Category: author

Interview: Lisa Dawn

Today we’re joined by Lisa Dawn. Lisa is a phenomenal author and blogger who writes about a number of things. She loves fairy tales and focuses on it. Lisa also enjoys analyzing princess movies, books, and TV shows on her amazing blog. It’s clear she’s a passionate and creative individual, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a self-published author, blogger, and screenwriter. I
love stories, especially fairy tales. The Disney Princess movies were
everything to me when I was growing up. I’ve written several fairy tale adaptations
and original fairy tale novellas at www.amazon.com/author/lisadawn
and regularly review and analyze princess movies, books, TV shows, and more on
my blog at www.theprincessblog.org.
I studied screenwriting in college and am about to complete the UCLA
Professional Program in Screenwriting Online. My latest screenplay is an
original princess story that draws inspiration from one of the hardest times in
my life.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by beauty, but not just the visual kind. I love
musicals with songs that tug at the heartstrings, stories that are cathartic
and empowering, and of course beautiful artwork of mermaids, faeries, and
magical princesses in lacey flowing gowns. My love of animation has been a
driving force for my creativity even though I can’t even draw a circle. I was
devastated when traditional animation got replaced by CGI, but I attended a
visual effects school in Florida to learn how to animate on a computer, which
landed me a job in Los Angeles.

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What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

Yes, I have always wanted to write. I can’t remember ever not
wanting to write, even when I was a very tiny Little Mermaid-obsessed preschooler. I love stories and the effect
that they have on people’s psyche. A good story will simultaneously bring
someone to tears and allow them to accept something in their life that they were
struggling with. When I graduated college and had to deal with the hardships of
being an adult for the first time, I wanted to tell my own stories even more
because there’s a comfort in viewing life through the lens of a magical fairy
tale instead of facing the harsh reality head-on.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

You’ve probably noticed the princess theme by now. Not all
of my stories are about princesses, but I focus on them because princesses are
the most magical and empowering female characters in any given fantasy story. I
love how princesses have evolved over time from damsels in distress to strong
warriors. I analyze the dichotomy between these archetypes in The Princess Blog
and try to find a healthy balance between them in my own writing. For me, Ariel
from Disney’s The Little Mermaid is
the perfect combination of vulnerability and inner strength.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It has never been easier than it is today to promote
yourself through technology. Everyone is connected through social media, so if
you’re willing to share your art, people will find you. You can also easily
reach out to the people you admire via Twitter, which is something that used to
be much harder. Unfortunately, that also means there’s a lot more competition out
there. In that respect, I would say to work even harder than you think is
necessary. Write, draw, sing, and create every single day, even on the days
when you don’t feel like it. I thought I would never make it as a screenwriter,
but now I feel like I’m closer than ever because I’ve learned how to make
connections and get valuable feedback from my peers. Yes, I do occasionally
take breaks, sometimes even year-long ones, but I know now that the more time I
take off, the longer it will take me to accomplish my goals. Promote yourself
and keep it up!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic repulsed asexual. I’m also married, which
still surprises me sometimes, so for those of you lonely romantic aces out
there, there is hope!

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I write independently, but I’ve experienced ignorance in the
workplace a few times. I once had a job converting movies to 3D, and some of my
co-workers there were a little immature. There was one man in particular who
would not stop harassing me after I blurted out that I was asexual. He kept
naming all sorts of different scenarios and asking me if I would have sex under
those circumstances (not with him). I probably should have reported him to HR,
but he was part of a large company layoff shortly after that, so I never saw
him again. A few years later, I did an interview about asexuality for a famous
magazine right after my wedding that promoted my husband and myself in a
humiliating way on several Facebook pages with millions of subscribers. A
co-worker I had at that time tagged several fellow employees, including a
supervisor, on one posts and didn’t tell me. I only found out about it after
going through all the comments. I did
report that to HR and got an apology out of her. If this happens to you, do not
tolerate it sitting down! That’s what Human Resources are for.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

“You’re not capable of love?” is always a classic.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

The world is a very different place today than it was when I
came out as asexual in 2005. Hollywood is pushing for more diversity in the
media. Uncommon sexual orientations are becoming more commonplace. Social media
is all about expressing yourself. You are living in one of the best eras to be
different. Embrace it. Know that there are more people willing to accept you
today than there would have been fifty, thirty, or even ten years ago.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I have a subscribe link on www.theprincessblog.org, but most
people find out about new posts through my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theprincessblogger.
I’m also on Instagram at www.instagram.com/theprincessblogger
and Twitter at www.twitter.com/PrincessOfBlogs.
I have a YouTube channel where an animated version of myself reads my blog
posts at http://yt.vu/+theprincessvlog,
and of course you can find my books on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/lisadawn.

