Greatest Hits, and U2’s The Joshua Tree.
Honestly, how many times a day do you check Submittable Duoptrope/refresh your email?
SJ: I constantly check my submission status on Submittable and my emails. Checking Duoptrope’s “Recent Responses Sent from Publishers in your Pending Submissions List” is an obsession. I’ll even search responses on Submission Grinder even though I don’t use that tool to track my submissions. I also periodically check my email spam folder.
What is a surprising fact not many people know about you?
SJ: A decade or so ago, I won a small Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament at a casino in Las Vegas. These days I’m more likely to play video poker, but every so often I enjoy playing a live limit game.
Which piece of punctuation could you live without?
SJ: I have a love/hate relationship with the exclamation point. I love using it in casual writing such as text messages and emails, but I hate when it’s overused in fiction. There are so many great ways to convey the meaning with words rather than using a generic piece of punctuation.
What TV show have you just binge watched?
SJ: I’m halfway through “Brand New Cherry Flavor,” which is super fun and creepy. I have zero patience, so binging is the primary way I consume television content. Other great stuff I’ve recently binged includes "Squid Game," "Mare of Easttown,” “Ozark,” “The Queen’s Gambit," and “Dark.”
Hoodie or blazer?
SJ: I adore hoodies.
How do you feel about twist endings?
SJ: I love a good twist when it’s foreshadowed and feels more like an “aha” than a “gotcha, sucker.” One of my favorite genres to read is Mystery/Thriller/Crime, which can often contain surprising twists. For me the best twists aren’t created by overt manipulation, which can feel like a cheat, rather they are the result of great plotting using subtle clues.
How many house plants do you own?
SJ: I own zero houseplants. When I used to be a judge at the Chicago Public Schools Science Fair, I’d request the botany category, because I was in awe of the kids who could keep plants alive. Even if I did have a green thumb, I wouldn’t keep house plants since I have three cats who see flowers and leaves as tasty treats. The closest thing I have to a plant is a tiny fake Christmas tree I won in a Christmas grab bag.
Hopefully you feel you know Serena Jayne a little better now. Her short story collection Necessary Evils comes out on 2/22/22, so mark the date on your calendars!