Interview: Kedreeva

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

ART
Art

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

I don’t know if this counts as a signature, but my friends tease me about using the word “sluice” whenever I find an opportunity. It’s a good word. Maybe my favorite one ever.

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

ArtemisEditing
Artemis Editing

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Sarah Neila Elkins

Today we’re joined by Sarah Neila Elkins. Sarah is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who specializes in novels and comics. She enjoys writing the speculative genres and her work features asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a talented artist who loves what she does, 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 make fantasy, horror, and sci-fi novels and comics featuring asexual protagonists. Since 2015 I have been more active writing novels than creating comics due to having angio fibro dysplasia, a type of chronic ossifying tennis elbow that kept me from using my right hand for almost a year. I had to relearn how to draw as a result.

What inspires you?

I want to make stories that I want to read. I’m asexual but didn’t know that was a thing until I was an adult and I have tons of queer friends but, although it is more common to see LGBTQIA+ characters in stories it’s less common to see them in fantasy and horror. I want to write the kinds of tense, action-filled books and comics I like to read but with queer characters.

I also really like Nikola Tesla, so working him or things related to him in stories is fun. I guess it’s like writing fanfiction though I’ve never been good about sticking with anything else for that. Every time I tried writing proper fanfiction whatever I wrote turned into something original without any characters or worlds from whatever the fanfic was supposed to be based on.

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

I’ve been writing and drawing since I was a kid. I daydreamed, a lot. Probably more than was healthy to be honest. Eventually I started writing those daydreams down as a film script because I wanted to make movies. Then I did research on the screenwriter’s guild and realized that would never happen. Granted, that was before indie films got bigger. I decided that I could just draw whatever story I wanted to make so I got into making comics. When my elbow tendons essentially turned to bone I had to give up my comic flatting job, my comic inking job, and comics altogether for a while. It broke my heart but I was able to use a keyboard with my left hand and wrote a novel to deal with the stress and depression I was feeling from losing my only source of income and the only real job I had ever known. That book, Psychic Underground: The Facility is available now from Ninestar Press. Thankfully, I have recovered enough to draw again and even want to make a graphic novel. I’m still writing prose novels and the second book in the Psychic Underground series should come out later this year (2019.)

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?

Nikola Tesla. If he’s not mentioned out-right he or something related to him is in there be it a street name or invention. It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo’ except sometimes I make it very obvious. I also like to put my favorite number in things, 8, as well as Tesla’s favorite numbers 3, 6, and 9.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be mindful of your body and health. If your arms or hands start hurting try to skip ahead and see an orthopedic surgeon instead of a general doctor. If I had done that I would have skipped about six months of terrible pain and one ER visit. Also, remember that just because someone gets a job or opportunity you wanted that comics and prose writing isn’t Highlander. There’s plenty of room. If you get knocked down, get back up.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am alloromantic asexual.

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

In my field? Years ago a friend who helped me get a big flatting job said something to the effect of “asexuals aren’t queer” but then she worked with another friend of mine who is asexual on a queer anthology that the ace friend told me was welcoming to aces, so maybe her view changed. To be honest she kinda hasn’t talked to me much since the whole incident where she said she thought ace’s weren’t queer and that bothers me. I don’t like not having closure if a friendship is over, you know?

Otherwise I dated an artist for years and when I tried to explain to them I’m asexual and sex-repulsed/genophobic they didn’t take it well. I thought they’d take it better since the main character of their then pretty popular webcomic was aromantic asexual. We wound up breaking up and tried to stay friends but the friendship imploded when my arm trouble got bad. They said some things to me during the relationship that made me doubt myself and they continued to do that when my arm was causing me excruciating pain. I know I wish they would apologize someday but I’ll never get that closure either. I’m not sure if that counts but they were a colleague I looked up to a lot.

Beyond those two instances I have been out of the creative game for a few years due to my arm so I’m just now getting back where I can pursue jobs in both writing and comics. I have little doubt I’ll run across more pronounced cases of ace prejudice and ignorance in the future.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality I’ve encountered is that all asexuals are aromantic, celibate, and sex repulsed or that they want to prevent someone else from having sex. I am celibate but not aromantic. I am sex repulsed and genophobic but I don’t want to prevent others from having sex. I just can’t talk about or see sex for long without having an anxiety attack.

