Interview: Lauren King

Today we’re joined by Lauren King. Lauren is a fantastic indie author who is working on self-publishing some visual novels. She has also dabbled in some fanart and vocal covers of music. Writing is where her heart lies and Lauren is incredibly passionate about 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.

My main form of art is my writing, it always has been. I love to pick apart the English language, finding different forms of expression through writing. It’s always been fascinating to me.

For my writing specifically, I’ve always had an interest in character-focused stories, or stories that play with genre or base plots. Generally my stories will focus more on the tension between people, even those who are on the same ‘side’ in a conflict. Villains are more there to set off a story, while most of the conflict comes from human error and all the ways communication can break down. It’s not always a cheery ride, especially when I deconstruct story types like the Hero’s Journey, but I’ll always try to bring it to a cheerier outcome!

My presentation of my writing has changed a lot over the years. Right now I’m putting my stories into visual novel format, with the possibility of drawing the images for it myself if I can get my art to the same standard as my writing.

What inspires you?

Other art, usually. Life is a great place to draw inspiration for some people, but I don’t really get out enough. Instead, I try to watch and read as much as I can! When I’m writing I’m almost always watching something in the background or listening to music in order to get inspired.

Something I don’t usually admit is that a lot of my inspiration comes from myself, especially when it comes to characters. If you were to point out any character from any story that I’ve written then I would be able to tell you what part of myself I see in them. That isn’t always a good thing, obviously, since I like to write about stressed and depressed people, but at least it helps make the characters seem more real, even when they’re pushed to their breaking point (as they often are in my stories).

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

I’ve wanted to be an artist since I saw my first movie, The Wizard of Oz. At first, I wanted to be a singer. I can vividly remember singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow with my mother as we did the dishes. Singing gradually drifted to acting in musicals, where I became interested in the scripts, specifically the characters. Wanting to become a writer was a gradual thing, and deciding on visual novels was even more so. Until this year I was wavering between writing scripts for musicals, writing books, or just keeping my writing as a hobby on the internet. I’m glad to have found a way that agrees with me and my writing style.

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?

This isn’t an intentional thing, but I have a habit of ‘getting meta’. Characters regularly realize that they’re in stories, and that fact is actually used by some characters in order to manipulate the outcome. It doesn’t happen in every story that I write, but since almost all of them are linked into the same story it is always something that could come up.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

People are going to tell you that art isn’t going to pan out, that only a few people ever ‘get noticed’. That isn’t true. With the internet, there’s more opportunities for artists at any stage of their lives to get themselves out there. Find your niche, do something you actually want to do. Don’t feel bad for wanting to be popular, everyone wants to be noticed for their art. Just make sure that your love of art is stronger than your need for attention. And no matter what stage your art is at, whether it’s a published novel or a few work-in-progress drawings that you haven’t shown anyone yet, you are an artist. Never let anyone say otherwise.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Poly/pan aro/ace. Sorry for the word-salad label, but it’s the best way to describe me! I’d just love a big house full of QPRs with no pressure for sex or romance, but still a close bond.

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

Thankfully, no, though I think that may be because I’m not very established in my field yet.

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

That asexuals can’t have sex or relationships with anyone. It’s a stupid assumption, and I plan to write something someday specifically going against this.

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

Never go into the ace discourse tag. Negativity is addictive, don’t let youself get pulled in. You are LGBT+, but you don’t have to put yourself in the community if you feel unsafe. Don’t try to avoid stereotypes, because specifically going against them is letting them control you just as much as specifically following them.

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

I have several blogs where I put my work. I have an Undertale fan-blog at http://undertalebrothertale.tumblr.com/, a personal blog with general art and music covers at http://lkwriting.tumblr.com/, and a professional blog and twitter for my visual novel development at https://freefallgames.tumblr.com/ and https://twitter.com/FreefallGames.

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

Interview: Shalyse

Today we’re joined by Shalyse. Shalyse is a phenomenal author who is currently working on a novel that features a main character who is an asexual POC and also polyamorous. That novel will be published under the name Zephyrrine. Aside from writing, Shalyse is also the founder of DFW Asexual Meetup and has a couple other blogs. Aside from fiction, Shalyse also writes poetry and nonfiction. She’s quite a dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

The primary piece I want to discuss is a book I am writing that features an asexual polyamorous character in a queer polycule. The primary character is a cis-woman of color who is asexual and some of the secondary main characters are multiple men of varying sexualities. This book will also feature aspects of the kink community as well to show the various ways asexual and kink relationships can play out. It is also based in a fictional timeline and with the characters begin from a fictitious civilization that integrates into our modern world. This is a fantasy style novel.

My secondary piece is my poly blog, lettalkaboutpoly.wordpress.com, that seeks to explore polyamory and the intersection that individuals bring to the relationship style. Similar to the way the book will, but with real life experiences.

My other blog is my xoxshalyse.wordpress.com, which host some of my poetry and think pieces.

What inspires you?

The need of visibility and education for alternative lifestyles. I know what it’s like to feel so completely broken because I didn’t know that it was OK to go against the societal norms, especially when my norms seem to contradict watch other.

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

I have always written stories and poetry, as well as I used to paint and draw. Creativity and art were my main outlets for dealing with being suicidal and having trouble understanding the illogical world around me. I recently however decided to use my love of writing to promote alternative lifestyles to give us the visibility we need.

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 is a running theme of finding and addressing the dark parts of yourself and embracing it to become whole person that loves and respects yourself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just do it. Even if you think it will suck, because it will probably turn out better than you thought.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a sex repulsed asexual. I am also aromantic and polyamorous, though I engage in relationships as bi/pan – romantic.

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

Not professionally.

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

That we are celibate and abusive to our partners for disliking or refusing to force ourselves to participate in sexual encounters.

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

It’s OK to be confused. Asexuality means you don’t experience sexual attraction. There are a hundred plus ways we can present. There is no rush to figure it all out even in a relationship. Just be honest with yourself and your partners.

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

You can find me on Twitter at xoxshalyse.

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