Interview: Erika

Today we’re joined by Erika, who also goes by one-true-houselight online. Erika is an awesomely versatile artist who dabbles in a few different fields. They do a lot of writing. Erika specializes in poetry, much of it focusing on mental health and their experiences. They’re currently working on an original story, which features three main characters who are ace and the fourth is a dragon. When they’re not writing, Erika dabbles in fanart and has written a few comics. They have also been in the theater too. It’s very clear they’re a dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

D&Dcomic
D&D Comic

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have a couple of thing I do. For a while, the only thing I did was write poetry because when I tried to write other things, I never liked what I started and never finished. So I wrote poems on many things, gravitating towards my struggle and life with mental illness. It became a coping mechanism for me. I started drawing for the first time in a long while because again, I felt like I couldn’t. But I drew a comic of a moment in the D&D campaign I am a part of because I wanted to, and I recently sent in a comic as fan mail to Rhett and Link. I also have been getting into more narrative fiction! I’ve written two fanfics: a tiny one about Rhett and Link as children, and one Psych one where I explore Shawn being aro-spec. I’m also working on an original story with three ace main characters, one of whom is non-binary. So that’s fun. I’ve also been doing theatre for years, and I’d like to think I’ve created some art there as well.

What inspires you?

I love that I get to create things in ways I feel comfortable doing so, and I love that doing so can help me understand things better. Like, when I would write a poem about my anxiety, I could use interesting turns of phrase to define what before was just unintelligible screaming in my head. Drawing my and my friends D&D characters made the game feel more present. I explored my fear of heights and the demiromantic part of myself in my fics. I had just recently figured out I was non-binary when I started my original piece, so I got to write a character going through similar things. And my time in theatre has let me see the human condition in so many ways.

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

Most of the time, I started by just fooling around with the field until I realized I really liked it.

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 have a weird symbol I draw that combines my first and last initials. You can see it in the last panel of the comic attached. That’s just for the small amount of drawing I do, though. Beyond that… I don’t think so?

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Hello young artist! I will repeat the advice you often get: keep practicing, you are good enough, don’t give up. All that. And also: do the art that makes you happy. Do the art that makes you feel things, that means something to you. Yes, if/when it becomes a career, that isn’t always possible. But understand what you want to do, what makes you feel whole. Then, even when you don’t have a ‘dream’ project, you know why you are where you are. If that makes sense.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and akoi-demi-bi romantic. I know. I don’t find it any easier to understand than you do.

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

Um. I mean, there is the ever-present ‘entertainment must have sex to be good/wanted by a lot of people’, but since I am a hobbyist at best, I don’t get too much problem with it? And obviously my coworkers sometimes don’t understand everything, but I have been so lucky to have people who do their best and listen to me.

Handling it for me is either just explaining or sarcasm. Again, I am in a position of privilege where I can do that without fear from most people I encounter.

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

Probably just ‘how’. A lot of people can’t wrap their heads around how it is possible. I also get people assuming it means someone just doesn’t like sex, but since I am sex repulsed I generally try to explain that while I might be like that, not everyone is.

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

Hello friends! Guess what? I love you in the least creepy way possible. And for real, you are fine. It’s hard. I felt so amazing when I figured out I was ace, and I still sometimes get crippling self-doubt and fear. We live in a world where our identities are erased, ignored, joked about, misinterpreted, and so many other things. But we are who we are, and we will be ok. If you want to find someone, you can. If you don’t want to, you will be fine. You deserve to be happy and loved in a way that you are OK with. Don’t let people tell you that you deserve less of anything.

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

You can find me on Tumblr and AO3 at one-true-houselight. I tagged everything about my RandL comic as ‘comic’ (I know), and some D&D stuff fell in there as well. My writing tag is ‘I write sometimes’. Ask me theatre stories if you want a fun time. Have a lovely day!

