Category: writer

Interview: Hadley

Today we’re joined by Hadley. Hadley is a wonderful writer who mostly does co-writing. They’re essentially a ghostwriter for their friends as they prefer to just help with plots and characters. They clearly enjoy writing, 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 wouldn’t necessarily call it art, but I guess to some it
could be perceived as much. I mostly help others with writing stories and help
with plot lines, characters, and keeping things balanced. I’m essentially a
co-writer, but most of the times I request to not be specifically named because
of personal reasons. I myself write, mostly for myself and friends, but when I
run low on enthusiasm I really enjoy helping others.

What inspires you?

Anything. I have an over active mind so absolutely anything
can get mind running. Specifically, though, hanging out with friends, listening
to music, playing video games, and watching Netflix get my mind really moving.

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

It was Darren Shan’s book series Cirque du Freak that really clicked with me. I started reading it
in 6th grade and it really opened my eyes to all the possibilities
in the world of literature. I continued to read all his books that I could get
my hands on, and, eventually, I found out about free online books through Nook,
Kindle, and even Wattpad.

Back then I thought I was going to either die before I
graduated high school, or I was going into the military, but I remember wanting
to be a musician of some sort. I never imagined myself becoming a
co-writer/author.

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?

Gore. Mostly in a way to pay homage to Darren Shan.
Sometimes the genres I work with won’t allow that so it’s only sometimes.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do it while you have the motivation. Write, draw, sing,
dance, whatever while you have the courage and enthusiasm to do so. Its best to
do it now and live with the experience later, good or bad.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I honestly just identify with asexual. I don’t really try to
focus on specifics and I feel like I would hurt my head trying to really grind
down to the root of my sexual identity. I mostly just find sex unnecessary and
I’m generally repulsed by the thought of ever engaging in any suggestive
activities.

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

In my field, no, definitely not. I have encountered some
confusion with people that I’ve worked with, but that was simply them
misunderstanding what it meant or what it was. I mostly just try to understand
their confusion and work with them so they can learn from their mistake.

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

That all aces will die alone. I myself might, but I find it
odd that people assume that, just because I don’t find sex a need in a
relationship, it immediately wipes the dating board clear. It’s frustrating
cause it insinuates that the only reason people get partners is for sex and
that asexuals themselves cannot satisfy a partner to the same extent. It’s just
plain aggravating.

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

Just chill out. Finding out your orientation doesn’t have to
be a struggle, it can be an experience if you let it. Just go with the flow of
things and let tides of life take you to where you’re supposed to go. Your
sexuality doesn’t have to be at the forefront, so take your time and
experiment. Imagine yourself in different situations, play with ideas in your
head, hell, test out your ideas (but safely please). And don’t be so set in
stone. Sexuality is fluid so when something changes, don’t worry.

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

As of right now nowhere. As I said before I don’t say when
I’ve helped write a book and I have agreements with some of the people that
I’ve helped to not disclose who co-wrote. It’s for safety and personal reasons
mostly. But, I hope to soon be posting some of my own personal writing to my Tumblr
bigolwheatboy.tumblr.com (a
silly name, I know). But for now, I’m going to remain anonymous.

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

Interview: Minerva Cerridwen

Today we’re joined by Minerva Cerridwen. Minerva is a phenomenal SFF author and visual artist. For writing, she has a story published in Unburied Fables and recently released her novella, The Dragon of Ynys (which features an aro-ace main character). Visual art is more of a hobby for her, though she does do commissions. Minerva does handlettering and draws, using traditional mediums such as pencils and ink. It’s clear she’s a very 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.

I’ve always
loved writing, and to my great joy I can call myself a published author these
days. I mainly write fantasy and science fiction and sometimes dabble in poetry
and horror. So far I’ve got a short story in the queer fairy tale anthology Unburied Fables and my debut novella, The Dragon of Ynys, came out in May 2018.

The Dragon of Ynys is a light fantasy tale suitable for all ages,
starring aro/ace main character Sir Violet, the knight of Ynys. He helps Holly,
a trans woman, to find her missing wife, the baker. They suspect the
ever-thieving dragon who lives near the village might have something to do with
her disappearance…

Cover by Kirby Crow

I also love
drawing and handlettering, using traditional materials—mainly because I haven’t
had the time yet to learn more about digital art. I like to experiment with
different techniques: I’ve been using pencils, watercolour, brushmarkers and
ink, both for original works and fanart. I wouldn’t mind taking this to a
professional level someday, but so far I’ve mainly been drawing for myself and
my friends.

What inspires you?

I grew up
with fairy tales, both the ones my mother read to me as a child and all the
Disney movies I watched so many times. It’s no wonder that I love writing fairy
tales myself. However, the big difference with the tales I consumed at a young
age is that there will always be queer characters in my stories. It’s so
important to be able to relate to characters when you’re trying to figure out
your own identity, and I feel like it took too long before I finally
experienced that moment myself. Once you’ve seen your identity validated in
popular media, it’s so much easier to accept who you are, rather than to
believe those who say you can’t feel the way you feel or be the way you are.

I hope that
my writing will make it easier for future generations to find stories that tell
them they’re not alone, not broken, and that teach them acceptance towards
others as well. In that light, I write the stories that I would love to read
myself, with all the dragons and magic and hopefully wittiness that I adore in
the works of Pratchett, Rowling, Tolkien and other masters.

For more
specific inspiration, my friend Fie and I started a project in 2013, inspired
by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-golden Tales. Every week, she took a picture for
which I wrote a ten-sentence story. These days we’ve dialled it down to two
photo-story combinations per month, but Paranatellonta
is still going strong after five years! Getting random prompts from friends is
a great way to stay inspired at all times.

When it
comes to visual art, getting an Instagram account has definitely done wonders.
There are a lot of awesome artists out there whose samples inspired me to try
new techniques. Every month there are challenges going around in different
themes, for any kind of art actually, but in my case those mainly influenced my
handlettering. Practice really helps! I also finished Inktober last year. It
once again proved that an inspiring prompt doesn’t need to be more than one
word or one image. You can see my Inktober drawings if you scroll down a little
on my Instagram.

