Category: writing

Interview: EpicRosalina

Today we’re joined by EpicRosalina. EpicRosalina is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art. While she mostly does digital art, she also dabbles in traditional art, using mostly alcohol markers. Her style draws its inspiration from anime. EpicRosalina mostly draws her own original characters (she also dabbles in writing), but has drawn her friends’ characters on occasion. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I work with digital and traditional art but I much prefer
digital over traditional. When working with traditional art, I use alcohol
markers. I work using an anime style as it’s what I’m most comfortable with. I
mainly draw my own characters however I sometimes also draw some characters
belonging to a friend of mine. I’m trying to get back into writing by starting
a new book soon.

What inspires you?

A lot of my inspiration comes from my characters’ personality
and backstories. Some have pretty messed up pasts. I turn those moments into
illustrations which is fun since I get to experiment with different poses and
backgrounds. Other times, inspiration just comes out of nowhere. Some doodles
that I do get turned into illustrations.

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

I would casually draw starting from the age of 11 mainly
because of a close friend of mine who is skilled with her art. I aspired to be
as good as her and so I started taking art more seriously. It was around that
time when I discovered anime and so I also took inspiration from that sort of
art style. I only wanted to really be an artist when I saw that my art was improving
and had people complementing 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 don’t think I do have anything special that I try to
include in my work.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t think that to be an artist, you must be “Born with
artistic talent.” I wasn’t talented at all but I kept practicing and practicing
till I reached a point where I could say “I made this and I’m proud of this.”
Use whatever you need whether it’s references or models. Do whatever you need
to keep you motivated and constantly finding ways to improve.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as Asexual Demiromantic though I do find myself
questioning it sometimes

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

I have encountered some ignorance. I have been told that I
just need to find the right person and I don’t belong in the LGBTQ+ community
but I try my best to ignore it my surrounding myself with people who support
me.

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

People who confuse Asexual with Aromantic. I’ve encountered
people who think that just because I’m Asexual, it means I don’t want to be in
a relationship however it’s quite the opposite. I’m fine with being in a
relationship however I don’t want to have any sexual relationships

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

If you’re struggling then give it some time. Some people
figure out their orientation much sooner than others but that’s ok. If you need
to experiment to find out what you identify as then go ahead. Don’t think that
you have to abide by a label.

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

You can find my art on my DeviantArt, Instagram, and sometimes my Tumblr at EpicRosalina. My upcoming
story will be posted on my Wattpad which is also EpicRosalina.

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

Interview: Sophie A Katz

Today we’re joined by Sophie A. Katz. Sophie is a phenomenal and versatile writer. She writes in a number of different forms and styles. She’s a fellow writer who enjoys writing hopeful stories (we need more of them! 🙂 ). 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.

image

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

It’s all about stories for me – I LOVE stories, and
storytelling. So far, my best skill to bring stories to life has been writing.
I’ll write in pretty much any form; different stories need different mediums,
after all. Some stories are short, some are novels. Some are screenplays or
stage plays. I dabble in poetry. I have a few stories that sit in my head and
insist upon being graphic novels – I’ll have to find someone who’s better with
visual art to collaborate with for those.

What inspires you?

Life inspires me. That’s a vague answer. I have a “story
ideas” tag on my Tumblr with hundreds of pictures and prompts in it, and I
didn’t think that that was out of the ordinary until someone said to me, “Wow,
you get story ideas from EVERYTHING!” But everything DOES have a story to it.
You know that word “sonder”? About realizing that every other person in the
world is living a life just as complex and interesting as your own? I can’t
help but see that in everyone and everything around me. I don’t see things as
just the way they are – I want to know why, and what might happen next. And
that’s what a story is, at its base: why are things the way they are, and what
could happen next?

