Interview: medina

Today we’re joined by medina. medina is a fantastic writer who writes both fiction and nonfiction. For fiction, they write young adult and children’s. When it comes to nonfiction, medina writes narrative essays. It’s clear they’re a creative individual who loves what they do. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fiction for children and young adults! I also write nonfiction narrative essays!

What inspires you?

nature, music, laughter

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

I always knew I wanted to write for the rest of my life. I didn’t always know I would write for children and young adults.

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?

Hmm, I don’t think so! but if you find it, let me know!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

have something finished!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

oh, hey, cool so we’re getting right into it! I’m in between demiromantic and demisexual.

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

I haven’t, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist!

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

That I just haven’t found the right one! Or that I’m actually just gay or that I’m emotionally scarred, etc. Ah, what haven’t I heard!

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

Embrace the journey. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to know! It’s ok if what you think you know changes. no matter what, your identity is valid.

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

www.medinawrites.com

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

Interview: Casey Wolfe

Today we’re joined by Casey Wolfe. Casey is a wonderful author who writes in a number of genres with romance being a main feature in all their work. The author bio from their website: “History nerd, film buff, avid gamer, and full-time geek; all of these things describe Casey Wolfe. They prefer being lost in the world of fiction—wandering through fantasy realms, traveling the outer reaches of space, or delving into historical time periods.  Casey is non-binary and ace, living with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, all of which informs their writing in various ways. Happily married, Casey and their partner live in the middle-of-nowhere, Ohio with their furry, four-legged children.” My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an author.  I write everything from contemporary to fantasy and everything in between, with romance as a main element.  My favorite genre to write has always been paranormal.

What inspires you?

Really, it can be anything and everything.  I find inspiration in music, photography, artwork…  I can find it while people-watching or in a random piece of conversation.  I’ve even gotten my fair share of inspiration from dreams.  I literally never know when something will strike.

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

I started writing in the sixth grade.  We had to write a short story for an English assignment and from then on, I was hooked. I began writing more short stories. I didn’t start thinking it could be a career until high school.  That was when I started to write my first novels – nothing that has seen the light of day, but it helped me shape my style and grow in my craft.

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 like to use star imagery in my work.  I’m also a geek and tend to include quotes from movies/shows/video games.  I’m always interested to see if people can spot the lines I’ve used.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Write, write, write. You’ll never get better if you don’t practice.  You don’t even have to show anyone your work – I know how hard that can be.  Just as long as you’re writing, you’re getting better. You’re working on developing your voice and practicing technique.  If you have a writing group in your area, or can find a trusted group online, then getting feedback is also a helpful step, but only when you’re ready for it.

Inquisition Trilogy

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Grey ace and demi

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

I’ve been very lucky to work exclusively with an LGBTQ publisher.  Everyone involved in the publishing house, including other authors, are queer as well, so we don’t have any issues on that front.  We’ve had people ask questions, wanting to know more. It’s a wonderfully open environment and we can all help educate as the need arises.

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

We don’t have sex at all. Some aces certainly don’t.  But we are a large spectrum with a wide array of comfort levels with sex.  Don’t just assume because I’m ace that I’m sex repulsed or that my partner must “suffer from a lack of sex.”  Trust me, he’s fine, and it’s really none of your business anyway.  It’s pretty rude to try to assert yourself into someone else’s bedroom.

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

You don’t have to “get it right” the first time.  You’re allowed to change your mind about how you identify later in life.  Never feel like you are being “fake” or you were “lying” because you identify differently now.  And definitely don’t let anyone else make you feel that way.  Give yourself time and space to explore who you are.

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

Website: https://authorcaseywolfe.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorcaseywolfe
Tumblr: https://authorcaseywolfe.tumblr.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authorcaseywolfe

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

Interview: Robyn Beecroft

Today we’re joined by Robyn Beecroft. Robyn is a phenomenal mystery author who writes a series that features an asexual sleuth named Haley. Their series is called the “Dancing Detective” series and they’re currently working on the 3rd book in the series. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve just started writing cozy mystery novels. I’ve written fanfiction, romance and SF/F all my life, but I was intimidated by the thought of writing murder mystery because I thought it had to be as intricate as an Agatha Christie, and I didn’t think I had that level of complexity in me.

I didn’t realize that it’s easier when you’re writing the book, because you know what happens right from the start – all you as the author have to work out is how to hide the clues.

I have two books out so far in my Dancing Detective series, and I’m currently plotting the third one.

