Jessica Gross has contributed to The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and Longreads, among other places. Her debut novel, Hysteria, comes out in August.
1. Who is your favorite villain, and who is your favorite protagonist in literature?
Lolita's Humbert Humbert is by far my favorite villain-protagonist. Visiting his perverse mind is such a thrill.
2. When did you know you were a writer?
I wish I could say I first self-identified as a writer when I started writing, but the truth is it wasn't until my nonfiction was first published that I really felt comfortable using that moniker. (Over-investment in external validation: sigh.) But to answer the question differently, I knew I loved writing when I was a kid and would scribble half-stories on legal pads from my dad's office. (The protagonists were mostly kids who watched Full House -- exciting stuff!)
3. What are you currently working on?
My first novel, Hysteria, is coming out this August, so I'm mainly working on attempting to be calm. I'm also a few chapters into writing a new book, so I'm excited and relieved about that.
4 How has your writing process changed over the years?
Though in childhood I often wrote by hand, by high school I wrote exclusively by computer. My adulthood has been a long process of reacquainting myself with the wonders of writing and revising by hand. I don't exclusively write this way, but I do find it's a surer pathway toward discovery and surprise.
5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.
I love similes almost as much as I love em dashes.
Five Questions, by Nicole L. Drayton. Nicole is a writer, screenwriter and independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from The New School, and currently works for the university in the MFA in Creative Writing Program office.