Category: fantasy

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.

Interview: Lucas Wilga

Today we’re joined by Lucas Wilga, who also goes by luci online. Lucas is a phenomenal game maker and writer. They create tabletop role-playing games and the first one is entitled Sundown, which sounds fascinating and I highly recommend checking it out. Lucas has recently branched out into writing short stories set in the Sundown universe. It’s clear they’re an incredibly passionate and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I make tabletop role-playing games, and I recently branched
out into writing fiction as well. The first game I’m creating professionally, Sundown, is currently in an open
playtest. It’ll have an official launch sometime next year. It’s light on
rules, and it’s set in this cyberpunk, biotech inspired fantasy setting. It has
transhumanism, politics, and sword cowboys. My work on it is mostly done, so
I’ve started occupying my creative time writing a serial of short stories set
in Sundown, starring a sarcastic
young monster slayer.

What inspires you?

Other games and works of fiction. I’m always itching to
design something new after I read a new game. Sundown itself came out of a modification of a different game I’d
recently picked up at the time.

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

I’ve always been imaginative. I entered the hobby at eleven,
and I started running games and designing adventures at fourteen. This
eventually turned into creating my own games, but I didn’t know I wanted to
make a career out of it until a year ago.

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 style is all about keeping people engaged, so my
signature has become brevity. I keep things short and snappy. Whether teaching
a game or weaving a narrative, it pays to avoid toiling too long on the nitty
gritty.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Especially when designing a game, start small. Keep your
scope limited. Know what you want to say and cut anything that isn’t in direct
support of it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t spend too long thinking about one
specific thing. Don’t try to create the perfect piece. You’ll burn yourself out
chasing perfection.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I don’t know if there’s a word for this yet, but I’m okay
with sexual things that take place entirely within my imagination. Things like
smut. Sometimes images are okay, too. But I have no desire for, and am usually
repulsed by, sex ‘in real life.’

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

I’ve had folk tell me to tone down the queerness in my work,
but I haven’t really encountered any sort of acephobia. There is a strong queer
independent tabletop role-playing game community, so I don’t really have to try
to sell to, or interact with, non-LGBT+ spaces.

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

The most common misconception, I’d say, is the idea that
asexual is synonymous with aromantic. Especially for ace folks in relationships,
it can get tiring to explain the difference.

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

This might be hard advice to follow, but just don’t give it
so much weight. It’s okay for your sexuality to shift or change as you grow as
a person and learn more about yourself.

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

Grasswatch Games is the company my two creative partners and
I created to work on Sundown. Its
website, grasswatchgames.com is
the hub for our current work. You can find Sundown
itself there, as well as my first short story. You can also find our Twitter, Facebook, and the Discord server we’re running Sundown’s playtest on.

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

Interview: CG Thomson

Today we’re joined by CG Thomson. CG is a wonderful fantasy author who is currently working on a seven-book fantasy series. She’s currently pursuing representation for the first novel of the series. CG is an imaginative and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a fantasy writer,
currently working on the fourth book of my seven book series while seeking
representation for the first book.

What inspires you?

Everything. 🙂 No,
really. I have so much wonder for this world we live on. I find inspiration in
nature, humanity, everyday life. I can spend twenty minutes marveling at
sunlight dappling the ground, lose hours by the sea.

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

I’ve been writing since
I was three. My mother chose storytelling as a way to focus her very ADHD
toddler and whether I was simply telling her stories or learning how to write
them down, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a writer of fantastic tales.

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?

There is always an
element of found family in my work, specifically a flawed heroic father figure,
a man whose daughter is not his biologically but chosen by heart. This is an
homage to my father who is (technically) my stepfather. We chose one another
when I was very young and he has defined my life like no other.

What advice would you give
young aspiring artists?