They feature two young sleuths who are trying to find their way in the world after leaving college. Rory, a posh and nervous gay man, and Haley a more down-to-earth asexual, non-binary person, solve murders deep in the English countryside while they grapple with the challenges of coming out and living their most authentic lives.

What inspires you?

I started writing these because I moved into the English countryside myself – just outside Cambridge – and got into folk music and morris dancing, which opened up a slightly bizarre whole new world to me.

I’ve always liked cozy mysteries, and I’d read a couple that featured morris dancing – and now I knew that their depiction of the culture was completely wrong, so I wanted to bring the fun and irreverence of the dance into my novels.

That inspired Murder of a Straw Man, after which I ended up putting all my favourite things into the series. Murder of a Working Ghost is about ghost tours of the city of Ely, and the one I’m working on now – Murder of a Starship Captain – is about science-fiction conventions.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, yes. Ever since I can remember, escaping into a good book was one of life’s greatest joys, and I wanted to be able to give that to people.

I’m not too bothered about writing the next great American novel, but I just want to entertain my reader and give them a break from the monotony of real life.

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 do anything like that knowingly. I’m always trying to make the next book different from the last. But probably things repeat without my knowing it. The subconscious is an amazing thing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to write a book, just do it. Don’t wait for the right time, or tell yourself that you have to have a certain level of skill before you start. Start, and then don’t stop or deviate until you’ve finished.

It’s a lot easier to write a book if you know what it’s about and what you need to write in each chapter, so writing a plot-plan first will make things much simpler.

Sometimes your brain lies to you. You will get to a point with every book where you think “I hate this. It’s rubbish. I would literally rather clean the toilet than write this. It’s not working. I’m going to give up on this one and start something new.” DO NOT LISTEN. This is a lie. It is working. You’re just getting into the slump in the middle where writing is work rather than pleasure. Carry on writing it anyway. Do not stop until you get to the end.

As long as you push through and keep writing until you reach the end, you will eventually finish the book. If you start something new, you will end up having written for years with fifteen unfinished novels and nothing you can show to anyone. As Chuck Wendig says, “Finish your shit.”

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m all the As – asexual, agender, sort of grey-romantic. To the extent that I have a romantic orientation, I’m androromantic, but I’m married and I’ve only been romantically attracted to one person for the past 25 years, so it doesn’t feel like a present and active factor in my life.

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

I haven’t encountered any in my field, but then I’m indie published, so my field tends to be me sitting in front of my PC.

I live in the countryside, which is about 20-30 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to understanding of queer sexualities, and I am not out to any of the people I socialize with. I listen to them talk and I know there would be so much ‘gender and sexuality 101’ to get through before they even understood what I was saying that it doesn’t feel worthwhile. My family know, which is enough.

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

In my off-line life no one has even heard of it. I wear an asexual pin and sometimes someone will ask me what it’s for. At which point I’ll explain that it stands to reason that if you get people who are attracted to the ‘opposite’ gender and people who are attracted to the same, and people who are attracted to both, you must also get people who are attracted to neither – and that’s what asexuals are. Everyone I’ve got that far with has changed the subject at that point.

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

I would say, “It’s not a guarantee that you’ll be alone. If you want someone to share your life with, ace/allo pairings work just fine as long as you have respect for each other and consistent communication.”

I spent a long time – before I knew that asexuality was a thing – being depressed and guilty because I thought there was something wrong with me. Now that I know I was just asexual the whole time, my crops are watered, I have accepted myself and I am much, much happier in my life. I consider myself lucky to be ace. It is a nice, calm, peaceful thing to be.

I guess my advice would be, “try to accept yourself for who you are. Don’t be your own abuser. Telling yourself you shouldn’t be [whatever your sexuality is] never worked for anyone – it just makes you miserable. Why be miserable when you can be proud to be ace?”

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

Well, I have a very sparse website here: http://robyn.beecroftbooks.com/

I have a Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Robyn-Beecroft-Cozy-Mystery-Author-347680635791392

Facebook has purged my personal account and won’t let me back on that, so it’s the Page or nothing

I also have an Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/robynbeecroft/

Where I’ve started to put up pictures of the Fenland countryside in which the mysteries are set, and I mean to keep it for the sorts of things that Rory and Haley – my heroes – would enjoy.

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

Interview: Lisa Dawn

Today we’re joined by Lisa Dawn. Lisa is a phenomenal author and blogger who writes about a number of things. She loves fairy tales and focuses on it. Lisa also enjoys analyzing princess movies, books, and TV shows on her amazing blog. It’s clear she’s a passionate and creative individual, 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.