Lisa Dawn also has an author website: http://lisadawnbooks.wixsite.com/lisadawn

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Thank you, Lisa, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Kedreeva

Today we’re joined by Kedreeva. Kedreeva is a phenomenal author who specializes in the speculative genres. She has recently found that she enjoys writing abstract horror. Kedreeva enjoys exploring the different aspects of magic and immortal creatures. It’s clear she’s an incredibly imaginative and creative author who enjoys what she does. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am a writer, mainly in the fantasy/sci-fi/supernatural
genre, though I have to say I’ve recently found gently abstract horror to be
alluring. I thoroughly enjoy writing very long, involved stories that hurt a
lot along the way but ultimately end happily. I also do a lot of shorter,
off-the-cuff bits as warm-ups or on days when I just need to get something
done. I LOVE writing about immortal creatures and the technical side of magic
systems and twisting already known lore in interesting ways to make something
new.

Some of my more recent works involve a collection of shorts
advising one how to survive in The Void (a horror landscape), a story about a
person lost in interconnected liminal spaces looking for a way home, a “road
trip” type fic traveling through an apocalypse, and a story about a world where
Roman-style coliseum fighting of supernatural creatures against one another is
the mainstay of the world’s culture that must be brought down by the hands of
the main characters.

I used to do a lot of artwork, but I mostly set that aside
in favor of writing. Recently, I have started to explore doing artwork with one
of my pets, a peahen named Artemis (who also “helps” me write sometimes). It’s
never too late to start learning something new!

What inspires you?

You know that feeling when you’re out in the middle of a
field in the middle of nowhere and you can look up and see all the stars
brighter than in the city and there’s that pale, cloudy, white stripe through
the night sky that’s actually an arm of our Milky Way galaxy stretching out
into the mind-boggling vastness of outer space and for just a moment everything
has a sort of eternal presence, and the void of space is looking back at you
and you are comfortingly insignificant? Yeah, that. Also spite. I’ve done a lot
of work out of spite for people telling me I can’t do something.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I don’t know that anything got me interested, I think it
never really occurred to me not to be what I am. I’ve been writing stories
since I could hold a pencil, and telling them for longer than that. If I had to
pick something, I guess I would say that the way I felt listening to other
people’s stories made me want to tell my own.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t know if this counts as a signature, but my friends
tease me about using the word “sluice” whenever I find an opportunity. It’s a
good word. Maybe my favorite one ever.

I think that in seriousness, and it’s something a lot of
folks have talked to me about or thanked me for so I guess it’s noticeable or
different, I write my stories as though differing sexual and romantic
alignments are just… normal.  I’ve almost
exclusively written about queer characters through my life and despite writing
dozens of different relationships and first times, the problems are never about
those characters’ sexual or romantic alignments. Nothing in any of their worlds
forces them to see themselves as abnormal or a problem in that respect- because
they’re not. That’s the kind of world I want to live in – one where I get to be
a person, not a problem – so that is what I write.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do what makes you happy, and do it as much as you can stand
to, and then let yourself rest. I would also say, like, take care of yourself
such that you can continue your craft. Sometimes that means eating enough,
sometimes that means sleeping occasionally, sometimes that means you have to
find a different job for a while to pay the rent or whatever. The world needs
you and your creations.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Probably the most common species, Asexual asexual. I don’t experience sexual attraction but I also
don’t experience sex repulsion. You know, the sort of asexual that finds
dragons more interesting than sex.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’ve never had any prejudice directed at me, specifically,
that I can recall. I’ve seen a little of it here and there not related to my
field, but that’s usually when I go looking for it or someone drags it into the
spotlight. There’s a little bit of ignorance floating about, and a little bit
of curiosity (though usually that’s been polite in my corners of the net), but
I tend to ignore it. Humans are ignorant of all manner of things; asexuality is
just one number on that very long list and I have better things to do with my
time that fight about that.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

There’s two I normally see a lot of- the first is that
asexuality can somehow be, like, “cured” if someone finds the right person who
is patient and sexy enough. I’ve seen a lot of new writers trying to write
stories with asexual (and I don’t mean Demisexual, that would be different)
characters “making exceptions” so to speak for another character- ie: sex
repulsed asexuals suddenly becoming Into It with enough coaxing and patience
from their partner. Which, you know. Not great. The other is that I’ve seen
folks speaking like asexuality is a lack of sex drive rather than a lack of sexual attraction, which usually leads to them thinking ace folks are all
sex repulsed (or the opposite, tying into the first point, that we are all
capable of sexual arousal just for the Right Person or whatever).

