Interview: Sahar

Today we’re joined by Sahar, who also goes by sinamonroll draws. Sahar is a phenomenal visual artist and writer. They write a lot of poetry and have started dabbling in prose. For visual art, they specialize in character art with lots of color and dynamic lighting. Sahar hopes to one day combine their visual art and writing into a webcomic. It’s very clear they’re a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Architecture Study
Architecture Study

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and a visual artist, specializing in character art. I love using a lot of colors and dynamic lighting in my art, and drawing and creating stories about diverse people in fantasy settings. For writing, I mainly write poetry, but dabble in prose. Sometime in the future, I plan to combine my drawing and writing skills to create a webcomic or graphic novel, but that’s a long way away.

What inspires you?

Over the past year, I’ve been super into reading webomics, gobbling up new ones whenever I can. I used to read a lot of regular books, but I hardly have time anymore and webcomics are my way of satiating that need for reading and imagination, while also getting to check out really cool art in the process. I also tend to be really inspired by TV shows I enjoy, like Steven Universe and Avatar, or music I listen to (especially musicals). Oddly enough, science and the natural world are also incredibly inspirational to me. I’ve always been super into science and physics and astronomy and things like that, and the weird stuff that exists out there is a huge inspiration when it comes to worldbuilding, fantasy creatures, and even poetry that I make.

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

I don’t actually want to be an artist, at least not professionally, when I get older. I have been interested in writing and creating fictional worlds ever since I can remember, and towards the end of middle school, which was a pretty tough time in my life, I took up drawing as a means for me to escape the reality I was in. Today, it still serves that purpose, as well as just being something that’s incredibly fun for me to do. While like I said I do want to make a webcomic someday, I don’t necessarily plan on making writing or drawing a full time job, just because I’m more interested in studying physics and engineering.

Liya Character Design
Liya Character Design

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 that I know! I’ve been told that I have a unique use of lighting and color, but I wouldn’t really say I do. In my writing, I like taking existing clichés/metaphors/phrases and upending them, but I don’t know how successful I am at doing so.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I think the most important thing for artists in any field is to know your limits, and then challenge them. Constantly. Practicing your craft is incredibly important, but what’s even more important in my opinion is practicing efficiently – learning where you need improvement and actively working in those areas to achieve that improvement.

Reo Character Art
Reo Character Art

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?

It’s not really been in my field, but I’ve encountered my share of ace-exclusionists or just general queerphobes on social media, as you do. I was forcibly outed to my mom and we’ve come a long way, but at first she was very confused and put off by it.

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

That it’s just, like, a “neutral” identity that goes away in the presence of another identity. Like homoromantic aces are “just gay” or heteroromantic aces are “just straight.” It’s really frustrating because it feels like asexuality is just being entirely ignored and shoved aside, like it’s not a valid identity in and of itself. Also the idea that it’s “just a phase” or something that can be easily fixed by “finding the right person” or taking medicine or whatever.

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

You’re not alone! It’s okay to want or not want sex and romance, it’s okay to identify as whatever you feel most comfortable with and it’s okay to change your identity if you feel like you need to. You’re not broken or wrong or weird.

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

I have a Tumblr (https://sinamonroll-draws.tumblr.com/) and an Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/sinamonroll.draws/), where you can follow me or message me for commissions. I also have a Redbubble (https://www.redbubble.com/people/sinamonroll) if you’re interested in purchasing my art.

SU Screencap Redraw
SU Screencap Redraw

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

Interview: Francesca Mylod-Ford

Today we’re joined by Francesca Mylod-Ford. Francesca is a wonderfully talented author who is currently working on a fantasy trilogy aimed at a YA demographic. It sounds like a fascinating story about life and death. Aside from writing, Francesca plans to study film and hopes to be a full-time film director in the future. She clearly has a very bright future ahead of her, 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 currently writing a book trilogy called The Thanatology Series. I have finished the first installment (The Trials of Mr. Reaper) and am now coming to the end of the second novel, On Behalf of the Universe. The third book is in planning stages, and I will begin work on it soon. Although I am currently unpublished, I am seeking agents and if all else fails, I plan to self-publish the first book to gather interest, before sending it and its sequel to a new set of publishing houses.