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

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. As
I said, my mother read fairy tales to me from a young age, and once I learned
to read myself, my greatest joy was to discover more fun stories. There were
never enough of them, so it only made sense that I wrote down my own as soon as
I could. Surrounded by those fictional adventures, somewhere deep inside I knew
what adventure I wanted to have myself, even when I was five years old: I
wanted to be an author, like those wonderful people who’d given me all those
beautiful tales to enjoy.

My drawing
story is completely different. For a very long time I was convinced I couldn’t
draw at all. I just didn’t have the talent. Looking back at art class in
school, I feel like they never stressed the importance of studying references
enough. I was always doodling in my school books for fun, but it never felt
like that counted.

Fast-forward
to when I’d finished university and my parents were celebrating their 25th
wedding anniversary. I didn’t have much gift inspiration, and they joked about
a “grown-up” child making a drawing for their parents—and the fact it
was a joke tells you enough about how much the arts are respected unless you’re
a Big Name. I often feel like our society expects people either to be a grand
artist or talentless, and the fact that there must be a learning process in
between is often completely neglected.

Anyway, I
went through with it, and as I was drawing my parents from a reference photo,
it turned out pretty okay (especially considering it was supposed to remind
them of a child’s drawing). Most important of all, I had a lot of fun working on it. I’d been looking at a
lot of art online since I’d last taken up a pencil, and combined with using a
reference for the first time, I could see I’d massively improved since my last
school drawing years earlier.

From that
point on I let my more artsy friend Fie convince me to take part in courses on
Skillshare to improve my drawing techniques and handlettering. Now, almost five
years after that anniversary drawing, I actually feel like I’ve made some
pretty things!

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?

As I
mentioned above, you’ll find many fairy tale elements and queer characters in
my writing. More specifically, you’ll encounter a lot of dragons and spiders.
The dragons are a more conscious choice than the spiders, who just always
happen to show up… Just like in real life, I suppose.

I don’t
think I have any recurring elements in my visual art, but I’ve been using a
signature since late 2016. It’s made up of the initials of both my pen name and
legal name.

What advice would you give young aspiring
artists?

I think
it’s an important message that you can always learn and improve. That’s
something I only truly learned from starting to draw. I’d always been
“born” a writer: I started at a very young age and people told me I was
talented. But I had to work to become
better at visual art, and that made me realise that the reason why I’d loved
writing all my life was that I’d been exposed to so many stories to learn from.
Having played with words from a very young age, stories had never been the big
“mystery” that a beautiful piece of art was. So what I mean to say
is: people aren’t born a Grand Artist. They become them. And going down into
history means you’ve worked hard, but also that you were lucky (or, in some
cases, unlucky) enough to have your name picked up and talked about. But that
luck, too, is something you can influence by promoting your work. Like doing
interviews on awesome websites. 😉

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual
and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum, but I usually go with “aro-spec”
rather than a more specific label, because it’s difficult for me to figure that
one out.

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

There’s
certainly a lot of ignorance. Even in some queer organisations, it seems the A’s
are often forgotten. I can only hope that my stories will spread more
knowledge, while still being entertaining rather than feeling like a lecture.

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

That
asexuality would mean you never have sex. It can mean that, and I guess it does for me. There’s certainly
nothing wrong with a life without sex. But for sex-positive aces it makes
things all the more confusing to figure out their orientation when people keep
asking: “But you’ve enjoyed having sex, how can you be ace?”

Aside from
that, I think that asexuality and aromanticism are too often considered the
same thing. This also makes it hard to find a label that fits you when you do
experience romantic attraction but no sexual attraction, or the other way
round. When different sources tell you that you need to feel things a certain,
very specific way in order to identify as ace or aro, it can be a long search
to find a label that fits. And of course not everyone needs to label their orientation, but in my own experience finding
the names and other people who used them certainly helped to stop thinking I
might be broken or wrong.

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

You’re not
alone and you’re not broken. For me it was a massive help to enter queer spaces
(in my case on Tumblr) and read experiences from other queer people. It made me
discover terms (like asexual and aromantic) which I’d never heard of before I
made a Tumblr account almost 10 years ago. It showed me that they weren’t some
kind of theoretical concept, but a whole spectrum of people who experienced things in different ways—and some of their
experiences were just like mine! Suddenly I was no longer “the weird
one”. Which actually took me some time to adapt to, because I’d become
quite used to being “just odd” and labelling myself that way 😛

However, in
the long run, learning about all flavours of queer (be it through books, blogs,
or directly talking to others) taught me to be more open-minded in general and
made me more comfortable with myself.

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

My website
is http://minervacerridwen.wordpress.com/. There you find everything about
both my writing and drawings, with links to my social media. Feel free to
follow me!

Paranatellonta,
a flash fiction project inspired
by my friend’s photography, can be found at http://paranatellonta.tumblr.com/. It updates twice a month and you can read
all the stories and see all the pictures for free.

My visual art can be found
here: https://www.instagram.com/minerva_cerridwen/. I’m posting pretty much everything I draw
on Instagram, showing my learning process with both the pieces that worked out and
the ones that didn’t. Mainly because I find it interesting to track my own
evolution and learn from that in turn!

Other places you can find
me:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/minerva_cerr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/minervacerridwen/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15904760.Minerva_Cerridwen

And places
to buy my stories:

– The
Dragon of Ynys (Publisher | List of other retailers)
– Unburied Fables (Amazon)

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

Interview: Phoebe Barton

Today we’re joined by Phoebe Barton. Phoebe is a phenomenal science fiction author who specializes in hard science fiction. She enjoys writing women-centered fiction and has published a few stories online. Her work has a lot of relevant themes and sounds positively fascinating. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Portrait by Philippe McNally

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I write science fiction; people have tended to describe it
as hard science fiction, and while I don’t agree with the way “hard science
fiction” is often wielded as a hammer to invalidate peoples’ work, I do try to
get things as correct as I can with the knowledge I have access to. If I can’t
believe the accuracy of something, what business do I have expecting a reader
to believe it?