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

You are not alone. You are not broken. Asexuality is a vast spectrum within the queer spectrum. You don’t have to be anything but ace to be queer, either. There’s no real rule that says “you must be asexual AND anything else also queer to qualify as queer.” You can just be asexual and qualify as queer. Anyone who’s not cis heterosexual qualifies as queer. If you’re asexual then by definition you’re not heterosexual. Don’t listen to anyone who claims you’re faking your identity. You are the only person who gets to define who you are.

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

I just launched a personal website: https://www.sarahneilaelkins.com/
I still haunt the hell out of Twitter: https://twitter.com/NeilaK20
I mirror posts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahNeilaElkins/
And on Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@NeilaK20
And I’m trying to use Instagram more: https://www.instagram.com/neilak20/

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

Interview: Elowen

Today we’re joined by Elowen. Elowen is a phenomenal author who is currently hard at work on her first novel. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy. The novel she’s currently working on features an ace main character and it sounds like a fascinating story. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer, 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 fantasy and science fiction writer, albeit still unpublished. At the moment I’m working on what I hope will be my debut novel, a fantasy novel set in a bronze age-world heavily inspired by Ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq). One of the main characters is an asexual priestess, the other is a cis-het single mother who fights against the religious establishment. This story is a complete overhaul of my very first novel, combined with some elements from my third, and it has taken me several months of research and false starts, but I finally have a completed first draft that I think I can work with.

What inspires you?

Everything, really. The world around me, other people’s lives and relationships, other fantasy and sci-fi stories, my own experiences of being “the odd one out”. There’s a quote from Ursula Le Guin’s Tales from Earthsea that I have stuck on my computer: “The great and mighty go their way unchecked. All the hope left in the world is in the people of no account.” It’s this quote that inspires me to continue working on my current novel. I want to try to tell the stories of people of no account. The ordinary people who are made to suffer because of the greed of those in power.

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

When I was six, I found out what a writer was and I decided I wanted to be one. I still have my old notebooks from that time, with stories that blatantly ripped off Care Bears and My Little Pony, though I’m glad to say that later on, my stories became a bit more original ,-). Unfortunately, although I definitely have creative family members, none of them are or were professional artists, so becoming a writer wasn’t considered a proper career choice, and my writing ambitions were reduced to keeping a diary when I was a teenager. I went to university to study science instead, and later theology. It was only when I moved to a different country that I came back to wanting to be a writer. One of my “problems” is that I’m multi-passionate. I play baroque violin, I was a fanatic badminton player in my teens, and in my early twenties I got heavily into Irish dancing, for example. Only when I moved away from all these “distractions” and started afresh in a different country was I able to come to terms with the fact that I’m just interested in many different things, and reasonably successful at pursuing those interests. My love for science got me into writing science fiction, and my fascination with religion, mythology and anything magical got me into fantasy. Fantasy, to me, isn’t ‘make-believe’, it’s a modern type of mythology meant to explore fundamental ideas about the world, and about life. Together with science fiction, I think fantasy is the perfect genre to explore alternatives to reality.

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 inventing religions and write about made-up gods. I also love writing about mentors, and I think that’s because all my life I’ve been looking for one myself. I had teachers and mentors, of course, but none of them could really help me figure out where my real talents lie. They were all specialists in their field, while I have to see ‘the big picture’ and explore many things at once.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love doing, but play the game if you have to. I.e. if you need a steady day job to support your own artistic efforts and have stability in your life, it doesn’t make you any less of an artist. Keep learning and stay curious. You’re never too old to try something new.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m grey-ace leaning towards being demisexual, and I also identify as genderfluid between cis-female and non-binary. After having been a happy single for most of my life, I’m now in happy, stable relationship with a man, so to all intents and purposes I’m a cis-het woman, but I don’t feel that way. For me, sex is a form of intimacy that I can enjoy because it brings me closer to the man I love, but I’d have no problem going without it for the rest of my life. It’s something to enjoy like a cup of coffee or a piece of chocolate, nothing more. Sex has never played an important part in my life. I am however a very touchy-feely type of person with people I trust, and that kind of non-sexual contact is much more important to me.

