Interview: Kristen

Today we’re joined by Kristen. Kristen is a phenomenal author who self-publishes a series with her partner under the name Riley S. Keene. She enjoys writing speculative fiction: fantasy and horror mostly. In fact, the series they’re working on is LGBTQIA+ fantasy and it sounds fantastic from the summary. It’s clear that Kristen is a passionate and dedicated author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art of choice is writing—specifically LGBTQA+ and POC positive speculative fiction, including Fantasy, LitRPG, and Horror. I have been writing speculative fiction for way more years than I’d like to admit (somewhere upwards of 25 by now), but I only got serious about it in the last five years. Before I got serious about writing, I was an artist who took way too much influence from anime and manga.

What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration for Fantasy and LitRPG are table top games, like Dungeons and Dragons, Vampire the Masquerade, and Savage Worlds. I also take a lot of inspiration from video games, including Horizon Zero Dawn, the Final Fantasy series, and MMOs like Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft. I’m also greatly inspired by books, including the Dragonlance series, the first Fantasy books that showed me people could enjoy accessible Fantasy that didn’t need to copy Tolkien’s style.

For Horror, my biggest inspiration is my own anxiety. Thanks, brain. Maybe also the 80s and 90s horror movies I grew up with (before jump scares became the norm) and the work of Ania Ahlborn and Richard Laymon.

Lately though, my biggest inspiration has been knowing that self-publishing gives me a platform to share my words with others, to influence and inspire them, just like others have influenced and inspired me.

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

I was always a creative child. As far back as I can remember, I read books, played with art supplies, and enjoyed the Steno notebooks and typewriters that my grandmother had in her attic from her time as a secretary.

When I graduated from college, I decided to pursue art as a source of income (how I got into Engineering Marketing from Graphic Design is anyone’s guess) so I focused on writing for the fun stuff. I studied and studied and, you guessed it, studied some more. I have nearly a hundred how-to writing self-help books that I’ve collected over the last ten years, and all of them have helped me hone my craft. Or, you know, gather dust. Whichever.

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?

Nearly all of my stories feature a broken religion and/or government. I was born and raised in a very strict religion (purposefully not named to avoid upsetting anyone) and when I grew into an adult, much to the anger of my family, I renounced my religion to focus on the one religion that spoke to me as a person—Wiccan. I’ve since transitioned to just general Agnosticism. But it was the flaws in that first religion, the leaders and the way the believes were applied only when convenient, that made me realize that organized religion is a perfect vehicle for everything terrible I could do on large scale in Fantasy worlds.

All of my stories also feature LGBTQA+ and POC characters in worlds that don’t discriminate against them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My biggest advice to young, aspiring artists is to stop listening to anyone who tells you that you aren’t good enough. A lot of people in the world want to share negative thoughts, especially about the creation of art. With the internet—specifically crowdfunding and online marketplaces—there has never been a better time to become a creator. It doesn’t matter if you are writing, painting, filming, singing…you can share your art with the world. Be sure you are producing as professional of a product as possible, but nothing has to be perfect. And anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to crush your dreams just like someone else crushed theirs. Break the cycle. Make your art. Be happy.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a biromantic gray asexual cis woman. This is kind of new to me, as I always identified as bisexual and it wasn’t until the last year or so that I realized I am actually asexual. I am happily married to a wonderful, supportive cis straight man.

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

Absolutely. I’ve gotten feedback from readers that they don’t understand how a conventionally attractive character could be uninterested in sex. They always assume the character has suffered some sort of sexual assault or other trauma…which always elicits a sigh of exhaustion from me.

I haven’t yet had anyone come after ME specifically as an ace creator, but there is always a first for everything, right?

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

That the assault and trauma I’ve suffered has anything to do with my asexuality. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of soul searching and questioning about my views on sex. I’ve come to realize is that sexual assault is a much smaller factor than people really realize. But it still becomes the first question out of anyone’s mouth when I explain to them my thoughts on sex and sexuality.

