Interview: EpicRosalina

Today we’re joined by EpicRosalina. EpicRosalina is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in digital art. While she mostly does digital art, she also dabbles in traditional art, using mostly alcohol markers. Her style draws its inspiration from anime. EpicRosalina mostly draws her own original characters (she also dabbles in writing), but has drawn her friends’ characters on occasion. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Aki Lumi
Aki Lumi

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I work with digital and traditional art but I much prefer digital over traditional. When working with traditional art, I use alcohol markers. I work using an anime style as it’s what I’m most comfortable with. I mainly draw my own characters however I sometimes also draw some characters belonging to a friend of mine. I’m trying to get back into writing by starting a new book soon.

What inspires you?

A lot of my inspiration comes from my characters’ personality and backstories. Some have pretty messed up pasts. I turn those moments into illustrations which is fun since I get to experiment with different poses and backgrounds. Other times, inspiration just comes out of nowhere. Some doodles that I do get turned into illustrations.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I would casually draw starting from the age of 11 mainly because of a close friend of mine who is skilled with her art. I aspired to be as good as her and so I started taking art more seriously. It was around that time when I discovered anime and so I also took inspiration from that sort of art style. I only wanted to really be an artist when I saw that my art was improving and had people complementing it.

Aki Suki
Aki Suki

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 think I do have anything special that I try to include in my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t think that to be an artist, you must be “Born with artistic talent.” I wasn’t talented at all but I kept practicing and practicing till I reached a point where I could say “I made this and I’m proud of this.” Use whatever you need whether it’s references or models. Do whatever you need to keep you motivated and constantly finding ways to improve.

Luna's breakdown final
Luna’s Breakdown

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual Demiromantic though I do find myself questioning it sometimes

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I have encountered some ignorance. I have been told that I just need to find the right person and I don’t belong in the LGBTQ+ community but I try my best to ignore it my surrounding myself with people who support me.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

People who confuse Asexual with Aromantic. I’ve encountered people who think that just because I’m Asexual, it means I don’t want to be in a relationship however it’s quite the opposite. I’m fine with being in a relationship however I don’t want to have any sexual relationships

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

If you’re struggling then give it some time. Some people figure out their orientation much sooner than others but that’s ok. If you need to experiment to find out what you identify as then go ahead. Don’t think that you have to abide by a label.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

You can find my art on my DeviantArt, Instagram, and sometimes my Tumblr at EpicRosalina. My upcoming story will be posted on my Wattpad which is also EpicRosalina.

Luna LN Final
Luna LN

Thank you, EpicRosalina, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Sophie A Katz

Today we’re joined by Sophie A. Katz. Sophie is a phenomenal and versatile writer. She writes in a number of different forms and styles. She’s a fellow writer who enjoys writing hopeful stories (we need more of them! 🙂 ). It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Sophie Katz headshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It’s all about stories for me – I LOVE stories, and storytelling. So far, my best skill to bring stories to life has been writing. I’ll write in pretty much any form; different stories need different mediums, after all. Some stories are short, some are novels. Some are screenplays or stage plays. I dabble in poetry. I have a few stories that sit in my head and insist upon being graphic novels – I’ll have to find someone who’s better with visual art to collaborate with for those.

What inspires you?

Life inspires me. That’s a vague answer. I have a “story ideas” tag on my Tumblr with hundreds of pictures and prompts in it, and I didn’t think that that was out of the ordinary until someone said to me, “Wow, you get story ideas from EVERYTHING!” But everything DOES have a story to it. You know that word “sonder”? About realizing that every other person in the world is living a life just as complex and interesting as your own? I can’t help but see that in everyone and everything around me. I don’t see things as just the way they are – I want to know why, and what might happen next. And that’s what a story is, at its base: why are things the way they are, and what could happen next?

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

There was this dollhouse in my parents’ house – I think it’s still in the basement – and incidentally we didn’t call it a “dollhouse” because Mom did NOT want her daughters playing with dolls; we called it a “people house,” like that Dr. Seuss book. I’d sit at the People House with all of our toys, all the animals and action figures and Disney characters, and narrate their adventures, for hours and hours. It was just what I did. Before I could write or read, I told the stories of my toys. And then one day, Dad took notes on the story I was telling, and typed it up for me. That’s where it really started. After that, I learned to read and write, and started writing little books, and Mom became my editor. But it took me until junior high to really start identifying as a writer. Before that, I honestly thought I was going to be an actress, even though I wasn’t very good at it, and didn’t really enjoy it. I think because the storytelling thing was just something I’d always done, I didn’t recognize it as special, or even as “art” at all – but it was always there, and eventually I recognized it as such, and now it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Things REALLY took off once I realized that Disney World had a writing internship…but if I start talking about THAT, then we’ll be here all day.

