Category: fantasy

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

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

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

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today we’re joined by Sarah Neila Elkins. Sarah is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who specializes in novels and comics. She enjoys writing the speculative genres and her work features asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a talented 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 make fantasy, horror, and sci-fi novels and comics
featuring asexual protagonists. Since 2015 I have been more active writing
novels than creating comics due to having angio fibro dysplasia, a type of
chronic ossifying tennis elbow that kept me from using my right hand for almost
a year. I had to relearn how to draw as a result.

What inspires you?

I want to make stories that I want to read. I’m asexual but
didn’t know that was a thing until I was an adult and I have tons of queer
friends but, although it is more common to see LGBTQIA+ characters in stories
it’s less common to see them in fantasy and horror. I want to write the kinds
of tense, action-filled books and comics I like to read but with queer
characters.

I also really like Nikola Tesla, so working him or things
related to him in stories is fun. I guess it’s like writing fanfiction though
I’ve never been good about sticking with anything else for that. Every time I
tried writing proper fanfiction whatever I wrote turned into something original
without any characters or worlds from whatever the fanfic was supposed to be
based on.

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

I’ve been writing and drawing since I was a kid. I
daydreamed, a lot. Probably more than was healthy to be honest. Eventually I
started writing those daydreams down as a film script because I wanted to make
movies. Then I did research on the screenwriter’s guild and realized that would
never happen. Granted, that was before indie films got bigger. I decided that I
could just draw whatever story I wanted to make so I got into making comics.
When my elbow tendons essentially turned to bone I had to give up my comic
flatting job, my comic inking job, and comics altogether for a while. It broke
my heart but I was able to use a keyboard with my left hand and wrote a novel
to deal with the stress and depression I was feeling from losing my only source
of income and the only real job I had ever known. That book, Psychic Underground: The Facility is
available now from Ninestar Press. Thankfully, I have recovered enough to draw
again and even want to make a graphic novel. I’m still writing prose novels and
the second book in the Psychic
Underground
series should come out later this year (2019.)

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?

Nikola Tesla. If he’s not mentioned out-right he or
something related to him is in there be it a street name or invention. It’s
like ‘Where’s Waldo’ except sometimes I make it very obvious. I also like to
put my favorite number in things, 8, as well as Tesla’s favorite numbers 3, 6,
and 9.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Be mindful of your body and health. If your arms or hands
start hurting try to skip ahead and see an orthopedic surgeon instead of a
general doctor. If I had done that I would have skipped about six months of terrible
pain and one ER visit. Also, remember that just because someone gets a job or
opportunity you wanted that comics and prose writing isn’t Highlander. There’s
plenty of room. If you get knocked down, get back up.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am alloromantic asexual.

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

In my field? Years ago a friend who helped me get a big
flatting job said something to the effect of “asexuals aren’t queer”
but then she worked with another friend of mine who is asexual on
a queer anthology that the ace friend told me was welcoming to aces, so maybe
her view changed. To be honest she kinda hasn’t talked to me much since the
whole incident where she said she thought ace’s weren’t queer and that bothers
me. I don’t like not having closure if a friendship is over, you know?

Otherwise I dated an artist for years and when I tried to
explain to them I’m asexual and sex-repulsed/genophobic they didn’t take it
well. I thought they’d take it better since the main character of their then
pretty popular webcomic was aromantic asexual. We wound up breaking up and
tried to stay friends but the friendship imploded when my arm trouble got bad.
They said some things to me during the relationship that made me doubt myself
and they continued to do that when my arm was causing me excruciating pain. I
know I wish they would apologize someday but I’ll never get that closure
either. I’m not sure if that counts but they were a colleague I looked
up to a lot.

Beyond those two instances I have been out of the creative
game for a few years due to my arm so I’m just now getting back where I can
pursue jobs in both writing and comics. I have little doubt I’ll run across
more pronounced cases of ace prejudice and ignorance in the future.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality I’ve
encountered is that all asexuals are aromantic, celibate, and sex repulsed or
that they want to prevent someone else from having sex. I am celibate but no
aromantic. I am sex repulsed and genophobic but I don’t want to prevent others
from having sex. I just can’t talk about or see sex for long without having an
anxiety attack.

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

You are not alone. You are not broken. Asexuality is a vast
spectrum within the queer spectrum. You don’t have to be anything but ace to be
queer, either. There’s no real rule that says “you must be asexual AND
anything else also queer to qualify as queer.” You can just be asexual and
qualify as queer. Anyone who’s not cis heterosexual qualifies as queer. If
you’re asexual then by definition you’re not heterosexual. Don’t listen to
anyone who claims you’re faking your identity. You are the only
person who gets to define who you are.

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

I just launched a personal website: https://www.sarahneilaelkins.com/
I still haunt the hell out of Twitter: https://twitter.com/NeilaK20
I mirror posts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahNeilaElkins/
And on Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@NeilaK20
And I’m trying to use Instagram more: https://www.instagram.com/neilak20/

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

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.

Today we’re joined by Wolfie. Wolfie is a phenomenal makeup artist who uses makeup to create extraordinary looks. She has done a number of different things with makeup, from standard beauty to more fantasy and horror related looks. She has also done special FX makeup. Aside from makeup, Wolfie also dabbles in a couple other mediums as well. She’s a passionate and dedicated 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.

One of the things I do is makeup and special FX. Be it beauty, fantasy or horror. I mostly do whatever has
caught my fancy that day or week. I have done photoshoots, short films and even a wedding or
two with my makeup.