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

The biggest thing that helped me come to terms with my orientation was research. I read a lot of articles and thought pieces and a lot (a lot a lot) of ace-positive blogs. I spoke to other ace individuals about their experiences, and then also talked to a lot of my bisexual and pansexual friends about their experiences with sex and thoughts on sexuality. It was at that point, that I realized I was a lot more like my ace friends than I was my bi friends. And a loooot of stuff made a looooot of sense.

Main takeaway I got from all of my research though was this—no one’s sexuality is set in stone. It can change, adapt, and be fluid. Just like gender. So be you, ignore the naysayers, and as long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others, do you. Or not, if that’s your thing.

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

I publish my books under a pen name, since I work with my partner. That pen name is Riley S. Keene, and you can find our work on Amazon (only for right now, sorry, KU is just so good for authors starting out!) or you can just find out more about us on our website at www.rileyskeene.com. We’re also on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook at RileySKeene. Our Tumblr just has a lot of aesthetic/character inspo stuff with some light self-promo mixed in, Twitter is where I get to be my queer little self, and Facebook is all business all the time.

I’d love it if we could hang out sometime!

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

Interview: Snig

Today we’re joined by Snig. Snig is a phenomenal poet who has recently come out as asexual. They write a lot of blank-verse poetry and most of it has to do with emotions. They have a book out titled Girl Behind Scars, which is definitely worth checking out. It’s clear they’re a passionate author with an admirable dedication, as you’ll see. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer/poet on WordPress.

A lot of my work is blank verse poetry usually relating to my emotional status at the time. But more so than often you can find me also ranting about some topic that has caught my eye, or just random thoughts that go along in my head. Ya, I’m pretty much all over the place when it comes to writing.

What inspires you?

To be honest, too many things inspire me. It can be a conversation I’ve had with someone, my mental illnesses, the people around me, a meme I saw online that made me feel a certain one. But I think at the crux of all of them is the fact that they evoked a raw, undeniable urge to write about them.

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

I’ve always written. Even as kid, penning my thoughts down on paper provided me with more clarity than anything else could have. So that’s where it all started I guess, a need for little me to understand the world around her, and so I would write down every perspective or thought I could about something that had caught my eye. If I couldn’t understand how I truly felt about someone or something, I’d write about them.

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 any unique signature, symbol or feature that I include in my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art has very little to do with success and more to do with how it personally makes you feel and that’s what make someone a true artist. So no matter what art form you choose to pursue or do as a hobby, always keep it true to yourself and your perspective on life. Success will follow.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic asexual.

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

In my field? Not really, but that’s probably because my sexuality isn’t something that’s ever brought up in my discussion with people. However, I have encountered people in daily life that do think me identifying as an asexual, is just a typical “women” thing because apparently women aren’t sexual beings. A thought process which is just appalling.

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

That it means we will never have sex or enjoy sex. Nah bruh, it just means I don’t have to deal with panties in a twist just from seeing someone particularly attractive.

Also people who confuse it with asexual reproduction and then say “oh so one day you’re just going to split into two”, not funny guys, not funny.

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

You aren’t broken. I know in the hyper sexualised world that we live in it can feel that way, but you aren’t broken. You are just as valid an orientation as someone who is gay or lesbian, and even though the LGBTQ+ community may sometimes also treat us as broken, there are many of us out there who exist and will always be willing to help you out. You are queer and you are here.

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

As of now most of my work is on my WordPress blog, Semblance of Normality.
https://justanotherdepressedsoul.wordpress.com/

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But I’ve also had a poem be published in a collective anthropology called Girl Behind Scars
https://www.amazon.in/Girl-Behind-Scars-about-Writing/dp/B078WQJSDX.

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

Interview: Tori

Today we’re joined by Tori. Tori is a phenomenal artist who does a little bit of everything. She acts, writes, plays music, and is even a photographer. For music, she plays a number of instruments (clarinet, piano, bass clarinet, and contra-alto clarinet). Tori has even dabbled in cosplay and animation. 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.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an artist, a photographer, a writer, an actress, and I play piano, clarinet, bass clarinet, and contra-alto clarinet. I’ve also done a few cosplays and animations/edits.

