Category: fantasy

Interview: Kedreeva

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

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

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

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Sarah Neila Elkins

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.

Interview: Elowen

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

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Wolfie

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.

Interview: CHM

Today we’re joined by CHM. CHM is a wonderful versatile writer. She has written in a few genres and styles. She mostly writes fantasy and historical fiction. When she’s not writing original work, CHM also dabbles in fanfiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

I really like ending books with the title when possible.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Alice Chrosny

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.

Interview: Elizabeth Wambheim

Today we’re joined by Elizabeth Wambheim. Elizabeth is a phenomenal author who writes novels, novellas, and short stories. All her work features ace protagonists (how awesome is that!?) and it mostly falls in the fantasy genre. She has already written an ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. She has also written a novel about the relationship between a male shepherd and a Viking woman. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate and creative individual who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am the author of a small (so far!) body
of published works that feature asexual protagonists and asexual relationships.
My biggest work so far has been a novel titled More Than Enough which is
a gay/ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. My first piece was a
novella titled Wolves in the Fold about a male shepherd and a female
Viking navigating a relationship as well as language barriers. I love writing
fantasy; reworking fairy tales; and establishing soft, supportive relationships
between characters.

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

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

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Ashleigh Nicole

Today we’re joined by Ashleigh Nicole. Ashleigh is a wonderful young up and coming visual artist who is currently studying illustration at uni. She specializes in character, concept, and storyboard artist. Her work is beautiful, showing an amazing use of color and line. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with an incredibly 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’m a second year Illustration student and my work focuses
on concept, character and storyboard art, but I also like to create random
illustrations of my own. I also want to move into comics at some point!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by plants, superheroes and fantasy- they
feature a lot in my work. But I also watch other people’s work on Instagram and
twitter and I enjoy getting inspiration from their work too whether its colour
pallets that I didn’t think of exploring or a brush technique.

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

I have always drawn, but I was actually set on becoming a
fashion designer since year 7. I changed degrees before I started because I was
filling sketchbooks more than I made clothes in my gap year and thinking about
selling my art. I still like fashion so maybe I’ll go back to it at some point.

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! I feel like I should though!

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Learn anatomy, perspective and colour theory. I still
haven’t done that to be honest but I’m on my way!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I just go by asexual- sometimes demisexual but very rarely.

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

I have encountered people (not in the creative sector just
in general.) that think it’s a choice…I have no words. Asexuality is still a
bit unknown in the wider world so it’s mostly a general prejudice towards
LGBTIA+ people that I’ve seen.

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

Many people don’t seem to understand asexuality as a
spectrum. People have different levels, if’s buts and whys and don’t experience
things the same as another person.

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

Find people like you! Whether that’s online or in person,
speaking to people who share similar experiences is great!

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

I’m on Tumblr, Instagram, and YouTube under the username
mashmato!
My portfolio is http://ashleighnicole.myportfolio.com

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

Interview: Jacob

Today we’re joined by Jacob, who is known on social media as Jacob’s Jottings. Jacob is a phenomenal author who writes both original fiction, nonfiction, and fanfiction. For nonfiction, he writes about autism and mental health for the site “The Mighty.” For fiction, he has mostly written fanfiction and original short stories, but has recently taken on two large projects. One involves a detective in post-war Britain and the other is about an autistic wizard (which is something i would absolutely love to read because it sounds fantastic). It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a writer, and I’ve really started to come out of my
shell in the last few years. I’ve always written short stories and never shown
them to anyone before, but that changed when my friends started writing
fan-fiction, and my English teacher at college told me to attend a creative
writing club.

Though I’m still very private about my larger projects, I
started publishing articles for mental health site The Mighty, one of those
articles received 32,000 hearts on the site, and got shared a lot on social media,
so I started to say to myself ‘what if people would like my creative work too?’
and here I am now, writing two large scale projects, one about an autistic
wizard, the other about a detective in post-war Britain. Not just that, but I
published some fan-fiction of my own, and I found once that was out there, I
found it a lot easier to write without much self-doubt.

I’ve recently finished college, and I’ve been accepted onto
the Creative Writing BA course at a university I’ve dreamed about going to for
years. I’m hoping this will really make my dream of being a full-time writer a
reality, even if it takes years to take off.

