Interview: Kedreeva

Today we’re joined by Kedreeva. Kedreeva is a phenomenal author who specializes in the speculative genres. She has recently found that she enjoys writing abstract horror. Kedreeva enjoys exploring the different aspects of magic and immortal creatures. It’s clear she’s an incredibly imaginative and creative author who enjoys what she does. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

ART
Art

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer, mainly in the fantasy/sci-fi/supernatural genre, though I have to say I’ve recently found gently abstract horror to be alluring. I thoroughly enjoy writing very long, involved stories that hurt a lot along the way but ultimately end happily. I also do a lot of shorter, off-the-cuff bits as warm-ups or on days when I just need to get something done. I LOVE writing about immortal creatures and the technical side of magic systems and twisting already known lore in interesting ways to make something new.

Some of my more recent works involve a collection of shorts advising one how to survive in The Void (a horror landscape), a story about a person lost in interconnected liminal spaces looking for a way home, a “road trip” type fic traveling through an apocalypse, and a story about a world where Roman-style coliseum fighting of supernatural creatures against one another is the mainstay of the world’s culture that must be brought down by the hands of the main characters.

I used to do a lot of artwork, but I mostly set that aside in favor of writing. Recently, I have started to explore doing artwork with one of my pets, a peahen named Artemis (who also “helps” me write sometimes). It’s never too late to start learning something new!

What inspires you?

You know that feeling when you’re out in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere and you can look up and see all the stars brighter than in the city and there’s that pale, cloudy, white stripe through the night sky that’s actually an arm of our Milky Way galaxy stretching out into the mind-boggling vastness of outer space and for just a moment everything has a sort of eternal presence, and the void of space is looking back at you and you are comfortingly insignificant? Yeah, that. Also spite. I’ve done a lot of work out of spite for people telling me I can’t do something.

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

I don’t know that anything got me interested, I think it never really occurred to me not to be what I am. I’ve been writing stories since I could hold a pencil, and telling them for longer than that. If I had to pick something, I guess I would say that the way I felt listening to other people’s stories made me want to tell my own.

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 don’t know if this counts as a signature, but my friends tease me about using the word “sluice” whenever I find an opportunity. It’s a good word. Maybe my favorite one ever.

I think that in seriousness, and it’s something a lot of folks have talked to me about or thanked me for so I guess it’s noticeable or different, I write my stories as though differing sexual and romantic alignments are just… normal.  I’ve almost exclusively written about queer characters through my life and despite writing dozens of different relationships and first times, the problems are never about those characters’ sexual or romantic alignments. Nothing in any of their worlds forces them to see themselves as abnormal or a problem in that respect- because they’re not. That’s the kind of world I want to live in – one where I get to be a person, not a problem – so that is what I write.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what makes you happy, and do it as much as you can stand to, and then let yourself rest. I would also say, like, take care of yourself such that you can continue your craft. Sometimes that means eating enough, sometimes that means sleeping occasionally, sometimes that means you have to find a different job for a while to pay the rent or whatever. The world needs you and your creations.

ArtemisEditing
Artemis Editing

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Probably the most common species, Asexual asexual. I don’t experience sexual attraction but I also don’t experience sex repulsion. You know, the sort of asexual that finds dragons more interesting than sex.

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

I’ve never had any prejudice directed at me, specifically, that I can recall. I’ve seen a little of it here and there not related to my field, but that’s usually when I go looking for it or someone drags it into the spotlight. There’s a little bit of ignorance floating about, and a little bit of curiosity (though usually that’s been polite in my corners of the net), but I tend to ignore it. Humans are ignorant of all manner of things; asexuality is just one number on that very long list and I have better things to do with my time that fight about that.

