I met Jess last year through a mutual writer friend Matt Posner, who interviewed me, labelling me a “Multicultural Icon”. Shortly after that, Jess kindly offered a space on her wonderful site and we had an interesting chat about my books, publication and tips for writers (Jess C Scott Interviews Junying Kirk). Today it’s my greatest pleasure to welcome Jess and she will reveal what she has been up to since our last virtual meeting.
Jess, can you please tell us something unique about yourself?
I was born during a full moon!
Oh, I wasn’t expecting that answer – you are not crazy, are you :)?
Who, living or dead, do you most admire?
Many people, though all of them lived or live their lives with both passion and purpose.
Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships is a non-fiction book I co-authored with Matt Posner. As a teacher Matt sees young people every day who are going through a variety of troubles, most of which are related to love and relationships.
It’s difficult for a teacher to directly intervene, but Matt thought he could make a difference and help some young people out there as a writer. I really liked the idea of the project when Matt first mentioned it to me in late 2011 (he was looking for a female writer to provide a “female perspective” to the book, since the book is structured in a simple Q&A format).
It turned out to be a great collaboration as we worked together to achieve one common goal, which was to provide a teen sex education that was insightful and informative (and above all, helpful and useful).
How was it like working with a co-author, in this case, our mutual friend Matt Posner, on Teen Guide?
We both really believed in the project, so the collaboration was rather smooth-going (something that’s not to be underestimated!). While we don’t agree 100% on every single point or topic mentioned in Teen Guide, our basic views and perspectives are more or less compatible. Working on a project that was sincere and comprehensive took priority over various minor “disagreements.”
I’m very thankful for email and the Internet. It would have been significantly harder to work with a co-author if those two things were not available.
I agree. isn’t Internet one of the greatest inventions of modern times?! Does the book encourage “teenage sex”?
It doesn’t promote a promiscuous lifestyle, though it doesn’t stick to an “abstinence-only” perspective either. There’s nothing wrong with abstinence, but it’s unrealistic to expect that type of sex education to be sufficient.
A person needs to be equipped with facts and a wide range of honest opinions, so that he or she will be able to make a well-informed decision when it comes to sex and relationships.
Keeping things to a very narrow perspective is not going to be conducive in the long run, because life at its best is expansive (where we feel alive and “discover” more about ourselves throughout the process of living).
What Matt and I encourage is for the reader to get in touch with their own sexual beliefs, behaviors and attitudes, not to be “promiscuous” but because a person’s sexual being is a big part of their identity. It should be something that’s treated with care and respect (and not exploited, cheapened/devalued, or “swept under the carpet”).
Absolutely, Jess. I can relate to that. I so wish when I was a teen, I had an opportunity to read a guide like yours and had a better understanding of what sex was about. But hey, that was a different era and I was in a different world
As a teenager, what were your experiences with sex and relationships like?
I’ve always been interested in sex, though the first time I was really sexually attracted to someone I knew in real life probably happened shortly after I’d turned sixteen.
I was quite “exploratory” in my own way(s), but I always needed some kind of depth and mental compatibility when it came to relationships (I’m in my mid-twenties now, and still seek those qualities in any type of relationship).
As a teen, sex to me was more than just a pastime or something physical to do. A relationship was more than something light and fluffy—I liked intensity that wasn’t based on something superficial like external looks only.
I found myself very uninspired/bored/irritated with the way sex and relationships were mostly depicted by the mainstream mass media. They seemed to gloss over the emotional and spiritual components to sexual activity, which is something I include in most of my writing (whether it’s fiction or non-fiction).
Gosh, Jess, you’re an early starter I think my sexual awakenings were much later
Do you use Social Media for promoting your work and communicating with other writers? What’s your take on it?
Oh yes—I’m mostly on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, GoodReads, and LinkedIn (in that order). I try to have some kind of a balance between self-promotion and sharing “useful information” and/or “funny anecdotes” (which are sometimes more snarky that I originally intended).
I’m not on social media ALL the time—it can easily become distracting. I usually just wait for people to contact me if they’re interested in collaborating on a project or would like to offer some cross-promotion. Writing is just so time-consuming…
Oh yes! They are most definitely distracting and time-consuming, and I confess that I spent far too much time, and I follow more or less the same kind of order and pattern as you do.
Do your characters talk to you? Have you ever used people you know as a character?
I think they mostly talk amongst themselves and I record
whatever I observe as the writer/person in the background.
Most of the time I do use people that I know as characters. I would like to point out that the same person features in EyeLeash: A Blog Novel, and Jack in the Box.
Jess, I’m curious. I know you grew up in Singapore and are currently living in Maine, USA. If you could go anywhere in the world to write your books, where would it be?
Anywhere that has an exotic charm and/or a rich, historical heritage and culture.
Here is a challenge: describe your latest novel within 140 characters, as in a tweet.
Teen Guide is an advice book that answers the important and confusing questions young people have about their bodies and their hearts.
About the Author: Jess is an author/artist/non-conformist who’s dedicated to writing original stories that are both meaningful and entertaining. She writes in a variety of genres including erotic fiction, urban fantasy, young adult fiction, cyberpunk, and poetry.
In a Word Riot interview, Jess mentions that the basic message in her work is “always the same: to be unafraid to be one’s true self.”
Jess is also the founder of jessINK, an innovative publishing company that focuses on substance over short-term success with current fads and marketing hype.
Links: Teen Guide (co-authored by Matt Posner and Jess C Scott): www.jessINK.com/teenguide.htm
Many Congratulations to Matt Posner & Jess C Scott and best of luck with the new release! If you have a teenager in your household, grab a copy now :)!