Interview: Nathaniel Hicklin

Today we’re joined by Nathaniel Hicklin. Nathaniel is a wonderful writer who specializes in pulp adventure novels. He publishes with Sic Semper Serpent Books. His current project features a globe-trotting archeologist’s adventures and it sounds like there’s a few fantasy elements thrown in there as well. It’s clear that Nathaniel is a passionate writer with an amazing imagination, 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 write novels, mostly in the pulp adventure genre. My current series is The Adventures of Dr. Israel St. James, a globe-trotting adventurer archaeologist who tracks down magical relics to contain them so they can’t wreak havoc and chaos on the world. The first book takes place in the mid- to late 19th century, and the upcoming second book covers the entire 20th century. The character doesn’t age, and a lot of the drama comes from him trying to deal with his condition and place in the world while he’s saving the world from tyrannical fairies, evil Nazis, and crazed Pinkerton agents.

What inspires you?

I drew my initial inspiration from shows like Doctor Who and Warehouse 13, things that intersect the mundane world with fantastic elements. These days, I get a little inspiration anytime I see something that mixes magical things in with the real world, making the real world seem that little bit more magical as a result. Superhero stories like The Avengers and stories about the little-known margins of history like Monuments Men always get me going, too.

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

I definitely didn’t always want to be an artist. I read almost exclusively non-fiction throughout my childhood. The only author I reliably read as a kid was Michael Crichton (I read all of Jurassic Park on a family road trip when I was about 9 or so). I got into Tom Clancy in high school, and I transitioned into Terry Pratchett in college.

For most of my college, I wanted to be an engineer. I mostly focused on math and science classwork, but I tried my hand at some story writing on the side, just to see what it might be like. (This was when the early comic book movies like Maguire Spider-Man and Blade were coming out, so I tried to see what kind of superhero story I could write.) I switched from engineering to theater because I discovered that I liked writing a lot more than calculus, but at first I doubted that I could actually make a living with writing. Then I looked over at my bookshelf full of novels, and I thought to myself, “Well, those people made it work. Why the hell can’t I give it a shot?” That was really what got me interested in the field of writing: the realization that it was actually possible to just write for a living, and have that be a real job.

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 a particular signature element I like to use in my writing. I usually write about characters who are smart and try to solve problems without a lot of violence, but that’s mostly just the kind of character I like to read about. (That’s a good rule of thumb for aspiring writers: write the story you’d like to read.) I try to do something a little bit new with each story, just to keep stretching my boundaries and broadening my horizons.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you want to try doing art, just do some art. If doing the art was fun, do more art. If the art is bad, figure out which parts are bad and make them better next time. If the art is good, figure out which parts are best and make everything that good. Don’t worry about getting people to like your art. If Rule 34 has taught us anything, it’s that absolutely anything can find its audience.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am ace, cis-male, heteroromantic, and as far as I can tell, sex-repulsed. I might be willing to try sex for someone I really, really liked, but I have limited experimental data on the matter. I also have Asperger’s, so that puts some limits on dating.

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

The only way that being ace has directly impacted my work is that I tend not to include sex in stories. I like to have a good romance in there, but there is never anything physical directly featured in the text. The focus is always on the emotional intimacy, which I’ve always felt is the more important part anyway.

It was a bit of an impediment at first, because I used to leave out romance altogether. I didn’t really have any experience to draw from, and the stories never felt to me like they were missing anything. The story flowed logically and the plot made sense, so as far as I was concerned, everything was fine. Other people would say that they thought there should be a sex scene, and that never made sense, because the story would have to stop for the sex and continue where it left off afterward. I had to make a deliberate effort to write stories that had romance in them, but with some practice, I learned how to write stories that the straight folks could wrap their heads around.

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

The most common wrong idea I’ve heard about asexuality is that the first sexual experience will cure it. Like, the only reason I’m ace is that I’ve never had sex. I’ve actually dreamt about having sex before, and I don’t recall feeling particularly excited afterward. My favorite dreams were always the ones where I had conversations where everything I said was just the right thing to say at the time, and I came across as the slickest dude on the planet. If the conversation was with a woman, all the better. I always liked to dream about perfect chemistry, not perfect sex.