The Thanatology Series is, to be blunt, a story about Death. It’s a fantasy novel, aimed at an adult and YA demographic. The story commences as a comedy, but as the book progresses, it turns to a darker narrative altogether, exploring the true nature of life and death … and where we go when we die.

Death – a harassed bureaucrat with a scythe – has only two desires: to be able to get on with his job, and for people to stop asking stupid questions. But life (or death) is never that simple for the Grim Reaper. From stubborn ghosts to the Demon Nicotine, everything in the universe seems to be out to get on Death’s nerves. The other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse have forgotten his birthday, the Seven Deadly Sins have proven to be incompetent beyond belief, and on top of everything else, Life is determined to be friends with him again. As Death continues to carry out his duty, he must consider this: What really happens when you die? And once Life is gone, what will happen to Death?

I am currently studying Film and Television Production, and in the future, I hope to be a full-time film director and write in my spare time.

What inspires you?

I have always preferred creative arts to academia, and being able to write and film allows me to express my creativity productively. One of the key things that inspires my writing is wanting to understand the universe around us; to take it apart and try to put it back together again. What if Death did have feelings? What if Life isn’t quite the way we imagine it to be? I think that the best part of writing (and filming, for that matter), is taking a trope and flipping it on its head.

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

As it happens, I never wanted to be an author. I thought that you had to write the way they taught us to in school: beginning, middle and end, carefully preceded and followed by meticulous planning. When I got older and began experimenting with my writing, I realised that structured writing belonged where I was taught it: in the classroom. Now, if anyone asks, I tell them that being a full-time author is my dream job choice.

My uncle is a director, and that’s pretty much what got me into the film business. From the day I first picked up a disposable camera to now, enrolled in film school, I have been falling down the magical rabbit hole of movies and film. One of my favourite aspects of film-making is the power to make simple ink and paper leap off the page and into real life. It’s like having a magic wand.

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?

In film, I have a very particular lighting style I like to use, but if I told you then I’d have to kill you! Seriously, though, most of what makes up my work is just pure, solid research. Nothing gets done without a bit of good-old fashioned book-bashing, I’m afraid.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice! It doesn’t matter what you’re making or how bad it is at first, the more you make, the better it gets. When I first started writing, it was absolutely awful. But now I write nearly every day, and my skill increases the more I practice. Be prepared to put the work in – research is a bitch but trust me, it’s so worth it in the long term. Finally, you need to learn to accept criticism. If you argue with everyone who tries to help improve it, it’ll just make you look like a bad sport. There’s nothing wrong with receiving pointers!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I have never experienced sexual or romantic attraction – I just prefer to have platonic relationships.

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

I have been asked how I can expect to write/direct sexual or romantic scenes if I have never experienced either. My answer is this: have you ever been shot? Fallen down a cliff? Had a concussion? If not, then you RESEARCH IT. I don’t experience sexual or romantic attraction, but I have plenty of friends who do, and I’ve seen more than my fair share of rom-coms. Research is the key to literally every artistic problem.

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

Since I’m quite sociable and enjoy making friends, people often have trouble understanding that I don’t want to seek any other kinds of relationships. Many people believe that asexual/aromantic people are antisocial, or that we’re closeted gay people (not true!). I’ve also had people tell me that it’s just “a phase” or that it’s a medical issue.

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

Seek out other asexuals! We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re always ready to talk to anyone who might be struggling. Although some members of the LGBT+ community may be somewhat exclusionary, the asexual/aromantic community is welcoming and friendly, and there’s always someone ready to talk about dragons. Don’t be shy about who you are, own your asexuality! And remember, it doesn’t define who you are: only you can do that. Stay ace, friends.

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

Feel free to check out my Tumblr (burnt-confetti), or my Twitter account (at burntconfetti). Hopefully when I’m published (or when I release my first film!) you’ll be able to see what I’ve been working on! Have a good one xx

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

Interview: Tricia

Today we’re joined by Tricia. Tricia is a phenomenal digital illustrator who does a number of different things. She enjoys drawing fluff muffins, which are like fairy cats. Tricia is also interested in designing various patterns, which makes for some fascinating visuals. Her work is beautiful, brimming with color and detail. It’s very clear that she’s an incredibly talented artist, as you’ll soon see. 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 love to illustrate whimsical, nostalgic looking things. One of my favorite things to draw are these little creatures I made up years ago called fluff muffins, which are essentially fairy cats. They’re called fluff muffins because at the largest, they’re around the size of one of those giant muffins.