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

Interview: Maddie

Today we’re joined by Maddie. Maddie is a wonderful fanartist in different K-pop fandoms and anime. They co-run a K-pop fanblog with a friend of theirs. They draw a lot of portraits. Aside from drawing and writing, Maddie also cosplays for anime conventions. It’s clear they’re an incredibly enthusiastic artist, 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 mostly work as a fanartist in the K-pop fandom. I follow a lot of groups and I love to either draw portraits or write short fanfics that are compiled on a blog I run with a friend. I am planning on doing more portraits in the future and will continue to write! Along the fanart lines I also cosplay as a hobby and go to cons whenever I can. I also am going to make a blog dedicated to short comics about my daily life as a nonbinary aroace person, so look out for that!

What inspires you?

I’ve always wanted to write, I’m writing a novel currently but it’s a long process so fanfics are my main ones. My mom actually pushed me to follow my passion for drawing and writing. She has her own poems published so she just inspires me to work hard. Also the groups I listen to inspire me (obviously), but song lyrics and seeing how members act/interact help inspire my stories. Cosplay wise the look of the character is what inspires me to try and portray them, I want to try and capture their personality.

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Suga from BTS

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

I’ve been drawing and writing since I was little. I had an active imagination as a kid so I was constantly coming up with these amazing worlds to write about or drawing them if I could. I’ve always considered myself a “chill artist”, it’s not my main career goal, but it’s a hobby I adore and would love to continue doing- even if it just stays a hobby.

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?

Not that I can think of actually, I don’t know if do anything really “unique” in my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing! I know it’s hard and your first pieces might not be good, but you can improve immensely with some practice. I try and doodle something once a day, even if it’s just a doodle beside my lecture notes or something. Try small writing prompts too, just doing short one paragraph writings can improve your writing ability!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a cupioromantic asexual! I’m also nonbinary.

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

A bit, the K-pop fandom in general is very hypersexual and sexualizes members of groups a lot. So being ace making content for the fandom can be a bit tough. Some people think I’m prude for not writing smut or something, but I’ve learned to shrug it off and respond with a simple “I can’t write it.”

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

Probably that it’s just a choice like celibacy, or that I can’t want a relationship. I’ve heard both of these so many times it makes me want to scream. Or there’s always the joke of “are you a plant?” I think it’s hard for people to grasp that there are people who simply don’t see people in a sexual way, crazy right? It doesn’t help that I’m sex-averse and people, especially my mom, will say it’ll happen when I “meet the one.”

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

You are not broken. First and foremost, you are totally normal. I know it’s tough, trust me I felt broken until I found out asexuality was a thing and I wish I would’ve found out about it sooner. Don’t let others put you down for your sexuality, they just don’t understand it- you are valid.

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

I usually post art to my personal blog, which is at timelord-from-ohio, but I don’t post my art often. The fanfic blog I co-run is at 98aroha97bangtan94, I’m Mod Phoenix. Lastly, the blog I’m planning on putting the comics on is at lifeofacupioromanticace!

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Eunwoo from Astro

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

Interview: Sam

Today we’re joined by Sam. Sam is a fantastic fanartist who does a lot of drawing and also writes fanfiction. When they’re not creating fanart, Sam enjoys baking and hopes to open a bakery one day. It’s very clear they’re an incredibly passionate artist, 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.

For the most part I’m a fanartist. I write and draw, mostly as practice. I enjoy creating original content, and have done so in the past, but currently I find it easiest to take ideas from existing media and make it my own or change it to reflect how I think it should be.

I also bake, although that’s unrelated to my fanart. I’d like to open a bakery at some point, once I have the funds and opportunity. I’ve been told I’m pretty good at it, so I think I’m moving in the right direction.

What inspires you?

For my non edible art, I’ll draw from personal experience, or from ideas I’ve seen in other people’s art. I’m currently working on a story that struck me while I was shopping with my sib, and it made one of my friends mad (in a good way), so I started writing it.

