Interview: Amy

Today we’re joined by Amy. Amy is a wonderful writer who specializes in poetry and is currently working on a novel. She has also dabbled in short stories and nonfiction. She plays around with different forms and genres of poetry. Amy also enjoys writing in a variety of genres when it comes to prose. She’s clearly a dedicated and talented author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Thanatos Hear Me
Thanatos Hear Me

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer. I write mostly poems, and I’m working on a novel, which will hopefully be finished in a few years, as well as short stories, and one-off pieces. I write in lots of genres, mainly fantasy, occasionally sci-fi, with some non-fiction thrown in every so often to mix it up. The poetry I write varies between rhyming and not rhyming, and basically wanders across all the poetry structures like iambic pentameter that we all learnt about in school.

What inspires you?

Whenever I read something really good, I sometimes have to stop and let my world shift for a few moments afterwards – I’m sure lots of people have felt the subtle shift in their thinking that happens after reading an amazing piece of work. The idea that that could someday be me – that I could change people just with my words, is mostly what keeps me going.

In more prosaic, day-to-day terms? Anything? Bits of books I’ve read, things I’ve heard or seen, random thoughts that get stuck in my head and won’t leave – all of this gets added to the mixing bowl, and sometimes art comes back out. I mostly draw from my own experiences with poetry, and my prose pieces tend to be more imaginative, drawing on things I’ve read or heard about.

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

I have honestly wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. I’ve still got the first story I ever wrote, in shaky I’ve-just-learnt-how-to-write handwriting (it was about a girl that made friends with a spider, if you’re interested), and I’ve been writing ever since. It feels like something I was made to do – like I’ve always had that urge to tell stories, and I always will. The idea that this was something I could make money from (not that I am yet), and that this was something I could devote my life to, was an epiphany 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?

Nothing in particular. My work tends to include a lot of me in it – a lot of what I think and feel gets included, so someone who knows me pretty well could probably pinpoint what was my work, but there’s nothing specific. Greek and Roman mythology sometimes gets a mention, just because I’m really interested in it, but nothing that I would say is consistent across all my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you not to do it. If you want to create something, create it. It doesn’t matter if you never show it to anyone, or if everyone you show it to thinks it’s terrible – you’re still an artist. And also, you’ve got to love it. Even if my writing never gets any recognition – if I never get published – I won’t ever stop writing, because I couldn’t imagine not doing it. If you want your art to take you somewhere, if you want to make money, or a career, from it, you’ve got to put a lot of hours into it, and trust me, that is so much easier when you can enjoy it.

This
This

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as completely asexual, although not aromantic. Absolutely no sexual attraction to anyone, but I would like a romantic relationship.

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

I wouldn’t say I encounter a lot of prejudice. I do get a lot of ignorance from people around me, and I have a very sarcastic sense of humour, so a lot of people would probably think I was joking if I mentioned it. I haven’t talked to many other writers about it, as I’m a kind of private person, but it does seem to me that asexuality is not widely known at all, or represented in novels, which could be caused by ignorance or prejudice, really.

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

That it precludes a romantic relationship, and also that an asexual person would have to have been traumatized by something, or that they would be completely cold-hearted. People think it’s caused by something, not that it’s just part of who a person is.

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

I would say that you can choose what to label yourself. And that you don’t have to decide instantly. It took me ages to realise that I was asexual, and even longer to be comfortable using the term – and that was just in my head. I’m still cautious of telling people about it.

Also that it’s no one’s business how you identify yourself as. You’re not hurting anyone, you’re not doing something wrong – if they don’t like it, that’s their problem. Be okay with yourself as you are. You’ve discovered something new about yourself that is hard to discover (how do you figure out if you lack something? Took me ages). Be proud of yourself!

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

I do have a Tumblr blog – ifthisislifewheresthemanual – and an AO3 account Coruscant, but I do post infrequently, I’m afraid. Hopefully, in about a year, I’ll have a book published that you can all rush to read!

To Be Afraid
To be Afraid

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

Small Signal Boost

Hi everyone!