I prefer writing stories that centre around women, and some
of my favourites are the ones that include no men at all – even before I knew I
was a trans woman, I knew that was what made it more comfortable for me to
inhabit the story’s world. Since I started being published I’ve only written
from two masculine perspectives, and one of them is a character in my
still-unpublished, desperately-in-need-of-redrafting novel. Themes of isolation
come up a lot in my work as well, with stories set in places like the rings of
Saturn or Earth orbit or the fringes of the known galaxy, which owes a lot to
my own isolation growing up on the suburban edge of Central Ontario.

What inspires you?

Thinking about all the wide and diverse possibilities of
what the future could hold, of what could become of us if we’re wise enough to
know what we’re doing while we reach for it. A lot of my characters are
genetically engineered or technologically enhanced in some way or another, and
I’ve always been inspired by how the vast canvas of science fiction can allow
us to look at new things in new ways, as long as we’re careful to not fall into
familiar pitfalls.

I’ve also been inspired to write stories as rebuttals to
obscure, nearly-forgotten science fiction stories from decades ago. There were
a lot of problems with the genre back then – there still are, to be honest –
but I think that building something modern on its foundation is beneficial.

Sometimes, too, it’s just things that jump out at me in the
course of ordinary reading that sends me on trajectories I never would have expected.
Sentences in Wikipedia articles have unfolded into stories, and Foz Meadows’ Manifold Worlds books got me thinking
about new story possibilities I might not have considered otherwise.

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

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in science
fiction – I grew up with a library of Star
Trek
VHS tapes and tie-in novels – and I’ve been writing for about as long.
My earliest breakthrough was in high school, when my Grade 9 English teacher
gave me a 10/10 for a short story that, honestly, wasn’t very good, but it was
the first time I’d ever got a hint that there might be something to stringing
all these words together. I never thought of pursuing it in an organized, focused
way until fairly recently, though.

When I was a teenager, I read the Writer’s Handbook 1998
Edition over and over, as if it contained all the secrets for success I’d ever
need to know. My original copy disappeared in a move, so I bought a used copy a
little while ago and still read through it occasionally. I think it’s good to
be aware of your personal journey, where you started and how far you’ve come.

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 enjoy building puns into the framework of a story, but
mostly the sort that don’t immediately present themselves as such. The entire
concept behind my story “One to Watch,” for example, was derived from a
multilingual pun.

Beyond that, all my stories take place in the same setting,
in different points of space and time. There’s something calming and focusing
about gradually building something intricate out of ordinary parts. The
unifying threads can be hard to see sometimes, but they’re usually there.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t wait until everything feels perfect. Press on with
what you have, and keep pushing. Some of it will taste pretty sour after you’ve
been at it for a while, but that only means you’ve learned and grown as an
artist.

Be curious, and be aware of the context your art lives in! I
didn’t even know that there were
markets for short science fiction when I was just starting out. The more you
know, the more you’re capable of.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a sex-repulsed grey-asexual. It took me a
long, long time – we’re talking decades
– before I realized that, no, this is not the way everyone is. Most people
don’t think of sex the same way as that Fear
Factor
challenge where they put you in a giant tank and then fill it to the
brim with wriggling mealworms.

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

I’ve been fortunate to not encounter very much of either.
Granted, it’s not something I talk about much either, so it may be that my luck
comes from not bringing it up.

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

That it’s not a thing that exists.

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

You are valid and you are not broken. As much as this
culture might want to justify it as “being a late bloomer,” sex is not the be-all
and end-all of life. You are not the only one going through this, and you don’t
have to justify yourself to anyone.

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

I’ve recently opened an author website at www.phoebebartonsf.com with a
bibliography, links to my online fiction and non-fiction, and some other bits
of interest. Some of my stories are available to read for free online at www.curiousfictions.com. I also
maintain an older blog, www.actsofminortreason.com,
where I run a couple of science fiction review series, among other things.
Additionally I’m active on Twitter at aphoebebarton.

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

Interview: Jules

Today we’re joined by Jules. Jules is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who specializes in visual storytelling. They currently have a webcomic called Surface that regularly updates and revolves around the adventures of three lizard-like kids. They have done a number of smaller projects and are currently planning a large project for the near future. It’s clear they’re an incredibly passionate artist who loves what they do, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is very much based around narrative. I guess
the first thing to talk about would be my webcomic, Surface. It’s about these three lizard-like kids who are trying to
get back home after sneaking out in the middle of the night. As of June 2018,
it started its second chapter, and updates every week on Thursdays!

I have another big project that I’m working on,
too. It’s in the development phase and will probably start up after Surface, or after I graduate college,
haha. It’s about these five people — experts in their fields — who go on an
expedition into the Shadowed Lands and find out what is causing the
ever-spreading darkness. I share the concept work for this pretty frequently.

Other smaller things I’ve done include a mini
comic called Space Bear (science
fantasy comedy about a bear goes to space to look for bees), a series of
supernatural travel guides for real places, and a zine called I Am Not a Girl (about my own discovery
of my identity).

I’m always working on a comic or some other visual
narrative! It’s what I love to do the most.

What inspires you?

Stories that I love! I know it might seem a bit
silly, but watching my favorite shows or reading my favorite books or playing
my favorite video games makes me want to make my own things! Those are the
biggest things, but to be completely honest, almost anything inspires me. I
love animals and plants and cool sounds and clouds and the feeling of rain, I
love meeting people, I love so much about life!

My characters and stories feel just as real and
important to me as all of those things, too. So when I think about how happy I
get when I interact with the world around me, it encourages me to work on my
own things. I love my characters and worlds! I want to share them with other
people!

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

When I was very young, I wanted to be a
veterinarian, but then I realized that would involve stuff like performing surgery
on them or sometimes putting animals down, so I stopped wanting that.

I’ve pretty much always loved storytelling, and I
loved drawing. Put them together, and you can get comics! While my medium has
shifted sometimes, the storytelling aspect has been consistent.

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?

