Dieselpunk 1920s Noir

It’s life as it is, but not quite. And in that ‘not quite’ bracket there is an entire universe of meanings, discoveries, clarity of vision, new understanding. Because we are forced to see reality form a different angle, we see things that are hidden to our normal perspective.

There are readers who enjoy a fantasy story. Places where they can meet people they will never meet in their everyday life. Places that don’t look like anywhere they have ever gone. Timelines and strings of events that aren’t in their past and will never be in their future.
And still these readers also like to see what they know in this fantastically different stories. They like to recognise events they’re familiar with in the fantasy event they read. They like to recognise a familiar geography in the maps that go with these fantasy stories.
These readers like to recognise these familiar elements and they like to hunt them down in the real world, and so discover new historical events, new historical personalities, true life experiences. In this distorted mirror which is the fantasy story, they like to search for the true image hidden there.
This is how they enjoy the creativeness of the author, but also his/her commitment to the truth.

I know, I’m one such reader.

Sarah Zama - Bookseller in Verona (Italy), Sarah Zama has always lived surrounded by books. Always a fantasy reader and writer, she’s recently found her home in the dieselpunk community.Since I started choosing my own readings, I’ve always preferred fantasy, but I’ve always been into history too. It was my favourite subject at school - it goes that far back. I’ve always been fascinated by the fantastical, by things that never were, but I’ve always prefer when those creations connected with reality: fantasy stories inspired by history, by real life mythology, by real life cultures. Walking that fine line between fantasy and history thrills me.
I started writing stories – high fantasy stories – when I was a kid, but as I grew up, my fascination with history hunt me down. At a certain point, I even wrote a series of fantasy stories set in a city which geography and history echoed the geography and history of Verona, my own city. Then, when I started working in the bookshop and had the opportunity to come in contact with books I had never thought I could be interested in (anthropology was my great discovery), my interested moved from my own city and the Medieval time I was so familiar with, to completely new geographies and times.

My fascination with the inter-war years also goes back to my childhood, when I would watch black and white Hollywood mysteries on tv with my grandma. The black and white, shadowy atmospheres. The smooth, morally questionable characters. The beautiful, dangerous women. The damaged, doubtful men. I discovered them back then and they stayed with me, even if I barely realised it. Then I discovered dieselpunk and everything clicked.
At that point I wouldn’t be happy with just a generic 1920s/1950s setting with speculative elements. My love for history pushed me to try and discover those times more fully, on my terms. To go to the source, so to be able to create my own version of it.

I started working at my 1920s dieselpunk stories in 2010. That’s when I started researching the 1920s too. A fascinating time, more than I expected when I originally started researching it, and a time that echoes our own in a very unsettling way.
When I started this blog in 2014 I wondered what I would ever write on it. Then I thought, what about readers like me? What about the ones who enjoy fantasy, but who likes history too? True, I’m no expert, but I can still share what I know about the 1920s, within and without my stories.

Are you that kind of reader?

Sarah Zama

I was born, raised and I still live near Verona (Italy), though I worked for a time in Dublin. I started writing fantasy stories as a kid. Today I’m a bookseller who reads fantasy, history, mythology, anthropology and lots of speculative fiction. Somehow, all of this has found its way into my own dieselpunk stories.



Give in to the Feeling (Sarah Zama) - Like that first night, he took her hand across the space between them. Unlike that first night, he didn't let goI’ve been working to a trilogy of novels (Ghost Trilogy) set in Chicago in 1926 since 2010. The trilogy is completely written, though the novels stand at different stages of drafting. The first novel, Ghostly Smell Around, is done and I’m seeking representation for it at the moment.
But I know that in today world a writer has to be proficient in many skills, so this year I decided to try my hand at self-publishing and learn everything I can.

Give in to the Feeling is the first story I wrote with the characters from the trilogy, though you’ll probably barely recognise the original story after the make over I gave it.