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

There’s two I normally see a lot of- the first is that asexuality can somehow be, like, “cured” if someone finds the right person who is patient and sexy enough. I’ve seen a lot of new writers trying to write stories with asexual (and I don’t mean Demisexual, that would be different) characters “making exceptions” so to speak for another character- ie: sex repulsed asexuals suddenly becoming Into It with enough coaxing and patience from their partner. Which, you know. Not great. The other is that I’ve seen folks speaking like asexuality is a lack of sex drive rather than a lack of sexual attraction, which usually leads to them thinking ace folks are all sex repulsed (or the opposite, tying into the first point, that we are all capable of sexual arousal just for the Right Person or whatever).

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

Honestly, life is short and there are better things to do than worry about sex and attraction. That seems a little harsh written down, but it’s so true on the other side of the struggle. I had never really had a struggle to begin with, until someone else made me struggle. I knew I was ace, I told people “I’m equally unattracted to everyone” right up until someone, a good friend at that, told me “that’s bisexuality, because that means you’re equally attracted to everyone” and I let that cause me a problem for years before I realized I was struggling for no reason. I knew who I was. There were better things for me to spend my time worrying about than whether I was right or wrong about knowing who I was. If I was wrong, I’d find out eventually. If I was right, then there was no sense in worrying about it further. I know how Devastatingly Important it can seem, and it IS important to examine, but my friend, there are stories to write, art to make, creations to create.

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

I use the same name, Kedreeva, everywhere- Tumblr, Twitter, Archive of our Own, etc., but AO3 is where folks can actually find my writing for now.

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

Interview: Sarah Neila Elkins

Today we’re joined by Sarah Neila Elkins. Sarah is a phenomenal writer and visual artist who specializes in novels and comics. She enjoys writing the speculative genres and her work features asexual protagonists. It’s clear she’s a talented artist who loves what she does, 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 make fantasy, horror, and sci-fi novels and comics featuring asexual protagonists. Since 2015 I have been more active writing novels than creating comics due to having angio fibro dysplasia, a type of chronic ossifying tennis elbow that kept me from using my right hand for almost a year. I had to relearn how to draw as a result.

What inspires you?

I want to make stories that I want to read. I’m asexual but didn’t know that was a thing until I was an adult and I have tons of queer friends but, although it is more common to see LGBTQIA+ characters in stories it’s less common to see them in fantasy and horror. I want to write the kinds of tense, action-filled books and comics I like to read but with queer characters.

I also really like Nikola Tesla, so working him or things related to him in stories is fun. I guess it’s like writing fanfiction though I’ve never been good about sticking with anything else for that. Every time I tried writing proper fanfiction whatever I wrote turned into something original without any characters or worlds from whatever the fanfic was supposed to be based on.

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

I’ve been writing and drawing since I was a kid. I daydreamed, a lot. Probably more than was healthy to be honest. Eventually I started writing those daydreams down as a film script because I wanted to make movies. Then I did research on the screenwriter’s guild and realized that would never happen. Granted, that was before indie films got bigger. I decided that I could just draw whatever story I wanted to make so I got into making comics. When my elbow tendons essentially turned to bone I had to give up my comic flatting job, my comic inking job, and comics altogether for a while. It broke my heart but I was able to use a keyboard with my left hand and wrote a novel to deal with the stress and depression I was feeling from losing my only source of income and the only real job I had ever known. That book, Psychic Underground: The Facility is available now from Ninestar Press. Thankfully, I have recovered enough to draw again and even want to make a graphic novel. I’m still writing prose novels and the second book in the Psychic Underground series should come out later this year (2019.)

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?

Nikola Tesla. If he’s not mentioned out-right he or something related to him is in there be it a street name or invention. It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo’ except sometimes I make it very obvious. I also like to put my favorite number in things, 8, as well as Tesla’s favorite numbers 3, 6, and 9.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be mindful of your body and health. If your arms or hands start hurting try to skip ahead and see an orthopedic surgeon instead of a general doctor. If I had done that I would have skipped about six months of terrible pain and one ER visit. Also, remember that just because someone gets a job or opportunity you wanted that comics and prose writing isn’t Highlander. There’s plenty of room. If you get knocked down, get back up.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am alloromantic asexual.

