Interview: Sophie A Katz

Today we’re joined by Sophie A. Katz. Sophie is a phenomenal and versatile writer. She writes in a number of different forms and styles. She’s a fellow writer who enjoys writing hopeful stories (we need more of them! 🙂 ). It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Sophie Katz headshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It’s all about stories for me – I LOVE stories, and storytelling. So far, my best skill to bring stories to life has been writing. I’ll write in pretty much any form; different stories need different mediums, after all. Some stories are short, some are novels. Some are screenplays or stage plays. I dabble in poetry. I have a few stories that sit in my head and insist upon being graphic novels – I’ll have to find someone who’s better with visual art to collaborate with for those.

What inspires you?

Life inspires me. That’s a vague answer. I have a “story ideas” tag on my Tumblr with hundreds of pictures and prompts in it, and I didn’t think that that was out of the ordinary until someone said to me, “Wow, you get story ideas from EVERYTHING!” But everything DOES have a story to it. You know that word “sonder”? About realizing that every other person in the world is living a life just as complex and interesting as your own? I can’t help but see that in everyone and everything around me. I don’t see things as just the way they are – I want to know why, and what might happen next. And that’s what a story is, at its base: why are things the way they are, and what could happen next?

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

There was this dollhouse in my parents’ house – I think it’s still in the basement – and incidentally we didn’t call it a “dollhouse” because Mom did NOT want her daughters playing with dolls; we called it a “people house,” like that Dr. Seuss book. I’d sit at the People House with all of our toys, all the animals and action figures and Disney characters, and narrate their adventures, for hours and hours. It was just what I did. Before I could write or read, I told the stories of my toys. And then one day, Dad took notes on the story I was telling, and typed it up for me. That’s where it really started. After that, I learned to read and write, and started writing little books, and Mom became my editor. But it took me until junior high to really start identifying as a writer. Before that, I honestly thought I was going to be an actress, even though I wasn’t very good at it, and didn’t really enjoy it. I think because the storytelling thing was just something I’d always done, I didn’t recognize it as special, or even as “art” at all – but it was always there, and eventually I recognized it as such, and now it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Things REALLY took off once I realized that Disney World had a writing internship…but if I start talking about THAT, then we’ll be here all day.

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?

That’s a really interesting question. When my big sister was looking at colleges, I started picking up literary journals from the schools we visited, and I started noticing a troubling pattern in the works published there: they were overwhelmingly sad. I concluded then that sadness must be the easiest emotion to evoke in a story, and the true challenge was to create something that made people happy.

Bad things do happen in the stories I write, but they very rarely end that way. Books and movies that end in hopelessness bother me. By all means, kill your darlings and send me to bed crying, but give me a reason to get up in the morning! This is a very roundabout way of answering that a feature I include in my work is hope. My stories are most often about people looking at the world and seeing not only the bad that is, but the good that could be, and working to make that good come to be. I think a lot of people perceive hope and optimism as naïve, and sadness and despair as true art. It’s fine to have that opinion, but I don’t subscribe to it. I see art in joy, and in the challenge of creating joy, and in taking on that challenge. I see art in hope.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You are not completely unique, and that is a good thing. It’s a good thing because it means that you have something to offer that will resonate with other people. You are not so different from the rest of the world that nobody will ever understand; rather, you have something to create that other people need. Create what is true to you, what is so true to you that it feels like no one else in the world may have ever felt the way that you feel about it. Create it and share it with the world. And someday, someone will walk up to you, and nervously shake your hand, and say, “That’s exactly how I feel. Thank you for turning it into art.”

Also, I highly recommend learning the skill of biting your tongue and saying “thank you, I’ll consider it” to critique. It’s not an easy skill to develop. Feedback is key to growth, and while you don’t have to TAKE all the feedback anyone ever gives you (you won’t take most of it, and that’s the way it should be!), it’s good to hear feedback. Feedback is how you learn what people are getting out of your art, whether your art is doing what you want it to do to the people you want it to do stuff to. I hope that sentence makes sense. I’d appreciate feedback on that sentence.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual, usually. Recently I’ve been feeling a bit more solidly ace; my body on occasion will send me a surprise bout of “nonononono” even when I’m with someone I am very much emotionally connected to.