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?

That’s a really interesting question. When my big sister was looking at colleges, I started picking up literary journals from the schools we visited, and I started noticing a troubling pattern in the works published there: they were overwhelmingly sad. I concluded then that sadness must be the easiest emotion to evoke in a story, and the true challenge was to create something that made people happy.

Bad things do happen in the stories I write, but they very rarely end that way. Books and movies that end in hopelessness bother me. By all means, kill your darlings and send me to bed crying, but give me a reason to get up in the morning! This is a very roundabout way of answering that a feature I include in my work is hope. My stories are most often about people looking at the world and seeing not only the bad that is, but the good that could be, and working to make that good come to be. I think a lot of people perceive hope and optimism as naïve, and sadness and despair as true art. It’s fine to have that opinion, but I don’t subscribe to it. I see art in joy, and in the challenge of creating joy, and in taking on that challenge. I see art in hope.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You are not completely unique, and that is a good thing. It’s a good thing because it means that you have something to offer that will resonate with other people. You are not so different from the rest of the world that nobody will ever understand; rather, you have something to create that other people need. Create what is true to you, what is so true to you that it feels like no one else in the world may have ever felt the way that you feel about it. Create it and share it with the world. And someday, someone will walk up to you, and nervously shake your hand, and say, “That’s exactly how I feel. Thank you for turning it into art.”

Also, I highly recommend learning the skill of biting your tongue and saying “thank you, I’ll consider it” to critique. It’s not an easy skill to develop. Feedback is key to growth, and while you don’t have to TAKE all the feedback anyone ever gives you (you won’t take most of it, and that’s the way it should be!), it’s good to hear feedback. Feedback is how you learn what people are getting out of your art, whether your art is doing what you want it to do to the people you want it to do stuff to. I hope that sentence makes sense. I’d appreciate feedback on that sentence.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual, usually. Recently I’ve been feeling a bit more solidly ace; my body on occasion will send me a surprise bout of “nonononono” even when I’m with someone I am very much emotionally connected to.

I don’t even know what’s up with my romantic orientation. It’s like it plays “duck duck goose,” where it’ll go “duck duck duck…” over everyone around me for ages and then suddenly “GOOSE! YOU HAVE A CRUSH!!!”

I like things to make sense, so it’s all a bit frustrating for me, but I’m training myself to make peace with the uncertainty. Having words like “demisexual” and “asexual” and “sex-positive” and “sex-repulsed” to throw around helps some. I like having words for things.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Nothing’s been explicitly directed towards me, but romance is such a prevalent part of the stories we tell that I can’t help but be nervous. I’m nervous that I won’t be able to write a love story that someone will want to read, because I can’t know what it’s like to be the allosexual people that mainstream romances are about. I’m nervous that putting ace people in my stories, or being frank about demisexuality, will bring more trouble down on me than good. But this is my life, this is my truth, and these are the stories that I wish, oh god do I wish, that I had had when I thought that I was broken. How could I not write that? But I’m nervous, so how CAN I write that?

Fortunately, I found an incredibly supportive feminist arts community at my university, and I felt safe enough there to read a piece about figuring out my sexuality at an open mic. After the show, an audience member came up to me and thanked me, because what I had read was exactly how it was for them figuring out their sexuality. That’s when it hit me that however nervous I was, I couldn’t let that get in the way of creating my art. People need to know that they’re not alone. And coming up against ninety-nine readers who think I’m some faker special snowflake is worth it if I can get to the hundredth reader who needs to hear that they’re not alone.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it doesn’t exist.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

…Honestly, I wish someone had advice to give ME, because I struggle with it plenty. What I do know to remind myself of as much as I can is this: your sexuality does NOT make you a burden, and anyone who makes you feel like it is can walk the plank.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have an electronic portfolio at https://sophieakatz.wordpress.com/, and I’ve just begun a writing Tumblr in an attempt to self-promote – you can find that at https://sophieakatz.tumblr.com/. Go ahead and send me a message there if you want to chat about anything! Or you could contact me at http://ohthewhomanity.tumblr.com/; that’s the blog where I use the “story ideas” tag. You can also find my Odyssey articles every week at https://www.theodysseyonline.com/user/@sophiekatz.