In regards to baking, I’ll usually just make whatever in the mood to eat. A lot of the time, I’ll look up a recipe involving a certain flavor, chocolate for example, and then from there I’ll look for interesting combinations to experiment with

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

My mom and sib have been visual artists for as long as I can remember. Since it was something I was exposed to regularly, I started experimenting with it, too. Writing came a bit later. When I was about nine my dad started participating in online flash fiction contests. My sib and I soon joined as well. For a while I worked exclusively in original content, but more recently I’ve found that fan works are easier for me to create.

When I was little, a babysitter I had would make and decorate cakes with my sib and I. I enjoyed it, but didn’t do it much once my sib and I started looking after ourselves more. Recently, around the middle of last year, I wanted cookies and we didn’t have any, so I made some. From there I started baking a couple times a week.

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 have a symbol, no, but in terms of content, my works are pretty linked. I usually write science fiction with no romantic subplot, usually about a group of teens or young adults defying society’s expectations of their abilities and figuring out who they are as people.

My unifying trait in baking is chocolate. We almost always have cocoa powder at my house, but rarely have chocolate chips, so a chocolate base is always an option and always delicious.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It’s okay to change media and subject. You’re growing and developing as a person, and that means your interests will change. If for a while you love to draw or paint, but then you prefer to write, or suddenly you’re passionate about photography, that’s fine! You’re going to shift as you figure out who you are and what you want your identifying traits to be.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

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

I’ve had people tell me that I’ll change my mind when I find the right person, which is easy enough to ignore. I’ve also had people who accept my asexuality assume that I’m the standard for all aces. One guy I knew told me that he didn’t think aces would dress in revealing or alluring clothing, which ignores sex positive aces and any aces who just like typically attractive clothing. In those situations, the person is usually willing to listen and learn, and it’s nice to have someone who doesn’t disregard your opinions.

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

That it’s a phase. A lot of people are convinced that as an asexual person gets older, they’ll grow out of it. And sometimes that does happen, when a person IDs as ace and later realizes they’re a late bloomer and attracted to people after all. But not every ace changes, and a lot of people don’t realize that.

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

It’s okay. You’re not broken. And you’re not making it up. If you think someone looks nice, that doesn’t mean you’re attracted to them, and if you are occasionally attracted to people, you can still identify as ace or ace spectrum if that’s what fits best. Society tells us what is considered conventionally attractive, so it’s easy for anyone, even those not attracted, to figure out who’s considered “hot”.

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

My Tumblr is: mockingajaybird.tumblr.com

and my AO3 account can be found at: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Mockingajaybird/pseuds/Mockingajaybird

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

Interview: Caoimhe

Today we’re joined by Caoímhe. Caoímhe is a young fanartist who does a lot of drawing and some cosplay. She started out drawing anime but is currently developing her own style. Caoímhe demonstrates an incredible use of color and line that make her images really stand out. She’s very talented, 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 guess I’m a fan artist really. I do traditional art of shows I watch and fandoms I’m in. I started off drawing anime and I’ve started getting into my own style more recently. I’ve also done some small cosplaying bits for conventions, nothing major though.

What inspires you?

As a fan artist, what I’m interested in really gives me ideas. I’ve been very into musicals recently like Hamilton (I know I’m basic) so I decided to draw my friends as characters from it to help improve my drawing somewhat realistically. I also get random ideas from conversations with my friends so I’ll jot them down in the notes on my phone. I always have little ideas that I want to pursue, it’s more finding time to actually do them is the work.

When I do cosplay, I pick characters I like and/or admire. My favourite cosplay is Heather Chandler from Heathers as I love to act as a bitchy character.

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

I was never really into art as a kid. I was very much a bookworm, so whilst other kids played GAA (football and hurling) I would read books or work on coding. It wasn’t until I started secondary school and a girl I became friends with got me into anime. I started with Ouran High School Host Club and got into a few others. I don’t know why but I decided to draw some of the characters and I’ve been drawing for around two and a half years now.