I don’t even know what’s up with my romantic orientation. It’s like it plays “duck duck goose,” where it’ll go “duck duck duck…” over everyone around me for ages and then suddenly “GOOSE! YOU HAVE A CRUSH!!!”

I like things to make sense, so it’s all a bit frustrating for me, but I’m training myself to make peace with the uncertainty. Having words like “demisexual” and “asexual” and “sex-positive” and “sex-repulsed” to throw around helps some. I like having words for things.

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

Nothing’s been explicitly directed towards me, but romance is such a prevalent part of the stories we tell that I can’t help but be nervous. I’m nervous that I won’t be able to write a love story that someone will want to read, because I can’t know what it’s like to be the allosexual people that mainstream romances are about. I’m nervous that putting ace people in my stories, or being frank about demisexuality, will bring more trouble down on me than good. But this is my life, this is my truth, and these are the stories that I wish, oh god do I wish, that I had had when I thought that I was broken. How could I not write that? But I’m nervous, so how CAN I write that?

Fortunately, I found an incredibly supportive feminist arts community at my university, and I felt safe enough there to read a piece about figuring out my sexuality at an open mic. After the show, an audience member came up to me and thanked me, because what I had read was exactly how it was for them figuring out their sexuality. That’s when it hit me that however nervous I was, I couldn’t let that get in the way of creating my art. People need to know that they’re not alone. And coming up against ninety-nine readers who think I’m some faker special snowflake is worth it if I can get to the hundredth reader who needs to hear that they’re not alone.

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

That it doesn’t exist.

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

…Honestly, I wish someone had advice to give ME, because I struggle with it plenty. What I do know to remind myself of as much as I can is this: your sexuality does NOT make you a burden, and anyone who makes you feel like it is can walk the plank.

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

I have an electronic portfolio at https://sophieakatz.wordpress.com/, and I’ve just begun a writing Tumblr in an attempt to self-promote – you can find that at https://sophieakatz.tumblr.com/. Go ahead and send me a message there if you want to chat about anything! Or you could contact me at http://ohthewhomanity.tumblr.com/; that’s the blog where I use the “story ideas” tag. You can also find my Odyssey articles every week at https://www.theodysseyonline.com/user/@sophiekatz.

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

Interview: Sweety Aurore Mutant

Today we’re joined by Sweety ‘Aurore’ Mutant. Aurore is a visual artist who does a bit of everything. They draw and paint, both digital and traditional. When they’re not drawing or painting, Aurore is writing and while they haven’t had anything published yet, they’re working on a number of stories. Aside from that, Aurore is also into crafting and writing fanfiction. It’s clear they’re a dedicated and passionate artist, as  you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My art is quite diverse. I would say that my “main” medium, as in the one I spend the most time on, is writing. I am working on two novels and a short stories series right now (none are ready to be published yet because I am a perfectionist) and in the meantime I work on a lot of fanfictions (I have been writing a fanfiction about a 60s movie since July 2016, it’s about 75k words long now and not yet finished. Not yet published either, because it needs to be perfect, by that I mean good enough). I am also writing on a few Larp and video game projects right now. Yes, I multi-task. When I write, I am mostly obsessed with the concepts of subjectivity and points of view. How reality can change depending on who you are. (This must be why I love Larping so much)

I also draw/paint, both digitally and traditionally. Fanart and original art alike -plants, people, original characters, commissions…-  I like pencil drawings and watercolour the most, even though I try my best to draw with ink, because it looks so gorgeous! Also Photoshop is my best friend, I spend several hours in a row often to paint on photoshop the details of something.

I also like to take pictures -mainly of plants and people, but sadly my old camera is dead and I haven’t yet found the money to buy a good one again. I have a few filming ideas too (mainly co-ops) but again, lack of material.

I also knit, crochet and sew, mainly costumes but also a few clothing items for myself or friends. I did cosplay long ago, but decided to leave the community,

Lastly, I also do happenings, of which there are rarely any picture. My next one with involve old domestic objects and plants, I will try to record its process.

What inspires you?

