Category: writing

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: Anne Hawley

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.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

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
screenplays.

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
own worlds.

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.

ASEXUALITY

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
orientation?

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”
sexuality.

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?

https://annehawley.net

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

Interview: Micah Amundsen

Today we’re joined by Micah Amundsen. Micah is a phenomenal artist who writes webcomics. They’re best known for the webcomic The Roommate from Hell, which they have the best summary for in their interview. They’re also currently working on a graphic novel entitled Cursed, which sounds fascinating and is something to look forward to. It’s clear Micah is a 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’m most well-known for creating the webcomic The Roommate from Hell, (http://enchantedpencil.com/roomie/)
a supernatural slice of life about gays and their metaphorical and literal
demons, which updates with a new page three times a week.

I’m also working on a 10-part graphic novel series called Cursed, a fantasy adventure about a
bunch of thieves, family, and what it means to be human. I’m hoping to release
the first book May 2019. Follow my Twitter to get more updates on that. (https://twitter.com/enchantedpencil)

Besides those and other comics, I write and perform music
and sell art online.

What inspires you?

A lot of my inspiration comes from other stories and art
that I’m a fan of. Either I see something I really like and think “how can I do
this my own way?” or I see something with potential and think “how can I do
this better?” I get a lot of enjoyment and comfort from the comics and shows I
watch and read, and I want to create these emotions in other people. There’s
also a lot of themes I like to explore and beliefs I hold that I want to share
with others through my comics.

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

I’ve been “creating comics” since 1st grade of elementary
school, even though it was a weird stick figure scribble that was stapled
together and drawn in pencil. I made quite a few comics that way through middle
school, tying pieces of paper together and binding them with cardboard from
cereal boxes. At that time, I was mostly inspired by the limited selection of
Japanese manga I could buy at the Scholastic Book Fair every year. Discovering
that you could read comics online for free basically blew my mind, and I
published my first webcomic (Opertion:
Reboot
) in 2012 while in high school.

While I create lots of different kinds of art, comics are my
primary passion, and I can’t imagine life without it.

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 do. I have a signature that I use to sign my comics, but I
also created a unique icon to represent each of my comic series. I like to
doodle these icons next to my signature when I do book signings to personalize
the comics a little more.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Create work for yourself. If you keep chasing ideas of what
other people want you to be as an artist, you won’t be happy with your work.
Find a way to break the cycle of needing validation from others, and find that
validation inside yourself instead. You can’t please everybody, but if your
work pleases yourself, it’s bound to please others too.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Asexual demiromantic… Maybe. Relationships don’t interest me
much in general.

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

I really haven’t. In fact, a number of my artist friends
identify as ace as well. I think I got really lucky in that regard. Being ace
isn’t exactly something I advertise, though, so there hasn’t been a lot of
opportunity for others to react.

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

That it’s “just a phase.” That’s the misconception that I’ve
actually had told to my face, but it also bothers me when people assume that
being sexual is inherently human nature and applies to every single person.
Have you ever heard this? “There’s three things all humans have in common: The
need to eat, sleep, and have sex.” Yeah, that drives me nuts.

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

Don’t let other people tell you what you are or aren’t.
Nobody understands you, your body, or your feelings better than you do. Being
ace isn’t weird, and you aren’t broken. Find friends in real life or online who
identify similarly or who understand you. Finding those kinds of people is
really important when you’re still exploring your identity.

As a non-binary person, I extend this advice to those who
may be transitioning as well. Also, I find the NB and ace identities seem to
get overlooked by regular LGBT+ discussion sometimes, so don’t feel like you
aren’t important too.

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

Read The Roommate from
Hell
here: http://enchantedpencil.com/roomie/
Follow me on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/enchantedpencil
Find lots of extra art and bonus content on my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/enchantedpencil

If anyone wants to chat about comics or being ace, don’t be
afraid to contact me on Twitter.

Thank you, Micah, 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: Sean Shannon

Today we’re joined by Sean Shannon. Sean is a phenomenal artist whose a bit of an artist-of-all-trades. She has two main focuses at the moment: writing and creating webseries. She has written a novel entitled The Prostitutes of Lake Wiishkoban that was up for an international award. Sean has also written two ebooks of classroom exercises for humanities instructors, several poems, some short stories, and a seventeen-year-old blog. As if that’s not impressive enough, Sean has also created a couple webseries. It’s clear she’s a 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 am the author of the novel The
Prostitutes of Lake Wiishkoban
, which was shortlisted for the Dundee
International Book Prize and a quarterfinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough
Novel Award. In addition, I’m the creator and host of the teaching webseries Socratic Sense, which explores
current issues in teaching, and the intersection of education with politics and
popular culture, as well as a personal webseries called Musecast. Those are my (current)
major efforts, but I call myself an “artist-of-many-trades” because I work in
all kinds of mediums, from writing to the visual arts.