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Honestly, life is short and there are better things to do
than worry about sex and attraction. That seems a little harsh written down,
but it’s so true on the other side of the struggle. I had never really had a
struggle to begin with, until someone else made me struggle. I knew I was ace,
I told people “I’m equally unattracted to everyone” right up until someone, a
good friend at that, told me “that’s bisexuality, because that means you’re
equally attracted to everyone” and I let that cause me a problem for years
before I realized I was struggling for no reason. I knew who I was. There were
better things for me to spend my time worrying about than whether I was right
or wrong about knowing who I was. If I was wrong, I’d find out eventually. If I
was right, then there was no sense in worrying about it further. I know how
Devastatingly Important it can seem, and it IS important to examine, but my
friend, there are stories to write, art to make, creations to create.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I use the same name, Kedreeva, everywhere- Tumblr, Twitter, Archive of our Own, etc.,
but AO3 is where folks can actually find my writing for now.

Thank you, Kedreeva, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Announcement: Ace Art Show

Hi all!

I know this is short notice, but I’ve been swamped with work. I still have interviews that need to be scheduled and posted, apologies for that.

One thing that has been occupying the majority of my time has been the Asexual Conference in Vancouver, which I’m co-curating an art show for. I’m hoping some followers of the site might be interested in attending (more information about the conference can be found at the following link: https://asexuality.wixsite.com/conference)

We’ve recently gotten a flyer for the art exhibit:

Aside from co-curating the art exhibit, I shall also be speaking on a panel about being an asexual author. I will probably speak on what it’s like to be an asexual fiction author who also happens to be from a non-traditional family. Copies of my books will be available for sale and I will be more than happy to personalize them for anyone who is interested.

Here’s the flyer for that event:

I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things soon, but traveling kind of eats up all my time. I’ll figure out a balancing act eventually.

Anyhow, I hope to see some followers of the site at the show!

Thanks everyone!

Interview: Kaylee Schuler

Today we’re joined by Kaylee Schuler. Kaylee is a phenomenal author and visual artist. She writes a number of different things, including short stories and poetry. She’s currently working on a novel with an aro-ace protagonist. When she’s not writing, Kaylee enjoys drawing. She frequently draws characters from her stories. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an author and an artist. I usually write short stories,
but I’ve dabbled in poetry, spoken word, and am currently working on a novel
that happens to feature an aro-ace protagonist. I’ve self-published a
children’s book and plan to self-publish its companion once my edits are done.
One of my short stories just won 10th place in a Reader’s Digest competition,
so I’m very excited about that!

What I value most in writing is emotion, so I try to write
things that make people feel. I try to tell stories that I think are important,
that I know no one else can tell. I strive to write pieces that are powerful,
influential, and cathartic. Even though it’s a lofty goal, I want to write
something that will change the world.

As for art, I started out with sketches and drawings, but I
currently work with a variety of mediums, some of my favorites being watercolor
and digital. Good old graphite never fails me, though.

I create art about pretty much anything — I draw a lot of
people, often characters within the stories that I write. Drawing for me is
somewhere between a hobby and a potential career. I’m currently studying it in
college, but I still draw mainly for myself and create things that I want to
create.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration for my work in everything I experience.
The villain in my novel is based on a character who showed up in just one
episode of a TV show from the ‘90s that I used to watch reruns of. Another
character is named after a friend who was super supportive of my writing. I
write the books I want to read, so I often take inspiration from a lack of
content. I don’t see enough diversity in the media I consume, so I want to add
that to my work. My visual artwork is often inspired by my writing or other
people’s work that I enjoy. The main thing that inspires me is the hope that
someone out there will encounter my work and be inspired to create something of
their own. Art is such an incredible force for change, and my desire to be a
part of that drives me to create.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve been writing for my entire life. It’s something that
comes naturally to me, but even beyond that, I feel like a part of me is
missing if I’m not writing something. It’s a huge part of who I am. I started
writing my self-published book when I was 8 years old and haven’t stopped
since.