I’m a self-published author, blogger, and screenwriter. I love stories, especially fairy tales. The Disney Princess movies were everything to me when I was growing up. I’ve written several fairy tale adaptations and original fairy tale novellas at www.amazon.com/author/lisadawn and regularly review and analyze princess movies, books, TV shows, and more on my blog at www.theprincessblog.org. I studied screenwriting in college and am about to complete the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting Online. My latest screenplay is an original princess story that draws inspiration from one of the hardest times in my life.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by beauty, but not just the visual kind. I love musicals with songs that tug at the heartstrings, stories that are cathartic and empowering, and of course beautiful artwork of mermaids, faeries, and magical princesses in lacey flowing gowns. My love of animation has been a driving force for my creativity even though I can’t even draw a circle. I was devastated when traditional animation got replaced by CGI, but I attended a visual effects school in Florida to learn how to animate on a computer, which landed me a job in Los Angeles.

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

Yes, I have always wanted to write. I can’t remember ever not wanting to write, even when I was a very tiny Little Mermaid-obsessed preschooler. I love stories and the effect that they have on people’s psyche. A good story will simultaneously bring someone to tears and allow them to accept something in their life that they were struggling with. When I graduated college and had to deal with the hardships of being an adult for the first time, I wanted to tell my own stories even more because there’s a comfort in viewing life through the lens of a magical fairy tale instead of facing the harsh reality head-on.

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?

You’ve probably noticed the princess theme by now. Not all of my stories are about princesses, but I focus on them because princesses are the most magical and empowering female characters in any given fantasy story. I love how princesses have evolved over time from damsels in distress to strong warriors. I analyze the dichotomy between these archetypes in The Princess Blog and try to find a healthy balance between them in my own writing. For me, Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid is the perfect combination of vulnerability and inner strength.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It has never been easier than it is today to promote yourself through technology. Everyone is connected through social media, so if you’re willing to share your art, people will find you. You can also easily reach out to the people you admire via Twitter, which is something that used to be much harder. Unfortunately, that also means there’s a lot more competition out there. In that respect, I would say to work even harder than you think is necessary. Write, draw, sing, and create every single day, even on the days when you don’t feel like it. I thought I would never make it as a screenwriter, but now I feel like I’m closer than ever because I’ve learned how to make connections and get valuable feedback from my peers. Yes, I do occasionally take breaks, sometimes even year-long ones, but I know now that the more time I take off, the longer it will take me to accomplish my goals. Promote yourself and keep it up!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic repulsed asexual. I’m also married, which still surprises me sometimes, so for those of you lonely romantic aces out there, there is hope!

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

I write independently, but I’ve experienced ignorance in the workplace a few times. I once had a job converting movies to 3D, and some of my co-workers there were a little immature. There was one man in particular who would not stop harassing me after I blurted out that I was asexual. He kept naming all sorts of different scenarios and asking me if I would have sex under those circumstances (not with him). I probably should have reported him to HR, but he was part of a large company layoff shortly after that, so I never saw him again. A few years later, I did an interview about asexuality for a famous magazine right after my wedding that promoted my husband and myself in a humiliating way on several Facebook pages with millions of subscribers. A co-worker I had at that time tagged several fellow employees, including a supervisor, on one posts and didn’t tell me. I only found out about it after going through all the comments. I did report that to HR and got an apology out of her. If this happens to you, do not tolerate it sitting down! That’s what Human Resources are for.

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

“You’re not capable of love?” is always a classic.

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

The world is a very different place today than it was when I came out as asexual in 2005. Hollywood is pushing for more diversity in the media. Uncommon sexual orientations are becoming more commonplace. Social media is all about expressing yourself. You are living in one of the best eras to be different. Embrace it. Know that there are more people willing to accept you today than there would have been fifty, thirty, or even ten years ago.

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

I have a subscribe link on www.theprincessblog.org, but most people find out about new posts through my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theprincessblogger. I’m also on Instagram at www.instagram.com/theprincessblogger and Twitter at www.twitter.com/PrincessOfBlogs. I have a YouTube channel where an animated version of myself reads my blog posts at http://yt.vu/+theprincessvlog, and of course you can find my books on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/lisadawn.