There’s so much advice
out there, and most of it is good, but no matter how good, no matter how
successful the person giving that advice, that does not mean it will work for
you. Figure out what you want from your art. Not everyone wants a career and
not everyone can make a career of it (I’m certainly still waiting to see) and
there’s nothing wrong with that. Figure out what you want and then figure out
what works for you. Sadly, there isn’t a formula for success, but if you’re doing
something you love and you’re improving regularly, you’re on the right path.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do
you identify?

I’m demisexual.

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

Interestingly enough, I
would have answered this with a no just a week ago, but when I tweeted a boost
to this website’s call for interviewees, I lost followers. That said, as a
cisgender female married to a cisgender male, I am heteronormative passing.
There is some privilege there and I acknowledge that and try to use it to raise
asexuality awareness.

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

That being on the
asexuality spectrum means a person must be sex-repulsed. Of course a person can
be, but frankly a person who is not asexual can be sex-repulsed. Likewise a
person can be asexual and sex-ambivalent or even sex-positive.

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

Understand that you
don’t have to “know” right now. You can be questioning. You can still be
figuring things out. No matter what, you are perfect and lovable just as you
are.

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

I’m currently seeking
representation, so there’s nothing out yet, but anyone wishing to keep up with
my process can find me at onaredhorse on Twitter.

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

Interview: Sarah Viehmann

Today we’re joined by Sarah Viehmann. Sarah is a phenomenal author whose debut novel, Unrooted, is scheduled to be released this winter. Unrooted is a retelling of Snow White that features two protagonists on the ace spectrum. When she’s not writing novels, Sarah frequently blogs about fairy tales and sometimes about asexuality. 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 am a novelist writing adult fantasy, a series of fairy
tale retellings beginning with Unrooted,
debuting Winter 2018 with REUTS Publications. The first book retells the “Snow
White” fairy tale and features protagonists on the ace spectrum, along with
other LGBT+ characters, disabled characters, and characters of color. Unrooted is the first in a series of
five books called The Iridia Series.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the human impulse that drives us to tell
stories. How do we use stories to communicate deep needs within the individual
and the community? How do stories changes based on who is telling them? How
have stories changed and how will they continue to change in the future? My
fairy tale retellings seek to explore, if not answer, these questions.

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

When it comes to fairy tales, I was introduced to them by my
father reading me Three Billy Goats Gruff
and similar fairy tales before bed at night. I also frequented the local
library and always went directly toward the 398.2 section where fairy tales are
housed. As for writing, I tend to joke that I’ve been writing since I could
hold a marker, but that really isn’t too far off from the truth! I’ve always
been inventive and a lover of words, so combining those two things into writing
seemed to be incredibly natural for me.

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 goodness … I’m not sure how to best answer this. I
think the themes that appear most frequently in my work include mother-daughter
relationships, women who have lost and regain their voices, and attention to
language. There are also many elements from my academic study of literature
that appear in my work, such as structuralism and mise en abyme (the mirror in the text), and those who might be
familiar with such ideas should be able to pick them out.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do it, and do it for yourself. Disregard any thoughts of
“what if no one likes it?” It’s yours to
like, and what other people think only matters once the work is done and/if you
decide to share it. Don’t let the input of others affect your creative process,
because then the work won’t be true to you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual and grey-biromantic. The latter part
of that is more nebulous for me and I slide around a lot. I tend to find
cis-women and nonbinary people more aesthetically attractive than cis-men, but
that could be a matter of circumstance than anything else!

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

Yes. I once pointed out amisia in a very popular book series
that appeared in the preview a few days before the newest book release. I spent
a weekend fending off aggressive anons on tumblr telling me I’d read it wrong
and I shouldn’t be upset by it. It’s difficult being in the minority of writers
and readers who can and do point out things like that in published writing (and
that’s not the only example). I still find it very important to point these
things out so readers and writers alike learn, but it’s always a little
uncomfortable having to be That Person. In addition to that, I try and model
positive ace and aro representation in my own writing as a model for what I as
an ace and grey-ro person would like to see in writing.

