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.

Signal Boost: Special eBook Sale

Hello all!

I hope you don’t mind a small personal signal boost. A few authors from my publisher, Snowy Wings Publishing, were invited by another publishing collective to participate in an eBook sale (in the hopes of boosting our rankings a little, since we were all hurt by the Pronoun shutdown). I am also part of the sale.

I am so proud to be part of Snowy Wings (I seriously can’t believe I’m part of this collective with such a talented group of authors). Not all the authors taking part in this sale are ace, but every book has queer characters. And they’re all incredibly good and highly, highly recommended.

Anyhow, from January 26th – February 1st, you can get the following eBooks on Amazon for 99 cents:

SereFromtheGreen.Ebook

Sere from the Green by Lauren Jankowski (me!): There is a race that lives among humans, unbeknownst to them, called shape shifters, those that can shift from human to animal at will. Many protect the innocent on Earth and act as the eyes and ears of the guardians, divine beings similar to gods in ancient myths.

Isis is a woman who lives a normal life until the day she photographs a murder scene for her job. When the body disappears from her photographs, Isis is determined to solve the mystery. Her investigation uncovers answers about her own past and sets her on a journey that will change her life forever.

Cheerleaders from Planet X [Lyssa Chiavari]

Cheerleaders from Planet X by Lyssa Chiavari (my friend and fellow ace author): Laura Clark thought she was just your average college freshman—until the day she saw a cheerleader on a skateboard get into a superhuman brawl with a lightning-wielding stranger in a trenchcoat. And the weirdest thing of all? Nobody else saw it happen. Nobody, that is, except the beautiful but standoffish Shailene, one of the mysterious (and possibly super-powered) cheerleaders from Laura’s rival school, Bayview University.

When girls start disappearing all over the City, Laura suddenly realizes that she may have seen more than she should. And if she wants to keep from disappearing herself, she needs to find some answers. But though Laura can’t shake the feeling that they’re somehow connected, Shailene is more than a little reluctant to share her secrets. With strange, bug-like creatures and a sinister man in a dark coat stalking her every step, Laura will have to uncover the truth fast if she wants to survive.

The fate of the planet just might hang in the balance.

Phoenix Descending Curse of the Phoenix [Dorothy Dreyer]

Phoenix Descending: Curse of the Phoenix by Dorothy Dreyer (a ridiculously talented author who I featured on my personal website: read here): Who must she become in order to survive?

Since the outbreak of the phoenix fever in Drothidia, Tori Kagari has already lost one family member to the fatal disease. Now, with the fever threatening to wipe out her entire family, she must go against everything she believes in order to save them—even if that means making a deal with the enemy.

When Tori agrees to join forces with the unscrupulous Khadulians, she must take on a false identity in order to infiltrate the queendom of Avarell and fulfill her part of the bargain, all while under the watchful eye of the unforgiving Queen’s Guard. But time is running out, and every lie, theft, and abduction she is forced to carry out may not be enough to free her family or herself from death.

https://kbimages1-a.akamaihd.net/cffe8770-fc75-427f-a107-99a1a7a983f9/353/569/90/False/let-me-fly-free-1.jpg

Let Me Fly Free by Mary Fan (a really phenomenal author who is a treat to read and should be on everyone’s shelves): Fire fears nothing. And Elaia is about to show her world that she doesn’t, either.

Like the rest of her kind, fire nymph Elaia is bound to her homeland, a forest whose borders were closed centuries earlier in a peace agreement between the humans and the enchanted creatures of the Terrestrial Realm.

But her heart is as restless as the flames she casts, and she secretly yearns to defy that order.

When a mysterious threat creeps into the forest, an invisible beast that leaves a trail of death in its wake, Elaia is determined to fight back and protect her people. But first she must learn what the beast is … and the answers lie beyond the borders of her land.

Defeating this evil means she’ll have to go outside the rules, but she’ll do anything to find the answers she seeks—even if leaving her homeland means not only breaking the law, but risking her own life.

Ballad of the Beanstalk [Amy McNulty]

Ballad of the Beanstalk by Amy McNulty (another fantastic author who should be on everyone’s bookshelves): As her fingers move across the strings of her family’s heirloom harp, sixteen-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn’t dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn’t think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn’t worry about how to tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn’t want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses herself in the song.