The closest things I can think of are tropes and themes that
I love to incorporate in my comics. Found family, queer romance, soft
apocalypse, botany, animals, self-sacrifice… My stories are about people and
animals who overcome the odds to find happiness. I also tend to draw a lot of
glowy things for some reason, lol.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Try to find out why you want to make art, and remember it!
My personal reason for making art and stories is because I think that anyone
can be a hero, that anyone can do wonderful things. This is what drives me, and
it keeps me going. Even if I get frustrated, even if I feel like nobody sees my
work, thinking about that helps me press forward. So if you find that you’re
struggling to find motivation or ideas, thinking about why you create in the
first place might help.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

As asexual as one could possibly be, I think. I honestly
thought sexual attraction was made up until I was 18 and went to college! I’m
also aromantic and agender.

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

I guess the most that I see are people ignoring aces. Just
generally not including them, either because they think we’re boring or
robotic, or they just don’t think about it. I haven’t met any webcomic artists
who purposefully hate on aces, though. But with regards to the general
invisibility in comics, I think the most I can do is make my own! Most of my
characters are queer, and a lot of them are asexual. I think it’s important to
show that queer people (and especially ace people) are just as diverse as any
other group. I also try to be open about my own experience as an asexual,
aromantic, and agender person, hoping that openness will help.

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

Probably that if someone is asexual, that means they’re like
a child. Innocent, naive, unaware. Some people are like that, but being asexual
doesn’t really have anything to do with it. Just as common as that, in my
experience, is the idea that an asexual person doesn’t love anyone at all. I
love lots of people! I’m full of love! Friends, family, animals, nature. Just
because it isn’t sexual, many people think it doesn’t count.

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

If you can, try to find at least one good friend who can
relate to your experiences. There’s nothing wrong with you, just like there’s
nothing wrong with someone who is gay or bisexual or trans or lesbian or
anything else. And you don’t have to force yourself to be in any relationship
that you don’t want. I’ve been there, and it never goes well.

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

My webcomic, Surface,
can be found at surfacecomic.tumblr.com.
My website is julesdrawing.com
Patreon is patreon.com/julescomics
Art tumblr is julesdrawing.tumblr.com
Twitter is julesdrawing,
Instagram is jules.larsen.drawing.

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

Interview: Sam

Today we’re joined by Sam. Sam is a wonderful author who is working toward publication. She is currently working on a novel, which has an ace main character. When she’s not writing, Sam enjoys singing. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with an incredibly bright future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

Well, I’ve dabbled in every art form but I found my home in
singing and writing. I’m actually in the process of writing my first novel for
publication, and I’ve written the main character as ace, letting the subplot be
her discovery of herself.

What inspires you?

My family and dreams are the main inspiration for me. Dreams
assist my writing, and my family is very supportive of my performance
endeavors.

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

I started writing because of an author I can no longer
remember the name of who had come to my elementary school to speak. Sitting
there in the cafeteria I wrote my very first story, a one page horror story
about a monster in the vents.

As for singing, I could sing before I could walk, and it was
always a way for me to bond with my mother and my grandma. As far as I can
remember, I’ve always wanted to be a singer.

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?

Well, in my writing, the moon is always a rather recurring
symbol. According to my friends, when I sing I get a sarcastic grin but I
didn’t know I did that.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Never settle for ‘good enough’. There’s always more to
learn, you can always be better. Always practice and never let anyone
discourage you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a questioning ace, sex repulsed. This could change, and
I think I could be demi or biromantic. I’m in no rush to label myself, I’m
gonna take my time and stop stressing about it.

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

I’ve only come out to a few of my friends, IRL. I did post a
short story on Wattpad where one of the characters was ace, and he received
some backlash due to discourse from aphobes or people who don’t believe
asexuality is valid. I took the story down and it has become the basis for a
full novel. I haven’t let my sexuality show in my music yet.

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

That we don’t want love. Whether it be platonic, romantic,
or sexual, some of us do. I don’t want a sexual relationship, but platonic or
even romantic is still appealing for me.

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

Don’t rush it. Let yourself figure this out in time. Go with
what feels right and don’t focus too much on the labels, it’s okay if you don’t
know everything in a time frame, because this whole process isn’t set in stone,
it’s a spectrum that’s more like a river than a path. Things can change, and
chances are they will.

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

I run Tumblr blogs, and have a Wattpad that can be followed
(though the Wattpad is more fanfavor rather than my actual talent). My Tumblrs
will announce when I’m performing, when my novel is to be released, and I’ll
post singing clips soon.

Ace Positivity Blog = asexualsnake
Writing Blog = writing-venom
Music Blog = stage-addict

Thanks to the admins for letting me speak! It’s so kind of
them to have this blog showcasing us!

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

Interview: Megan

Today we’re joined by Megan. Megan is a phenomenal visual artist who is starting out in writing as well. They are an illustrator and comic artist from the Kansas City area, who focuses mainly on storytelling and narratives. They do a lot of narrative illustrations and comics. For writing, they’re interested in writing fantasy and prose. They’re clearly an incredibly dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am an illustrator and writer, working full time as a
production artist to pay the bills, and then working on comics and
illustrations with narrative components on the side. I primarily work
digitally, employing both a comic-y inking style, as well as a realistic sort
of oil-painting style, all either on my computer and display tablet, or on
programs on my iPad. As a writer I love to write fantasy and other prose
fiction, and have started efforts to build a portfolio and work towards getting
published, both short stories and future novels.

What inspires you?

The first place I usually look for some sort of inspiration
is anything Neil Gaiman has said. He has given many speeches and written many
essays on the importance of story and art in the world, and those- as well as
his words on imposter syndrome- give me strength.

But I’m also fascinated by people. Humans are capable of
amazing things like constructing massive skyscrapers and engineering microscopic
movies
; surviving under dangerous conditions, and getting together to hold
festivals full of color and light.
Traveling to different countries and being exposed to new cultures has been
eye-opening for me and is a never-ending resource for inspiration and
creativity.

As of late, Dungeons and Dragons has also been stimulating
for me, from the components like dice and figurines to the stories people tell
through the witty and clever characters they (and I) create. Who doesn’t love
goblins and magic?