I have another personal signal boost (which is also a kind of a site update). In the past, I’ve had some people express interest in supporting the work I do on Asexual Artists. I have been researching ways for people to do so, off and on. Patreon kind of goes over my head, so I was looking into alternatives. Ko-Fi seems to best option for me at the moment.

So yesterday I started a Ko-Fi page: https://ko-fi.com/laurenjankowski

I also posted a link with all the others in the links section on this site as well as with my own links in the Writers section.

I know money is super tight at the moment, so please don’t feel obligated. I won’t ever stop running this site or advocating for asexual artists.

Any small amount you can give is greatly, greatly appreciated. Really, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.


In other news, I’m going to be starting a monthly newsletter. Something I’ve been neglecting for far too long. The first newsletter is going to be going out at the end of the month. It’s going to take me a bit to get into a rhythm (I’m terrified of doing this). The newsletter is just going to be writing news and I’ll probably give a shout-out to other ace authors every now and again.

Anyhow, I don’t really have a lot of subscribers at the moment, so if you’re interested in receiving updates on me and my writing, please sign up for the newsletter on my personal website: https://laurenjankowski.com/

Thanks, everybody! 🙂

Signal Boost: The Blood Prince

Hi everyone!

I have a very exciting signal boost today. An ace author has just released her first novel and it sounds fantastic! Marie Blanchet was interviewed on this site a while back (WordPress & Tumblr) has just released The Blood Prince, the first in a fantasy trilogy entitled the Scale Hearts trilogy. It has an aro-ace main character and dragons! What more could you want? 🙂

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Cover

Here’s what Marie has to say about it:

“Until two years ago, Rainbow was ruled by dragumens. Now, there’s a human Empress on the throne, and she rules with an iron fist. Breaking promises after promises, she controls the people with lies, taxes, and murder. Everywhere in the land, rebellion is brewing. Gangav, the fallen dragumen prince who wants nothing more than revenge, rallies humans and dragumens to his cause. Sasha, his best friend and fiercest supporter, is eager to help him and is spoiling for a fight. Alexander on the other hand never wanted to be a part of it, but finds himself with no other choice when tragedy strikes home, bringing the cruelty of the empress to his doorstep. When news of a spy amongst their ranks turns everything on its head and the sudden outbreak of a new illness threatens the safety of the rebels, the three of them must find a way to relocate their camp before they are discovered, or the rebellion may very well end before it even begins. The first book in the “Scale Hearts” trilogy, “The Blood Prince” is a story about dragons and rebellions, but also about inner strength and figuring out your place in the world.

It might interest readers of you blog to know that the main character Sasha is aromantic in the book, and has somewhat of a journey of self-discovery while working for the rebellion. Being ace but not aro myself, I have consulted with several aromantic betas to make sure that Sasha and her storyline was handled with care. 

The book can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Prince-Scale-Hearts/dp/177511970X/

And here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/760868

I designed everything in the book, from the cover to several character illustrations inside to the page layout and the map.”

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Map

Seriously, Blanchet’s artwork is absolutely beautiful:

alex
Alex
Anzuu
Anzuu
gangav
Gangav
Sasha
Sasha

So if you love fantasy and ace characters, this is definitely a book you want to pick up (and review and recommend).

Thanks, everybody!

Interview: Liv

Today we’re joined by Liv. Liv is a fantastic visual artist who specializes in illustration and character design. She draws in a variety of styles and illustrates various subjects. Her work is amazing in its attention to detail and color. She’s a remarkably talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

dragon scene
Dragon Scene

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work is mainly illustrations. I do a lot of character designs, backgrounds … story boards ‘n such. I like working in pastel shades and bright colors, but I also like making more low-key stuff. Dark blues … greens … Color and design are usually the main focus in my work, even if I’m drawing portraits I try to pay very close attention to color. I don’t know though; my stuff is pretty varied. I make a lot of different types of art. I make semi-realistic work, characters, portraits, landscapes, buildings … I do whatever I can to improve myself as an artist.

What inspires you?