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

In my field? Years ago a friend who helped me get a big flatting job said something to the effect of “asexuals aren’t queer” but then she worked with another friend of mine who is asexual on a queer anthology that the ace friend told me was welcoming to aces, so maybe her view changed. To be honest she kinda hasn’t talked to me much since the whole incident where she said she thought ace’s weren’t queer and that bothers me. I don’t like not having closure if a friendship is over, you know?

Otherwise I dated an artist for years and when I tried to explain to them I’m asexual and sex-repulsed/genophobic they didn’t take it well. I thought they’d take it better since the main character of their then pretty popular webcomic was aromantic asexual. We wound up breaking up and tried to stay friends but the friendship imploded when my arm trouble got bad. They said some things to me during the relationship that made me doubt myself and they continued to do that when my arm was causing me excruciating pain. I know I wish they would apologize someday but I’ll never get that closure either. I’m not sure if that counts but they were a colleague I looked up to a lot.

Beyond those two instances I have been out of the creative game for a few years due to my arm so I’m just now getting back where I can pursue jobs in both writing and comics. I have little doubt I’ll run across more pronounced cases of ace prejudice and ignorance in the future.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality I’ve encountered is that all asexuals are aromantic, celibate, and sex repulsed or that they want to prevent someone else from having sex. I am celibate but not aromantic. I am sex repulsed and genophobic but I don’t want to prevent others from having sex. I just can’t talk about or see sex for long without having an anxiety attack.

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

You are not alone. You are not broken. Asexuality is a vast spectrum within the queer spectrum. You don’t have to be anything but ace to be queer, either. There’s no real rule that says “you must be asexual AND anything else also queer to qualify as queer.” You can just be asexual and qualify as queer. Anyone who’s not cis heterosexual qualifies as queer. If you’re asexual then by definition you’re not heterosexual. Don’t listen to anyone who claims you’re faking your identity. You are the only person who gets to define who you are.

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

I just launched a personal website: https://www.sarahneilaelkins.com/
I still haunt the hell out of Twitter: https://twitter.com/NeilaK20
I mirror posts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahNeilaElkins/
And on Mastodon: https://mastodon.social/@NeilaK20
And I’m trying to use Instagram more: https://www.instagram.com/neilak20/

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

Interview: Harmony

Today we’re joined by Harmony. Harmony is an awesome up and coming author who is currently working on the first novel in a series. She prefers to write science fiction and fantasy stories. When she’s not writing, Harmony enjoys singing and dancing. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist, 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 primarily a fiction writer, although I do sing and dance. Most of my stories are fantasy, sci-fi, or have supernatural elements to them. Currently, I’m working on the first book in a series based on fairy tales. It’s been hard for me to find the time to write, but I’ve been making progress little by little.

What inspires you?

I like to ask myself a lot of “what if” questions, and see where my imagination takes me. I also use little bits and pieces that I like from other stories. Some ideas can come at random times, which is why I usually have my phone on hand to jot down ideas. One of my stories was inspired by a title that I randomly came up with while thinking about a cartoon character!

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

I’ve always been a reader, and since I was little, I’ve made up stories. When I was younger, my mom swore I would be a writer, and even though I insisted she was wrong, here I am now! I really started writing in elementary school, when we had to write short stories for class. I came up with a book about a girl who adopted a dog that turns out to be a cursed human girl. I won a small writing contest with that story, and that inspired me to keep writing.

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 don’t have any common mark in my stories, but every writer has their own individual voice that you can sometimes identify. I like to be very descriptive in characters’ appearances and the background.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep practicing and developing your art, no matter what other people say. There’s no one else who knows your art like you do. It might seem hard, but if you take a few minutes every day, you can create something beautiful.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, though I use it as the umbrella term, since I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum.

