LSQ Year 10 Special Blogger interview: Meet Jen Gheller

The LSQ staff is celebrating our tenth year of publication and along with the streamers and balloons, we’re featuring a behind-the-scenes look at each of the wonderful women that make up our editorial and blog staff. Today we’re chatting with blogger and blog editor, Jen Gheller!

LSQ: Tell us about how you got involved with LSQ’s blog — how long have you been a blog editor, how did you first learn about LSQ? What made you want to join the team?
Jen: I first discovered LSQ way back in 2016 via Tumblr, and it was a blog post about female Native American authors. When I clicked through to the blog and discovered a whole treasure trove of posts and stories by women writers, I decided to stick around. I loved the blog so much that when the call went out for a new blog team I figured, why not join in on the fun? It’s been a little over a year now since I’ve been on the blog team and I’m happy to say the fun continues!
LSQ: Tell us about your monthly column “YA Girl” — what’s your inspiration behind it? What are some themes you explore in the column? How do you cultivate fresh ideas? 
Jen: I’ve always been drawn to YA, even after I grew out of the target demographic. For some reason, YA tends to be looked down on, at least in my experience. If you write/read it, you’re dabbling in “kids’ stuff” and not “real” literature. I never understood that point of view. Most of the YA I’ve read has been way more imaginative and gripping than the “adult” novels I’ve read. So I wanted to write a column celebrating YA, showing you don’t have to be a teen to enjoy it, and that it’s just as important and worthwhile as any other kind of literature.
That being said, I don’t really have a set list of things I want to explore in my column. Ideas just come based on what I’m reading at the moment, or what I’m noticing in the media lately. I especially like to highlight books that have a strong message of hope, because we really need books like that right now.
LSQ: As a blog editor, what are some of your favorite topics that the blog has covered and explored? What would you like to see more of in the future?
Jen: I’ve been loving D.M. Domosea’s “The S Word,” which examines what the world might be like if sex never existed. I never understood society’s preoccupation with sex, and I’m honestly sick of it, so that column is supremely refreshing! I also appreciate all of our bloggers’ writing tips. It’s neat seeing everyone’s different approaches to writing. In the future, I’d really like to see more about women in horror (either women characters or women creators), and women in animation. I’ve been thinking a lot about the latter, so maybe you’ll be seeing more of that from me!
LSQ: Your author bio says you love the library with all your heart and soul. Please tell us a bit about what public libraries mean to you. 
Jen: LIBRARIES ARE EVERYTHING! Every time I see a “thinkpiece” about libraries being obsolete, my blood boils! The public library is the backbone of society. I firmly believe the public library is the last truly democratic institution left. It’s one of the few places you can go where you’re not expected to spend money. You’re not being sold a product or being manipulated by marketing tactics. Aside from saving over $3,000 on books last year alone, I have free access to Rosetta Stone through my library. FREE access to something that costs about $200. How awesome is that?? Not to mention the movies, magazines, ebooks, audiobooks, free museum passes, and countless other services. My library also has clubs and classes like yoga, tai chi, English conversation partners, a genealogy club, a book club, a brand new comic book club, and weekly crafts. I was really lucky to have a great library in my elementary school, which probably played a huge part in my love for reading. One of the best feelings for me has always been standing in front of the shelves, knowing that all of those stories were mine if I wanted them. I could honestly go on about libraries all day, but I’ll wrap it up with USE YOUR LIBRARIES, PEOPLE! They love you, so show them some love in return!
LSQ: Tell us a bit about what types of stories you love to read and why. Who are some of your favorite authors? 
Jen: Urban fantasy all day every day. As fun as fantasy worlds can be, I have a lot more fun reading about magical elements in our everyday world. I also have a soft spot for stories with the found family trope, like Six of Crows. Some of my favorite authors are Holly Black, Libba Bray, Stephen King, and Leigh Bardugo.
LSQ: Are you working on any writing projects at the moment? If so, can you tell us about them? If not, do you have any ideas for the future? 
Jen: I would really like to be published for the first time ever this year, so I’m trying my best to finish some short stories. All of them involve magic, faeries, the ocean, and a small amount of swordplay.

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