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

Probably the best way to feel comfortable with my orientation was to build up self-confidence, and the best way for me to do that was to become an artist and be constantly working to get better at my art. If anyone tries to slight me for my orientation or accuse me of being dishonest with myself or whatever, I always just say to myself, “Screw you. I write awesome adventure books. I don’t care what you say. Write a novel or two and then come back at me about being ace.” Frankly, that’s a good self-help line if people slack off my writing, too. Anyone who wants to tear me down for fun is welcome to try doing what I do. This crap is hard.

That probably sounded a little aggressive, but that’s kind of what self-promotion does to a person. Meekly polite writers don’t get a lot of publicity.

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

Anyone interesting in learning more about my stories can visit SicSemperSerpent.com, the digital home of my publisher, Sic Semper Serpent. We can also be seen in person at fine literary conventions in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.

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

Interview: Jenn Basel

Today we’re joined by Jenn Basel. Jenn is a phenomenal asexual writer and performer who writes both original work and fanfiction. They write mostly gunpowder fantasy, which is similar to steampunk. For fanfiction, they write a number of stories set in the Elder Scrolls universe. They also blog about writing and publishing. When they’re not writing, Jenn is a performance artist who works with a  theater trope that primarily does living chess shows at Renaissance Faires. Jenn’s a stunt fighter trained both with a sword and in unarmed combat. It’s very clear they’re incredibly passionate about what they do, 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.

I’m a writer. I do a bit of blogging and I’ve got a pet Skyrim fanfic I update every couple of weeks, but the bulk of my work is original fantasy. I tend to write for adult audiences, and some of my favorite projects to work on are political stories filled with court intrigue and subterfuge. I primarily write gunpowder fantasy, which is sometimes called steampunk’s younger cousin–basically, gunpowder fantasy is fantasy set in fictional worlds with a level of technology equivalent to the real-world 17th to 19th centuries.

It’s very important to me to write about the characters I needed when I was younger, so my work tends to be very focused on the stories of queer and disabled people.

I’m also a performer. I have some experience acting in more traditional stage shows, but my real passion lies in improv theatre and performing as a living chess piece at my city’s annual Renaissance faire. Our shows are based around choreographed fights with a variety of weapons. I’m currently trained in unarmed combat and swordfighting.

What inspires you?

At the end of the day, I think what really keeps me going is the knowledge that I can be the person I needed when I was younger. I can write and perform queer, disabled characters being awesome. It makes me feel good to know that there are people out there who have told me how happy my work has made them, and how good it felt to see something of themselves.

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

I started telling stories when I was pretty young. I was an only child for twelve years and we lived out in the country, so I spent a lot of time by myself. I liked playing dress-up and acting out stories based on books and movies I loved. It wasn’t much of a leap to inventing stories of my own, and it didn’t take me long after that to start writing them down.

I don’t think it occurred to me that I could write down my stories to share with other people until a little later, but once that idea got lodged in my head, I took to it with gusto. My first attempts at novels were in middle school. I still have a lot of fondness for those stories.

The acting came pretty naturally out of my games as a kid, too. I wanted to be a stage actor for a long time after taking drama classes in middle school, but only recently did I finally get the opportunity. I’m very glad to have stumbled across my current acting troupe.

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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’m not sure if I’ve developed a signature in my writing yet, but in my acting and stage combat I’ve really gravitated toward sarcastic, sardonic characters and quick, witty performances. I like campy humor and characters with a sharp tongue. My fighting style is settling into a fast-paced whirlwind interspersed with one-liners, which I hope is just as fun to watch as it is to perform.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Make goals and stick to them as best you can, but also know your limits. I’ve hurt myself in the past by pushing myself too hard when what I really needed was to take a step back, rest, and take some time for other interests. It’s easy to fall into the trap of, “oh, if I don’t create something every day, I’m not a Real Artist,” but that’s not true at all. Follow your passion and your goals, but take care of yourself while you do it! It’s not a race, and you’re not in competition with your fellow creators. You can take your time, pace yourself, and take breaks when you need them.

This goes double if your art is in any way physical, like performing!

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identified as demisexual for a while before learning about grey-asexuality. There are times I feel what I think is sexual attraction, but I have to have a very strong emotional connection first, and even then it’s pretty unpredictable and fairly rare.

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

I’m fortunate to be in very supportive communities surrounding my fields, so fortunately I haven’t really encountered it there. But I have experienced prejudice and ignorance in other areas of my life, and it can be hard. In online spaces, where I’ve experienced the most backlash, I make liberal use of the block button, and I make it very clear when I’m done talking about a subject. When I find myself getting particularly overwhelmed, I get off the computer and go hang out with friends or play my go-to comfort game, the Sims.

