Dru Pagliassotti teaches at California Lutheran University and has been running
The Harrow, for over ten years. Some of
favorite things are hardboiled fiction, weird fantasy, costume
parties, horror, Raymond Chandler, power metal, Mac computers,
manga, anime, tabletop RPGs, simple living, and tall ships. She enjoys
iguanas, and canpit fix any of her four broken pocket watches. Visit her at drupagliassotti.com.
We've been calling CLOCKWORK HEART "steampunk
romance", but worry folks won't know what we mean. Author Dru Pagliassotti calls
"I think it will appeal to both male and female fans of fantasy and,
possibly," she says, "soft science fiction (steampunk is kinda sci-fi, kinda
- Fantasy murder mystery.
- Fantasy suspense.
- Romantic action-adventure.
- Romantic suspense.
Dr. Pagliassotti is a professor of communication theory and research at
California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. "Just
"communication professor" is sufficient. Over the last few years I've been
tracking the introduction and spread of boys' love manga and fiction (yaoi) from
Japan to the West; my current project is a survey of boys' love publishers
to learn about the particular marketing and distribution challenges the
(In case you've never heard of yaoi, it is, the good doctor explains it is "a
genre of male homoerotic stories written
primarily by heterosexual women for an intended audience of other
heterosexual women. It's big business in Japan and rapidly expanding in the
Pagliassotti was an Air Force brat. "You either love that
lifestyle or hate it -- I loved it. I spent my high school years in Naples,
Italy, when my father was assigned to NATO, and from there the family
traveled over Europe and the UK. Since then, I've made world travel one of
my top life priorities, and I try to see other countries whenever I can
wangle a conference trip or save up for a vacation.
"As is pretty obvious from my last name, I'm of Italian descent, and I've
gone back to Italy three times -- while Eurorailing in college, for a week
to attend the Great Jubilee in 2000, and for three months' sabbatical in
Venice in 2006. Venice is my all-time favorite city, and living there over
Carnevale was fabulous. The only problem is that my so-so Italian gets very
rusty when I only visit the country every six years or so!
"In 2005 I visited Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands -- I just had to see
the marine iguanas! Am I the only person in the world who finds them cute?
This January I returned from three weeks in India. The university class I
was co-teaching traveled all over north and south India visiting religious
and historical sites. I particularly enjoyed visiting Varanasi and Jaipur.
"This summer I'll be going to Wollongong, Australia, for an academic
conference, and I plan to spend a few extra days in Sydney while I'm there.
I admit, I've started choosing conferences with an eye toward interesting
locales -- last year I attended conferences in England and Canada. You can
present a paper just about anywhere, so I figure you might as well present
it someplace interesting!
"My next big trip is likely to be Japan in 2010; I'm saving up for it now.
But in the meantime, my sister and I are hoping to take my thirteen-year-old
Jerimy to Mount
Rushmore sometime soon.
Pagliassotti's other passion is writing: "Like most writers, I've wanted to
write since I was a child. For years I
assumed I'd work for a newspaper, since that's what I was told writers
to support themselves. (Nobody ever suggested that I'd be able to support
myself writing fiction -- probably a good thing, too!). After working on the
college daily as an undergraduate, however, I decided newspaper deadlines
were too stressful and had to choose between working for other kinds of
publications or becoming a professor. I've held a number of editorial
positions over the years -- one of the more entertaining jobs I had was to
write about roleplaying games for About.Com. I even appeared in its TV
commercial for all of a split second. However, teaching won out as my paying
gig, and now I'm a tenured associate professor in the communication
department of California Lutheran University.
She didn't abandon editorial work entirely, though. Pagliasotti's been
the editor-in-chief of The Harrow
(TheHarrow.Com) for 11 years now. The Harrow has
issued two print anthologies, Fear of the Unknown through Echelon Press
Midnight Lullabies through The Harrow Press.
"Right now we're gearing up for another anthology, Day Terrors; it will
our first for-profit publication. I've run The Harrow as a hobby for years,
but I'd like to see if we can make The Harrow financially self-sustaining."
The Harrow, a webzine of horror and fantasy fiction and poetry is modeled
on academic journals. "It uses a double-blind review
system, so that each story is read by someone in our reviewer pool -- the
author and reviewer do not know each others' identity, so there's no
favoritism involved. The reviewer then makes a recommendation to the editor,
who makes the final decision."
Pagliassotti wanted to recreate the old pulp zines of yesteryear with the The
"Editors took the time to mentor promising young writers in those days," she
"After eleven years, I no longer take the hands-on approach with writers that I
but The Harrow's still a zine where new writers are given the same
consideration as anyone else and get real feedback, instead of just a form
letter, from the editors.
"Everyone on The Harrow's staff is a volunteer; they work their behinds off
for nothing but a thank-you! Still, they've done some amazing things,
including growing The Harrow from a simple HTML website to a database-driven
publication using Open Journal Software, starting up The Harrow Press, and
putting out two illustrated print anthologies. Although I pay for The
Harrow's normal operating expenses, a number of my editors have donated
their own money to fund The Harrow's special projects -- I'm blessed with a
fantastically dedicated staff. There's no way The Harrow would be what it is
today without them."
Along with the anthology and The Harrow, Pagliasotti is currently working on
other novels and in the process of pitching a nonfiction
book proposal for an academic volume she'd be editing with two other scholars.