I’ve also been creating visual art as far back as I can
remember. Just like my writing, my artwork feels like an extension of my very
being. Because art, be it written, visual, or otherwise, can be a catalyst for
social change, and because I’ve always wanted to use my talents to better the
world, I figure that the best way for me to make an impact is to combine those
two things. My desire to improve this world and my desire to create go hand in
hand.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I’m one of those artists who’s never been able to pin down a
style. I suppose that’s a blessing because it gives me greater freedom and
versatility in the content I create, but it’s also a curse because most of my
pieces aren’t recognizable as belonging to the same artist. One thing I aim to
do is include as much diversity in my work as I can. I think everyone deserves
to see someone in media who they can relate to. I’m still learning how to
improve my art and my representation, but I feel like making an effort to be
inclusive and diverse is crucial to being a good artist and a good person.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Art is something so incredibly personal to each individual.
My advice is, first, to not be afraid to pour your soul into your work, and
only share it when it’s ready. Share it first with people you trust. This
especially applies to writing, though also to visual art you’ve worked
particularly hard on. Find people who will build you up, not tear you down. And
a note on criticism—at the end of the day, this is your work. Create for you.
When people tell you what to do with your craft, that’s what they want. I’m not saying to never
listen to criticism. Feedback can be very useful and it will help you grow as
an artist. But make sure you put what you want first and remember that, at the
end of the day, what you do with your work is up to you. And try to remember
that critiques are about the work itself, not the part of you that you put into
it. On a different note, something I want to stress is that artists have to
support each other! We all face challenges in art and in life and I believe
that we can never spread too much compassion and positivity. And finally, never
give up on your dreams. One of my creative writing professors once shared something
with us that his friend told him—the reason successful artists become
successful is that they’re the ones who don’t give up. If you want to create,
create. Keep at it, you’ve got this!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I always knew there was something
different about me, and finding labels for my feelings was an incredible
relief. I’ve never felt romantic or sexual attraction, and I’m also sex-and romance-repulsed.
This definitely affects my work, especially my written work, because you create
what you know. It’s hard for me to imagine being anyone other than myself,
holding any identity other than aroace. As a result, much of my work features
characters who are asexual and/or aromantic.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Specifically related to my art, I haven’t come across much
negativity. I think this is largely because most of my work concerning
asexuality hasn’t made it very far out into the world yet. I worry that readers
won’t understand the way my characters feel and interact with the world, and I
worry that artwork about my asexuality will result in negativity directed at me.
I think it’s likely that I will encounter prejudice or ignorance when my work
spreads around a little more, and when faced with it, I think I’ll have to
remember that all of us are ignorant to something and that the only way to
educate is through understanding. I’ve been uninformed and misinformed about
countless topics, and I was able to learn more about them when people treated
me with respect and open-mindedness. I will strive to do the same. If that
fails, though, if I run into someone who can’t see my point of view and won’t
make an effort to do so (as I have frequently encountered outside the art
world), I’ll need to remember a mantra my therapist once gave me: “They’re
doing the best they can.” Sometimes, other people’s “best” isn’t enough for us.
But we have to remember that we all have our limits and that, sometimes, our
knowledge is beyond the limits of someone else. At that point, I’ll have to
take a step back from my stubbornness and abandon the argument. It’s not always
worth it.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I commonly see this both outside and within the LGBTQ
community, and the latter can be particularly frustrating. Many people think
that asexuality is synonymous or similar to abstinence, which isn’t true. They
believe that asexuality is simply a lack of desire for sex, and that’s not
quite true. Asexuality is a lack of attraction
(and even beyond that, it comes on a spectrum). Not all asexuals are
sex-repulsed or sex-averse, and some asexuals engage in sexual acts for a
variety of reasons. Furthermore, many people seem to think that being asexual
is the same as being aromantic. I often find it difficult to explain that
there’s a difference between romantic and sexual attraction and that some
asexuals do, in fact, feel romantic attraction.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

The main thing that’s often said but can never be said
enough is never be said enough is you are
NOT broken.
I spent years of my life thinking I was and became resigned to
the idea that one day I would have to
have a relationship, even though I didn’t want one. Here’s what I have to say
about that: you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have
to try to force yourself to feel something you don’t. Wherever you lie on the
spectrum, you are valid, you are seen, you are whole, and you are not alone.
You may feel guilty sometimes for not reciprocating someone’s feelings. You may
feel empty sometimes, or alone, or angry. And all of that is valid—your
feelings are always valid—but you
don’t have to feel any of that. Teach yourself that you don’t need to be
ashamed of your orientation. It’s a part of you, you can’t get rid of it, so
you might as well learn to love it. And you can. I have.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I don’t yet have a proper website, but you can find me on
social media. My art Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceart.tumblr.com
and my main Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceace.tumblr.com.
I’m also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/deep.space.ace.
You can find my art on Redbubble at https://www.redbubble.com/people/deepspaceace.
You can read some of my written work at https://www.wattpad.com/user/CelestialFalcon.
You can buy my children’s book at https://app.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/midnight-a-wolfs-tale/ce878c14-8bd6-44ad-bb38-93b585c582e9?isbn=9780984719808
.

Have a great day! 🙂

Thank you, Kaylee, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Reggie Morrison

Today we’re joined by Reggie Morrison. Reggie is a wonderful writer who has just started working on her novel. She has dreams to publish one day and that’s always a great thing. The world needs more openly asexual authors. It’s clear Reggie is a driven and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I primarily consider myself a writer, but I am currently
unpublished. I’m working on my first serious novel that I hope I can one day
publish. I also do some redecorating type projects regarding mostly shelves at
this point; meaning I clean, repaint, and then paint details and designs on
them.

