Category: author

Today we’re joined by Juju. Juju is a wonderful writer who is mostly known for their fanfiction. Aside from fanfiction, they also write some original fiction and are currently working on a novel. Juju includes aspec characters in everything they write. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate writer who loves what they do, 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 write things! Most of my readers know me for fanfiction,
but I also write short stories and I’m working on a novel! I also like to share
stories through little video games made in RPG Maker, although I don’t often
share them as much as I probably should.

What inspires you?

At the risk of sounding like an overenthusiastic alien,
humanity itself is my greatest inspiration. Humans are utterly fascinating.

We have the power to wage war, and also help each other in
times of need. We spend years learning each other’s languages just to
communicate with people outside of our own circle. We all share the same range
of emotions. We can communicate through looks without saying a word to each
other; even a smile is something we can share, if we have nothing else in
common.  

Our experiences are diverse and universal at the same time.
The relationships we have with each other—parents, lovers, siblings, friends,
workmates, etc.—are varied, but when you put it all together you have the story
of a life. It’s my privilege as an author to take a slice of a life, any
character’s life, and portray it for the world.

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

I’ve been writing stories ever since I learned what letters
were. I used to write little stories for my younger brother on notebook paper,
lying on the floor in my bedroom. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t read them;
I read them to him! In elementary school when they taught us the writing
assessment, I used to pray that I’d get a narrative prompt (sadly, I never
did).

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?

Unique feature? That’s a hard one… I have a terrible time
recognizing themes in my work; usually other people point them out to me and I
just accept that they must be right, haha.

I guess I can say I do enjoy writing about belonging; I like
to do character analyses in my work in the form of introspection. I also really
enjoy writing sibling relationships, especially if it’s found family and siblings.
I love ships as much as the next fan, but there’s something about “they’re like
a brother/sister to me”. That’s a deep platonic love that never gets as much
recognition as it deserves.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Make the content you want to see in the world. Who cares if
it’s entirely self-indulgent? If it makes you happy, do it! Do it, do it again,
read it and enjoy it; the best part is that sometimes, other people will like
it too!

Practice doesn’t have to be boring. How do I practice
writing? I read books. I watch movies.. I look at screenplays. I go to the
theatre, if I can. I play video games. I study the plot, the dialogue. Look at
your favorite stories—why do you like them? What’s your favorite part? How do
the character interact? Of course, grammar is important and the fundamentals
are there for a reason, but no one said practice had to be all textbooks and
essays.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m asexual! I find men and women both aesthetically
pleasing, but I don’t experience sexual attraction to them.

When I first learned the terminology I thought I might be
gray-ace or demi, but I realized that I was only tying into some of the myths
surrounding asexuality. I was letting people who didn’t know me tell me who I
was, based on generalizations. It wasn’t until I asked myself who I thought
I was that I was able to come to terms with my own sexuality.

I also identify as heteroromantic, or at least gray-romantic
to some extent.

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

Oh, for sure!

I think what I’ve heard the most is that I’m “faking” being
an asexual because I write nsfw content. That’s also the most laughable, since
I never realized you could only write about your own experience and nothing
else! I’m openly sex-positive; sex is a beautiful, intimate thing… it’s just
not for me.

I’ve also gotten anon hate on social media from people who
don’t like my headcanons, especially if they’re on the ace spectrum. If it’s a
LGBT ship it’s homophobic to have them as ace, if it’s a straight ship it’s too
pandering. Can’t win for losing, right? Beyond that, it’s usually the same old
“asexuality isn’t LGBT, you aren’t oppressed, make your own community” garbáge
that exists all over social media (mostly Tumblr).

It always hurts the worst when it comes from mutuals that I
trusted; sometimes people I considered my friends share or say aphobic things
and I want to shout “Don’t reblog those lies! Ask me, I’m right here, I’m
always willing to talk about my own experience with you!” But, if I said those
things, 9/10 times I’m accused of stirring up discourse or being too defensive.

I learned long ago to keep my mouth shut, write what I want,
and freely use the Block feature. Life’s too short to worry about what some
faceless person on the internet thinks about me, and besides: probably they’d
be too cowardly to say those hurtful comments if we were in the same room
together.

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

“Asexuals hate sex and look down on people who don’t.”

I know aces who are sex-repulsed. I know aces who are
married with kids. I know aces who are fine with giving, not receiving. I know
aces who only dislike intercourse. I know aces who have sex because, for them,
it’s a way to be close to their partner.

Sex positive, negative, neutral— we all share one important
thing: we don’t experience sexual attraction. That is what makes us asexual…
not our opinions.

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

It’s okay to be asexual.

If you think you’re 1% ace today and 99% ace tomorrow, you
can say you’re ace. If you’re not sure yet, you can say you’re ace. If you
think you might change your mind, or you’re using this label until you figure
yourself out, you can say you’re ace.

Sexuality is fluid and confusing, and it’s even more
confusing if you don’t experience it at all. We’ve been there. We are there.
We know. The people with the loudest voices and biggest hatred are often the
minority. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Remember to love, and allow yourself to be loved.
Love isn’t binary, it’s not limited to intimacy or romance. Love your friends,
your family, your pets, and (most importantly) yourself. Love is so many
shades, a thousand thousand nuances that we can experience together as humans.
Don’t lose hope by focusing on one color when you’re surrounded by a
rainbow.  