As well as writing, I also do a bit of photography, and some
digital design. I make all my own covers for my projects, as well as posters
for events, and I love going out and taking pictures. I often use the pictures
for reference for my writing, and it’s a great skill to have alongside.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in many things, mainly everyday life. But
I often find myself looking into what I loved as a child, certainly what
comforted me. Sometimes this is in the form of stories by other authors, such
as J. K Rowling, or Terry Pratchett, but other times its films and music, or
most importantly to me: knowledge. Plants, animals, and space particularly
always have heavy presence in my stories, and that’s because I love to learn
new things.

I’ve always written to escape the real world, so I suppose
it is natural that my other methods of escape blend well with this, I often
find that going to a museum or exhibition particularly fuels my writing, it
often ends in me trying to fit a lot into one box- my wizarding story contains
as much knowledge of the natural world as it does fictional magic for example.  

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

I’ve always been creative, and I was sure I wanted to
utilise that in some way, but could never find an exact form that suited me. I
tried art, and drama, and found myself not ever truly comfortable. I mainly
thank books, films, and television, for getting me into writing. The idea of
making my own stories was irresistible! I cannot pinpoint when it exactly
started happening, probably about five years ago, but I finally found that
writing (alongside reading and watching) was the most enjoyable thing to do. Then
it all fell into place, and I find myself writing all the time, even if it
never gets added to again- it’s fun.

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

Oh definitely! The infinity symbol finds its way into most
of the stuff I write, not just because of its use by the autistic rights
movement, but because of my fascination with the concept behind the symbol. I
also always incorporate types of birds as symbolism- usually owls, or penguins,
as they’re my favourite, penguins especially.

Playing with colour is something I’ve recently moved into, I
don’t have a single character that does not heavily associate themselves with
colours and their meanings, even if it is just a subtle inclusion. Blue for my
protagonists usually, a colour I use not only to create a cold atmosphere, but
also to show the presence of intelligence, imagination, and peace. Reds and
oranges meanwhile shows up my more passionate and instinctual characters, with
purple showing a combination of the two.

I also love playing with imagery, with many of my characters
having ‘hair the colour of fertile soil’ or the ‘great spurts of an ancient
wine, hemorrhaging profusely’- it can feel a bit forced sometimes, but it often
pays off, and I find it a great way of illustrating the worlds I’ve made.

I’m also told I tell stories in a unique way, my friend
recently commented that when she reads my writing, I am clearly telling the
story, rather than just creating it. I’ve never quite understood this
evaluation, but I’ve heard it quite a few times in several forms.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It sounds cliché- but I would say just do whatever you love!
I spent far too long worrying about what others think, and though that matters
if you want to make a career out of it, the initial starting of a new art is a
solo-activity. If painting makes you happy- paint! Everyone I know who does
something creative for a living started off doing it to just kill time, or to
help them with another activity, and it grew from there.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I use the label asexual as standard, to me, this means not
feeling sexual attraction. I’m confident in identifying as a sex positive
asexual, but I’m yet to 100% settle on my romantic orientation.

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

I think one of the strangest encounters in my life was when
I first explained asexuality to someone, without attaching the label to myself.
I was told its ‘unnatural’- for this reason, in my private life, I don’t talk
about my sexuality until prompted.

I also find that some in my age group is often sex-obsessed,
I’ve often been labelled prudish just for not wanting to talk about sex, and I
find it very hard to try and express my frustration with that. I am not at all
prudish, I just think about it completely differently to they do!

I incorporate it into my work- I actually find it harder to
write allosexual characters, and therefore many of my characters are asexual by
accident! And I do worry that some people won’t understand the representation
if they haven’t experienced it first-hand, but I do my best to write characters
that educate as well as represent now.

Outside of my field, I see prejudice and ignorance
regularly, insults such as ‘frigid’ and so on, I also see the constant
discourse present on sites such as Tumblr, and though I do my best to keep out,
I sometimes worry for our community, I hate the idea that anyone who identifies
as asexual will feel like it isn’t valid or can’t talk about it in case they’re
verbally attacked.

As an autistic person, I also find that some people think my
asexuality is part of that. I don’t think it is- and it’s quite insulting to
assume that someone’s sexuality is part of their sensory issues for example.
The two often overlap for me, and I also know autistics that do feel sexual
attraction and have those sensory issues anyway. Some people in both
communities would even say their sensory difficulties enhance their sexual
experiences.

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

Personally, I find that the definition of asexual is often mis-identified.
It means lacking sexual attraction. But I know people who are completely
convinced it simply means ‘won’t have sex, or won’t masturbate’- it is often a
pain to try and debate it with them, and I find myself bringing up articles
from the community to back my side up.