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

Recently, I think it’s the idea that ace people don’t like sex or are disgusted by it. That’s
not the experience of all ace people, and it shouldn’t be a stereotype. That
said, the experience of those who are sex-repulsed
should be respected.

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

It’s okay to try on labels to see what fits. You’re not
betraying anyone by adjusting the label over time to figure out what fits you
best. I had to play around with my romantic orientation a lot before I decided on one, and I’m still not wholly committed to
it. Also, seek out other ace folks, because on the whole I find we’re an
incredibly kind and welcoming community willing to help you figure things out
if you have questions.

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

My official website is www.sarahviehmann.com,
but I’m most active on Tumblr (sarahviehmann.tumblr.com)
and Twitter at SarahViehmann.
You can also find Unrooted on
Goodreads! Please stay tuned for its release and other exciting things leading
up to the release date!

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

Interview: Lauren Hemphill

Today we’re joined by Lauren Hemphill. Lauren is a wonderful author whose novel, Viridis, is available for pre-order. She has created a sci-fi narrative revolving around an aromantic asexual character, who is supported by numerous LGBT+ characters. Lauren has written the characters that she wished she had growing up. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate author with a bright future, 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 work is primarily fiction writing, specifically sci-fi
and fantasy. I focus on themes such as gray morality, loyalty, and friendship.
I also tend to write LGBT+ characters, with a focus on aro-ace orientations.

What inspires you?

Music tends to be what inspires me most, with instrumental
songs from various soundtracks being what I write to most. Excellent
storytelling by fellow writers also pushes me to do better, be it T.V. shows or
other novels. Seraphina, Orleans, and The Uglies being some of the novels that have inspired me
throughout my writing career.

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

Since I was a child, I have always been telling stories.
Originally, I sought to be a painter, where I could tell stories through the
canvas. As I grew, though, I found myself drawn to writing, and amazed by the
use of words and style to make a world come to life. The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld was the first novel that ever hooked
me, and is what ended up inspiring my road down writing.

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?

A common theme in most of my written work is the graying of
morality. I tend to enjoy playing with the idea that not everything is black
and white, that good people do bad things, and vice versa. I seek to show the
world as complex in my writing as it is in real life.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Advice I would give fellow artists is this: not everyone
will believe in you. Throughout my time as a writer, I have had many people
doubt my ability to be published and be successful. In those times, remember
how far you’ve come, remember that you need to be your biggest fan. All the
best things in life are hard to achieve, but I would encourage all of you to
continue your art, because there are people out there that need it more than
you could ever know.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

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

Luckily, I have seemed to dodge most prejudice within the
writing field. I’ve found a good group of friends and writers who support what
I’m doing, and haven’t had to face writers being ignorant of the orientation. I
have encountered people in the outside world who have disliked my inclusion of LGBT+
characters and believed asexuality to be a phase, but writers themselves have
come across as inclusive and kind in my experience.

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

I’ve heard most often that asexuality is a phase, or
something that will pass when I get older. As I have held no interest in any
gender in either a romantic or sexual sense for over twenty-four years now,
however, I don’t see legitimacy in the claim.

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

I would tell my fellow aces that it’s okay to not be sure,
and it’s okay to take things slow. You should also know that you’re not broken.
I know that’s common rhetoric within the community, but please believe all of
us that you’re truly not broken. It can be hard accepting your orientation when
it’s different than what the world would like to accept, but there’s a
community where you belong, and there’s a community that will support you as
you figure yourself out. Take your time.

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

My first novel, Viridis,
featuring an aro-ace lead and a cast of LGBT+ characters in a sci-fi universe
is for preorder now on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble! Searching my name on
either website will bring up my novel, or you can follow this link:

http://a.co/6fHcDAC

My website, winter-publishing.com,
is occasionally updated with writing WIPs and various other projects, and my
YouTube channel, TheKnightmare,
is a place where I review indie animated series. You can also follow me on
Twitter at knightmarelair and
DeviantArt at knightmarekm.

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