Fortunately I haven’t experienced a lot of ignorance offline. The few times I’ve had to deal with ignorance, it’s been from people who were willing to listen to and carefully consider what I had to say.

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

The most common misconception is probably that sexuality is all-or-nothing, and asexuals can only ever be “nothing.” In addition to identifying as grey-ace, I’m also grey-romantic, bi, and polyamorous. Sometimes I feel sexual and romantic attraction, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I experience one but not the other.

There are times I have sex with my partners, but that doesn’t make me any less asexual. And even if I never felt sexual attraction at all, attraction and action are different things. Plenty of asexuals enjoy sexual activity. Plenty don’t. But you can’t tell that just from somebody’s orientation.

The other misconception I think I run into the most is that if you’re ace, you’re automatically also aro. I happen to be both, but not everyone is. Asexuality and aromanticism are their own distinct identities, and even if they sometimes overlap, it’s inappropriate to lump them together as one.

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

I felt deeply broken for a long time. There was a point I heavily considered going to the doctor, because I thought I was sick. It took me a good while to accept that there wasn’t anything wrong with me.

What I think helped me the most was finding a community. That is admittedly easier said than done, but I think it’s really important. I started following as many discourse-free positivity blogs as I could find, and I relied (and still rely) on the support of my partners when things are really rough. I found people who validated me and had similar lived experience, so I stopped feeling so alone. Again, it really is easier said than done, but it’s so much easier to push through the bad days if you can find people who have done it before and are doing it alongside you.

I highly recommend fuckyeahasexual on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. They share a lot of great content from a lot of great people, and they’ve done a lot to help me feel a little more connected. Another thing that’s helped is finding positive representation of asexuals in fiction

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

As for my writing, I can be found on Tumblr as at jennbasel. That Tumblr has links to my other social media, including Twitter. My main blog can be found at jennbasel.blogspot.com. I post fanfiction on AO3 as JennBasel, and my original fiction can be found on Medium at https://medium.com/@JennBasel. I also have a Patreon at patreon.com/jennbasel.

My theatre troupe, the Thieves Guilde, can be found at thievesguilde.org. We perform at events throughout Florida, most notably the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire.

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

Interview: Rebecca Wittenburg

Today we’re joined by Rebecca Wittenburg. Rebecca is a wonderful playwright who writes a lot of scripts for local community theaters. She’s currently working on a project that might be a book or a webseries. When she’s not writing plays, Rebecca also writes fanfiction. It’s very obvious that she’s an incredibly passionate writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a semi-professional script writer – which basically means that I write plays for theatre communities, but I don’t make enough money to live off it.

My co-writer and I have just finished writing our fourth play together, and we’re working on our next project, which will either become a book or a web-series (depends on whether we can get someone to invest in a web-series).

I’m also currently working on a novel based on the legend of King Arthur, except everyone is explicitly queer.

What inspires you?

Honestly everything can inspire me, but often it’s things like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones – I am very into the whole medieval thing. Most of my work is either original fantasy work or based on the Icelandic sagas about Viking heroes, so I do draw a lot of inspiration from that as well.

I’m also very interested in depicting sibling relationships, as I’m very close with my two brothers, and I like exploring the relationship between parents and their children when they disagree violently on something, or something tears them apart.

The latest play I’ve written is a fictional re-telling of the story of Harold Bluetooth and Sven Forkbeard (two of Denmark’s first kings, who were father and son), and the civil war they fought against each other because Harold became a Christian while Sven still believed in the Norse gods. What was important in that story, was to keep the focus on Sven and Harold, and make it very clear that neither of them is ‘the bad guy’ – they’re both humans in a very brutal, violent time, and they’re both absolutely sure that they’re right, and above all, they’re family and they love each other.

So, to sum it up, I draw inspiration from ancient legends and myths, from pop culture today, and from my own relationships with the people around me.

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

I grew up in a theatre-family and was six years old the first time I had a speaking role in a play. I’ve dreamt about writing plays since I was about seven years old, and my dad wrote his first play.

So basically, my dad got me into theatre and writing, and it turned out I was good at it.

