Today we’re joined by Jennifer Lee Rossman. Jennifer is a phenomenal author who also does cross stitch. For writing, Jennifer writes science fiction and fantasy. She has written stories for various anthologies and just recently released her debut novella entitled Anachronism, published through Kristell Ink. When she’s not writing, Jennifer enjoys cross stitching and comes up with her own patterns. It’s clear she’s a passionate and dedicated artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a sci-fi and fantasy writer. I’ve had stories in several anthologies and my debut novella, Anachronism, was published this year by Kristell Ink, an imprint of Grimbold Books.
I write weird little stories that make people happy (or at least cry while smiling) and hopefully make them see the world from another angle. Violence and swearing levels vary from story to story, but there’s never anything too gory and swearing is usually limited. Sex is a part of life for a lot of people, so while it might be mentioned as part of the story, I will never show anything more than a kiss on the page. (I don’t write anything I wouldn’t want my grandmother reading.)
My goal is for my words to be a safe space no matter your gender, orientation, ability, race, or body type.
I also cross stitch. I make all of my own patterns, mostly dinosaurs and nerd stuff.
What inspires you?
Weird science facts and song lyrics, mostly.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been writing since I could hold a crayon, but only got serious about it when I realized my disability was going to make having a traditional job impossible.
Cross stitch was a natural path for me to take: I love crocheting, but my muscular dystrophy makes that much movement difficult, so I needed something smaller and more fiddly. I grew up making Pokémon sprites on the computer, and it turns out cross stitch is really just analog pixel art!
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
For crafts, bright colors and animals that are cute while still being scientifically accurate.
In my stories…I guess queer people and Jurassic Park references show up a lot.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
You know that weird idea you have? The really silly thing you want to make, but it’ll probably suck and no one but you will like it? Do it. Give it permission to suck, let it be just for you. Chances are it’ll be amazing, and your fellow weirdos will find you and you can be weird together.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Not entirely asexual, but pretty close. I experience romantic attraction, but sexual attraction is kind of an abstract concept to me. It’s there sometimes, not very often and not very strong, and sex sounds interesting in theory, but most of the times it’s just not something I even think about.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Ignorance more than prejudice. When you’re writing about aliens and robots, it’s easy to fall into the “this character is just as human as the humans because they feel attraction” trap. I usually try to point out the errors in my reviews.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That all disabled people are asexual. My disability has nothing to do with my asexuality, and there are plenty of disabled people who experience sexual attraction.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You’re not broken just because you’re different. Find some ace people on the Internet — we’re super friendly and our pride flag is beautiful!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I have a blog https://jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com/ and I’m on the Twitter https://twitter.com/JenLRossman Links to all of my books (including my debut novella Anachronism) and stories can be found here: http://jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com/p/my-work.html
I don’t sell my cross stitch because each piece is usually custom made for myself or someone I know, but I’m always happy to take on a new project.
Thank you, Jennifer, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.