Thank you, Sophie, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Signal Boost: Another eBook Sale

Hello all!

As you all know, I’ll be speaking on a panel at C2E2 this weekend (more information found here and here). To celebrate, I’ve decided to have an eBook sale on the first two books of my series.

From April 5th – 9th, the eBook of Sere from the Green will be FREE and Through Storm and Night will be 0.99!

If you’re a fan of fantasy starring strong queer women (including adoptees, written by an adoptee) or you know anyone who is, please check out my books. And consider leaving a review. Being an indie author, I’m relying heavily on word of mouth and signal boosts 🙂

Here’s some more information on the books:

Sere from the Green

SereFromtheGreen.Ebook

There is a race that lives among humans, unbeknownst to them, called shape shifters, those that can shift from human to animal at will. Many protect the innocent on Earth and act as the eyes and ears of the guardians, divine beings similar to gods in ancient myths.

Isis is a woman who lives a normal life until the day she photographs a murder scene for her job. When the body disappears from her photographs, Isis is determined to solve the mystery. Her investigation uncovers answers about her own past and sets her on a journey that will change her life forever.

Buy here

Through Storm and Night

ThroughStormAndNight.Ebook

The Meadows is home to the guardians, a race of beings similar to the deities in ancient mythology. They watch over the Earth from their serene lands, keeping everything in check. For millennia, it has been peaceful. However, in the beginning, there was a great war. A war with Chaos, a war that is still remembered in the legends of the guardians and shape shifters.

Months have passed since Isis’, a shape shifter/guardian hybrid and member of the prophesied Four, narrow escape from the Obsidian Manor. The Four still haven’t found answers about the mysterious Coop and their search for the Key has yielded nothing but more questions. When an old alliance is reforged, the Four are thrown into another mystery. Who are the strange shape shifters known only as the “glowing-eyes” and what is their connection to the odd symbol and vanishing bodies?

Buy here

Once again, this sale runs from April 5th – 9th.

I hope those of you who already have books are enjoying them and thanks for picking them up 🙂

Thank you so much everybody!

Interview: Shelby Eileen

Today we’re joined by Shelby Eileen. Shelby is a phenomenal poet who has recently released a book of poetry entitled Soft in the Middle. She uses poetry to express herself and has an amazing dedication to her art. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with an incredibly bright future, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art, currently, is poetry. I have one self-published poetry collection titled Soft in the Middle and almost all of my WIPs are also poetry. Writing is something I’ve always, always done and poetry has long been my preferred way to express myself in writing. I think my art has always had a lot to do with communication even if I didn’t always know it; trying to communicate better not only with others but also with myself. Picking the right words and putting them together in such a way that I feel I’ve finally made sense of something is the best thing about what I do.

What inspires you?

The thought that there is really nothing that has already been created that is exactly like what I have the potential to create. I don’t know if it’s naïve or self-centered to think, but my own individuality inspires me. Other asexual artists inspire me. Self-published poets inspire the absolute heck out of me. There’s something so pure and immeasurable about their success- they are literally the embodiment of that “she believed she could so she did” sentiment and I think that’s so badass.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Yep, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even before that though, I’ve always wanted to be an editor. Reading got me into this whole world and I’ve never felt like I was meant to do anything else but work with authors and be an author myself.

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 think I do, or at least, not yet. I haven’t been at this long enough to figure that out. I would almost prefer to have readers pick up on a “unique signature” on their own, whatever that could be, without me actively trying to tie all of my works together. I find myself focusing a lot more on the differences between my projects than on the similarities anyway.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make friends with people who are already doing what you want to do! Social media is a great way to do that.

