Interview: Jordan S. Brock

Today we’re joined by Jordan S. Brock, who also goes by Kryptaria. Jordan is a wonderful author who specializes in queer romance. She writes both original work and fanfiction. Jordan is currently working on a book she describes as “a kinky m/m asexual romance.” She is obviously an incredibly passionate writer, 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’ve been writing all my life, though I spent forty-plus years trying and failing to muster the courage to submit to a publishing slush pile. For years, I read and wrote sci-fi/fantasy. Then I found fanfiction and fell in love with romance in fanfic — which is strange. I was never able to connect to mainstream romance, to the point where I could reasonably say I hated romance novels.

But romance in fanfic is a different creature altogether. As at earlgreytea68 says here [http://anauthorandherservicedog.tumblr.com/post/159134116719/on-fanfic-emotional-continuity]:

“[F]anfiction has nothing to do with using other people’s characters, it’s just a character-driven *genre* that is so character-driven that it can be more effective to use other people’s characters because then we can really get the impact of the storyteller’s message but I feel like it could also be not using other people’s characters, just a more character-driven story. Like, I feel like my original stuff–the novellas I have up on AO3, the draft I just finished–are probably really fanfiction, even though they’re original, because they’re hitting fanfic beats.”

This is the original fic I write. It’s marketed as romance, and the focus is on a happily-ever-after ending, but the romance is organic. It grows step-by-step, as true to the characters’ motivation as I can get, without heavy-handed external machinations to cram the characters together.

My first published romance novel, The Longest Night, is actually a nearly word-for-word copy of my Sherlock (BBC) fanfic, Northwest Passage [http://archiveofourown.org/works/531662/chapters/943040]. After I posted NWP, a senior editor at Sourcebooks contacted me on Twitter and asked if I’d be willing to scrub the fic and change it from m/m to m/f. After forty years of wanting to see my name in print, I agreed and signed a two-book contract.

Never let anyone say that fanfic isn’t real writing!

These days, though, I’m much happier to be writing queer romance. In October 2016, at Riptide Publishing released Change of Address [http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/change-of-address], an #ownvoices story about PTSD, a service dog, and a Jewish character — who, unlike me, is a fantastic cook. The sequel, tentatively titled Building Bridges, will be written as soon as my brain cooperates.

COA Book cover from Riptide

For now, I’m very excited to be working on a kinky asexual m/m romance. It’s an awesome challenge, writing an asexual character who’s sex-neutral (bordering on sex-repulsed) but also has a mile-wide dominant streak. He’s learned to navigate kinky spaces in various ways, both healthy and unhealthy, but he’s never found his happily ever after — until now, though it doesn’t come without a whole lot of stumbling blocks in the way. I hope to have the first draft done before May 2017 so the book can be released this year, but no guarantees. Real life keeps getting in the way!

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

I’ve always needed to write, for my own mental health. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between periods when I don’t write and times when I’m depressed or unhealthy.

As for inspiration, these days I look to the unusual romances: ones that sneak up on people from unexpected connections, ones that are realistic, ones that don’t fix the world or cure a character’s problems but that make life a little happier for everyone involved.

That’s what I love about queer romance. I’m not shoehorning or stereotyping my characters into “male” or “female” roles as they’ve become traditionally defined in the romance genre. I can let my characters develop as they will, without fear that an editor will redline a character because of breaking those gender-based molds.

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?

Animals! I tend to sneak in animals, especially dogs or cats, wherever I can, because they’re so important in my own life. I have a service dog for PTSD — two, actually, since my senior service dog, Darian, has retired due to bad hips and I’m now working with Bucky, my service dog in training. Isn’t he gorgeous?

Bucky 39

In Change of Address, I gave Michael, who also has PTSD (from combat), a service dog named Kaylee. She’s a German Shepherd Dog who’s a mix, in temperament, of Bucky and Darian. She’s not perfect, but she’s the steady rock that Michael needs to anchor himself as he finds his way in the civilian world — and the reason that he and Josh eventually end up together.

COA tumblr header

In my next book, one of the characters has an adopted greyhound. She offers her human unconditional love in exchange for long naps on the sofa. Really, what more could a person want? And I have plans for a golden retriever puppy to take a starring role in Building Bridges.