Lately I’ve also been very interested in surface/pattern/textile design. It’s crazy because once you realize artists make everything, you start seeing their art everywhere. Walking through Target was so distracting because I just kept picking up things with illustrations on them and thinking ‘I could do this someday!’ It’s very exciting, though. I hope to see my work on anything from bedsheets to paper plates someday.

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What inspires you?

There’s so much that inspires me. As a little kid, I had a ridiculously strong imagination. I clearly remember this time I went outside to talk to my mom, but it was so windy that the wind picked me up and I was flying in the air for a while until my mom grabbed me, put me back on the ground, and sent me back inside. In reality, the wind just knocked me over a few times, but that’s not how I remember it. I’ve always looked at the world and wondered if there wasn’t something just underneath, something a little bit more fantastical. On a more practical level, I’m fascinated by light and color.

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

I haven’t always wanted to be an artist, and didn’t really draw regularly until I was thirteen. I decided to work towards becoming a professional at fifteen-sixteen.

I do remember being fascinated with tileable patterns as a little kid though. I would spend hours looking up patterns I could tile for my desktop background. I just recently started designing patterns, but it’s so cool to be on the other side of 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?

Once I hid the Ninth Doctor into an illustration of my original characters. Can you find him?

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I know everyone says this, but truly the biggest advice to give is to just keep going, keep practicing. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, refuse to give up. You may not be very good now, but you will be! Nobody was ever very good in the beginning, trust me.

Most importantly, keep your eyes open and study. Art is all about utilizing a visual library, and observing the world around you is the best way to build that. You’ll be amazed how much you learn just by paying attention.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as just aspec (aromantic and asexual spectrum), but if I had to figure out something more specific, I would be a romance and sex favorable aroace, with a potential preference for women. It’s a little up in the air, so I just stick to aspec for now.

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

Not in my specific field, but I’ve heard the typical comments here and there, things like “you’ll find the right person some day” and variants of that sentiment. One person told me I “just hadn’t smelled the right cologne yet.” I generally just try to educate and move on.

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

That asexuality is all about sex repulsion and not about attraction. It’s not that asexuality is a lack of sexuality at all, it’s just the lack of sexuality connected to other people.

That said, something I love about the ace community is its inclusive nature. Asexuality can cover those who are sex repulsed, even if they do experience attraction. It covers those who are traumatized, and it covers those who only experience attraction every once in a while. I’m so proud to be a part of a community that is open to all of the in betweens, I just wish more people knew that was the case.

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

You are not alone, and you don’t have to have it all figured out. Orientation is complicated and confusing, I know. But you’re not broken or weird, and labels are just there to help you understand yourself better. It’s okay if they change, and it’s okay if they don’t. Take care of yourself and don’t force anything you’re uncomfortable with.

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

You can find more of my work at notifyneelix here on Tumblr. Thank you for reading!

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

Interview: Evelyn Lloyd

Today we’re joined by Evelyn Lloyd. Evelyn is a young aspiring writer who is working on a number of interesting sounding stories. She plans to post her work on Wattpad. When she’s not writing, Evelyn enjoys participating in dramatic acting. She has a wonderful enthusiasm, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

American Idiot

WORK

Tell us about your art

I don’t have anything published yet, but I plan to soon. My main project is a story called The Wishing Well.  It’s about Simon, a small town Canadian teenager who moves to LA with his new step father. As he gets used to his new life, Simon is haunted by dreams of a strange yellow haired girl. When exploring his backyard, he investigates a sound coming from a shed which whisks him away to a world of demons, a complex society where a silent war rages. As a conspiracy unfolds right under his nose, Simon realizes this yellow haired girl is the key to winning the war, and he wonders about the voice that spoke to him the moment he left his own world “welcome to the wishing well, you asked for heaven we give you hell.”

I have two other side projects that are slowly making progress. The Hanging Tree and American Idiot

The Hanging Tree: Thirteen years ago, they were born into a sweat shop, into a place where they are doomed to work until their inevitable early death. With rumours circling about a way out, Kate, Alex and Mark begin to conspire about searching for the hanging tree–a supposed long dead oak–with miles of forest between the children and its location.  After a narrow escape, Kate, Mark and Alex soon discover the many horrors lurking in that forest, and the reason no one has ever made it to the hanging tree alive.

