Category: author

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unpublished.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.

Interview: CHM

Today we’re joined by CHM. CHM is a wonderful versatile writer. She has written in a few genres and styles. She mostly writes fantasy and historical fiction. When she’s not writing original work, CHM also dabbles in fanfiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated 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.

My art is mostly creative writing. I mostly write fantasy
and historical fiction, as well as fanfiction.

What inspires you?

A number of things, but mostly music, and my own personal
experiences.

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

I used to read a lot, and that slowly got me into writing my
own stories. I also tend to daydream, and story ideas seem to spawn from
daydreams.

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 like ending books with the title when possible.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t apologize for your work when presenting it. Stop
yourself from saying things like “Sorry in advance” or “This is terrible, but”
because it’s not. It’s the best you can do at that moment, and putting yourself
down doesn’t help you improve.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m an AroAce lesbian. Oriented AroAces feel other types of
attraction strong enough to warrant their own labels in their identities. The
ones I feel are sensual and alterous attraction.

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

Never in my field, but in my personal life, I have. I
usually deal with it using calm explanations.

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

That we all hate sex, or that we just need to wait a while
for sexual attraction to happen.

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

No matter what you hear, no matter who says it to you, your
identity is real, and you have a strong community backing you up. It doesn’t
matter what someone else says about your identity, all that matters is the way
the words you use to describe yourself make you feel.

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

I post all my fanfiction on my Quotev account! At LOZelfafan

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

Interview: Elizabeth Wambheim

Today we’re joined by Elizabeth Wambheim. Elizabeth is a phenomenal author who writes novels, novellas, and short stories. All her work features ace protagonists (how awesome is that!?) and it mostly falls in the fantasy genre. She has already written an ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. She has also written a novel about the relationship between a male shepherd and a Viking woman. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate and creative individual who loves what she does, 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 the author of a small (so far!) body
of published works that feature asexual protagonists and asexual relationships.
My biggest work so far has been a novel titled More Than Enough which is
a gay/ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. My first piece was a
novella titled Wolves in the Fold about a male shepherd and a female
Viking navigating a relationship as well as language barriers. I love writing
fantasy; reworking fairy tales; and establishing soft, supportive relationships
between characters.

What inspires you?

Just about everything! Books, movies,
television shows, video games, and even music can be a source of inspiration.
If something catches at my attention, I file it away for use somewhere. My
first story in high school had an ensemble casts because I loved the
friendship/team dynamics between the four to eight main characters in the Tales
series of video games.

Real-world relationships are also
inspiring; if I notice an interesting dynamic between two people (be they
friends, family, or coworkers), I’ll make a mental note of it and it might wind
up as the building block of a fictional relationship. I also make use of
personal experiences: I like to be able to step inside my characters and
describe the way their emotions affect them physically. The easiest way for me
to do that is to write from a place of understanding—where do my experiences
overlap with this character’s? If I haven’t gone through exactly what they
have, what comes close? What did it feel like to be there? After really good
days and really bad days, I take a lot of notes about what happened and how I
felt.

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

I’ve been writing since elementary school,
but it was mostly something I did for fun. I took Creative Writing classes all
through high school and majored in English in college. After I graduated, I
realized there weren’t many fictional partnerships that reflected my
preferences or my experiences. I found the undercurrent of sexual tension
between would-be romantic partners to be alienating and sometimes
uncomfortable. So I started writing the stories I wanted to read.

While my writing is not what I want to depend
on for a living, it is a vital part of my life. I love the puzzle of crafting a
story from scraps of lived experience and fictional inspirations. Writing also
helps me validate who I am and how I feel; it’s a privilege to know that my
stories help other people, too.

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 mythological and literary
symbolism, so there are almost always elements of that in my stories, such as a
scar used as a symbol of a character’s triumph over adversity or an oblique
reference to the “eating of the pomegranate seeds” in the Hades/Persephone
myth.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

You’re the only person in the world uniquely
positioned to produce the work that 100% appeals to you in form and content.
Work on what makes you happy.