Having sex doesn’t make you less ace. Being in a
relationship doesn’t make you less ace. Wanting to be closer to your partner
doesn’t make you less ace. Wanting children doesn’t make you less ace. You are
allowed to ask for physical affection without it having to lead to sex. You are
allowed to want to kiss, to cuddle, even to make out or pet your partner
without it having to lead to sex. You do not have to do anything you are
uncomfortable with. You don’t owe the world, or anyone in it, anything that
will bring you harm.  

You are not broken. You are valid. You are loved.

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

You can find my work at https://archiveofourown.org/users/Jubalii!
Just look for the sheep, haha! I’m also on Tumblr at https://heyheyitsjuju.tumblr.com/.
On Tumblr I post fanfiction as well as more about my original stories, OCs,
etc.

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

Today we’re joined by Megan Hustmyer. Megan is a phenomenal visual artist and author who does a bit of everything. They paint, sculpt, and do illustrations. On the writing side, they write poetry and prose. Megan is currently working on a novel featuring an asexual succubus. It’s clear they’re a very dedicated and passionate 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 am an artist and a writer. I draw, I sculpt, I paint, and
I write prose and poetry. My work has undertones concerning self-love and
acceptance, which is especially potent for me personally as a queer creator. I
really love imagining queer creatures, aliens, monsters, realms and the like.

I’m working on my first magical realism novel, which focuses
on an asexual, non-binary succubus living in contemporary America. So they’re
pretty much screwed, but they make their best go at it.

What inspires you?

I’ve always loved fantasy, science-fiction, magic, mythology
and folklore. More recently I’ve been attracted to queer theory, particularly
the academic work of Ela Pryzbolo, an asexual scholar who writes theory on
asexuality. I’m heavily inspired by her mission to expand and fuck with the
limitations of asexuality/sexuality. I believe that a narrow definition of
queerness isn’t queer at all. Which is why I want to write about an asexual
succubus, it’s a great way for me personally to explore the identity of gray-sexuality
and be able to look at sexuality through an asexual lens.

I also love ‘We Were Witches’ by Ariel Gore, trees, and
affirming that nature is gay.

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

I didn’t actually start to think of myself as an artist
until I was in my sophomore year of college, majoring in fine arts. I knew
there wasn’t a way I could just not have art in my life. Before that, I
considered it a hobby. I also daydreamed a lot, and for a long time I thought
that it was unhealthy, but now I’ve come to terms with my imaginative
sight-seeing and I use it as a processor for my art, my stories, emotions, and
anything else I need it for.
Art itself is a fantastic processor. I’ll always be thinking about a lot of
things at once and it can be overwhelming, so the artistic process is very
helpful for me. I’ve always felt there was a link for me in particular between
art and healing. Especially when drawing or painting, I’m able to think in ways
on paper that would be too confusing in my brain. There’s a link to be made
between art therapy and tarot readings… hmmm.

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?

An underlying fondness for grossness.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Fuck shit up.

They’re gonna tell you that it’s hopeless, that it’ll waste
of time and you’ll just be a starving artist. Fuck that shit up. They’ll say
that the art market won’t have you. Fuck it up. They’ll say there’s nothing to
be done.
Fuck.
It.
Up.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Gray-asexual or as I’ve grown fond of, ‘grace’.

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

For the most part, I encounter ignorance. Whenever you’re
open about being something ‘abnormal’, you kind of also become a spokesman for
that identity, which has its positives and negatives. With asexuality, I’m
still learning about it myself, similar to my gender identity.

I met someone who considered even acts of flirting or
‘feeling sexy’ to be sexual in nature, which is an arguable stance, and yet
also admitted that the act of sex itself wasn’t always inherently sexual. By
his definition of sexuality, which also included dancing and finding people
attractive, I was sexual. By mine though, which is influenced by my conception
of sexuality in contemporary America, I was gray-asexual. He had also been born
in an earlier time in another culture. In that situation I was with someone I
trusted and I valued his opinion, so it was a little hurtful to hear that he
just didn’t understand my identity, but I’m glad we were able to talk about it
openly.

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

That asking whether or not someone masturbates is an
appropriate response to learning that someone is asexual.

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

Sexuality is confusing. It could be argued that asexuality
confuses it even more. Is asexuality a lack of something? Or is it a presence?
If it’s not a presence, then what is that feeling that completed me when I
first identified as ace? Even if you’re unsure (I still am most days), if you
know that feeling, you don’t have anything to prove. You’re not naive. You’re
not broken. You have the courage to claim a name that fits you, and you wear it
because you feel good when you do. That’s all you need.

And once again, fuck it up. Whatever that means for you.
Maybe it means taking a rad bubble bath and reading manga. Maybe it means doing
drag. Maybe it’s creating a loud sign and going to a protest. Maybe it’s
singing as loud as you can. Maybe it’s listening to your favorite album. It’s whatever
gives you strength. It’s doing what you need to do. It’s taking care of
yourself.

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

The novel I’m working on is still under the radar for the
most part, but I’ll be sure to post updates on it via social media and my main
website.

