Meet Jax Goss: South African born, New Zealand based writer. She’s the instigator behind Solarwyrm Press, which recently released its first book, Fae Fatales: A Fantasy Noir Anthology. Prior to starting up Solarwyrm, Jax won a highly commended award for her short story “Icarus” from Commonwealth Writers, and published a collection of shorts in The Edge of the Map.
Since I finally got around to reading The Edge of the Map whilst in India, and Jax has been keeping busy with Solarwyrm projects, I thought now would be a great time to feature her here. You can find my review of her book on Goodreads, but for now, I asked Jax a few questions.
In your mind, what sums up your style of writing?
I write a lot of speculative fiction. I think, probably because it’s what I prefer, my writing is very character-based. My stories often start with a character, and then I build from there. My first question is almost always “Who is this person?”. Of course, the ‘person’ might be a mole, or a building, or anything. But the character is the important thing.
Tell us a little about the diversity in Fae Fatales.
The diversity is possibly the thing I am proudest of about Fae Fatales. I didn’t set out to make a diverse anthology, not explicitly, anyway. But there are multiple characters who break the cis-hetero-white-male mould. There are multiple LGBT characters in the anthology, and several characters of colour. I’m not sure if it is something about the genre that draws that out, or whether it speaks to the kinds of writers that are drawn to something like Solarwyrm (which is a tad left-field), but it made me very, very happy to not even consciously try and achieve that kind of diversity.
As well as the diversity within the stories, our writers and artists came from all across the globe, from Qatar, to New Zealand, to Italy, to the States. That’s also exciting for me, especially since it is relatively recently that that was even possible.
As an anthology editor, what sorts of things do you like to see in the writing you receive?
The most important thing is difference. That’s a really difficult thing to pinpoint, I think, but what I am looking for is something twisty, something unpredictable. I have an MA in narrative theory, so it is rare for a story to surprise me – if you can pull that off it goes a long, long way.
Another thing vital for me is character. I love character-driven stories, and so I am drawn to interesting and well-developed characters. This is not always easy to do in a short story, so when an author succeeds, it is always very notable.
Jax is currently looking for submissions to her next anthology, which is seeking stories about precocious children in adult fiction. You can find the details on the Solarwyrm web site.