2020 Snapshot: J A Gates

Ever since she was seven years old J A knew she wanted to write books. She is passionate about social justice and mental health issues, so she likes to incorporate these into fantastical worlds and made-up societies. By day she works in IT and by night she weaves stories. She also enjoys practicing martial arts and playing video games. She lives down under in the North Island of New Zealand. 

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

This year I published a fantasy book called Legacy of Power. It tells the story of Jacek, a legendary assassin and mercenary who while on a job comes across a young elven child being held prisoner. She is orphaned, and is the last of her kind. Traumatised and fearful, her only chance of escape is with Jacek, who isn’t entirely enthused to have her with him at first. But they both have secrets the other could have answers to, so will they share them? Will they trust? Together they travel across the land of Selendria, trying to find the answers.

I’ve been very pleased with the feedback I’ve received from the launch. I had a great team of people to help me get it all together and looking beautiful. It was my first time working with an editor, and I believe I picked well! It was great working with Kimberly from Revision Division. I was also very lucky to have a friend who is a graphic designer and artist, who designed my cover. It’s absolutely stunning artwork and design, and I’m very happy with the results. I had great beta readers and a wonderful formatter who designed in the interior of the book. All in all, it’s come together very well and I’m very proud. I’m now working on book two.

2. What has been the best publishing or SF community experience of your career so far?

Obviously I’m still new to the industry, so not too many experiences, but I belong to a spec fic writing group. They have been very supportive and gave me great advice about my first chapter and various elements in the story. It felt great to be part of a such a knowledgeable and professional group.

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge?

I recently read Legacy of Lies by Netta Newbound. This recent book of hers is set in the town she lived in called Waihi. It’s a story about the house she lived in, an old gold mine managers’. She often wondered if it was haunted, so she wrote this story about the ‘haunting of Hilda’. It’s a creepy, well written book that had me entranced from beginning to end.

There’s also a collection of stories by some NZ spec fic writers called Black Dogs, Black Tales. Edited by Tabatha Wood and Cassie Hart, it’s a charity anthology for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. It’s a great read, and alludes to the black dog of depression that can affect so many of us. Check it out!

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