What inspires you?

It could really be anything. I’ll take pictures of anything I think is pretty. I’ll draw whatever comes to my head. I’ll write about anything I think has a story to tell. I think that almost everything has beauty in it, and I love trying to capture it. I also deal with anxiety and depression, so I like to personify different feelings using drawings, because I feel like it makes them easier to deal with.

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

Ever since I was a kid, I loved drawing, singing, telling stories, and performing. I don’t think I ever thought I would be as into it as I am now, but the passion was always there.

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?

Not really. I try to make everything I do look different. Everything should have its own style.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I mean, I am an aspiring young artist. I’m only 14. But I’d say, just do what you love to do. It doesn’t matter what field it’s in, if you take pride in what you’re doing, you will improve.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as asexual biromantic.

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

Not really. I try to surround myself with supportive people, and if people don’t support me, they shouldn’t be around me at all. I do understand ignorance, though. There’s a difference between being ignorant and not knowing everything about a particular topic, and being prejudiced and unaccepting.

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

A lot of people seem to think that because I’m ace, I don’t want to have a relationship with anyone. That’s not true at all. Currently though, I just don’t know anyone that would be worth taking time out of my schedule to go on a date with them.

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

Just know that labels can change. Sexuality, especially asexuality, can be difficult to define. Don’t worry about the specifics of a label. Just be you.

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

If I think that my art is good enough, which I usually don’t, I’ll post it on my Tumblr blog (torieltears-art.tumblr.com), but other than that, I’m usually pretty secretive with my work.

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

Interview: Ashley

Today we’re joined by Ashley. Ashley is a wonderful visual artist and writer who enjoys drawing mostly original characters from her books. When she’s not drawing, Ashley loves to write thrillers and fantasy. It’s clear she’s a very passionate artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I love to draw and write. I love drawing people, primarily my book characters. I write many different genres, but the biggest ones are fantasy and thriller.

What inspires you?

My passion for writing inspires me the most. I want to make a difference with my work by including many types of characters. My goal is for my readers to be able to find themselves in my work, or see their specific traits represented. This goal is what inspires me to keep writing and to keep putting faces to my characters.

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

When I was younger, being an artist had never occurred to me. Later, however, I began to love to read, and I soon realized how many different types of people can be represented through fiction. As for drawing, my love for animation is what sparked that interest. So, I guess you could say I became interested because of books and cartoons.

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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 thing to a symbol I can think of would be in my writing: I always try to include a little piece of myself into any one of my characters. It can be anything from a personality trait, a sexuality or gender identity, or even traits I wish I had.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice for aspiring artists is to always keep going. Keep pushing forward and doing what you love. It also takes time to improve, but as long as you keep going, you’ll see yourself getting better and better. Believe in yourself.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m demiromantic asexual, but I might be biromantic as well. Not entirely sure on that front.

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

I haven’t, mainly because I’m not out to anyone besides my close friends and a few family members.

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

That just because we experience no sexual attraction, it means we are never willing to do anything sexual.

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

It may take time to get used to your identity, and that’s totally okay. Also, never let anyone tell you your sexuality isn’t real; you are valid.

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

I have a Wattpad where I post my books, however I’m mostly drafting right now. My username is PandoraOfficial.

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

Interview: Avery Delany

Today we’re joined by Avery Delany. Avery is a phenomenal book blogger who specializes in writing about diverse books and authors. They used to be a prolific fiction writer, but fell out of it for a time, though he hopes to start getting back into it (I definitely hope that happens. The more ace authors with different experiences, the better 🙂 ). When he isn’t blogging about books, Avery also writes about gender, disability, and other important topics. It’s clear he’s a very dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.
At the moment I am primarily a #diversebookblogger over on my WordPress blog RedRocketPanda where I read and review books, especially books with diverse characters and/or are written by diverse authors. I also post weekly features such as book lists/recommendations, discussions pieces, pop culture critique, and movie/tv/video game reviews, as well as personal articles which talk openly about my gender identity, sexuality, and various disabilities.

