Interview: KC Pendragon

Today we’re joined by KC Pendragon.  KC is an amazingly versatile artist who works in a number of mediums.  She is mostly a visual artist, who particularly enjoys geometric patterns and designs.  She also does a fair amount of writing, both original work and fanfiction.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Box

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

As a painter, I specialize in geometric designs and patterns. More recently, I’ve been using wooden boxes, though I also use canvas and hardboard. In digital art, I occasionally paint and sketch, usually whatever my hand is itching to draw at the moment.

As a writer, I mainly write fantasy. In a way, it’s my form of escapism. Right now, I’m writing mostly fanfiction, which helps me improve my writing and is also a stress reliever. However, my first fantasy series is slowly making progress and taking shape.

What inspires you?

For writing, it can be almost anything. I often pull inspiration from life events, both from my own and from others. When I started to come to terms with my asexuality, it started to show up in my work. And science, my other love, will often sneak its way into my work, even in just the little things.

For visual art, it’s a whole lot of architecture, as well as patterns found in nature and crafts. I have hundreds of photographs from when I visited London; most of them aren’t even visually appealing to other people, they’re just references that I can use in later work.

One of the other things I focus on is colors. Since most of my work is geometric designs, my palette is very harmonious. Often I draw from nature, as well as other artists’ works. If I’m really pressed for inspiration, I’ll take an animated movie, take a screenshot, and deconstruct the color palette.

Ismae
Ismae

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

It was really my grandfather that got me into the whole thing. He was a chemist, but he’s also an avid painter. He encouraged my love of art and science simultaneously, and he showed me that I could do both. His geometric art is really quite brilliant and studying his works was the springboard for my own.

Writing, on the other hand, was more of my own doing. I have been writing little stories since I was a wee one, but it wasn’t until I discovered online fanfiction that I actively started applying myself. Then it moved from not only fanfiction to original works.

It wasn’t until about two years ago that I really started to get more involved with more of my art. I’ve been warned against burning myself out, what with the heavy course load I’m required to take as a chemistry major. I’ve been writing and painting much more, in an effort to help relax my brain. That’s when things started to take off.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

My palette is typically muted colors. I use all types of colors, but I don’t typically use pastels or extremely vibrant colors. If I do, it’s an accent, meant to catch the eye. In my traditional art, part of that is just because of the hazards of mixing your own paint. For my digital art, it’s because muted colors are easier on my eyes.

Ket
Ket

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Constructive criticism is vital, no matter what your specialization is. Not just getting praise, but actual criticism as well (which is not synonymous with ‘this is terrible’). Find out what you do well. Find out what you can improve on. Writers, don’t just get someone to proofread your grammar. Have them check everything. Are your characters written well? Is your plot twist predictable or did it actually shock them? What gaping plot holes have you missed?

Painters need their own type of proofreading. Would a different color scheme have worked better? Is your shading good? Is your anatomy correct? Listen to people, identify your weaknesses, and then keep trying.

Nat
Nat

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m asexual, somewhere between sex-positive and sex-neutral.

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

Not so much prejudice, for which I’ve been blessed (though I have seen some directed at other aces). The people I have encountered have usually been open to it. The reaction to my ace characters has been fairly positive, which was really fantastic.

Ignorance is more common, both in the field and personally, since asexuality just isn’t as well-known. The misconceptions can range from funny to annoying to just plain confusing. If they want to listen, I am willing to talk. If not, I move on.

Positive Orca
Positive Orca

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

I found people typically assume asexuality also means sex-repulsion (and to a lesser degree, aromanticism). I used to have this assumption, which is why I didn’t know I was ace sooner. That’s why I’m trying to give my characters a range on the spectrum. I’m don’t know if that’ll have an impact on people, but it’s what I got.

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

Resources, resources, resources. Not just literature, but people. Talk to someone. Talking to a friend is what helped me figure out I was ace.