So many things! The people I see in the street, the world around me, my friends and their awesome ideas (I remember painting Henry David Thoreau as a hispter because of a university friend…), the Larps I play, the video games I play, the books I read, the shows and movies I watch… I have no shame about doing fanart and fanfiction, it is as worthy and honourable for me than any other form of “original” art. (Yes, I am a proud believer in the monomyth and the fact that there is no real “original” idea, and that the re-telling and the ways of representing is the only thing that matters, hence the important place of fan-work in my conception of art). Another source of inspiration for me is also the social and environmental context (I am working right now on an environmentalist happening).

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

What got me interested? Oh what a difficult question! I began drawing and painting as soon as I could hold a pen, and writing once I knew how to. I was a very curious child/teen, so I learnt to knit, crochet, sew, embroider, and I soon made my own costumes and cosplays. Taking pictures and filming came later, when I was in High School because I studied cinema and arts then, and had access to good quality material. Writing for larps came also later, when I was more inside the community but I remember writing roleplaying games in middle school already.

I have always wanted to be an artist, yes. I tried to convince myself that I wanted to do other things as jobs to earn money, but yes, even studying for a Linguistics Masters like I do now, I know that in the end, I am meant for art.

K family
K Family

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 have a signature I have been using since I was 13 or so, and writing this I realise how long ago that was, oh my! It’s a “R” in the right corner of the drawing/painting/picture, and at first I decided to use it for three reasons: it is the only consonant of my first name, it is a homophone of “air” which is my element, and it is the first letter of the pseudo I was using back then. As time went on, I also realised it was the initial of the first name of my idol and the rébus of the fictional character I relate to the most (Grantaire in Les Misérables)… two things I had not thought about at all when I chose that signature, and because of that I like it even more!

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Work, work, work. Fail, hate your work. Work again, be proud for a day or two, hate it a week after. It’s normal to be proud of something and then to hate it, it’s normal to be envious of other people’s work, it’s normal to be discouraged, and it does not mean that you are not good. There will always be people who are better than you, and people who will be worse and jealous of you. Just keep working, and work for yourself. Do it for the fun, for the art. No one will be mad at you if you can’t finish something, if you abandon a drawing or a draft. If they are, they did not deserve you in the first place. Your art should be made for your own enjoyment first. Be selfish.

Marika p
Marika

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic grey-asexual, or as I like to say it, I love everybody too bad I don’t like them. I really need to be in a very “special” relationship with the person to consider having sex with them, and I noticed that is had a lot to do with how much I find them interesting on the intellectual side of things.

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

I have, mainly ignorance, incomprehension and the same old clichés than everywhere else. When I face an ignorant person in my field that is open-minded, I handle it by helping hem understand what asexuality is. If the person is, forgive my vocabulary, an imbecile that just want to cling to clichés and not learn, I handle it with a raised middle finger,

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Silver

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

The old “you haven’t found the right person yet/it’s a phase” bullshit. What hurts the most for me is that I see such misconceptions about aces in communities like feminists or LGBT+ that, I hoped, should have been more open-minded than your usual human. I most of the time get this feeling that people just don’t try to understand aces.

teach
Teach

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

I would say… labels don’t matter, as long as you feel good. You don’t have to fit into a category, what you feel and how you live it -alone or with how many partners you wish- is the only thing that matters in the end. Sexuality is fluid, don’t be afraid to change, as long as you feel right about yourself. Also, you’re the only one who know yourself, don’t let toxic people influence you towards anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

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

Mainly my Tumblr for my drawings/paintings: The Artful DodgeR’s Tea Rooms (http://sweetymutant.tumblr.com/) because my DeviantArt has been dead for too long. I will probably create a YouTube and Twitch channel soon, but have not yet found the time to! To read me, there is my AO3, Sweety_Mutant: (https://archiveofourown.org/users/Sweety_Mutant/pseuds/Sweety_Mutant)

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

Interview: Sachin Babu

Today we’re joined by Sachin Babu. Sachin is a phenomenal author from Southern India. He writes a variety of things including poems, short stories, anecdotes, and quotes. Sachin is also a fellow fan of Edgar Allan Poe (YAY!) as well as a number of other authors. He has a site where he posts a lot of his poetry. It’s clear that Sachin is a dedicated and talented writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer. I write poems, short stories, quotes, anecdotes and many more. Writing has always been my passion; it inspires me to be a better human being than I was yesterday. I usually write stuff I feel at that particular point of time, for example, if I am feeling happy, I write a happy poem, if I am feeling sad, I write a sad one. I also love to read stuff that others have written; it helps me gain a new perspective on that particular aspect. To be honest I feel my day is incomplete if I don’t write anything at the end of the day. For me writing is like a drug ecstasy and I am addicted to it.