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

There’s not really any prejudice so much as ignorance about asexuality. I’ve read a lot of books, and it’s been mentioned once or twice, at most. Most fiction books for anyone over thirteen have some sort of “oh, that person’s so hot” moment. I’ve heard of some books with a canon ace character, but I’ve never read any. Personally, I try to keep my characters diverse, but there’s barely any romance, and no sex in my stories, so their sexualities aren’t very important to the story.

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

I’ve only talked to a few close people about asexuality, and they’re accepting, but the most common misconception is that I’m too young to know. I live in a city, so more people do know a little about it, at least.

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

You know yourself better than anyone, and only you truly know what you’re feeling. Other people’s ignorance doesn’t change that. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not broken, and you are not alone.

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

I don’t have anything published … yet. But I occasionally post parts of stories based on writing prompts on my Tumblr, at demonfairyprincess. You can also find me on Wattpad, sgeheart24. (I named my account a while ago, when I had just gotten into the School for Good and Evil series. I’m a fan, so sue me.) I only have part of an old fanfic there, but I plan to eventually post some original stories.

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

Interview: Georgia

Today we’re joined by Georgia. Georgia is a wonderful aspiring author who specializes in YA sci-fi/fantasy fiction. She’s currently in the process of writing a 5-book dystopian series that features an asexual main character. It’s clear she loves what she does, 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.

I’m an unpublished author and in the middle of creating my very own mermaid tail.

I write sci-fi/fantasy YA novels that only I have read. I just find such safety and confidence in creating worlds of my own or manipulating this world to fit my own design. I’m writing a five-book dystopian series under the pseudonym of Amber Whittaker, which has a main character (Aphrodite) that is actually asexual.

What inspires you?

Since I was little, my inspiration and best friend has been my mom. She supports me through almost anything and guides me when I’m sailing on stormy seas.

I draw inspiration for my writing from the world around me. I always write in public because I meet/see such interesting people and places. Several times, I’ve integrated random people into my stories simply because they brought something new to my characters!   For my mermaid, Gaia is the name of the goddess of life/Mother Earth. Once it’s finished, I’m going to be primarily using my mermaid persona to spread awareness about ocean conservation.

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

I actually always wanted to be a scientist; marine biologist, to be specific. That’s how I got into mermaiding. I love the ocean and always felt more at home under the water.

As for writing, I actually didn’t have any interest in it until 5th grade. It was a writing assignment that my teacher, Mr. Reisler, gave. “Imagine you were a scientist and you became famous for a discovery. What’s that discovery?” He emailed home and asked my mom not to help me on writing assignments. She hadn’t. The next day, he told me that I had a talent and I should pursue 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 always include myself in my books. It will never be obvious, but there’s always a background character that mirrors who I am.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up! Every successful artist began as a starving artist, and every accomplishment began as a dream. I have nobody standing behind my mermaid dream because everyone thinks it’s stupid and a waste of money. I have nobody to read my writing or give me advice on how to get published because nobody I know likes the genre. As long as you stick with it and take criticism as advice, you’ll go somewhere with your dreams!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as a hetero ace.

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

I have experienced ignorance, but not prejudice. I know many people have experienced the latter, but I am more than thankful that I’ve not had to deal with it.

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

“You just think that because you haven’t met the right person.”

No, I know that because my right person will accept me for who I am! Asexuality isn’t a disease that needs to be cured, nor is it a phase that someone can just snap out of. I’m asexual because I don’t feel a sexual attraction to anybody; man, woman, etc.

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

Be true to you. My mom is my best friend, but I haven’t told her because she doesn’t accept this kind of thing. I know who I am, and I know what’s important to me. Your sexual orientation doesn’t define you, unless you make it.

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

You can follow my progress in my writing life on my Facebook page: at authoramberwhittaker

You can follow my progress in my mermaid life on my Instagram account: mermaid_gaia_ravenshelm.