I always knew I didn’t want to have a ‘traditional 9-to-5’ job, and I’ve always had a ton of stories in my head that I needed to tell. So I don’t think I ever had any other choice, to be honest.

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 at least one, obscure quote from some of Tolkien’s work; the play I wrote last year had a character quoting Gimli from Peter Jackson’s film version (“I have the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox.”), and there’s always at least one queer character, even if it’s not explicitly stated in the text.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep working. Draw and re-draw. Write and re-write. Sing and re-sing. Ok, the last one didn’t make sense, but I hope you know what I mean.

Keep working, keep fighting, keep telling your stories. They’re important.

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“The Quest for the Holy Grail”

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Biromantic grey-asexual.

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

The closest to discrimination I’ve faced in my field is probably when I had people tell me that to keep their theatre ‘family-friendly’ I wasn’t allowed to write about explicitly queer characters, which I did anyway, because fuck that honestly.

That’s about the extent of it, thankfully, but that will probably change in the future.

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

That it means I can’t ever fall in love. Which is complete bullshit, obviously.

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

To not listen to what anyone else has to say about it. I know that’s hard and all – I still struggle with it every day. But trust me, your opinion of yourself is the only one that really matters, and when you realise that (proper realise it, I mean, not just nod along to my opinion), that’s when you’ll be able to accept yourself, and live your best life.

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

I, unfortunately, don’t have a website yet, but you can check out the pictures and resumes of my last three plays at vikingespil.dk (the website is in Danish, but there should be an English version as well). My fanfiction can be found on archiveofourown.org (at ingoldamn).

And you are very welcome to contact me directly on Tumblr (at ingoldamn) or to shoot me an e-mail (becsen95@gmail.com).

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

Interview: S.C. Wines

Today we’re joined by S.C. Wines. S.C. is a wonderful author who recently published her first novel (which is available at this link: http://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001147919). She specializes in YA fiction and it’s very apparent that she’s a passionate author, 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 am a writer. I have a passion of YA and adventure novels that turn classic tropes on their head.

What inspires you?

My generation (millennials) inspire me the most. I have always heard the complaints about book/TV/movies and how they could be so much better if someone explored a topic or two. I became inspired to be the change instead of waiting for that to happen. In my stories I love to add LGBT+ characters because we are a tragically underrepresented group, as well as using characters of color, and other minority groups to give positive representation. I also get inspired to tell stories with a realistic representation of women (and their relationships with other women). Additionally I am inspired by social and historical events so I can depict real and honest topics in my writing.

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

I have always loved to write. English and reading were my favorite subjects in school. I had always gotten great grades on my papers, and I even wrote short stories for fun. When I was 18 my teachers told me I needed to find a realistic career goal. I ended up going to college and majoring in Political Science (I had a small Elle Woods fantasy), but after a while I realized I wasn’t going to be happy, unless I was writing. I left school to become a writer, and I have never been happier.

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 tend to base my main character after myself. I know that’s a classic writers signature, but considering I’m not your classic person, I feel like it brings something fresh to fiction. No matter if my character is a exactly like me, I try to at least bring my personality into the character so I can personalize and humanize their interactions within the stories.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

If you honestly believe you can make a living out of your work, do whatever it takes to get there. You will be so much happier if you listen to your heart, not the people who say you can’t.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am an asexual/biromantic/demigirl. As far as asexuality goes, I am pretty deep into the “no sexual attraction” classification. I’ve never experience anything I could consider as sexual attraction, but I am not fully sex repulsed. (I call it oral repulsed, if that’s not too much information.)

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

As a writer, I would love to be able to write about a character just like me, however the commercial value of an Ace is sadly small. I find myself struggling between staying true to what I want and what would make the best story for a wider audience.

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

The classic “So you just don’t like sex or…?” It’s the run of the mill disbelief that a person could lack sexual attraction. It’s just harmless ignorance about the topic. I don’t mind explain my sexuality it all that much, except when people don’t believe it, or make fun of it. It’s always the worse when someone makes a joke about something so important to me.

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

Don’t be ashamed. It’s understandable to be afraid to come out, especially if your romantic/gender identifications are non het/cis. But be honest with yourself and be proud of who you are. It can be a quiet, personal celebration, but it’s important to know that you are valid and there is nothing wrong or broken about you.

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

I am have published my first book, a YA entitled Camisado. Updates can be found on the book’s Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook all under the username “CamisadotheBook”.