My fanfics, whether solo- or co-written, also tend to have pets of various types, whether it’s a pair of ferrets, a basket of kittens, or an over-dramatic saluki.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Remind yourself that art isn’t a zero-sum game. Other artists aren’t your competition — they’re your colleagues. Cheer their successes, because every successful artist brings new consumers into the fold, whether it’s a Big Name Fan writing a breakaway hit fanfic and bringing in new readers who eventually discover your fics or a New York Times bestselling author bringing new readers into the sub-genre in which you write. Yes, sometimes success is a matter of luck, of connections, of timing, but mostly success is a matter of talent and hard work.

Consume other art in your chosen field. If you’re a writer, read all the books you can in your genre — and a few in related genres. For example, I’ve learned a whole lot about writing humor in romance by reading historical m/f romances, even though I don’t think I’ll ever write a historical.

Study the market if you want to turn your art into a career. Learn the formulas and what made the big names successful. Study the fundamentals. Learn all the rules, whether grammar or color theory or whatever applies to your art. You can’t know which rules to break until you have a deep understanding of those rules.

Then feel free to break the rules. Be true to the art you create. You’ll find a market somewhere.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

These days, I come closest to identifying as autochorissexual.

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

I’m fortunate that I haven’t, though I suspect that’s because I’m working with publishing professionals who are from all over the queer spectrum, including an ace senior editor.

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

Any sentence that includes the words “all aces” is bound to be 1) “commonly” believed or taken to be true and 2) actually flat-out wrong.

When it comes to my next book, I’m actually bracing for backlash from outside the ace community from people telling me I can’t write a kinky asexual character because “all aces” don’t like sex and therefore can’t be kinky.

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

A few things:

  1. “All aces” don’t exist. Every asexual person is different. Sex-positive, sex-neutral, sex-repulsed. Kinky, vanilla, or none of the above. Masturbates or doesn’t. Experiences arousal under whatever circumstances or none at all.
  2. If someone tells you “you can’t be ace because…” or “you’re not a real ace because…” walk away and don’t look back. Nobody elected these gatekeepers, and nobody has a lock on knowing everything about asexuality — not even other aces. We all live in a continuous state of self-discovery, from the day we’re born until the day we die.
  3. And that means sometimes you change, whether from biology or circumstance or because you simply learned a new word that comes closer to resonating with who you really are inside. There was a time I identified as het, then bi, then pan, then gray-ace, then demi-ace, then back to gray-ace/aro. It took me something like 43 years to get where I am now, and that doesn’t mean it won’t change again. That’s okay!

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

These days, I tend to be most active on my Twitter, https://twitter.com/jordansbrock/ for original work or pictures of Bucky. I’m terrible at keeping up my website, jordansbrock.com, even though it’s a Tumblr. You’d think it’d be easy!

My Riptide Publishing author page will also have a link to all books I’ve released through them. http://riptidepublishing.com/authors/jordan-s-brock

For fanfic, my work is all available on AO3 at http://archiveofourown.org/users/Kryptaria/works and my Tumblr, at kryptaria, is full of inspirational pictures. These days, it’s mostly Marvel Cinematic Universe. I keep my James Bond stuff at kryptaria00Q and post random writing/service dog bits at anauthorandherservicedog.

Thank you, Jordan, for participating in this interview and this project. It is very much appreciated.

Signal Boost: “Albenzauber“

Hello all!

I’ve got a special signal boost today. Carmilla DeWinter is an author who did an interview with Asexual Artists a while back (Tumblr & WordPress). She’s got a new book out entitled Albenzauber. Carmilla is also going to be doing a reading on April 23rd in Mainz, Germany.

Here’s all the information about the book:

“Albenzauber” (Elven Charms) is about the elf Nives, who has raised her prince Cir in the human realm after saving him from a coup. When she accidentally uses the elven charm on a young human male, thus driving him out of his mind, she and Cir return home to find a cure. There they find out that the usurper, beautiful and power-hungry Noctuola, is preparing a war with the humans. Cir is determined to save his heritage and asks a seer for help: They will have to find a human being, neither man nor woman, who is immune to the elven charms. This seems highly unlikely, until they meet the androgynous human mage Heilika. Heilika does agree to help them, while forcing Nives to question everything she believes about herself.