I’m really still a newbie in this marketing game, this blog is also about this. I share my experience as a learning XXI century author. It’s an intimidating, but also exhilarating journey.


Bone White

Her stepdaughter's birthday was approaching and she had found the perfect gift for her

Inspired by a Halloween Short Story Challenge. Read it free on my blog


Bones of the Titans

Berlin, 1924. A curse Viking dagger. Murders. War veterans. Ruthless politicians. 

My project for NaNoWriMo 2016


The New Woman’s New Look Series

The New Woman's New Look Logo - The new fashion of the 1920s wasn't just a matter of fashion. It spoke of women's newfound freedom of expression as well as a larger revolution in the society at large

The shifting role and position of women in society was one of the big changes of the 1920s. The way women chose to present themselves and their looks is the mirror of an evolution that goes far beyond mere fashion

  1. Shameless, Selfish and Honest – The changes in society that allowed the coming of the New Woman
  2. The New Woman Appropriates the New Makeup – Women appropriate their sensuality
  3. Flapper Jane Goes Shopping for Makeup – What’s inside a 1920s beautycase
  4. Cut It and Bob It – Flaooer Jane Seeks the Boyish Look 
  5. Flapper: The Boyish Body of the Sexy Vamp

Jazz Age Jazz - Born in shady places in the South of the US, inside the African American community, jazz finds its roots in blues and the hardship it expresses, but also looks with hope to the future. In the 1920s, it spoke of the freedom a prosperous society can offer and the change working on the minds of people even when that freedom isn’t achieved

Jazz Age Jazz – Early Jazz as a Social Phenomenon

The 1920s are known as the Jazz Age in America and not without reasons. Jazz expressed a new way to live life, more unconventional and with a completely new sensitivity compared to the past. It was the new sound of a new world. And it was scary

Roaring Twenties - AtoZ Theme Reveal Blogfest

The Roaring Twenties A to Z

An easy to consult, very essential guide to what the Roaring Twenties were in America and their impact on people’s life

Give in to the Feeling Blog Tour

Give in to the Feeling Blog Tour

Discover the world, the feelings, the atmosphere, the mainc characters of the story Give in to the Feeling. Discover Dieselpunk and all its insipirations

30 Comments on "About"

  1. Great connecting with you on Twitter!

  2. Hey Edward. I’m happy out paths have crossed 🙂

  3. Hello happy to meet you!

  4. I found you through your comment on my blog! Love your website. The theme is really snazzy. 🙂 It also sounds like you’ve got some great background for your writing. Looking forward to getting to know you better in April!

  5. hello.. good to meet you.. stumbled upon your blog through the a to z challenge… 🙂

  6. Hi there 🙂
    Happy you found your way here and I hope you’ll enjoy it. Are you doing the challange as well? I’m going having a look!

  7. Morton Thornton | 12th April 2015 at 2:37 am | Reply

    amazing one…


  8. Lowell Thompson | 5th June 2015 at 1:22 pm | Reply

    I just stumbled across thie blog. I noticed one of my books,”African Americans in Chicago” was listed as one of your references. Good.

    How far are you along on your book?

  9. Oh, goodness, this is such a nice surprise!
    I loved your book… you know, me being a vintage photos addict and all 😉
    Reserching from Italy has been quite tough, so books like yours really helped me trying to get a feel for the time and place.
    I tried to get in touch with the DuSable Museum, but I didn’t have any luck. A couple of the universtiy libreries were very helpful, instead. People of the Northeastern University were particularly nice.

    About my books, I’ve written the entire trilogy, but only the first book is done, the other two are at a second draft stage. I’m now seeking reppresentation… while still revising and revising and revising 🙂

  10. Hello! I have tagged you in a Freestyle Writing Challenge. You don’t have to try it, but if you want to do it, the rules etc. are here: http://www.athertonsmagicvapour.com/uncategorized/freestyle-writing-challenge/

  11. Hi Jazzfeathers,
    What an interesting site. In addition to Chris, I know Jacqui Murray. I read your “About” page. I teach history, I’ve studied anthropology, I just returned from Italy, and I use to teach mythology.
    Thank you again for your comments contributing to the discussion about Pinterest at Chris’s site by asking about hashtags. Nice to meet you.