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

I always enjoyed drawing and painting, although I was never
really good at it. I loved getting new paint kits and sitting down to paint a
little teapot or planter, but what really got me into art was my obsession with a particular video game.
I was a high school sophomore, just starting part-time in college with the
intent of pursuing a medical degree, and bored. My dad worked at my school, so
I would sit in his office after class and wait til he could take me home. I
vividly remember one day sitting in his office, and instead of doing homework,
I started writing a fanfiction, pen on paper, that I had started rolling around
in my head. Art had also sprung out of this video game obsession, where I discovered
the concept of fanart on DeviantART (I was a sheltered homeschooled child). It
made me honestly, truly happy to write and draw and see the progress I was
making, and to see other people enjoying what I had made. When I took a college
drawing course a year later, I only became more passionate and ditched the
medical school plans for art, and never looked back.

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?

One thing I like to do is that whenever I have to draw a
crowd scene, I like to sneak in some of my characters from other places-
Dungeons and Dragons, or old fanfiction characters- just subtly enough that not
many would see anything different, but if you know the character, you could
find them. I hope someday it becomes a bit of a ‘Where’s Waldo’ game.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Have fun, and take care of yourself.

These two tasks seem so arbitrary but they really mean the
difference for physical and mental wellbeing. Drawing can seem like a chore
sometimes, especially when you’re only drawing or writing something to pay
bills, but when you have free time to draw whatever you want, you should draw
what you want to draw. Write what you want to write. If you go in with the
idea that whatever you make has to be ‘good enough’ to be printed or published,
you’re going to hit a lot of brick walls in the process that only give you
headaches. But if you have fun with it, you’re more likely to finish your
project, and just finishing is half the battle.

But taking care of yourself is vital as well, and I wish it
was emphasized more in educational settings. You NEED rest, you NEED food and
water, and though I realize the idea of the ‘depressed artist working 16 hour
days’ is fairly romanticized, it’s actually incredibly debilitating to work
like that, if you can work at all. You can’t make your best work while you’re
exhausted, and pushing yourself too hard will end up destroying your mind and
body. Seriously. Take a break. Right now, go stretch and drink a glass of
water.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as Asexual as a broad term, and I’ve definitely
hovered over different labels and questioned myself several times, but I’m most
comfortable for the time being with the umbrella term of ‘Ace’. I believe I may
be demiromantic, but I’ve never had a relationship and don’t intend to explore
that area just yet. Someday though.

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

I’m not really out about my identity, so I’ve avoided it.
There aren’t many aces that I’m aware of in my field, so I haven’t seen
anything. I’m sure there’s prejudice out there though, people are unfortunately
afraid of things that are different.

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

That asexuals don’t like sex! I think that it could be more
difficult for some to get into the mood, but Asexuality is defined as having a
lack of sexual attraction to people, not the lack of desire for sex. An ace
person could still be romanced for sure, or maybe they just really enjoy some
self-love!

(Also, the A stands for Asexual, not Ally!!)

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

Nothing is set in stone, your identity is going to change as
you explore and experiment. And that’s fine, most people try several different
labels and have various experiences before they settle into something that
‘fits’. And sometimes, maybe you don’t find something that fits, and that’s
okay, too. You’ll always be You.

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

You can find my artwork here, and my little baby blog is here!

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

Interview: Sark

Today we’re joined by Sark, who is the 800th artist interviewed on Asexual Artists. Sark is a phenomenal fanartist and writer. He mostly draws, focusing on drawing characters in fandoms he enjoys. Occasionally, he draws people’s original characters. When he’s not drawing, Sark enjoys writing. It’s clear he’s an incredibly passionate and dedicated artist who loves creating, 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.

Well, I’ve been
drawing for about four years now, and I’ve been writing since, well, actually
since I can remember! I usually focus my work on creating fan content as a
method to express my enjoyment of things, but sometimes I draw people’s
characters because I like seeing people get happy, honestly.

What inspires you?

A lot of things.
One of my main inspirations is the works other people have created, especially
music. I have playlists for all of my characters to get my writing and art in
character for them. And sometimes I just go outside and see something
beautiful. Most of the time I see someone do stupid things and it reminds me
how great people are, and why I enjoy writing and drawing in the first place.

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

Well, I know it’s
probably the tale of everyone ever, but really it was people. When I was
younger- I think maybe eleven- I used to watch a lot of YouTube. It was a lot
of gaming, all these wildly popular channels that were popular a couple years
ago. I enjoyed them a lot, but the idea of making fan content didn’t occur to
me until I met someone who became my role model. They made a lot of animations
and art of these people, and they wrote stories about them. I thought it was
really cool, so I imitated them. I was really bad at drawing and writing, but
they were always really nice. They also were my introduction to the LGBT
community, which obviously is really important to me now. I don’t know where
they are nowadays, I lost track of them along the way, but they’re still my
inspiration.

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 art is about as
consistent as my memory, which is to say not at all, but my signature is
usually a stylized S- I’ll see if I can show an example, I’m really mosh at
description. Which is probably bad, considering I’m a writer.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I still consider
myself an aspiring artist myself, but if I could look back at some of the
worries I used to have about my content not being good enough, or my writing
being cliche, I think I’d only say one thing. And that is that it doesn’t
matter. If you’re just starting out, you probably think your art, or your
music, or your writing sucks. And I won’t lie to you, it probably does. But it
doesn’t matter. Anyone who looks down at people who aren’t as practiced as you
yet aren’t worth your time. Because we were all beginners. Most of us still
are, really. Just keep pushing the boundaries of what you can do until they
grow. And then push harder. That’s what I’m doing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual
Panromantic. I’m seriously mulling over my romantic identity right now, so I’m
not sure about being pan, which I think is okay, but I’m confident in my
sexuality.

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

Really no one in
real life that I’ve worked with that are in the LGBT community has treated me
any different than they would treat a gay man, or a lesbian, which is to say
I’ve been treated really well offline. My works are, for better or worse, not
really well known online, which I don’t really mind that much. It means I
haven’t had anyone here really target me for my identity, though from other
cases I’m well aware how nasty people can be when they can be anonymous. I’m
trying to keep my hopes high that I’ll be able to make it in the art and
writing world without too much backlash right now. I think as long as I keep
thick skin, I should be able to do it.

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

Really that we’re
all one flavor. People really don’t seem to realize how a diverse of a group we
are. Aces come from all walks of life, and we have all kinds of identities. I’m
a trans man that lives in the suburban south, but I’m far from the only ace
experience. It’s cool. Aces are a cool group of a lot of people, and I really
like it. I wish more people thought about that before talking about us the way
they do.