You’ll meet two aces, one of them genderqueer with female pronouns, plus everything a sword and sorcery adventure needs.

Unfortunately, only available in German.

Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.de/Albenzauber-Carmilla-DeWinter-ebook/dp/B06Y5CLPQ1/

Albenzauber 1200pt

I’ll be reading an excerpt on Sunday, April 23rd, in Mainz, Germany. (Link for more info: https://carmilladewinter.com/2017/04/09/lesung-5/

****

So if you’re in Germany, please go show a fellow ace some love!

Thanks, everybody!

Interview: Brandon

Today we’re joined by Brandon. Brandon is a fantastic author who is a prolific writer who has written a novel and is currently working on the sequel. Aside from writing novels, he’s also working on short stories. When he’s not writing, Brandon enjoys singing and has begun to dabble in visual artist. It’s very apparent he’s an incredibly passionate artist. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My main artistic interest is in writing, specifically narrative work. At the moment I’ve got a 250,000 word novel waiting in the wings, I’m starting up on the sequel and I’m bouncing around ideas for a new (shorter) story which I’d like to get published as my debut to help get my foot in the door of the novel-writing world. I’ve dedicated the past three years to two writing-related major goals – completing my novel and earning my Bachelor’s degree in English and Writing. Like I said, I’ve completed the former (sort of, bar the publishing thing) and I completed the latter last year – I’ll be graduating in May and hopefully moving on to do a Master’s degree in 2018, focusing on narrative features of video games.

Besides that, I also love to sing. One of my major projects for a paper in my final year of my degree allowed me to write a creative non-fiction piece on a topic of my choice, so I decided to write a piece on barbershop after reminiscing about the several years I spent singing bass in a chorus during high school. I also recently joined the internationally ranking chorus, Vocal FX, which has rekindled my love of performance.

I’ve found that I enjoy visual art but I’m not particularly good at it since I only recently got into it. My favourite part is always coming up with the ideas for a scene rather than drawing it. I suppose given my writing habits that wouldn’t be surprising.

What inspires you?

A friend of mine has been with me every step of the way since I started working on my novel and she’s been the one who encouraged me at all times. She’s one of the few people in the world who’s read my novel (I sent it to her chapter by chapter or sometimes scene by scene whenever I finished a draft I was satisfied with) and she’s the only person other than me who knows the upcoming plot as well as I do. I can never thank her enough for her help and for putting up with me constantly needling her with sad plot points, and for her willingness to bounce ideas back and forth which often gives me better ideas than I started with. She is without a doubt one of my biggest inspirations simply because her genuine enthusiasm helps spark that creative flow that I need to get going better than anything else.

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

I think the first piece of creative writing I can remember doing was when I was only six or seven years old. I remember it quite vividly because it was basically a butchered plagiarized fanfic that smashed together Lilo and Stitch and a video game called Impossible Creatures, where the protagonist was one of Jumba’s experiments which was basically this horrific monstrosity of numerous combined animals. It landed on earth and ended up being worshipped as a god and had to defend its people from other creatures that came to harm them. I’m surprised my parents didn’t put me into therapy for that. I also labeled it as ‘a true story’ because I had no fear of being sued for false advertising. I also remember having a dragon phase (didn’t everyone?) and writing a series of short stories about dragons which I think I still have lying around, as well as a phase after buying the game Spore in which I wrote a lot about aliens.

So, long story short (hah) I’ve always loved to write, but when I got older I started worrying that it wouldn’t be a viable career. I initially planned to study my second love (zoology) at university, but not long after I finished high school, I started my novel, and I decided to hell with practicality, I wanted to pursue my dream. Now I’m here with a completed novel, a bunch of ideas, and my fingers crossed that I strike lucky with publishing.

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 think the biggest feature of my work is more in the background, in the worldbuilding, particularly when it comes to fantasy wildlife. I spent a very, very long time on the worldbuilding of my novel before I started writing on it and by far enjoyed coming up with creatures, their habitats, and their behaviours the most (I once had an hours-long chat with a couple of my friends about the territorial and communal habits of trolls in my novel despite them never having read it). I think this translated well to the plot, given that one of my main characters has a troll for a companion and their interactions with each other and those around them added a significant and special dynamic to the story.