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

There was this dollhouse in my parents’ house – I think it’s
still in the basement – and incidentally we didn’t call it a “dollhouse”
because Mom did NOT want her daughters playing with dolls; we called it a
“people house,” like that Dr. Seuss book. I’d sit at the People House with all
of our toys, all the animals and action figures and Disney characters, and
narrate their adventures, for hours and hours. It was just what I did. Before I
could write or read, I told the stories of my toys. And then one day, Dad took
notes on the story I was telling, and typed it up for me. That’s where it
really started. After that, I learned to read and write, and started writing
little books, and Mom became my editor. But it took me until junior high to
really start identifying as a writer. Before that, I honestly thought I was
going to be an actress, even though I wasn’t very good at it, and didn’t really
enjoy it. I think because the storytelling thing was just something I’d always
done, I didn’t recognize it as special, or even as “art” at all – but it was
always there, and eventually I recognized it as such, and now it’s what I want
to do with the rest of my life.

Things REALLY took off once I realized that Disney World had
a writing internship…but if I start talking about THAT, then we’ll be here all
day.

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?

That’s a really interesting question. When my big sister was
looking at colleges, I started picking up literary journals from the schools we
visited, and I started noticing a troubling pattern in the works published
there: they were overwhelmingly sad. I concluded then that sadness must be the
easiest emotion to evoke in a story, and the true challenge was to create
something that made people happy.

Bad things do happen in the stories I write, but they very
rarely end that way. Books and movies that end in hopelessness bother me. By
all means, kill your darlings and send me to bed crying, but give me a reason
to get up in the morning! This is a very roundabout way of answering that a
feature I include in my work is hope. My stories are most often about people looking
at the world and seeing not only the bad that is, but the good that could be,
and working to make that good come to be. I think a lot of people perceive hope
and optimism as naïve, and sadness and despair as true art. It’s fine to have
that opinion, but I don’t subscribe to it. I see art in joy, and in the
challenge of creating joy, and in taking on that challenge. I see art in hope.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

You are not completely unique, and that is a good thing.
It’s a good thing because it means that you have something to offer that will
resonate with other people. You are not so different from the rest of the world
that nobody will ever understand; rather, you have something to create that
other people need. Create what is true to you, what is so true to you that it
feels like no one else in the world may have ever felt the way that you feel
about it. Create it and share it with the world. And someday, someone will walk
up to you, and nervously shake your hand, and say, “That’s exactly how I feel.
Thank you for turning it into art.”

Also, I highly recommend learning the skill of biting your
tongue and saying “thank you, I’ll consider it” to critique. It’s not an easy
skill to develop. Feedback is key to growth, and while you don’t have to TAKE
all the feedback anyone ever gives you (you won’t take most of it, and that’s
the way it should be!), it’s good to hear feedback. Feedback is how you learn
what people are getting out of your art, whether your art is doing what you
want it to do to the people you want it to do stuff to. I hope that sentence
makes sense. I’d appreciate feedback on that sentence.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

Demisexual, usually. Recently I’ve been feeling a bit more
solidly ace; my body on occasion will send me a surprise bout of “nonononono”
even when I’m with someone I am very much emotionally connected to.

I don’t even know what’s up with my romantic orientation.
It’s like it plays “duck duck goose,” where it’ll go “duck duck duck…” over
everyone around me for ages and then suddenly “GOOSE! YOU HAVE A CRUSH!!!”

I like things to make sense, so it’s all a bit frustrating
for me, but I’m training myself to make peace with the uncertainty. Having
words like “demisexual” and “asexual” and “sex-positive” and “sex-repulsed” to
throw around helps some. I like having words for things.

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

Nothing’s been explicitly directed towards me, but romance
is such a prevalent part of the stories we tell that I can’t help but be
nervous. I’m nervous that I won’t be able to write a love story that someone
will want to read, because I can’t know what it’s like to be the allosexual
people that mainstream romances are about. I’m nervous that putting ace people
in my stories, or being frank about demisexuality, will bring more trouble down
on me than good. But this is my life, this is my truth, and these are the
stories that I wish, oh god do I wish, that I had had when I thought that I was
broken. How could I not write that? But I’m nervous, so how CAN I write that?

