Interview: Zoe

Today we’re joined by Zoe. Zoe is a wonderful young up and coming author who writes YA and middle grade fiction. She has drafted three novels, all are in the genres of supernatural and magical realism. They feature a diverse cast of characters, most of them are LGBTQIA+, the kind of characters Zoe has often wanted to see in the books she was reading. It’s clear she’s a very passionate and dedicated writer with an incredibly 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 write young adult/middle grade books that could also count as magical realism or supernatural. My current project centres on different supernatural/paranormal beings such as angels, demons, vampires, sirens etc. It is pretty diverse compared to a lot of books I’ve read recently, and includes a gender fluid vampire, a pansexual warlock, an aroace demon in a queer-platonic relationship, a bisexual demon, a biromantic angel, a lesbian werewolf, an aroace fae who is sex and romance repulsed (There are others, as well as heterosexual characters.) It also includes all the struggles they have to deal with because of their sexualities and genders, as well as their supernatural race. (While also trying to stop a very evil woman from taking her revenge out on the whole world)

I thought it should be a bit more diverse than the other young adult/middle grade books I have read because to me, having two or three LGBTQIA+ characters in an entire 16 book world seems very unrealistic. At school, I had at least three or four LGBTQIA+ kids in each class I went to for every lesson.

What inspires you?

Usually, books I’ve read. I didn’t really know what to write about to be honest, before I started. But then I read a few young adult books of the same type I wanted to write and something clicked. With every book I read, I had a new idea for something that could happen. Of course, I didn’t steal from the books. What I mean, is that I could picture how old spell books looked, and realised a King would probably care more about having a son for an heir than a daughter. This helped me picture a possible scene for an argument between a father and daughter, in which this point could have been brought up.

Also, music inspires me a lot. I always listen to music. Classical pieces, soundtracks from movies, actual songs even musicals. Whatever it takes to give me some inspiration, I even sleep while listening to music to help me better picture what might be giving me trouble when writing. Think of it like writing fanfiction in my head, of my own stories, while I try to sleep.

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

I have always loved reading, and throughout primary school (ages 3-11) we had a lot of opportunities to write our own short stories in class. I loved it, and thought it was fun. I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until a few years ago when I discovered NaNoWriMo (I won) and realised how fun writing could be and got back into it.

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

I haven’t done the math, but there’s roughly the same amount of LGBTQIA+ characters as there are heterosexual characters (not counting small children). In any book I will ever write, I will always try to keep it as close to 50/50 as I can, because that is the most realistic figure. There’s also hardly ever any angst revolving around romance, or any explicit stuff because I strongly dislike it and have no time for that nonsense of “he loves me, he loves me not.”

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop writing. If someone says you write too much, or you should spend more time doing something that benefits them, don’t listen and keep writing. I was told that I spend too much time reading and writing, the only two things I do for fun, by my family who wanted me to essentially become a third parent to my brother who is only 2 years younger than me. It upset me, and I stopped both. I didn’t read anything for ages, and eventually forgot about my writing for a few months. It’s good to take a break, but on your terms, or as close as you can get.

I still struggle trying to get into writing again, because I feel like it will be hard. Because I don’t remember what I was going to do with this sentence, or because I can’t remember what that character looked like or if they are even in this book. Don’t let anyone – and I mean anyone – tell you that it isn’t worth it. Write for you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a sex and romance repulsed aroace, and I experience aesthetic attraction. I also identify as pan because my aesthetic attraction can be to anyone of any gender.

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

I haven’t experienced any. However, when I was talking to my best friend and fellow Asexual about some of the characters, trying to work out a scene, I mentioned they were both Aroace. I also have an ace-biromantic character not in that scene. She asked “That makes three on the Ace Spectrum, right? Isn’t that a bit much?” No. it is not “a bit much” because I know several asexual people online, and together we make two. In real life, in a world with billions of people, at least 1% of which (7 million I think total) asexuals, it makes sense to have a few who know each other. She knew this, it was just more of shock at seeing more than one Ace character in a single book, and she wasn’t being mean or anything.