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

No, because so far I’m only out on Twitter, where I use an alias.

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

I think that having no interest in sex is often “infantilized”, as if being ace means you’re not developed enough yet to join in with the adults. At one point I was convinced that the only difference between YA and adult fantasy is that in adult fantasy the characters explicitly talk about sex and genitals, and have sex. I thought that my own writing was not adult fantasy because I didn’t want to write about those things.

Another thing is that I can have platonic crushes, meaning that I am attracted to certain people (or even fictional characters) for their intellectual insights or artistry or their personality. One example is the actor Alexander Siddig. I’d love to be able to have a deep conversation with him one day, but there is no way on earth I’d ever be interested in any kind of sexual contact. And yet many people confuse these things. I can also admire physical beauty in certain people, but even then there’s no sexual attraction involved, and many people find that hard to grasp. That always puzzled me, until I discovered I was ace.

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

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Sex is overrated. There, I said it.

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

Well, there’s nothing to find yet, but you can follow me on Twitter if you like (at scriobhann_si). I love connecting with other artists!

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

Interview: Wolfie

Today we’re joined by Wolfie. Wolfie is a phenomenal makeup artist who uses makeup to create extraordinary looks. She has done a number of different things with makeup, from standard beauty to more fantasy and horror related looks. She has also done special FX makeup. Aside from makeup, Wolfie also dabbles in a couple other mediums as well. She’s a passionate and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

One of the things I do is makeup and special FX. Be it beauty, fantasy or horror. I mostly do whatever has caught my fancy that day or week. I have done photoshoots, short films and even a wedding or two with my makeup.

Which plays into my other mediums, such as drawing and painting. I have a ton of sketch books filled with art, some I give away and the same with my paintings.

Along with costuming which has been trial and error. As for my leather working I am still a beginner, which I was learning from my aunt and now my dad. Also have been dabbling into jewelry making.

What inspires you?

When I was a kid, fantasy (books, art etc.) and music played in a big part in my creativity.

Along with a rich family heritage that led to being a Pagan Witch, lets me see the beauty in magic and life that goes into my art.

My Aunt also who is deceased now, was also a big inspiration to me.

Being a writer and creative person herself, part of the LGBTQ+ community and Pagan, she always encouraged me to not give up and to pursue what I love.

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

Ever since I was little girl, I was always drawing and then moving onto other things as I got older. Heck, I even wanted to be a manga artist at some point!

As for my makeup and special FX, I give that one to my family. We have always been big on Halloween and doing creative costumes, which led to me eventually finding conventions in my late teens. It would also be my early 20’s to mid-20’s that I would go to makeup school for it.

Which I am always learning new and creative ways to improve.

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?

Mostly just my name and other account names I would hid in it, or just smack dab where you can see it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. Self-doubt will happen where you think you art, or you’re not good enough.

But it will be, maybe not in your eyes.

But others will love your art even if you think they don’t.

Never compare yourself to another, each of us is unique and different. We go at our own pace and our artistic journey happen sometimes now or a little bit later.

3

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a proud Asexual Pan romantic 29 year old.

In my early 20’s I thought I was just Pansexual, but that didn’t seem right to me.

It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that talking with a friend, that they said “Uh Wolf, I think you may be Ace.”

So I looked it up and it started making more sense to me. While giving me a feeling of relief that I wasn’t “broken”.

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

Oh boy, in my makeup field I have, since it slipped out one time during class.

And mostly I just educated them, while being calm about it and maybe a ‘wee’ bit of Sass when they asked a personal/ignorant question. But mostly, I just refuse to apologize anymore for being who I am.

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

“Well, how can you be in a relationship if you don’t have sex?” Is probably the most common thing I get.

Again I just calmly answers/educate, or (at times) Sass back with a witty clap back that makes them go “Oh! I see! Sorry about that.”

But it is also just standing my ground and not letting other tell me “oh but you just haven’t met-”

“Or have you seen a doctor?” etc.

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

It may seem you’re alone and others tell you that you are broken, but you are not.

Don’t let anyone tell you differently, this is your journey of discovery and your identity is real.

For your community sees you and you are loved, valid in your right to not be silenced or harmed as you keep learning who you are.