Fortunately, I found an incredibly supportive feminist arts
community at my university, and I felt safe enough there to read a piece about
figuring out my sexuality at an open mic. After the show, an audience member
came up to me and thanked me, because what I had read was exactly how it was
for them figuring out their sexuality. That’s when it hit me that however
nervous I was, I couldn’t let that get in the way of creating my art. People
need to know that they’re not alone. And coming up against ninety-nine readers
who think I’m some faker special snowflake is worth it if I can get to the
hundredth reader who needs to hear that they’re not alone.

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

That it doesn’t exist.

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

…Honestly, I wish someone had advice to give ME, because I
struggle with it plenty. What I do know to remind myself of as much as I can is
this: your sexuality does NOT make you a burden, and anyone who makes you feel
like it is can walk the plank.

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

I have an electronic portfolio at https://sophieakatz.wordpress.com/,
and I’ve just begun a writing Tumblr in an attempt to self-promote – you can
find that at https://sophieakatz.tumblr.com/.
Go ahead and send me a message there if you want to chat about anything! Or you
could contact me at http://ohthewhomanity.tumblr.com/;
that’s the blog where I use the “story ideas” tag.
You can also find my Odyssey articles every week at https://www.theodysseyonline.com/user/@sophiekatz.

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

Interview: Eliza

Today we’re joined by Eliza. Eliza is a phenomenal visual artist who also writes and does some performance art. Most of what she does is writing and fanart, including cosplay. Eliza also does some dancing and acting too. 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.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I work in multiple genres of art. I do visual art, fan art,
cosplay, writing, dancing, and acting. Specifically
I do fanart and writing.

What inspires you?

What inspires me is seeing other artists my age doing
amazing things, which gives me the hope to be like them.

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

I actually got interested in art by accident, but it still
happened. I’ve been an artist since I was 7 years old.

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?

Sometimes I put DS in my art

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Criticism is necessary, but don’t take it if it doesn’t help
you. No matter what people say, you will get better in art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as an asexual aromantic

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

I actually haven’t yet. Except for the occasional
‘asexuality isn’t real’ comment. I usually just ignore the comment or delete
it.

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

The most common misconception I see is that asexuality is
just an excuse for not getting laid.

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 can and cannot be.

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

Other than Tumblr, where my art is at either at Unis-Trash-Stash or at xthe-space-rebels,
I am also on IFunny as Uniway.

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

Interview: Tamare Rosemov

Today we’re joined by Tamare Rosemov. Tamare is a wonderful poet who hopes to publish his poetry one day. He writes mostly short free verse poetry and has sometimes posted it publicly. He is clearly a dedicated and passionate writer as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

I write short free verse poetry which I sometimes post publicly.
I usually only share my poetry with a couple close friends, although I do hope
to get published someday.

What inspires you?

My emotions are the basis for my work as well as my greatest
inspiration. I love the way that poetry can aid in the struggle against the impermanence
of life – a small burst of joy or sorrow can retain its original vigor when
expressed in a few meaningful phrases. This urge to commemorate my favorite
moments and feelings inspires me as strongly as emotion itself.

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

My interest in poetry increased significantly when I was hit
with depression. I discovered that poetry could be a wonderful coping mechanism
for making sense of the emotions and problems that haunted me. As for being an
artist, it was never on my mind until I realized that I need art in my life,
and perhaps it might become part of my professional career in the future.

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 favorite poems include sea imagery. I grew up in a small
European seaside town, and the sea remains to me the ultimate object of
nostalgia as well as a metaphor for many parts of my life.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t give up on art even if you’re afraid of criticism or a
lack of creativity. I think we all have that desire in us; the desire to
express ourselves, and we all encounter stimuli that inspire us to create. So
even if your art does not fit somebody’s standard, if it makes you feel more
whole, keep on creating.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as a heteroromantic asexual, and until recently I
thought I was just an extremely innocent heterosexual. It still shocks me that
I’m that different from the person I always considered myself to be.