I don’t have much for American Idiot, but it’ll be about four young adults living in America, and the way they were treated because of their sexual orientations, gender identities and race drives them to form a rebellion against the government.

The first chapter of The Wishing Well will most likely be published on Wattpad by (Canadian) Thanksgiving hopefully.

I also enjoy drama, but mainly for fun and competitions.  I don’t plan to take it anywhere past high school.

Playing With The Lights Off

What inspires you?

Music mostly. I got the original idea for The Wishing Well from the music video of Dead Bite by Hollywood Undead. I don’t have much that inspires my writing, usually I just give myself a basis, like that song, and I run with it. That’s what I like about writing fantasy and paranormal stories, there are no limits. Sometimes I get ideas for random stories I end up making a chapter or two for and get bored of it.

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

I always loved to write. As a kid, I liked to describe different things I’ve seen and experienced in vivid detail before I slept that night. I loved competing in oratory competitions they had at school and I got complimented a lot by my teachers whenever we wrote stories in French and English class. Then social anxiety stopped me from sharing any writing with people, and a few years later, I found out about Wattpad, where I can show my writing to people under a pen name, so here I am.

As for acting, I performed in the musical our school had in grade 6, found out I was good at it and kept doing plays n’ musicals in school. My high school has a great drama program (we’re known as the beast from the east at festivals) and I really enjoy acting, so I do.

Do you have any special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t think so.  A lot of the creatures in The Hanging Tree come from nightmares and sleep paralysis I’ve had, but other than that I wouldn’t say I have anything specifically me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This question makes me sound like a professional writer when I’m just a high school student haha. I’d say don’t procrastinate. Sit yourself down for about an hour and work on whatever you’re working on, even if you only write one sentence in that hour. Also you will not remember that plotline you thoughts of in math class. Write it down. Somewhere you won’t lose it. I don’t care how good your memory is you will not remember. You’ll mentally slap yourself for not writing it down when you draw a blank trying to remember it.

The HangingTree

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum to you identify?

Asexual and aromatic

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

Not so much in my field, but I do experience a bit in my daily life. My mother straight up laughed in my face when I asked her what she thought on asexuality, and most of my family says it isn’t a thing and the person will grow out of it, so I’m not out to them yet. The one thing that stung the most (and still sometimes gets to me) was a close friend told me he can “fix me.” He told me “its so good when its done right” and “I can make you want sex.” He crossed lots of lines when he started trying to touch me, though luckily it didn’t go any further. Needless to say, he’s not my friend anymore.

Another one is when someone I talked to on Tumblr they told me I was lucky for being ace because they thought their attraction to people was a curse.  I don’t know why it hit as hard as it did, but I didn’t like the way the said I was lucky.

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

That aces can’t be in relationships and can’t enjoy sex. People don’t seem to get that asexuality is simply the lack of sexual attraction, not the lack of libido or romantic attraction. Another big one is that asexuality is the same as celibacy. Celibacy is like going on a diet; asexuality is like just not liking cake. Yet another is asexuality is a mental illness/hormone imbalance. A hormone imbalance would affect someone’s sex drive and libido, not their sexual preference/attraction. As for mental illness, the biggest thing is a mental illness impairs your life in some way. I can say with certainty my asexuality has not once impaired my life the way depression or anxiety does.

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

No matter what, you’re valid. You’re valid if your asexuality stems from trauma. You’re valid if your asexuality does stem from a mental illness. You’re valid if your asexuality stems from dysphoria. You’re valid if you enjoy sex, you’re valid if you’re in a relationship, you’re valid if you have a dirty sense of humour, you’re valid if you find people aesthetically pleasing, and you’re valid no matter your race, religion or gender identity. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re ace enough.

Where can people find out more about your work?

My Tumblr is https://h1tlerthestr1pper.tumblr.com/ where I don’t post much about my work (although I will once drama festival rolls around.) I do post a lot of ace positivity though!

My Wattpad is https://www.wattpad.com/user/LowBudgetCIA where I don’t have anything published yet, but I plan to in the near future. If you’re interested in The Wishing Well or random short stories I might publish make sure to keep an eye out.