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

My Instagram which I welcome anyone to join me! wolfie_shieldmaidenswitch

Deviantart: Moonlightwolfos

2

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

Interview: CHM

Today we’re joined by CHM. CHM is a wonderful versatile writer. She has written in a few genres and styles. She mostly writes fantasy and historical fiction. When she’s not writing original work, CHM also dabbles in fanfiction. It’s clear she’s a dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

IMG_20181110_124308176

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is mostly creative writing. I mostly write fantasy and historical fiction, as well as fanfiction.

What inspires you?

A number of things, but mostly music, and my own personal experiences.

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

I used to read a lot, and that slowly got me into writing my own stories. I also tend to daydream, and story ideas seem to spawn from daydreams.

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

I really like ending books with the title when possible.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t apologize for your work when presenting it. Stop yourself from saying things like “Sorry in advance” or “This is terrible, but” because it’s not. It’s the best you can do at that moment, and putting yourself down doesn’t help you improve.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an AroAce lesbian. Oriented AroAces feel other types of attraction strong enough to warrant their own labels in their identities. The ones I feel are sensual and alterous attraction.

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

Never in my field, but in my personal life, I have. I usually deal with it using calm explanations.

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

That we all hate sex, or that we just need to wait a while for sexual attraction to happen.

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

No matter what you hear, no matter who says it to you, your identity is real, and you have a strong community backing you up. It doesn’t matter what someone else says about your identity, all that matters is the way the words you use to describe yourself make you feel.

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

I post all my fanfiction on my Quotev account! At LOZelfafan

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

Interview: Alice Chrosny

Today we’re joined by Alice Chrosny. Alice is a phenomenal visual artist who specializes in animation and character art. She enjoys drawing fantasy creatures and mythical monsters. Her work is extraordinary, showing an incredible eye for detail and color. It’s clear she’s a remarkably talented artist with a passion for creating, as you’ll soon see. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

00_MiniWeatherFriends
Mini Weather Friends

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a 2D digital animator and character artist that loves drawing cute, friendly content from fluffy fantasy animals to mythical monsters.

What inspires you?

Animation! From television to movies, I was always amazed at how fun and alive drawn cartoons could be. They completely captured my heart at a young age and I knew I wanted to work with cartoons. For more inspiration, my friends and a bunch of webcomic artists I follow inspire me to keep going with my art and stay motivated.

1. Ace Pride Sunny
Ace Pride Sunny

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

Watching Dexter’s Lab and PowerPuff Girls as a kid and all sorts of cartoons in general on Cartoon Network along with Disney movies, Looney Tunes, etc. Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil, I’ve wanted to work in the art field in some way, primarily in animation.

2. MerMary
MerMary

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 write my signature with a dash and a tiny heart. I always try to put or sneak hearts in my illustrations when I can.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’re passionate about art and want to continue creating, don’t give up.

Everyone learns and grows at a different pace and we’re all walking our own different path. Life’s not a race and I know it’s hard not to compare yourself to others, but you have to remember how far you’ve come. Draw what you want for yourself, challenge yourself, take care of yourself, and be kind to others and yourself.

You got this!

3. Alphonse Cats
Alphonse Cats

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a Romantic Ace

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

When I’ve had to explain to people, they don’t always get it or just assume I’m just a “late bloomer” or know me better than I do. However, I’ve never personally faced any ace prejudice in my field, so I consider myself very fortunate.

4. Super Blue Moon Eclipse Hide
Super Blue Moon Eclipse Hide

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

That aces don’t want to have relationships or be married. It’s pretty easy for asexuals to be confused or automatically assumed to be aromantic, too, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some aces want to have relationships and some don’t and that’s fine. Romantic love isn’t greater than platonic love. Love is important and comes in many different ways and forms that we give and receive.

5. Solar Dance 3
Solar Dance 3

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

You’re not broken and you’re not alone. You can’t let others define and label who you are. You only know what makes you comfortable or not. If a label or identity feels right for you, then awesome, but don’t worry if you’re not sure. Everything’s on a spectrum, not everything fits neatly into place and that’s OK. You’re gonna be OK. Keep going!

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

You can find my work at my website: http://alicechrosny.com/

And follow me on social media!

https://twitter.com/alicechrosnyart
https://www.instagram.com/alicechrosnyart/
http://alicechrosnyart.tumblr.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/AliceApproved/featured

Thank you so much and I hope you have a Sunny Day!

