Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Steampunk Granny Interviews Co-Editor of Reading Glasses, Jessica A. Walsh


I’m so happy to interview this next guest. Jessica is a friend and a member of our writers’ group, The South Jersey Writers’ Group. She is also the co-editor of Reading Glasses, the Hypothetical Press Anthology. Jessica has a story in this anthology called Unquiet Mind.

When Jessica is not editing, she is an avid reader and writer of creative non-fiction. She is a Communications Manager for a non-profit in Philadelphia, PA. She lives in Southern New Jersey and escapes to the beach with her surfboard whenever possible. She has been a member of the South Jersey Writers’ Group since 2011. This is her first publication.


Marie Gilbert: I’m so happy to chat with you. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jessica A. Walsh: I love learning and growing, in every way possible. I am a very passionate person and need to be working toward a goal at all times, whether it’s finishing a story, losing weight or learning how to surf. I don’t do well being stagnant. Besides reading and writing, I enjoy cooking and keeping active; jogging, practicing yoga, anything that keeps me moving. I love to tell jokes that people say are pretty bad, even though I find them hysterical. I have a child’s sense of humor when it comes to jokes.


Marie Gilbert: What inspired you to be a writer?

Jessica A. Walsh: I have loved reading as long as I can remember. I know not everyone who loves to read wants to write, but love of the word just came natural to me. Once I started writing in 3rd or 4th grade, I was praised for my ability and creativity. From then on, all of my teachers throughout the rest of my public education saw that in me and encouraged it, even giving me special writing assignments. I suppose that's what really inspired me to keep doing it. I had wonderful teachers. My oldest brother is also a very talented writer and he inspires and encourages me as well.

Marie Gilbert: What genre do you enjoy writing the most?

Jessica A. Walsh: I enjoy writing creative non-fiction most. After all, I, and the people closest to me, am the character I know best. I am naturally introspective and like to use writing to capture my life experiences and stories, while simultaneously reflecting to better understand and learn from them. It's not until you try to write down and capture all the elements of an event that you can really begin to understand and interpret them, while preserving those memories at the same time.


Marie Gilbert: Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

Jessica A. Walsh: Reading Glasses being a speculative fiction collection, Unquiet Mind was out of my element. I started by creating a character, Reven, whose loneliness, anger and overactive mind was familiar to me and then gave her an unreal characteristic to oblige the spec element. Everything else came from there. That made it easier for me because I was writing about realistic people and scenarios, just with an unreal disorder in an unreal setting.


Marie Gilbert: What are you working on now?

Jessica A. Walsh: I am very excited to be launching a new blog soon called Cracking the Nut (crackingnut.blogspot.com). I am working on content and design. I'm currently in almost a constant state of introspection while some new and exciting things are happening in my life. I want to capture those revelations and thoughts, successes and failures, and hopefully even inspire some people at the same time - all with a strong dose of humility. The name is a play on words since I am attempting to crack the nut on my suffering, while I can also be a little bit of a self-proclaimed nutcase at times haha.

Marie Gilbert: What was it like to be the co-editor of the Reading Glasses Anthology? Was it harder than you expected? Easier?

Jessica A. Walsh It was certainly an experience, that's for sure. I don't think I knew what to expect so every part of it was a surprise. I think we strongly underestimated the amount of time it would all take - scoring all of the submissions, some stories taking upward of ten hours to edit, not to mention waiting for author responses - but I also realized how much I enjoy editing. Almost every single author was pleased and appreciative with the edits to their story, which was really lovely. I was also working full-time and wrapping up my last year at Saint Joseph's University throughout almost all of this so that didn't help matters. But I am very proud of the work Amy Holiday and I did. I'm ready to work on my own writing and projects now though, with the exception of the occasional editing assignment. (I'm available!)


Marie Gilbert: Thank you so much Jessica for appearing on my blog and I’m sure everyone will want to read Reading Glasses and Unquiet Mind. Also, on October 24th, our writers' group held a book launch for Reading Glasses and it was a big success.


  1. Excellent interview, Marie and Jessica. I didn't know you surf, Jessica? The Reading Glasses book launch was a tremendous success thanks to you ladies and the rest of South Jersey Writers' core group of hard-working writers. My husband and I had a marvelous time, even if we didn't win any of the bags we put in for. You are both wonderful editors, ladies. Many congratulations and good luck with your future writing careers.

    1. Thank you Victoria for all your support

    2. Thank you so much, Victoria, for your kind words and support. And yes, I keep trying to surf. I will get it one day. :-)