Conversely, if you don’t enjoy what you’re
doing or you find that you’re bored with the piece, then take a break and
don’t feel bad about taking a break.
You’re a human being, not a machine!
Treat yourself kindly and you’ll come back to the work when you’re ready.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Asexual and sex-repulsed as hell. I’ll say
that I’m biromantic, but my take on romantic love is best described by that
Pepe Silvia screenshot from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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

I’ve worked in public libraries for the
last three years, and I haven’t experienced any prejudice from any of my
coworkers, thankfully! But I’m also not really open at work (either about being
ace or about being bi), so that might be part of it.

The only issue I’ve had has been that I
have a really hard time shelving titles in the romance section. The covers make
me kind of queasy (no one on them is wearing nearly enough clothes), so I just
avoid working in that section as much as possible.

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

On a general level: it’s a phase and
something we’ll grow out of, or that there’s something inherently childish
about it as an orientation.

On a personal level: being asexual means
that I’m inherently not interested in (or incapable of having) a committed
partnership with another person.

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

Where you are and how you’re feeling is
okay! Give yourself space to figure out how who you are and how you feel. Don’t
let anyone convince you that your truth isn’t a valid truth.

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

https://ewambheim.wordpress.com/ is the hub for my published work. I have
one short story there that you can read for free as a PDF, and it also includes
links to the Amazon pages for Wolves in the Fold and More Than Enough.

https://ajumbleofpages.tumblr.com/ is the Tumblr I use for sharing writing
updates.

Please also check
out the Goodreads page for More Than Enough: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36327532-more-than-enough

Folx have left some very kind and
heartfelt reviews there and on its Amazon page!

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

Interview: Adrienne

Today we’re joined by Adrienne. Adrienne is a phenomenal young up-and-coming writer who is currently studying creative writing at college in Canada. She has been writing fanfiction for years and has just started getting into original work. She’s a wonderfully enthusiastic writer with an incredibly bright future ahead of her, 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 a creative writer. I currently specialize in
fan-fiction and original short stories. I must admit – however, that much of
the latter is still very new to me and is currently a work in progress. 😀

What inspires you?

There’s so much! I almost don’t know where to start! A lot
of my inspiration for writing comes from the fantasy/fiction genre. A lot of my
inspiration also comes from what I see in other people’s writing/art work, as
well as what I see in my day to day activities.

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

The Lord of the Rings.
I started writing self-insert fiction when I was 14, and it sort of spiraled
upwards form there.

I have always wanted to be an artist, yes. It’s fun!

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 not sure that I’ve got any special sort of writing style
or anything. I guess it’s hard to figure out your own writing style when you’re
constantly editing and re-reading it. ;D

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Keep writing! Keep drawing! Keep doing! It’s super hard, I
know. But you must try!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am pretty firm on the asexual part of the spectrum. There
are other unrelated attractions there as well, but all in all – pretty firm on
the asexual part.

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

I have been fortunate enough to not have experienced any
sort of ace prejudice or ignorance in my field yet.

There have been a couple encounters where I’ve had to
explain my sexuality with close friends, but otherwise no negative feedback
yet.

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

I have been most fortunate in having friends and family who
have accepted my sexuality and have made attempts to learn more about what it
is to be asexual.

That’s not to say that there are no misconceptions about
asexuality, only that I have been lucky in my personal experiences.

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

Your identity is real. What you experience is real. You are
valid. You are not alone.

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

My work can mainly be found at diariesofawaywardwriter.wordpress.com.

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

Interview: Sabrina

Today we’re joined by Sabrina, who also goes by
how-to-sit-gay. Sabrina is a phenomenal writer and dancer from Germany. She has recently picked up fanfiction again after a five year hiatus. She started writing fanfiction over ten years ago and wrote in a variety of fandoms. When she isn’t writing fic, Sabrina writes a lot of original work, mostly short fiction and poetry. Aside from writing, Sabrina also danced quite a lot. She danced in a
Gardetanzgruppe, which is part of carnival culture in Western and Southern Germany (for an example, here’s a video). My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please,
tell us about your art.

It feels like I’ve been writing stories since I
was able to spell my name, even though this might be far from true. I wrote my
first proper fanfiction back in 2005, but I started writing poems and original
stories before that, way back to when I was in elementary school. Since then I
have written more short stories and poems than I can count, apart from
fanfiction.

Gardetanz is a very special dancing style that is
deeply rooted in the carnival culture of Western and Southern Germany. I
started dancing when I was a wee little 7 year old and only stopped 17 years
later when I moved away to a federal state that has no carnival traditions
whatsoever and hence no dance group for me to join. I still miss it so much.
Luckily, any kind of dancing or working with my body still comes naturally to
me.