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

I have several, and they are all from my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, although I have heard other people say stuff along these lines too.

  • (asexual refusing to have sex with her boyfriend because she’s a sex repulsed asexual) “But biologically speaking everyone needs sex.” – This isn’t true. I’ve heard it can be fun, great, stress-relieving, and a bunch of other positive things from people who continuously talk to me about it even when I tell them not to. But biologically, you don’t crave it. You don’t die without it. Biologically speaking, it is how babies are made. Nothing more.
  • “You’re not asexual because you don’t need to photosynthesize” – hahaha, no. he said this sincerely, and he meant this to hurt. It isn’t a joke. There are multiple meanings for different words in the English language. “My nose is running” does not mean you’re nose is in fact running down your face and about to make an escape to go join the party next door.
  • “Asexuality isn’t a thing. It’s just an excuse. You’re a lesbian” – yeah she’s an Aroace lesbian, but she didn’t know it at the time. She’s still aroace. It doesn’t matter what else you identify as, if you think you are on the spectrum, no one can invalidate you like this. Asexuality is a thing. It is also annoying to hear this several times in the same conversation.

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

Asexuality, and the whole spectrum, is a thing. Aromanticism is a thing. Aroace is a thing. You can be both, you can be one or the other. You can be in a qpr, you can be single forever. You can have a partner, or not. You can be a third sexuality on top of this. You can hate sex/romance with a fiery passion or you can still enjoy it. Don’t let uninformed people try to tell you how you feel, because the person who knows you best is you. And if this means having your aroace-pan awakening at 2am and grinning like a fool for three days then so be it. Because you deserve to be happy. If someone you love says the words “but biologically-“or “you aren’t ace/aro” or any variation of “it’s a fad/you just want attention.” Even after you’ve explained it to them? Even after you’ve given them a chance to learn about your orientation? Get rid of them because you can do better. Any loved one who forces you to ignore how you feel, or invalidates you, or pressures you into things you don’t want to do, is not worth your time.

When you come out to people, be ready for the inevitable vocab lesson, but don’t be upset about it and if they ask a lot of questions, try not to be offended. In all likelihood, they have no idea what any of this means because when they were growing up it wasn’t as widely known. Take a few minutes to explain. They might get it, they might not. They might be supportive, they might not. But at least they know. And if they get confused somehow and think you just came out as a lesbian, please, for the sake of your sanity, correct them. Do not let them think you and your best friend are lesbian lovers unless you, for some reason, want them to think that. It is about what you are comfortable with.

Tell the person you are dating what your boundaries are, or what you are uncomfortable with. For example, I personally despise all physical contact with all but 2 people. Maybe they can work their way in, but for now, tell them. Don’t let yourself be uncomfortable just so you don’t have to have the awkward conversation where you tell them you don’t want to be kissed or you don’t want to have sex. And if they don’t respect your boundaries, get rid of them. A person who is willing to just be platonic cuddle buddies with no pressure on either side is much better than a person who refuses to understand your orientation and the things you don’t want to do.

Also, don’t listen to aphobes, at all.

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

I haven’t published anything anywhere, but I’m always up for questions about my work in progress, or anything to do with writing (or my orientation really). My Tumblr is at solangelo3088.

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

Interview: Anne Hawley

Today we’re joined by Anne Hawley. Anne is a phenomenal novelist and editor who writes queer-themed historical fiction. She has a novel entitled Restraint, which features an ace secondary character. Anne is currently working on a new historical novel that features an ace protagonist, which is exciting (we need more historical fiction featuring aces). It’s clear she’s a talented and passionate writer who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Laughing

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write novels featuring queer characters in historical settings, exploring issues of identity and acceptance. I’m also a Story Grid Certified fiction editor, helping other writers shape their novels and screenplays.

What inspires you?

People’s individual search for wholeness and self-acceptance. The search for meaning. My stories revolve around people on spiritual journeys, and my editing work is focused on helping writers find and tell the story that’s in their heart to tell.

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

I’ve been writing since I could read. I started my first novel when I was nine. I was inspired by fantasy novels and wanted to create my own worlds.