The Wishing Well

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

Interview: Diane Ramic

Today we’re joined by Diane Ramic. Diane is a phenomenal freelance illustrator who specializes in prehistory, science, fantasy, and science fiction. She does a ton of paleoart and dinosaurs are frequently in her work. Diane has also written a couple children’s books, including a coloring book of scientifically accurate dinosaurs. She has a passion for science and it shows, 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 freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and my work tends to focus on prehistory, fantasy, and sci-fi. So, you’ll find plenty of dinosaurs, dragons and aliens in my art. I also illustrate children’s books, and have written a few of my own as well! I love combining art and science into a work, as those two fields have both captured my imagination since I was very young. Educational media is something I try to work on whenever I can.

What inspires you?

Nature for sure. Thinking about life that existed in the past, and life that may exist in the future, it just makes me want to design or re-create them through art. Astronomy is a huge inspiration for when I need to do alien designs, and just thinking of the cosmos gets me in the creating mode of thought.

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

Well, when I was seven, I wanted to be a Velociraptor. I even started walking on my toes, all hunched over and with my arms mimicking their folded up arms. When I found out being a Velociraptor was physically impossible (for now), my next goal was to be a paleontologist, and that turned into wanting to be a science-minded illustrator. Fossils are a fantastic base for knowing as much as we can about these extinct animals, but the only way we can really know what they looked like in life is through artists reconstructing them in their work. For most of the public, their first impressions on prehistoric animals comes from the media, be it in movie, toy, or book form. That’s why it’s important, when you’re working with paleoart, to incorporate the updated science in your work. It brings me great satisfaction to help contribute my work to the paleoart community, and help educate the public about the lives these wonderful animals lived.

DianeRamicColoringPages17

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?

Beyond designing aliens and their environments, I really, really enjoy doing the math for figuring out the planet’s mass and composition, atmospheric pressure, its place in the solar system, the mass and age of its star(s), how many other planets it shares the star(s) with, etc. Even if no one ever sees these things, it’s just very satisfying to have it all work out in your head and on paper.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m a visual artist, so this will be in that category of art. Study from life as often as you can. Once you’ve got a good grasp on the basics of how objects interact with one another and understand color theory, you can experiment with distorting and exaggerating figures, and play with color choice. A lot of online resources are free, and try to share what you’ve learned with others. There’s a lot of gatekeeping in the artist community, even though that doesn’t help anyone. You will most likely have to go through plenty of rejections, and that’s OK, too. Just pick yourself back up and keep going as best as you can. And whatever you do, don’t make fun of younger or less experienced artists’ work.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am definitely both ace and aro, and have felt this way as long as I can remember. I’m actually pretty relieved to not have developed any romantic or sexual feelings; I feel they would get in the way of me doing my work.

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

I think the most common thing is being told again and again that what I am doing is unnatural, and going against nature, the person’s gods, or “how it should be.” The “late bloomer” stuff can get kind of annoying, too. I’m about to be 23 as of this writing, I’m pretty sure if I was going to develop any other orientations, it would have been a thing by now. And if nothing else, I’m pretty sure there are plenty enough humans on this planet, the global population isn’t in danger of going extinct anytime soon, haha.

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

Probably that we are seen as cold, unfeeling robots. I understand a lot of ace people out there definitely have the same range of emotion as anyone else, and being compared to a robot is very dehumanizing. But as someone that also has a lack of emotion/empathy/etc. in general, I actually kind of like the description.

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

You are a valid and real person, and you know yourself better than anyone else can. You might be confused at first, thinking “Is something wrong with me?” or “Am I really like this?” and that’s ok. Sometimes feelings can shift over time and you may find yourself having a different experience than you do now, and this is normal. Part of what makes living things special is their ability to grow and change over time. You’re not alone. Do what makes you comfortable.

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

I have a website at http://dramic.wixsite.com/home, but more frequently post on my Tumblr at  http://dianeramic.tumblr.com. I’m always working on new projects, so I hope you stop by to see what’s new! I’ve also got an Amazon author page; feel free to check out what new books I have available!

DiantimonySpino

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

Interview: Kaj

Today we’re joined by Kaj. Kaj is an awesome up-and-coming writer and a former actor. They’re writing blends a number of different genres, though they write quite a bit of fantasy. Kaj used to perform as an actor in the theater and hopes to return at some point in the future. They’re clearly and enthusiastic and dedicated 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 am a writer and used to be an actor.