6. Solar Dance 4
Solar Dance 4

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

Interview: Elizabeth Wambheim

Today we’re joined by Elizabeth Wambheim. Elizabeth is a phenomenal author who writes novels, novellas, and short stories. All her work features ace protagonists (how awesome is that!?) and it mostly falls in the fantasy genre. She has already written an ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. She has also written a novel about the relationship between a male shepherd and a Viking woman. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate and creative individual who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. Author Image

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am the author of a small (so far!) body of published works that feature asexual protagonists and asexual relationships. My biggest work so far has been a novel titled More Than Enough which is a gay/ace retelling of Beauty and the Beast. My first piece was a novella titled Wolves in the Fold about a male shepherd and a female Viking navigating a relationship as well as language barriers. I love writing fantasy; reworking fairy tales; and establishing soft, supportive relationships between characters.

What inspires you?

Just about everything! Books, movies, television shows, video games, and even music can be a source of inspiration. If something catches at my attention, I file it away for use somewhere. My first story in high school had an ensemble casts because I loved the friendship/team dynamics between the four to eight main characters in the Tales series of video games.

Real-world relationships are also inspiring; if I notice an interesting dynamic between two people (be they friends, family, or coworkers), I’ll make a mental note of it and it might wind up as the building block of a fictional relationship. I also make use of personal experiences: I like to be able to step inside my characters and describe the way their emotions affect them physically. The easiest way for me to do that is to write from a place of understanding—where do my experiences overlap with this character’s? If I haven’t gone through exactly what they have, what comes close? What did it feel like to be there? After really good days and really bad days, I take a lot of notes about what happened and how I felt.

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

I’ve been writing since elementary school, but it was mostly something I did for fun. I took Creative Writing classes all through high school and majored in English in college. After I graduated, I realized there weren’t many fictional partnerships that reflected my preferences or my experiences. I found the undercurrent of sexual tension between would-be romantic partners to be alienating and sometimes uncomfortable. So I started writing the stories I wanted to read.

While my writing is not what I want to depend on for a living, it is a vital part of my life. I love the puzzle of crafting a story from scraps of lived experience and fictional inspirations. Writing also helps me validate who I am and how I feel; it’s a privilege to know that my stories help other people, too.

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 mythological and literary symbolism, so there are almost always elements of that in my stories, such as a scar used as a symbol of a character’s triumph over adversity or an oblique reference to the “eating of the pomegranate seeds” in the Hades/Persephone myth.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re the only person in the world uniquely positioned to produce the work that 100% appeals to you in form and content. Work on what makes you happy.

Conversely, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing or you find that you’re bored with the piece, then take a break and don’t feel bad about taking a break. You’re a human being, not a machine! Treat yourself kindly and you’ll come back to the work when you’re ready.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and sex-repulsed as hell. I’ll say that I’m biromantic, but my take on romantic love is best described by that Pepe Silvia screenshot from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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

I’ve worked in public libraries for the last three years, and I haven’t experienced any prejudice from any of my coworkers, thankfully! But I’m also not really open at work (either about being ace or about being bi), so that might be part of it.

The only issue I’ve had has been that I have a really hard time shelving titles in the romance section. The covers make me kind of queasy (no one on them is wearing nearly enough clothes), so I just avoid working in that section as much as possible.

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

On a general level: it’s a phase and something we’ll grow out of, or that there’s something inherently childish about it as an orientation.

On a personal level: being asexual means that I’m inherently not interested in (or incapable of having) a committed partnership with another person.

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

Where you are and how you’re feeling is okay! Give yourself space to figure out how who you are and how you feel. Don’t let anyone convince you that your truth isn’t a valid truth.

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

https://ewambheim.wordpress.com/ is the hub for my published work. I have one short story there that you can read for free as a PDF, and it also includes links to the Amazon pages for Wolves in the Fold and More Than Enough.

https://ajumbleofpages.tumblr.com/ is the Tumblr I use for sharing writing updates.

Please also check out the Goodreads page for More Than Enough: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36327532-more-than-enough

Folx have left some very kind and heartfelt reviews there and on its Amazon page!

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