Music. For sure music. I need to right song before I start. The usual music consists of James Blake, Joji, Tyler the Creator … A lot of low key music. Oh! I also love Tame Impala. I’m also inspired by studio Ghibli movies and other artists. Other artists online really push my work to be better.

pointilism portrait
Pointilism Portrait

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

My mom gave me this fairytale book when I was six. It had her doodles in it when she was my age, and I was really taken by them. (They weren’t great, they were made by six-year-old mom) but at the time it was crazy to me that anyone could just … make stuff. I passively drew for a few more years, then got really serious about it when I was 12.

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?

Umm haha I have one thing. I don’t sign my work very often, (which I should do) but when I do, I make it look like a rose. I noticed my initials naturally made this curve that looked like a flower, so I added a little flare for the stem.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I have a few things actually. I’ll bullet them so they’re easier to read.

  • Don’t immediately shut down advice. It can feel like people are attacking your work, your baby, but they aren’t trying to. It helps to hear them out. (if they are trying to put it down though just remember it isn’t about you, it’s about that person trying to be entertaining or whatever) You will get critiques, some harsher than others, always remember that it isn’t meant to be personal.
  • Don’t immediately accept it either. Trust your gut. If someone suggests something, and your first instinct is “that’s a terrible idea” then maybe listen to
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know it’s difficult, but sometimes it’s best to try to ignore that small voice in your head that constantly puts you down. Analyze your work, learn from it. But do not put it down too much.
  • Let yourself make bad art. It’s still practice!! Even if you don’t like it, you’re using those low moments to improve! And that’s always good. Even if you hate making it the whole time because you hate the piece so much, just finish it and learn from it. It helps, I swear.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy. Sometimes you need a break from art. DO NOT feel guilty for needing a break. Drink some water, play a videogame. You’ve earned it.
  • Don’t let anyone say you can’t make a job out of it. Not even your family. I mean there’s a huge industry for the arts, if you care enough and are dedicated to it, you can make a job out of it. Even if your friends or family say you can’t.
portrait
Portrait

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I don’t feel any sexual attraction to any gender. So, I guess just asexual.

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

I’ve only come out to my friends, who are all “SJWs” haha. They’ve been super accepting. I did, however, come out to someone I was interested in. They replied with “then how do you know you like me? Like more than friends?” the question was annoying in my opinion, but I knew it was just his insecurities speaking and not really him. Well… I would mean that if he hadn’t led me on then dated one of my best friends behind my back. I haven’t experienced anything other than that. Almost everyone in my school is pretty cool with that stuff. I just haven’t come out yet because I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If people wanna know I’ll tell ‘em, but I don’t think advertising it is very… me.

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

Biggest one I’ve encountered is media portraying asexuals as cold, psychopaths. People seem to go along with that portrayal.  That’s why it’s nice seeing characters like Todd from Bojack Horseman. It’s great to see a funny, generous, insightful person in a TV show be asexual.

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

Lay low. It’s OK. I swear you’ll get through it. Take some time to figure your crap out… Just slow down a little. Remember you aren’t alone, and take some time to yourself to relax and think over things. Thinking does wonders sometimes.

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

I have an art Instagram account called “living.in.yellow” I post a lot of my work there, though the posting gets pretty infrequent every now and then.

priness mononoke
Princess Mononoke

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

Interview: Angelique Nguyen

Today we’re joined by Angélique Nguyễn. Angélique is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She writes a lot of poetry and short stories, mostly in English and she’s soon going to start writing in French as well. When she’s not writing, Angélique does some visual art, mostly drawing and painting. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, 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 will draw and paint visuals from time to time, but my current works mostly consist of writing. I like writing poetry and short stories, and I’m currently working one long-term piece of work.

My mother language is English but French is my up-and-coming second language; I have plenty of poetry written in either language.

What inspires you?

There are many things out there and within that inspire me. Often times it is a mix of my current/remembered emotions, my life experiences or other’s life experiences, the aesthetics of my world, and the lessons I’ve learned from life and others. I like taking in what happened in my world and taking it apart, mixing it up, and reconstructing it again to tell stories. The influences can be big or small. Such influences can be as large as my mother’s presence in life or as small as the way the white markings fall on my rabbits coat. Culture is also a very grand influence in my life. I always loved learning something about my own culture’s or another culture’s stories and imagining how they would fit together in the grand scheme of storytelling and human life.