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

I have not encountered much prejudice, and I acknowledge that
I am privileged in that aspect. The worst I’ve encountered is ignorance because
I haven’t come out to many people for fear of damaging my relationships.

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

Probably the idea that asexuals don’t exist. It’s annoying
when someone seems to accept my asexuality but then proclaims smugly, “You’re
just very pure”, “Everyone wants sex”, or “You’re just too shy to express your
dirty thoughts”. I know how I feel, and even though I’m still getting used to
it, I am an asexual and asexuality is a valid identity.

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

Don’t be ashamed of who you truly are. Sexuality is as deep
as the human mind, and the human mind is an enigma. We might never know why our
minds work the way they do, but what we do know is that our minds can create,
think, analyze, love. So, no matter what your sexuality is, love yourself.

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

I post my bad and good poetry at https://allpoetry.com/BlueCandlelight;

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

Signal Boost: Kai Collart

Hello all!

A recent interviewee recently reached out and requested some help. Kai Collart is just a wonderfully talented fanartist (interview found here: Tumblr & WordPress). They need some help covering the cost of housing and medication. This is what’s written on their YouCaring page:

Hey guys, my name is Kai Collart. I need a little help. I need to
move by August, and I need to save up first and last month’s rent. I’m
currently between jobs, and struggling to pay my current rent. I also
need to save up money so I can have time off after my top surgery. (I’m
transgender, by the way, so this surgery is really important to me.) All
of this is happening so fast, and I can’t afford to do this on my own.
If I don’t have money to move by August, I’m not going to have a place
to go, as my lease ends in August, and we can’t renew it, as the
landlord is selling the house. I’m sorry to be asking for help, but I’m
in a really tight spot. Thank you for your support!

IMPORTANT UPDATE!!!!

MY
TESTOSTERONE ISN’T COVERED BY THE PHARMAHEALTHCARE PLAN, AND WILL ONLY
BE COVERED IF I WAS A BIOLOGICAL MAN, AS STATED BY THE REQUIREMENTS. I
NEED TO HAVE $80 BY FRIDAY, AND I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY, I CAN’T EVEN BUY
FOOD RIGHT NOW. PLEASE SHARE OR DONATE, THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR MY
HEALTH.

He also requested I included this additional information in the signal boost: “
I am willing to write a short story of any kind for anyone who donates,
as long as they let me know what they want written, as I have stated in
my Tumblr post as well.”

Once again, here’s his YouCaring page:https://www.youcaring.com/kaicollart-1160920

So if you can help out an ace in need, I know that Kai would be just so incredibly grateful. And please share this as well. Let’s help an ace artist out 🙂

Thank you, everybody!

Signal Boost: Another eBook Sale

Hello all!

As you all know, I’ll be speaking on a panel at C2E2 this weekend (more information found here and here).
To celebrate, I’ve decided to have an eBook sale on the first two books of my series.

From April 5th – 9th, the eBook of Sere from the Green will be FREE and Through Storm and Night will be 0.99!

If you’re a fan of fantasy starring strong queer women (including adoptees, written by an adoptee) or you know anyone who is, please check out my books. And consider leaving a review. Being an indie author, I’m relying heavily on word of mouth and signal boosts 🙂

Here’s some more information on the books:

Sere from the Green

There is a race that lives among humans, unbeknownst to
them, called shape shifters, those that can shift from human to animal at will.
Many protect the innocent on Earth and act as the eyes and ears of the guardians,
divine beings similar to gods in ancient myths.

Isis is a woman who lives a normal life until the day she
photographs a murder scene for her job. When the body disappears from her
photographs, Isis is determined to solve the mystery. Her investigation
uncovers answers about her own past and sets her on a journey that will change
her life forever.

