Author Interview: J.A. Gross

2015-07-15 19.19.34Today’s featured author is J.A. Gross. 

Hi J.A.! First off, please tell us a bit about yourself. Have any super powers or secret talents?

*Soon to be fifty.
*Former debutante
*Ran a small slash convention for ten years
*Sci fi/fantasy fan since I was wee
*Comic book fan
*Alas, no super powers

Can you tell us a bit about what inspired your story in the anthology?

In 2009, the economic downturn was just making its appearance. I was temping and when that work dried up, I didn’t have anything to do for months. Finally, I decided to go back to school but didn’t know what I wanted to take. A woman who went to the same dojo as I did was a welder and our local community college had a program. Why not learn something new? Something completely different? My tiny story about a female welder in an unnamed future came out of that.

What have you been up to lately? Do you have any books out right now? Are you working on anything new?

I’m working on two stories tangentially related to “Handiwork.” One is about the sister of the main character while the other takes place in the distant past featuring one of their relatives who stumbles across an extraordinary town in the middle of nowhere. Other than that, I’m spending the remainder of the year reading recommended work for the James Tiptree Award. I’m a member of the jury that will pick a winner for the 2015 award.

I’m always fascinated by where and how people work. What is your writing setup like? Any tools you enjoy using?

I have a desk but right now it’s buried under a mountain of stuff so much of the time you can find me sitting on the couch with a laptop and my cat. Offline I usually have a spiral notebook and several pens handy in case I get an idea or want to continue a scene. I’m also a big fan of Evernote. It’s great for jotting down thoughts.

Most writers are lifelong readers and books tend to be important to them. What books or stories have most influenced your life (genre stories or otherwise)?

I was thirteen when Suzy McKee Charnas’ “Motherlines” came out. That introduced me to women characters who were complex change agents. I’ll pull it out periodically and reread it. Michael Bishop’s “Unicorn Mountain” helped me get through my brother’s death from AIDS in 1990. “Fautline” by Sheila Ortiz Taylor is my go to book about what makes a family. “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever” by Stephen R. Donaldson remains my favorite sprawling fantasy epic.

Where can we learn more about you and your writing?

Most of my non-fiction work is out of (sadly) print. I’m still working on stories for submission although I’ve written lots of fan fiction over the years. Most of which can be found at the Archive of Our Own (Ao3) under the nom de plume: ladyjax.

Thanks J.A.! We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for your next work!

If you’re intrigued by the inspiration behind “Handiwork”, consider getting yourself a copy of “The Best of Luna Station Quarterly: The First Five Years” and read it for yourself, along with the other forty-nine awesome stories and gorgeous cover art by Julie Dillon.