I’ve been lucky enough to get a chance to chat with lesbian romance author Jax Meyer, about her newest release: Rising from Ash, set at the freezing limits of human endurance: a research station at the South Pole!
Take a look at her book, or keep scrolling to read the interview.Lesbian romance author @butchjax talks to Niamh Murphy about the South Pole, self-discovery, and writing asexual characters. Tweet This
Phoenix Murray has had enough. Enough of her incompetent boss. Enough of her addict father always asking for money. Enough of the struggle to survive. So when her aunt offers her a job as a cook at the South Pole, she jumps at it. Even when she’s asked to avoid casual sex to keep the peace in the tiny community.
Astrophysicist Ashley Bennett can’t wait for her year at the South Pole. Not only will it allow her to focus on her PhD research, it’s a key step in her plan to become a Mars colonist. Avoiding the complications of dating in a society that doesn’t understand asexuality is a bonus.
When Phoenix and Ash meet, they can’t help but push each other’s buttons. Phoenix doesn’t understand that her confident sexuality puts Ash on edge while Ash’s curt formality triggers Phoenix’s insecurities about her upbringing. But living at the bottom of the world means there’s nowhere to run, and as they find common ground, their differences aren’t nearly the hindrance they thought.
Rising From Ash is the first book in the Forged by Fire series, a slow burn contemporary lesbian romance that shows the power of intimacy to form a new life.
So, tell us about your latest book? What inspired you?
Originally it started as needing a story set at the South Pole, where I spent 2 weeks doing research back in 2002/2003. As I thought about what kind of story would be most interesting to tell, I settled on the story of a woman who uses sex to escape her life. And then, since I prefer to write characters who aren’t represented in books, I realized her love interest should be on the asexual spectrum. Ash is demisexual, which means she doesn’t experience sexual attraction without an emotional connection. It took time to find their dynamic, but when I did I fell completely in love with them as a couple.
In full honesty, a lot of this story reflects aspects of my and my wife’s personalities. I’m still trying to make sense of my identity, but currently demisexual seems to fit the best. My wife was always more sexual than I, though I didn’t only use my experiences in this book. I spoke to many people on the asexual spectrum and utilized them throughout the writing process.
The other reason I risked writing this book is because a lot of lesbians are in relationships with asexuals. Many times neither of them are aware of it. My hope is this book gives them language to work with and at least a few ways to meet the needs of both within the relationship. And even if this doesn’t apply, they are a really cute together.
What do you think makes a good story?
Character growth, as individuals and within relationships. Whatever genre I read or watch, I’m following the characters and trying to understand them. This is why my books are so character driven and dialogue driven.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 12 or so, I wrote a story throughout the school year instead of paying attention in class. It was awful, I’m sure, a pure fantasy where my friends and I were in a rock band. But then, I stopped writing. I didn’t think I was creative and had zero guidance as to how to write. Fast forward 28 years to 2018 and I had a dream that I couldn’t stop thinking about. That turned into Dal Segno just a few months later. I still didn’t really know how to write a book, but I’d read so much before then that my intuition guided me. I’ve since found the craft books I most resonate with and am constantly improving. I write almost every single day and absolutely love it.
If you could tell your younger (writing) self anything, what would it be?
You know enough, just find your own way. Don’t try to write like anyone else. You don’t think like others, why would you write like others?
So, do you have a favorite childhood book?
Are there people who can answer this question? I read constantly. A few that stand out are Encyclopedia Brown and Hardy Boys when I was in single digits. As a teen I read a lot of Star Wars books and whatever was assigned for school. I had a strong interest in military history and biographies as well. It’s no surprise I joined the Marine Corps as an adult.
I had dozens of favourite books, I think the one that stands out the most is The Lion the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But ask me another day and I’ll probably have another favourite! I write the kind of books I wanted to have access to when I was young, why do you think we need more LGBTQIA+ representation?
When I first came out in 1997 I had very little access to books that reflected who I was, but when I did I loved them. I read a lot of Rita Mae Brown then, but for some reason missed out on any other romances or happy books. Stone Butch Blues is perhaps the single most impactful book regarding my identity. But then in 2017 I was so frustrated with the state of politics in the US that I started actively looking for books featuring queer women. When I found lesfic it was an awakening. Finally books where women fall in love and that’s it. I refuse to consume queer media that doesn’t have a happy ending anymore. Those were the only stories we had for too long, which is just one reason why people think being gay is an unpleasant experience. We need to see our lives in media. We need to see people happy. And we need to see the full range of experiences.
Do you have many unpublished and half-finished books?
I write until it’s done. The only unpublished or unfinished book is the one I am currently writing, which is a sequel to A Marine Awakening. I have a list of ideas but those are for later.
I wish I could be that rational and organised!
What can we expect from you next?
The sequel to A Marine Awakening which starts 4.5 years after the epilogue. We’ll see Cam and Sharon still deeply in love, still red hot as a couple, but facing some real changes and challenges. Cam is preparing to return to civilian life and college. Sharon is preparing for deployment. We’ll meet new characters, including an adorable two year old, the return of Cam’s best friend Sarah, and experience Cam’s process of realizing she’s autistic. All in all, a lot of change.
Well, I’d really love you to come back and talk about your next release when your ready!
It’s been a pleasure! Thank you.
Jax grew up in rural Wisconsin with a love of nature, sports, and music. Her first book, Dal Segno, was published in 2018. A list of her books can be found through http://author.to/JaxMeyer. Writing has become more than a hobby and is now the highlight of her work day.
She spent one year, ten months and ten days in the United States Marine Corps before being honorably discharged under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, during which time she reconnected with her first girlfriend. They have been together since 1999 and had a daughter in 2015. Jax and her family call the Denver metro area of Colorado home.
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If you enjoyed this, then you’ll want to check out the post on ten authors giving away their work for free!