Today we’re joined by Avery Delany. Avery is a phenomenal book blogger who specializes in writing about diverse books and authors. They used to be a prolific fiction writer, but fell out of it for a time, though he hopes to start getting back into it (I definitely hope that happens. The more ace authors with different experiences, the better 🙂 ). When he isn’t blogging about books, Avery also writes about gender, disability, and other important topics. It’s clear he’s a very dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
At the moment I am primarily a #diversebookblogger over on my WordPress blog RedRocketPanda where I read and review books, especially books with diverse characters and/or are written by diverse authors. I also post weekly features such as book lists/recommendations, discussions pieces, pop culture critique, and movie/tv/video game reviews, as well as personal articles which talk openly about my gender identity, sexuality, and various disabilities.
I used to be a very prolific creative writer as a young child and teenager, especially when I discovered the magical world of fanfiction! Unfortunately, as a result of coming out, mental illness, homelessness and unemployment I lost all confidence in my writing. Through book blogging, I have been slowly building my confidence back up again with the help and support of my lovely fellow bloggers with the aim at returning to creative writing once again.
What inspires you?
It’s such a clichéd answer but everything! My own personal experiences, current affairs, other fictional works, books/tv/movies/video games, people watching…
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Since I was a child I was always obsessed with books and began to get really interested in creative writing around the age of 8 or 9 years old. I have been very lucky to have had supportive English teachers at school, even when I was having a lot of trouble, who encouraged me to keep writing and filled my head with ideas about being a writer so that aspiration has definitely always been there. I didn’t continue studying English in Higher Education though but actually went on to do a degree in History and Anthropology as an adult!
With book blogging, it is something I stumbled upon completely by chance through Goodreads a year ago and I’ve been completely sucked into it.
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?
With book blogging, everyone knows me for my RedRocketPanda branding as well as my red panda rating system. Aside from that I don’t think I actually have anything for writing.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Keep going with the things which make you passionate, even during times when your confidence is low and enjoy the experience of actually doing your art rather than focusing on the final product. It’s super easy to psyche yourself out of producing work because you’re so anxious about what other people think but it’s better to keep producing work, even if you don’t show anyone what you’ve created until you find your confidence!
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Exploring aspects of being asexual is actually quite new to me so I’m not overly familiar with the terminology. I’ve known for a number of years now but always felt too ashamed to be open with others about it – until now! I would probably say that I’m somewhere along the lines of ‘bisexual asexual’ but my labels are always in fluctuation so who knows where they will come to rest.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
The most common thing that I see is asexual erasure more than anything which is why asexual and aromantic authors like Claudie Arseneault are SO important. As a book blogger I just try to support and champion diverse authors where possible and speak about books like Claudie’s as much as I possibly can, challenging other bloggers to do better where possible.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Either that it doesn’t exist or that asexual people never have sex. Obviously, like any identity, sexual desire is a completely individual thing and there is so much diversity on the spectrum but I feel like that is often not recognized or spoken about as much as it should be!
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
That you are not alone and there are lots of people out there who struggle with their orientation – even me! If you’re not ready to speak about it with others then that is totally okay, you should never feel pressured to disclose your orientation if you’re not ready or don’t want to in any given situation. For me, readings works and networking with others on the spectrum is a great way to feel less alone until such a time, if ever, that you want to speak about your orientation.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can also find my one and only piece of creative fiction on the internet that I can actually remember the link to. A little one-shot Marauder Sirius x Remus piece I wrote 4 years ago. https://archiveofourown.org/works/1672394. Enjoy!
Thank you, Avery, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.