Today we’re joined by H. Anthe Davis. Davis is a wonderful self-published writer who specializes in a hybrid of dark and high fantasy. She’s currently working on a series that involves plenty of magic, monsters, and body horror. Though she has only been publishing for a few years, Davis already has four books out. She’s very obviously a talented and dedicated writer, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m a self-published writer, specializing in a hybrid of high- and dark-fantasy — lots of magic, lots of monsters, big dollop of body horror. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and working on this series for…honestly longer than I like to contemplate, but I actually started publishing the series in 2013 and I now have four books out.
What inspires you?
I am a voracious reader of fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and science/adventure/disaster nonfiction. I’ve always been interested in the process of building a world, especially in making it internally consistent and essentially realistic — and to that end, I’m kind of interested in everything. Arts, culture, sciences, religion, politics, psychology — all are important (in various levels) to building a consistent and convincing world, and the more real it feels, the more impactful the stories written in it. I do a lot of background work on critters, maps, mythology and the like. It’s a passion.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
My mother has always been a big fantasy buff, so I started reading her big stacks of paperbacks when I was quite young. Eight or so? I have a book report from that age that I wrote on one of the pulp fantasy series she read back then, complete with illustrations. Mom was also a social worker back then, so I also read some of her psych texts, and got very interested in the psychology of the characters both in what I was reading and in the proto-stories I was already spinning. I never wanted to be anything but a writer (even though I tried to be a physics major for a while there in college).
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?
Since my body of written work isn’t terribly large yet, I don’t have anything secret, but I imagine one or two of my immortal characters will be around in everything I write, passing by in the background quietly, only noticeable if you’re already aware of who they are. There’s one character who’s been with me since I was about thirteen, who I don’t think I’ll ever set aside.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Make a habit of your work — set aside a space and time in your life where you can consistently create. Wean yourself off any time-sucking entertainments; I lost ten years of my life to MMORPGs, gah, World of Warcraft you were fun but you almost destroyed me. Chew on criticism, don’t swallow it whole; I’ve learned a lot from constructive critiques, and used it to fix a lot of issues with my work, but some criticism comes from people who weren’t paying any frickin’ attention or who just think too differently to accept what you were trying to do.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I am asexual aromantic. I don’t want to be involved with anyone else’s body or emotions. Heck, most of the time I don’t want to be involved with my body or emotions — I just want to do my work.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Most people aren’t aware that I have any preference or lack thereof. In my Day Job, though, I have been nagged about my singlehood. The nags means well, I guess, but that stiff traditional mindset has caused tension in the past. I am a prickly person, so I don’t know that I handle it well; I think I usually respond to the tune of ‘naaaah that’s not gonna happen’. Regardless, I haven’t been nudged about it in a while, so maybe that was good enough.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
That it can be ‘cured’ by the ‘right person’. I know that for certain portions of the ace spectrum, that is kind of possible — you grow close to them and then get interested physically. Demi-sexual, right? But that’s not a frickin’ cure, it’s organic interest. It can’t be forced. For me, if anything, getting closer to someone makes me even less physically interested, something that two almost-not-really-boyfriends had a hard time accepting. I know myself better now, and am better at not putting my foot into that sort of trap. You can like someone strongly, platonically, without dating them or being physical. If they can’t handle that, it’s not gonna be a good relationship.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t let someone else’s professed need for you overwhelm your own needs. Don’t date people out of sympathy/pity — it’s not good for either of you. Don’t fall into the cultural trap that says you need another person to complete you. You are a complete person in and of yourself, and only you can decide how you should express any emotionality or physicality you need — or don’t need. Finally, your wants and needs can change over time; we’re not our labels, we’re living, breathing, changing creatures. Don’t be afraid of that. Explore it.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
Thank you, H. Anthe Davis, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.