IMG_6396

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual. Since figuring out that I’m ace I’ve grown to absolutely love that part of myself. The label brings me a lot of comfort and peace. I also identify as queer, bi, and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Online and in the poetry/writing community, no. I have yet to see anyone criticize my work specifically for reflecting my asexuality. My family and many of my irl friends haven’t ever commented on my asexuality though, and seeing as I explicitly state that I am asexual in my work, it definitely feels like they avoid it because they’re confused or made uncomfortable by it. Silence and passivity on the matter can hurt just as much as outright objection or disapproval. That doesn’t feel nice but it’s not the absolute worst reaction I could get, I suppose. I handle it by constantly reminding myself that my work is first and foremost for me and no one else. Even if I don’t show it or admit to it often, no one is more proud of me than me for what I’ve accomplished so far- as long as I feel pride in what I do, negative reception is easier to deal with.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Oh god. That asexuality and the mere concepts of sex and intimacy can’t overlap at all. That asexuals are just straight people weaseling their way into the LGBTQIAP+ community. Asexuality as a sexual/mental health issue. Asexuals are broken. Asexuality isn’t real. Everyone is demisexual. Asexuals can’t have relationships. It’s disgusting how common it all is.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

It’s REALLY okay to question stuff and be unsure or even unhappy with where you’re at in regards to your orientation. You’ve come this far on your own and that’s something to be proud of. You should never hesitate to investigate, dissect, confront, and share all of the feelings you have. I dealt with orientation struggles/ general unhappiness by seeking out a bunch of books with asexual characters. A lot of them made me feel so much better about myself- quite frankly, it made me feel like less of a freak. Getting swept up in stories with characters that you can relate to that get a happy ending is great medicine.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Amazon buy link for soft in the middle! http://a.co/fLDIzIw

Goodreads page! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36812982-soft-in-the-middle

My Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are all at briseisbooks. My social medias are not exclusively for my writing, they do contain a good amount of personal content as well!

Thank you, Shelby, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Frankie Onye

Today we’re joined by Frankie Onye. Frankie is a wonderful aspiring author who hopes to publish their work one day. They’re currently working on a number of novels, mostly queer fiction and fantasy. A fellow Poe fan, Frankie takes inspiration from a number of different places. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and enthusiastic author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well I’m a writer, first and foremost. I write queer fiction and mostly slice-of-life fantasy. It’s my favorite genre and it’s a lot of work, what with coming up with magic systems that make some sense, filling in plot holes, trying to fix my horrible sleeping pattern, but it gives me a sense of comfort when I write and my dream to get published one day keeps me going.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything. Mostly works by artist, Pascal Campion, Studio Ghibli, Black Panther, Leigh Bardugo and a friend of mine that got me into fantasy again. She goes by Zuko on Wattpad usually and she has inspired me and supported me in so many ways. She’s ace as well and one of the best writers I know.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

To be honest, it would be the story of King Arthur that got me interested in actually writing. Morgana had been my favorite and the world with magic like that had always interested me. Before that, I was a kid that wrote random declarations of war on the wall with my name signed underneath, reading works of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe and Tolkien before resuming to give my older brother hell. Frankly, I was a weird kid.

I’ve always wanted to write or draw, but i had the kind of parents that told me it was a waste of time and should get a well-paying job that could keep me afloat for myself and my “hobbies”.

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?

Nothing I can think of. Sorry, mates.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice, practice and learn. Don’t be afraid to take constructive criticism. Even if it’s something you don’t agree with, say thanks and move on. As art is subjective, there are going to always be people that think your work is crap, and sometimes, you might be one of those people. Don’t let that get you down, okay? Nobody can get better if they don’t listen and take correction but you also can’t get better if you give up just because of some nasty comments and thoughts. You gots this.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m as ace as it gets, mates!

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’ve been told that being ace doesn’t mean I’m LGBT or queer, that me being non-binary is the reason I’m LGBT. To be perfectly queer, I’m still not sure about this debate. I know I’m ace and that’s pretty much it for me.

Another thing is being told that I am just too young and I have no idea what I’m talking about and that it’ll change when I “fall in love”. Which I mean, is point blank ridiculous. It’s not an on and off switch, Karen! I’m 18, sure, that’s young, but I’m pretty sure at this stage I know when my motor ain’t running that way. How do I deal with this? I ignore the ignorance like it’s the buzzing fly that it is. Life’s too short to scream at cement walls.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it’ll all change when I found “the one”.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Own it, live it, and love yourself as you are. I’ve been struggling with this since I was a short little thing in Nigeria (though some might argue I’m still a small fry). Felt like a freak honestly and even worse when the issue about my gender was added on top. You are who you are and that’s all anyone can be.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I’m a bit everywhere, or I try to be.

