Today we’re joined by Jo. Jo is a fantastic young writer who is just starting out. She writes fantasy and YA, most of it dedicated to fighting stereotypes. It’s very obvious she’s incredibly enthusiastic and dedicated, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a writer, mostly in the fantasy and young adult genres, depending on the topic. My topics and characters are oftentimes designed to fight certain stereotypes and beliefs and to normalize things that aren’t talked about as often as they should be.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired both by experiences I’ve had myself in the past such as dealing with depression and things that I don’t necessarily have experience with but think deserves a spotlight. My friends who are incredibly supportive help me stay inspired and motivated.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I haven’t always wanted to be a writer. I can’t put an exact time on when the interest arose, but I would estimate around age fourteen (it’s been two years). There have always been books that inspired a yearning in me to create something as meaningful and timeless. What really pushed me to write, though, I think, would be that I wanted to create that which I wanted to read, but couldn’t. For the most part, I only ever saw sexuality and romance given one very specific narrative in literature, and since I was such an avid reader, I wanted what I was reading to reflect me in ways that the books I was reading just didn’t. In the past I looked for validation of who I am by finding myself in the characters I fell in love with, but I never found it. When I became more confident in my identity, I wanted to write them myself, both for myself and for others, so they can see themselves succeed and be happy in literature too.
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 have anything of that nature.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep doing what you do, even if you suck. It’s okay to suck at first. Work on your art even when you don’t feel like it, or you’ll stop altogether for a long time, and that’s a hard hole to crawl out of.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m heteroromantic asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not really. I’m young and not published. Perhaps that will change if I ever publish a story idea I have where asexuality and accepting it in oneself is the main topic.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
For the most part, I’ve only come out as asexual to a group of close, very accepting close friends. The only negative comment I’ve gotten about it, a friend telling me I’d grow out of it when I was fourteen, didn’t bother me a whole lot.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It’s okay. No, really. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not going to be single forever if you don’t want to be because of this. There are days it will absolutely suck to not “get it”, but there’ll be a day when you’re so comfortable with who you are that it won’t bother you at all.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Right now, I don’t have anything published or a website. I’m presently working on my first novel, having started in late December and hoping to have the rough draft completed by the end of 2017, at which time I’ll hopefully be able to get beta readers. When I need them, I’ll likely post a request on my Tumblr, blackholeunderyourbed.
Thank you, Jo, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.