What inspires you?

Basically, my feelings inspire me the most. I am an introvert and writing is just a way to express what I actually am. In fact, the randomness of life is what inspires me the most. We all have highs and lows in the life, happy moments and sad moments, we have days where we are full of energy and positive aura and few days we just feel tired, what I believe is we should embrace all of that because that is what makes life adventurous. Finally I have only one thing to say, embrace your feelings, they will inspire you to achieve miracles.

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

Before writing poetry I used to read a lot of books. Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe were one of my favorites, they got me interested in writing poetry. J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King etc got me interested in writing stories. As a kid I had a very good imagination, and once I was into my teens I decided to write and since then I never looked back. I also feel my family and my teachers had a great influence on me. My family appreciated art since the beginning and my teachers guided me in the right path.

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 usually follow a strict rhyme pattern in my poems unlike the modern poetry where people love free-styling. I also add my name ‘Sachin B’ at the end of poems and stories I write.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice is very simple, ‘go with your gut.’ Nothing and no one should stop you to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, just believe yourself, work hard, love what you do and most importantly do not think of the outcome, everything will fall in its place eventually. Try to live an adventurous life.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify myself as a demisexual.

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

I don’t consider it as a prejudice but people are definitely ignorant about aces in every field. They just don’t seem to accept what we are for some reason. In my field whenever I have written something about asexuality, people just take offence, as if it’s some sort of sin but that didn’t stop me from doing so, I have written a poem on asexuality recently and I’ll keep writing, no matter what people have to say, I just don’t care, I ignore them.

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

Asexuality is no stranger to misconceptions; I’ve encountered many misconceptions about it. The most common ones are that asexuality is just a phase or is a sin. People even think that person who identify as asexual can’t be in relationships. Asexual are prudes and are afraid of sex is one misconception. The funniest one by far is asexual can reproduce themselves.

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

I only say our orientation is valid. Asexuality is not a phase, not a sin, and you are definitely not confused. Stay true to what you are, they are many people like you, there’s nothing wrong with it. And most importantly do not afraid to fall in love, have a relationship, if sex without love is valid then love without sex is too. Be proud to be an asexual.

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

You can find out more about my work on Tumblr, I have a blog where is post almost everything I write. The blog is called at iam-pentastic.

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

Interview: Jessica

Today we’re joined by Jessica, who also goes by stormleviosa online. Jessica is a wonderful up and coming writer who recently had a short story published in an anthology. She’s currently a student studying English and writes in her free time. Jessica hopes to write longer narrative forms, such as novels and novellas, in the future. She’s clearly a dedicated artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of her 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 a writer when I have time but mostly I’m a student because education is important. I’ve written a few short stories and I’m currently working on longer pieces (novellas or eventually a full-length novel). I also write a lot for my college newspaper which I am also an editor of.

What inspires you?

I don’t really have a specific inspiration for my work. Some of what I write is heavily based on current affairs, particularly those I have an invested interest in such as the refugee crisis. I also write from prompts or based on other author’s works which includes dabbling in fanfiction. For my most recent piece of coursework, I wrote a short story based on 1984 with heavily implied connections to the Brexit situation in the UK.

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

It sounds cliché but I’ve been writing since I was a young child. I read a lot of books (and still do) which helped develop my skills and it escalated from there. I’m also useless at art so being able to express myself with words rather than images was important.

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 like to write about things I am passionate about and problems that need to be resolved. Often, I try to include characters that are marginalized or misrepresented by the media to spread the issue to a wider range of people. It is something that challenges my writing but is very rewarding for me.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop writing! If you truly feel passionate about it, write about it and don’t let anyone convince you it’s worthless. If you hit a writer’s block, work around it by writing something else. But at the same time, it’s OK to take a break if you need to. Your writing will only suffer if you work yourself into the ground.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic asexual.