2. sparetime3

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

Throughout my life, I always knew I wanted to do something to express my artsy heart, even when society seems to demand me to focus more on mathematics and science. I’m pretty good at math and science but I find I will always be more appealed by art and emotion. At the beginning of sophomore year of high school, my English teacher assigned everyone to write a short story. As I was writing my short story, I realized that not every good story needed to be long like a novel. Before, I always had this idea that good writing takes a very long time and needed to fill a lot of pages. But now I know that this is not always true.

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’m relatively new to my creative writing so I still need to explore what makes my writing unique from others. However, I find myself attempting to just the pen or fingers write and type away without thinking too much. Sometimes, it just makes sense to follow your gut feeling and see what comes out of it. This is especially true for my poetry.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you find there are no big themes or events you want to base your writing off of, then look for the small things. Even the small things could have a story behind it. You could make the story behind it. Write what you want to write and write how you want to write it. Inspiration always exists; it is up to you to find it. That will lead to you finding your comfort in writing.

3. sparetime2

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

For the most part, I identify as a demi-sexual and bi. However, the truth is that my actual identity is very complicated. Even I don’t know all the answers to who I am.

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

So far, there is no aphobia I have encountered in my field. If I do encounter it, then I would simply continue living my peaceful a-spec existence.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I have encountered is that asexuality is all out being repulsed by sex, which is simply not true. When I first heard of asexuality, even I thought I qualified because I was repulsed by sexual activity. Now I know it is simply about lacking full attraction to any particular person, which is also true of me. Also, my *favorite* misconception of demi-sexuality is that it is “practical”- therefore, not a separate orientation. That is also not true because a demi-sexual actually lacks any attraction to a particular person until they get to know and bond with them as much as it takes. Whereas a typical allosexual may instantly feel attraction to this person but still take their time to get to know them before jumping into any sexual activities. That is the main difference.

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

It is okay to be or not to be asexual. Sometimes, asexuality may be permanent for one individual, but not for others. That is okay and totally valid. Maybe you know your reason to identify as asexual but maybe you don’t. That’s all right! Exploring my orientation has been a struggle for me, and it might be one for you too. However, you are never alone. All I suggest is that you simply move forward and embrace whatever identity you feel is best for you. If you don’t want any labels then that is okay, too.

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

My work is currently all over the place. But here are some common spots for posting my work:

Tumblr: 17angelsprings.tumblr.com (search “my post” or “my poems” and you will certainly find some of my poems and other works posted there)

DeviantArt: 17angelsprings.deviantart.com (you can find some written works as well as some visual art stuff)

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/17angelsprings (my current long-term writing project, Speaking My Language, is posted there, and that is where I’m compiling poems into anthologies)

Instagram: 17angelsprings (mainly reserved for my visual art)

I also hope I can eventually start a YouTube channel about mainly centered around my writing and being a writer.

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

Interview: Holly

Today we’re joined by Holly. Holly is a wonderful writer who is currently working towards a biochem degree. In her free time, she runs a D&D campaign that involves a lot of writing and worldbuilding. They’re also working on a story podcast project, which she hopes to bring to fruition in the future. Holly is clearly a dedicated and talented hobbyist, 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.

It’s something I use to distract a little bit from the real world, nothing too professional. I’m mostly interested in writing short stories, and I’m currently working on a fictional podcast series with one of my favourite people, and while we do have some scripts written up, it is going to take a while to put into production. While I’m making my way through university for a biochemistry B.Sc, most of my creative energy goes towards a lore-rich D&D campaign in a homebrew setting that I run for my very best friends. It’s difficult and long-form but it’s increased my social confidence, I’ve created some wonderful characters that I feel able to apply to different forms of writing, and it’s definitely given me more experience with storybuilding.

What inspires you?

Generally, looking at fictional stories and seeing what hasn’t been included, rather than what has. It’s satisfying to fill a gap and tell the stories of people who aren’t often looked at in popular media, i.e. neurodivergent characters, people with underrepresented gender identities and sexualities, people with disabilities, people of varying ethnic backgrounds. I’m aware that I can’t personally relate to some of the characters I write, so I do try and stay respectful and do a ton of research, ask people who know better than me, etc. Sometimes I do make characters that correspond to my own experiences with depression and severe social anxiety, and even the speech impediment I still have to manage – and the personal catharsis I get from that can be reward enough, even if I don’t do anything with the characters or works I create.

