Today we’re joined by Brennan Stidham. Brennan is a phenomenal author who has published two books so far. She writes YA fiction, mostly fantasy and scifi. Her second book features an asexual main character. Brennan is a wonderfully dedicated writer with a passion that suggests we’ll be seeing plenty more work from her in the future, which is always great. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I am primarily an author. Thus far, I’ve published two books with my writing/platonic partner under the pseudonym Eden R Souther. So far, we’ve focused mainly on the Young Adult fantasy/fiction genres.
The first one we published is Angel Syndrome, an urban fantasy with sci-fi overtones. It’s part of a much larger universe that the two of us have been building for the past decade.
The other is Cruentus, which is my passion project, and was published at the beginning of the month. I wrote this one on my own, but he’s helping me with later entries.
I also do some digital art, but I have been woefully behind on that, though.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by other authors that I read when I was younger, and honestly also by my partner. He’s a very creative person and I push myself to do better with every project so that we can make a name for ourselves.
I just want one person to connect with the characters or the story and get inspired by it. The idea that I could inspire someone with my words, just like I was, is amazing motivation.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but not necessarily an author. My sophomore year of high school I was pursuing my passion for Marine Biology and taking AP Biology and realized … I’m not smart enough for this. I was towards the bottom of the class and hating every single moment. So I took the time to reevaluate what I was really good at.
It was then that I realized that I’ve been writing since 3rd grade, with varying levels of success. The year before I had written my “magnum opus” a 99 page hand written “novel” over the course of 3 months. And I had never been happier than when I was working on it. So I decided that I would focus more on my writing than on the high level academics.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
There are actually a couple.
In our work there are very few non-LGBTQ+ characters. In fact, Cassandra, the lead of Cruentus is also Asexual. I really have to push myself to find characters in Cruentus who aren’t LGBTQ+.
Another is that I absolutely love trying to mess with typical or expected tropes in Young Adult literature, and literature in general. One of my absolute least favorite is the “love triangle, how can the girl pick between her two hot boys?” We have fun with that in the sequels to Angel Syndrome, which aren’t out yet, but are currently being edited.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
The advice I’d give to aspiring writers… honestly, just write. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, or if it’s bad. Because writing is both the most fun, and easiest part. Editing is a super long, and time consuming process.
The second piece of advice, don’t edit until you’ve finished the whole thing. You will spend DAYS fixing and adjusting a single paragraph, and it’ll kill the flow. Just let that book flow out, or push that book out if you have to. Just don’t edit til it’s done. I had to make that promise to my mentor years ago, and it’s honestly made the writing process so much more enjoyable.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I am an asexual/aromantic. It took a lot of years to get there, but once I found the asexual identity… I felt whole. It was like a missing piece of the puzzle and I just broke down crying. I’m not broken, I’m not wrong, I’m asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Honestly, I haven’t in my field because I am independently published. I’m a founding member of the publishing group, and when it boils down it’s me, my mentor, and my QPP.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
“You just haven’t met the right person yet,” or, “don’t close yourself off for the chance at love.” Those two are seriously annoying. I came out to my boss because she was pestering me about not having a boyfriend and then spent half an hour trying to debate asexuality with me, and how I was wrong about my identity… even though given what she’s said about her marriage and her opinions on sex… she’s on the asexual spectrum.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
There are always people who aren’t going to get it. And at some point, you have to realize that you can’t let their ignorance get to you. Every single person is unique, and has a different experience. Your experience is beautiful, enjoy every moment that you have, and love yourself. You are amazing.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can find my work on our author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EdenRSouther/
Our author website: https://www.edenrsouther.com/
Our author Tumblr: http://eden-r-souther.tumblr.com/
My digital art is on DeviantArt: http://black0eternity.deviantart.com/
Thank you, Brennan, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.