Interview: Jenn Basel

Today we’re joined by Jenn Basel. Jenn is a phenomenal asexual writer and performer who writes both original work and fanfiction. They write mostly gunpowder fantasy, which is similar to steampunk. For fanfiction, they write a number of stories set in the Elder Scrolls universe. They also blog about writing and publishing. When they’re not writing, Jenn is a performance artist who works with a  theater trope that primarily does living chess shows at Renaissance Faires. Jenn’s a stunt fighter trained both with a sword and in unarmed combat. It’s very clear they’re incredibly passionate about what they do, 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’m a writer. I do a bit of blogging and I’ve got a pet Skyrim fanfic I update every couple of weeks, but the bulk of my work is original fantasy. I tend to write for adult audiences, and some of my favorite projects to work on are political stories filled with court intrigue and subterfuge. I primarily write gunpowder fantasy, which is sometimes called steampunk’s younger cousin–basically, gunpowder fantasy is fantasy set in fictional worlds with a level of technology equivalent to the real-world 17th to 19th centuries.

It’s very important to me to write about the characters I needed when I was younger, so my work tends to be very focused on the stories of queer and disabled people.

I’m also a performer. I have some experience acting in more traditional stage shows, but my real passion lies in improv theatre and performing as a living chess piece at my city’s annual Renaissance faire. Our shows are based around choreographed fights with a variety of weapons. I’m currently trained in unarmed combat and swordfighting.

What inspires you?

At the end of the day, I think what really keeps me going is the knowledge that I can be the person I needed when I was younger. I can write and perform queer, disabled characters being awesome. It makes me feel good to know that there are people out there who have told me how happy my work has made them, and how good it felt to see something of themselves.

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

I started telling stories when I was pretty young. I was an only child for twelve years and we lived out in the country, so I spent a lot of time by myself. I liked playing dress-up and acting out stories based on books and movies I loved. It wasn’t much of a leap to inventing stories of my own, and it didn’t take me long after that to start writing them down.

I don’t think it occurred to me that I could write down my stories to share with other people until a little later, but once that idea got lodged in my head, I took to it with gusto. My first attempts at novels were in middle school. I still have a lot of fondness for those stories.

The acting came pretty naturally out of my games as a kid, too. I wanted to be a stage actor for a long time after taking drama classes in middle school, but only recently did I finally get the opportunity. I’m very glad to have stumbled across my current acting troupe.

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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?

I’m not sure if I’ve developed a signature in my writing yet, but in my acting and stage combat I’ve really gravitated toward sarcastic, sardonic characters and quick, witty performances. I like campy humor and characters with a sharp tongue. My fighting style is settling into a fast-paced whirlwind interspersed with one-liners, which I hope is just as fun to watch as it is to perform.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make goals and stick to them as best you can, but also know your limits. I’ve hurt myself in the past by pushing myself too hard when what I really needed was to take a step back, rest, and take some time for other interests. It’s easy to fall into the trap of, “oh, if I don’t create something every day, I’m not a Real Artist,” but that’s not true at all. Follow your passion and your goals, but take care of yourself while you do it! It’s not a race, and you’re not in competition with your fellow creators. You can take your time, pace yourself, and take breaks when you need them.

This goes double if your art is in any way physical, like performing!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identified as demisexual for a while before learning about grey-asexuality. There are times I feel what I think is sexual attraction, but I have to have a very strong emotional connection first, and even then it’s pretty unpredictable and fairly rare.

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

I’m fortunate to be in very supportive communities surrounding my fields, so fortunately I haven’t really encountered it there. But I have experienced prejudice and ignorance in other areas of my life, and it can be hard. In online spaces, where I’ve experienced the most backlash, I make liberal use of the block button, and I make it very clear when I’m done talking about a subject. When I find myself getting particularly overwhelmed, I get off the computer and go hang out with friends or play my go-to comfort game, the Sims.

