Today we’re joined by James Wylder. James is an incredibly talented and versatile writer who I met at this year’s Indy PopCon (it’s always wonderful to run into a fellow ace at conventions). He has written in a variety of genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays. He’s definitely a writer we’ll be seeing more of in the future. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I write, and I write in a ton of different mediums. I’ve had published fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays, as well as several produced plays such as “Cryptos” and “Rex Stout Rings Again!” and a free RPG module from Shotgun Angel Games. I’m always open to trying new things, experimenting, and pushing my writing into areas I’ve never explored before. Some of my best works have come from the act of pushing myself into emotional areas I was uncomfortable exploring, as well as formats and styles I wasn’t sure about. That willingness to try anything thrown at me has characterized me as a writer more than anything. I’ve produced extremely serious works, such as my play “Paper Gods”, but also very lighthearted books like my book of poetry about the TV show Doctor Who “An Eloquence of Time and Space.”
Right now I’m working on a giant project called 10,000 Dawns, which is a serialized story that releases a chapter every week furthering the adventure, and also features an audio book version of the chapter and unique art to accompany it by Annie Zhu. It’s been crazy trying to co-ordinate and balance everything, but the response has been great so far!
What inspires you?
I’ve always found this question difficult, because the answer changes so often. My fluttering between genres, styles, and tones has benefited from my many inspirations, but it does mean I’m often at a loss on how to inspire myself when I find myself hitting a road block in my work.
I suppose variety itself inspires me, the vastness of the world and the many differences between people and places large and small fascinate me!
Music is a constant inspiration and motivator for me. I always am listening to something while I write, usually a playlist with a David Bowie song on it.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid. My dad used to read me Michael Stackpole and Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars novels by my bedside, and I wanted to grow up to tell stories like that! I made books as a kid before I could even write, asking other people to write the worlds I wanted written down on the page and doing the (messy) illustrations myself. I’ve wanted to tell stories my whole life, it’s my honor to have that chance now.
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 didn’t realize it till it was pointed out to me, but every single major work I’ve written contains at least one Doctor Who reference. It was my favorite TV show since I was, oh, three years old or so and its had a deep impact on me.
On a more personal level, I love having a symbol within a work that contains half of one thing, and half of another. Sometimes it’s literally, like the half-sun/half-moon symbol that crops up in 10,000 Dawns, but sometimes it’s more subtle. Things in our lives are never so simple as one thing, and I like seeing the shades between them.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
I’d give three fold advice: 1. Don’t give up. 2. Don’t reject your own vision for being too “out there”. 3. Be realistic about your own work.
Perseverance is key, as is having a unique way of seeing the world and expressing it, but also you have to recognize that some things might not have a market worth selling to, and that an editor wanting to help improve your work isn’t ‘corrupting’ your vision.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m hetero-demisexual, heteroromantic cisgender male. In a lot of ways this made me feel very uncomfortable coming out to my friends in the LGBTQIA+/MOGAI community because I didn’t feel like I was “not-straight enough”. I still struggle with being open about my identity with people. I have choked up more than once and just said I’m straight, or that “my friend is on the ace spectrum…” I’m not proud of that, but not everyone has always been accepting.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I’ve had a few instances of ignorance from fellow creators, namely a person who told me that I wasn’t really on the ace-spectrum because I should have known I was already, and shouldn’t have had to discover it, as well as some other minor bits and bobbles.
I have to work with a lot of ignorant people in my field, so I’ve developed a polite distance from many. I’ve learned to separate people I can work with on a business level from people I can trust on a personal level. Those people who overlap are truly special to me!
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That it’s not real, and that I just want fancy words for myself so I can feel “special”.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
That it’s okay to be who you are, even when other people don’t get it, and that it’s okay to struggle with it and feel uncomfortable. You have so much baggage from how society has told you to think about sex, and your own sexuality to unpack, and there is no shame in not being okay while you work through it. Just don’t be alone in it, and don’t do anything you’ll regret. There are people who will love and support you, even if you haven’t found them yet!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
The best place is my website, jameswylder.com where I post up all sorts of fantastic things!
I’m also on twitter as @arcbeatle,
On Facebook as: James Wylder, Writer
And you can find me on Tumblr at tardistogongen.tumblr.com, but fair warning that its mostly just things I really like that I find and reblog.
Thank you so much, James, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.