I used to be a very prolific creative writer as a young child and teenager, especially when I discovered the magical world of fanfiction! Unfortunately, as a result of coming out, mental illness, homelessness and unemployment I lost all confidence in my writing. Through book blogging, I have been slowly building my confidence back up again with the help and support of my lovely fellow bloggers with the aim at returning to creative writing once again.

What inspires you?

It’s such a clichéd answer but everything! My own personal experiences, current affairs, other fictional works, books/tv/movies/video games, people watching…

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

Since I was a child I was always obsessed with books and began to get really interested in creative writing around the age of 8 or 9 years old. I have been very lucky to have had supportive English teachers at school, even when I was having a lot of trouble, who encouraged me to keep writing and filled my head with ideas about being a writer so that aspiration has definitely always been there. I didn’t continue studying English in Higher Education though but actually went on to do a degree in History and Anthropology as an adult!

With book blogging, it is something I stumbled upon completely by chance through Goodreads a year ago and I’ve been completely sucked into 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?

With book blogging, everyone knows me for my RedRocketPanda branding as well as my red panda rating system. Aside from that I don’t think I actually have anything for writing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going with the things which make you passionate, even during times when your confidence is low and enjoy the experience of actually doing your art rather than focusing on the final product. It’s super easy to psyche yourself out of producing work because you’re so anxious about what other people think but it’s better to keep producing work, even if you don’t show anyone what you’ve created until you find your confidence!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Exploring aspects of being asexual is actually quite new to me so I’m not overly familiar with the terminology. I’ve known for a number of years now but always felt too ashamed to be open with others about it – until now! I would probably say that I’m somewhere along the lines of ‘bisexual asexual’ but my labels are always in fluctuation so who knows where they will come to rest.

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

The most common thing that I see is asexual erasure more than anything which is why asexual and aromantic authors like Claudie Arseneault are SO important. As a book blogger I just try to support and champion diverse authors where possible and speak about books like Claudie’s as much as I possibly can, challenging other bloggers to do better where possible.

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

Either that it doesn’t exist or that asexual people never have sex. Obviously, like any identity, sexual desire is a completely individual thing and there is so much diversity on the spectrum but I feel like that is often not recognized or spoken about as much as it should be!

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

That you are not alone and there are lots of people out there who struggle with their orientation – even me! If you’re not ready to speak about it with others then that is totally okay, you should never feel pressured to disclose your orientation if you’re not ready or don’t want to in any given situation. For me, readings works and networking with others on the spectrum is a great way to feel less alone until such a time, if ever, that you want to speak about your orientation.

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

You can find my blog over at www.redrocketpanda.wordpress.com, and I also post book blogging pictures on Instagram (RedRocketPanda) and all kinds of opinions on my Twitter (at RedRocketPanda)!

You can also find my one and only piece of creative fiction on the internet that I can actually remember the link to. A little one-shot Marauder Sirius x Remus piece I wrote 4 years ago. https://archiveofourown.org/works/1672394. Enjoy!

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

Call for Interviewees

Hello all!

Once again, I’m low on interviewees. Since I don’t have the time to constantly post calls every single time I’m running low, I’m hoping to use this post as a kind of a reminder:

ASEXUAL ARTISTS IS OPEN FOR INTERVIEWS YEAR-ROUND!

I’m always looking for artists who are on the spectrum to interview. Any and all kinds of artists are welcome.

This is including but not limited to:

WRITERS: all genres and forms are welcome (novelists, short stories, poetry, flash fiction, etc). It doesn’t matter if you’re unpublished, just starting out, a student, a hobbyist, or established. Traditionally published, self-published, small press, etc. You’re all welcome and you all have something to offer.

VISUAL ARTISTS: Self-explanatory, any kind of visual art you can imagine (photography, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, installation, etc.).