Fortunately I haven’t experienced a lot of ignorance offline. The few times I’ve had to deal with ignorance, it’s been from people who were willing to listen to and carefully consider what I had to say.

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

The most common misconception is probably that sexuality is all-or-nothing, and asexuals can only ever be “nothing.” In addition to identifying as grey-ace, I’m also grey-romantic, bi, and polyamorous. Sometimes I feel sexual and romantic attraction, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I experience one but not the other.

There are times I have sex with my partners, but that doesn’t make me any less asexual. And even if I never felt sexual attraction at all, attraction and action are different things. Plenty of asexuals enjoy sexual activity. Plenty don’t. But you can’t tell that just from somebody’s orientation.

The other misconception I think I run into the most is that if you’re ace, you’re automatically also aro. I happen to be both, but not everyone is. Asexuality and aromanticism are their own distinct identities, and even if they sometimes overlap, it’s inappropriate to lump them together as one.

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

I felt deeply broken for a long time. There was a point I heavily considered going to the doctor, because I thought I was sick. It took me a good while to accept that there wasn’t anything wrong with me.

What I think helped me the most was finding a community. That is admittedly easier said than done, but I think it’s really important. I started following as many discourse-free positivity blogs as I could find, and I relied (and still rely) on the support of my partners when things are really rough. I found people who validated me and had similar lived experience, so I stopped feeling so alone. Again, it really is easier said than done, but it’s so much easier to push through the bad days if you can find people who have done it before and are doing it alongside you.

I highly recommend fuckyeahasexual on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. They share a lot of great content from a lot of great people, and they’ve done a lot to help me feel a little more connected. Another thing that’s helped is finding positive representation of asexuals in fiction

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

As for my writing, I can be found on Tumblr as at jennbasel. That Tumblr has links to my other social media, including Twitter. My main blog can be found at jennbasel.blogspot.com. I post fanfiction on AO3 as JennBasel, and my original fiction can be found on Medium at https://medium.com/@JennBasel. I also have a Patreon at patreon.com/jennbasel.

My theatre troupe, the Thieves Guilde, can be found at thievesguilde.org. We perform at events throughout Florida, most notably the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire.

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

Interview: Rebecca Wittenburg

Today we’re joined by Rebecca Wittenburg. Rebecca is a wonderful playwright who writes a lot of scripts for local community theaters. She’s currently working on a project that might be a book or a webseries. When she’s not writing plays, Rebecca also writes fanfiction. It’s very obvious that she’s an incredibly passionate writer, 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 a semi-professional script writer – which basically means that I write plays for theatre communities, but I don’t make enough money to live off it.

My co-writer and I have just finished writing our fourth play together, and we’re working on our next project, which will either become a book or a web-series (depends on whether we can get someone to invest in a web-series).

I’m also currently working on a novel based on the legend of King Arthur, except everyone is explicitly queer.

What inspires you?

Honestly everything can inspire me, but often it’s things like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones – I am very into the whole medieval thing. Most of my work is either original fantasy work or based on the Icelandic sagas about Viking heroes, so I do draw a lot of inspiration from that as well.

I’m also very interested in depicting sibling relationships, as I’m very close with my two brothers, and I like exploring the relationship between parents and their children when they disagree violently on something, or something tears them apart.

The latest play I’ve written is a fictional re-telling of the story of Harold Bluetooth and Sven Forkbeard (two of Denmark’s first kings, who were father and son), and the civil war they fought against each other because Harold became a Christian while Sven still believed in the Norse gods. What was important in that story, was to keep the focus on Sven and Harold, and make it very clear that neither of them is ‘the bad guy’ – they’re both humans in a very brutal, violent time, and they’re both absolutely sure that they’re right, and above all, they’re family and they love each other.

So, to sum it up, I draw inspiration from ancient legends and myths, from pop culture today, and from my own relationships with the people around me.

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

I grew up in a theatre-family and was six years old the first time I had a speaking role in a play. I’ve dreamt about writing plays since I was about seven years old, and my dad wrote his first play.

