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Sarah Zama

Hi. I’m Sarah Zama, I’m Italian, and I write in English historical fantasy stories set in the 1920s. 

I’ve always lived surround by books, so it may be a sort of karma that I ended up being a bookseller and an indie author. A fantasy reader since a kid, a Tolkien nerd almost as long, I’ve always being fascinated with history and old black-and-white mystery films, which may or may not have had a way in my involvement in the dieselpunk community.
The 1920s are my time. All my stories are set during the American Roaring 1920s or the European Inter War years.

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.

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?


Ghosts Through the Cracks is my first published novella. Set in Chicago in 1924, it is a story of love, fight and freedom. It’s the story of how Susie, a Chinese immigrant, reasserts her life and sets new goals. How she comes to be ready to forsake comfort and security to seek a more fulfilling expression of herself. 

Some readers consider it a love story. Most readers consider it a fantasy story. To me, this is, above all Susie’s story and her fight to be the best and happiest woman she can. 

Ghosts Through the Cracks is part of a longer project still in the making, Ghost Trilogy, set in Chicago in 1926. I have written the entire trilogy, but at the moment, the three novels stand at different stages of completion. The Bonecaster Coin, the first in the trilogy, is making the round of agents. Wish me luck!

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

Sea Phantom

She broke her promise and found success. A famous opera singer in Milan. But when the bomb exploded, the illusion shattered.
A short story set in 1921 Milan.

Download it free

The Frozen Maze

Her father would say the maze is magic. Does she love is enough to save it from distruction?
A serialised Snow White retelling set in 1920s Germany

Read it Free


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

Weimar Germany

In the 1920s, Germany – Berlin in particular – was the most exciting place to be. Conflict and advancement lived side by side. Women won the right to vote and found new ways of expression, but they were also feared. Minorities found spaces and power, but also discrimination.

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

Living the Twenties

The Twenties were above all an experience of the Western world, but it spread out of it in many places. In many respects, the 1920s was a global experience. And a shocking one at that.



  • J. Edward Ritchie
    Posted March 13, 2015 at 17:44

    Great connecting with you on Twitter!

  • Post Author
    Posted March 13, 2015 at 20:03

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

  • PammyPam
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 01:37

    Hello happy to meet you!

    • Post Author
      Posted April 1, 2015 at 05:54

      Hi Pammy. Happy to meet you too. Hope you’ll enjoy the site 🙂

  • Alex Hurst
    Posted March 23, 2015 at 10:11

    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!

    • Post Author
      Posted April 1, 2015 at 05:56

      Hi Alex. Gees, I’ve only just seen your comment.
      Well, I have to tell you I love your site too. Let’s start this new journey 😉

  • Pratikshya Mishra
    Posted April 1, 2015 at 02:36

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

  • Post Author
    Posted April 1, 2015 at 05:57

    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!

  • Morton Thornton
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 02:37

    amazing one…


  • Lowell Thompson
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 13:22

    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?

  • Post Author
    Posted June 5, 2015 at 14:20

    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 🙂

  • Melanie Atherton Allen
    Posted June 22, 2015 at 03:16

    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:

  • Janice Wald
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 07:07

    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.

    • Post Author
      Posted August 7, 2015 at 11:53

      Oh my goodness! I think we were ment to meet 🙂

  • Susan Nicholls
    Posted September 4, 2015 at 20:40

    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 🙂

    • Post Author
      Posted September 5, 2015 at 06:32

      Hi Susan 🙂
      So happy to see you here. Always nice to connect with a fellow writer.
      I don’t write mysteries (I’d never be able to), but I do love reading them 😉

  • Victoria
    Posted September 27, 2015 at 22:11

    Hi! Thanks for being one of my followers 🙂 I’ve tagged you for the Infinity Dream Award:

  • Johanna Bradley
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 08:20

    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. 🙂

    • Post Author
      Posted October 16, 2015 at 16:56

      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 🙂

  • Bill Gutman
    Posted October 18, 2015 at 00:08

    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

    • Post Author
      Posted October 18, 2015 at 06:30

      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 🙂

  • Chris Sarantopoulos
    Posted December 8, 2015 at 08:03

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

    • Post Author
      Posted January 31, 2016 at 21:04

      Chris, I’m so sorry, I’ve only just found your comment.
      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. It’s always a pleasure when someone comes visit 🙂

  • Prof. Narayana Rao
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 04:42

    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

  • Nasim Mansuri
    Posted April 13, 2016 at 19:04

    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!

    • Post Author
      Posted April 13, 2016 at 20:41

      Oh, my goodness, Nasin, I’m so speechless! Thank you so very very much.
      Heading over to your blog 🙂

  • Teagan Geneviene
    Posted December 10, 2016 at 13:42

    Pleased to meet you, Sarah. Hugs!

    • Post Author
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 13:44

      Hi Teagan and thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  • patti
    Posted March 22, 2017 at 13:49

    My hometown, Chicago is <3 Small world <3

    • Post Author
      Posted March 22, 2017 at 22:35

      It really is 😉
      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  • Trina
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 14:18


    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and joining in the share.


  • L. Salt
    Posted October 12, 2017 at 14:26

    Thank you for liking my posts:) I love your blog–the stylish roaring ’20s ;)))

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