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 name something after a notable feature in my hometown of Portland, Oregon USA

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you’ll permit me to change the question, I’d like to say something to aspiring artists who may not have started young, or aren’t young anymore. Ageism is real and insidious in our culture, and it has a huge silencing power. Just as the dominant culture would still prefer it if you were allosexual and cisgendered (though thank goodness that’s changing), it would like you to be silent and invisible if you’re not young. If you have a story to tell, tell it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aromantic asexual. I think “autochor” is probably a term that applies to me.

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

There’s not much ace representation yet in fiction, and as a person who came to the identity late in life, I’m still working to change my own ingrained belief that “nobody” wants to read stories without sexual tension, or about individuals who are fulfilled without romance.

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

That asexual people don’t really exist, and that people in my age group who claim that sexual identity are simply resigned to being “too old” for love or sex–or that we’re some sort of holdover from an earlier and more prudish, sex-negative era. We aren’t.

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

Many, many people in older age groups like mine have never even heard of asexuality. If you’re like me, hearing about it at a late age might create a real internal struggle, especially if you’ve given a lot of energy over the years trying to conform to old cultural standards of “normal” sexuality.

It helps to read as much as you can about all the nuances in the spectrum of asexuality, and realize that it’s okay to try on different names and labels. It might take a while to feel at home with one or another of them. But you might also find, as I did, that little by little embracing asexuality solves so many mysteries of your life.

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

https://annehawley.net

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

Interview: Sean Shannon

Today we’re joined by Sean Shannon. Sean is a phenomenal artist whose a bit of an artist-of-all-trades. She has two main focuses at the moment: writing and creating webseries. She has written a novel entitled The Prostitutes of Lake Wiishkoban that was up for an international award. Sean has also written two ebooks of classroom exercises for humanities instructors, several poems, some short stories, and a seventeen-year-old blog. As if that’s not impressive enough, Sean has also created a couple webseries. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist who loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1. 20161219 TPOLW KINDLE COVER PNG

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am the author of the novel The Prostitutes of Lake Wiishkoban, which was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and a quarterfinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. In addition, I’m the creator and host of the teaching webseries Socratic Sense, which explores current issues in teaching, and the intersection of education with politics and popular culture, as well as a personal webseries called Musecast. Those are my (current) major efforts, but I call myself an “artist-of-many-trades” because I work in all kinds of mediums, from writing to the visual arts.

What inspires you?

I could name specific artists whose influences I can see in my work, but what inspires me more than anything is the desire to leave the world a better place than I found it. That’s a drive that influences all my work, across all mediums.

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

My parents were both artists, so I kind of come by it naturally. I also had a very difficult childhood, and while I’ve never had formal sessions in art therapy, my art has always been a refuge for me, and a place for me to work out the problems I’m having (then and now). I’ve always wanted to be an artist on some level, but I’ve always wanted to be everything. I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up.

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?

Whenever I’ve tried to include something like that in my work, it always feels forced to me. Other artists don’t seem to have that problem, so I guess I’m just not very good at that sort of thing.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Absorb everything you can. Consume art far and wide, even if it’s not in a medium or genre you want to work with. Everything you experience will fill your artistic well, and could inspire your art five minutes or fifty years in the future.

2. ss 1x08 keyframe 02B

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am a panromantic asexual.

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

The biggest problem I’ve come across is people who assume that I can’t write a novel about sex work, or a novel with sex scenes, because I’m asexual. (Never mind that I fit some people’s definition of the term “sex worker” because I’ve taught safer sex practices before.)

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

That asexuality is synonymous with celibacy, and that asexuals can’t have (or enjoy) sex.

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

Above all, you are not alone. I don’t believe in making promises like “it gets better,” because I’m not in a position to be able to keep that promise to anyone else (or even myself), but know that some of us out here are at least trying to make things better for asexuals. We would very much like your help if you can provide it, but it’s okay if you need to stay private about your asexuality for now, regardless of the reason.

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

My blog, seanshannon.org, has links to my books and videos, examples of my photography, and short written pieces about everything on my mind these last couple of decades, ranging from political essays to narrative non-fiction.

