Luna Station Quarterly Editor Interview: Jennifer Lyn Parsons

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Luna Station Quarterly – Issue 21 cover - click to view full sizeWeightless Books interviews Jennifer Lyn Parsons, editor-in-chief of Luna Station Quarterly, a speculative fiction magazine featuring stories by emerging women authors.

Q: What inspired you to start Luna Station Quarterly five years ago?

Parsons: There was a magical mix of circumstances that gave birth to LSQ. I had been writing fanfic for a while and began branching out into original fiction. I was also unemployed and in a career transition.

While working to find new job (smack in the midst of the Great Recession), I had time on my hands and decided to do something good with it. I started off writing a short story a week for a year. It was a haul, but I had a pile of stories at the end.

As I searched for places to submit, I found a lot of chatter about the lack of safe spaces for new writers, particularly women. This was before the ‘geek girl’ movement started, and it really did feel like women were in some kind of weird minority. Not that there were no women authors anywhere, but the balance always seemed out of whack considering how many wonderful writers I knew when I was writing fanfic, where women outnumber men by a vast majority. There was a disconnect between my experiences, and I sought out a way to reconcile them.

I had done a fair bit of beta reading for people and was a lifelong reader, so I felt I knew a good story when I saw it. I also had a background in graphic design and web development. Armed with that knowledge, I set about building a place where emerging women writers like myself could find a home for their stories.

Q: From the way Luna Station Quarterly authors are promoted to the long list of editorial, social media, blog, and special projects staff, the magazine has a very collaborative feel. What was your journey like from a one-woman show five years ago to an army of supporters and collaborators?

Parsons: I am very lucky, for starters. In the beginning it was just me, sorting out everything. Within the first couple of issues, things started to be a bit much to handle on my own. A wonderful problem to have, right? I reached out to Evan Mariah Petit, my first assistant editor, because she had been so supportive from the first issue. As things kept growing, I kept asking for help and got it.

Last year really kicked things up a notch when I was finally able to fulfill a big dream for the site: starting a regular blog filled with columns, reviews, etc. by LSQ authors as well as a group of wonderful women from outside the community.

I also added special projects staff to accommodate our upcoming print projects in celebration of our 5th anniversary. Seeing LSQ in print for the first time is so amazingly exciting.

The journey, has always been organic, with growth coming steadily with every issue. And I’ve been lucky enough to be able to put a hand out for help and have it answered when I feel like it’s time to take on the next big step.

Q: How do you know when you get a submission thats a good fit for Luna Station Quarterly?

Parsons: To me the hallmark of a stellar story is when I can answer “yes” to a few simple questions: “Would I read this again?” and “Does it stick in my mind in a good way?” This is an important question because I will indeed have to read it at least a few more times throughout the production process. The story needs to stand up to multiple readings by the staff. And if we can see ourselves enjoying it, or being challenged by it, over and over, we know our readers will, too.

Other than that, it’s an open field. We paint a wide swathe across the speculative fiction label. Weird urban stories, straight up fairy tales, hard sci-fi, and honestly a lot of things I don’t think you’d see elsewhere.

I love seeing women authors take on writing male characters with integrity, but I also have no problem publishing a work where a woman’s sexual agency is integral to the story.

Q: You’ve been an avid comic book reader since you were a young teenager. Has your taste in comics changed over the years?

Parsons: It’s funny, it has changed vastly, but then lately it’s come full circle. I started out reading comics in the early ’90s, when Sandman was THE title and read a lot of Vertigo or indie comics, along with a bit of X-Men.

A decade later, I was deep into DC and my childhood love of Batman, as well as great characters like Barbra Gordon who, as Oracle, became a hero with her geek cred and awesome glasses.

When DC rebooted everything a few years ago, I found myself floating back to my indie roots. Now I’m digging Keiron Gillen’s stuff, loving Becky Cloonan’s art like mad, and trying to get everyone to read Lumberjanes. There are some exciting things going on right now.

The great thing about comics is there’s always something new, and the stories are never constrained to any particular genre. Like any other great medium, you can tell any kind of story you want.

Q: What are you reading now besides submissions for Luna Station Quarterly?

Parsons: As of the moment, I’m between books! I’ve been bouncing between non-fiction and fiction this year. Consider the Fork is next on my, ahem, plate and I’m looking for a new fantasy to get my attention. The Norse myths are a perennial, and I’m dipping into some poetry by Mary Oliver.

Q: What else do you do when you’re not editing Luna Station Quarterly?

jennifer-lyn-parsonsParsons: How long do we have? By day I’m a web developer, making the internet less broken than it was yesterday.

By night, I help run Luna Station Press, which publishes various fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Our next book is LSQ’s best of the first five years anthology.

I also do needle felting, knitting, crochet, basically anything I can do to keep wool under my fingers. I play some video games, of course, and make time for friends and family.

At last count I have two novels actively in progress, and I put my hands on a bunch of other stories as the mood and inspiration strikes.

I’m tired now just talking about it. But in the best way. I’ve got a great life.

Luna Station Quarterly is a speculative fiction magazine featuring stories by emerging women authors.Luna Station Quarterly is available DRM-free in single issues or as a 12-month subscription.

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