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J.J. Green writes science fiction, fantasy, weird, dark and humorous tales, and her work has appeared in Lamplight, Perihelion, Saturday Night Reader and other magazines and websites. I got a chance to ask her a few questions.
How does living abroad affect your writing?
I think this is an idea or ambition that many writers have, and for me it’s definitely paid off. Living somewhere with a low cost of living has allowed me to devote more time to fiction writing, which takes longer to turn a profit and for some never even pays the bills. Another benefit is that it’s given me more freedom to write. Moving overseas is like pressing reset on your life. Everything is new and it’s easier to begin and maintain new habits and behaviours. You’re physically distant from friends and family who might comment on your new endeavour, perhaps in a negative way. So you have more freedom to do what you want to do and be who you want to be. The expat community here in Taiwan is heavily into the creative and expressive arts, and I believe it’s due to these reasons.
What’s your favorite television sci-fi series?
I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Trekkie, so this question isn’t hard to answer. I began watching the original Star Trek series when I was a child – as repeats, I hasten to add. The idea of travelling to new planets and discovering alien life was fascinating to me, and the camaraderie and banter between the crew was another draw. My current favourite show is The Expanse. It’s one of the best sci-fi series I’ve ever seen. It’s got it all: interesting, ever-evolving plotlines, realistic characters, high quality production, and an authentic take on what the future of space colonisation could look like, with a little bit of handwavium.

Why do you choose to go by J.J. instead of Jenny?
It would be disingenuous of me to deny that I considered the reception I was likely to receive as a female science fiction writer when choosing my pen name. Though we’ve come a long way since the days of James Tiptree Jr., some prejudice still exists against women writers of science fiction. I have the emails to prove it. So I chose J.J. (my true initials) partly because I didn’t want to immediately announce my gender. I don’t make a big secret about being female, however. For example, I sign my emails Jenny and I include my photograph on my bio. Another important reason for using J.J was that I thought sounded cooler than Jenny and fitted the genre.
Jas Harrington from your Galactic Chronicles books was born on Mars. Rough guess, how far away are we from that reality?
We’re at least 100 to 200 years from the kind of Mars colony that Jas hails from. She’s the sole survivor of humanity’s largest colony disaster, which killed around 2000 people, so in the story a full-scale colonisation of Mars is going on. For that to happen, we would need to construct a permanent base on Mars and figure out how to supply the needs of large numbers of people and keep them safe. I think the technology is almost there, and with more funding and effort we could solve the remaining problems. But what we also need are the resources to pay for long-term colonisation. This could possibly come from asteroid mining, but that’s also decades away. We don’t even have a permanent base on the Moon yet. Perhaps that would be a logical first step that would eventually lead us to Mars.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing my socks off, if that’s possible, and it’s all my own fault. I’ve nearly finished Daughter of Discord, book 1 in my new series, Star Mage Saga, which appears in spring. Star Mage Saga is a dark science fantasy set ten of thousands of years in the future. Humanity has spread across the galaxy and lost track of its origins. The story focuses on a young mage, Carina Lin, and her efforts to find her long-lost kindred and humankind’s original home.

I’m also finishing off the first book in another new series, which is called Space Colony One. This book follows the story of humanity’s first deep space colony. The colonists are made up of Gens, who are the descendants of generations of humans who lived and died aboard the colony ship, and Woken, the original scientists who have been cryonically preserved during the voyage. A third group are the Guardians, who travelled by FLT drive to meet the colony ship at its destination. The book tracks the struggles the colonists face with the new environment and with each other. The Concordia Deception will appear in a box set organised by M.D. Cooper, author of The Intrepid Saga, in early June. Then I’m publishing books 2 and 3 in quick succession afterwards.
As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also writing a book in M.D. Cooper’s Aeon 14 universe, which is due out in May. So 2018 is going to be a very busy year for me, but I’m not complaining. I’m lucky to be able to do what I love.

J.J. Green was born in London’s East End within the sound of the church bells of St. Mary Le Bow, Cheapside, which makes her a bona fide Cockney. She first left the U.K. as a young adult and has lived in Australia and Laos. She currently lives in Taipei, Taiwan, where she entertains the locals with her efforts to learn Mandarin.


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