My fine art, sculpture, social practice work, can be found
here: meganhustmyer.carbonmade.com

My graphic design an illustration portfolio can be found
here: meginetdesignsthings.myportfolio.com

My Instagram:  m.g.aoh or _meginet

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

Today we’re joined by RK. RK is a phenomenal writer who writes a variety of things. Xi writes mostly fanfiction, though xi also writes a fair amount on Tumblr as well. It’s clear xi loves what xi do and is incredibly passionate about writing. My thanks to xi for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I have a variety of art, from knitting and jewelry-making to
writing songs and stories, to the more “traditional” artforms of
drawing and painting. I tend to consider myself a writer first and foremost,
feeling that writing is my vocation if anything could be considered such, but I
spend a lot of time knitting and creating colored pencil or watercolor
anime-esque portraits.

What inspires you?

Everything. Random thoughts, TV shows and books and movies
(for the fan creations), my kids, my cat, my partner, the sunlight pouring down
through the tree canopy in the backyard…. Inspiration is everywhere.

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

Always. I’ve been writing since the first time I could hold
a crayon, or so my mother tells me, and drawing for almost as long. I love
telling stories, whether it’s written or illustrated or even just making up a
story on the fly to tell my kids at night.

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?

Nothing so consistently across the board, I’m afraid.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Everyone begins as an artist at their own place and advances
at their own pace. It’s inevitable to find yourself measured against other
artists, fairly or unfairly, and it’s important not to let those measurements
discourage you from producing your art. Trends come and go, fads fade, but as
long as YOU are happy with what you’re creating, that’s all that matters in the
end.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I tend to identify as Asexual/Gray-Asexual Demiromantic.

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

In the regular world of art and writing, very little, which
may change if/when my work gets a broader recognition. Online? Occasionally.
I’m fortunate enough to have found a niche that allows me to surround myself
with people who also tend to be on the Ace/Aro spectrums. I see the
prejudiced/ignorant commentary on occasion, but very rarely has anyone directed
it towards me. Mostly, people who question me about asexuality/aromanticism are
honestly seeking knowledge, which I’m pleased to provide for them to better
their understanding.

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

Probably that being asexual supposedly means not liking sex.
Most of the people who question me about my being asexual express confusion
over how my partner, a cis man who used to identify as het and now identifies
as “RK-sexual”, can be in a happy and stable monogamous relationship
with me, an asexual, or how we have two kids if I “don’t have sex”.
This is usually cleared up by reminding people that asexuality doesn’t have to
include sex-repulsion or celibacy.

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

There is no right or wrong way to be asexual, only what is
right for you. You can ask other people for advice or assistance in navigating
how you feel, but ultimately YOU are the only one who can decide what label or
labels do or do not fit you.

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

You can find my fan works easily enough on AO3 (under the
pen name LadyShadowphyre)
or on Tumblr (“ladylilithprime” and “rkdoesartthings”), and I
have a Patreon as “RK Hart
(with the profile picture of a white tiger).

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

Today we’re joined by Jenna Rose. Jenna is a phenomenal author who specializes in LGBTQ+ romances. She has currently released two novels in a planned 5-book series. It involves a mysterious supernatural society and a pair of PIs who try to solve the mysteries in their communities. It sounds like a fascinating read and Jenna obviously loves writing it, 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 LGBTQIA romances. My favorite genre is fantasy, and
science-fiction, but I have some stories in the works that have a more
contemporary setting.

The books I have published are written with co-author Katey
Hawthorne. They take place in a world where a supernatural society exists in
secret alongside our own, and follow Lowell Kanaan, a private investigator and
wolf shifter, and John Tilney, an author and pyrokinetic, as they work together
to solve mysteries in their community. Lowell’s a gruff kind of guy with a
heart of gold underneath it all, and John (who’s demiromantic!) is a sweet and
tenacious oddball.

There are currently two books out in a planned series of five.
The first in the series is Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Arms Dealers,
and the second is Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Man-Eater. I will
mention that the books do contain sex scenes, so if those aren’t your jam, you
can skip over them or they just might not be the books for you. Thanks to the
publisher I’m currently with, sex scenes are no longer more or less required,
so future books of mine will not always have them.  🙂

What inspires you?

Man, so many things! I save pictures of places all the time.
Natural wonders, different kinds of houses, abandoned places… Anything that I
think would make for a cool setting. Other books inspire me too. I might read
something and realize hey, I’d love to see a steampunk story with queer
characters, or, it might touch on a subject that I would have liked to seen
explored more.

Also, I play Dungeons & Dragons and I find their
character creation system in the current edition weirdly useful for coming up
with character concepts.

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

The list of things I wanted to be when I grew up changed a lot
when I was a kid. One day I’d want to be a Power Ranger, then the next I’d want
to be an archeologist (because, you know, Lara Croft), annnnd then the
next I’d want to be a zoologist. But, writer was the one thing that was always
on the list. I loved how books contained whole worlds you could get lost in,
and I always wanted to create my own and share them with people.

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?

Haha! I don’t, but now I feel like there should be.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Be comfortable with things not going the way you expected them
to. There will be times when a plot point won’t always work out the way you
hoped, and now and again a character will surprise you and do something
unexpected. Hell, sometimes you’ll end up writing something completely
different than what you started with. And you just kinda gotta go with it.

When I was younger, when I dreamed of being a writer, I didn’t
see myself writing romance. I wanted to write Young Adult novels. LGBTQIA
romance is something I kinda stumbled into. Turns out, though? I love writing
romance. I’m having fun and getting to tell stories I love. It’s totally not
where I expected to end up, but now that I’m here, I’m glad that I did.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as biromantic demisexual.

