Fantasy author Jasmine Gower joined us to talk about her prohibition-esque speculative fantasy, Moonshine—among other things! Those other things include her bookmaking habits as a five-year-old aspiring publisher 😉, the truth about how authors and publishers work together to market a book, queer and disabled representation in fantasy, and her own path to publishing via #DVPit.
Jasmine Gower, author of Moonshine and other queer fantasy works, hails from Portland, Oregon. Jasmine received a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Book Publishing from Portland State University.
Inspired to write by a childhood filled with fantasy novels, 90s video games, and the curious experience of growing up in the rural Willamette Valley, Jasmine has a passion for exploring themes of gender, sexuality, and disability through the conventions of speculative fiction, mythology, and fantasy world-building.
Jasmine is represented by Laura Zats at Red Sofa Literary.
Corinne introduces today’s guest, Jasmine Gower, and the topics she likes to explore in her books.
Corinne swoops in yet again to read TheDreaming1979‘s take on HPS. Emily’s fired from doing accents. Also, coincidentally, she is unemployed. An acting career doesn’t seem to be in her future, though.
The tom-foolery is at an end and the interview begins with the usual icebreaker. Jasmine tells us about her important role as cat auntie.
Jasmine tells us about the roots of her book habits: 90s “door-stopper” fantasies. At 11 years old, Jasmine talks about how she read The Hobbit and decided, “I can do that.” She still hasn’t given up on the first novel that she wrote at that age. #confidencegoals
A 2014 short story marked the beginning of Jasmine’s career as a published author, which also includes two novellas and her novel Moonshine. She also shares her observations on changes that have happened in Portland since she moved here 11 years ago and her thoughts on remote publishing work. We also mourn the Portland Book Festival’s former *perfect* name: Wordstock.
Her own novella editing experience stimulated Jasmine’s curiosity about being a part of the publishing world on the business end. She talks about how she went to the publishing program at Portland State because of her interest in editing, but ultimately focused on honing her book marketing skills. Corinne addresses the obstacles authors sometimes encounter when marketing their own books, and everyone talks about what authors should expect from publishing companies.
Unfortunately, Less Than Three Press, who published Jasmine’s two novellas, has had to close its doors. We find out what happens to these stories now, and discuss what Jasmine might possibly do next.
We talk about Jasmine’s experience with her novel’s publisher, Angry Robot, and what it’s like working with an overseas publisher. Jasmine also shares what her top “dream publisher” qualifications would be. Surprise surprise, they have to do with marketing support!
We talk about author vs. publishers getting blurbs for books. Emily and Jasmine both have experience getting blurbs for Ooligan Press books. Jasmine worked on Sleeping in My Jeans by Connie King and Emily worked on Siblings and Other Disappointments by Kait Heacock. Emily brags about getting a blurb from author Nicole Wolverton and plugs her book The Trajectory of Dreams.
Jasmine details the differences between the two different independent presses she’s worked with: a small one and a medium sized one, neither owned by one of the big 5. Royalty structures figure into the conversation.
Emily tries not to make a fool of herself fan-girling over Jasmine’s agent, Laura Zats, who is one of the hosts of the podcast Print Run. We learn about the Twitter pitch contest, #DVPit, and how it was a turning point for Jasmine’s query process, and how she actually found a publisher before she found her agent.
How does Jasmine explore representation in her novel, Moonshine? She talks about writing through the lens of queerness and disability from her own experiences and those of other writers and friends. Also she talks about the line between having queer representation in her work and feeling obligated to use her books as “teaching moments.” There’s also a discussion of the publishing industry’s efforts (or lack of efforts) to keep up with the terminology and language in the queer community. (Can everyone PLEASE stop clutching their pearls over singular “they/them” now?)
Also, the podcast Emily is talking about isn’t actually called “Unlikeable Women.” It’s called Unlikeable Female Characters. Whoops!
Jasmine finally has to explain her own book. If you like secondary fantasy, volcanoes, steam punk (ash punk?) aesthetic, scary faeries, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and/or practical magic you’ll dig Moonshine!
49:33—What are we reading??
The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory