Thank you, J.S. Collyer, known to me as Jex, and so that’s what I’m going to call her.
J.S. Collyer is a force of nature, and to say that the whole reason that I’m actually submitting my writing for publication is in great part due to her urging is no exaggeration.
Jex was kind enough to go mad blitz with promoting the Cover Reveal for Memoirs of a Dilettante yesterday, flooding her Twitter feed with anticipatory tweets and then finally the big post reveal.
I like to think of Jex as the ANTI-Annie Wilkes. And if you don’t get that reference, you need to read a book, or watch a movie starring Kathy Bates — Misery.
Annie Wilkes is an obsessed fan who, when fate drops her favourite writer at her doorstep, crippled due to a car crash in the deep winter, keeps him captive and all to herself. Annie is quite mad.
Jex is equally mad, but in the complete opposite way. Crazy like a fox. She has no desire to keep you all to herself — she’s pushing you pushing you pushing you out the door to go write write write! She’s a fan in the very best sense of the word. If she likes you, she’s going to tell everyone she knows, and loudly.
Jex wants to learn everything she can about writing — she is a true student of the craft, and to be honest, I don’t know how she does it all. One trip to her blog and you’ll see what I mean — she’s constantly reading and re-posting everything she can about writing and publishing and tricks of the trade. She’s a huge proponent of reading as much as you write, and so is always reading and then writing wonderfully insightful reviews. Quite frankly, she’s exhausting! Maybe I’m just a slow writer (or easily distracted — did I ever tell you about that summer I spent in Venezuela. I was teaching… shit, I’m doing it again, aren’t I?) or maybe I’m just getting old (no chance) but I never seem to find the hours in the day to accomplish what I see Jex accomplish.
And so I learn from her — I glean what I can from her, and take away bits of second and third hand knowledge.
Then there’s Jex’s writing, which was good when I first discovered her, and has gotten even better as she takes what she learns and applies it. She’s an adventurous, experimental writer, never shying away from a genre or topic, not looking to be put into a niche or pigeon-holed as “a certain type of writer”. That’s not to say she doesn’t have her preferences, and she certainly does spooky and sci-fi quite well, but that’s not the only flavour of crisps on her shelf (did I mention she’s British?).
Jex has had two of her short stories featured in anthologies — Tuned to a Dead Channel, and All Hail the New Flesh, and currently has one novel in the pipeline and is working on her second.
I actually didn’t find Jex — she found me, and just blew me away with her enthusiasm, not only for my work (because I’m never one to turn down praise, darlings) but for writing in general. And over the course of the last six months or so (maybe more — time flies!) Jex has become a friend — one of those Internet BFFs that you only wish you could call up and invite down to the pub, where you could get excited together about each other’s stories and talk about collaboration (even if it never materialized) and then drag each other home after getting too drunk to stand.
She’s been an invaluable editor and critic, and a huge encouragement to me, and I cannot thank her enough!