So basically, my dad got me into theatre and writing, and it turned out I was good at it.

I always knew I didn’t want to have a ‘traditional 9-to-5’ job, and I’ve always had a ton of stories in my head that I needed to tell. So I don’t think I ever had any other choice, to be honest.

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 always include at least one, obscure quote from some of Tolkien’s work; the play I wrote last year had a character quoting Gimli from Peter Jackson’s film version (“I have the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox.”), and there’s always at least one queer character, even if it’s not explicitly stated in the text.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep working. Draw and re-draw. Write and re-write. Sing and re-sing. Ok, the last one didn’t make sense, but I hope you know what I mean.

Keep working, keep fighting, keep telling your stories. They’re important.

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“The Quest for the Holy Grail”

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Biromantic grey-asexual.

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

The closest to discrimination I’ve faced in my field is probably when I had people tell me that to keep their theatre ‘family-friendly’ I wasn’t allowed to write about explicitly queer characters, which I did anyway, because fuck that honestly.

That’s about the extent of it, thankfully, but that will probably change in the future.

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

That it means I can’t ever fall in love. Which is complete bullshit, obviously.

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

To not listen to what anyone else has to say about it. I know that’s hard and all – I still struggle with it every day. But trust me, your opinion of yourself is the only one that really matters, and when you realise that (proper realise it, I mean, not just nod along to my opinion), that’s when you’ll be able to accept yourself, and live your best life.

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

I, unfortunately, don’t have a website yet, but you can check out the pictures and resumes of my last three plays at vikingespil.dk (the website is in Danish, but there should be an English version as well). My fanfiction can be found on archiveofourown.org (at ingoldamn).

And you are very welcome to contact me directly on Tumblr (at ingoldamn) or to shoot me an e-mail (becsen95@gmail.com).

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

Interview: Myr

Today we’re joined by Myr. Myr is a wonderful writer and visual artist from Germany who dabbles in a few different things. They mainly write as a hobby and are currently working on a novel. They’re a dedicated fanfiction writer who writes a lot of slash in a few different fandoms, which they post on a German website. When Myr isn’t writing, they also enjoy doing visual art and specialize in photography. It’s clear they’re very dedicated to their art, 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 am a genderqueer hobby author and fan fiction writer, I started writing in elementary school and lost passion multiple times on the way to where I am now. I don’t really publish and certainly don’t sell anything but I keep going. Occasionally I also photograph and I used to draw/sketch.

What inspires you?

I mostly write fan fiction and some of my favourite own characters started off as side characters in fan fictions as well as autobiographical characters, so yea. I take inspiration from the original canon as well as my own experiences. I did so even before I grew confidence to talk about myself and my personal history with bullying and depression.

For photography I try capturing simple things in another perspective or engage mostly in documentary photography.

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Carnations

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

Funny enough, I didn’t like reading when I was a child until when my mom bought the Harry Potter audiobooks and I was like a sponge, I even could recite big parts of my favourite (book 3 – Prisoner of Azkaban).

I always was a little artistic, trying to express myself with drawings and a little bit painting but I was told way too often how good I am with words, so I started writing.

My father and uncle and godfather and cousin are all interested in photography and I was drawn to it from young age, always having cameras focused on me when on family gatherings or on holiday.

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?

As afore mentioned I tend to include autobiographic own characters partly resembling myself and partly expressing my goal regarding life choices, character traits and so on.

So it’s likely my newer OCs (since end 2016) are somewhere on the asexual spectrum and every autobiographic OC is gender non-conforming if not genderqueer, when it comes to character traits the characters don’t have that much in common if you don’t look closely, but getting to the characterisation they are very much alike.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This might seem stupid but: just do it! Honestly I started out with a fairytale in elementary school which I didn’t even research for and it was so… I was 8 at the time and a huge anime-fan, so looking back it was horrible! I wrote something about a Japanese Wadden sea /mudflat and a girl having wings as arms, I think…?

