Today we’re joined by Maxine Janerka. Maxine is a wonderful author who currently has one novel out, the first in a series, which features an ace main character. Maxine is definitely a writer and it clearly shows: she simply can’t stop writing (which is a good thing, because we always need more ace authors). Aside from her original work, Maxine also writes a ton of fanfiction. Like I said: definitely a writer 🙂 My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I write! I write a slightly ridiculous amount, because it’s both something I love and my job. In terms of things I publish, I write mystery and fantasy books– I only have one out right now, but it’s the first in a series and I have completed drafts through book four in that series, as well as two unrelated standalone books. And the fanfic– can’t forget the piles upon piles of fanfic.
What inspires you?
Sometimes I see a piece of media and I think I can write the same plot only better, so that’s what I end up doing. That may make most of my stuff glorified fanwork, honestly, but everything is a fanwork of something on some level, right? Right.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I always told and made up stories, ever since I was little. The transition from talking my mom’s ear off to writing things down was a bit rough, but I’ve pretty much done something like this all my life.
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 think I have anything like that, but I may just be unaware of it. Though, entirely too many of my characters have yellow eyes, if that counts, and I’m sure I have my four or five favorite character tropes that crop up more often than they ought to.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
If you enjoy doing An Art(tm), keep on doing it even if you think you suck. I’m not going to say you don’t suck, because at some point we all suck, but the only way to suck less is to keep doing the thing. I’ll use myself as an example, I suppose.
I found a story I wrote when I was in 7th grade, and let me tell you– the plot is ridiculous, the characters are flat, the prose is purple, the foreshadowing feels like blunt force trauma to the cranium, and I’d saddled my poor protagonist with the name Zane Ravencroft. It’s awful. It’s also where I learned to work with multiple viewpoints, developed multiple female characters with distinct personalities, practiced my world-building, and researched armor and shipbuilding in the Middle Ages. I literally would not be able to write what I write now without having written that. It still sucks, like, objectively, but the fact that I wrote it taught me so much.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m aro-ace, which is to say that I don’t experience (or at least, haven’t experienced) romantic or sexual attraction.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Not… really? Ignorance more than prejudice, I suppose. People assume I have a boyfriend (or a girlfriend) or something like that. It doesn’t come up much, except maybe when people suggest my stories would benefit from a dash more romance and the like.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
… I do not actually photosynthesize, despite having had green hair for a while. Jokes aside, it really seems like most of the people I encounter don’t know what asexuality is, and thus don’t have any thoughts about it at all, right or wrong.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
I don’t think I have any place giving this sort of advice, honestly, because I haven’t really struggled with anything orientation-wise. I had a smooth and rather boring ride of it, actually. I guess what I can say is that no matter how alone you may feel, there are other people just like you out there, and there’s a high probability that you’ll meet them, either in-person or online, because there really is a lot of us out there.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, Maxine, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.