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

Interview: Brennan Stidham

Today we’re joined by Brennan Stidham. Brennan is a phenomenal author who has published two books so far. She writes YA fiction, mostly fantasy and scifi. Her second book features an asexual main character. Brennan is a wonderfully dedicated writer with a passion that suggests we’ll be seeing plenty more work from her in the future, which is always great. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Ace trainer
Ace Trainer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am primarily an author. Thus far, I’ve published two books with my writing/platonic partner under the pseudonym Eden R Souther. So far, we’ve focused mainly on the Young Adult fantasy/fiction genres.

The first one we published is Angel Syndrome, an urban fantasy with sci-fi overtones. It’s part of a much larger universe that the two of us have been building for the past decade.

The other is Cruentus, which is my passion project, and was published at the beginning of the month. I wrote this one on my own, but he’s helping me with later entries.

I also do some digital art, but I have been woefully behind on that, though.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by other authors that I read when I was younger, and honestly also by my partner. He’s a very creative person and I push myself to do better with every project so that we can make a name for ourselves.

I just want one person to connect with the characters or the story and get inspired by it. The idea that I could inspire someone with my words, just like I was, is amazing motivation.

AS Brighter
Angel Syndrome

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

I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but not necessarily an author. My sophomore year of high school I was pursuing my passion for Marine Biology and taking AP Biology and realized … I’m not smart enough for this. I was towards the bottom of the class and hating every single moment. So I took the time to reevaluate what I was really good at.

It was then that I realized that I’ve been writing since 3rd grade, with varying levels of success. The year before I had written my “magnum opus” a 99 page hand written “novel” over the course of 3 months. And I had never been happier than when I was working on it. So I decided that I would focus more on my writing than on the high level academics.

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 are actually a couple.

In our work there are very few non-LGBTQ+ characters. In fact, Cassandra, the lead of Cruentus is also Asexual. I really have to push myself to find characters in Cruentus who aren’t LGBTQ+.

Another is that I absolutely love trying to mess with typical or expected tropes in Young Adult literature, and literature in general. One of my absolute least favorite is the “love triangle, how can the girl pick between her two hot boys?” We have fun with that in the sequels to Angel Syndrome, which aren’t out yet, but are currently being edited.

CassieHead
Cassie

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

The advice I’d give to aspiring writers… honestly, just write. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, or if it’s bad. Because writing is both the most fun, and easiest part. Editing is a super long, and time consuming process.

The second piece of advice, don’t edit until you’ve finished the whole thing. You will spend DAYS fixing and adjusting a single paragraph, and it’ll kill the flow. Just let that book flow out, or push that book out if you have to. Just don’t edit til it’s done. I had to make that promise to my mentor years ago, and it’s honestly made the writing process so much more enjoyable.

Cruentus Cover Internet
Cruentus

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual/aromantic. It took a lot of years to get there, but once I found the asexual identity… I felt whole. It was like a missing piece of the puzzle and I just broke down crying. I’m not broken, I’m not wrong, I’m asexual.

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

Honestly, I haven’t in my field because I am independently published. I’m a founding member of the publishing group, and when it boils down it’s me, my mentor, and my QPP.

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

“You just haven’t met the right person yet,” or, “don’t close yourself off for the chance at love.” Those two are seriously annoying. I came out to my boss because she was pestering me about not having a boyfriend and then spent half an hour trying to debate asexuality with me, and how I was wrong about my identity… even though given what she’s said about her marriage and her opinions on sex… she’s on the asexual spectrum.

Kazun Hockey
Kazun Hockey

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

There are always people who aren’t going to get it. And at some point, you have to realize that you can’t let their ignorance get to you. Every single person is unique, and has a different experience. Your experience is beautiful, enjoy every moment that you have, and love yourself. You are amazing.