When Mack, a lord’s dashing young son, rides into town so his father and Elena’s can arrange a marriage between the two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the first time. Drawn to Clarion’s music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena’s relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won’t help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and for all that she doesn’t need protecting. But while she fancied herself a savior, she couldn’t have imagined the enormous world of danger that awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds.

A prequel to the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.

I cannot state enough the quality of books from the authors in my collective. So if you believe in supporting indie authors and diverse characters, please grab a copy of these books and leave a nice review (seriously, I cannot state enough how vital word of mouth is to indie authors).

On a personal note, I hope a few of you are enjoying my novels 🙂

Again: this particular eBook sale is running from January 26th – February 1st.

Thank you, everybody!

Interview: Pesky

Today we’re joined by Pesky. Pesky is a wonderful fanartist and crafter. They write a lot of fanfiction, specializing in queer relationships. When they’re not writing fanfiction, Pesky enjoys doing crafts and specializes in knitting and crochet. They sell their work on Etsy. It’s very clear that Pesky is a dedicated and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction in whatever fandom I’m in at the moment, usually involving very little romance and when there is romance, it never involves straight characters. Even my m/f relationships tend to involve at least one non-straight or non-cis character.

I knit and crochet a lot, and I usually have at least five different projects at any given time. Since I don’t usually make things my friends and family would enjoy, I’ve recently opened an Etsy shop to give those projects I have no use for a home. The completed project I’m currently most proud of is a triangle shawl I made out of wool scraps from an old elementary school finger knitting project.

Sewing is a recent addiction to my repertoire, mainly for the purpose of practicality and cheap small useful things.

What inspires you?

In fandom, my friends and my conversations with them are often my inspiration for my writing. Besides that, I try to fill absences and correct flaws in the source material. (We exist, after all, and yet, very few of us ever make it into mainstream media.)

In my crafting efforts I’m much more focused on aesthetics. I make things that I enjoy looking at, that I enjoy touching and wearing. Also, novelty. I have a terrible attention span, so I’m always on the lookout for new patterns, new techniques, new interesting projects, new challenges. (This is also why I have so many projects going at once.)

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

Actually, it’s all my mother’s fault.

She’s the one who introduced me to fanfic, because she found Twilight fic on deviantArt and was like, hey, I think my kid would like this! Eventually I started writing my own fic and poetry, and besides extended writer’s blocks caused by depression and anxiety, I haven’t stopped since I was fourteen. Now I’m almost twenty-four.

Mom was also the one who taught me to knit. I used to go to her to get help with casting on because I couldn’t figure it out how to do it for the longest time. These days I have things to teach her.

Crocheting on the other hand, I taught myself via YouTube, because my sister’s been crocheting for years and I wanted to learn this skill too. The differences and similarities with knitting have made it a valuable learning experience and the fact that many crocheted projects can be completed very quickly makes it much easier for me when my attention span is especially short.

Sewing is pretty much the only lasting gift my grandmother gave me. Everything else I learned from her has turned out to be toxic, bigoted cow manure.

All of my creative work comes from skills I discovered as a teenager and adult. I don’t think I would’ve gotten here any other way. And I look forward to continuing to learn new things.

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?

My Etsy projects all get a tag sewed on with my shop name and username on it, but other than that, I don’t think I’ve got anything besides my Tumblr profile pic, which I drew myself.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before but the best thing you can do is practice. Find exercises for practicing common techniques in your chosen medium and repeat them over and over again.

Write all the terrible awful things you can. Trust me, you’ll learn from your mistakes.

Knit a hundred ugly uneven scarves or hats or legwarmers or whatever. You’ll learn a lot.

Draw all the unrealistic little sketches, paint all the paintings in badly chosen colors, sew all the weird little unusable bags.

Do research and then try out all the things you learn. Keep doing it until it starts looking like something you’re happy with. And in the meantime, forgive yourself for making mistakes. You’ll never stop making mistakes, you’ll just learn to fix them or make them look like they’re deliberate.

And keep in mind that practice and hard work always wins out over talent. Talent is a head start, not the goal.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual and aromantic.