What inspires you?

I wish to be able to inspire and relate to an audience with
my writing. So far, my novel has themes of over-turning societal expectations
and figuring out who one is internally and externally. I had my own
self-identity issues and faced some people who deemed my asexuality fake, so I
want to write characters who are also ace and be able to portray other minority
groups accurately as well to represent more people.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been much more invested in my English and art
classes throughout school. I started by writing fanfiction my freshman year of
high-school which wound up being a large mash of pretty much any fantasy idea
I’d ever seen or had. It’s safe to say it was not good, but it was my start.
After that, I wanted to write something more cohesive and thought out. I am
also tired of reading the type of books that typically wind up having straight
white characters “find love” or finding love being a “correction” of a
character.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t necessarily have a trademark of sorts, but I hope to
have unique, realistic characterization. Even in side characters, I want them
to be just as complex as real people, not just a comedy relief.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Make sure you do what you love for yourself and it’s never
selfish to want to keep some of your talent and energy to create recreational
pieces. Do what you enjoy for a job, but also make sure you don’t burn yourself
out before you can create for yourself.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I ID as Asexual and Bi-Grey-Romantic.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

It wasn’t in my field because I haven’t been in my field
exactly, but I have come across people otherwise who didn’t understand
asexuality.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Most tend to think that if I’m asexual then I’m a “pure
innocent bean who knows nothing about sex” or it means I have zero sex drive.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Reach out to other asexual people and talk about how it
makes you feel and how to correct others. Some may not want to be corrected so I
would ignore them if you can. If you can’t, you may be able to take it up with
an authorial figure.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

My only social media is Tumblr at Generic-Ginger and Snapchat, but
I’d like to keep that for personal friends.

Thank you, Reggie, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jenny Prater

Today we’re joined by Jenny Prater. Jenny is a phenomenal author who writes a bit of everything. She writes novels, short stories, poetry, and even fairy tale analysis blogs. She has recently released a poetry book about being ace this past Valentine’s Day. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m an author; I write novels, short stories, poems, picture
books, and fairy tale analysis blogs, though mostly only the poetry and blogs
have been made available to read. I’m currently working on starting my own
small press, so I want to wait to release most of my work until I have that
going. I have two larger poetry books published through Amazon, and two
chapbooks that I hand-bind and sell on Etsy. My last one just came out on
Valentine’s Day; it’s called “Dear Somebody,” and it’s a collection of 12 poems
about being asexual.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired mostly by folklore—not just the traditional
stories, but their history. I love the idea of all of these very similar
patterns being followed in so many places and time periods. Folk tales are a
great example of collective storytelling. You can never attribute them to any
author, because everyone who’s heard a story like Cinderella or Beauty and the
Beast, over thousands of years, has heard it and told it slightly differently.
When I write a poem about Sleeping Beauty or a short story based on The Little
Mermaid, I’m participating in an ancient conversation. Story as a reflection of
community is something I just think is really beautiful and inspiring.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

Always. My parents have videos of me, age 3, wandering
around the house telling stories out loud about princesses and dinosaurs. I’ve
never not had a story running in the back of my head; at some point it just
seemed natural to start writing them down.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I really don’t! I do so many different kinds of writing,
there’s not really one key feature that would carry through well in all of
them. Though I guess I’ve never really gotten through an entire book without
making some reference to folk or fairy tales, now that I’m thinking about it. I
just don’t really do it on purpose.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Focus on making things before you focus on making good
things. It’s so easy to get caught up in making something perfect and never
actually finish. Finish first. Fix later.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m asexual and, like, a tiny bit heteromantic, sometimes,
depending on the day. Sometimes dating sounds fun, but mostly boys just seem
gross.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not in my field, no. But it’s only been a couple weeks since
I released my first project that deals really directly with asexuality, so time
will tell, I guess.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That I’m a late bloomer or haven’t met the right guy yet.
You know, at 25, I’m pretty sure I’m done blooming.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

You’re not broken. I remember being just so confused about
what was wrong with me, in middle school when all the other girls were starting
to feel things that I wasn’t. It took a long time to figure things out, and
that time was…not pleasant. But everything is fine! You’re not falling behind
and nothing is wrong with you!

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I’m kind of all over the place. You can find me on most
social media sites under the username “konglindorm,” which is the name of my
favorite fairy tale, but I think the best places to find out about my work are
my fairy tale blog, http://konglindorm.blogspot.com/,
and this page here that has links to all my published books: http://konglindorm.tumblr.com/books.