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

You can find my work on our author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EdenRSouther/
Our author website: https://www.edenrsouther.com/
Our author Tumblr: http://eden-r-souther.tumblr.com/
My digital art is on DeviantArt: http://black0eternity.deviantart.com/

NyssaHead
Nyssa

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

Interview: Ursari

Today we’re joined by Ursari. Ursari is a phenomenal artist from Slovakia who does both visual art and writing. For visual art, she loves to draw and frequently draws original characters, animals, and concept art. She’s also interested in photography. Ursari enjoys writing fantasy and writes both original stories and fanfiction. She is an incredibly enthusiastic and dedicated artist, 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.

I focus mostly on visual art – which is a fancy way of saying I like to doodle. But I also (would) like to write and take photos. As for those doodles, I like to portray my, and others’ characters – also animals! – And I also do illustrations and concept art of sorts. I prefer a simple style and find backgrounds too challenging to try to get done despite me being lazy – which might or might not be the real reason why I don’t. And as for writing, both original and fanfiction focuses on fantasy, that is my genre of choice. And some sci-fi on the side.

What inspires you?

Other people’s art – I use stories and pictures to fuel my own muse, and music is also a huge help, it lets me imagine mostly action scenes. Feedback also provides a drive. Any artist would be happy to receive more than just a heart on their work, I think – but even that is great!

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

My family says my grandfather’s genes from my mother’s side and my father’s are responsible for my creative indulgences, but my interest started when I saw my mother drawing a baby for me. That was, I think, when I realized you can put whatever you want on paper. I was so happy when I managed to draw the baby, Kubo, myself, but also disappointed, because that meant I could not ask my mother to do it anymore 🙂

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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 don’t. And as for my style, well, that still needs polishing. In drawings, you might notice I am trying for realism and use softer tones, and in writings I have a lot of dialogue and no descriptions. I think. It is hard to judge my own work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is OK to never be satisfied with your work – or love it and then not get any likes or notes or positive reviews – it is ok if they say you are doing it wrong, because you are not. Embrace your passion, hear people out, but ultimately, your art is yours. You share the art with people, you are not creating it for them. Let your art show what you feel very passionately about, what you love and what you hate – and also what you just don’t know how to wrap your head around. Let it bring joy, hope and inspiration to you and the others. I mean, these are easy to say… but worth it. Also chill. I know you are pouring a lot of yourself into your work and words can hurt, but they mean nothing. Your art is yours, but the opinions of others are not worth being upset about.

eli

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual in general – and demisexual specifically. I am not sex repulsed, but I need to feel the emotional or romantic connection before sexual attraction. I am also biromantic and I just love how the flag colors go together 🙂

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

I have not, actually. Yet. I do think I have an issue with writing allosexual characters with average or higher sex drive, though, so it might turn out to be an issue. Or I’ll just have to only write aces 🙂

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

That asexuals are either freaks, jokes, or just sick. I mean, sure, have your hormones checked just to be sure (it’s true that lower sex drive with a cause is different than asexuality, but it can be a symptom and I think that fact should not be erased, as it might be difficult to tell) – but that is nobody’s business but yours. As for the freaks or jokes mentality, it just shows how people refuse to broaden their horizons and still think in the terms of – either you are like me and with me, or you are against me and a threat. That is why good representation is so important for the community. It’s showing people that different people exist, be it in their gender or orientation or sexuality preferences and experiences.

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

Be patient with yourself and with others. Your experience might be different from the experiences of people who you were raised by and around and you might have little to no point of reference, but it’s OK. You can find information and talk to others and not label yourself – or do – and you can wonder. You owe nobody, but you can tell others or use your experience as an inspiration for your work. This is you we’re talking about and you are in charge. No pressure.

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

Well, other than Tumblr I am Ursari on DeviantArt and Ursar on Archive of our own. What can I say, I love bears.