It’s the same for cosplay, I became friends with people who would go to conventions and I started going to them too. There’s not a major amount of them as I’m from Ireland though, but I try to get to them when I can.

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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?

Not particularly. I do sign my work and date it, so I can look back and see where I’ve improved more than anything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Whatever area of art you are in, practice. It’s the only way to improve. I say this as someone who is still a young artist trying to work on her art. But also try not to compare yourself to others too much. Yes, you’ll always feel like there are those who are better than you, but by constantly criticizing yourself, you’ll only make yourself feel worse.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and bi/panromantic (haven’t really figured it out yet). In regards to my asexuality, I’m open to intimacy just not sex, though I’m not outright repulsed by it, I just know it’s not for me.

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

I personally haven’t experienced anything like that in real life, though I have met people who don’t get asexuality which I kind of expect. Online, I have seen a lot of ace hate, especially on Tumblr and Instagram, where there have been ace hate pages and just so much abuse thrown at the community.

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

That all ace people hate intimacy. Obviously some do, but many of us are fine with and enjoy things like cuddling, kissing and such. There are even aces who do have sex, but I feel like it’s not really shown as much in the little representation the ace community has.

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

You don’t need to have it all figured out. I’m still trying to figure out my own identity, but once you are ok with who you are you’ll be fine.

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

I’m not particularly active on Tumblr, my Instagram is really where it’s at:
https://www.instagram.com/caoimhedraws/

I also post updates as I draw on my Snapchat CaoimheDraws

I don’t always post what I’m doing so if you want to shoot me a DM to see what I’m working on or to talk, feel free!

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

Interview: Sophia Hodgson

Today we’re joined by Sophia Hodgson. Sophia is an amazing young visual artist who does a mix of original work and fanart. She uses bright colors and lines to bring vivid images to life. She’s a talented and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Abstract

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My work takes 3 forms: fan art, assignments, and anxiety. My personal work tends to revolve around feeling like an outsider, feeling empty, or feeling useless. I like using bright colors and big shapes.

What inspires you?

Dynamic lines, pretty colors, simple forms, and because I’m a student, deadlines,

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

Not always. For a while I wanted to be a teacher, then I wanted to be a police officer, then a librarian, etc. I don’t think I settled on artist until Freshman year of high school, and even then I wasn’t totally sure. I got interested because it’s always been a fun thing I enjoyed doing, and I think I’m pretty good at it!

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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?

It’s weird, but I’ve been including fish in my work a lot lately. Especially goldfish, I love painting goldfish. There’s something about their blank stares that lets you project any emotion onto them.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Draw things you hate. Do things you hate, and don’t hesitate to ask for help! I hated painting for years but now oil and watercolor are some of my favorite media. I realized I had never really learned how to use them and sometimes it’s nice to have someone explain how you actually use turpentine.

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Nine of Swords

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual/Aromantic

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, day to day life is a different story though.

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

That I’m too young to know I’m asexual, despite everyone else my age being perfectly capable of knowing if they are straight or not.

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

Asexual doesn’t mean alone and neither does Aromantic! Romantic love isn’t the only kind out there, and anyone who doesn’t respect you isn’t your friend.

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

My Instagram is xx_g0ldf1sh_xx and my art Tumblr is xxg0ldf1shxx!

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Rose 6

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

Interview: Alyssa

Today we’re joined by Alyssa. Alyssa is a wonderful writer who writes both fanfiction and original poetry. She’s currently working on a fic based on the US version of The Office. When she’s not writing, Alyssa enjoys knitting and knits plenty of things for friends and family. Alyssa is an enthusiastic and dedicated 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 am a fan fiction writer, poet, and knitter. I am currently writing fan fiction for The Office (US). My poetry has been published in a few books by the American Library of Poetry. Knitting is more of a Hobby, I make almost anything mostly for friends and family.

What inspires you?