Qunari Box
Qunari Box

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

That’s a bit of a mess right now. My writing blog (which is mostly fanfiction at this point) is kcpendragon.tumblr.com. I post my art projects on my personal tumblr and deviantart (geekwiththeglasses.tumblr.com and kc-pendragon.deviantart.com). The painting is somewhat infrequent because I’m a very slow painter.

Skirt
Skirt

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

Interview: Emily K

Today we’re joined by Emily K.  Emily is an up and coming writer who has mostly written fanfiction but is also dedicated to writing original work as well.  Her excitement is absolutely wonderful and I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more stories from her in the future.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fantasy-ish things, and a lot of fanfiction. I’m currently writing a book though, one I’m hoping to publish.

What inspires you?

I get inspiration from wacky places. Tumblr prompts always get me thinking, and seeing people interacting make me think about how I want my characters to interact.

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

I think I have, honestly. All through elementary school, creative writing was my favourite time and I enjoyed using my imagination.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not really. I mean, it is writing soo…yeah.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

PRACTICE. I cannot stress this enough. Practice honestly makes perfect, even if you’re just writing fanfics or drabbles, it’s important.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m biromantic demisexual.

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

“That means you like Demi Lovato, right?” once or twice and “You’re only a kid, of course you feel like that”

I ignore the kid part because that’s my parents and it would take three years to explain, and I send the definition of demisexual when people assume it’s about Demi.

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

“That’s how you’re supposed to feel. That’s normal.” (its not btw)

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

It’s not that important to have a label. It’s nice, but it’s not worth stressing over. Relax, and just go with it. If you find a label along the way, kudos to you 🙂

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

So this is sort of embarrassing, heh, I’m currently only on Wattpad, my username is AddictedToTheMadness. I have some old trashy fanfics on there, but I’m working on some better things to publish soon 🙂

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

Interview: DragonReine

Today we’re joined by DragonReine.  DragonReine is another incredibly talented, enthusiastic, and versatile artist.  They’re a self-taught freelance illustrator and also a fanfiction writer.  They also make art tutorials on Patreaon.  Their work is absolutely gorgeous.  I was awestruck by the pictures they sent to go with their interview: the realism and expressive faces are quite remarkable.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a part-time freelance artist who specializes in illustrations and portrait art, with my favorite subjects being romance and people of color. My choice of medium is digital, specifically Adobe Photoshop and occasionally Corel Painter.

Currently I am focused on commissions, both private and commercial, and I have painted several book covers. You can check this link about what sort of commission work I do: http://dragonreine.tumblr.com/commission-reine/

I’ve recently started a Patreon, where I offer tutorials on how to paint digitally, using my methods.

I am also a fanfiction writer, when my wrist needs a break from drawing! I tend to write romance, usually m/m romance.

What inspires you?

With my art: Other artists and creative types!

It’s such a cliché answer, but that’s exactly why I enjoy taking commissions so much.

Many of the people I work with are writers and role-players, who have a creativity that I sometimes feel that I lack. A large part of the fun with working with my clients is trying to see their vision thorough their stories, and capturing that on canvas, and it’s always a great feeling to have them keyboard mash at me and yelling “OMG THAT’S MY CHARACTER(S) I RECOGNISE THEM”.

With my writing: Looking at characters and trying to figure out what makes them tick.

Put it this way: when we consume stories that isn’t our own creations, it’s basically like watching puppets dance on a stage. We see the puppets, we see what they do, and we are told by the story why they do the things they do. But we are limited by what the story is willing to tell us, which is often not the full story, you know?

So when I write fanfiction, I like to explore their possible motivations, their thoughts, their emotions. I always ask myself (and the characters I’d decided to explore) the Who/Why/What/Where/When/How questions. And from there, I kind of just, put them in a scenario and see how they react. Rather like method acting, really, haha!

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

I’ve been drawing and writing for as long as I can remember. More or less since I’m old enough to think and to hold a pencil in my hand at the same time, haha!