For the most part though, I tend to like interspersing mundane reality with absurd high fantasy or scifi concepts. Like a time traveler who uses their ability to cut in line before it forms, or a particularly finicky pit fiend who wants you to remove your shoes before entering its lair.

On another level, I’d say my friends inspire me on a day to day basis. Especially the person I’m working on this project with, whom I’ll call T. T has a fascinating mind and boundless creativity, and with her and K’s support, I can have days where I feel indestructible. My mum also tends to listen to whatever crazy plotlines I’ve come up with that day too, so I’d say she also plays a big part in my support network.

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

I always wanted to be an actress when I was growing up, but did a big ol’ switcharoo around college (not university, the British meaning of college), where I found an interest in biochemistry. I’d begun to feel directing and writing was more my thing by that point anyway, but didn’t have enough belief in myself to do it. I think what drew me back to creative writing alongside my STEM studies was the freedom I felt when I began this D&D campaign. Building the world, building the story, adapting to the unexpected antics of my players, it felt like when I was a kid throwing blankets and pretending they were fireballs, or picking up a stick and pretending it was a greatsword, having intricate sociopolitical plotlines with my Barbies, and all that grand stuff. I’d been doubting for a while the value of that kind of imagination, but gradually it became necessary to keep me sane during university. Now I appreciate silliness and the Rule of Cool way more than I do grimdark, gritty, realistic scenarios.

I write more often than not to just have fun. Sometimes it’s a scenario that I can’t stop thinking about and I have to write it down or it’ll keep bouncing around in my head, and other times it’s building a character that can help me feel less alone when I’m winding myself into a spiral about the simplest social situation. I write so that any potential readers can have fun too – and, if I’m lucky, find a character that they can carry about with them like I do.

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 usually include at least one of my NPCs from my campaign in almost everything I write – with a different name and/or species. This isn’t obvious unless you’re part of that group, though.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I have struggled with finding my voice because I thought I needed someone to address – like an audience or someone who wouldn’t reject me. But to hell with it. This isn’t a marketing strategy meeting, go ahead and shout into the void with your art until someone shouts back, if that’s what you’re after. Make the art for yourself. What’s actually stopping you?

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am ace demi-aro. I think. The ace part I’m certain about, but I’m still figuring out my romantic orientation. Demi fits for now.

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

Not in my field particularly, but I’ve been given the ‘you’re young’ and ‘you’ll find someone’ or ‘how can you not be attracted to anyone, is there something wrong with you?’ talk quite a few times by well-meaning friends or relatives. Usually this is met with an eyeroll, but it hasn’t held me back anywhere. I’ve experienced some anxiety about going to LGBTQIA events because of the whole ace inclusion debate I saw floating around at the time, but I’m fairly confident aces are more universally accepted than not, these days.

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

The idea that it means having no sex drive. Even people who are familiar with asexuality seem to fall into this trap a lot. Many non-ace people seem to have trouble separating the idea of having a libido or enjoying sex with sexual attraction. I guess I can understand where they’re coming from, but I don’t know how many times I’ve said the sentence: “Asexuality is literally just a lack of sexual attraction. It means I don’t look at a person and want to have sex with them. That’s it.”

Some people seem to get it after that explanation. Others don’t. Whaddya gonna do except raise awareness?

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

Finding out that you’re ace can be a confusing and deceptive road, simply because it’s harder to characterize a lack of something than it is to characterize a different something. I thought I was bi or pan for a long time in high school because I felt the same way about all genders (turns out? Not an uncommon experience for ace/aros), and many people still don’t even believe being ace is a thing. Protip: don’t listen to those people.

What I would say? If you don’t feel you fit neatly into the ace label, firstly remember that there is a wide spectrum of asexuality, and includes identities such as gray-ace or demi-ace, but secondly remember that you don’t have to assume it. Same goes for knowing your romantic orientation. This is not required of you. Honestly, this applies to any LGBTQIA identities – you are not required to know what label you are. Just listen to yourself and trust what yourself is saying, because you know better than everyone who you are.