What inspires you?

I could name specific artists whose influences I can see in
my work, but what inspires me more than anything is the desire to leave the
world a better place than I found it. That’s a drive that influences all my
work, across all mediums.

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

My parents were both artists, so I kind of come by it
naturally. I also had a very difficult childhood, and while I’ve never had
formal sessions in art therapy, my art has always been a refuge for me, and a
place for me to work out the problems I’m having (then and now). I’ve always
wanted to be an artist on some level, but I’ve always wanted to be everything. I still haven’t decided what
I want to be when I grow up.

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?

Whenever I’ve tried to include something like that in my
work, it always feels forced to me. Other artists don’t seem to have that
problem, so I guess I’m just not very good at that sort of thing.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Absorb everything you can. Consume art far and wide, even if
it’s not in a medium or genre you want to work with. Everything you experience
will fill your artistic well, and could inspire your art five minutes or fifty
years in the future.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a panromantic asexual.

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

The biggest problem I’ve come across is people who assume
that I can’t write a novel about sex work, or a novel with sex scenes, because
I’m asexual. (Never mind that I fit some people’s definition of the term “sex
worker” because I’ve taught safer sex practices before.)

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

That asexuality is synonymous with celibacy, and that
asexuals can’t have (or enjoy) sex.

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

Above all, you are not alone. I don’t believe in making
promises like “it gets better,” because I’m not in a position to be able to
keep that promise to anyone else (or even myself), but know that some of us out
here are at least trying to make things better for asexuals. We would very much
like your help if you can provide it, but it’s okay if you need to stay private
about your asexuality for now, regardless of the reason.

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

My blog, seanshannon.org,
has links to my books and videos, examples of my photography, and short written
pieces about everything on my mind these last couple of decades, ranging from
political essays to narrative non-fiction.

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

Interview: Kailey Lewia

Today we’re joined by Kailey Lewia. Kailey is a wonderful young hobbyist writer and visual artist. She’s currently working on a couple different novels that deal with pretty heavy subject matter. When she’s not writing, Kailey enjoys doing visual art. She paints, sketches, and does digital drawings. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and enthusiastic 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 am a hobbyist writer in high
school and I’m currently working on two projects. The first is a novel that
focuses on rape trauma, identity, sexuality, and race which is currently on
hiatus, and the second is a novella about the concept of Stockholm syndrome. I
also do some painting and digital drawing in my free time, just little sketches
for fun.

What inspires you?

The idea of creating characters
that stick with people. You see all these characters in pop culture that
everybody loves and looks into: I want people to take my characters and bring
them to a point where everybody is dissecting my work and figuring out what,
exactly, my point is.

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

I was always an avid reader and
after reading stories like Harry Potter in
second grade, I instantly knew I wanted to write. I’ve been attempting to write
stories since I was eight, it’s just that I’ve never really had a solid idea
that I can follow through with. I think I do now, though!

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?

Nope, sorry.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Never give up. It doesn’t matter
if there’s someone ‘better than you’- you have to push for a chance for people
to see what you can do, and you have to strive to improve. Never give up and
make sure that you’re happy with what you’re creating, so what you want to.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m a biromantic asexual but I
prefer not to label myself as biromantic simply because I don’t think that’s
set in stone.

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

Not necessarily in ‘the field,’
but I know I’ve certainly experienced ignorance at school for my identity in
general. I know for me being part of the GSA has reinforced the way I feel
about myself and my identity because it puts me next to several other people in
the LGBT+ community who I know are willing to listen to me and speak up with me
if there are problems with other students.

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

Personally, the most common
misconception would be that someone of my age is too young to consider
themselves asexual. I’ve known I wasn’t straight since I was eleven and spent
two years figuring out I was asexual and I’ve obviously stuck with that since and
believe I always will- but people think, despite my personal journey of finding
my identity, that I’m either just saying I’m asexual for attention or because
I’m too young to experience sexual attraction.

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

If you have friends telling you
it’s just a phase or doubting you when you’re figuring out your sexuality, drop
them. If they can’t support you through such a tough time then they’re really
just going to make it worse.

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

I just recently created a Tumblr
so there’s only one digital sketch on it right now, but I plan on posting more
sketches on it and sharing my writing/ updates on my work on it! At actual-brontosaurus.