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

I’m lucky to have never directly encountered ace prejudice beyond the general “aces are basically cishets and they’re stealing lgbt+ resources”. But I’ve never encountered that kind of thing directed at me so I’m honestly not sure what I’d do if I did.

In fact, almost all of the close friendships I’ve made in fandom are with other aces. A funny coincidence, since I searched out fellow fans, not fellow aces.

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

“It’s just celibacy.” I’ve actually been told that to my face at a pride parade when I explained to someone that the colors of my clothes are the same as on the ace flag. I was still pretty new to the whole ace thing and ended up totally speechless.

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

Kinda depends on what exactly they’re struggling with.

In general, I’d say, find people who are struggling with similar things or who have struggled with similar things. Talk to them, try following their advice and give yourself time. Stop talking to people who make you feel guilty, ashamed or insecure about your identity.

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

I’m on Tumblr, Archive of Our Own and on Etsy. My username is peskylilcritter on pretty much every platform. My Etsy shop is, creatively, peskylilshop and my Tumblr writing sideblog is peskywritesstuff.

On my main Tumblr, I usually tag my writing with #pesky writes stuff and every other creative endeavor with #pesky makes stuff.

Feel free to come visit! And if you’ve got any more questions, my ask box is always open 😉

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

Interview: Elliott Dunstan

Today we’re joined by Elliott Dunstan. Elliott is an awesome grey-ace trans writer who works in a couple different styles. He’s currently working on an online webnovel (found at Ghosts in Quicksilver), which features an ace main character. When he’s not working on his webnovel, Elliott also writes quite a lot of poetry and he has also published two zines. It’s very obvious that he’s incredibly passionate, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Deep in the Bone
Deep in the Bone

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer of poetry, mythic fiction and queer literature, and I’m happiest when I find those three things intermingling with each other. My primary project right now is Ghosts in Quicksilver, a web-novel about a 17-year-old wannabe private investigator who can speak to the dead. The book features characters from all over the queer spectrum, and the main character is an ace butch lesbian.

I’m also the author of two self-published zines, Deep in the Bone and Home Is Where The Ghosts Are, available in both print and digital formats on my Etsy store. They’re collections of poetry and a short story each, the first centered around mythology and the second telling the story of my semi-haunted apartment.

What inspires you?

Anything and everything. Music is a big one – certain songs inspire visuals which in turn become stories. I’m also inspired by the reflection of mythology onto modern day issues and vice versa; the story of Icarus projected onto somebody’s manic phase, the tale of the Golem in a world where AI is becoming a certainty, or the story of the forbidden love of Eros and Psyche recontextualized as a queer love story.

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

Always, always, always. I can’t remember a time I didn’t want to be a writer; I learned to read when I was two and how to write a few years later, and even from very early on I was scrawling poetry in margins. Not very good poetry, but poetry nonetheless.

As far as my genres and medium of choice, I prefer to have a certain amount of control over my work, and the business practices of Cory Doctorow is probably what inspired me the most directly to do a webnovel. It’s also a testament to old Dickens novels and Stephen King’s slightly more recent The Green Mile; serial novels have always been around in one form or another. My poetry zines are a little bit more directly inspired by ‘zine culture’ in indie writer/musician circles.  

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’m not really sure! I suppose there is symbolism I return to, but in general I think my ‘trademark’ would be the clash between darkness and humour. I have a very morbid sense of humour, so I manage to find something funny in almost everything I write. A girl seeing the ghost of her dead sister is scary. A girl arguing with her dead sister and hoping nobody else catches on is hilarious. Dionysus going to the Underworld is a myth. Dionysus catching a cab and striking up a casual conversation with the cabbie while terrorizing them into driving to the Styx is bizarrely entertaining.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A couple things, I suppose. One, that the whole ‘keep writing no matter what’ phrase is true. It really is. But having a few bad days isn’t going to ruin everything. Two, your writing is never going to be perfect. But you have the right to talk it up like it is, to have pride in your own work, and to have the courage to open up to criticism and filter out the good from the bad. There’s a lot of culture around how you’re ‘supposed’ to talk about something you’re proud of, and I hate it. Be proud of what you’ve made, even if you know you’ll do better next time.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Oof. Uh, all over the place? Somewhere between gray-ace and demisexual, or both at once. Or maybe completely asexual – I haven’t been able to divide up how I feel about things accurately enough to really know. But I know I’m definitely somewhere in there. The actual label I think is less important than being in the right general area.