Thank you, Jenny, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Elowen

Today we’re joined by Elowen. Elowen is a phenomenal author who is currently hard at work on her first novel. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy. The novel she’s currently working on features an ace main character and it sounds like a fascinating story. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a fantasy and science fiction writer, albeit still
unpublished. At the moment I’m working on what I hope will be my debut novel, a
fantasy novel set in a bronze age-world heavily inspired by Ancient Mesopotamia
(Iraq). One of the main characters is an asexual priestess, the other is a cis-het
single mother who fights against the religious establishment. This story is a
complete overhaul of my very first novel, combined with some elements from my
third, and it has taken me several months of research and false starts, but I
finally have a completed first draft that I think I can work with.

What inspires you?

Everything, really. The world around me, other people’s
lives and relationships, other fantasy and sci-fi stories, my own experiences
of being “the odd one out”. There’s a quote from Ursula Le Guin’s Tales from Earthsea that I have stuck on
my computer: “The great and mighty go their way unchecked. All the hope left in
the world is in the people of no account.” It’s this quote that inspires me to
continue working on my current novel. I want to try to tell the stories of
people of no account. The ordinary people who are made to suffer because of the
greed of those in power.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

When I was six, I found out what a writer was and I decided
I wanted to be one. I still have my old notebooks from that time, with stories
that blatantly ripped off Care Bears and My Little Pony, though I’m glad to say
that later on, my stories became a bit more original ,-). Unfortunately,
although I definitely have creative family members, none of them are or were
professional artists, so becoming a writer wasn’t considered a proper career
choice, and my writing ambitions were reduced to keeping a diary when I was a
teenager. I went to university to study science instead, and later theology. It
was only when I moved to a different country that I came back to wanting to be
a writer. One of my “problems” is that I’m multi-passionate. I play baroque
violin, I was a fanatic badminton player in my teens, and in my early twenties
I got heavily into Irish dancing, for example. Only when I moved away from all
these “distractions” and started afresh in a different country was I able to
come to terms with the fact that I’m just interested in many different things,
and reasonably successful at pursuing those interests. My love for science got
me into writing science fiction, and my fascination with religion, mythology
and anything magical got me into fantasy. Fantasy, to me, isn’t ‘make-believe’,
it’s a modern type of mythology meant to explore fundamental ideas about the
world, and about life. Together with science fiction, I think fantasy is the
perfect genre to explore alternatives to reality.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I love inventing religions and write about made-up gods. I
also love writing about mentors, and I think that’s because all my life I’ve
been looking for one myself. I had teachers and mentors, of course, but none of
them could really help me figure out where my real talents lie. They were all
specialists in their field, while I have to see ‘the big picture’ and explore
many things at once.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love doing, but play the game if you have to.
I.e. if you need a steady day job to support your own artistic efforts and have
stability in your life, it doesn’t make you any less of an artist. Keep
learning and stay curious. You’re never too old to try something new.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m grey-ace leaning towards being demisexual, and I also
identify as genderfluid between cis-female and non-binary. After having been a
happy single for most of my life, I’m now in happy, stable relationship with a
man, so to all intents and purposes I’m a cis-het woman, but I don’t feel that
way. For me, sex is a form of intimacy that I can enjoy because it brings me
closer to the man I love, but I’d have no problem going without it for the rest
of my life. It’s something to enjoy like a cup of coffee or a piece of
chocolate, nothing more. Sex has never played an important part in my life. I
am however a very touchy-feely type of person with people I trust, and that kind
of non-sexual contact is much more important to me.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

No, because so far I’m only out on Twitter, where I use an
alias.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I think that having no interest in sex is often “infantilized”,
as if being ace means you’re not developed enough yet to join in with the
adults. At one point I was convinced that the only difference between YA and
adult fantasy is that in adult fantasy the characters explicitly talk about sex
and genitals, and have sex. I thought that my own writing was not adult fantasy
because I didn’t want to write about those things.

Another thing is that I can have platonic crushes, meaning
that I am attracted to certain people (or even fictional characters) for their
intellectual insights or artistry or their personality. One example is the
actor Alexander Siddig. I’d love to be able to have a deep conversation with
him one day, but there is no way on earth I’d ever be interested in any kind of
sexual contact. And yet many people confuse these things. I can also admire
physical beauty in certain people, but even then there’s no sexual attraction
involved, and many people find that hard to grasp. That always puzzled me,
until I discovered I was ace.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Sex is overrated. There, I
said it.  

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

Well, there’s nothing to find yet, but you can follow me on
Twitter if you like (at scriobhann_si).
I love connecting with other artists!