Lisa Dawn also has an author site: http://lisadawnbooks.wixsite.com/lisadawn

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

Interview: Kedreeva

Today we’re joined by Kedreeva. Kedreeva is a phenomenal author who specializes in the speculative genres. She has recently found that she enjoys writing abstract horror. Kedreeva enjoys exploring the different aspects of magic and immortal creatures. It’s clear she’s an incredibly imaginative and creative author who enjoys what she does. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

ART
Art

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer, mainly in the fantasy/sci-fi/supernatural genre, though I have to say I’ve recently found gently abstract horror to be alluring. I thoroughly enjoy writing very long, involved stories that hurt a lot along the way but ultimately end happily. I also do a lot of shorter, off-the-cuff bits as warm-ups or on days when I just need to get something done. I LOVE writing about immortal creatures and the technical side of magic systems and twisting already known lore in interesting ways to make something new.

Some of my more recent works involve a collection of shorts advising one how to survive in The Void (a horror landscape), a story about a person lost in interconnected liminal spaces looking for a way home, a “road trip” type fic traveling through an apocalypse, and a story about a world where Roman-style coliseum fighting of supernatural creatures against one another is the mainstay of the world’s culture that must be brought down by the hands of the main characters.

I used to do a lot of artwork, but I mostly set that aside in favor of writing. Recently, I have started to explore doing artwork with one of my pets, a peahen named Artemis (who also “helps” me write sometimes). It’s never too late to start learning something new!

What inspires you?

You know that feeling when you’re out in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere and you can look up and see all the stars brighter than in the city and there’s that pale, cloudy, white stripe through the night sky that’s actually an arm of our Milky Way galaxy stretching out into the mind-boggling vastness of outer space and for just a moment everything has a sort of eternal presence, and the void of space is looking back at you and you are comfortingly insignificant? Yeah, that. Also spite. I’ve done a lot of work out of spite for people telling me I can’t do something.

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

I don’t know that anything got me interested, I think it never really occurred to me not to be what I am. I’ve been writing stories since I could hold a pencil, and telling them for longer than that. If I had to pick something, I guess I would say that the way I felt listening to other people’s stories made me want to tell my own.

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 know if this counts as a signature, but my friends tease me about using the word “sluice” whenever I find an opportunity. It’s a good word. Maybe my favorite one ever.

I think that in seriousness, and it’s something a lot of folks have talked to me about or thanked me for so I guess it’s noticeable or different, I write my stories as though differing sexual and romantic alignments are just… normal.  I’ve almost exclusively written about queer characters through my life and despite writing dozens of different relationships and first times, the problems are never about those characters’ sexual or romantic alignments. Nothing in any of their worlds forces them to see themselves as abnormal or a problem in that respect- because they’re not. That’s the kind of world I want to live in – one where I get to be a person, not a problem – so that is what I write.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what makes you happy, and do it as much as you can stand to, and then let yourself rest. I would also say, like, take care of yourself such that you can continue your craft. Sometimes that means eating enough, sometimes that means sleeping occasionally, sometimes that means you have to find a different job for a while to pay the rent or whatever. The world needs you and your creations.

ArtemisEditing
Artemis Editing

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Probably the most common species, Asexual asexual. I don’t experience sexual attraction but I also don’t experience sex repulsion. You know, the sort of asexual that finds dragons more interesting than sex.

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

I’ve never had any prejudice directed at me, specifically, that I can recall. I’ve seen a little of it here and there not related to my field, but that’s usually when I go looking for it or someone drags it into the spotlight. There’s a little bit of ignorance floating about, and a little bit of curiosity (though usually that’s been polite in my corners of the net), but I tend to ignore it. Humans are ignorant of all manner of things; asexuality is just one number on that very long list and I have better things to do with my time that fight about that.

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

There’s two I normally see a lot of- the first is that asexuality can somehow be, like, “cured” if someone finds the right person who is patient and sexy enough. I’ve seen a lot of new writers trying to write stories with asexual (and I don’t mean Demisexual, that would be different) characters “making exceptions” so to speak for another character- ie: sex repulsed asexuals suddenly becoming Into It with enough coaxing and patience from their partner. Which, you know. Not great. The other is that I’ve seen folks speaking like asexuality is a lack of sex drive rather than a lack of sexual attraction, which usually leads to them thinking ace folks are all sex repulsed (or the opposite, tying into the first point, that we are all capable of sexual arousal just for the Right Person or whatever).

