Today we’re joined by Daniel Clarke. Daniel is an incredibly talented writer who writes both fanfiction and original work. They dabble a bit in digital art to create covers for their work, but their passion lies in writing, which definitely shows in their interview. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
Well I’m a writer, mainly of fanfiction. I have high functioning autism, so I’ve always been one to obsess. So writing has been how I express my feelings on a certain topic. So my “special interest” has been Marvel and The Avengers for the past 3 years. So my main work is on the Avengers. I also have smaller special interests that I love, but I’m not quite as absorbed in. And I have a lot of works for those too. But my main book is a series called the Driven MAD series, and there are 4 books. I’m currently working on the 3rd one. The first two books are currently unedited and uncondensed, so the first draft for book one is 895 pages long, and book two is 912 pages long. Combined, those two have a higher word count than the entire Harry Potter series combined. So… You could say I’m just a bit wordy.
What inspires you?
Well, aside from the movies or shows themselves, I would say that my biggest inspiration is reading. Whenever I get the chance to just sit down and read for a few hours, I find my desire to write double, triple, quadruple. I see the success in other authors and I just think… Yes. I can do that too.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always been into writing. Ever since I was a little kid. I started writing when I was in the 3rd grade. It was this horrendous, ten page story about a girl and a boy who fell madly in love, only for the boy to move to freaking RUSSIA and she builds a plane out of mushrooms and flies to him. Yeah, I was a weird little kid. It was so bad. However, it slowly became more organized, got a little better. By the time 6th grade rolled around I’d written about 7 books, all of them being between 100 and 400 pages long. And then, in 7th grade, I started my MAD series and that’s when things started to get interesting.
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?
Ever since I came out as asexual, I try to hint at or blatantly say that at least one of my characters are asexual. So right around the time I came out, I made Sharon Carter asexual, and it’s since become sort of a big plot point in her relationships. And I’ve recently started a Hannibal fanfiction, and I made Will Graham asexual. And I’m starting to include my romantic orientation as well. So I have about 4 or 5 pansexual characters in my Avengers fic. My gender and sexuality don’t define me as a person, but it’s an important part of me that I like to express in my writing.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t stop writing just because you think someone else is better than you. I know I got discouraged a lot when I first started because I thought R.L. Stein was the coolest person ever and I thought that my books would never be as good as his. But trust me, your work will get better the more you practice. The more you write, the more things you notice. You notice what sounds good, you start to figure out how to better organize your ideas… And eventually, this:
“After eight months in Paris I was finally aloud to go back and visit my parents and bring back three friends. When I got there GABE ran up to me and hugged me. Then he kissed me! “Kat! I missed you so much! I can’t believe you got a plastic leg and now you can walk again! Oh I missed you so much!” He said to me. He spun me around! That was a sign of true love. I knew that I had to turn him down. “Gabe, I don’t know if you remember this but we’re sort of over. We can still be friends though.” I said. That had to be the hardest thing I’d ever said. “Kat.” He started. I shook my head. “I used to love you but I sort of got a boyfriend.” I told him. It was true. His name was John Luke. I’m only dating him because his name is a combination between my brothers’ names. I really hated him though. “So you don’t love me anymore?” he asked. I shook my head. There was a long silence between us. “I still want to be friends though.” I said to him. He nodded and we went our separate ways.” (Book 3 of some series I wrote in 4th grade. CRINGE.)
Will turn into this.
She didn’t hesitate a single moment. She just grabbed the remains of the bottle, grabbed a quick swig, then dumped the rest of the bottle on his head, burning his eyes and stinging his lungs as he choked. She smiled sickly, perhaps cruelly, as she poured it over him, letting him choke and sputter on the alcohol and blood and sweat and tears… He was HYDRA. He was the enemy. And he deserved it.
“Still don’t want to tell me?” Sharon hissed.
He just bit down on his lip and shook his wet head violently. She sighed and turned toward the desk again, where a pack of cigars and a set of matches were sitting. She grabbed it quickly, opening the pack and taking a cigar, setting it carefully just between her teeth like she’d done God-knows-how-many times before. When she was a rebellious teenager, she had been addicted, but after awhile, once she grew up and joined S.H.I.E.L.D, she’d gotten clean, been clean for years. But still, the feeling was familiar. The feeling. The taste. The warmth. The smell.
“The first time I ever smoked a cigar,” she started, “was in the fifth grade with Marlene Smith. Funny little girl, I adored her. I thought she was so cool because she was in the seventh grade. I smoked then, and then all through high school. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve put one out on someone…”
Broken glass shattered around his feet as he cautiously stepped into the apartment, the cracked remains of vases and photographs and all of the other things that you were supposed to have when you were married splintering beneath his feet. Inside sat Bobbi Morse, hair matted and mascara smudged and clothes torn, near-empty bottle of vodka still in hand. She laughed manically, coughing as she did so, sputtering out what seemed to be vomit as it dribbled down the corner of her mouth, just before she spewed it out all over the carpet. “We’re all going to die, Clint Barton.” She slurred.
“You are not understanding, Thanos. Your army is weak. The Avengers destroyed them in one afternoon. There were six of them. We have an army, Thanos. The Asgardians, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, what’s left of the Avengers. We are strong, Thanos. You may have the power of the Gods in your hands, but we have the power of the people. And maybe I’m wrong, but I have never believed in a God. Here’s my proposition. The people create the Gods as a crutch. And when those Gods turn on us? We kick the crutch and fight back.”
“I am not some manmade thing, meant to make you petty humans feel better about yourselves. I could care less if you follow some moral conduct, because morals are for the weak, for those who want to be good and pure, for those who can’t accept that the way they live will land them nowhere but Hel. It matters not how you live, how you wish you could be. I am no expectation, longing, no mark. I am… I am. I am the God of this grave new world. And I am no crutch. I will eliminate you all before you touch me, before you kick your imaginary crutch.”
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m just asexual. Plain and simple. I used to think I was demisexual, but I’ve been in a few deeply committed relationships, including the one I’m currently in, but I don’t feel any sexual attraction to her. In terms of my romantic orientation, I am panromantic. I’m also agender, but that’s not really connected to my asexual identity.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I don’t experience a lot of acephobia in my work, other than the occasional question about it. I write my ace characters in a lot of different ways. When I write Sharon Carter, she’s something of a badass and is pretty sex neutral. However, when I write Will Graham, he’s extremely sex-repulsed and has a lot of trouble with touch. So I’ll get people who think that all ace people are this way or the other, but it’s not true. If you meet one asexual, you’ve met one asexual. It’s not a “know one, know them all” situation. So I try to explain a bit, but I’ve only gotten a few questions on that. People aren’t quite as ignorant as they used to be.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Asexuals just haven’t tried it yet. Yeah, I’m still a virgin and I plan on staying that way. But that’s like saying that you can’t know you’re straight until you’ve had gay sex. Or like saying you don’t know that you don’t like BDSM because you’ve not tried it. It’s just a common misconception because “oh my god who doesn’t love sex?” We live in a sex crazed society, and those who live without it are alienated.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You are valid, you are beautiful, and you don’t need anyone else’s approval. You’re not broken, and how you live your life is entirely up to you.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
All of my work is posted on my Wattpad.
If you want to know more, feel free to message me on Tumblr as well.
Thank you, Daniel, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.