Thank you, Elowen, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Anila

Today we’re joined by Anila. Anila is a wonderful fanartist and jewelry maker. They write in a variety of fandoms and enjoys writing fanfiction. They aspire to publish some original work some day. When they’re not writing, they enjoy making jewelry. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m primarily a creative writer – mostly fanfiction but I’m
working hard to finish my original works. It’s a dream to be published someday.

Other than that I make wire jewelry.

What inspires you?

To be honest, it can be anything from a long-forgotten
scribble in the margins of old lecture notes to something a passer-by might be
wearing. On one hand that means I’m lucky because I can draw from most things
but on the other hand all these WIPs can get me down.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been good at writing – and when I started
showing it to other people they were interested and, more importantly, they
were affected. That made me want to write more.

As for jewelry, my mum bought a jewelry making book when I
was a teenager and it seemed to stick.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

My writing tends to have an overabundance of commas, an
abuse of semicolons, and a tendency for things to come in threes. Just like
that previous sentence ;D

It’s hard to have a signature when it comes to wire jewelry,
since it’s so freeform.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Try not to put yourself down too much, though I understand
it’s easy to do so.

Having friends act as cheerleaders is a blessing and can be
one of the few things to keep you out of a slump.

Also, specifically for writers, if you understand the
importance of receiving feedback in your work please be the change you wish to
see the world – when you read online works, leave comments you yourself want to
receive.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a biromantic grey-ace. Basically I can have feelings for
just about anyone regardless of gender, but wanting to be intimate is not
necessarily included in that.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

While writing there is a big lack of ace representation. And
of course there are the people who insist that so-and-so character simply cannot
be ace because there’s no evidence that that is so – to which the reply is that
this is fanfic, everything is possible, and ace-spectrum people do exist. There
was also one person who tried to tell me that I couldn’t be grey-ace because of
my smutty works, which… still makes me sigh.

On the outernet, where I’m closeted anyhow, there is very
casual prejudice – the expectation that of course everyone has sex and
you’re some sort of deviant otherwise. I do my best to educate when I can,
though admittedly I tend to get defensive and annoyed very quickly.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That people need to have sex to live. Nope, bzzt,
wrong, try again.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

Take your time. There’s no rush to find out who you are. Do
your research because knowledge is power. And, if you ever decide down the line
that your orientation on the spectrum isn’t exactly what you thought it was,
then that’s okay too.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

My writing’s on AO3 (http://archiveofourown.org/users/diemarysues),
and I do yell about writing on my personal blog (http://diemarysues.tumblr.com).

Jewelry stuff is on my side blog (http://rustypliers.tumblr.com) though I am currently taking a break
while I take better photos and edit them.

Thank you, Anila, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Ray Wyse

Today we’re joined by Ray Wyse. Ray is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. They mostly write fanfiction but hope to publish some original work in the future. Aside from writing, they are also a dedicated visual artist who enjoys drawing and painting. They do a lot of portraiture work and their art is extraordinarily detailed. It’s clear they’re a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My work varies, but I enjoy writing, drawing and painting.
My writing is most often fictional pieces with characters I’ve created, and
while I try and branch out with my artwork my strongest pieces have always been
portraiture. In all my work I try and integrate what I know, in terms of my
experiences and imagination. I’ll mainly referencing my artwork in this
interview as it’s what most of my time and my education is dedicated to!

What inspires you?

Other people inspire me. I’m driven by seeing creators do
what they love and doing it well, it really pushes me to try and be better.

But for choosing what I want to draw or paint I’m inspired
by perception. I find drawing exactly what I can see boring, and I want to
explore more emotive ways of portraying people and places. Usually this means
playing with the features of the subject matter, taking them away or changing
them through distortion or obstruction.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always wanted to create art. I’ve taken it at every
level available to me through primary and secondary school, but it’s only
recently at college I became determined to find some sort of career in it. I
think most of our everyday life is the way it is because of artistic people,
from film to advertising to product design, and yet it goes by unnoticed.
Almost every field has a need for us, and when I realized that it only helped
push my interest in the subject.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t really? There are maybe certain things I always do
that I’m not aware of, but as someone who’s still trying to find their own
style and techniques I don’t think I have any repetitive patterns, but I
suppose I always draw specific attention to the eyes or the obstruction of
them. I feel like that makes or breaks a good portrait.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I would say that I know, I understand it’s frustrating
sometimes. There will always be others that are around your age, who you think
has work that surpasses your own. There will be times where you can’t get a
picture JUST right. But you have to realize that your art is always changing
and improving. It’s hard to notice day to day but try and redo a piece from
just a few years or even months ago to see how you’ve changed! Practice, there
isn’t a shortcut to progress! Support and learn from each other!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual, but I don’t know where on the
spectrum. I’m in a serious relationship, but I haven’t been for long enough to
know whether or not I could be demi. Currently I identify as a panromantic ace,
meaning I can have romantic attraction to any gender but sexual attraction to
none.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I generally encounter confusion when talking to someone
about my sexuality. It’s difficult, because as someone who didn’t find a label
that worked for them until their late teens, I spent a lot of my childhood
thinking I was ‘broken’ or otherwise ‘wrong’. And hearing it insinuated from someone
else saying ‘how do you know? Maybe you just haven’t found the right person,
etc. etc.’ can hurt a lot. Especially if coming from other people in the LGBT+
community.