Can you tell trolls are a major thing in this book?

brandon-troll-art
Troll Art Commission by padalickingood

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Inspiration won’t always be there for you. Honestly, in my experience, it’ll barely be there for you at all. But that shouldn’t stop you. If you have it, seize it with both hands at every possible opportunity. If you don’t, push forward regardless. Write something that you know you’ll just rewrite later. Draw that sketch you don’t feel confident about. Practice that song you hate. You never know when inspiration will rear its head, and if you’re lucky, all the hard yards you put in without it will force it out of hiding and allow you to make something incredible.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify most closely with demisexual but I’ve come to feel pretty lax with the specifics. I’m not sex-repulsed but I definitely don’t have any particular urge for it, and god knows where I am when it comes to gender identities I’m attracted to. Throw a dart at the Kinsey triangle and I might be somewhere near that.

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

I’ve never dealt with any prejudice directed towards me for being an ace writer specifically. I mean, every ace person has probably had to put up with an acephobe at some point, but when it comes to writing I’ve never had an issue. As a viewer/reader, though, I’ve noticed ace-spec characters aren’t really that common – even just implied asexuality doesn’t show up often. And even in the event that it does, a lot of the time it’s full of misconceptions or just poor writing, including the good old ‘but sex is so great / sex brought you into the world why don’t you like it’ talk that I’ve come to hate with a burning passion.

As for how I deal with it, I just think the best thing to do when confronted with lack of representation is to fix the problem. Be the change you want to be and write your own ace characters. Headcanon characters as ace. Nobody can stop you from seeing yourself in a character that already exists, and remember that no matter what people may say, headcanoning a character as ace is not ‘stealing’ them from another community – gender attraction and level of sexual attraction are two different things, and you aren’t harming anyone by headcanoning a character as ace or aro regardless of their gender leanings. Just be considerate to others if they express concern and keep their points in mind so long as they treat you with a similar respect.

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

This is honestly hard to pick from because I’ve heard a lot (nothing malicious but people have a habit of really not getting how asexuality can work) but I think the biggest thing is people think I don’t like physical intimacy or that I would never have sex. They could not be more wrong about the first point and I’d probably say they’re wrong about the second.

I love physical intimacy. I’m a human teddy bear, I crave contact from certain people. I love hugs, I love kisses, with the right people I could be down for anything. All I ask from people is that they respect my boundaries for each individual person, because they vary. This isn’t even a uniquely ace thing – everyone has certain levels of comfort with physical affection – but I’ve heard people cite my asexuality a lot when they express uncertainty about it.

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

Finding a label or a category can be satisfying, but it’s not a necessity. It’s fine to not know where exactly you fit in the spectrum, and in fact sometimes it’s easier to be flexible with it. That being said, if you do find something you identify closely with and it means a lot to you, take pride in it. You are who you are and nobody has the right to question that or take it away from you.

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

I do have a sideblog dedicated to stuff from my novel series – the username is chroniclesofandrasfar – but I haven’t used that very much lately. If any big news comes up, you’re sure to find me raving about it on my main blog, mythicfictionist.

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

Interview: Nikki Hasselhoff

Today we’re joined by Nikki Hasselhoff. Nikki is a phenomenal author who has published two novels, which have ace characters in them. She enjoys writing scifi and fantasy. When she’s not writing, Nikki is also a concert-level pianist and an actor. She also dabbles in visual art as well. She’s an incredibly passionate artist, 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 write sci.-fi./fantasy novels, draw (mainly fanart of my favorite books and shows), am a concert-level pianist, and act for both film and stage. I’ve published two novels, played live in open communities, and played the lead role of Cinderella in Game of Tiaras by Don Zolidis.

What inspires you?

I’ve always had a natural drive to create—or to do something productive in general. I love the beauty in art and the freedom of expression that accompanies it. My inspirations come from music, my favorite actors, my favorite shows, visiting new places, and experiencing life in general.