You are still a ‘proper ace’ if you’re not sure what labels fit you, and you’re still a ‘proper ace’ if your orientation was due to past events, or if you think it might be temporary. It is not a life sentence. It is simply what fits you the most at the time, and sexuality can be fluid as heck.

Most importantly – you are welcome here. You are welcome in LGBTQIA. You’re always free to find one of us in the ace community and ask questions if you’re not sure where you fit or how you feel about your orientation.

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

Nowhere yet as I’ve still gotta get this degree under my belt before I take on any projects, but soon. Soon.

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

Interview: Alexa Baird

Today we’re joined by Alexa Baird. Alexa is a phenomenal visual artist and writer who is so ridiculously creative. They’re a fellow indie author who has self-published a number of novels and novelettes, which can be found on Amazon (look them up and supported a fellow ace). They also has a wonderful webcomic entitled Selfinsertale, which looks absolutely fascinating. Also, they’re a fellow Star Trek fan, which is awesome. Alexa is so passionate and dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main art is writing. I write and self-publish novels and novelettes about a wide cast of characters including humans, robots, and magical beings, sometimes all in the same book. I’ve even taken to illustrating some of my more recent novels though I’ve been creating visual art since childhood. I also like to create comics and started my current webcomic series in 2016.

What inspires you?

I always like to say that tea helps with my creative-tea, but a lot of my inspiration comes from conversations with my friends and the ideas we spark together about our characters, how various characters would interact, etc. A lot of my ideas come from the desire to see a specific audience reaction that I test run by sharing these ideas with my friends.

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

Starting in elementary school, my family and some of my teachers encouraged my artistic pursuits, though growing up I would jump from visual arts, to crafts, to music, to visual arts again, and also to writing. I used to hate writing as a result of the standardized tests I had to take when younger, but after being introduced to the concept of fan fiction and original characters I started to spend a lot of time in middle school creating my own stories as a coping mechanism. Over time I stuck with it and created more and more stories and characters until I got to where I am today with my novels and comics.

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?

It’s subtle and not always consistent, but in a lot of my novels or series I try to fit in the word “trek” at some point in it as a nerdy, small reference to Star Trek.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to try new types of art and don’t be afraid to change your mind on what sort of artist you are. Maybe you start out as a writer but you want to try making crafts and find you have more fun with crafts and don’t want to write any more. That’s fine! Do what makes you happier in the end. Or maybe you’re a musician who tries painting a few times but end up not liking it. That’s fine too! You gained experience just from trying something you don’t normally do. Or maybe you try all sorts of things and have several different types of art you like and want to pursue. More power to you then, buddy. Trying new things always gives you more insight, and if you find something you prefer to do over what you had been doing before then the insight you gained is one of exploring more about yourself and your desires.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m ace and aro.

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

I’ve mainly seen prejudice remarks said to others rather than to me directly but it’s always hurtful to see. I find the best way to handle it is to support those who deal with this ignorance to let them know they aren’t alone in their identity and to understand that while those who are hateful may be the loudest, they are not the majority and there are ultimately more kind people in the world than there are bad.

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

That asexual people don’t belong in the LGBT+ community, usually due to people insisting that asexual people are actually straight. The most common misconception I see is that a lack of sexual attraction can let a person pass as straight, or that it means they actually are straight, and therefore that we aren’t queer enough to be part this community.

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

Asexuality is a normal and valid thing, and there are more people out there who are also asexual than you can count. Though the common statistic is only one percent of the world is asexual, that would still mean 76 million people in this world are also asexual, and I don’t think this takes into account those who due to societal norms don’t realize they are asexual as well. There is a large community here that can help and support you, and even if you can’t reach out to them personally they are still here if you ever need them and will be willing to help you as well.

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

You can find my books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/alexabaird and my webcomic at http://selfinsertale.smackjeeves.com/ and bonus content at my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/alexabaird

My main Tumblr and my Instagram username is allislaughter. And my Twitter is allislaughterEX.

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