Today we’re joined by Martha J Allard. Martha is a phenomenal author who writes various kinds of fantasy. She writes both short stories and novels. Her work is mostly dark and contemporary fantasy. Her novel is entitled Black Light and it sounds fascinating. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer, 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 write fiction, mostly dark and contemporary fantasy. I write both short stories and novels. My first one of those came out a two years ago called Black Light. It’s about rock and roll and finding yourself in what you want.
What inspires you?
I always try to look for the magic hidden in normal life. I believe it’s always there, but we can’t always see it. I try to put that in my writing.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I grew up with a book in my hand. I traded Laura Ingles Wilder for Anne of Green Gables, for the Nine Princes in Amber and on. I loved all those stories and more, but there were no characters that I could identify with.
I grew up in a small town in Michigan, in the late 70’s. It was miles and miles away from any queer culture. I didn’t know it existed, much less that I could be a part of it.
One night I waited until my parents were asleep and snuck back downstairs to the TV to watch videos. This was pre-MTV. They played a video by David Bowie called I Am A DJ. I was riveted, never having seen him before. In the video, a man comes up to Bowie on the street to kiss him. This opened my small-town brain up to the possibilities that lay beyond my tiny borders. Somehow those possibilities got my pen moving.
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?
Well, yes. Or I think of them as Easter eggs, really. Because of my connection to Bowie, I always put something of him in my work. Sometimes it’s small, something nobody but me will notice, and sometimes it’s bigger, for example the entire plot of Black Light started out with one of his songs.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Don’t write what you know. Write what you want to discover. Write the things that scare you and let your words be wild.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I came to asexuality late in life. In the past I’ve also identified as Bi and Lesbian. I feel that I can only speak for right now, and right now I feel Panromantic.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
I write queer fiction, and so I rub shoulders with other queer writers. When I first came out as Ace, some of them advised against it. I was surprised, because I had already identified as queer, and had for years. I’ve found that some people think of Asexual as “damaged,” and I didn’t want to be thought of like that, did I?
No. I didn’t. So when I came out to people, I armed myself with explanations, reasons for my sexuality. But finally, I stopped myself. Now I deal with push back by not apologizing, but it took a while.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
As I mentioned above, it’s that somehow, I became asexual because of damaged I’ve suffered. Also that I’m wasting myself? That one always makes me laugh. It feels just the opposite to me.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I would say, it’s a journey, not a destination. For me, each day is different, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, and as David Bowie famously said once, “All I can tell you is what I feel right now.”
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Martha, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.