Buy here

Through Storm and Night

The Meadows is home to the guardians, a race of beings
similar to the deities in ancient mythology. They watch over the Earth from
their serene lands, keeping everything in check. For millennia, it has been
peaceful. However, in the beginning, there was a great war. A war with Chaos, a
war that is still remembered in the legends of the guardians and shape
shifters.

Months have passed since Isis’, a shape shifter/guardian
hybrid and member of the prophesied Four, narrow escape from the Obsidian
Manor. The Four still haven’t found answers about the mysterious Coop and their
search for the Key has yielded nothing but more questions. When an old alliance
is reforged, the Four are thrown into another mystery. Who are the strange
shape shifters known only as the “glowing-eyes” and what is their
connection to the odd symbol and vanishing bodies?

Buy here

Once again, this sale runs from April 5th – 9th.

I hope those of you who already have books are enjoying them and thanks for picking them up 🙂

Thank you so much everybody!

Interview: Kai Collart

Today we’re joined by Kai Collart. Kai is a phenomenal fanfiction writer who writes fics in the One Piece fandom. He particularly enjoys writing Zosan fics. While he mostly writes short stories, Kai also has a few multi-chapter fics too. It’s clear he loves to write, 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
mostly write fanfics for the One Piece
fandom, specifically Zosan. They’re mostly just short stories but I
have a few multi-chapter fics in mind that I may create someday. I do also make
my own short stories and what not but I keep those for myself and my close
friends. I’m not as active as I used to be, as I’m
spending more time editing other people’s
work rather than making my own.

What inspires you?

The
thing that inspires me most is music. I can’t
write unless I have music in the background, usually set in the mood of what I’m
writing. Going outside on walks also inspires me and helps me create new
ideas, as well as brainstorming with my fiancée also helps.

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

I’ve
always been interested in writing and storytelling since I can remember really.
My grandpa used to make up these elaborate stories for us and get us to add
onto it with him and since then I’ve
been hooked. I can’t go a day without creating my own
little world and making little stories along the way.

Reading
fanfics is what got me into writing them as I wasn’t
always satisfied with the content, or the lack thereof that I had access to. I
wanted to provide my own ideas for others to enjoy in their own time without
having to pay for 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 don’t really have anything that I can
think of that’s unique to my work.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

No
matter what anyone says to you, good or bad, just keep creating. There will
always be at least one person that will love and be inspired by your work and
that in itself is worth it. But even then, create your art for you. Be your own
inspiration when you can.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m
a sex repulsed asexual, panromantic. I also happen to be a transgender male and
also polyamorous.

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

I
have indeed encountered plenty of ace prejudice in my time, mostly by my
ex-boyfriend. At first I tried to educate him on it but when he seemed
uninterested I just distanced myself from it. If a person isn’t
willing to learn about or accept who I am, there is only so much I can do
before I just have to walk away and take care of myself.

More often than not, people will accept it and move on for
me.

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

Mostly
I have encountered people saying that asexuality isn’t
a thing and I just need to find the right person, that I’m
picky, or even that I’m just afraid of sex because I’ve
been hurt. Most people who have said these things tell me that it’s
impossible not to be attracted to a gender and that I just need to choose
something.

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

Just
be yourself. Find people that will accept you, reach out to other aces if you
can and talk to them. Share your story if you feel comfortable doing so. Don’t
let people pressure you into doing something you don’t
want to do, if you’re in a relationship with a person who
is guilt tripping you over not having sex or not being sexually attracted to
them, maybe it’s time to get out of that relationship
if you can’t work it out. You’re
not alone, we stand with you.

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

https://archiveofourown.org/users/Torchi_chan
is
where I post the work that I’m comfortable sharing. Some may be NSFW and most are pretty sad.

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

Interview: Shelby Eileen

Today we’re joined by Shelby Eileen. Shelby is a phenomenal poet who has recently released a book of poetry entitled Soft in the Middle. She uses poetry to express herself and has an amazing dedication to her art. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with an incredibly bright future, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about
your art.