3. mc 2x01 keyframe 01A

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

Interview: Sarah Viehmann

Today we’re joined by Sarah Viehmann. Sarah is a phenomenal author whose debut novel, Unrooted, is scheduled to be released this winter. Unrooted is a retelling of Snow White that features two protagonists on the ace spectrum. When she’s not writing novels, Sarah frequently blogs about fairy tales and sometimes about asexuality. 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.

sara2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a novelist writing adult fantasy, a series of fairy tale retellings beginning with Unrooted, debuting Winter 2018 with REUTS Publications. The first book retells the “Snow White” fairy tale and features protagonists on the ace spectrum, along with other LGBT+ characters, disabled characters, and characters of color. Unrooted is the first in a series of five books called The Iridia Series.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the human impulse that drives us to tell stories. How do we use stories to communicate deep needs within the individual and the community? How do stories changes based on who is telling them? How have stories changed and how will they continue to change in the future? My fairy tale retellings seek to explore, if not answer, these questions.

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

When it comes to fairy tales, I was introduced to them by my father reading me Three Billy Goats Gruff and similar fairy tales before bed at night. I also frequented the local library and always went directly toward the 398.2 section where fairy tales are housed. As for writing, I tend to joke that I’ve been writing since I could hold a marker, but that really isn’t too far off from the truth! I’ve always been inventive and a lover of words, so combining those two things into writing seemed to be incredibly natural for me.

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

Oh goodness . . . I’m not sure how to best answer this. I think the themes that appear most frequently in my work include mother-daughter relationships, women who have lost and regain their voices, and attention to language. There are also many elements from my academic study of literature that appear in my work, such as structuralism and mise en abyme (the mirror in the text), and those who might be familiar with such ideas should be able to pick them out.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do it, and do it for yourself. Disregard any thoughts of “what if no one likes it?” It’s yours to like, and what other people think only matters once the work is done and/if you decide to share it. Don’t let the input of others affect your creative process, because then the work won’t be true to you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and grey-biromantic. The latter part of that is more nebulous for me and I slide around a lot. I tend to find cis-women and nonbinary people more aesthetically attractive than cis-men, but that could be a matter of circumstance than anything else!

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

Yes. I once pointed out amisia in a very popular book series that appeared in the preview a few days before the newest book release. I spent a weekend fending off aggressive anons on tumblr telling me I’d read it wrong and I shouldn’t be upset by it. It’s difficult being in the minority of writers and readers who can and do point out things like that in published writing (and that’s not the only example). I still find it very important to point these things out so readers and writers alike learn, but it’s always a little uncomfortable having to be That Person. In addition to that, I try and model positive ace and aro representation in my own writing as a model for what I as an ace and grey-ro person would like to see in writing.

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

Recently, I think it’s the idea that ace people don’t like sex or are disgusted by it. That’s not the experience of all ace people, and it shouldn’t be a stereotype. That said, the experience of those who are sex-repulsed should be respected.

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

It’s okay to try on labels to see what fits. You’re not betraying anyone by adjusting the label over time to figure out what fits you best. I had to play around with my romantic orientation a lot before I decided on one, and I’m still not wholly committed to it. Also, seek out other ace folks, because on the whole I find we’re an incredibly kind and welcoming community willing to help you figure things out if you have questions.

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

My official website is www.sarahviehmann.com, but I’m most active on Tumblr (sarahviehmann.tumblr.com) and Twitter at SarahViehmann. You can also find Unrooted on Goodreads! Please stay tuned for its release and other exciting things leading up to the release date!

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

Interview: Nora Rose

Today we’re joined by Nora Rose. Nora is a phenomenal artist who does a bit of everything. She’s a passionate writer who does everything from novels to fanfiction. When she’s not writing, Nora is also an avid cook, an actor, and an audiobook narrator (I think that’s a first for Asexual Artists). Whatever art she’s working on, Nora throws herself fully into it. She’s an incredibly enthusiastic and dedicated artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

1-nrsully-headshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I have my fingers in a lot of pies. I’m a fanfiction writer, an unpublished novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, an amateur actor, an audiobook narrator, and aspiring cook.