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

Really, whether or
not you’re Ace is something only you can discover. But if you stay away from
people who will try and influence you and just explore your identity, it can
help you get into touch with how you feel about people. Don’t let people tell
you who you are; only you get a say in that.

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

My writing is over
at Sarkshine on Wattpad,
and my artwork can be found at sarkiesark
and at fantrolbs as well as Sarkshine on DA.

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

Interview: Jennifer Lee Rossman

Today we’re joined by Jennifer Lee Rossman. Jennifer is a phenomenal author who also does cross stitch. For writing, Jennifer writes science fiction and fantasy. She has written stories for various anthologies and just recently released her debut novella entitled Anachronism, published through Kristell Ink. When she’s not writing, Jennifer enjoys cross stitching and comes up with her own patterns. It’s clear she’s a passionate and dedicated artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a sci-fi and fantasy writer. I’ve had stories in several
anthologies and my debut novella, Anachronism,
was published this year by Kristell Ink, an imprint of Grimbold Books.

I write weird little stories that make people happy (or at
least cry while smiling) and hopefully make them see the world from another
angle. Violence and swearing levels vary from story to story, but there’s never
anything too gory and swearing is usually limited. Sex is a part of life for a
lot of people, so while it might be mentioned as part of the story, I will
never show anything more than a kiss on the page. (I don’t write anything I
wouldn’t want my grandmother reading.)

My goal is for my words to be a safe space no matter your
gender, orientation, ability, race, or body type.

I also cross stitch. I make all of my own patterns, mostly
dinosaurs and nerd stuff.

What inspires you?

Weird science facts and song lyrics, mostly.

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

I’ve been writing since I could hold a crayon, but only got
serious about it when I realized my disability was going to make having a
traditional job impossible.

Cross stitch was a natural path for me to take: I love
crocheting, but my muscular dystrophy makes that much movement difficult, so I
needed something smaller and more fiddly. I grew up making Pokémon sprites on
the computer, and it turns out cross stitch is really just analog pixel art!

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?

For crafts, bright colors and animals that are cute while
still being scientifically accurate.

In my stories…I guess queer people and Jurassic Park
references show up a lot.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

You know that weird idea you have? The really silly thing
you want to make, but it’ll probably suck and no one but you will like it? Do
it. Give it permission to suck, let it be just for you. Chances are it’ll be
amazing, and your fellow weirdos will find you and you can be weird together.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Not entirely asexual, but pretty close. I experience romantic
attraction, but sexual attraction is kind of an abstract concept to me. It’s
there sometimes, not very often and not very strong, and sex sounds interesting
in theory, but most of the times it’s just not something I even think about.

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

Ignorance more than prejudice. When you’re writing about
aliens and robots, it’s easy to fall into the “this character is just as
human as the humans because they feel attraction” trap. I usually try to
point out the errors in my reviews.

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

That all disabled people are asexual. My disability has
nothing to do with my asexuality, and there are plenty of disabled people who
experience sexual attraction.

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

You’re not broken just because you’re different. Find some
ace people on the Internet – we’re super friendly and our pride flag is
beautiful!

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

I have a blog https://jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com/
and I’m on the Twitter https://twitter.com/JenLRossman
Links to all of my books (including my debut novella Anachronism) and stories can be found here: http://jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com/p/my-work.html

I don’t sell my cross stitch because each piece is usually
custom made for myself or someone I know, but I’m always happy to take on a new
project.

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

Interview: RoAnna Sylver

Today we’re joined by RoAnna Sylver, RoAnna is a phenomenal author, who has authored such books as Chameleon Moon and Stake Sauce. One is a hopeful dystopia involving superheroes and the other involves punk vampires, which sounds awesome. When they’re not writing, RoAnna enjoys visual art and does a lot of digital painting. They have painted most of their own cover art and hope to get into coloring work for comics, including webcomics. It’s clear they’re an incredibly passionate artist with a great drive, 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.

Hi there! So, most people probably know me by my writing; I
write the Chameleon Moon and Stake Sauce series,
hopeful-superhero-dystopian and queer-punk-vampire books, respectively. But I’m
also an artist, I design and paint the majority of my own covers, and I’d
really like to talk more about visual art for a change.

I love digital painting, and find (most of it) really
relaxing and soothing, which is very helpful for when my brain goes into
nonverbal mode or I’m just feeling burnt out on talking/writing. Which is
pretty often.

I’m definitely going to continue painting my own book covers
for as long as I can, and have done commissions for a few people too. I love
them, and keep meaning to do more. I’d also love to get some work as a colorist
for comics (including webcomics) because I find coloring especially relaxing
(and I’m good at it darn it!).

One other cool thing, on the subject of ace stuff
specifically, I recently had a journal-type article Thing published in The Asexual, about how important
representation in mainstream stuff is (and how much I love Todd Chavez from Bojack Horseman). So check that out if
you’d like!

What inspires you?

So much. Music, bits of conversation I overhear, people just
living their lives. But most of all I think is reading or watching movies and
seeing what I’d do differently. Usually, that means “less marginalized people
die, and more get to be the heroes.” If that sounds like fix-fic, that’s
because it is! I used to write so much fanfiction before I started my own
stuff. I STILL DO, but I also used to. (Thanks, Mitch Hedberg!)

Honestly, I hate when people crap on fanworks so much, both
art and writing, because not only are they a great starting point (I’ve written
more than one thing as essentially fanfiction AUs. I doubt anyone will ever
guess which~), but they’re entirely valid works on their own. And they inspire
the hell out of me, both writing my own and reading others’.

Also, it’s not as popular to say, but… spite is a hell of
a motivator. Wanting to prove people wrong who’ve said I can’t do something, or
people like me (queer, disabled, etc.) don’t belong in publishing/the art
industry/life. Knowing bigoted assholes hate what I’m doing is an incredible
accelerant. Just warms the cockles of my heart, it does.