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/ivebeenbamboozled
Tapas: https://m.tapas.io/onyefrankie
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frankieonye/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/frankieonye
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/frankieonye.

Thank you, Frankie, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Jessica Meats

Today we’re joined by Jessica Meats. Jessica is a phenomenal author from the UK who writes science fiction and fantasy. She writes about everything from superheroes smashing the fourth wall to werewolves fighting for their rights. With a new release on the horizon, Jessica is definitely an author to watch for. When she’s not writing original work, Jessica is curating an online database of books with strong LGBTQ+ representation and is always looking for more recommendations. It’s clear she’s a passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

adventures of technicality man cover

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer, mainly of science fiction and fantasy books of various lengths. The shortest is The Adventures of Technicality Man, a fun and silly superhero parody that doesn’t so much break the fourth wall as smash it into a million pieces. The longest is my soon-to-be-released fantasy novel Wolf Unleashed, a considerably more serious work which explores themes of oppression and prejudice in a world where werewolves are fighting for equal rights.

What inspires you?

I write the sort of stories I enjoy, so I would have to say that I’m inspired by other creators. I’m an avid reader and I love watching SF&F TV shows and films, so I like playing with these ideas and trying to find something new and different to say.

I also find inspiration in the real world. The SF&F genres have always been used to address real world issues by framing them so that people can look at them in a new light. That’s what I’m trying to do with Wolf Unleashed and there were some scenes that were inspired by acts of injustice that have been reported in the news (or frequently misreported and hushed over in cases of institutional racism). There’s a scene in which a Muslim character talks about some of the prejudice he’s faced that I rewrote after the travel ban fiasco in the United States.

It’s not all dark though. I wrote most of my first novel, Child of the Hive, while I was at university studying mathematics and computer science. In the computer science side of the course, we had various lectures and discussions about technology that was currently being worked on, and some of the technology in that book was directly inspired by those discussions of what was cutting edge at the time I was writing it.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I have written stories since I first learned how to pick up a pen. When I was little, I would fold sheets of paper together to make little books and write stories in them. I don’t remember ever making the decision to be a writer – I just always knew I would be. As I grew up, I had to temper that desire with realism about the odds of making a living as an author, but I never stopped writing.

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?

If I do it’s hidden even from me. My writing style is heavily driven by plot, so I suppose you could say that’s a signature of my style, but It’s not symbolic.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep going. Gaining a skill takes time, so keep working on your art and you will keep getting better. Nothing teaches like practice.

For writers in particular, think about the things you read. If you read a book you love, stop and consider what it is about that book that appeals to you so much, Likewise, if you read something you hate, consider what it is about the work that’s putting you off so much so you can try and avoid those things in your own work.

Above all, create the art you enjoy. Focus first and foremost on creating works that you have fun creating and that you’re pleased with when you’re finished. Worry about how you’re going to sell them or find an audience second.

child of the hive cover

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am biromantic asexual. For a long time, I thought I was bisexual because I didn’t realise the concept of asexuality existed.

I’ve never been sexually attracted to anyone but I have had relationships and I’m open to romantic love with persons of any gender. To me, the match of personalities is more important than anything physical.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not really. I’ve seen some ignorant comments on social media sites and the like, but nothing that has really impacted my writing. This may be because the discovery of the concept of asexuality and my revelation about how it applied to me came after I’d been writing for several years. Given the length of time it takes for a book to go from inspiration, to first draft, to complete, to publication… my past books haven’t really focused on asexuality. I have one book that is almost ready to go to the publisher which has an asexual protagonist, and another one about halfway through the first draft with an asexual love interest. I may find different reactions when those books come out.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The one I’ve seen most often is just a lack of knowledge – people don’t know that asexuality is a thing. I went through my teen years thinking that there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t getting crushes on pop stars and actors the way everyone around me seemed to be. I know I’m not the only person to go through this. I had a conversation with a woman in her late fifties, who told me, “I’d always just assumed I was broken,” because she didn’t feel any interest in sex.

I had a conversation with some colleagues from work where we got onto the subject of sexuality. I mentioned asexuality and one of my colleagues asked me to explain because it wasn’t a term she’d heard before. As I explained, her face just lit up with excitement and she went, “That’s me!”