My art, currently, is poetry. I have one self-published
poetry collection titled Soft in the Middle
and almost all of my WIPs are also poetry. Writing is something I’ve always,
always done and poetry has long been my preferred way to express myself in
writing. I think my art has always had a lot to do with communication even if I
didn’t always know it; trying to communicate better not only with others but
also with myself. Picking the right words and putting them together in such a
way that I feel I’ve finally made sense of something is the best thing about
what I do.

What inspires you?

The thought that there is really nothing that has already
been created that is exactly like what I have the potential to create. I don’t
know if it’s naïve or self-centered to think, but my own individuality inspires
me. Other asexual artists inspire me. Self-published poets inspire the absolute
heck out of me. There’s something so pure and immeasurable about their success-
they are literally the embodiment of that “she believed she could so she did”
sentiment and I think that’s so badass.

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

Yep, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even before that
though, I’ve always wanted to be an editor. Reading got me into this whole
world and I’ve never felt like I was meant to do anything else but work with
authors and be an author myself.

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 do, or at least, not yet. I haven’t been at
this long enough to figure that out. I would almost prefer to have readers pick
up on a “unique signature” on their own, whatever that could be, without me
actively trying to tie all of my works together. I find myself focusing a lot
more on the differences between my projects than on the similarities anyway.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Make friends with people who are already doing what you want
to do! Social media is a great way to do that.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m asexual. Since figuring out that I’m ace I’ve grown to
absolutely love that part of myself. The label brings me a lot of comfort and
peace. I also identify as queer, bi, and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum.

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

Online and in the poetry/writing community, no. I have yet
to see anyone criticize my work specifically for reflecting my asexuality. My
family and many of my irl friends haven’t ever commented on my asexuality
though, and seeing as I explicitly state that I am asexual in my work, it
definitely feels like they avoid it because they’re confused or made
uncomfortable by it. Silence and passivity on the matter can hurt just as much
as outright objection or disapproval. That doesn’t feel nice but it’s not the
absolute worst reaction I could get, I suppose. I handle it by constantly
reminding myself that my work is first and foremost for me and no one else.
Even if I don’t show it or admit to it often, no one is more proud of me than
me for what I’ve accomplished so far- as long as I feel pride in what I do,
negative reception is easier to deal with.

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

Oh god. That asexuality and the mere concepts of sex and
intimacy can’t overlap at all. That
asexuals are just straight people weaseling their way into the LGBTQIAP+
community. Asexuality as a sexual/mental health issue. Asexuals are broken. Asexuality
isn’t real. Everyone is demisexual. Asexuals can’t have relationships. It’s
disgusting how common it all is.  

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

It’s REALLY okay to question stuff and be unsure or even
unhappy with where you’re at in regards to your orientation. You’ve come this
far on your own and that’s something to be proud of. You should never hesitate
to investigate, dissect, confront, and share all of the feelings you have. I
dealt with orientation struggles/ general unhappiness by seeking out a bunch of
books with asexual characters. A lot of them made me feel so much better about
myself- quite frankly, it made me feel like less of a freak. Getting swept up
in stories with characters that you can relate to that get a happy ending is
great medicine.

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

Amazon buy link for soft in the middle! http://a.co/fLDIzIw

Goodreads page! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36812982-soft-in-the-middle

My Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are all at briseisbooks. My
social medias are not exclusively for my writing, they do contain a good amount
of personal content as well!

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

Interview: Frankie Onye

Today we’re joined by Frankie Onye. Frankie is a wonderful aspiring author who hopes to publish their work one day. They’re currently working on a number of novels, mostly queer fiction and fantasy. A fellow Poe fan, Frankie takes inspiration from a number of different places. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic author, 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.

Well I’m a writer, first and foremost. I write queer fiction
and mostly slice-of-life fantasy. It’s my favorite genre and it’s a lot of
work, what with coming up with magic systems that make some sense, filling in
plot holes, trying to fix my horrible sleeping pattern, but it gives me a sense
of comfort when I write and my dream to get published one day keeps me going.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything. Mostly works by artist, Pascal
Campion, Studio Ghibli, Black Panther, Leigh Bardugo and a friend of mine that
got me into fantasy again. She goes by Zuko on Wattpad usually and she has
inspired me and supported me in so many ways. She’s ace as well and one of the
best writers I know.

