Interview with A.R. Gross, Author of The Heroic Adventures of Madame X

25 May 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, The Heroic Adventures of Madame X?

This is my debut novel in speculative fiction. My publisher categorized it as a fantasy with a superhero sub-genre, but I like to think of it as magical realism. The protagonist is a comic book creator whose characters come to life and cause a lot of chaos in the real world.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

My father was a natural storyteller. He taught my sisters and me through stories. I wanted to grow up and be like him, but my children wouldn’t sit still to listen. So I wrote the stories down and shared them with a wider audience.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Top 5 picks are One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Indelicacy by Amina Cain, The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge, and Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

My first guest would be Neil Gaiman. I would ask him where he gets his ideas.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The first draft. I love letting go and spilling everything out on the page. I can sort through the words later to find the heart of the story.

What is a typical day like for you?

Right now, I’m working as a writing instructor, editing a book under contract, promoting The Heroic Adventures of Madame X, and attempting a first draft of another book-length project. My priorities shift depending on the deadline. Some days I’ll focus on grading papers. Other days I’ll spend hours marketing or editing. Writing the first draft has taken the lowest priority, but I’m hoping that will change in a few months.

What scene from The Heroic Adventures of Madame X was your favorite to write?

The opening scene was my favorite. The story unfolded naturally. After a year of working on deadlines under a demanding schedule and working full-time outside the home, I was burned out. I honestly thought I would never write again. And then Madame X stepped out of the comic book and sat on the drafting table, and I fell in love all over again.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” -Rumi 

A.R. Gross is the author of the new book The Heroic Adventures of Madame X

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