It’s a form of stress-relief as well as a way of problem-solving, when I was in school. I’ve always been an introverted person, and I have difficulty reading other people in social contexts. Art and writing have been kind of a way to organize the disjointed cues I pick up from social interactions, and to figure out the patterns of behavior that allow me to be less socially awkward. It is also convenient excuse to take a break from social interactions. People tend to leave you alone if you say that you’re in a creative mood and need to finish this project now, I’ve found.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Well, my art almost always has the signature of my pseudonym, “Reine”, unless it’s for a cover. It’s mostly for identification purposes.

I’m not really fond of inserting personal symbolisms or features into my work. Largely because I usually paint for hire and it’ll be incredibly egoistic of me to some random feature into the artwork that has nothing to do with the client brief, solely so I can visually proclaim “this is my art, done by me, by my hand”.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t rely solely on inspiration to start making art. If you intend to turn art into a career, you NEED to view it as work. Which means yes, dedication to the craft and developing a routine is essential. “Inspiration” is a fickle creature, and frankly a complete waste of time. Discipline is a lot more reliable and a far healthier alternative.

Make art every day. Even if it’s just a doodle and/or a drabble. Art is a skill, and like all skills, you get better with practice. And when practice becomes habit, you’ll find yourself WANTING to make art even if you can’t, and EVERYTHING can be inspiring.

Don’t go lower than minimum wage if you decide to pursue art for pay, even if it’s only a part-time thing. Lowering your art prices may get you “more” customers and exposure, but frankly you’re doing yourself a disservice and you’re hurting the market for other artists. Artists are often underpaid, and frankly the starving artist stereotype is not fun for those who struggle to survive because of underpricing.

DragonReine03

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Autochorissexual. I think about sex a lot, but it’s all in my head and it’s with characters, not real people, and certainly not myself. Still have that “never have felt sexual attraction towards people and/or characters” thing going on, though, which makes for, err, unfortunate assumptions by other people about me, as you’ll see in my answer about misconceptions.

Also maybe aromantic, not sure about that one yet.

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

A lot of artists who write/draw erotica seem to think that if you and/or characters don’t have sex, you’re weird and abnormal and “lonely”. Poor you, who cannot feel that “intimacy” of sex, doomed to be forever alone. Or if the character is in a relationship, they’re “not really in love” and are “robbing” their partner of happiness.

Blech.

My immediate reaction to strangers who I know I won’t have to deal with in the future is to either stare them down without saying a word until they drop the subject, or (if I’m feeling irritated on that day) I’d very loudly and dramatically act out the part of the poor lonely soul they think I am, complete with flowery “woe is me” lament.

If I intend to foster a relationship with the ignorant person, I’d bluntly tell them that my sex life is no one’s business but mine. And if I want to keep things friendly, I’d send them some reading material on asexuality.

DragonReine04

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

Asexual people hate sex, dislike any mention of sex, and want nothing to do with anything about sex.

I write a lot of porn. I write very detailed and elaborate porn. I draw erotic art. I have very open and explicit discussions with friends and family about what is healthy sex and what isn’t.

I just have no interest in personally participating in sexual acts, nor do I develop an interest in having sex when looking at “attractive” people, which means I’m still asexual, at its “base” definition.

And I know people who are like me, who identify as ace but aren’t repulsed by sex.

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

You aren’t broken.

You aren’t “frigid” or “unfeeling” or “weird”.

You’re just wired differently, and that’s okay.

Sometimes the only resources and support group(s) you can find are entirely online. That’s all right. Go online, join AVEN, get yourself educated, and talk to people who are supportive and understanding of your experiences.

If you’re still figuring things out, that’s all right. Sexuality is a complicated thing, and some people only figure out their “real” sexuality decades after they first start questioning. It takes time, sometimes. Take all the time you need.