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

I haven’t encountered any yet although this may be because I’m not out to many people. My sexuality does make it difficult to write romantic subplots between characters because I don’t experience those kinds of feelings.

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

Mainly that asexuality is something you will grow out of. My parents don’t know I’m asexual but whenever I mention that I don’t want a relationship they tell me I’ll change my mind. It’s not a phase to grow out of and that’s perfectly alright.

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

Don’t worry about figuring it all out right this second. You have all the time in the world to sort out what you feel and if you never find a label that fits that fine too. Any feeling you have is valid so don’t worry about categorizing them all right away.

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

I don’t have much published work but my most recent is in the DoveTales anthology (published later this year) which is compiled by Writing for Peace. There is more information on their website or you can ask me questions directly via my blog (stormleviosa.tumblr.com). I sometimes write fan fiction on AO3 under an account with the same name (StormLeviosa).

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

Interview: Mady O.

Today we’re joined by Mady O. Mady is a wonderful aspiring author who specializes in writing short stories, short novels, and plays. Occasionally she dabbles in poetry, but narrative forms are where her heart lies. When she’s not writing, Mady enjoys doing a number of other creative activities. It’s clear she’s a dedicated artist with a bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a currently unpublished writer. For the most part I like writing short novels / stories and sometimes fanfiction, but recently I’ve been writing plays (because my literature teacher really liked a play of mine and asked me to write more). Sometimes I write poetry, but I never put as much heart into my poems as I do my novels and plays.

I do dabble in other things like cosplay, doodling, and origami. Dancing is also fun, but I am in no way good at it.

What inspires you?

Oh man, a lot of different things, but usually songs and paintings. I love listening to music, and I think lyrics are an important part of the experience. At times I hear a line or two of a song and immediately start thinking of a scenario. The same goes for those beautiful painted fantasy posters. They’re always so intricate and busy, yet flowing and well balanced. It’s fun to think of what might of happened to create such a pretty scene. I also like to take my different scenarios and mix them together to make a story.

Most other things I get inspiration from are other arts like books, movies, shows, comics, podcasts, etc. But I also like to take a bit from real life. Like a couple of my characters are like a couple of my friends in some ways. Or, in one case, an event happened to a family member, which helped inspire me to write a story for them.

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

I don’t know what got me interested, but for as long as I can remember I loved to write.  I’ve been told (but I’m not sure how true it is) that I’ve been writing since I was two. Although those first stories were scribbles on a paper that I would show to my mom. I would then tell her the story by translating the scribbles. Since then I have been slowly improving, and I still have a lot to learn.

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?

Ha ha yes I do. To honor my literature teacher, who has helped me rapidly improve my writing more than any other teacher, I have been putting an Easter egg in all my more professional works. It’s also a little in-joke with my friends.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Read good books and write! Write anything! Anywhere! Grab a notebook and describe your lawn. Or maybe write a poem about the silence of your home. Or the craziness of your grocery store. That one idea that’s been floating around in your head? Go write it! Then go read a good book and write it again. If the book is written well, then you will be learning from the author without fully knowing it. Some of my best teachers have been authors that lived long before I was born.

And never EVER stop writing.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteromatic asexual (with some currant suspicions that I could be demiromatic as well).

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

Thankfully no (but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did in the future). That’s probably because I am still in the slow process of coming out to those I’m close to. Also because I am just beginning to be known more professionally in my field.

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

I haven’t personally encountered much misconception. But a couple times I get the “you may not like it at first, but you’ll get used to it” idea. Which is a pretty dumb idea. It’s like trying to force you to like a color that you don’t like. It’s unnecessary and rude.

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

If you’re unsure, then take the time to think about it. There’s no rush, my fellow human. We’re all learning new things about ourselves every day. If you think you’re broken or too weird, you’re not. As you might have seen from this blog alone you are not the only one who feels this way. And if you feel nervous about coming out to everyone, then you and I are on the same boat. You’re not alone either.

