Today we’re joined by Hannah. Hannah is a phenomenal fanartist who writes fanfiction. She has dabbled in a number of fandoms including Miraculous Ladybug and Voltron. When she’s not writing fanfiction, Hannah also has a few original novellas that she’s working on. She’s clearly a dedicated and passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a fanfiction writer, but I’ve kind of put that on hold for a while as I work on my university senior thesis, and my other original ideas. My earliest fandom was the anime One Piece, but I’ve written for Detective Conan, Miraculous Ladybug and Voltron: Legendary Defender, too. My original story is still in its early stages, only about five chapters in, but it’s coming along.
What inspires you?
Reading other people’s fanfictions, actually. Whenever I’m in a slump I go and reread my favorite OTP fics and tell myself that if they can publish a 50k fanfic, for free, then I can eek out a few more pages of a chapter. Also going back and reading comments on my older stories; I occasionally get a comment on my old stuff on fanfiction.net and every time I’m stunned that someone dug around and found this unfinished Detective Conan fic in the depths of an ancient website, but it still makes me happy whenever I look at those comments.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I guess read a lot when I was a kid, and wrote short (and honestly very bad) stories on notebook paper. I went abroad with this program called People to People, and I met a girl there with whom I would roleplay this kind of Avatar: Last Airbender-esque game. The story was so good I wrote it down. It never went anywhere, but the 15 or so chapters I still have it on a flash drive somewhere haha. Around that time I was really into cartoons and anime, and discovered fanfiction.net. I read other people’s stories and AUs, and started to create my own. I didn’t start writing original stuff until high school, and though I have a lot of dropped projects, I think the one I’m working on now will be a keeper.
I don’t really want to be a writer in the future though; I’m planning on going into linguistics and East Asia Studies, so anything I do publish will likely be academic. But just because I’m publishing non-fiction doesn’t mean I can’t write fiction for fun!
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?
Hehe, none that I can think of!
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
READ. I don’t care if it’s novellas, classical literature, or more fanfiction, just read. It will constantly give you new ideas and ways of thinking and describing, and you might find yourself adopting and adapting ideas, which is totally okay (as long as it’s not blatant plagiarizing lol).
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m a heteromantic asexual, though I’m kind of somewhere between demi and ace. I have little to no sex drive but might be willing to do some things with someone I’ve been with for a while without actually doing it, y’know?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Luckily my parents were accepting of my sexuality, though my Mom frets sometimes that she feels like I’m “missing out,” and I tell her in return that “I can’t miss what I never had.” My university is also very accepting, so no problems there.
It’s when I try to get into the dating world where I find a lot of trouble. Whenever I tell a guy I’m interested in that I’m ace, the most common question I get is “So are you a virgin,” which is honestly one of the worst things to ask a person. I actually have an Asexuality FAQ note on my phone that I send/show to people to avoid going through the same “What is asexuality?” conversation again, lol. I have yet to find an asexual guy in my area though (Ay, near Milwaukee, WI!)
Some of the guys think they can handle the whole “no sex” thing, but end up leaving after about two weeks. It’s routine, but also quite hard on me emotionally. Handling and re-convincing myself that I am valid is the hard part: Am I that unattractive that this person doesn’t want to even try? No, you’re beautiful. Do I wish that I wasn’t asexual? Sometimes. But I think that being asexual has its perks, like communities like this online.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Speaking of my Asexuality FAQ, one question on there is pretty common (besides the virginity one): does everything work? And it just makes me laugh at this point. I can have sex, I just don’t want to. (A funny question I got once was: “So do you reproduce by cloning like plants?” and I responded “That makes about as much sense as saying your nose is running when it has no feet.”)
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It’s normal. Maybe no one label works for you. I’m almost 22 years old now, and only just last year understood that I was floating in between demisexual and plain ole asexual, so really there’s no shame in calling yourself one thing and deciding later that something else makes more sense, no matter how long it takes you. Take your time. It’s hard to be on the aspec in a world that is obsessed with sex, but you come out the other side stronger for it. Don’t feel pressured to have sex because it’s what society expects of you. I almost fell victim to that kind of mentality, and really screwed with my mental health the first few years of university. Raise your ace flag high!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My Archive of our Own name is 1004_Angel, and if you want to read my really old stuff from fanfiction.net, that’s 1004-Angel (with a dash instead of an underscore; fair warning, I don’t remember what is on there at all, so browse at your own risk!). I also have some one-shots on my Tumblr at the-noble-idiot (tag: Hannah Writes) and other ace positivity things (tag: acengers assemble). My original stuff isn’t online, but if you like I can send you the first chapter, just message me on Tumblr! ;D
Thank you, Hannah, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.