I’m also somewhere on the aromantic spectrum, although that one’s even harder to pin down. I just know I have a very different way and intensity of feeling those emotions, so

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

I actually haven’t dealt with any direct ace prejudice in my artistic field, but I do see it a lot on the platforms where I try to market with social media. I generally deal with it by blocking and moving on – sometimes it means I’m cutting myself out of a potential audience but I consider it worth it.

Offline, it’s mostly the pressure to put romance in my books and stories even when it doesn’t fit, or sexual commentary on my characters when it really, really isn’t appropriate. I have no interest in explaining to people whether my asexual character is a ‘top’ or a ‘bottom’. I count that as ignorance because it’s the running assumption that I’m writing a YA book, it must have something to do with sex. Otherwise teenagers won’t pay attention. Whereas what I’ve discovered is that teenagers and young adults are actually thirsting for a book that doesn’t treat these topics as the be-all, end-all of human existence.

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

You can’t be asexual and attractive. You can’t be asexual and still have sex. You can’t be asexual and gay. You can’t be ace from trauma. You can only be ace from trauma. If you’re aromantic, you don’t have a heart. You can’t be aro and ace, that’s just boring.

Basically, there’s too many to count. Asexuality is critically, functionally misunderstood in both mainstream straight communities and queer/LGBT+ circles. I think if I had to pick one, though, it’s the idea that asexuality is just ‘straight lite’ or ‘gay lite’. Being on the ace spectrum doesn’t make my attraction to men or women any less potent – it’s just a different way of feeling and expressing that attraction. And the ‘gay lite’ in particular upsets me because, if two guys are walking down the street holding hands, no homophobe is going to stop and ask if they’re having sex.

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

That it’s okay to identify as ace and/or aro. Whether it ends up being temporary, whether it’s a reaction to trauma, whether it’s something you’ve known for years, whether it poked up its head yesterday – it’s okay to identify this way. A lot of people are going to try tell you that it’s not, or that it’s a phase (and what’s so wrong with phases?) and honestly? Ignore them. Your identity is yours to negotiate, nobody else’s.

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

You can find me at moonlitwaterwriting.tumblr.com or at elliottmoonlit on Twitter. My Etsy is AnachronistPanic and linked on my Tumblr page, and if you want to read Ghosts in Quicksilver, it’s up to read for free at ghosts-in-quicksilver.tumblr.com.

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

Interview: Brandon

Today we’re joined by Brandon. Brandon is a fantastic author who is a prolific writer who has written a novel and is currently working on the sequel. Aside from writing novels, he’s also working on short stories. When he’s not writing, Brandon enjoys singing and has begun to dabble in visual artist. It’s very apparent he’s an incredibly passionate artist. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main artistic interest is in writing, specifically narrative work. At the moment I’ve got a 250,000 word novel waiting in the wings, I’m starting up on the sequel and I’m bouncing around ideas for a new (shorter) story which I’d like to get published as my debut to help get my foot in the door of the novel-writing world. I’ve dedicated the past three years to two writing-related major goals – completing my novel and earning my Bachelor’s degree in English and Writing. Like I said, I’ve completed the former (sort of, bar the publishing thing) and I completed the latter last year – I’ll be graduating in May and hopefully moving on to do a Master’s degree in 2018, focusing on narrative features of video games.

Besides that, I also love to sing. One of my major projects for a paper in my final year of my degree allowed me to write a creative non-fiction piece on a topic of my choice, so I decided to write a piece on barbershop after reminiscing about the several years I spent singing bass in a chorus during high school. I also recently joined the internationally ranking chorus, Vocal FX, which has rekindled my love of performance.

I’ve found that I enjoy visual art but I’m not particularly good at it since I only recently got into it. My favourite part is always coming up with the ideas for a scene rather than drawing it. I suppose given my writing habits that wouldn’t be surprising.

What inspires you?