I don’t like discussing the personal details of my own
asexuality in too much depth with people who might not understand, and therefore
I think the extra labels of ‘sex positive’ are really useful when discussing
asexuality, as well as the other identities within the spectrum.

At the end of the day though, the only person other than me
who has a right to that deeper information is a partner, and I don’t think
asexuals should ever feel pressured to dissect their identities for another
person’s curiosity or because of an ignorant person’s misconceptions.

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

Firstly, it is okay to struggle! I found it incredibly hard
to find the orientation that best described me. I still think sexual
orientation is a fluid concept, and I think people who are struggling should
remember that. If something doesn’t feel right, find the label that does feel
right, and don’t feel guilty if that changes. Some asexuals might not find that
identity for a long time.

I myself often find myself wondering if I might be aromantic
as well as asexual, or demisexual instead of asexual, this is a natural part of
development. Just as sexuality in all its forms is natural. A lot of people go
through that internal debate. And nobody should ever be afraid of using the
label that best suits them.

I would also repeat that the only person who needs to be
happy is you. Come out at your own pace. Experience your sexuality at your own
pace. Some people don’t find the identity they’re most comfortable with until
they’re halfway through life, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s a thriving asexual and LGBT+ community waiting to
help you through it all, and the right people within it are not going to judge
you for struggling.

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

People can find my work in several places. For a more personal
touch, there’s my own Tumblr blog which is at jacobs-jottings, or my AO3 under the
same name (but without a hyphen).

As well as this there’s my new Facebook page, also called
Jacob’s Jottings, and my user page on The Mighty, under my full name-
Jacob Durn. If anyone is curious, my photography can be found easily on Instagram, where my
username is identical to my AO3 one.

My blog has a bit of everything (including personal posts,
and lots of reblogs), my AO3 some fanfiction, and soon some original works, whilst
the last two focus on my non-creative work.

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

Interview: Ash Kleczka

Today we’re joined by Ash Kleczka, who also goes by Umber online. Ash is a phenomenal visual artist, an all-around fantasy enthusiast. They love using visual art to tell a story and highlight beauty. Their images show a unique style and a very vivid imagination. It’s clear Ash loves to create, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a fantasy illustrator, a painter, concept artist, and
all around enthusiast… I was going to add more to that statement, but
honestly I think ‘enthusiast’ about covers it. I get really excited about
concepts that are self-reflective in some way, or that highlight an unexpected
beauty.

I really try to create art that tells a story.  

What inspires you?

Nature, mythology, the occult. Things that are taboo or
archaic. I’m also deeply inspired by role-playing games like D&D and the
character building process.

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

The simple, inelegant answer is that I got into visual arts
because I was dissatisfied with the attractiveness of some characters from a
video game I was into at the time – and I wanted to make characters that would
appeal to me.

It’s an ongoing struggle haha.

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

My super-secret naming convention for pretty much any
character I’ve ever created ever is to try to match their
personality/appearance/some interesting feature to a bird or other natural
flora or fauna and then I build their name around the scientific binomial of
that thing.

So for example, one character named Cyril Alcyon is based
around the belted kingfisher megaceryle
alcyon
. Another is named Melia Edarach which is taken from the chinaberry
tree, or Melia azedarach.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

My advice is to just keep going. It’s OK for things to not
look exactly as they do in your head, or to be dissatisfied with where you are
with your art. It means that you have room to grow! Stay open to new ideas and
roll with the punches. Art, like life, is full of happy accidents.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Grey-Ace/Pansexual

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

I’m not particularly open about my sexuality in the
workplace, but the few times it’s come up typically end with the person I’m
talking to feeling sorry for me. It’s not hateful – just a lack of
understanding. So I try my best to explain that it’s not a negative part of my
life experience. It’s just an orientation in the same way that being gay, or
bisexual is.

I have encountered prejudice
in my personal life however. One instance was in my last D&D
campaign. I played an ace/aro character, and was met with some questionably in-character commentary from
another player. That was really the first time I’d encountered something like
that in the wild before, and honestly…I’m open to advice myself.

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

That it’s something to be fixed.

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

Find people you trust that you can talk to, and be patient
with yourself. Sometimes it’s not as simple as just being one piece of the big
sex/gender pie. Sometimes you’re a triple decker slice of pie with whipped
cream and cherries.

I’ve found it really helpful to talk to my husband (who’s
allo) to see where we differ. Sometimes the answers you’re looking for are in
the empty spaces between two truths.

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

I have a website umbertheprussianblue.com!

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter at ThePrussianBlue

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