Today we’re joined by Annie O’Quinn. Annie is a phenomenal artist who was previously interviewed for asexual artists. However, she has recently released her first novel and is very eager to speak about it. She writes queer urban fantasy, so you know it’s going to be an awesome read. Annie is a dedicated and passionate artist who loves what she does, 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 an author and concept illustrator, meaning I write books but I also design book covers and other illustrations that are meant to tell a specific story or message. I lean towards urban fantasy in both, along with having a focus on diversity. My recently released book, The Defined Role, is a queer urban fantasy and I was also the artist of the cover!
What inspires you?
Different things at different times! For instance, The Defined Role was inspired by theatre heavily, along with the city of Charleston, South Carolina. There are many books that have inspired me, many pieces of art, and honestly? My friends. With them, I know I can talk freely, and they let me ramble on about my ideas and their excitement fuels me to the point a small rambling idea becomes fully fledged projects easily.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’m pretty sure I knew I wanted to be an artist and author before I knew that’s what I could be. I drew all the time and that was definitely what clicked first as something I knew I wanted to do. It was definitely animation that originally got my attention and everything evolved as I grew up. I still wrote, mostly fanfiction, for a long time before realizing that, oh, I can write, too! Now I would say a part of the reason it interested me, as far as taking it seriously, was the community, too. I wouldn’t have believed I could do it for a living without them.
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 hmm… I wouldn’t say I have a signature. Although, in writing, my editors can tell you how much I love em dashes. Many of them were edited out, don’t worry! Other than that, I can show the cover of my upcoming novel, The Defined Role! Drawn by yours truly. 🙂 Along with the summary:
It is said that when you die, one of three things happen: You receive an offer to become a demon, an offer to become an Angel, or you receive no offer at all.
Samuel Stewart wants nothing more than to be an Exorcist. Convinced a demon was responsible for his sister’s apparent suicide, he has strived to prevent the same from happening to others. However, he thinks his chances at fighting demons is lost once he’s deemed unqualified to be an Exorcist. It’s only when he learns of Davis Turner – the youngest person to have ever been possessed and survive – that his hope is rekindled.
Davis wants absolutely nothing to do with Exorcists. He’d much rather lose himself to a character on stage than to a demon, but his childhood possession has left him vulnerable to demons, and a risk to those around him.
What starts out as a wary friendship turns into something neither of them want to live without, but when the Charleston Exorcist Squad drafts Davis as their new member, the horrors of being an Exorcist are revealed. Davis must struggle to come out of the draft unscathed, while Samuel must go on a journey within himself to accept the truths of his past ideals and search for something to fill the void left behind.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
It’s okay to not be successful right away. It’s okay if you can’t draw or write every day, because the truth is? As an artist, you’re always working on something. Taking care of yourself and experiencing the world is part of the process of being creative. Just make sure it brings you joy first and the results will follow.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m panromantic asexual! I thought I was demisexual before learning it was more about the attraction than the willingness to be sexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Oh definitely. I’ve definitely been called a prude. Honestly, I just handle it by knowing their wrong and not engaging. I’ve realized that the best way to continue and take care of myself is to just let it go. The arguments I used to have did nothing but give me negativity. I definitely think those arguments should be had, but accepting I’m not one of the people who can really made it much easier.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That we’re cishets and can pass as such, honestly. Oh, and that it automatically means I won’t like sex jokes. I mean it’s always good to ask if those type of jokes are okay first, but I was a theatre major, I was surrounded by it. As far as passing, though, it’s hilarious because I am ace… and I have a partner who is a transman. They just aren’t anything close to synonyms, not to mention gender has nothing to do with sexuality.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Labels aren’t necessary, but if you think it fits, then explore it. But explore it like you explore what you want to do for a living, just like artists. It can change over the years, you can know when you’re born or discover if extremely late in life. Picking a label now doesn’t mean it’s permanent. People change, but self-awareness also grows. Just let yourself enjoy who you are now.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can find my author blog at annieoquinn.tumblr.com or, if you want to see fanart and mostly just my art in general, my art blog is aoqart.tumblr.com. I have an author website that is annieoquinn.com and you can find my book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46117235-the-defined-role
Here’s a link to my Tumblr post with all the different places people can buy it: https://annieoquinn.tumblr.com/post/185942115382/you-can-find-it-internationally-as-an-ebook
But also here’s Amazon for the US for a straight (lol) link: https://tinyurl.com/y5unodag
Thank you, Annie, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.