A friend of mine has been with me every step of the way since I started working on my novel and she’s been the one who encouraged me at all times. She’s one of the few people in the world who’s read my novel (I sent it to her chapter by chapter or sometimes scene by scene whenever I finished a draft I was satisfied with) and she’s the only person other than me who knows the upcoming plot as well as I do. I can never thank her enough for her help and for putting up with me constantly needling her with sad plot points, and for her willingness to bounce ideas back and forth which often gives me better ideas than I started with. She is without a doubt one of my biggest inspirations simply because her genuine enthusiasm helps spark that creative flow that I need to get going better than anything else.

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

I think the first piece of creative writing I can remember doing was when I was only six or seven years old. I remember it quite vividly because it was basically a butchered plagiarized fanfic that smashed together Lilo and Stitch and a video game called Impossible Creatures, where the protagonist was one of Jumba’s experiments which was basically this horrific monstrosity of numerous combined animals. It landed on earth and ended up being worshipped as a god and had to defend its people from other creatures that came to harm them. I’m surprised my parents didn’t put me into therapy for that. I also labeled it as ‘a true story’ because I had no fear of being sued for false advertising. I also remember having a dragon phase (didn’t everyone?) and writing a series of short stories about dragons which I think I still have lying around, as well as a phase after buying the game Spore in which I wrote a lot about aliens.

So, long story short (hah) I’ve always loved to write, but when I got older I started worrying that it wouldn’t be a viable career. I initially planned to study my second love (zoology) at university, but not long after I finished high school, I started my novel, and I decided to hell with practicality, I wanted to pursue my dream. Now I’m here with a completed novel, a bunch of ideas, and my fingers crossed that I strike lucky with publishing.

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 think the biggest feature of my work is more in the background, in the worldbuilding, particularly when it comes to fantasy wildlife. I spent a very, very long time on the worldbuilding of my novel before I started writing on it and by far enjoyed coming up with creatures, their habitats, and their behaviours the most (I once had an hours-long chat with a couple of my friends about the territorial and communal habits of trolls in my novel despite them never having read it). I think this translated well to the plot, given that one of my main characters has a troll for a companion and their interactions with each other and those around them added a significant and special dynamic to the story.

Can you tell trolls are a major thing in this book?

brandon-troll-art
Troll Art Commission by padalickingood

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Inspiration won’t always be there for you. Honestly, in my experience, it’ll barely be there for you at all. But that shouldn’t stop you. If you have it, seize it with both hands at every possible opportunity. If you don’t, push forward regardless. Write something that you know you’ll just rewrite later. Draw that sketch you don’t feel confident about. Practice that song you hate. You never know when inspiration will rear its head, and if you’re lucky, all the hard yards you put in without it will force it out of hiding and allow you to make something incredible.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify most closely with demisexual but I’ve come to feel pretty lax with the specifics. I’m not sex-repulsed but I definitely don’t have any particular urge for it, and god knows where I am when it comes to gender identities I’m attracted to. Throw a dart at the Kinsey triangle and I might be somewhere near that.

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

I’ve never dealt with any prejudice directed towards me for being an ace writer specifically. I mean, every ace person has probably had to put up with an acephobe at some point, but when it comes to writing I’ve never had an issue. As a viewer/reader, though, I’ve noticed ace-spec characters aren’t really that common – even just implied asexuality doesn’t show up often. And even in the event that it does, a lot of the time it’s full of misconceptions or just poor writing, including the good old ‘but sex is so great / sex brought you into the world why don’t you like it’ talk that I’ve come to hate with a burning passion.

As for how I deal with it, I just think the best thing to do when confronted with lack of representation is to fix the problem. Be the change you want to be and write your own ace characters. Headcanon characters as ace. Nobody can stop you from seeing yourself in a character that already exists, and remember that no matter what people may say, headcanoning a character as ace is not ‘stealing’ them from another community – gender attraction and level of sexual attraction are two different things, and you aren’t harming anyone by headcanoning a character as ace or aro regardless of their gender leanings. Just be considerate to others if they express concern and keep their points in mind so long as they treat you with a similar respect.

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

This is honestly hard to pick from because I’ve heard a lot (nothing malicious but people have a habit of really not getting how asexuality can work) but I think the biggest thing is people think I don’t like physical intimacy or that I would never have sex. They could not be more wrong about the first point and I’d probably say they’re wrong about the second.

