Today we’re joined by Shay Alexander. Shay is a wonderfully talented writer. She specializes in novels, short stories, and poetry. Like me, she’s an indie author (indie authors unite!). My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I do a lot of different types of art! I paint, draw (though I’m not very good), try my hand at photography, but my main creative outlet that I love the most is writing. I write novels, poetry, and short stories. I have about 6 to 7 novels that I’ve started, from my embarrassing middle schools works to fan fiction to original works that I’ve grown to love and dread to finish. I have one completed work that is published on Amazon in 2012 called Dolphins Don’t Cry. I finished this novel in 2011 during my first NaNoWriMo. Without that novel writing challenge, I wouldn’t have ever finished my first novel, let alone got it published! Seriously one of my proudest moments (even if I am self published). My poetry is another story, completely set apart from my novels. Where my novels are my imagination and things I aspire to or wish could come true, my poetry is more often than not real and raw and already true. Poetry means more to me then my novels, though I love them both, because poetry is about as real as I get with my writing, whether you know what I’m writing about or not.
What inspires you?
My inspiration can literally come from anywhere. Pictures, phrases spoken by people, nature, emotions, or even little out of place string on your jacket, because that little out of place string could easily get my gears turning in my head about how that string can be linked to how I feel as an individual. Lost and out of place. Almost any little thing can spark my interest and get me thinking. For novel writing, more commonly I am influenced by pictures or spoken phrases, not so much emotions or details, which more influence my poetry.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
My love for writing has always been there for me. When I was little, I wrote short stories for my little sister and came up with novels worth of stories with my dad in the car when we bounced ideas back and. In 6th grade, I really got more into reading novels, which would later influence me to want to aspire to be as good as those authors one day. Also in 6th grade, I started roleplaying and writing fan fiction on a site called GoodReads, where I met other “RP’ers” that taught me how to roleplay and about how to write characters and plots. It all just built off from there. I began to get ideas for my own stories. Later, my friend convinced my write poetry when I was feeling sad or angry since middle school and freshman year was a tough time for me. In a way, I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but it was more like I’ve always wanted people to know the real me.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?
In my novels, the main character is usually loosely based off of a characteristic that I long for. For example, my published novel includes a girl who is adventurous and daring. I’m shy and introverted, and would probably be the last volunteer for something. I’ve always wanted to be more out there and daring. When the task of rescuing her dad comes up, my main character Ella is nowhere near as hesitant to go as I would have been about something so outrageously dangerous.
And then there’s poetry. Poetry, for me, is my purest form of emotions. I have a common theme of innocence or tainted innocence in my poems. That, and nature. Whether it’s butterflies or skies or stars. There’s a reason I love poetry the most, probably. I can convey exactly, or almost exactly, how I feel without saying how I feel at all, just using my symbols and themes to represent my emotions.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t ever stop. Don’t ever stop writing or painting or dancing or baking. Whatever it is you do, and not matter how horrible you think you are at it, don’t ever stop doing it. You can only get better. Art is personal. Art is real. You may not be as good as the person next to you, but it could mean even more. So, my best advice I could give is to keep practicing and moving forward no matter what.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’ve encountered a few people who like to think that asexuality isn’t “a real sexual orientation” or have asked me how I could know I’m ace if I haven’t had sex yet. I always try and handle ignorance level headedly and just explain (sometimes again) what asexuality is. If they don’t listen, I drop the subject and agree to disagree. Odds are, the subject will come up again and I’ll be more ready to defend my sexuality the next time since I know what they’ll say.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That asexuality is the same as celibacy. I don’t think everyone realizes that just because you don’t experience sexual attraction doesn’t mean that you don’t want to have sex.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Sexuality is fluid, just like gender. Your sexuality isn’t a concrete thing. You may identify as asexual now, but I know people that have discovered that they’re really demisexual or even thought they were biromantic but are really bisexual. It’s all fluid and can change with time and experience. It can be easy to forget that.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Poetry Tumblr: http://words-speak-change.tumblr.com/
Dolphins Don’t Cry by Shayla Alexander; Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Dolphins-Dont-Cry-Shayla-Alexander/dp/146808688X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423428141&sr=8-1&keywords=dolphins+don%27t+cry
Goodreads Author Page:
Thank you so much, Shay, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.