Today we’re joined by Jenny Prater. Jenny is a phenomenal author who writes a bit of everything. She writes novels, short stories, poetry, and even fairy tale analysis blogs. She has recently released a poetry book about being ace this past Valentine’s Day. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m an author; I write novels, short stories, poems, picture books, and fairy tale analysis blogs, though mostly only the poetry and blogs have been made available to read. I’m currently working on starting my own small press, so I want to wait to release most of my work until I have that going. I have two larger poetry books published through Amazon, and two chapbooks that I hand-bind and sell on Etsy. My last one just came out on Valentine’s Day; it’s called “Dear Somebody,” and it’s a collection of 12 poems about being asexual.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired mostly by folklore—not just the traditional stories, but their history. I love the idea of all of these very similar patterns being followed in so many places and time periods. Folk tales are a great example of collective storytelling. You can never attribute them to any author, because everyone who’s heard a story like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, over thousands of years, has heard it and told it slightly differently. When I write a poem about Sleeping Beauty or a short story based on The Little Mermaid, I’m participating in an ancient conversation. Story as a reflection of community is something I just think is really beautiful and inspiring.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Always. My parents have videos of me, age 3, wandering around the house telling stories out loud about princesses and dinosaurs. I’ve never not had a story running in the back of my head; at some point it just seemed natural to start writing them down.
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 really don’t! I do so many different kinds of writing, there’s not really one key feature that would carry through well in all of them. Though I guess I’ve never really gotten through an entire book without making some reference to folk or fairy tales, now that I’m thinking about it. I just don’t really do it on purpose.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Focus on making things before you focus on making good things. It’s so easy to get caught up in making something perfect and never actually finish. Finish first. Fix later.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m asexual and, like, a tiny bit heteromantic, sometimes, depending on the day. Sometimes dating sounds fun, but mostly boys just seem gross.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not in my field, no. But it’s only been a couple weeks since I released my first project that deals really directly with asexuality, so time will tell, I guess.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That I’m a late bloomer or haven’t met the right guy yet. You know, at 25, I’m pretty sure I’m done blooming.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You’re not broken. I remember being just so confused about what was wrong with me, in middle school when all the other girls were starting to feel things that I wasn’t. It took a long time to figure things out, and that time was…not pleasant. But everything is fine! You’re not falling behind and nothing is wrong with you!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I’m kind of all over the place. You can find me on most social media sites under the username “konglindorm,” which is the name of my favorite fairy tale, but I think the best places to find out about my work are my fairy tale blog, http://konglindorm.blogspot.com/, and this page here that has links to all my published books: http://konglindorm.tumblr.com/books.
Thank you, Jenny, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.