Acting was fun, my favourite parts so far (I’m hoping to get back into it one day) were Horatio in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Mrs. Erlynne in Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. It was just my school’s drama club, but we had the reputation of doing a pretty decent job.

Writing is mostly an outlet for a lot of feelings, for things I think about, and sometimes just plain stress relief. I write basically everything. I started out with Harry Potter-ish fantasy, then crime stories, urban fantasy, and my most recent project is some kind of Fight Club inspired tragedy. -Ish. Actually, I just start writing whatever comes to my mind and see where it takes me from there. I never know what’s going to happen in a story until it happens. Party because of that (and because I keep getting distracted) I never finished one of my “big” projects. I do fine with short stories, but actual novels are usually abandoned somewhere along the way. But maybe my current idea will work out. Being almost ten chapters deep is quite a step forward for me.

What inspires you?

I started writing at a young age (I hardly remember a time where I haven’t been writing), so I have no idea anymore why I started writing in the first place.

And for the individual stories, it depends. My first big project was obviously inspired by Harry Potter. In general, it often happens that I read a book (or fic or watch a movie etc.) and get an idea about what might happen if you took /that/ element and spun it another way.

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

As I said, I don’t remember when and why I started writing. But I think it’s safe to say that my love for books might have something to do with it. As soon as I could read I was hardly ever seen without a book. I think we sometimes got assignments in school to do some creative writing and I kinda noticed how much fun that is.

As long as I’ve been writing stories I also wanted to be an author – as in, a published author. And I still hope that one day I might be able to finish one of my bigger project and actually get it published. But since I have a “real” job, writing is and will always be 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?

There are definitely a lot of queer characters in all my stories, but I don’t think that counts. Another constant, I think, is that my protagonists tend to be thrown into some kind of trouble so I can just watch them react. They hardly ever make the first step in the stories, it’s usually something that happens /to/ them. Reactions interest me, because there are so many ways to react to the same situation and every character behaves differently.

Also, many – if not most – of my stories /don’t end well/. Idk why, but tragedy always intrigued me. So, death and violence could probably be counted as “recurring themes”.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

1. Don’t stop. No matter what kind of art you produce, keep doing it. Write short-short-short stories in the notebook on your phone. Write some sentences on the back of your homework and see if it takes you anywhere. It will get messy, you will have loose ends /everywhere/ and the amount of abandoned stories will grow daily, but that’s okay as long as you keep writing. And if you have an idea for a novel, try and work on it whenever you can. You can write the first chapter on your computer. Maybe you get an idea for the next chapter at work – scribble it down on whatever piece of paper you can find. Try to outline the plot in your head when you’re in the supermarket.

2. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s not Shakespeare. It doesn’t have to become a novel. It’s okay if you can’t write on your wanna-be novel every day. It’s okay to let stories sit on the shelf for weeks. And it’s okay to abandon stories.

3. Don’t let the muggles get you down. Don’t let anyone talk shit about what you write. Or about the fact /that/ you’re writing. You do you.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual. I didn’t realize until a couple of months ago, because I never gave much thought to it. I experience very strong sensual attraction, which is probably why I never thought about being ace. Only when Tumblr made me realise that sexual attraction actually means looking at someone thinking “I want sex with you” it dawned on me that I might not experience that.

I’m also pretty sure I’m aromantic. This one’s a bit tricky though, because I’m also hella romance-repulsed and I can’t quite tell if I’m not interested in romance with anyone or averse to the thought of a romantic relationship itself.

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 prejudice. But that’s mostly because I’m not out in RL, and I usually don’t connect much with other writers on the internet. The only people who know about me being aroace /and/ me being a writer are close friends, most of them queer. So, I’m in a pretty good place when it comes to that.

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

Being asexual = not liking/having sex. I mean, it’s kinda true for me, since I’m also trans/nonbinary/agender and dysphoria makes it kinda impossible for me to undress in front of anyone, let alone have sex with them. But there are many aces out there who enjoy sex, and the orientation isn’t defined by the behavior.

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

It’s going to be okay. You’re not broken. You’re not alone. And no matter what exclusionists say, you DO belong in the LGBTQIA/Queer Community.

There are many people out there who feel like you do, and just because society tries to tell us we must always want sex with basically anyone, that doesn’t make them right and you wrong.