I honestly don’t know what inspired me to start writing fan fiction, maybe out of boredom, but I am really enjoying it. In poetry it is nature and my life experience.

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

These 3 things are not my ultimate goal, which is to be a costume designer, which I have wanted since I was 12, and I consider that a type of artist so in short, yes.

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?

No.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t think that working in some other field will not help you reach your ultimate goal, other experience may come in handy.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual Panromantic

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

I haven’t really, and I hope not to in the future.

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

That Asexuals can’t have a dirty mind/make sexual jokes. (This may not be the most common one I hear, but I don’t see it mentioned a lot.)

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

Find someone to help you talk through it, find an ace chat etc.

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

You can read my fan fiction on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Pan_Cake_Cats/works

My poetry is here: https://poetryonpancakes.blogspot.com/

My knitting isn’t really anywhere, but if you would like to order a custom handknit hat or handwarmers visit my Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KnitknacksByAlyssa?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

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

Interview: Mia

Today we’re joined by Mia. Mia is a fantastic up and coming writer who also dabbles in music. She writes fanfiction but also has a number of original stories she’s working on. When she’s not writing stories, Mia composes pieces for the piano. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly dedicated 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 mostly unpublished writer who also happens to dabble in composing pieces on the piano. I write anything from short stories to poetry, I have too many novels in the works to count, and most of my composing is inspired by my writing. The vast majority of my writing is YA fantasy, but I’ve recently gotten back into writing fan fiction again, too. My two biggest current projects are a fairy tale rewrite (featuring gay kings!) and a novel for National Novel Writing Month that features (among others) a female, Ace protagonist.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in a lot of different things. The people around me tend to inspire me most. I’m constantly borrowing little things like names, traits, quirks, etc. from people I encounter in real life.

If we’re talking people, I drew a lot of inspiration from my favorite authors as a kid, especially Brian Jacques, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Christopher Paolini.
My writing inspires my music, to an extent.

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

I started writing and taking piano lessons both around the age of six. My mom even has a poem I wrote around that age still saved somewhere. It’s just always been a part of me!

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?

Not officially, but, and this is something I don’t tell a lot of people: Any time you see a goddess called Thelbriza in any of my stories, that’s actually me, keeping an eye on my characters from their own world, instead of from my own.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice makes perfect, but never feel bad for not Doing The Thing. Art takes time, and art takes effort, and nobody got to where they are without constant work, practice, and, yes, really awful art. But it’s okay to take a break from practicing. Art isn’t about being the best, it’s about putting something that no one else could make into the world, whether or not someone else sees it. If it’s not fun, what’s the point?

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Demisexual (and have since I found the term about four years ago).

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

I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced it in my field specifically. I’m not sure if it could be considered “prejudice or ignorance” but the almost total lack of any sort of representation in written media is really jarring sometimes.

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

That we’re all prudes who don’t like sex. I’m a sex-positive ace who has a long-term partner and an active sex life, and honestly, seeing how many people think that aces don’t like or don’t have sex, I occasionally feel Not Ace Enough.

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

It’s okay to question, and it’s absolutely okay to change your labels or how you identify. I’ve personally gone from Straight, to Bi, to Demisexual, to Demisexual/bi-romantic, to Demisexual/pan-romantic, to Demisexual/pan-alterous to Demisexual, Demi/pan-alterous! Questioning just means that you’re still learning about yourself and growing, and personal growth is never a bad thing.

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

I (used to) post a lot of my work on my personal Tumblr: http://once-upon-a-lyfetime.tumblr.com/
This is also where you’ll find one of the pieces I’m most proud of (any fans of mermaids? It’s under the short story tag!)

I’ve started posting somewhat frequently on AO3 under the name Mistress Dandelion, too! This is where you’ll find my fairy tale rewrite.

Anyone who wants to watch my progress in November as I write my Ace Representation NaNo novel can find my profile on the NaNoWriMo website here: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/lady_eemia

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