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

Sadly I don’t have any official blog or website for my writing as of yet. But I do have a AO3 account for fanfiction. I’m a new member to the site so there’s not much at the moment, and I am still in the process of moving my older fics from the Fanfiction net account to the AO3 account. https://archiveofourown.org/users/JekkieFan/pseuds/JekkieFan

I also have a personal blog here on Tumblr were I reblog mostly a bunch of fandom things. Feel free to look at it if you’d like:  https://jekkiefan.tumblr.com/.

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

Interview: Amy

Today we’re joined by Amy. Amy is a wonderful writer who specializes in poetry and is currently working on a novel. She has also dabbled in short stories and nonfiction. She plays around with different forms and genres of poetry. Amy also enjoys writing in a variety of genres when it comes to prose. She’s clearly a dedicated and talented author, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Thanatos Hear Me
Thanatos Hear Me

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer. I write mostly poems, and I’m working on a novel, which will hopefully be finished in a few years, as well as short stories, and one-off pieces. I write in lots of genres, mainly fantasy, occasionally sci-fi, with some non-fiction thrown in every so often to mix it up. The poetry I write varies between rhyming and not rhyming, and basically wanders across all the poetry structures like iambic pentameter that we all learnt about in school.

What inspires you?

Whenever I read something really good, I sometimes have to stop and let my world shift for a few moments afterwards – I’m sure lots of people have felt the subtle shift in their thinking that happens after reading an amazing piece of work. The idea that that could someday be me – that I could change people just with my words, is mostly what keeps me going.

In more prosaic, day-to-day terms? Anything? Bits of books I’ve read, things I’ve heard or seen, random thoughts that get stuck in my head and won’t leave – all of this gets added to the mixing bowl, and sometimes art comes back out. I mostly draw from my own experiences with poetry, and my prose pieces tend to be more imaginative, drawing on things I’ve read or heard about.

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

I have honestly wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. I’ve still got the first story I ever wrote, in shaky I’ve-just-learnt-how-to-write handwriting (it was about a girl that made friends with a spider, if you’re interested), and I’ve been writing ever since. It feels like something I was made to do – like I’ve always had that urge to tell stories, and I always will. The idea that this was something I could make money from (not that I am yet), and that this was something I could devote my life to, was an epiphany for me.

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?

Nothing in particular. My work tends to include a lot of me in it – a lot of what I think and feel gets included, so someone who knows me pretty well could probably pinpoint what was my work, but there’s nothing specific. Greek and Roman mythology sometimes gets a mention, just because I’m really interested in it, but nothing that I would say is consistent across all my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t let anyone tell you not to do it. If you want to create something, create it. It doesn’t matter if you never show it to anyone, or if everyone you show it to thinks it’s terrible – you’re still an artist. And also, you’ve got to love it. Even if my writing never gets any recognition – if I never get published – I won’t ever stop writing, because I couldn’t imagine not doing it. If you want your art to take you somewhere, if you want to make money, or a career, from it, you’ve got to put a lot of hours into it, and trust me, that is so much easier when you can enjoy it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as completely asexual, although not aromantic. Absolutely no sexual attraction to anyone, but I would like a romantic relationship.

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

I wouldn’t say I encounter a lot of prejudice. I do get a lot of ignorance from people around me, and I have a very sarcastic sense of humour, so a lot of people would probably think I was joking if I mentioned it. I haven’t talked to many other writers about it, as I’m a kind of private person, but it does seem to me that asexuality is not widely known at all, or represented in novels, which could be caused by ignorance or prejudice, really.

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

That it precludes a romantic relationship, and also that an asexual person would have to have been traumatized by something, or that they would be completely cold-hearted. People think it’s caused by something, not that it’s just part of who a person is.

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

I would say that you can choose what to label yourself. And that you don’t have to decide instantly. It took me ages to realise that I was asexual, and even longer to be comfortable using the term – and that was just in my head. I’m still cautious of telling people about it.

Also that it’s no one’s business how you identify yourself as. You’re not hurting anyone, you’re not doing something wrong – if they don’t like it, that’s their problem. Be okay with yourself as you are. You’ve discovered something new about yourself that is hard to discover (how do you figure out if you lack something? Took me ages). Be proud of yourself!