Which plays into my other mediums, such as drawing and
painting. I have a ton of sketch books filled with art, some I give
away and the same with my paintings.

Along with costuming which has been trial and error. As for my leather working I am still a beginner, which I was
learning from my aunt and now my dad. Also have been dabbling into jewelry making.

What inspires you?

When I was a kid, fantasy (books, art etc.) and music played
in a big part in my creativity.

Along with a rich family heritage that led to being a Pagan
Witch, lets me see the beauty in magic and life that goes into my art.

My Aunt also who is deceased now, was also a big inspiration
to me.

Being a writer and creative person herself, part of the LGBTQ+
community and Pagan, she always encouraged me to not give up and to pursue what
I love.

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

Ever since I was little girl, I was always drawing and then
moving onto other things as I got older. Heck, I even wanted to be a manga artist at some point!

As for my makeup and special FX, I give that one to my
family. We have always been big on Halloween and doing creative
costumes, which led to me eventually finding conventions in my late teens. It would also be my early 20’s to mid-20’s that I would go
to makeup school for it.

Which I am always learning new and creative ways to improve.

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?

Mostly just my name and other account names I would hid in
it, or just smack dab where you can see it.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. Self-doubt will happen where you think you
art, or you’re not good enough.

But it will be, maybe not in your eyes.

But others will love your art even if you think they don’t.

Never compare yourself to another, each of us is unique and
different. We go at our own pace and our artistic journey happen sometimes now
or a little bit later.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a proud Asexual Pan romantic 29 year old.

In my early 20’s I thought I was just Pansexual, but that
didn’t seem right to me.

It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that talking with a friend, that
they said “Uh Wolf, I think you may be Ace.”

So I looked it up and it started making more sense to me.
While giving me a feeling of relief that I wasn’t “broken”.

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

Oh boy, in my makeup field I have, since it slipped out one
time during class.

And mostly I just educated them, while being calm about it
and maybe a ‘wee’ bit of Sass when they asked a personal/ignorant question. But mostly, I just refuse to apologize anymore for being who
I am.

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

“Well, how can you be in a relationship if you don’t have
sex?” Is probably the most common thing I get.

Again I just calmly answers/educate, or (at times) Sass back
with a witty clap back that makes them go “Oh! I see! Sorry about that.”

But it is also just standing my ground and not letting other
tell me “oh but you just haven’t met-”

“Or have you seen a doctor?” etc.

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

It may seem you’re alone and others tell you that you are
broken, but you are not.

Don’t let anyone tell you differently, this is your journey
of discovery and your identity is real.

For your community sees you and you are loved, valid in your
right to not be silenced or harmed as you keep learning who you are.

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

My Instagram which I welcome anyone to join me! wolfie_shieldmaidenswitch

Deviantart: Moonlightwolfos

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

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.

Today we’re joined by Alice Chrosny. Alice is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in animation and character art. She enjoys drawing fantasy creatures and mythical monsters. Her work is extraordinary, showing an incredible eye for detail and color. It’s clear she’s a remarkably talented artist with a passion for creating, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a 2D digital animator and character artist that loves
drawing cute, friendly content from fluffy fantasy animals to mythical monsters.

What inspires you?

Animation! From television to movies, I was always amazed at
how fun and alive drawn cartoons could be. They completely captured my heart at
a young age and I knew I wanted to work with cartoons. For more inspiration, my
friends and a bunch of webcomic artists I follow inspire me to keep going with
my art and stay motivated.

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

Watching Dexter’s Lab
and PowerPuff Girls as a kid and all
sorts of cartoons in general on Cartoon Network along with Disney movies, Looney Tunes, etc. Ever since I was old
enough to hold a pencil, I’ve wanted to work in the art field in some way,
primarily in animation.

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 always write my signature with a dash and a tiny heart. I
always try to put or sneak hearts in my illustrations when I can.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

If you’re passionate about art and want to continue
creating, don’t give up.

Everyone learns and grows at a different pace and we’re all
walking our own different path. Life’s not a race and I know it’s hard not to
compare yourself to others, but you have to remember how far you’ve come. Draw
what you want for yourself, challenge yourself, take care of yourself, and be
kind to others and yourself.

You got this!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a Romantic Ace

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

When I’ve had to explain to people, they don’t always get it
or just assume I’m just a “late bloomer” or know me better than I do. However,
I’ve never personally faced any ace prejudice in my field, so I consider myself
very fortunate.

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

That aces don’t want to have relationships or be married. It’s
pretty easy for asexuals to be confused or automatically assumed to be
aromantic, too, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some aces want to have
relationships and some don’t and that’s fine. Romantic love isn’t greater than
platonic love. Love is important and comes in many different ways and forms
that we give and receive.

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

You’re not broken and you’re not alone. You can’t let others
define and label who you are. You only know what makes you comfortable or not.
If a label or identity feels right for you, then awesome, but don’t worry if
you’re not sure. Everything’s on a spectrum, not everything fits neatly into
place and that’s OK. You’re gonna be OK. Keep going!

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

You can find my work at my website: http://alicechrosny.com/

And follow me on social media!

https://twitter.com/alicechrosnyart
https://www.instagram.com/alicechrosnyart/
http://alicechrosnyart.tumblr.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/AliceApproved/featured

Thank you so much and I hope you have a Sunny Day!

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

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.