Interview with Alicia Jasinska
Updated: Sep 22
Brief Bio: Alicia Jasinska is a fantasy writer hailing from Sydney, Australia. A library technician by day, she spends her nights writing and hanging upside down from the trapeze and aerial hoop. Her debut YA novel, The Dark Tide, is set to release on August 4, 2020.
What does “diversity” in books mean to you as both a writer and a reader?
For me, it means seeing characters of all different backgrounds, cultures, and sexualities represented on the page, and not just as side characters, stereotypes, or window dressing, but as fully formed characters who have their own arcs and get to go on their own journeys.
What book did you first see yourself and your experiences represented, and how did that feel?
I think the first book I ever read with an f/f main pairing was Malinda Lo’s Huntress, and it was actually a little scary reading it. Seeing yourself on the page, especially when maybe you haven’t fully accepted things about yourself, can be pretty confronting. Before that all the queer stories I’d sought out were m/m romances. I wanted to read about queer experiences, but because I was still questioning, those stories felt safer. So yes, reading Huntress was actually a little scary, but also so worth it? It changed how I looked at things. And afterwards, it was kind of like: Wow, these kind of stories are out there and people want them and are reading them and even later, hey, maybe I could publish a book like this one day!
How has being part of a particular identity group shaped your writing process?
Honestly, I think it’s both helped and hindered me. I’m super motivated to write more stories with queer main characters – there’s so many amazing books coming out now compared to when I was a teen and I’m so thrilled to be a part of that, but I still think there’s not nearly enough out there. I want shelves and shelves full!
At the same time, I do feel a lot of pressure when writing to represent those characters accurately and in the right way. It’s hard because there is no one single queer experience, and what feels authentic to me might feel wrong to someone who shares my identity but has had completely different experiences.
What are some diverse identities and experiences your book explores?
Both of the POV characters in The Dark Tide are queer. Lina is bi and Eva is queer. The book explores experiences with anxiety, trauma, and depression.
Which character in your book do you connect with most? Why?
Ooh, that’s a hard one! The story is told in dual POV and while neither character is me, there is a little bit of me in each character? If that makes sense! I definitely connect with Eva’s love of the dark and macabre, and also her fashion sense. But I also identify a lot with Lina’s experiences with her bisexuality and mental health, which draw a lot from my own.
What type of reaction are you hoping your readers will have to your book?
I’m hoping that everyone will absolutely love it haha. I want to see fanart and fanfic and readers making character memes. That’s the ultimate dream! But honestly, I know that’s not realistic and if even just one or two people enjoy the story, if I can make them feel something, if those readers can relate to the characters or see a bit of themselves in the book, that’s more than enough for me. <3
What’s next for you? Do you have another book you’re working on?
I do! I'm currently working on another standalone YA fantasy, set in a new wintery world that draws a lot from 18th century Poland during the time of the partitions. I don’t know how much I can share yet, but while The Dark Tide is an f/f enemies-to-lovers story, this new one is friends-to-enemies and it's incredibly fun to write!
Thank you to Alicia for answering my questions!
If you want to check out Alicia's website, click HERE!
You can look forward to more author interviews soon.