And my next phase… I am not that proud about it but when I started writing again at age 11 or 12 I was writing PWP – “plot what plot?“ – which is… it’s erotica basically.

At age 15 (2014) I created a small Facebook page which is deleted since 2014 and published bits and pieces of romantic and adventurous one-shots.

I was used to writing erotica, I didn’t know how to do action or crime… and I didn’t start reading regularly until 2014 when I first discovered the German website fanfiktion.de

By now my longest work online is 52 pages and 29,900 words long (fan fiction to BBCs Sherlock).

So yea, keep going, no matter where you start off, no matter where you pause and pick up again, keep doing what you enjoy!

3. Nico

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Nico

 

 

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am aegosexual (I feel not connected with what arouses me and prefer consuming erotica over actually engaging in sexual acts) and grey-biromantic

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

I was told I couldn’t write smut and border on very explicit erotica since I am ace and shouldn’t care about such things otherwise I would invalidate myself.

I mostly laugh it off despite being able to get very vocal when I am upset, frustrated or angered.

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

That no asexual is sexually active, I personally needed a sexual relationship to realise I am asexual. Attraction doesn’t equal action, sweethearts.

And we are no innocent little honey buns, not in general.

Never generalise about any group, okay?

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

Reach out, get to know the community. I was uncomfortable, too.

I was certain “I must be greysexual, I mean… I can not not feel attraction, I am enough of a freak, I can’t be this strange!“

Reaching out and getting to know people on Tumblr and Facebook helped, we are all perfectly normal (as far as anything ever is normal at all) people and we are diverse like every other group.

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

I suppose my profile in fanfiktion.de is the way to go. It’s fanfiktion.de/u/Kayli+Talis

With a good translator-plug-in for your web browser you will be able to read my works without knowledge of German.

I am also working on translations (as you can see in the attached photos) and will publish at least my 52-page-work in an English version once I completely translated it.

Thank you for having me.

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

Interview: ImprobableDreams900

Today we’re joined by ImprobableDreams900. ImprobableDreams900 is mostly a dedicated fanartist who does a little traditional fanart, but specializes in fanfiction. She’s currently working on some great fics. ImprobableDreams900 also does quite a bit of graphic design by trade. She also has a very clever way to apply her skills in graphic design to her fanfiction, as you’ll soon read. She’s incredibly passionate and it makes for a great interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Aziraphale and Snake Crowley
Aziraphale and Snake Crowley

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

In the world of fandom, I’m primarily an author, with my best work in the Night Vale and Good Omens fandoms. I really wanted to be an author when I was young, but I knew it wasn’t a very economically feasible career path, so I switched my aspirations to something a little more likely to allow me to pay rent: graphic design. I’m also a visual artist, with a few pieces of traditional fan art under my belt, but I find myself doing a lot of fandom-related things using my graphic design skillset — I’ve laid out, designed covers for, printed, and bound my own fanfiction, for example.

What inspires you?

There’s nothing I regularly go back to for inspiration, because I usually have more ideas than I could possibly execute, but I do draw a lot from history. Due to my current interest (read: obsession) with Good Omens, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading very old books on early Biblical mythology at the library — not weird at all, right? But they’re great mines for information I can spin into stories.

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

As I said before, I always wanted to be an author. When I was very young, I used to take pieces of paper and write all over them and pretend I was writing a book. I’d only get about a page done before I started just drawing squiggly lines on the paper, though, lol. When I got around to actually writing, I didn’t start with fanfiction. I cranked out several “books” in middle school — a pursuit my mother encouraged far too much — and when I was in junior high I spent a summer writing a 200k novel. It was pretty terrible, but all of this writing (along with an incredible amount of reading) taught me how to write well, and at a relatively young age. In addition to art, I also seriously considered careers in history or physics (particularly astrophysics, particle physics, or quantum physics), but history doesn’t pay any better than writing does, and the day-to-day work of a particle physicist isn’t half as interesting as reading about the conceptual aspects.

