Today we’re joined by Anne Hawley. Anne is a phenomenal novelist and editor who writes queer-themed historical fiction. She has a novel entitled Restraint, which features an ace secondary character. Anne is currently working on a new historical novel that features an ace protagonist, which is exciting (we need more historical fiction featuring aces). It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate writer who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about
I write novels featuring queer characters in historical
settings, exploring issues of identity and acceptance. I’m also a Story Grid
Certified fiction editor, helping other writers shape their novels and
What inspires you?
People’s individual search for wholeness and
self-acceptance. The search for meaning. My stories revolve around people on
spiritual journeys, and my editing work is focused on helping writers find and
tell the story that’s in their heart to tell.
What got you
interested in your field? Have you
always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been writing since I could read. I started my first
novel when I was nine. I was inspired by fantasy novels and wanted to create my
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 name something after a notable feature in my
hometown of Portland, Oregon USA
What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?
If you’ll permit me to change the question, I’d like to say
something to aspiring artists who may not have started young, or aren’t young
anymore. Ageism is real and insidious in our culture, and it has a huge
silencing power. Just as the dominant culture would still prefer it if you were
allosexual and cisgendered (though thank goodness that’s changing), it would
like you to be silent and invisible if you’re not young. If you have a story to
tell, tell it.
Where on the spectrum
do you identify?
Aromantic asexual. I think “autochor” is probably a term
that applies to me.
Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
There’s not much ace representation yet in fiction, and as a
person who came to the identity late in life, I’m still working to change my
own ingrained belief that “nobody” wants to read stories without sexual
tension, or about individuals who are fulfilled without romance.
What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That asexual people don’t really exist, and that people in
my age group who claim that sexual identity are simply resigned to being “too
old” for love or sex–or that we’re some sort of holdover from an earlier and
more prudish, sex-negative era. We aren’t.
What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their
Many, many people in older age groups like mine have never
even heard of asexuality. If you’re like me, hearing about it at a late age
might create a real internal struggle, especially if you’ve given a lot of
energy over the years trying to conform to old cultural standards of “normal”
It helps to read as much as you can about all the nuances in
the spectrum of asexuality, and realize that it’s okay to try on different
names and labels. It might take a while to feel at home with one or another of
them. But you might also find, as I did, that little by little embracing
asexuality solves so many mysteries of your life.
Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Anne, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.