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

I’m lucky to work at a publishing company that works hard to be
inclusive, so I’ve never run into any issues with anyone at Less than Three
Press, or with any other authors. However, I do unfortunately get the
occasional review that’s acephobic or just uneducated about asexuality in
general.

I think, like with anyone, I have my good days and bad days when
it comes to dealing with prejudice or ignorance. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes
not so much. On the days it’s harder to brush off, I try to remind myself that
part of why I write LGBTQIA fiction is because of how little representation
there is out there. A lot of people don’t know or understand what asexuality is
and, my hope, is by putting it out there in my writing that it will help
educate people. And if not? Well, my writing isn’t for them. It’s for
people, like me, who want to see themselves in stories. If even just one person
out there feels a little bit less alone, or realizes that they are not broken
and are fine just how they are, because of something I wrote, then that’s all
that matters.

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

This is a tough one. There are a few things I hear all the time,
even from my own family, but I guess the most common would be is that
asexuality isn’t a real thing. I’ve seen arguments that aces just haven’t met
the right person, that we need to experiment more with sex, or that we just
have low sex drives and medication would fix things. I’ve even seen accusations
that asexuals are making it up for attention, or so we’ll be included in queer
community without actually being queer.  

But the craziest thing I’ve heard? I’ve legit had my own family
tell me that my lack of interest in sex is normal for women. Lots of women feel
like I do, so clearly asexuality is a made-up thing and why do I need a special
label for it anyway?

It’s a lot of bullshit arguments with nothing to back them up
other than ignorance, sexism, and acephobia.

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

You’re not alone. I know that there are times when it feels like
you are, and that you might always will be, but nothing could be further from
the truth. There are people out there, both asexuals and allosexuals, who love
you and accept you for who you are. There’s an entire community eager to
embrace you. You belong, you’re valid, and you are loved. And, if you ever need
anyone to talk to, I’m here for you.

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

They can check me out at my website (http://www.jennarosewrites.com)
which has links to my Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media accounts as well
as information on where to find my books.

They can also head on over to the official Kanaan & Tilney
website (http://kanaanandtilneyinvestigations.com).

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

Today we’re joined by Eva I. Eva is a phenomenal South Asian visual artist and author. She draws portraits and character concepts, using a variety of mediums. As far as writing, Eva is currently working on two fantasy novels, both of which feature asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist with an incredibly bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m one of those artists who likes to dabble in, well, everything. Over the years, I’ve tried
out typography and hand lettering, crafts, music (I still play the ukulele
occasionally), writing, and drawing. Out of all those things, I suppose the ones
that have stuck with me would be the latter two.

Even with drawing, I can’t make up my mind. My style
fluctuates with my mood, the weather, every time I sneeze… This is evident if
you scroll through my Instagram feed; it’s like one of those repost accounts
featuring different artists. However, I am
consistent in the sense that I mainly draw portraits and character concepts,
and my preferred medium is digital art – although I do work traditionally,
using ink and sometimes watercolours, whenever the fancy strikes me. I’m hoping
to branch out and try illustrating more environments in the future.

As for my writing… I’m currently working on two fantasy
novels, both of them featuring ace protagonists, because I want to see more ace
characters (particularly those of colour) in SFF. I’m a slow writer, especially
as my mental and physical health are never that great, but I think I’ve made
good progress with both novels. I’m almost done with a passable draft for one
of them, which I hope to send out to trusted readers soon. I’m not sure if I
want to publish these stories or not – at least, not at this point in my life.

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration (haha) by consuming all kinds of art by
all kinds of artists. In fact, I’ve found it pretty inspiring to go through
some of the interviews on this blog! Whenever I need to recharge my creative
battery, I just read a book, study the works of my favourite artists, watch a
movie/show, read/watch interviews, and listen to some music. In addition to
that, I also like sleeping? I’m a permanently exhausted pigeon (aka I have a
chronic illness) so I tend to sleep a lot; I end up having a ton of cool
dreams, which I sometimes weave into my writing.

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

Creativity runs in the family, so I picked up art as a
matter of course when I was very young. I have vague memories of throwing
tantrums at the age of five when I couldn’t draw things the way I wanted;
thankfully, I’ve since managed to improve my skills (and my temper). I opened
my first art account on Facebook when I was fifteen-ish. I deleted that one a
few years ago, and started my current accounts on Twitter and Instagram under a
pseudonym so I can be more out about myself.

More recently, I started accepting freelance commissions via
social media, which has helped expand my reach (and my wallet). I wouldn’t
consider this as a career, yet, though. I don’t receive enough commissions to
depend upon it as a main source of income, so I have a day job of sorts, and
I’m trying to figure out how to get myself yeeted into college.

Writing has also been a huge interest for me since I was a
toddler; my earliest memories are of my father telling me stories. I was quick
to develop my reading skills, and you would rarely find me without a book to
read. From there, it felt natural to me that I would eventually write my own
stories. I’m a big fan of fantasy, so I read and write those for the most part.
I used to post my writing on Wattpad, but I’m a little more private about my
writing at the moment.