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 really, though most of my fanfiction is fairly angsty; I exact an unhealthy pleasure from severely injuring and killing off my characters. I nearly always abide by the ‘angst with a happy ending’ tag, though, and I do my very best to leave them in a better place than I found them. I’m an optimist at heart, you see.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Oh dear — I think technically I’m still a young aspiring artist, lol. If you’re interested in writing, though, 100% the best advice I can give is to read and write a lot. Trial and error and learning by doing are really the best ways to improve, in my opinion.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Generally speaking, I’m just very confused, but my current state of mind is gray!ace or demi (and possible biromantic on top of that); I’m leaning towards demi at the moment, because I’ve noticed that it takes an incredibly long amount of time for me to form any sort of emotional attachment to anyone. I really take the friend-to-relationship route, and haven’t had a relationship yet where I wanted to even consider sleeping with the other person. Most of the time I was struggling with whether or not I even wanted to cuddle.

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

I’m glad you asked! I haven’t seen a lot of prejudice personally, but I have seen some ignorance, even within the queer community. I was reading a fanfic the other day, and the author introduced a great many original characters, of which practically every one ticked a different box on the LGBTQ+ checklist. I didn’t have a problem with this, but I did notice that the author hadn’t included an ace character (though ace-exclusion was by no means the author’s intention). So in my latest fic, I decided to form an asexual relationship between the two main characters. Due to some complicated plot shenanigans, one of the characters ends up walking into what is basically a porn shop created by his subconscious — meaning that he walks into a porn shop completely devoid of porn, and instead populated with things he cares about, and finds romantic. I put in a lot of little ace Easter eggs, because I’m beginning to realize that if I want to see more ace representation, it’s not going to write itself.

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

Someone I know very well in real life came out as asexual before I even had a suspicion that I might be, so I haven’t had a lot of firsthand experience with misconceptions of asexuality. I think the most common misconception is either that a) you just have a low libido, b) you’re going to grow old and die alone as an old cat lady (this being a pitiable fate), or c) that you’ll grow out of it (which is admittedly not helped by the fact that a lot of people seem to do just that).

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

Don’t worry about it so much, especially if you’re young. If you’re demi or gray (the only orientations I feel comfortable dispensing advice to), I find it’s rather hard to force romance to happen. I know I don’t have that ‘look, that person is hot’ instinct at all, so I just try to make friends with people I think I might like, and see if anything happens from there. Also, if you’re having trouble finding someone who’s right for you — and again, especially if you’re young (that’s under 30 in my mind) — remember that you are under no obligation to be in a relationship. Mainstream media has misled you and societal norms have shaped your thinking, and I don’t think it’s just asexuals they’ve done a disservice to. Sex isn’t the end-all-be-all, but neither are relationships. Don’t undervalue the advantages of being single — I know I for one really love having enough free time to write all those fanfics!

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

I’m ImprobableDreams900 on AO3 (fics) and Tumblr (occasional bit of art). The fanfiction behemoth I’m currently working on is a series called Eden!verse for the Good Omens fandom, which is GONNA BE AWESOME when I’ve finally finished writing it. If you’re interested in reading the asexual porn shop scene I mentioned, it’s in Chapter 4 of The End of Eternity in that series, starting about halfway through. If anyone’s interested in commissioning a printed book of their fanfiction (or another author’s, with their permission), send me a message on Tumblr, and I’d be happy to give you more information!

Thank you, ImprobableDreams900, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Amanda

Today we’re joined by Amanda, who also goes by doctortreklock. Amanda is a delightful and incredibly talented artist who specializes in crochet. She crochets a bit of everything from pot holders to little models. When she’s not crocheting, Amanda dabbles in fanfiction, mostly Supernatural. It’s obvious she loves what she does, which makes for a great interview. 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 crocheter.  I make (a lot of) pot holders, these days. But I’ve also made butterfly ornaments, bookmarks, and bags.  I’m a bit of a spinner also, and have been known to write a bit of fanfiction, mostly Supernatural.

