Interview: Jenny Prater

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.

1. Dear somebody cover only

WORK

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.

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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.

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ASEXUALITY

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.

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

Interview: Raven Black Writer

Today we’re joined by Raven Black Writer. Raven Black Writer is a wonderful upcoming New Adult fantasy author who also does quite a lot of blogging. While writing is her first love, she also dabbles in drawing and music. It’s very clear Raven Black Writer is an incredibly passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer, blogger, artist, and I love to sing and dance in my bedroom. I blog about my life, mental health, self-love, philosophy, and human potential because I like to inspire people – or  maybe show them a new perspective – and just bring positivity into the world. In terms of writing, I see my book falling into the New Adult fantasy genre because I’m not getting any younger and adulthood is scary! Lastly, my art is anything from bored doodles in notebooks to spontaneous drawings of the person in front of me.

What inspires you?

Life inspires me. My own experiences and the things and people I read about or see inform my work and encourage me to keep going.

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

In fifth grade, my teacher had us write short stories and I was hooked. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something so addictive about making up people and places and calling it a story.

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 you look closely, you’ll find a cesspool of angst that collected over the course of my life and never really found an outlet.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re afraid of being judged, wait until nighttime to do your work because it’s literally impossible for anyone to watch you or insult you. If the person who’s watching you and insulting you is you, I want you to learn to love yourself. It sounds hella sappy but self-love is the only reason I’m here today and I want everyone to know that they deserve to love themselves; whoever they may be.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as aroace! I’m also romance and sex repulsed as well as touch-averse . . . in other words, I’m aggressively ace. 😉

Looking back, I think I’ve experienced aesthetic attraction my whole life, but obviously I didn’t know what it was when I was younger. So I confused that attraction with bisexuality, and eventually pansexuality, because I was aesthetically attracted to pretty much anyone, regardless of gender. Eventually, though, I realized that I didn’t actually have crushes on people so much as their style resonated with me. I felt like I was looking at artwork and was content with just seeing them for a while then leaving. Though I didn’t know about aesthetic attraction until a couple years later, I figured I was aroace because dating and sex are so not my thing and nobody can convince me into either.

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

The first place I heard about asexuality was on a women’s period forum from a woman who identified as ace. I was 16. So I think it’s pretty safe to say that ace erasure occurs basically everywhere. I’m dealing with it by making my main character in my upcoming novel, with no title as of yet, identify as ace. Bit of #ownvoices for ya.

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

That there’s no such thing as asexuality. America and many other countries have such heavily sexualized cultures that people tend to just assume that everyone wants to have sex and that anyone who doesn’t is celibate or “hasn’t found the right one yet.”

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

I want to emphasize that falling on the ace spectrum does NOT mean you’re broken. I’ve been a victim of severe bullying and for years I used to think that caused it, but it didn’t. I’m just genuinely not into dating or sex at all.

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

I blog over at <theboundlessagenda.wordpress.com> and my Wattpad username is TheOriginalPhoenix, but I haven’t posted anything yet.

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