Author Spotlight: Lucy Zhang

How does inspiration strike you? 

Randomly and fiercely! Often I’ll just be thinking about something and go, huh, this would be fun to write about. I find a lot of inspiration in past experiences, small observations about day-to-day life, and on the rare occasion, anime. Sometimes I’ll even pull up my list of all the anime I’ve ever watched, randomly choose a title, and try to pick a very specific element from the anime to jumpstart a piece. 

For what purpose do you write? 

To share stories, to express, to provide some sanity outside of work life. 

Is there a certain process you go through while writing? 

I think I’m an image-based writer. I go in writing a piece with a specific image rather than story in mind, and the rest kind of unfolds as I write. I dislike planning because I get bored easily: if I already know what I will be writing, I normally abandon the piece before I’ve finished it. Of course, this sometimes results in a mess of nice descriptions but absolutely no character or story, so it’s a trial-by-fire kind of process.

And, of course - where do you see magic in everyday life?

Spices are pretty magical. I recently discovered cumin works on almost everything.

Also, whenever I see an animation perfectly depict a subtle or complicated gesture. I’m in awe of any intricate details like how one character might hold chopsticks differently from another, or how fluid the fingers of a pianist move while playing. Just imagine how much the artist had to observe real life movement to be able to capture that in 2D.

An image of Lucy Zhang, a light-skinned person in a sunhat and flowery sundress. She poses against a backdrop of the sea, smiling and looking upwards.

Lucy Zhang is a writer, software engineer, and anime fan. Her work has appeared in Peach Mag, Litro, Okay Donkey, Jellyfish Review, and elsewhere. She is an editor for Heavy Feather Review and assistant fiction editor for Pithead Chapel. Find her at or on Twitter @Dango_Ramen.