FANARTISTS: Another self-explanatory category. Cosplay, visual, fanfiction, etc. Whatever you do in your fandom (any and all fandoms welcome), you’re an artist.

FILMMAKERS: YouTubers, directors, cinematographers, anything that has to do with making films (short, features, documentaries, etc).

PERFORMANCE ARTS: actors, theater arts, singers, mimes, any sort of performers.

DANCERS: Any kind of dance style you can imagine is welcome here (ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, burlesque, belly-dancing, ballroom, etc.)

MUSICIANS: playing instruments, composing, singing, anything involving music

CULINARY: maybe your medium of choice is food. If so, you’re welcome here.

CRAFTS: any sort of craft you can think of (sewing, knitting, crocheting, candle making, jewelry making, etc.)

All levels of artists are welcome: whether you’re a student or a professional, just starting out or already established. If you create, you have something to offer and therefore I want to interview you 🙂

If you’re still unsure whether or not your art qualifies (there’s a 97.9% chance it will), and your question isn’t answered in the F.A.Q., please contact me at laurenjankowski27@gmail.com

If you want to be interviewed, please email me at the same address (laurenjankowski27@gmail.com)

This site continues because I get requests for interviews. If the interviews run out, this site will remain as a resource 🙂 Updates will continue as long as there are aces out there willing to be interviewed.

Thank you, everybody.


Hey everyone! Still open for interviews. And I just want all you amazing, talented, wonderful artists who have already been interviewed: you are making such a difference. Giving an interview may seem like a small thing, perhaps even insignificant, but believe me when I say that so many aces have found comfort and inspiration in your words. I have received numerous messages about how much this blog means to people, especially to aces still coming to terms with their identity. That’s a truly wonderful thing 😃 So please, keep those interview requests coming!


All ages, races, religions, genders are welcome. If you’re on the ace spectrum and you create, I would love to interview you for this blog.

ALL aces are welcome on this blog! It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist, a professional, a dabbler, a student, aspiring or experienced. Your art is important. Your voice is important.

So please, keep those interview requests coming 😀 ❤

Interview: Orlagh

Today we’re joined by Orlagh. Orlagh is a phenomenal young photographer who specializes in nature photography. Though young, Orlagh plans to continue pursuing art. His work captures the beauty of nature, filled with vivid colors and capturing plants and animals native to Wales. It’s clear he’s a dedicated and passionate artist with a bright future ahead of him, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have been taking photos for around 4-5 years, and have been drawing for much longer than that. Mainly my photos are of plants and animals native to my area, and my other works are of anything and everything! Currently I am pursuing a GCSE qualification in art, and am working on my theme of highlands.

What inspires you?

I have grown up in a house with a big garden, quite overgrown and sprawling with wildlife. I have found a lot of comfort in spending time there because of the privacy it provides, and that has given me a real appreciation of nature. I also have family living in a rural area, and the frequent visits throughout my childhood involved a lot of hiking!

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

My dad has a subscription to National Geographic magazine, which is filled with detailed photographs. I never read the articles, but would look through the images accompanying them. It was always quite clear in my mind that I wanted to go somewhere with my art, be it the drawings or the photos, but I have never been certain what that would be.

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 wish I did! I can admire someone who puts so much time into making their work unique in such a subtle way.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say that, no matter how unhappy you are with something you have made or done, you will have finished a better artist than before you started.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual, plain and simple!

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

I have not had any significant experiences, but there are always uneducated people in my classes who will pick on any minority. I have found a group of LGBT+ people who I can spend time with in these classes, and I think being in a group helps a lot.

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

I think, because I’m quite introverted, people assumed my identity is caused by a lack of interaction with other people – which is very frustrating.

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

You are allowed to be uncomfortable with any references to or sexual actions, especially in TV shows or books. It is not a problem that you don’t enjoy watching the things other people do. Try to find more representation online of asexual people instead, for example the webcomic Under the Aegis by vimeddiee.

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

I have sparsely filled a National Geographic’s Your Shot account: Orlagh Williams. Other than that I don’t have anything…

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