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 almost always sign my art, either with ‘EVA’ or
‘evadrawssometimes’. I don’t really hide anything special in my artwork, but there
is one thing about them that I can
confess to: I sometimes forget to draw eyelashes. I’m not very good at drawing
them either. I’m working on it.

In contrast, I think my writing contains many elements that
I feel are personal to me; I include puns (multilingual ones, too) and
references to real-life events that I’ve experienced personally, or have taken
place in my hometown. Those who know, will know.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Your art is a luxury, so if you’re offering commissions,
price them as such! You deserve to be compensated for your time and efforts.
(Still working on this one myself).

Breaks are good! Don’t burn yourself out just for the sake
of updating your social media. Your most dedicated fans will still stick around
even if you miss a post or ten. Maintaining a social media presence is not
worth the risk of burnout, injury, or even losing passion for your art.

If you’re offering commissions, try to include your contact
information on your profiles. Make it easier, not harder, for potential clients
to reach you.

Don’t feel obligated to post all your art on social media.

Don’t forget to make art just for yourself sometimes! Even
if capitalism says otherwise, you don’t have to monetise all your work/hobbies,
particularly when it comes to art.

It is acceptable – and good, even – to use references. It’ll
save time, and ultimately it will help you improve.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m ace, I guess. I’m still figuring it out, though I’ve gotten
more comfortable with my identity over time. I experience little to no sexual
attraction, aesthetic attraction to people of all genders, and romantic
attraction mainly towards people who are not of the same gender as myself (I
think??).

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

In my field? Not directly, I would say. I choose my audience
very carefully, and so far people have been largely accepting. I have come
across some misconceptions from others, but thankfully, most people have been
receptive to being corrected. I block those who are not interested in changing
their minds, and honestly? Best decision I ever made.

I’m not out in other circles except for a select few family
members, friends, and my current partner. I only come out to and explain my
identity to those who I think will be understanding. I don’t really mind
explaining, but it can get exhausting, especially when you’re dealing with
people who don’t listen in good faith.

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

One of the major ones I’ve come across is the conflation of
asexuality with aromanticisim, and asexuality with lack of desire for sex; the
Venn diagram of those experiences is often seen as a circle, when in reality
there are an intersection of various experiences, some of which may or may not
overlap depending on the individual.

In addition to that, there are people who believe that the
‘A’ in LGBTQIAP+ stands for ally and not
asexual, aromantic, and agender. I’ve also had someone suggest that asexuality
was a phase I would outgrow, or that I was simply nervous or afraid. There have
been other extremely harmful hot takes I’ve come across on Twitter by trolls, but
they’re too numerous and unpleasant to recount.

All of these misconceptions seem to multiply during Pride
month, which is disappointing but not surprising.

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

I would say… be open to the possibilities, and don’t be too
worried about taking your time figuring yourself out. It’s also okay to decide
on another label in the future; it does not negate the label itself nor your experience
while using it. Ultimately, it’s your identity and you are in control of
deciding who you are. Even if you’re not comfortable with/able to come out to
certain people, I hope you get to feel confident about your own sense of self.

I’ve also managed to connect with a lot of aces during my
time on Twitter, which has been a big help in affirming and discovering more
about my identity – and, incidentally, picking up on quality ace puns (and
pins. Gotta love well-designed merch by ace/LGBTQIAP+ artists).

Finally, I highly recommend checking out The Asexual (http://theasexual.com), an online journal
about asexuality run by Michael Paramo. The site includes content like essays,
artwork, and personal pieces, contributed by ace people of various backgrounds.
The Asexual has helped me pick apart many of my own misconceptions and find joy
in being who I am. You can find The Asexual on Twitter as asexualjournal (https://twitter.com/asexualjournal).

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

You can find me on Twitter as isthispigeon (https://twitter.com/isthispigeon),
where I sometimes post my art and accept art commissions, but mostly tweet
about art-related shenanigans. If you want to get to know me, or commission me
in a more informal setting, that’s the place to go!

I’m also on Instagram as evadrawssometimes (http://instagram.com/evadrawssometimes),
if you want to see all my art in one place without getting distracted by random
thoughts and terrible puns (though they sometimes work their way into the
captions). I accept commissions there as well.

I have a few phone wallpapers available on my Buy Me A
Coffee account (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/isthispigeon),
if that’s something you might be interested in.

Finally, if social media is not for you or if you wish to
contact/commission me in a more professional setting, you can reach me via
email: eva (dot) isq4 (at) gmail (dot) com. Currently, my writing is not
available anywhere.

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

Today we’re joined by Annie O’Quinn. Annie is a phenomenal artist who was previously interviewed for asexual artists. However, she has recently released her first novel and is very eager to speak about it. She writes queer urban fantasy, so you know it’s going to be an awesome read. Annie is a dedicated and passionate artist 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’m an author and concept illustrator, meaning I write books
but I also design book covers and other illustrations that are meant to tell a
specific story or message. I lean towards urban fantasy in both, along with
having a focus on diversity. My recently released book, The Defined Role, is a queer urban fantasy and I was also the
artist of the cover!

What inspires you?

Different things at different times! For instance, The Defined Role was inspired by theatre
heavily, along with the city of Charleston, South Carolina. There are many
books that have inspired me, many pieces of art, and honestly? My friends. With
them, I know I can talk freely, and they let me ramble on about my ideas and
their excitement fuels me to the point a small rambling idea becomes fully
fledged projects easily.