This complete lack of awareness when it comes to even the existence of asexuality is harmful for so many people who think there’s a problem with them. These people need to see asexuality discussed openly and represented in fiction so that they can recognise that they’re not alone.

Outside of LGBTQ+ circles, people aren’t aware of asexuality, and so that leads to people who fall somewhere on the spectrum themselves to develop the misconception that there’s something wrong with them.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You’re not alone.

There are a lot of different experiences across the breadth of the asexuality spectrum, so don’t worry if the way you feel isn’t a perfect match for the way someone else describes their feelings, just know that you aren’t the only one. There’s nothing wrong with you.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have a blog at http://plot-twister.co.uk where I post book reviews, articles on writing advice, and news about my own books. I also have a queer reading list on that site, which is a list of reader-recommended sci-fi and fantasy books that contain strong LGBTQ+ representation. You can apply filters to find books that have specific representations. So if you want to find a book that has a demi-sexual protagonist, or an aromantic major character, you can apply the filters and see what people have recommended. I’m always keen to get new recommendations so if you know of good SF&F with asexual (or other queer) representation, please recommend them.

You can also follow me on Tumblr at http://jessicameats.tumblr.com or Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessicameats or like my Facebook page.

Wolf Unleashed cover

Thank you, Jessica, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Katy L. Wood

Today we’re joined by Katy L. Wood. Katy is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who is from Colorado. She recently debuted her webcomic, which features two asexual main characters. Katy combines her visual art with her writing, frequently drawing character art and cover art. Her webcomic, Gunpowder & Pine, sounds like an incredibly intriguing mystery story. It’s clear that she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Gunpowder and Pine_Part 1 Cover
Gunpowder and Pine, Part 1 Cover

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Hi! I’m an author and illustrator, so a lot of my art is very interwoven with the stories I write. I do single illustrations, webcomics, novels, cover art, and character art regularly. My work is mostly digital, but I also do a little traditional work here and there, mostly pen and ink, watercolor, and marker. I’ve had work featured in the Society of Illustrators in New York, I have one self-published book, and I have a webcomic (with two asexual protagonists!) that just started posting!

What inspires you?

I was born and raised in Colorado, a fourth generation native of the state, and I come from a HUGE family. I grew up with so many stories about settling the mountains and growing up off the beaten track, and I grew up a bit off the track as well. It really fostered a sense of adventure and exploration in me, and I try and pack as much of that into my work as possible.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

It always seemed like the only possibility for me. I’ve always told stories and done art, so making a career out of it was the natural way to go. Admittedly I’m still working on the actual “making money” part, but who isn’t?

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?

Hmmmm… not INTENTIONALLY. People tell me all the time that I have a style, but I don’t see it (which I think is true for most artists, you’re the last one to ever see your style). I do have one character that is in nearly all my novels, though. His name is Kala and he’s my oldest OC, and I always manage to sneak him in somehow. He’ll just be a random café worker or voice on the radio in someone’s car or something. He accidentally became important in one of my projects, though, and now he’s actually got scenes. Whoops.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make friends. Make all the friends. It doesn’t matter how good your portfolio/novel is, your chances of getting your work out there in the world are 1,000 times better if you have a good network to help you out. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people you admire, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to people and keep in touch.

Bellewood Promo Image
Bellewood Promo Image

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual with probably a dash of bi-romantic leaning towards women. Small dash, though. If all I ever end up with is a bunch of cats I’m okay with that.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I think the biggest issue I’ve seen is in publishing for novels. The industry has gotten a lot better about allowing queer content, but they still have A LOT of catching up to do. Some people in the industry are stuck in some very old grooves and the refuse to get out of them. At the same time, there’s tons of awesome, forward-thinking people that are fighting incredibly hard to change the system, and those are the people I seek out.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That the community doesn’t experience homophobia. I, thankfully, haven’t (in relation to asexuality, anyways). But it does happen to so many people and it can be incredibly harmful both mentally and physically.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

You’re awesome. You deserve to be happy and secure in who you are and how you love other people, and if those other people can’t accept that it is okay to let them go.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My website (which includes my newsletter!), Webtoons where you can read my webcomic, my Tumblr, and my Patreon.

Thanks so much for having me!

Vivian's Kitchen Test Illustration
Vivian’s Kitchen Test Illustration

Thank you, Katy, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.