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

I do have a Tumblr blog – ifthisislifewheresthemanual – and an AO3 account Coruscant, but I do post infrequently, I’m afraid. Hopefully, in about a year, I’ll have a book published that you can all rush to read!

To Be Afraid
To be Afraid

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

Interview: Angelique Nguyen

Today we’re joined by Angélique Nguyễn. Angélique is a wonderful visual artist and writer. She writes a lot of poetry and short stories, mostly in English and she’s soon going to start writing in French as well. When she’s not writing, Angélique does some visual art, mostly drawing and painting. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon see. 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 will draw and paint visuals from time to time, but my current works mostly consist of writing. I like writing poetry and short stories, and I’m currently working one long-term piece of work.

My mother language is English but French is my up-and-coming second language; I have plenty of poetry written in either language.

What inspires you?

There are many things out there and within that inspire me. Often times it is a mix of my current/remembered emotions, my life experiences or other’s life experiences, the aesthetics of my world, and the lessons I’ve learned from life and others. I like taking in what happened in my world and taking it apart, mixing it up, and reconstructing it again to tell stories. The influences can be big or small. Such influences can be as large as my mother’s presence in life or as small as the way the white markings fall on my rabbits coat. Culture is also a very grand influence in my life. I always loved learning something about my own culture’s or another culture’s stories and imagining how they would fit together in the grand scheme of storytelling and human life.

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

Throughout my life, I always knew I wanted to do something to express my artsy heart, even when society seems to demand me to focus more on mathematics and science. I’m pretty good at math and science but I find I will always be more appealed by art and emotion. At the beginning of sophomore year of high school, my English teacher assigned everyone to write a short story. As I was writing my short story, I realized that not every good story needed to be long like a novel. Before, I always had this idea that good writing takes a very long time and needed to fill a lot of pages. But now I know that this is not always true.

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 relatively new to my creative writing so I still need to explore what makes my writing unique from others. However, I find myself attempting to just the pen or fingers write and type away without thinking too much. Sometimes, it just makes sense to follow your gut feeling and see what comes out of it. This is especially true for my poetry.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you find there are no big themes or events you want to base your writing off of, then look for the small things. Even the small things could have a story behind it. You could make the story behind it. Write what you want to write and write how you want to write it. Inspiration always exists; it is up to you to find it. That will lead to you finding your comfort in writing.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

For the most part, I identify as a demi-sexual and bi. However, the truth is that my actual identity is very complicated. Even I don’t know all the answers to who I am.

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

So far, there is no aphobia I have encountered in my field. If I do encounter it, then I would simply continue living my peaceful a-spec existence.

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

The most common misconception about asexuality that I have encountered is that asexuality is all out being repulsed by sex, which is simply not true. When I first heard of asexuality, even I thought I qualified because I was repulsed by sexual activity. Now I know it is simply about lacking full attraction to any particular person, which is also true of me. Also, my *favorite* misconception of demi-sexuality is that it is “practical”- therefore, not a separate orientation. That is also not true because a demi-sexual actually lacks any attraction to a particular person until they get to know and bond with them as much as it takes. Whereas a typical allosexual may instantly feel attraction to this person but still take their time to get to know them before jumping into any sexual activities. That is the main difference.

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

It is okay to be or not to be asexual. Sometimes, asexuality may be permanent for one individual, but not for others. That is okay and totally valid. Maybe you know your reason to identify as asexual but maybe you don’t. That’s all right! Exploring my orientation has been a struggle for me, and it might be one for you too. However, you are never alone. All I suggest is that you simply move forward and embrace whatever identity you feel is best for you. If you don’t want any labels then that is okay, too.

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

My work is currently all over the place. But here are some common spots for posting my work:

Tumblr: 17angelsprings.tumblr.com (search “my post” or “my poems” and you will certainly find some of my poems and other works posted there)

DeviantArt: 17angelsprings.deviantart.com (you can find some written works as well as some visual art stuff)

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/17angelsprings (my current long-term writing project, Speaking My Language, is posted there, and that is where I’m compiling poems into anthologies)

Instagram: 17angelsprings (mainly reserved for my visual art)

I also hope I can eventually start a YouTube channel about mainly centered around my writing and being a writer.

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