  12. Hi Sarah,
    You’ve been by to visit a couple of times and I have yet to stop by and say hello. I, too, am a lover of history, however, I’m trying my hand at a couple of crime fiction novels. Looking forward to getting to know you 🙂

  13. Hi! Thanks for being one of my followers 🙂 I’ve tagged you for the Infinity Dream Award: https://victoriajaynesbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/infinity-dream-award/

  14. I’ve found my ‘blogging family’, with whom I am comfortable, but I need to move on and achieve a little more I think, if only for myself. There’s a lot of wisdom in what you say. 🙂

    • Johanna, you’re too kind. I’m just trying to share my experience, because I think it’s by sharing that we grow and become better person.
      I’m happy we ‘met’. This is why I love the blogosphere 🙂

  15. Hello Sarah:
    Just saw your comments on my website regarding the work you’re doing as well as your reaction to several of my posts. There are times when I don’t go on the site that often so I’m glad I did today. Would love to exchange more thoughts with you but don’t think websites are the best place to do it. You can email me at the above address if you’d like and we can talk some more that way.
    The traditional publishing business had changed radically in the past 15 years or so. I’ve been part of it since 1970 and have written more than 200 books for children and adults, more non-fiction than fiction. After the millennium I was involved with several excellent projects that would have sold in a whisker 20-25 years ago. But with today’s premium on celebrity and author’s platforms, they didn’t sell. I saw the merry-go-round beginning again with the Fargo books and decided — as my post said — to go Indie.
    Being old school in so many ways, marketing and promotion is probably my weakest link in the Indie chain. Trying to learn as I go since the Fargo books need that special audience, probably an older audience. The basic plots I think will hold up for anyone, but those who know something about the real characters I mix in with the fictional will probably enjoy the books even more.
    If you want to talk further, just drop me an email and we’ll go from there. Love the look of your website. It’s an attention grabber. I did mine myself and it probably shows, but hopefully it will ultimately serve the purpose.
    Again, thanks for reading the material and commenting. Hope to hear from you again.


    Bill Gutman

    • Hi Bill, and thanks so much for stopping by.

      I actually loved your blog. Yes, I put a lot of effort into crafting my blog so to be eye-appealing (I’m a very visual person and so I suppos I’ve tried to make this blog the way a blog would catch me if I stumbled upon it), but I think ultimately content is what makes a blog, and there’s a lot of fantastic content on yours.

      I don’t have your experience, but I’ve been involved with publishers myself for the past ten years and I’ve seen the change too. Maybe my luck is that I got into the publsihing field when it was starting to change, and so I didn’t get accustomed to a certain way to make things before I was required to adjust. As with so many things, this good (because I may be more flaxible), but it’s also bad (because I have very few certainties).

      As for marketing, I would have thought, before I delved into it, that I’d hate it. But you know what? I’ve learned one thing: if you take it from the right angle, it’s a lot of fun. Just don’t think you’re promoting, share your things in a natural way, and I think that will do the trick. Marketing requires a lot of time and effort, and we won’t do it if we don’t find a way to enjoy it 😉

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I am emailing you 🙂

  16. You’ve done a great job with your website. Thanks for liking my comment 🙂

  17. Good to visit your site as a part of my A to Z visits.
    Welcome to A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016 – Co-Participant – Nrao
    NRao Blogs – 2016 A to Z Challenge Blog Posts

  18. Hey, it’s been a while! Your blog is looking amazing… so I nominated you to a Liebster Award 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you in NaNo this year!

  19. Teagan Geneviene | 10th December 2016 at 1:42 pm | Reply

    Pleased to meet you, Sarah. Hugs!

  20. My hometown, Chicago is <3 Small world <3

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