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

To be honest, it would be the story of King Arthur that got
me interested in actually writing. Morgana had been my favorite and the world
with magic like that had always interested me. Before that, I was a kid that
wrote random declarations of war on the wall with my name signed underneath,
reading works of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe and Tolkien before resuming
to give my older brother hell. Frankly, I was a weird kid.

I’ve always wanted to write or draw, but i had the kind of
parents that told me it was a waste of time and should get a well-paying job
that could keep me afloat for myself and my “hobbies".

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?

Nothing I can think of. Sorry, mates.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice and learn. Don’t be afraid to take
constructive criticism. Even if it’s something you don’t agree with, say thanks
and move on. As art is subjective, there are going to always be people that
think your work is crap, and sometimes, you might be one of those people. Don’t
let that get you down, okay? Nobody can get better if they don’t listen and
take correction but you also can’t get better if you give up just because of
some nasty comments and thoughts. You gots this.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I’m as ace as it gets, mates!

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

I’ve been told that being ace doesn’t mean I’m LGBT or
queer, that me being non-binary is the reason I’m LGBT. To be perfectly queer,
I’m still not sure about this debate. I know I’m ace and that’s pretty much it
for me.

Another thing is being told that I am just too young and I
have no idea what I’m talking about and that it’ll change when I “fall in
love". Which I mean, is point blank ridiculous. It’s not an on and off
switch, Karen! I’m 18, sure, that’s young, but I’m pretty sure at this stage I
know when my motor ain’t running that way. How do I deal with this? I ignore
the ignorance like it’s the buzzing fly that it is. Life’s too short to scream
at cement walls.

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

That it’ll all change when I found “the one".

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

Own it, live it, and love yourself as you are. I’ve been
struggling with this since I was a short little thing in Nigeria (though some
might argue I’m still a small fry). Felt like a freak honestly and even worse
when the issue about my gender was added on top. You are who you are and that’s
all anyone can be.

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

I’m a bit everywhere, or I try to be.

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/ivebeenbamboozled
Tapas: https://m.tapas.io/onyefrankie
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frankieonye/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/frankieonye
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/frankieonye.

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

Interview: Jessica Meats

Today we’re joined by Jessica Meats. Jessica is a phenomenal author from the UK who writes science fiction and fantasy. She writes about everything from superheroes smashing the fourth wall to werewolves fighting for their rights. With a new release on the horizon, Jessica is definitely an author to watch for. When she’s not writing original work, Jessica is curating an online database of books with strong LGBTQ+ representation and is always looking for more recommendations. It’s clear she’s a 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 writer, mainly of science fiction and fantasy books
of various lengths. The shortest is The
Adventures of Technicality Man
, a fun and silly superhero parody that
doesn’t so much break the fourth wall as smash it into a million pieces. The
longest is my soon-to-be-released fantasy novel Wolf Unleashed, a considerably more serious work which explores
themes of oppression and prejudice in a world where werewolves are fighting for
equal rights.

What inspires you?

I write the sort of stories I enjoy, so I would have to say
that I’m inspired by other creators. I’m an avid reader and I love watching
SF&F TV shows and films, so I like playing with these ideas and trying to
find something new and different to say.

I also find inspiration in the real world. The SF&F
genres have always been used to address real world issues by framing them so
that people can look at them in a new light. That’s what I’m trying to do with Wolf Unleashed and there were some
scenes that were inspired by acts of injustice that have been reported in the
news (or frequently misreported and hushed over in cases of institutional
racism). There’s a scene in which a Muslim character talks about some of the
prejudice he’s faced that I rewrote after the travel ban fiasco in the United
States.

