Today we’re joined by Elyse. Elyse is a wonderful author who has just released a book called “Thaw,” which features a F/F romance between an asexual librarian and a bisexual supermodel. It’s the second book in her “Seasons of Love” quartet (published by Riptide Publishing). Elyse has such a wonderful love of writing, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a writer, which in some ways feels more like therapy than creating art. But putting words down on a page (or typing them on a screen) can be both cathartic and an expression of self, so I guess it counts as art! I’ve written over a dozen books so far, five of which will see the light of day in 2017. My most recent release is Thaw, which is an asexual romance between a librarian and a supermodel, and is absolutely the most personal thing I’ve ever written.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration everywhere. It’s a curse and a blessing! My first book, Whiteout, came from a dream. My current work-in-progress series came from a radio commercial. I tend to exist with one foot in reality and the other in fantasy, always thinking about the ways I wish the world was different!
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I first ‘published’ my Sailor Moon fan fiction online at age 12, but was writing stories about detectives or animal creatures as early as 8. I’m lucky that my family has always supported my writing, and encouraged me to spend time on my passions.
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?
There is a signature “Elyse” line that definitely appears in almost everything I write. I’m not going to say what it is, though! Maybe someone will notice someday and point it out 😀
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep at it. Never give up. It may seem like you’re not getting anywhere, that you’re not improving, but you *are*. I published my first book at age 30. Every single thing I wrote before then was just practice, and everything I write after will continue to help me grow as an artist.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Asexual, and possibly gray-aromantic. It’s something that’s still evolving.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Oh, absolutely. Unfortunately, I don’t know many ace-spectrum folks who haven’t. I’ve had people flat-out tell me that my identity is “wrong” because “asexuality isn’t real, it’s just low libido”. I’ve had people tell me to “stop using made up words”. I’m not as vocal as some, which is in large part to protect myself from the aphobia out there, but I see it all the time and it hurts to know my friends and fellow aces are being attacked because of ignorance.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That it’s just low libido. NOPE! People with low libidos can (and often do) still experience sexual attraction. Libido is physical; asexuality is an orientation, a lack of sexual attraction, and is not related to physical desires.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You are valid exactly as you are. Asexuality is a spectrum, and you are still ace no matter where you fall on that spectrum! If a word or identity doesn’t fit you exactly, you still have the right to use it if you want to. Identities are personal, and no one has the right to define yours for you!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Elyse, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.