What inspires you?

I love the flexibility that crochet gives me (I wasn’t really getting that with knitting).  I love being able to just start with a circle and make something.  I like trying to find ways to make utilitarian pieces efficiently or to make existing patterns more efficient.

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

I had been knitting before, but I really started crocheting in college.  My mom had taught me the basics when I was in high school, but I hadn’t really used it until it was my junior year of undergrad and I had a paper to write.  I had some yarn already from my stalled knitting projects and I borrowed a hook from a friend and ta-da!  I’ve always loved trying to find new, creative ways to think about things, whether it be math problems or crochet problems.

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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?

*chuckles*  Um, no?  Not that I know of, at least.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do something. Start small.  Go with it.  Don’t be afraid to mess up, you can always try again differently next time.  Make this one unique.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an aromantic(-ish?) asexual.

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

Not really.  I have been fortunate enough to not have to deal with a lot of prejudice.  If there are people I know who would say things about it, they haven’t said them to me.

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

I really only have one. I was seeing a counselor on campus and we were talking about my orientations and how I wasn’t absolutely sure I was aro, but was sticking with it for the time being.  He asked me if I thought identifying as aromantic might be hurting my chances at a future romantic relationship.  Insert eyeroll here.

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

It’s okay to not have it figured out.  I’ve gone through several labels myself.  There is only one queer person I know who hasn’t questioned their romantic/sexual identity at some point and he’s gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide. It’s fine.  You’ll figure it out at some point.  😀

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

My Tumblr is doctortreklock, and I’m on AO3 under the same.  My Etsy is HarmoniaThreadwork.

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

Interview: Fiia

Today we’re joined by Fiia. Fiia is an amazingly versatile young artist from Finland. She does a bit of everything: writing, film, and plenty of visual art. She’s marvelously passionate about the art she does and has a very creative spirit, 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 do many kinds of art, especially now that I study media. Photography, all kinds of editing (photos, videos, sound), short films, graphic design… and the list goes on. And I love it all! I also like to draw and paint and whatnot. I’m not that great, but I like it. That’s the important thing, right?

But what I absolutely love to do, is write.

So I love to write. What I write has been ranging from poetry to fanfiction, and from regular short stories to screenwriting. The last year or so I’ve been concentrating on screenwriting; TV show scripts, to be precise. The genre is usually somewhere along the lines of action drama, because I can’t bring myself to be interested in “regular” relationship love dramas.

Also, I always write in English. I’m from Finland, so English isn’t my first language (it’s actually my third, Swedish being the second) but I’ve kept it from stopping me. I was around 13 when I started writing in English, and I haven’t stopped since. Nowadays I couldn’t write in Finnish even if I tried, because everything sounds so dumb to me!

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by a lot of things. Mostly just what happens around me; regular people. I love the idea of taking a normal person and throwing them into a completely different setting, like in a story I’m currently writing. It’s the regular life and regular people who inspire me to begin a story, but it’s the adventure that inspires me to work out the plot and write it down.

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

I’ve always loved writing, ever since I knew how to hold a pen and how to write Finnish. I don’t even know where the passion comes from, because even though I have artists in my family (mom is a tattoo artist and my big brother does comics for a living), I’m the only one who enjoys writing.

It’s probably just the power to create anything that’s got me hooked on writing. Pick a word, write it down, and a couple thousand words later I could’ve created a whole different universe. This isn’t, naturally, how I saw it as a kid, but it was probably something similar even if I didn’t actually realize it. I just wanted to tell stories.

One of my earliest dream jobs was to be an author. Over the years it shifted and I dreamt of becoming a psychologist, but I still wanted to publish a book. Then I wanted to become a nurse, a teacher, a translator … and now finally I want to be in the TV/movie business. Either as a screenwriter or a cameraman/editor. Or maybe even all three.

So being an author/screenwriter wasn’t always on the top of the list, but it was always there.

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 love to explore friendships. They are important in whatever I write, because I love nothing more than a person willing to go to a great length for the sake of a close friend.