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

Honestly, life is short and there are better things to do than worry about sex and attraction. That seems a little harsh written down, but it’s so true on the other side of the struggle. I had never really had a struggle to begin with, until someone else made me struggle. I knew I was ace, I told people “I’m equally unattracted to everyone” right up until someone, a good friend at that, told me “that’s bisexuality, because that means you’re equally attracted to everyone” and I let that cause me a problem for years before I realized I was struggling for no reason. I knew who I was. There were better things for me to spend my time worrying about than whether I was right or wrong about knowing who I was. If I was wrong, I’d find out eventually. If I was right, then there was no sense in worrying about it further. I know how Devastatingly Important it can seem, and it IS important to examine, but my friend, there are stories to write, art to make, creations to create.

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

I use the same name, Kedreeva, everywhere- Tumblr, Twitter, Archive of our Own, etc., but AO3 is where folks can actually find my writing for now.

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

Announcement: Ace Art Show

Hi all!

I know this is short notice, but I’ve been swamped with work. I still have interviews that need to be scheduled and posted, apologies for that.

One thing that has been occupying the majority of my time has been the Asexual Conference in Vancouver, which I’m co-curating an art show for. I’m hoping some followers of the site might be interested in attending (more information about the conference can be found at the following link: https://asexuality.wixsite.com/conference)

We’ve recently gotten a flyer for the art exhibit:

art exhibit

Aside from co-curating the art exhibit, I shall also be speaking on a panel about being an asexual author. I will probably speak on what it’s like to be an asexual fiction author who also happens to be from a non-traditional family. Copies of my books will be available for sale and I will be more than happy to personalize them for anyone who is interested.

Here’s the flyer for that event:

book launch

I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things soon, but traveling kind of eats up all my time. I’ll figure out a balancing act eventually.

Anyhow, I hope to see some followers of the site at the show!

Thanks everyone!

Interview: Kaylee Schuler

Today we’re joined by Kaylee Schuler. Kaylee is a phenomenal author and visual artist. She writes a number of different things, including short stories and poetry. She’s currently working on a novel with an aro-ace protagonist. When she’s not writing, Kaylee enjoys drawing. She frequently draws characters from her stories. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist who loves to create, 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.

I am an author and an artist. I usually write short stories, but I’ve dabbled in poetry, spoken word, and am currently working on a novel that happens to feature an aro-ace protagonist. I’ve self-published a children’s book and plan to self-publish its companion once my edits are done. One of my short stories just won 10th place in a Reader’s Digest competition, so I’m very excited about that!

What I value most in writing is emotion, so I try to write things that make people feel. I try to tell stories that I think are important, that I know no one else can tell. I strive to write pieces that are powerful, influential, and cathartic. Even though it’s a lofty goal, I want to write something that will change the world.

As for art, I started out with sketches and drawings, but I currently work with a variety of mediums, some of my favorites being watercolor and digital. Good old graphite never fails me, though.

I create art about pretty much anything — I draw a lot of people, often characters within the stories that I write. Drawing for me is somewhere between a hobby and a potential career. I’m currently studying it in college, but I still draw mainly for myself and create things that I want to create.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration for my work in everything I experience. The villain in my novel is based on a character who showed up in just one episode of a TV show from the ‘90s that I used to watch reruns of. Another character is named after a friend who was super supportive of my writing. I write the books I want to read, so I often take inspiration from a lack of content. I don’t see enough diversity in the media I consume, so I want to add that to my work. My visual artwork is often inspired by my writing or other people’s work that I enjoy. The main thing that inspires me is the hope that someone out there will encounter my work and be inspired to create something of their own. Art is such an incredible force for change, and my desire to be a part of that drives me to create.

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

I’ve been writing for my entire life. It’s something that comes naturally to me, but even beyond that, I feel like a part of me is missing if I’m not writing something. It’s a huge part of who I am. I started writing my self-published book when I was 8 years old and haven’t stopped since.

I’ve also been creating visual art as far back as I can remember. Just like my writing, my artwork feels like an extension of my very being. Because art, be it written, visual, or otherwise, can be a catalyst for social change, and because I’ve always wanted to use my talents to better the world, I figure that the best way for me to make an impact is to combine those two things. My desire to improve this world and my desire to create go hand in hand.