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

I joke that I just have a lot of emotions and I need
different ways of letting them out—writing, drawing, singing—or I’ll explode.
And I’m actually only about 30% joking about that, really. I am blessed/cursed
with glorious and overwhelming feels, and if I don’t have an outlet for them, I
tend to get paralyzed with…over-feeling. I need to express them like releasing
internal pressure with a steam valve.

Unfortunately, I also tend to go nonverbal on a pretty
regular basis from any number of reasons (illness flares, pain, various brain
weird nonsense) so sometimes I’m physically incapable of writing. But I still
have emotion I need to express, or else the pressure just builds up anyway. It
doesn’t care that I don’t have words. That’s when the drawing or singing comes
in—when writing brain shuts down, art or music brain takes over.

So yeah I guess I have always wanted, and needed, to
be an artist.

I used to be a much more physical one, though. I have a
degree in dramatic performance and used to do a ton of musical theatre. Nothing
comes close to being on stage, and I was convinced that was it for me, that was
why I was here and what I was supposed to do with my life. But then I got hit
with several debilitating health conditions at once, and never really
recovered. I haven’t been on stage in years, and probably will never again. But
that’s okay. I still have writing and art, and on an extremely good day,
music. Expression is still the most important thing in my life. Without it, I
wouldn’t have one.

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?

For my writing, the Themes are definitely found family,
queer and disabled people kicking ass, and trauma healing… the ‘secret
symbols’ tend to be really nerdy references. Usually Star Trek and/or Greek myth. Go figure.

For art, I don’t really have a watermark or anything, though
I’ll usually sign a major work. Trademark-wise though, I love the idea of
making digital art look as traditional as possible, so if you look at something
and think it’s an actual watercolor and not a digital one, I’ve done my job
right~

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

For commissions, figure out about how long it takes you to
do a thing. Timing yourself/logging time is good. Then find out the minimum
wage for your state and charge *at least* that per hour.

I saw a really good tweet a while ago saying you should
charge at least 3x minimum wage for commissioned art, because 1) it’s your time
and energy, 2) art is a specialized skill that you’re applying to this
individual request, not a standard product, and 3) you’re your own boss here
and paying for your own materials/food/life.

I don’t know if I could ever do that, but I’m sticking to At
Least Minimum Wage for myself. I still feel a lot of guilt (as I do asking for
money ever even if I’ve worked for it) but honestly, selling your stuff for
super cheap really does devalue the whole market and cheats both you and other
artists out of hard earned cash. I know it’s different when you’re just
starting out and trying to get established, but really, once you are… your
efforts are worth so much more than the bare minimum, but that’s a place
to start.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Biromantic ace, and definitely on the aro spectrum too. It
took me a long time to figure this out, in all its
maybe-seemingly-contradictory glory. I’ve never really experienced sexual
attraction to a (real) person. (“Real” because there are some fictional
characters who could get ittttt) But I’m romantically attracted to women,
agender, and nonbinary people… but like I said, definitely aro-spec too, so
this happens much less than you’d think. Polyamorous too; I have queerplatonic
partners as well as one romo partner~

In short, “potentially attracted to a lot of people on
paper, but not in practice!”  It’s one of
those “sounds very complicated, is actually very simple” things. Except for
when it actually is very complicated. (What the hell is attraction? I don’t
know it.)

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

…Never so much as during Pride Month. It’s really sad, but
entirely true. Usually I manage to stay away from the Ace Discourse and keep it
to a dull roar in the background of my life, but whenever the spotlight is on
The Queer Community in general, that ugly particular head rears once again, and
it’s very hard to avoid.

But there’s social media Discourse (harmful on its own) and
then there’s creative field prejudice or ignorance, and that’s arguably even
more annoying and damaging. Luckily, most of mine has been confined to the
occasional shitty comment about my work. I generally don’t read reviews, but
sometimes someone will point one out to me that’s particularly… not bad in a
‘didn’t like the book’ sense (I don’t care about those, for real), but a ‘wow,
this is a dangerous and bigoted viewpoint actually.’

When people “can’t relate” to asexual (and aromantic, and
neurodivergent, disabled, any other marginalization) characters, that tells me
right there that I’m not going to be able to trust them. If someone slams a
book or marginalized character for displaying characteristics of their
marginalization (mentally ill people will act mentally ill; ace people will act
ace), and dislike them specifically for what makes them them… that’s a Red
Flag right there.

I don’t really “handle” that. I don’t comment (and you
shouldn’t either, ever), but I take notice of who said the bigoted thing, and
remember. Then I keep writing.

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

Oh lord, the aro/ace conflation thing. Where people think
“asexual” means “aromantic,” and “aromantic” means “what is that, I don’t know
what that is, how is that even a thing.” You can absolutely be asexual without
being aro, or aro without ace, or a blend of the two that fluctuates over time
and you have no interest in categorizing.

The most common individual misconceptions are definitely the
“unfeeling, inhuman, dead/lifeless, passionless, robotic, forever alone” ones,
because surely it’s romantic love and sex that makes us human, not anything
else. Nope, that’s it, that’s the most important “universal” experience. Ever
notice how it’s usually the same people who scream “don’t reduce our identities
to one thing/define us by that!” Who then go on to do exactly that for others?
There’s a lot of TERF overlap here too.

I have to say though, the special poison aimed at allo
aromantic people is really something else; apparently just by being sexually
but not romantically attracted to someone, you’re a horrible abuser/predator.
(This is, of course, not true, and there are such things as attractions and
bonds that are not romantic. The small-minded tunnel vision is exhausting.)

So yeah, there’s a lot, and I have absolutely no interest in
getting involved in Discourse of any kind anymore. No spoons left for that at
all.

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

There’s nothing wrong with you, first off. You might feel
like there is, and people might decide to be gigantic asshats and say that
there is, but there isn’t. There isn’t, regardless of how you end up identifying,
even if that’s not ace at all. Try different identities out like clothes until
you find one that fits. If none do, keep trying, or throw them out. It’s your
“body,” and your identity and life. Use what serves you and makes you happy,
not what someone else wants you to.

You’ll know when it’s right. When I finally hit on exactly
what my gender and attraction type was, it felt like releasing every clenched
muscle all at once. My constant, constant anxiety was silent for once,
the panic in my head finally shut up. It was the absence of
strain and exhaustion and tension and fear that was shocking. I hope it feels
like that for you. The cessation of pain is a hell of a drug, and we don’t get
it nearly enough.