But I have to remember I’m valid, and that’s what I tell
them. I calmly explain that I just don’t feel sexual attraction, I never have,
and it really isn’t a big concern. And if they don’t accept that, I stop
conversing with them.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The most common misconception is that asexuality is
comparable to practicing abstinence, as if sexuality is some sort of choice.
Another common one is that all ace people ‘become’ asexual after some sort of
traumatic experience

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

I would say it’s not your job to educate others, and it’s
okay to not have everything figured out! You’ll hear about how it’s a ‘phase’
at some point in your life, and this will suck. But remember that no matter
what, whether how you identify changes over the years or if a label you found
at 13 still works for you at 33, you’re valid.

I’m not going to tell you it isn’t a phase and you won’t
experience doubts. I’m going to tell you that if it is, that’s okay too.

Take time figuring yourself out, research the spectrum of
different sexualities, and don’t feel bad if things change. How you identify at
this moment is still 100% valid and don’t settle for anyone that doesn’t
respect that.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

You can find more of my work on Instagram! I also do
commissions; my username is at Rachel.Wyse
<3

I’m hoping to branch into other social media sites soon, but
for now the majority of my work is on Instagram.

Thank you, Ray, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Martha J Allard

Today we’re joined by Martha J Allard. Martha is a phenomenal author who writes various kinds of fantasy. She writes both short stories and novels. Her work is mostly dark and contemporary fantasy. Her novel is entitled Black Light and it sounds fascinating. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I write fiction, mostly dark and contemporary fantasy. I
write both short stories and novels. My first one of those came out a two years
ago called Black Light. It’s about
rock and roll and finding yourself in what you want.

What inspires you?

I always try to look for the magic hidden in normal life. I
believe it’s always there, but we can’t always see it. I try to put that in my
writing.

What got you interested
in your field?  Have you always wanted to
be an artist?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I grew up with a
book in my hand. I traded Laura Ingles Wilder for Anne of Green Gables, for the
Nine Princes in Amber and on. I loved all those stories and more, but there
were no characters that I could identify with.

I grew up in a small town in Michigan, in the late 70’s. It
was miles and miles away from any queer culture. I didn’t know it existed, much
less that I could be a part of it.

One night I waited until my parents were asleep and snuck
back downstairs to the TV to watch videos. This was pre-MTV. They played a
video by David Bowie called I Am A DJ. I was riveted, never having seen him
before. In the video, a man comes up to Bowie on the street to kiss him. This
opened my small-town brain up to the possibilities that lay beyond my tiny
borders. Somehow those possibilities got my pen moving.  

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

Well, yes. Or I think of them as Easter eggs, really.
Because of my connection to Bowie, I always put something of him in my work.
Sometimes it’s small, something nobody but me will notice, and sometimes it’s
bigger, for example the entire plot of Black Light started out with one of his
songs.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t write what you know. Write what you want to discover.
Write the things that scare you and let your words be wild.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I came to asexuality late in life. In the past I’ve also
identified as Bi and Lesbian. I feel that I can only speak for right now, and
right now I feel Panromantic.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I write queer fiction, and so I rub shoulders with other
queer writers. When I first came out as Ace, some of them advised against it. I
was surprised, because I had already identified as queer, and had for years.
I’ve found that some people think of Asexual as “damaged,” and I didn’t want to
be thought of like that, did I?

No. I didn’t. So when I came out to people, I armed myself
with explanations, reasons for my sexuality. But finally, I stopped myself. Now
I deal with push back by not apologizing, but it took a while.  

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

As I mentioned above, it’s that somehow, I became asexual
because of damaged I’ve suffered.  Also
that I’m wasting myself? That one always makes me laugh. It feels just the
opposite to me.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
orientation?

I would say, it’s a journey, not a destination. For me, each
day is different, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, and as David Bowie
famously said once, “All I can tell you is what I feel right now.”

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

My website: https://www.marthajallard.com/
My Facebook page: marthajallard
Amazon link to Black Light: http://a.co/d/bT1PCsp

Thank you, Martha, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.