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’m one of those artists who’s never been able to pin down a style. I suppose that’s a blessing because it gives me greater freedom and versatility in the content I create, but it’s also a curse because most of my pieces aren’t recognizable as belonging to the same artist. One thing I aim to do is include as much diversity in my work as I can. I think everyone deserves to see someone in media who they can relate to. I’m still learning how to improve my art and my representation, but I feel like making an effort to be inclusive and diverse is crucial to being a good artist and a good person.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art is something so incredibly personal to each individual. My advice is, first, to not be afraid to pour your soul into your work, and only share it when it’s ready. Share it first with people you trust. This especially applies to writing, though also to visual art you’ve worked particularly hard on. Find people who will build you up, not tear you down. And a note on criticism—at the end of the day, this is your work. Create for you. When people tell you what to do with your craft, that’s what they want. I’m not saying to never listen to criticism. Feedback can be very useful and it will help you grow as an artist. But make sure you put what you want first and remember that, at the end of the day, what you do with your work is up to you. And try to remember that critiques are about the work itself, not the part of you that you put into it. On a different note, something I want to stress is that artists have to support each other! We all face challenges in art and in life and I believe that we can never spread too much compassion and positivity. And finally, never give up on your dreams. One of my creative writing professors once shared something with us that his friend told him—the reason successful artists become successful is that they’re the ones who don’t give up. If you want to create, create. Keep at it, you’ve got this!

3. Mental Illness 2017 12 18
Mental Illness

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I always knew there was something different about me, and finding labels for my feelings was an incredible relief. I’ve never felt romantic or sexual attraction, and I’m also sex-and romance-repulsed. This definitely affects my work, especially my written work, because you create what you know. It’s hard for me to imagine being anyone other than myself, holding any identity other than aroace. As a result, much of my work features characters who are asexual and/or aromantic.

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

Specifically related to my art, I haven’t come across much negativity. I think this is largely because most of my work concerning asexuality hasn’t made it very far out into the world yet. I worry that readers won’t understand the way my characters feel and interact with the world, and I worry that artwork about my asexuality will result in negativity directed at me. I think it’s likely that I will encounter prejudice or ignorance when my work spreads around a little more, and when faced with it, I think I’ll have to remember that all of us are ignorant to something and that the only way to educate is through understanding. I’ve been uninformed and misinformed about countless topics, and I was able to learn more about them when people treated me with respect and open-mindedness. I will strive to do the same. If that fails, though, if I run into someone who can’t see my point of view and won’t make an effort to do so (as I have frequently encountered outside the art world), I’ll need to remember a mantra my therapist once gave me: “They’re doing the best they can.” Sometimes, other people’s “best” isn’t enough for us. But we have to remember that we all have our limits and that, sometimes, our knowledge is beyond the limits of someone else. At that point, I’ll have to take a step back from my stubbornness and abandon the argument. It’s not always worth it.

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

I commonly see this both outside and within the LGBTQ community, and the latter can be particularly frustrating. Many people think that asexuality is synonymous or similar to abstinence, which isn’t true. They believe that asexuality is simply a lack of desire for sex, and that’s not quite true. Asexuality is a lack of attraction (and even beyond that, it comes on a spectrum). Not all asexuals are sex-repulsed or sex-averse, and some asexuals engage in sexual acts for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, many people seem to think that being asexual is the same as being aromantic. I often find it difficult to explain that there’s a difference between romantic and sexual attraction and that some asexuals do, in fact, feel romantic attraction.

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

The main thing that’s often said but can never be said enough is never be said enough is you are NOT broken. I spent years of my life thinking I was and became resigned to the idea that one day I would have to have a relationship, even though I didn’t want one. Here’s what I have to say about that: you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have to try to force yourself to feel something you don’t. Wherever you lie on the spectrum, you are valid, you are seen, you are whole, and you are not alone. You may feel guilty sometimes for not reciprocating someone’s feelings. You may feel empty sometimes, or alone, or angry. And all of that is valid—your feelings are always valid—but you don’t have to feel any of that. Teach yourself that you don’t need to be ashamed of your orientation. It’s a part of you, you can’t get rid of it, so you might as well learn to love it. And you can. I have.

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

I don’t yet have a proper website, but you can find me on social media. My art Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceart.tumblr.com and my main Tumblr is https://www.deepspaceace.tumblr.com. I’m also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/deep.space.ace. You can find my art on Redbubble at https://www.redbubble.com/people/deepspaceace. You can read some of my written work at https://www.wattpad.com/user/CelestialFalcon. You can buy my children’s book at https://app.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/midnight-a-wolfs-tale/ce878c14-8bd6-44ad-bb38-93b585c582e9?isbn=9780984719808 .

Have a great day! 🙂

4. enamorarse
Enamorarse

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