Also, you’re totally queer if you want to be. If someone
says you aren’t because you’re ace or aro, that person is not your friend. You
don’t HAVE to identify as queer, the way some nonbinary people don’t identify
as transgender, but you absolutely can, and screw anyone who says otherwise.
(Or don’t. Especially if you’re sex-repulsed. *weak rimshot*)

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

I have an Artstation portfolio over here (if you need a
colorist and/or inker, talk to me!) – https://www.artstation.com/roannasylver

All of my books are on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/RoAnna-Sylver/e/B00OI321DO

And most are available through other places like B&N and
Kobo, which you can find at their universal links at my Draft2Digital page – https://books2read.com/ap/RWk0PR/RoAnna-Sylver

But by far the best place to support me is my Patreon. For
as little as $1 a month, you can get Tons of Chameleon
Moon
bonus content—advance
stories, art, lots of stuff—and exclusive looks at what I’m doing next (Like my
upcoming interactive fiction portal-fantasy romance, Dawnfall for Choice of Games)!
And also make me a little more secure as a disabled creator. patreon.com/RoAnnaSylver

Stake Sauce/Death Masquerade also
has one over here, for if you enjoy monthly fiction about queer vampires! patreon.com/ModulatingFrequencies

Also, if you want to say hi on Twitter, I’m at RoAnnaSylver!

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

Interview: Luke

Today we’re joined by Luke. Luke is a phenomenal fanartist who I met at Indy PopCon. A few days later, he sent me an email and I was impressed with wonderfully passionate artist. He’s a cosplayer but he also enjoys writing quite a bit, mostly fanfiction. Luke is an incredibly dedicated, passionate, and excited artist, 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 don’t think of myself much as a writer, but I do write
fanfiction (mostly Star Wars) and a
lot of backstories for original characters of mine. So, I don’t really consider
it “original” writing of my own, but it’s still a fun pastime for me to have.
My two main works that I have are (not so surprisingly) Star Wars fanfics on both AO3 and Wattpad because seriously, have
you seen the Wattpad app? It’s so nicely organized and easy to use. I also am a
cosplayer, but I don’t consider myself to be that good of one. I used to
cosplay Hetalia mainly, but I slowly drifted away from anime and found more fun
in cosplaying Star Wars and emo
stuff. (cough, cough MCR cough, cough)

What inspires you?

One of the main things that inspires me to write and cosplay
are my friends. I have so many friends who are amazing at writing and
cosplaying, I always look up to them and think “dang I wanna be like that
someday”. Other things that inspire me are the cool people I find through the
internet and social media, like Tumblr and Instagram. I’ve found some awesome
writers and cosplayers online and, although I’ll never have the confidence to
actually talk to them, I always look at them and get all teary eyed like “I
love you, let me be like you,” you know?

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

When I was younger, I loved to read. Like, I had an entire
shelf of books in my room and when I was bored, I would just pick out a book
that I’ve read 30 something times before and read it again. I wasn’t into any
specific genre, but I always steered away from romance and sci-fi. Which is
ironic because that’s basically all I write about now. But after entering high
school, I found myself hating reading. I’m not entirely sure why, but it
probably had something to do with the fact that I was forced to read books I
hated/didn’t want to read. But now, as of finally graduating, I’m trying to get
back into reading. And not just fanfiction, I mean actual books. When I was
younger, I wanted to be an author. As I’m going through old stuff that I wrote
when I was younger (and cringing, I might add) I would think back to how much I
loved to read and write. And now that I’m getting back into it, it’s making me
much happier. It’s like a coping mechanism for me. And as for the cosplaying, I
honestly have no idea when or how that started. It just kind of happened.  I have the memory capacity of a two minute
old goose, that’s probably why I don’t remember.

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 think I have a specific feature in my writing, other
than the fact that’s it mostly consists of dialogue and really strange
references to inside jokes I have with my friends. (It’s a whole fiesta) But I
do sometimes write fanfics based on really emo songs that I listen to. As for
cosplaying, I usually just carry around something funny with me at conventions
so people will get a laugh out of it. Like with my General Hux cosplay, I have
a stuffed orange tabby cat that I like to hold for pictures. Her name is Millicent.
I love her.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

I may not have great advice for cosplaying because I’m still
an amateur myself, but for my fellow fanfiction writers, I’d say just keep
writing, Cliché, yes I know, but it’s true. Out of all the ways to improve your
writing, practice is the one of best answers. Look at other people’s writing
styles and see what you like about them, and try to incorporate some of their
style into your writing. But don’t copy them completely, trust me I’ve done
stuff like that before and it’s a bad idea lemme tell you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual and biromantic. I don’t like the
sexytimes, but I will, in fact, hold a person’s hand if I like them. I like
guys more than girls, but that’s probably because I’ve only had a crush on two
people in my entire life, one a boy and the other a girl, and I got to kiss the
dude and oh goodness, I could go on for hours about this guy.

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

I haven’t really had to deal with any sort of hate from
people about my asexuality. At least, not yet.
But it’d be nice to keep it that way, ya know?

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

The only misconception I’ve really gotten was that asexual
people don’t like sex. Which is true for me, yes, but I do know some asexuals
who enjoy sex. I’ve had to explain to my sister a few times that me being ace
means that I don’t look at somebody and say “damn, I wanna bang that”, and that
I, instead, think “damn, I don’t feel sexually attracted to that”

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

Man, I’d just say keep searching around on the internet
(trusted places of course) and ask any friends who are LGBT+ and might know a
thing or two about asexuality. Or a person who is actually asexual, if they’re
around at all. It’s hard to go through those kinds of things alone, so try to
find someone who understands what you’re going through and is willing to help.

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

I have like two whole places that I post my work, which are,
like I said before, AO3 and Wattpad. My AO3 is https://archiveofourown.org/users/sirbuttsalot
and my Wattpad is https://www.wattpad.com/user/sir-butts-a-lot
I also use Deviantart sometimes, which is https://sir-butts-a-lot.deviantart.com/.

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