I love physical intimacy. I’m a human teddy bear, I crave contact from certain people. I love hugs, I love kisses, with the right people I could be down for anything. All I ask from people is that they respect my boundaries for each individual person, because they vary. This isn’t even a uniquely ace thing – everyone has certain levels of comfort with physical affection – but I’ve heard people cite my asexuality a lot when they express uncertainty about it.

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

Finding a label or a category can be satisfying, but it’s not a necessity. It’s fine to not know where exactly you fit in the spectrum, and in fact sometimes it’s easier to be flexible with it. That being said, if you do find something you identify closely with and it means a lot to you, take pride in it. You are who you are and nobody has the right to question that or take it away from you.

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

I do have a sideblog dedicated to stuff from my novel series – the username is chroniclesofandrasfar – but I haven’t used that very much lately. If any big news comes up, you’re sure to find me raving about it on my main blog, mythicfictionist.

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

Interview: Kit

Today we’re joined by Kit. Kit is a wonderful writer who writes a bit of everything. She writes a lot of speculative fiction with queer characters and aspires to be published one day. When she’s not writing, Kit enjoys fanart and dabbles in cosplay. She’s got an incredible love of her craft, as you’ll read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I write speculative fiction of just about every kind you can think of — high fantasy, urban/contemporary fantasy, occasionally sci-fi or Twilight Zone-style horror — with plenty of queer characters. I have been known to write the occasional fanfiction, and I cosplay as well! I love making cheap/DIY and “closet” cosplays. In this picture I’m playing DC’s John Constantine, with an embarrassingly bad temporary dye job.

What inspires you?

Everything. I’ve gotten sparks of inspiration from everything from my own day-to-day life, to History Channel documentaries and Wikipedia rabbit holes, to binge-watching Shadowhunters. I believe in actively seeking inspiration from the world around me, because it really has so much to offer!

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

I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I started reading, which was at the age of 3. It took a little longer before I learned how to write, but in the meantime I made stories with crayon drawings and Little People dolls. I’ve always been a storyteller.

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?

All of my main characters have some kind of physical scar or injury. I’m a self-harm survivor, so showing characters with scars that they don’t hide, that they consider part of their story, is really important to me.

Also, this is more of a recurring theme, but I love writing “roguish” characters — “outlaws with hearts of gold,” as the saying goes. Characters whose hearts and intentions (and hair) are good, even if sometimes they do bad things. I’m a sucker for guys/gals/NB pals like that.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just go for it. Seriously. You will think, “Oh, I’m not good enough,” “Oh, no one’s going to read this/like this,” “I’m just going to get rejected,” etc, but don’t listen to that. Yes, you’re going to write stuff that isn’t good, you’re going to write stuff that no one likes, you’re going to get rejected, but you’ll also write stories that people love. That will make it worth it, believe me, and you’ll never get there if you don’t JUST START.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual (I go back and forth between that and greysexual, I’m still questioning, but for now I think demisexual fits best) and bi-romantic.

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

I wouldn’t consider it prejudice, or even ignorance, but there is a very pervasive, and kinda frustrating, idea in modern publishing (especially YA) that a story isn’t ~interesting enough~ without romance, and the sexier the romance the better. I think it’s important for both ace and allo readers to see that, first, you can have a perfectly good story with no romance, and second, you can have a perfectly good romance with no sex!

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

A surprising number of people — including my parents! — don’t really “buy” that I don’t experience sexual feelings (or, more accurately, don’t experience them outside of people I already have romantic feelings for), because I’m a teenager and aren’t all teenagers always thinking about sex?? (Well…no, actually. I have to go with no on that.)

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

No one gets to define asexuality for you except you, just like no one gets to define your romantic orientation, gender identity, etc. Whether you’re completely sex-repulsed or you still want to have sex one day, whether you consider asexuality a huge part of your identity or NBD, whether you experience romantic attraction or not, you are ace and aces totally rule, ergo you totally rule!

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

I write under the name K. Noel Moore at https://www.wattpad.com/user/K_Moore13, most stories there have also been published on inkitt.com, and I sometimes post flash fiction on my personal (well, my only) blog at http://gayamericanoutlaw.tumblr.com. I’m also working on selling my first short story (a ghost story set in the 1930s with a gay narrator), so if you follow any magazines in the vein of Apex or Nightmare (by which I mean fantasy/sci-fi/horror-centric stuff) keep an out for me!

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