Today we’re joined by Eileen Gonzalez. Eileen is a phenomenal author who hasn’t met a genre she doesn’t like. She has had stories published in magazines and also does self-publishing. While she specializes in fiction, Eileen has a great passion for diverse characters and LGBTQ+ characters. It’s apparent from her interview that she has a great love of the written word. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I write all kinds of fiction. I haven’t been able to settle on a genre. It’s like my version of Pokémon—gotta try ‘em all. For me, diversity is more important than the specific genre. I like writing about LGBT characters and characters of color.
At the moment my pet projects include Proper Ladies, a comedic novel about a group of proto-superheroines in 1914, and the Spring Break Sleuths series, about a group of college friends who solve mysteries together over spring break.
What inspires you?
Everything. It’s a little annoying sometimes. Every time I watch or read or play something, my brain goes, “I wanna do something like this!” Not all of those ideas are any good, of course, but at least I never run out of stuff to work on!
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Not quite always. Just since second grade. I seem to remember we were given a creative writing assignment, and then all of a sudden the proverbial light switch went off and I realized I loved to write.
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?
It’s a very rare day indeed when I’m not writing about LGBT characters. The most recent exception I can think of is Alice Jung from my short story “Like Knights of Old” (soon to be appearing in the first issue of Wizards in Space magazine!), and even then, Alice is also one of the main characters of “Proper Ladies,” which features a lesbian couple.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
There is so much advice out there about how to write, what to write, when to write, etc. that a lot of it ends up contradicting itself. Feel free to pick and choose the bits of advice that work for you. As long as you’re having fun and are satisfied with your work (or at least as satisfied as any creative person can be with their work), you’re doing it right.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Nothing directed specifically at me, but just being on the internet and being exposed to various media means that I inevitably run into the usual stuff about how asexuals don’t belong in the queer/LGBT community, or how romantic and sexual feelings are what “make us human.” I try not to let it get to me, but it’s hard sometimes. Writing helps—I get to create bunches and bunches of diverse and open-minded characters.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Probably what I mentioned earlier about how sex “makes us human” or is “something we all share,” which basically negates our very existence. The fact that the pursuit of romance and/or sex seems to be the cornerstone for 90% of all the books and movies ever made doesn’t help.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
There are jerks and idiots out there. Each time you meet one, you may be struck by the urge to punch them. Do not do this. Instead, go find something that isn’t so punchable and spend some time with it. A pet. A friend, online or in person. A video game. A fanfiction. Whatever makes you happy. You’re a nice, normal person who deserves to be happy.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I post about it on Tumblr sometimes, but my website — gonzalezwithaz.com — is the most reliable place. There’s links to all my work (the short stories are free!) as well as regular updates about upcoming writing projects.
Thank you, Eileen, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.