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

I’m pretty sure I knew I wanted to be an artist and author
before I knew that’s what I could be. I drew all the time and that was
definitely what clicked first as something I knew I wanted to do. It was
definitely animation that originally got my attention and everything evolved as
I grew up. I still wrote, mostly fanfiction, for a long time before realizing
that, oh, I can write, too! Now I would say a part of the reason it interested
me, as far as taking it seriously, was the community, too. I wouldn’t have
believed I could do it for a living without them.  

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?

Oh hmm… I wouldn’t say I have a signature. Although, in
writing, my editors can tell you how much I love em dashes. Many of them were
edited out, don’t worry! Other than that, I can show the cover of my upcoming
novel, The Defined Role! Drawn by
yours truly. 🙂 Along with the summary:

It is said that when you die, one
of three things happen: You receive an offer to become a demon, an offer to
become an Angel, or you receive no offer at all.

Samuel Stewart wants nothing more
than to be an Exorcist. Convinced a demon was responsible for his sister’s
apparent suicide, he has strived to prevent the same from happening to others.
However, he thinks his chances at fighting demons is lost once he’s deemed
unqualified to be an Exorcist. It’s only when he learns of Davis Turner – the
youngest person to have ever been possessed and survive – that his hope is
rekindled.

Davis wants absolutely nothing to
do with Exorcists. He’d much rather lose himself to a character on stage than
to a demon, but his childhood possession has left him vulnerable to demons, and
a risk to those around him.

What starts out as a wary
friendship turns into something neither of them want to live without, but when
the Charleston Exorcist Squad drafts Davis as their new member, the horrors of
being an Exorcist are revealed. Davis must struggle to come out of the draft
unscathed, while Samuel must go on a journey within himself to accept the
truths of his past ideals and search for something to fill the void left
behind.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay to not be successful right away. It’s okay if you
can’t draw or write every day, because the truth is? As an artist, you’re
always working on something. Taking care of yourself and experiencing the world
is part of the process of being creative. Just make sure it brings you joy
first and the results will follow.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m panromantic asexual! I thought I was demisexual before
learning it was more about the attraction than the willingness to be sexual.

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

Oh definitely. I’ve definitely been called a prude.
Honestly, I just handle it by knowing their wrong and not engaging. I’ve
realized that the best way to continue and take care of myself is to just let
it go. The arguments I used to have did nothing but give me negativity. I
definitely think those arguments should be had, but accepting I’m not one of
the people who can really made it much easier.

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

That we’re cishets and can pass as such, honestly. Oh, and
that it automatically means I won’t like sex jokes. I mean it’s always good to
ask if those type of jokes are okay first, but I was a theatre major, I was
surrounded by it. As far as passing, though, it’s hilarious because I am ace…
and I have a partner who is a transman. They just aren’t anything close to
synonyms, not to mention gender has nothing to do with sexuality.

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

Labels aren’t necessary, but if you think it fits, then
explore it. But explore it like you explore what you want to do for a living,
just like artists. It can change over the years, you can know when you’re born
or discover if extremely late in life. Picking a label now doesn’t mean it’s
permanent. People change, but self-awareness also grows. Just let yourself
enjoy who you are now.

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

You can find my author blog at annieoquinn.tumblr.com or, if you
want to see fanart and mostly just my art in general, my art blog is aoqart.tumblr.com. I have an author
website that is annieoquinn.com and you can find my book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46117235-the-defined-role

Here’s a link to my Tumblr post with all the different
places people can buy it: https://annieoquinn.tumblr.com/post/185942115382/you-can-find-it-internationally-as-an-ebook

But also here’s Amazon for the US for a straight (lol) link:
https://tinyurl.com/y5unodag

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

Today we’re joined by Ellannra Kingfisher. Ellannra is a phenomenal writer and photographer. She writes a lot of poetry and short stories. Ellanra is also currently working on a novel that she hopes to publish one day. It’s clear that she’s a dedicated and passionate writer with a very bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am, first and foremost, a writer. I write both poetry and
stories, and I am currently working on a novel that I hope to get published one
day. I am also a photographer, mostly in micro photography, but I also do the
occasional landscape or wildlife photo.

What inspires you?

My main inspiration has always been the way real, modern
life relates to fantasy, history, and mythology. So much of our day-to-day
lives is still dictated by the patterns we learned from our ancestors, both
real and not-so-real.

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

I didn’t learn to read until I was almost in Kindergarten.
Most kids at least learn the basics long before that, but I just never had
anyone try to sit down and teach me. When I finally did learn, though, I
couldn’t get enough. By the time I reached second grade, I was reading Harry Potter on the playground at
recess. I had pretty much decided by the time I reached middle school that I
would be an author one day.

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 have both a signature of my pseudonym and a logo. Right
now, they aren’t featured in any of my works, but that’s because they would
detract from my photos and I haven’t published any written works yet. They are,
however, visible on my Tumblr (which I’ve included below), and when I
eventually get either a novel or a book of my photos published, they’ll be in
that.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Find something you enjoy. If you don’t genuinely enjoy it,
you’ll never get anywhere with it. I can’t tell you how many stories I have had
to abandon because I started writing with a purpose and got so lost in that
purpose that I forgot to have fun. Let yourself be distracted. If you see
something shiny, go chase it down. Odds are, that shiny thing is your next
piece of inspiration.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am asexual, sex repulsed, and homoromantic.

