Punk Like Her
JD Glass is a Lambda Literary-nominated author and a musician in the New York-based band the Charm Alarm, formerly Life Underwater. Her debut novel, Punk Like Me, tells the story of a guitar-playing teenage lesbian as she comes of age, comes out and battles the familial fallout that ensues. Punk Like Me and its 2008 sequel, Punk Like Zen, established Glass as the voice of a generation of post-riot grrl dykes who just want to break free and live their lives. Glass’ most recent novel, X, is a cyberpunk thriller that follows queer hacker Charli as she negotiates the high-flying world of corporate code-breaking and steamy lesbian romance.
JD, what are you working on these days?
Currently, I’m finishing work on a novella titled Triskelion, which will be a part of the Outsiders anthology. I’m also in the studio, working on some new material and putting together the script for a new graphic novel project.
How does your background in music influence your writing?
My mother has always said that I could sing long before I could speak, and I started writing my own songs at about the age of 8. So I wrote songs and I sang, but at about 10 I picked up the guitar—and it’s been a love affair ever since. I guess the best way to describe music and its influence on the writing of prose is in the recognition of the fact that music distills emotion to a very recognizable and visceral essence. Writing is the explanation—the description, if you would—of that essence. One of the very obvious effects on my writing is that I tend to hear the way the words flow. Everything I write is actually meant to be heard aloud.
I was trying to think of other lesbian writers who are also musicians. Is this a rare combination in our community?
Well, there is Lorrie Sprecher, who wrote Sister Safety Pin of Sugar Rat, and Lynn Breedlove of Tribe 8, who wrote Godspeed, so there are a few of us. You know, I don’t think that the combination is all that rare, considering how many lesbians I know who write and play an instrument.
What is your band up to these days?
Our band, the Charm Alarm, is quite literally in the studio at the moment and putting together new material and getting ready to perform, and we’re extremely excited about all of it. The heart of the band is really my partner Shane and me—and while we’ve had the joy of performing with various amazing musicians over the years, she and I are the songwriting core. In the last two years, we’ve created a few book trailers [or] mini movies, complete with soundtracks, and that’s been tons of fun for both of us.
Are you able to make a living from your creative endeavors?
While I’m lucky enough to be able to say that every year that increases, and it at the very least pays for itself, which is a good thing—music equipment is costly, and studio time more so. It’s not yet at the point where it’s a sustainable living.
What’s next for you in the coming year?
Next year should see at least two things: the graphic novel Sakura Gun, which means “cherry blossom warrior,” and, for those familiar with both the punk and goth series, it’s [told from] Fran’s point of view, and the sequel to Red Light, currently titled Vital Signs. (myspace.com/jdglass)