What
inspires you?

Usually it is my latest obsession, which I think
is not uncommon for fanfiction writers. I’m quite often inspired by songs –
some lyrics fragment that just makes me immediately develop a scene in my head.

When it comes to original stories or poems I draw
a lot from personal experience, especially when it’s about struggle or going
into the dark places of one’s mind. I’ve only ever written two “happy” poems in
my whole life, and that just to prove myself that I can.

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

Looking back, it seems like I was born with a
pencil in my hand. Always either drawing or writing. And when I was not holding
a pencil, I was running and dancing around. Little Me didn’t care for her 39.5
°C fever, she just needed to relentlessly jump and flail.

How and why I started dancing I is a simple story.
Our across the street neighbour told my mother about starting a children’s
dancing group in our local carnival club, and she thought this would be a nice
way to have me use my pent up energy. It was one of her best decisions.

I never wanted to be any kind of artist, or at least
I hadn’t planned to. In the end I just became Me with a raving passion to
create stories, and to move my body.

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, except you count the main characters
having a snarky and sarcastic kind of banter going on. This just happens
naturally. But I’m actually thinking about implementing something like this
now, like in Bones where there’s always a clock showing 4:47 in key scenes.

What advice
would you give young aspiring artists?

Go for it. And of course practice makes (almost)
perfect. It’s actually a good sign when you look at your old work and cringe a
little (or a lot in my case), because it shows that you’ve grown and improved
yourself. This counts for works both of the mind and the body.

ASEXUALITY

Where on
the spectrum do you identify?

It’s really hard to tell, the safest bet would be
grey-asexual, but there are times when I go “full ace” for different lengths of
time. As I have figured out thanks to my last relationship, if there is any
sexual attraction to happen it definitely isn’t towards male identifying
persons. Romantically I’m pan, though.

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

Not personally, so far. I think when it comes to
writing fanfiction where people try to live out their own fantasies (not
necessarily sex-wise), there are a lot of misconceptions about ace writers.
Yes, I am ace. Yes, I can enjoy reading smutty scenes. Yes, I am also capable
of writing them myself and have already done so. No, I’m not an innocent child
who squeals ‘ewwww’ as soon as the characters kiss.

I don’t know how it is with dancing. Luckily for
me, Gardetanz isn’t a dancing style loaded with sexual undertones, even though
the skirts are so short and your panties are visible most of the time. In my
group there was never any other sexuality discussed than heterosexuality, so I
don’t even know if my fellow dancers realised I was and still am utterly queer.
In the end, probably the same common misconceptions apply there as in most
other cases.

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

First and foremost of course, that it doesn’t
exist and I just haven’t had good sex yet. That it’s not natural. That I must
have lived through some trauma but maybe can be ‘repaired’.

When I was looking for a therapist for my
depression and anxiety, one said to me that I probably don’t want to have sex
because I’m such a closed off person. That woman never saw me again.

And being on Tumblr for quite some time now, I
noticed the astounding misconception that ace people don’t belong to the
LGBTQIA+ community, that we’re basically just prude/virgin hets-to-happen. The
first ones I can shrug off, the latter one really riles me up.

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

Don’t doubt yourself and your feelings (or lack
thereof), everything you experience and feel is valid. You don’t need to put a
tag on yourself if you can’t or don’t want to. There are times it feels like
the world just wants to spit in your face, but there will be a time all that
sh*t will go away to make room for all the good things.

I basically try to live by some wise words by
Charlie Chaplin: “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our
troubles.”

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

After a very long writing hiatus, I finally
published a fanfiction again. It can be found on AO3 under my username how_to_sit_gay. I’m
thinking about uploading my old (English) RP fanfiction after re-reading and
editing it as well, but this might take some time.

Said old tennis RPF can be found at poetry-of-dance.livejournal.com/tag/fic
but I probably really have to revise them as they are more than 8 years old.
Last but not least, a lot of my German short stories and (revised) fanfics
(2006-2009) are on fanfiktion.de/u/AngelOfFreedom

Unfortunately there are no videos from our Garde
performances online. You have to search YouTube for “Gardetanz” to get an
impression of it.

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