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

Whenever I tell people about my stories, a lot of them tend
to wonder where the romantic part is. “How can you expect to sell a book with
no love story in it?” My response is always the same: “If I am writing about
dragons, then why would I include something as distracting as a romance? If I
want to read about pirates, then I want to read about pirates, not the hot guy
or pretty lady who lives on that one seaside colony.”

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

People, in general, tend to think asexuality is a
moral/ethical choice. When I try to say, no, the thought of sex physically
disgusts me, they just think I’m adamant about staying chaste and virtuous. The
only way I’ve been able to explain it so far where people who do experience
sexual attraction understand is this: “Imagine I take a piece of bread, a
shallow pan of water, and a sunny place. Those three combined creates moldy
bread. Now, you take two people, feelings, and hormones, and you get sex.
Factually interesting, on a level of ‘this plus this equal this. Huh. Neat.’
Now imagine eating my moldy bread, and you’ll get the same instinctive ‘nope’
that I get at the thought of having sex.”

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

There are going to be people who tell you asexuality doesn’t
exist, that you’re just too young, once you stop focusing on this or that
you’ll find someone who’s right for you, etc. Don’t listen to them. Nobody in
this entire universe knows you the way you know yourself. They don’t hear the
thoughts that run through your head, they don’t feel the emotions you feel, and
they certainly can’t dictate what you feel and what you don’t. So just don’t
pay attention when they try.

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

You can find me on Tumblr at ellannra-kingfisher.tumblr.com.
You can also email me at ellannra.kingfisher@gmail.com.
I am always willing to answer questions and share details about my work!

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

Today we’re joined by medina. medina is a fantastic writer who writes both fiction and nonfiction. For fiction, they write young adult and children’s. When it comes to nonfiction, medina writes narrative essays. It’s clear they’re a creative individual who loves what they do. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I write fiction for children and young adults! I also write
nonfiction narrative essays!

What inspires you?

nature, music, laughter

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

I always knew I wanted to write for the rest of my life. I
didn’t always know I would write for children and young adults.

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?

Hmm, I don’t think so! but if you find it, let me know!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

have something finished!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

oh, hey, cool so we’re getting right into it! I’m in between
demiromantic and demisexual.

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

I haven’t, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist!

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

That I just haven’t found the right one! Or that I’m
actually just gay or that I’m emotionally scarred, etc. Ah, what haven’t I
heard!

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

Embrace the journey. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to
know! It’s ok if what you think you know changes. no matter what, your identity
is valid.

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

www.medinawrites.com

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

Today we’re joined by Casey Wolfe. Casey is a wonderful author who writes in a number of genres with romance being a main feature in all their work. The author bio from their website:
“History
nerd, film buff, avid gamer, and full-time geek; all of these things
describe Casey Wolfe. They prefer being lost in the world of
fiction—wandering through fantasy realms, traveling the outer reaches of
space, or delving into historical time periods.  Casey is non-binary
and ace, living with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, all of which informs
their writing in various ways. Happily married, Casey and their partner
live in the middle-of-nowhere, Ohio with their furry, four-legged
children.”
My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m an author.  I
write everything from contemporary to fantasy and everything in between, with
romance as a main element.  My favorite
genre to write has always been paranormal.

What inspires you?

Really, it can be anything and everything.  I find inspiration in music, photography,
artwork…  I can find it while
people-watching or in a random piece of conversation.  I’ve even gotten my fair share of inspiration
from dreams.  I literally never know when
something will strike.

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

I started writing in the sixth grade.  We had to write a short story for an English
assignment and from then on, I was hooked.
I began writing more short stories.
I didn’t start thinking it could be a career until high school.  That was when I started to write my first
novels – nothing that has seen the light of day, but it helped me shape my
style and grow in my craft.

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 like to use star imagery in my work.  I’m also a geek and tend to include quotes
from movies/shows/video games.  I’m
always interested to see if people can spot the lines I’ve used.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Write, write, write.
You’ll never get better if you don’t practice.  You don’t even have to show anyone your work
– I know how hard that can be.  Just as
long as you’re writing, you’re getting better.
You’re working on developing your voice and practicing technique.  If you have a writing group in your area, or
can find a trusted group online, then getting feedback is also a helpful step,
but only when you’re ready for it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Grey ace and demi

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

I’ve been very lucky to work exclusively with an LGBTQ
publisher.  Everyone involved in the
publishing house, including other authors, are queer as well, so we don’t have
any issues on that front.  We’ve had
people ask questions, wanting to know more.
It’s a wonderfully open environment and we can all help educate as the
need arises.

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

We don’t have sex at all.
Some aces certainly don’t.  But we
are a large spectrum with a wide array of comfort levels with sex.  Don’t just assume because I’m ace that I’m
sex repulsed or that my partner must “suffer from a lack of sex.”  Trust me, he’s fine, and it’s really none of
your business anyway.  It’s pretty rude
to try to assert yourself into someone else’s bedroom.

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

You don’t have to “get it right” the first time.  You’re allowed to change your mind about how
you identify later in life.  Never feel
like you are being “fake” or you were “lying” because you identify differently
now.  And definitely don’t let anyone
else make you feel that way.  Give
yourself time and space to explore who you are.