Thank you, Kailey, 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.

Regular

Exciting Announcement

Hello everybody!

Interviews shall resume next week (and I still need more, so please keep sending those interview requests!).

Today I have an exciting announcement about an upcoming appearance.

Yours truly is going to be in Artist Alley at Ace Comic Con with my series The Shape Shifter Chronicles! I’m super excited about this show because it’s freaking massive. I love meeting readers and fellow aces at these shows. And I’m also going to be table neighbors with a fellow ace artist, who was actually featured on this site a while back (Hallopino: Tumblr & WordPress).

Here’s the message that was sent with this shiny social media badge: “I am thrilled to announce I will be appearing at @acecomiccon Midwest at Chicago’s Navy Pier October 12-14th alongside Tom Hiddleston, Josh Brolin, & many more for an amazing weekend! Want to join us? Get your tix here: http://ow.ly/uqjO30l7DOf #acecomiccon“

It’s going to be a great show.

If you’re planning on attending, please drop by Artist Alley and say hi!

Thanks, everybody!

ADDENDUM: Ace Comic Con has nothing to do with asexuality. Rather, that’s more a hilarious coincidence :-p

Interview: Casye Erins

Today we’re joined by Casye Erins. Casye is a phenomenal writer, actress, and podcaster. They mainly act on stage and in film. They’re currently focused mainly on stage and are currently rehearsing for an upcoming production. Aside from writing and acting, Casye also has a podcast called This is Lit, which discuses books. It’s clear she’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I am a writer and actress. I do both stage and film work,
but right now I’m focused on the stage. Currently, I’m writing on a one-person
musical to debut at next year’s Fringe Festival. I also do immersion theatre
and local community theatre. I just finished a production of the musical
version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame
and started rehearsals for Shrek: The
Musical
. My most recent project is a podcast called This is Lit where my co-host and I drink and talk about our
favorite books.

What inspires you?

Music is definitely an inspiration for me, which is why I
love musicals so much. I also find a lot of writing inspiration in my real-life
experiences and the experiences of those around me. The one-person show I’m
currently writing could probably be described as “artistically embellished
autobiography.” I believe people are most impacted by stories that are rooted
in authentic feeling.

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

I learned to read at a very young age and have been writing
my own stories ever since. My first performance experiences were also very
young; church plays and the like. I always knew I wanted to be an actor, and I
always loved writing, but it wasn’t until I was a little older that I realized that
I could write my own material. Seeing creators like Lin Manuel-Miranda (Hamilton, In The Heights) and Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) who didn’t wait around for parts that they
could play really inspired me to start working on my own material.

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

I don’t know that I do. As an actor, unless you’re A-list,
it’s hard to cultivate a specific type or characteristic that people associate
with your performance, mainly because you can’t afford to say no to parts that
don’t necessarily fit.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Two things. Number one: just keep working at it. I’ve been a
performer for the better part of two decades and still don’t make my full-time
living at it. If you want to have a job in the arts, you’ve got to be willing
to grind. The other advice, which kind of goes hand-in-hand with the first
piece is: if you’re able, create your own content. If you are an actor who
can’t find roles that fit you, write your own. If you’re a pianist that can’t
find an orchestra that jives with your personal style, compose your own sonata
and try to find a way to perform it. Take the initiative and you’ll be rewarded.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as biromantic asexual.

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

I haven’t experienced active prejudice in my field, mostly
because I’m very selective about who I’m completely out to. Most of my
colleagues are aware I’m bi, but not that I’m ace, because I don’t trust that
it would go over well. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of roles for asexual
characters that I’ve encountered, which I ascribe mostly to ignorance. It would
be nice to be able to play a character who is actually ace sometime in the
future though! I have hopes that it will start happening more frequently.

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

I’ve come across a lot of misconceptions, but I’d have to
say the most common is that asexuals are “frigid” or incapable of love. It’s a
very dehumanizing concept. Non-aro aces can still want and find romance, and
aroace people can still feel platonic or fraternal love for their friends and
family.

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

Honestly, it’s hard. I struggle with it sometimes too, and
that’s after almost a decade of identifying this way, and while having a very
accepting and understanding partner (who is allo!). It’s okay to struggle with
your orientation, or to have doubts. But be gentle with yourself and surround
yourself with a community of people who love and care about you, and those
doubts will get less frequent over time.

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

Since acting is kind of impermanent (unless it’s on film),
I’ll encourage you to check out my podcast at www.litliteraturepodcast.com.
You can also follow me on Twitter at casyeerins
or under the same username on Instagram.

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