Writing has been a passion since I was in second grade, and I’ve been pursuing it as a habit and career since I was eleven. My senior project for my undergrad degree was a play in one act that I wrote. I’ve been writing fanfiction for almost as long.

I studied theater at college. I fell in love with acting in high school, and I was probably the first person in my grade who knew what they were going to major in. My grandest moment was as Mrs. Bennett in a stage rendition of “Pride & Prejudice” that our director was writing.

2-mrsbennet
Mrs. Bennet

Unfortunately, since graduating I haven’t had much chance to do any acting, but I would love to end up in television–writing, acting, directing, and producing.

The audiobook narrating was unexpected. I did some live voicework for some friends’ senior shows in college, and afterwards had people come up to me and tell me I should pursue it. I never really thought I would until it turned out the son of my parents’ neighbor had just self-published a book and wanted to do an audiobook. I was just about to move to the same city he lives so we connected, and I’ve recorded the first two books of his series.

Growing up, I hated cooking. I think it was part rebelling against the expectations of being a housewife someday and part the fact that I’m a picky eater. One summer during college, however, I was doing a summer semester and was bored out of my mind. So I started making a whole bunch of different foods–mostly desserts–for my landlady. Someday soon I want to actually go to culinary school and maybe eventually open a little bistro.

3-fruit-pie
Fruit Pie

What inspires you?

I’ve found that inspiration for me can come from anywhere. It can come from that one image in a dream that sticks long after waking up. It can come from a personal story someone told me that sounded like something out of a fairytale. It can come from real life experiences where the emotions were loud and visceral. It can come from a visual of certain actors in certain costumes or situations. I can be inspired by an actor that makes me cry. And, of course, the Food Network and Pinterest can be extremely inspiring when it comes to cooking.

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

As for writing, I’ve loved it so long I honestly have no idea what got me interested. I finally decided to start writing my own books after falling in love with Tamora Pierce’s “The Song of the Lioness” series.

Acting, it was the first director I had in high school. The first play I was in, I was just a somebody. The second one, he cast me as the lead female part. He took a chance on me, and he believed in me, and I fell in love.

4-as-you-like-it
As You Like It

Narrating was explained a little in the first question, but I really decided I liked it once I started and realized it was a form of acting. While I wasn’t on stage or in front of a camera, I got to act and put heart into it, and it was a relief to be doing that again.

Cooking was boredom. I’ve really fallen in love with cooking because I love feeding people. It’s just like storytelling–I get to give people this beautiful thing I’ve created and I love watching their reactions.

Have I always wanted to be an artist? Yes. I don’t know that I could be anything else.

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.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This is cliché, but just do it. As someone with mental illness, trust me, I know it can be hard sometimes to motivate yourself even to do the things you love. But you have to. Don’t let it stress you out, of course, because then you’ll start to hate it. But do little things. If you write, but you’re having trouble getting any words down, outline. If you act, but you’re having trouble getting out the auditions, act out some of your favorite movie scenes in the shower. Do what little you can.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual, poly, panromantic. I’m not sex repulsed, but I’m not really interested too much in sex. It doesn’t faze me usually. I like having sex, but I forget that it’s an option a lot of the time, and I’m in a committed relationship with someone with a high sex drive. I’ll watch porn and I read porn, but if I’m not in exactly the right mood for it, I get bored really quickly.

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

The only example I can think of that happened in any of my fields was once I was discussing with the producer of the audiobooks I’ve worked on other types of books I’d be interested in narrating. He made some comment assuming that I’d like to steer clear of romance novels. I said, actually, I wouldn’t mind. In fact, someday in the future, I plan on narrating my fiancé’s novels, most of which fall in the category of “romance”. He then made some comment assuming I’d like to stay away from more hardcore stuff, and again, I said actually, I don’t mind. I’m asexual, I said, so it really doesn’t faze me. The rest of the elevator ride was quiet and uncomfortable.

