What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the last story for a non-pornographic BDSM-themed anthology. I have a couple of projects to get to after that (an incubus/succubus-themed anthology, and a trilogy featuring cyberpunk elves). On the whole, jessINK (my indie publishing platform) is the biggest project I’m constantly working on!
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always been writing. I think I’ve just always enjoyed being able to channel my thoughts and imagination into a creative/analytical pursuit, which happens to be the written word. If it wasn’t writing, it’d be via music or visual art, or maybe photography, or fashion design, or…
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was fifteen going on sixteen, and wrote a poem titled “Disillusioned…Misguided.” A couple of friends read it and wondered if I was suicidal. I’d achieved embodying the role of “a suitably depressed poet,” which a core part of me considered an accomplishment.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book (EyeLeash) was a realistic teenage sexting novel, written entirely in a blog/IM format. I guess I wanted it to be an antithesis to the mass media’s portrayal of sex as a commodity. I also wanted to give people a real and genuine glimpse at the inner workings of a non-trivial relationship (where there’s more than how “physically desirable” one is/appears to be, on the surface).
Who or what has influenced your writing?
Everything and everybody I’ve ever seen, heard, imagined, or come into contact with. Music is a particularly heavy influence–I listen to everything from classical, rock, electronica, Korean Pop. It’s all in the vibes and whatever moves the soul and colors the mind.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I grew up in cosmopolitan Singapore and came over to rural Maine when I turned 21. My writing has always been a curiously quite-balanced blend of fact and fiction. International settings and a spirit of self-discovery are elements that feature quite frequently in my work.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I will borrow the words of a reader/customer, who says it better than I ever could:
“[Jess's writing is] raw sometimes and a little rough around the edges, but it’s full of brio. It’s very contemporary. It has personality and energy. It deals with modern issues in a very modern way.” — Joseph Grinton, “Don’t Run Away From Sex”
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I write in a range of different genres (creative non-fiction, erotic fiction, experimental fiction, alternative paranormal romance, poetry, urban fantasy, cyberpunk). I like what each genre has to offer, though I’m usually more concerned with the storyline and characters.
Is there a message in your work that you want readers to grasp?
The basic message is always the same: to be unafraid to be one’s true self.
What book are you reading now?
Skin Deep, by Dr. Ted Grossbart. It’s a psychodermatological book. I’ve been battling acne for the past three years (my skin was relatively clear throughout my teenage life!), and I’ve gotten tired of products and treatments that claim to work, but don’t (in the long run). His book focuses on the internal state of the individual (which the skin “reflects”)–his book is absolute goodness, and is available as an eBook on his website. I got a print copy because I like perusing my reading material old-school style…
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Vixen Phillips, Tommy Jonq–anyone that has a unique perspective on society and/or culture, who’s using independent publishing to get their voices heard.
What is the most misunderstood aspect of your work?
That my (erotic) fiction is literary smut devoid of any artistic and/or social value. The lack of differentiation between erotica (as an art form) and pornography (as a commodity) was so great, that I ended up writing an online disclaimer on my website (to share my views with readers/customers/site visitors). I also wrote the disclaimer to avoid being arrested on obscenity charges.
Any memories of particular works: the writing of, feedback, the thought behind…etc.
Jack in the Box (one of my erotic/literary novelettes branded as “factual fiction”) is close to 100% factual.
Which brings to mind an Oscar Wilde quote: “To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.”