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

I’ve always loved art. Art is inspirational and beautiful and creative. Art molds our culture and can change the way we think. For instance, if I represent L.G.B.T.P.Q.I.A.+ characters in my books in a positive light, that representation encourages real people to treat our real community with dignity.

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 a person who loves symbolism, I encourage those who view my art to dig for the deeper meaning, not just the textual. Certain numbers, color schemes, and word choices often have double meanings. For instance, if I make a character wear purple, black, gray, and white clothing, that character is asexual.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

There will always be people whose art seems “better”. There will always be people who brag about certain styles of art. Don’t be discouraged. Continue to do what you do because you will improve. It took me years to get the hang of my skills, and only by determination and not procrastinating can you achieve the level of skill you desire.

Be patient with yourselves. Nobody is instantly perfect. Some art pieces turn out badly. Some turn out amazingly. Take the good and the bad.

Consider how you represent groups of people in certain lights. Avoid misrepresentation and nonrepresentation.

And last, don’t worry about what other people think. You are who you are. Your art is what it is. Nobody can take them away from you.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Aplatonic Autochorissexual Aromantic

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

The most common form of prejudice I’ve faced is the denial of asexual issues. As an asexual, I have been told “you just haven’t found the right one yet” and “you’re just gay and waiting to come out”, just to name a couple of phrases.

The worst has been the denial that asexuals belong in the L.G.B.T.P.Q.I.A.+ community. One of my idols said that “ace problems aren’t gay problems. Therefore, ace people don’t belong,” which is ludicrous because gay problems aren’t lesbian problems, lesbian problems aren’t trans problems, trans problems aren’t pan problems, pan problems aren’t bi problems, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All non cis/het identities belong in the L.G.B.T.P.Q.I.A.+ community. To say that “certain identities don’t belong” as exclusive as the homophobes. It’s elitist, hateful behavior, and I call people out when I see them doing it.

I also keep a very friendly environment around me, discussing with the loving parts of the community who know that asexuals are part of the spectrum and that we have our own set of problems, too.

I remember that everyone experiences intersectionality. For example, a person may be heterosexual aromantic, but that person still belongs in our community and should be welcomed because that person will experience discrimination on the basis of being aromantic. It’s like how a white person can experience prejudice for being lesbian, but not for being white. We all must be aware of our privilege and our oppression.

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

That asexuals “haven’t found the right one and are being celibate”.

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

There are whole communities devoted to helping you. If you’re having a hard time discovering your sexuality, don’t be afraid to reach out. We are here for you. There are artists like myself who are creating art to represent the L.G.B.T.P.Q.I.A.+ spectrum to reject our heteronormative society and make life easier for non-cis/het identities.

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

My first book: https://books.pronoun.com/dragon-realm-chronicles-volume-one-the-amulet-of-the-green-dragon/
My second book: https://books.pronoun.com/dragon-realm-chronicles-volume-two-the-silver-key/
Facebook page for my books: https://www.facebook.com/DragonRealmChr/
My artwork: https://www.instagram.com/nikki.hasselhoff/

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

Interview: Rey

Today we’re joined by Rey. Rey is a fantastic writer who writes a lot of poetry. She also writes a fair amount of fiction and published a couple pieces at a very young age. She’s currently working on a novel entitled Fearless that features an ace protagonist. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an author and poet. Ta da? I guess?

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the people around me. My day job is an EMT and aspiring biologist (maybe), and it’s in my nature to be curious about the people I see and their stories. I have a bad habit (is it a bad habit? I don’t know) of writing stories about people I work with, or people I meet briefly. I love to write about things that could have been or maybe things I want to turn out differently.

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

Despite my love of science, I’ve always been a writer. That’s how I’ve defined myself for, pretty much, my entire life. I wrote my first story when I was four, and it was about a skateboard and a clown running away from their families to start a jelly bean factory.