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

Website: https://authorcaseywolfe.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorcaseywolfe
Tumblr: https://authorcaseywolfe.tumblr.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authorcaseywolfe

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

Today we’re joined by Robyn Beecroft. Robyn is a phenomenal mystery author who writes a series that features an asexual sleuth named Haley. Their series is called the “Dancing Detective” series and they’re currently working on the 3rd book in the series. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate author, 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’ve just started writing cozy mystery novels. I’ve written
fanfiction, romance and SF/F all my life, but I was intimidated by the thought
of writing murder mystery because I thought it had to be as intricate as an
Agatha Christie, and I didn’t think I had that level of complexity in me.

I didn’t realize that it’s easier when you’re writing the
book, because you know what happens right from the start – all you as the
author have to work out is how to hide the clues.

I have two books out so far in my Dancing Detective series, and I’m currently plotting the third one.

They feature two young sleuths who are trying to find their
way in the world after leaving college. Rory, a posh and nervous gay man, and
Haley a more down-to-earth asexual, non-binary person, solve murders deep in
the English countryside while they grapple with the challenges of coming out
and living their most authentic lives.

What inspires you?

I started writing these because I moved into the English
countryside myself – just outside Cambridge – and got into folk music and
morris dancing, which opened up a slightly bizarre whole new world to me.

I’ve always liked cozy mysteries, and I’d read a couple that
featured morris dancing – and now I knew that their depiction of the culture
was completely wrong, so I wanted to bring the fun and irreverence of the dance
into my novels.

That inspired Murder
of a Straw Man
, after which I ended up putting all my favourite things into
the series. Murder of a Working Ghost
is about ghost tours of the city of Ely,
and the one I’m working on now – Murder
of a Starship Captain
– is about science-fiction conventions.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, yes. Ever since I can remember,
escaping into a good book was one of life’s greatest joys, and I wanted to be
able to give that to people.

I’m not too bothered about writing the next great American
novel, but I just want to entertain my reader and give them a break from the monotony
of real life.

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 do anything like that knowingly. I’m always trying
to make the next book different from the last. But probably things repeat
without my knowing it. The subconscious is an amazing thing.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

If you want to write a book, just do it. Don’t wait for the
right time, or tell yourself that you have to have a certain level of skill
before you start. Start, and then don’t stop or deviate until you’ve finished.

It’s a lot easier to write a book if you know what it’s
about and what you need to write in each chapter, so writing a plot-plan first
will make things much simpler.

Sometimes your brain lies to you. You will get to a point
with every book where you think “I hate this. It’s rubbish. I would literally
rather clean the toilet than write this. It’s not working. I’m going to give up
on this one and start something new.” DO NOT LISTEN. This is a lie. It is working. You’re just getting into the
slump in the middle where writing is work rather than pleasure. Carry on
writing it anyway. Do not stop until you get to the end.

As long as you push through and keep writing until you reach
the end, you will eventually finish the book. If you start something new, you
will end up having written for years with fifteen unfinished novels and nothing
you can show to anyone. As Chuck Wendig says, “Finish your shit.”

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m all the As – asexual, agender, sort of grey-romantic. To
the extent that I have a romantic orientation, I’m androromantic, but I’m
married and I’ve only been romantically attracted to one person for the past 25
years, so it doesn’t feel like a present and active factor in my life.

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

I haven’t encountered any in my field, but then I’m indie
published, so my field tends to be me sitting in front of my PC.

I live in the countryside, which is about 20-30 years behind
the rest of the world when it comes to understanding of queer sexualities, and
I am not out to any of the people I socialize with. I listen to them talk and I
know there would be so much ‘gender and sexuality 101’ to get through before
they even understood what I was saying that it doesn’t feel worthwhile. My
family know, which is enough.

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

In my off-line life no one has even heard of it. I wear an
asexual pin and sometimes someone will ask me what it’s for. At which point
I’ll explain that it stands to reason that if you get people who are attracted
to the ‘opposite’ gender and people who are attracted to the same, and people
who are attracted to both, you must also get people who are attracted to
neither – and that’s what asexuals are. Everyone I’ve got that far with has
changed the subject at that point.

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

I would say, “It’s not a guarantee that you’ll be alone. If
you want someone to share your life with, ace/allo pairings work just fine as
long as you have respect for each other and consistent communication.”

I spent a long time – before I knew that asexuality was a
thing – being depressed and guilty because I thought there was something wrong
with me. Now that I know I was just asexual the whole time, my crops are
watered, I have accepted myself and I am much, much happier in my life. I
consider myself lucky to be ace. It is a nice, calm, peaceful thing to be.

I guess my advice would be, “try to accept yourself for who
you are. Don’t be your own abuser. Telling yourself you shouldn’t be [whatever
your sexuality is] never worked for anyone – it just makes you miserable. Why
be miserable when you can be proud to be ace?”

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

Well, I have a very sparse website here: http://robyn.beecroftbooks.com/

I have a Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Robyn-Beecroft-Cozy-Mystery-Author-347680635791392

Facebook has purged my personal account and won’t let me
back on that, so it’s the Page or nothing

I also have an Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/robynbeecroft/

Where I’ve started to put up pictures of the Fenland
countryside in which the mysteries are set, and I mean to keep it for the sorts
of things that Rory and Haley – my heroes – would enjoy.

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