Thank you, S.C., 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.

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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: Myr

Today we’re joined by Myr. Myr is a wonderful writer and visual artist from Germany who dabbles in a few different things. They mainly write as a hobby and are currently working on a novel. They’re a dedicated fanfiction writer who writes a lot of slash in a few different fandoms, which they post on a German website. When Myr isn’t writing, they also enjoy doing visual art and specialize in photography. It’s clear they’re very dedicated to their art, 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.

I am a genderqueer hobby author and fan fiction writer, I started writing in elementary school and lost passion multiple times on the way to where I am now. I don’t really publish and certainly don’t sell anything but I keep going. Occasionally I also photograph and I used to draw/sketch.

What inspires you?

I mostly write fan fiction and some of my favourite own characters started off as side characters in fan fictions as well as autobiographical characters, so yea. I take inspiration from the original canon as well as my own experiences. I did so even before I grew confidence to talk about myself and my personal history with bullying and depression.

For photography I try capturing simple things in another perspective or engage mostly in documentary photography.

2. Carnations
Carnations

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

Funny enough, I didn’t like reading when I was a child until when my mom bought the Harry Potter audiobooks and I was like a sponge, I even could recite big parts of my favourite (book 3 – Prisoner of Azkaban).

I always was a little artistic, trying to express myself with drawings and a little bit painting but I was told way too often how good I am with words, so I started writing.

My father and uncle and godfather and cousin are all interested in photography and I was drawn to it from young age, always having cameras focused on me when on family gatherings or on holiday.

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?

As afore mentioned I tend to include autobiographic own characters partly resembling myself and partly expressing my goal regarding life choices, character traits and so on.

So it’s likely my newer OCs (since end 2016) are somewhere on the asexual spectrum and every autobiographic OC is gender non-conforming if not genderqueer, when it comes to character traits the characters don’t have that much in common if you don’t look closely, but getting to the characterisation they are very much alike.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This might seem stupid but: just do it! Honestly I started out with a fairytale in elementary school which I didn’t even research for and it was so… I was 8 at the time and a huge anime-fan, so looking back it was horrible! I wrote something about a Japanese Wadden sea /mudflat and a girl having wings as arms, I think…?

And my next phase… I am not that proud about it but when I started writing again at age 11 or 12 I was writing PWP – “plot what plot?“ – which is… it’s erotica basically.

At age 15 (2014) I created a small Facebook page which is deleted since 2014 and published bits and pieces of romantic and adventurous one-shots.

I was used to writing erotica, I didn’t know how to do action or crime… and I didn’t start reading regularly until 2014 when I first discovered the German website fanfiktion.de

By now my longest work online is 52 pages and 29,900 words long (fan fiction to BBCs Sherlock).

So yea, keep going, no matter where you start off, no matter where you pause and pick up again, keep doing what you enjoy!

3. Nico

3. Nico2
Nico

 

 

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am aegosexual (I feel not connected with what arouses me and prefer consuming erotica over actually engaging in sexual acts) and grey-biromantic

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

I was told I couldn’t write smut and border on very explicit erotica since I am ace and shouldn’t care about such things otherwise I would invalidate myself.

I mostly laugh it off despite being able to get very vocal when I am upset, frustrated or angered.

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

That no asexual is sexually active, I personally needed a sexual relationship to realise I am asexual. Attraction doesn’t equal action, sweethearts.

And we are no innocent little honey buns, not in general.

Never generalise about any group, okay?

4. Nelken

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

Reach out, get to know the community. I was uncomfortable, too.

I was certain “I must be greysexual, I mean… I can not not feel attraction, I am enough of a freak, I can’t be this strange!“

Reaching out and getting to know people on Tumblr and Facebook helped, we are all perfectly normal (as far as anything ever is normal at all) people and we are diverse like every other group.

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

I suppose my profile in fanfiktion.de is the way to go. It’s fanfiktion.de/u/Kayli+Talis

With a good translator-plug-in for your web browser you will be able to read my works without knowledge of German.

I am also working on translations (as you can see in the attached photos) and will publish at least my 52-page-work in an English version once I completely translated it.

Thank you for having me.

5. DSCN3545 Kopie

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

Interview: Shalyse

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

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

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

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

Not professionally.

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

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

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

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

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

You can find me on Twitter at xoxshalyse.

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