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 love to make characters that make people confront their own biases and really consider something that they haven’t beforehand. For example, in the book I’m currently working on, there’s a character who’s introduced as a black sex worker, and then it turns out she turned to exotic dancing/sex work as a way to pay for her PhD in Contemporary English Literature. The character is portrayed as very sexual and very in touch with her own sexuality, which is a bit taboo for women these days.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep writing. Be creative for creativity’s sake. I self-published two of my own works before I turned sixteen, and, granted, they’re not the best I’ve ever written, and they’ll probably never see the light of day, but it’s incredibly gratifying to see your own work come to life. Don’t let other people bring you down for not putting your art out there. It’s your own art, and if you want to release it to the wider world, go for it! Just make sure it’s your own decision to do so.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual. I previously thought I was ace/biromantic, but some encounters with the male gender at my college have sort of made me really reconsider my own identity. This just goes to show that you, as a person, don’t have to confine yourself to one label! Things change. You find out things about yourself that you didn’t know beforehand.

So. Ace. Maybe aro. Maybe homoromantic. Who knows?

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

Yeah… Well, my mom isn’t the most accepting of people. When SCOTUS legalized same-sex marriage last year (yay!!) she picked me up from the airport when I came back from a competition and gave me a lecture the entire ride home on why same-sex marriage is terrible and is going to send our economy down the toilet, and all that. When I told her I believed I was ace, she laughed at me and told me I wasn’t. (I know. Ouch.)

I just ignore it. (And I write about it)

I am who I am. I have the best friend in the entire world, and when I came out to her, she immediately accepted me and planted me among her little community of cute ace friends. She’s my validation that I need, and I stopped seeking any of that from my mother.

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

That ace people are prudes, or that they “just haven’t found the right person yet.” It’s actually really insulting to reveal a really intimate thing about myself and to be denied the validation that even lesbian/other minority folks may get. I believe there is a difference between being a sensual person and being a sexual person, and many people tend to believe that ace people aren’t either.

We are people, just like all of you out there. So, like, chill? ‘Kay?

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

You don’t have to come out. I’m not going to be out to my mother until I am financially stable and independent. It’s not a phase, but it’s also okay if you change! People change! They grow! I thought I was biromantic, but there’ve been a couple guys at my college that are like “hey pretty girl” and I feel like I want to throw up.

All these fancy words and the split identification (ace-biromantic etc) are just that. Words. Let yourself change and grow and become something better than what you were yesterday. It’s all okay.

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

Well…. LOL. I post occasional tidbits on my blog, theemsprincess.tumblr.com

I’m hoping to get a website up sooner or later, but if y’all follow me there and pretty please be patient, I will post teasers and info about Fearless.

A fair warning: I am depressed, so some of the poems I post tend to be dark/depressing. I usually tag them under baddaypoems

PS: Fearless is going to be amazing. Just sayin’. 😉

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

Interview: Janina Franck

Today we’re joined by Janina Franck. Janina is an incredibly versatile artist. She has just published her first novel entitled Captain Black Shadow, which is currently available on Amazon. It’s a fantasy adventure involving pirates and it sounds like a great read. Aside from writing, Janina is also a filmmaker and website designer. She’s incredibly dedicated to her work, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

image

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I make films, design websites, and write.

I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to film at the moment, but I’m trying to specialize. It’s a lot of fun working on something like that with a team.

Writing isn’t something I’ve ever been able to stop. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short story, poetry, or a novel – I’m constantly writing something and there’s not really a day that passes without me even putting a single sentence on paper. I also just published my first novel: Captain Black Shadow. It’s available on Amazon in both hard copy and e-book.

I also have a writing blog with a friend where we both write a short story a week based on a common prompt.

What inspires you?

Honestly this is going to sound cheesy, but I’m really inspired by the reactions of others when they see or read something I made for the first time. It’s incredibly motivating and it keeps me going and gives me faith in what I do.
Aside from that, long walks by myself can also do the trick.

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

I’ve always been writing and making up stories, but I rarely ever thought of it as being an artist. I started writing my first novel when I was 11 and finished it when I was 16. It was never published though, because let’s face it – your first work is never great. I sometimes look back over it and cringe before making some adjustments to make it slightly more bearable again.

I also always wanted to be involved in films, but that desire wasn’t quite as pronounced when I was little.

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 animated a signature that I can put at the end of the films I direct, but I’ve only applied it to one short film so far. Though I am considering adding it to my books as well.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Never give up. Be stubborn. Don’t make it for someone else or with the intention of selling it and becoming famous. Make it for yourself and then see how it goes from there. But the most important part is to keep going. Don’t lose courage if you haven’t worked on your art for a few weeks or months – it’s never too late to go back to working on it, and you should do it. No one else is going to create it for you, so you have to make it happen.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a pan-romantic asexual which can be tricky at times since there are so many people who don’t really get what it means to be asexual.