It’s not all dark though. I wrote most of my first novel, Child of the Hive, while I was at
university studying mathematics and computer science. In the computer science
side of the course, we had various lectures and discussions about technology
that was currently being worked on, and some of the technology in that book was
directly inspired by those discussions of what was cutting edge at the time I
was writing it.

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

I have written stories since I first learned how to pick up
a pen. When I was little, I would fold sheets of paper together to make little
books and write stories in them. I don’t remember ever making the decision to
be a writer – I just always knew I would be. As I grew up, I had to temper that
desire with realism about the odds of making a living as an author, but I never
stopped writing.

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

If I do it’s hidden even from me. My writing style is
heavily driven by plot, so I suppose you could say that’s a signature of my
style, but It’s not symbolic.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Keep going. Gaining a skill takes time, so keep working on
your art and you will keep getting better. Nothing teaches like practice.

For writers in particular, think about the things you read.
If you read a book you love, stop and consider what it is about that book that
appeals to you so much, Likewise, if you read something you hate, consider what
it is about the work that’s putting you off so much so you can try and avoid
those things in your own work.

Above all, create the art you enjoy. Focus first and
foremost on creating works that you have fun creating and that you’re pleased
with when you’re finished. Worry about how you’re going to sell them or find an
audience second.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am biromantic asexual. For a long time, I thought I was
bisexual because I didn’t realise the concept of asexuality existed.

I’ve never been sexually attracted to anyone but I have had
relationships and I’m open to romantic love with persons of any gender. To me,
the match of personalities is more important than anything physical.

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

Not really. I’ve seen some ignorant comments on social media
sites and the like, but nothing that has really impacted my writing. This may
be because the discovery of the concept of asexuality and my revelation about
how it applied to me came after I’d been writing for several years. Given the
length of time it takes for a book to go from inspiration, to first draft, to
complete, to publication… my past books haven’t really focused on asexuality.
I have one book that is almost ready to go to the publisher which has an
asexual protagonist, and another one about halfway through the first draft with
an asexual love interest. I may find different reactions when those books come
out.

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

The one I’ve seen most often is just a lack of knowledge –
people don’t know that asexuality is a thing. I went through my teen years
thinking that there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t getting
crushes on pop stars and actors the way everyone around me seemed to be. I know
I’m not the only person to go through this. I had a conversation with a woman
in her late fifties, who told me, “I’d always just assumed I was
broken,” because she didn’t feel any interest in sex.

I had a conversation with some colleagues from work where we
got onto the subject of sexuality. I mentioned asexuality and one of my
colleagues asked me to explain because it wasn’t a term she’d heard before. As
I explained, her face just lit up with excitement and she went, “That’s
me!”

This complete lack of awareness when it comes to even the
existence of asexuality is harmful for so many people who think there’s a
problem with them. These people need to see asexuality discussed openly and represented
in fiction so that they can recognise that they’re not alone.

Outside of LGBTQ+ circles, people aren’t aware of
asexuality, and so that leads to people who fall somewhere on the spectrum
themselves to develop the misconception that there’s something wrong with them.

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

You’re not alone.

There are a lot of different experiences across the breadth
of the asexuality spectrum, so don’t worry if the way you feel isn’t a perfect
match for the way someone else describes their feelings, just know that you
aren’t the only one. There’s nothing wrong with you.

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

I have a blog at http://plot-twister.co.uk
where I post book reviews, articles on writing advice, and news about my own
books. I also have a queer reading list on that site, which is a list of
reader-recommended sci-fi and fantasy books that contain strong LGBTQ+
representation. You can apply filters to find books that have specific
representations. So if you want to find a book that has a demi-sexual
protagonist, or an aromantic major character, you can apply the filters and see
what people have recommended. I’m always keen to get new recommendations so if
you know of good SF&F with asexual (or other queer) representation, please
recommend them.

You can also follow me on Tumblr at http://jessicameats.tumblr.com or
Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessicameats
or like my Facebook
page
.

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