This isn’t as important as the above, but there is always (a lot of) action in my stories, and recently the stories have revolved around good and bad, as simple as it sounds. There is more often than not a criminal aspect, usually pretty important, and how the lines between good and bad are really shaky, blurry and broken sometimes.

To put it short, I have a certain style, like most artists. I try new things every now and then, but the above is what feels best to me and what I enjoy the most.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This may be a bit cliché, but believe in what you do and work hard. It’s a sad truth that maybe it will never work out and you’ll have to settle for a job that isn’t an artist – but other people have made it, and you shouldn’t give up your dream without a fight. Get better at what you do, practice some more and never give up, and who knows? Just make sure to keep at least your other foot on the ground and remember that life goes on even if we don’t make it there.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Totally asexual, like 110%. I’m also biromantic.

Although, I must admit, I just usually call myself bisexual. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business, really, and it’s just less confusing that way.

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

No, I’m lucky and I haven’t. Asexuality hasn’t really been a problem for me in any way, and since I’m still just a student with a few close friends in a small town, I’m relatively safe from anything like that.

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

That I’ll magically like it once I try it. I’ve been trying to explain it to my mom and my best friend, and they both keep saying I can’t know whether or not I like it since I’m a virgin. I keep telling them “I know I won’t like parachuting either, even though I haven’t tried it, because I know myself and I’ve seen enough of it to have a feeling of what it’s like.”

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

Accept yourself, and understand that there’s nothing wrong with you. Sex is all over the place and we all know the pressure to have it, but just know that that’s not the case. You’re perfect just the way you are, and asexuality doesn’t define you. You can do and be whatever you want.

Also, you’ll find someone who loves you, asexual or not, and they won’t give a shred of an f. Just keep your head high, be yourself, and the right people will find you.

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

Unfortunately nowhere just yet, but who knows, maybe in some years you’ll see my TV shows on TV 😉

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Thank you, Fiia, for participating in this interview and this project. It is very much appreciated.

Interview: Vel

Today we’re joined by Vel. Vel is a wonderful musician who is both a composer and a performer. When she’s not composing, Vel has started getting back into writing as a hobby. Whatever she does, Vel pours herself into it and is very enthusiastic, 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 primarily a musician – composer and performer, but I have also recently been getting back into writing – a hobby I haven’t pursued in about 6 years.

What inspires you?

Other people’s art and ideas. I follow a lot of art blogs on Tumblr, and read posts of people’s headcanons in fandoms, or watch TV related to something I’m writing about. I like being excited by other people’s creations and I find it helps more than just daydreaming.

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

I’ve always been a creative person, my parents are creative, and I was the nerdy kid at school who spent lunchtimes in the library writing a book. I used to want to be an author, but that dream has faded.

As for music, I never really considered myself good enough to be a professional anything, so I never seriously considered it, though I still have music-related goals in 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?

Not particularly.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know it’s a cliché, but just keep at it. Also, don’t assume everyone will think it’s bad or pathetic, especially if you’re at school. I rarely let anyone hear or read anything I wrote or composed, but on the rare occasion I did, people were astounded. Creating stuff is damn impressive, and if you share it, people are much more likely to be impressed than to criticize. And those who criticize without invitation to are dicks, so.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Both grey-ace and grey-aro. They’re both fluid, though, with bi & pan (both sexual and romantic).

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. In fact, I’m in a jazz band where 2/3 of the members are coincidentally ace.

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

People thinking that it’s about action rather than desire. It blows peoples mind that I’m ace because of my reputation for being fairly … promiscuous.

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

Honestly, find the right people online. There are toxic people, as there are against every community, but there are good people out there who have been through similar things, and having a support network can make things so much easier. I know this is easier said than done, but there are some popular blogs which are a good place to start.

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

My AO3 is Vel16. I don’t really post much music anywhere, but if anyone’s interested in what I do feel free to contact me through my main Tumblr – somewhatvellum

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