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

On my http://daughterofhecata.tumblr.com/ blog there’s a page where you can find http://daughterofhecata.tumblr.com/stories my stories. It’s just a tiny bit of my work, because most of it is in German (my first language). Maybe I’ll add some of the German short stories as well, I’m not sure yet. I also have accounts at ff.net and AO3, but I rather not link them with my Tumblr because I’m honestly not too proud of that stuff.

(In shameless self-promoting: Janus is my favourite story so far; it’s actually the longest story I ever finished. Also, once in a lifetime I did plan ahead and outlined the story before jumping into writing.)

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

Interview: Jade

Today we’re joined by Jade. Jade is a phenomenal writer who has one of the most adorable dogs ever. She writes mostly poetry and fantasy. When she’s not working on original work, Jade writes fanfiction as well. It’s very apparent that she’s incredibly dedicated to the art of writing, 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 writer who works mostly with poetry and fantasy works. I’m only just starting out publishing my work to my blog but it makes me really happy to share something that means so much to me with others. The last few years I have been big into writing fanfiction for Supernatural but recently I’ve wanted to start working on original works more so I’ve started doing daily couplets and taking poetry requests from my followers. I also did a little challenge for a few days where I would have one of my friends pick out a dialog prompt and I would write a few paragraphs of a story based on it. Writing is one of my favorite things and it has always been a very empowering and relaxing process for me so I’m happy to be expanding on things and doing more of it.

What inspires you?

My dog Duke is a huge inspiration to me since he survived going to the pound twice and having to be there so long but has come out a super loving and amazing dog despite it. Besides that, I’m mostly inspired by the progress I see every time I post something new and can see how much I’m improving and getting better and the knowledge that if I keep going then that trend will continue. My religion also is a big inspiration for me as I’m encouraged to create new works to honor my deities all the time and knowing they appreciate my art helps me want to make more.

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

When I was little I actually wanted to be a scientist and get to study rocks. However I soon realized that doing things that required set steps that were always the same bored me. However since the moment I could read books have always been my escape and eventually I realized that I could write stories too and my heart was set. I’ve dabbled in all sorts of prose but the freedom offered by poetry has brought me back there time and time again.

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?

Well all of my works are their own thing so there’s not really anything I purposely add into them to connect them, however many things that I personally like do get carried over to some of my characters (Like a love of cheesecake or the color blue). I also work a lot with mythology and exploring diversity. Another thing that’s often featured in my works is mental illness and having the characters learn to accept and work with their limits to reach their goal since it’s something that’s important to me since I have had major depression and anxiety since I was really young.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love and love what you do. No matter what you do there will be people who put you down or don’t like your work but when you create you should do it for yourself because its something YOU love, not for them. That and try to hold onto old works. Looking back and seeing how much you’ve grown can be such a rewarding and empowering feeling.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a non-binary poly panromantic sex repulsed asexual. Try saying that ten times fast XD

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

Most of the prejudice I’ve encountered has actually been from family and people outside of my online fanbase. My father and brother both believed my identity was just because of my time on Tumblr and I was just being a “Special snowflake” However after wasting my breath in many arguments I realized they’d never change their minds and I instead just moved on with my life. I know my body and my life better than them and I wasn’t going to waste more time or energy fighting with them just to be seen as something I already knew was a real part of me. In the few works I’ve written that has Ace characters I’ve mostly gotten support from others who were happy for the representation. I have no tolerance for people who want to insult or mock others so they get deleted, banned, and ignored. I don’t give them the time of day.

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

That it’s just a phase or it’s for attention. It’s not natural. People can’t be sure about it unless they’ve had sex and even then they probably just had bad sex and it’d change if they were with someone who “knew the ropes”. No one seems to take asexuality seriously and it can be really frustrating at times because defending yourself is like talking to a wall but if we don’t stand up for ourselves then we’ll never be able to earn the respect we deserve.

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

You are valid. You don’t have to feel like any label you choose is cemented in stone. You don’t have to have sex to know what you are and your sexuality is as natural as any of the others. It’s okay to not know for certain at the moment and it’s okay to take as long as you need deciding even if you change later. Asexuals exist and are just as important as anyone else.

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

My work is being posted on InkStainedWings.tumblr.com currently. I take poem requests there and post story shards as well as reblogging writing tips and tricks. I hope to see you there 😀

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