I talked to my fiancé about it afterwards. That’s how I deal with most things. It felt a little funny. It was kind of tiring. I didn’t know how to react, really, because in this particular situation–wouldn’t that be an advantage? Why should it matter if it’s actually going to make both your job and my job easier? It never came up again. I guess we’ll see if it does if I ever narrate a romance produced by him.

5-orchard
Orchard

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

Mostly I’ve just met people who had no idea what it meant and said as much. Who’d either never heard the term or only had in high school biology talking about asexual reproduction. Luckily, most of the time they just ask, and I’m able to explain in a way that I’m comfortable with, saying this is a general definition, and this is what it means in my case.

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

It’s a spectrum. It’s a moving spectrum. Do you know how old I was when I realized I was asexual? Twenty-three. For a while I even thought I hadn’t always been asexual. But the more time goes on, the more I look back, I just realize that I’ve simply become more comfortable with my asexuality and let that color how my life is. Don’t stress. If you used to think you were straight, or if you used to think you were demi, or if you’re certain you’re into women but the idea of sex freaks you out? It’s a scale. Things change. And you’re allowed to feel more ways than one.

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

Check out my Tumblr at nrsully.tumblr.com and my Facebook page at Nora Rose Sullivan. You can find the audiobook for “Orchard” on Audible here. You can also find my more recent fanfiction on AO3 at Briar_Elwood.

6-curious-savage
Curious Savage

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

Interview: Alex Clarke

Today we’re joined by Alex Clarke. Alex is a talented young aspiring novelist. She’s written a novel and is quite a productive poet. She has a wonderful enthusiasm and love for the art of writing, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer with a particular passion for novels and poetry. Many of my writings deal with complex societal matters such as war, mental health, and religion, but I also reflect myself into my work. My poetry in particular deals with my own life and thoughts, often serving as a mode of emotional catharsis.

What inspires you?

Nature is my primary inspiration, as my mind is never as clear as when I am alone with the world. Every novel I’ve written was begun shortly after a long hiking trip with my family, and I’ve been amazed to see the extent to which those landscapes have influenced the storylines of my books. I’m also inspired from seemingly unspectacular moments, such as conversations with strangers, the way sunlight streams through windows, or the tingling tactile sensation of climbing into a hot car. Questions of science are constantly bombarding my mind, and thus often make their way into my work as well.

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

I started writing at the age of five after discovering dozens of empty notebooks in my grandfather’s dresser. I scribbled the stories down, rife with spelling errors, in multicolored crayon until my penmanship advanced enough to warrant more precise instruments. I would write countless short stories in those beginning years, culminating with the completion of my first novel five years later. That same year, I wrote three different plays that were performed by my school’s theatre program. My grandparents bought me a book of poems for my twelfth birthday, which catalyzed my passion for poetry. My childhood dream was to be a professional writer, and now, as a high school senior, I’m in the process of applying to college to make that dream a 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 weaving in subtle aspects of old legends and folklore into my work! Other than that, there are motifs that I thread throughout individual works, but not one single thing that encompasses them all.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There are lots of people who do, in fact, make their careers out of art and do not starve. I am also a young aspiring artist, and it’s been very important for me to learn that happiness and passion are much more important than any salary can ever be, no matter what society says.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and biromantic.

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 direct prejudice targeting the ace community among other writers, although I do often see sexual attraction represented as a necessary component of all characters in a multitude of books. This can be very problematic both for readers who cannot identify with many characters in this aspect and society as a whole, as asexuality’s lack of substantial presence in the literary canon can contribute to widespread ace erasure. To combat this, I try to always include ace-spec characters in my stories and discuss asexuality in my poetry.

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

Many people I know have confused asexuality and aromanticism, and are unable to wrap their heads around the fact that I can be ace while having had crushes in the past. Also, several people have asked me if I’m sure I’m not just gay and in denial.

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

It’s okay to be confused! I struggled for a long time about where exactly on the spectrum I fit in (and to some extent, still do), and it’s okay not to know. Do a lot of research, and I’d recommend browsing the internet ace community to find stories of people with experiences similar to your own. There are plenty of people out there that feel the same, and accept you just as you are!