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

Interview: Kat

Today we’re joined by Kat. Kat is a wonderful aspiring writer who enjoys a variety of different sorts of writing. She’s a passionate sci-fi writer, but also dabbles in poetry and persuasive writing. Her current project sounds fascinating and will undoubtedly be an interesting read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I’m a new writer (as well as a professional procrastinator). I really enjoy stories, poetry, and persuasive writing. My current project is a story about an alien race with a sixth sense of empathy. They literally feel one another’s emotions with them. The main character is a child, born without this sense, and in a society where emotional communication is taken for granted, emotions are rarely intentionally communicated, she grows up feeling lost, confused, and out of place. She fakes it until humans land on their planet, and, intrigued that these people actually tell one another how they’re feeling, she stows away on their spaceship, in the hope that they’ll take her to a society where she belongs. It’s still in the outlining phase. It actually wasn’t intended to be any kind of parallel; it was intended to explore the roles that empathy and emotional communication play in different types of relationships. But now I see that it might serve two purposes, because that description sounds kind of similar to an asexual in an over-sexualized culture! Maybe I’ll dig into that parallel a little more now. Who knows?

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

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was young, and I’ve just been doing it on my own. I’m always looking for advice and help. I’ve done a lot of research on the structure of the story, I’ve taken a lot of writing classes, and I do a lot of reading, all of which together have fueled my passion for writing.

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?

Well, every story I’ve written has explored ethics in one way or another. I wrote one that explored a girl’s experience with guilt after accidentally killing a family friend in a car crash. It didn’t only imply that it’s harmful to stay angry at yourself, but it also implied certain ethical responses to the guilt (how she could apologize to her family, how she shouldn’t approach the issue, how to gracefully accept the legal consequences without sacrificing her dignity). I did my best to personify her without making her weak.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

For aspiring novelists, specifically, I would say don’t start with page 1! I’ve wasted days of my life that I can’t get back for that. If outlining is too rigid and doesn’t get your story flowing correctly (I totally understand! I’m the same way), try writing a short-story version of your proposed novel, and then use that short story as your outline. That way, when you hit writers’ block, you have somewhere to turn.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Heteroromantic ace.

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

Specifically in the field of writing? Nah. I’m not out of the closet, but I don’t talk about sex like sexual people do, and whenever the topic of sex comes up, it’s obvious that I’m missing some element that everyone else is in on. So I get some unintentionally inconsiderate comments from friends and acquaintances about that (they’re either oblivious or they’re teasing). It’s kind of hurtful, especially since I’m in a successful romantic relationship already; it can feel like they’re not granting my relationship validity. But those are often people who are really close to me, so I just have to remember that they don’t intend to be hurtful. They’re just really oblivious to the reality that not everyone experiences what they do. I’ve gotten pretty thick skinned, because honestly, relationships are worth more to me than the right to take offense.

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

I’m not out of the closet, so I don’t see any misconceptions about the term, but I see misconceptions about my disinterest in sex. If I actually express disinterest in sex, I almost always get one of the following: “You’ll get there eventually!” “That’s just because you haven’t been exposed yet.” (That one is far from true). “You’ll meet the right person eventually!” The problem is that I can’t really correct those misconceptions, because I’m not out. Without using the label, it’s hard to say “actually, there are people who grow up without ever experiencing sexual attraction. It’s a valid reality.” So I tend to just forgive and move on. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll come out.

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

If you feel like you’re missing something when it comes to sexuality, like everyone else is sharing a common experience that you don’t have, then odds are, your gut is right. Trust it! I wondered for a while if everyone was just making sexual attraction seem bigger than it really is, and if I was experiencing it but not exaggerating it like they were. I was wrong! If you feel like you’re different, you probably are, and that’s a good thing, so don’t be afraid of it 🙂

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

I haven’t published anything yet, but I plan to write an asexual story, and when I do, I’ll put it on my blog acesareroyaltytoo. If I actually get some interest in that, I might post some unasexual related stories on a different blog! It’ll all just depend on whether people seem to want to read it.

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