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

Oh yes, very few people I speak to in real life have any idea what it means to be asexual, unless they are ace themselves. I’ve been broken up with because of it as well.

Usually I just explain what asexuality is and they at least begin to understand on some level. With narrow-minded people I just avoid bringing it up, because they’re not worth the agitation.

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

Most people seem to think that asexuals simply won’t have sex for any reason. They also seem to think that being aromantic and asexual is the same thing. Aside from those, I have encountered plenty of people who point-blank refuse to acknowledge the existence of asexuals, so I guess that means I’m not real?

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

You’re not broken.

You’re fine just the way you are. There is nothing wrong with you.

There are a lot of us. You’re not alone.

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

I have a Tumblr, please feel free to message me about anything! http://xilaya.tumblr.com
Here’s the writing blog I run with my friend: http://twoforonewriting.tumblr.com
And a Facebook page for my books:  https://www.facebook.com/chroniclesofthebat
As for my short films, there is my YouTube account: https://www.youtube.com/user/Njurana
And I just finished my Master Thesis project which is an ARG: http://glimmer.men

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

Interview: Juliet Kovacs

Today we’re joined by Juliet Kovacs. Juliet is an author who is currently working on getting published. She specializes in dystopian fiction and has written a novel with an asexual girl as the main character. Aside from writing, Juliet also enjoys musical composition and nature photography. Juliet is obviously an incredibly passionate and enthusiastic artist, 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.

Well, I write, compose, and do photography. I write mainly dystopian and apocalyptic set short stories, along with some just about asexuality. As for my composing, I use mainly do symphonic type, as well as occasionally my voice or a friend’s. The style is very mild, not too hard-core. As for photography, NATURE, NATURE, NATURE! I love photographing nature like trees and animals and the sky. It feels so raw and perfect. Photography is really a side thing, which I do at weddings and events for a little extra money, or when I have free time.

What inspires you?

I don’t think I really look for inspiration. It usually just comes to me. I sit down in front of my computer and let stuff just happen. Sometimes I do not even realize what I am writing until I am four pages in! Same thing with music. I play around on GarageBand and put together stuff that sounds nice.

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

Not really. I wanted to be a doctor for a long time, until I discovered the power of words and music. You can express yourself however you want to, and it can be all yours or you can share it with the world.

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?

That’s a bit difficult. I tend to put a certain melody in all of my music, a little violin and bass combination. It’s always hiding in there. For my pictures, I just use a watermark is all. Writing… it’s a little funny, but I always use the phrase, “Can we go feed the hippos?” as a joke, alluding to an experience I had when I was younger.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do whatever feels natural! Go with your gut instinct 🙂  no matter what people tell you, however much they say you will never make it, follow your dreams.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual and honestly am not quite sure about the romantic part. Maybe demi, maybe quoi, who knows.

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

I have only written a few short stories about asexuality and I constantly got positive comments. I am currently working on publishing a full-length novel about an asexual girl, which I have not yet shared. But I have had to go to quite a few companies, so prejudice may be a factor.

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

That it means that I have been abused, or am ‘broken’. I will admit, I was sexually assaulted/someone attempted to assault me, but that only was part of me becoming asexual. I already had my view of: “hm, why do people feel that way? Or why do people think he is ‘sexy’? I never get turned on or anything. Weird.”

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

You don’t need to give yourself a label. If you can’t find a label which suits you, that’s okay! If you are happy being you, then be happy. Do whatever it takes to be okay with yourself.

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

I post some writing things on Wattpad, under the username Snippy7. For music, my soundcloud has only one so far, with more to come! The name is Juliet Kovacs for that. I will occasionally post stuff on my various Tumblr accounts, which are:  (at) ace-and-proud (an ace positivity and discourse fighting blog), and (at) multiversegalaxygirl (my personal).

Thank y’all for interviewing me! I hope everyone has a wonderful day 🙂

Thank you, Juliet, for taking the time to participate in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.