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

I’m not currently published, but I’m in the process of sending a novel out to agents at the moment, so hopefully that will happen soon! In the meantime, I recently started a blog for my poetry, which you may visit at wistfulwordsmith.tumblr.com!

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

Interview: Dylan Fields

Today we’re joined by Dylan Fields. Dylan is a fantastic writer who is currently working on a couple stories. At present, he is working on a chapter based story that he’s uploading to DeviantArt and Fur Affinity. It’s very clear that he is a dedicated writer who loves the art. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

img_0296

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fiction writer. I have quite a few story ideas just sitting in my computer, but right now, my main project is a, yet to be titled, fantasy novel. It’s about a young boy, named Nathan, who’s found in a tent with two dead wolves when he’s just an infant. Once he has grown to be 12 he and his adoptive parents discover something about himself, he’s a werewolf, meaning the two dead wolves were his birth parents, who died in their forms. He lives in a world, very similar to ours, similar time period, style of dress, and some technology, but magic and non-human creatures are openly known to everyone in the world.

The other project I’m working on is a story called Bruce and Danny, which is about an anthropomorphic grizzly bear, named Bruce, and his adopted human son, named Danny, and their life together.

What inspires you?

Honestly, what I feel inspires me the most is when I see other people make something that a lot of people enjoy. Whether it’s an indie game, a book, or a web comic, when I see that those people’s creations make others really happy, even if it doesn’t necessarily reward them financially, it makes me want to contribute, and try to see if my story ideas interest other people. It makes me think, “Wow, I can do that! I can make something like that!”

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

Honestly I’ve always done really well in English classes, but I didn’t really get started until I met my current girlfriend, who’s also a writer, who encouraged me to write a little more, after seeing the little bit of stuff I had, and I realized I really liked writing my own original stories.

I started out just writing some fan-fiction, in high school, which you can still find on my Deviant Art page. But eventually I started thinking of my own original ideas and putting those down on paper.

I haven’t always thought of being a writer, even now I’m currently majoring in the healthcare field. But I still really like doing it as a hobby, and would love to upload, or even publish more of my stuff in the future.

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?

Hm…Not that I can think of. I am particularly partial to including bears in my stories. One of the main characters in Bruce and Danny is an anthropomorphic grizzly bear, and in my werewolf story there’s a larger bear that guards the forest outside of the main character’s town. They’re just my favorite animal, and I can’t help but put them in. That’s the closest thing to a “signature” that I can think of.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never be afraid to show your work to people, even if you don’t think it’s that good. It’s always great to get feedback on your work, that way you can improve where you need to.

Also don’t let your creative work make you lose track of your life. Everyone’s human and sometimes life gets in the way and you need to take a break and that’s fine. It’s okay to put your art on hiatus if you need to take care of some things in your life.

img_0301

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Pretty sure I’m Greysexual, currently in a relationship with a demisexual woman.

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

Mainly over the internet, none really in real life. I mostly just handle the clearly irrational comments with a lot of sarcasm, and lame jokes. But when I encounter someone who’s clearly just ignorant on ace issues, but aren’t being malicious about it, I do my best to explain what being ace is actually like, so that they’re more informed and have a better perspective.

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

That, “if you’re asexual you can’t acknowledge when someone is good looking, or laugh at sexual jokes, etc.” Just because I don’t feel sexual attraction doesn’t mean I can’t find humor in a sexual pun or think that someone looks good today.

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

You’re not “broken” and you aren’t alone. Just because you aren’t attracted to anyone, opposite sex or same sex, doesn’t make you any less valid than anyone else. This especially goes out to anyone reading this of middle school to high school age. I had a lot of confusion about what I was at that age, and I feel like if I had known there was a term for what I was, I wouldn’t have felt so alone, or that there was something wrong with me. If you’re repulsed by sex, that’s fine. If you only feel sexual attraction in certain circumstances, that’s fine too.

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

You can find the completed chapters of Bruce and Danny on my Fur Affinity page and my Deviant Art page.

I also have a Tumblr, feel free to ask me about my stuff, including my novel. Maybe I’ll post a preview of my novel sometime in the future.

_signiture_-tattoo

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