DragonReine06

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

My deviantART gallery: dragonreine.deviantart.com

My Patreon: www.patreon.com/dragonreine/

My Facebook page: www.facebook.com/dragonreine/

My Archive Of Our Own author’s page: http://archiveofourown.org/users/DragonReine

And finally my Tumblr: http://dragonreine.tumblr.com/

DragonReine 07

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

Interview: Rylie

Today we’re joined by Rylie.  Rylie is a wonderfully talented aro-ace poet and fanfiction writer who is incredibly enthusiastic about writing.  As she states in her interview, she writes a lot.  Chances are we’ll be seeing a lot of her work in the future.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write. A lot. Like, seriously a lot. Most of it is fanfiction, but I also do a lot of poetry, and I’ve dabbled in some slam poetry. That was actually how I came out to most of my friends.

(Sometimes I pretend I can draw or make other types of art, but the only people who are impressed are under the age of 8, so.)

What inspires you?

For poetry, usually reading other poetry. Listening to slam poems. For fanfiction, sometimes nothing, or sometimes the strangest things. Sometimes I write for prompts, but not all the time. Inspiration is a fickle thing for me.

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

I’ve always been a writer. I remember when I was young, sneaking into the bathroom at night because I hid a notepad and pen underneath the bathtub. That way I’d have an excuse if my parents caught me.

Being a writer was sort of always a job option, but medicine took precedence. Writing will always be a hobby though.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not really? A lot of my work is pretty concise, and not overly detailed. Eloquent, I suppose.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Oh man. Keep going, I guess. Just keep going. Don’t ever delete anything or throw anything out. Sure, it may be awful, but you’ll look back on it one day and be happy that you kept it, because you can see how far you’ve come. Progress is important.

And some days you’ll feel like everything you come up with is shit. That’s okay too. Keep going. You’ll get through it.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual aromantic.

(Although to be honest, I don’t know how to tell friendships apart from romantic relationships, but that’s more a social skills deficit than anything else, I think.)

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

I’m not out to most people (family), but my friends had a great response to my coming out slam poem. That was really great. (A girl actually came up to me and thanked me for it, because she thought that there was something wrong with her. That made me happy.)

When I’ve posted things for ace awareness week, people have asked me about it, and made some comments that made me uncomfortable.

There was also an incident in a LGBTQ group at school where someone made a comment about asexuality that was kind of hurtful, especially for it being a safe space.

Mostly it’s tough because no one knows it exists.

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

Its existence. A lot of people don’t know about asexuality, or demisexuality, or aromanticism at all. That makes it tough to come out when you constantly have to defend yourself and explain.

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

It’s okay if you don’t figure it out right away. Don’t let anyone tell you that your experiences aren’t valid, because they are. You’re the one who knows you the best.

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

Most of my fanfiction is on AO3. (http://archiveofourown.org/users/whitchry9/works)

Some of my poetry can be found on my tumblr (http://ijustreallylovedaredevil.tumblr.com/tagged/i-write-things), but I often don’t share it all. As for slam poems, I’ve only ever performed the one, so it’s hard to share them.

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

Interview: Erin A.

Today we’re joined by Erin A.  Erin is an aspiring author who is going to be attending university in the fall to study creative writing.  Her work tends to include very diverse characters, including quite a few aces.  I cannot wait to see her future work as it’s likely to be amazing.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an aspiring author. I always make several of my main characters MOGAI in my work. Typically, my heroine is asexual because that’s what I am, but they usually have several friends who are gay, pansexual, or otherwise queer.

I prefer to write fantasy, though I have dabbled in poetry.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the books I read as a child and the beautiful people around me. One of my favorite devices of storytelling is the “true story,” as used by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi in the Spiderwick Chronicles. When I was little, I really believed in the world they created; and upon learning the truth, it never felt like a lie. It felt like a possibility.

When it comes to my peers, they often inspire me to create more diverse characters, ones who are neuroatypical, suffering physical disabilities, or facing loss. My own struggles with epilepsy have also influenced the way my characters react to personal difficulties.

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

My grandmother and father always encouraged my artistry, and the constant book-reading of my childhood made becoming an author an almost-immediate dream. Although I initially wanted to be a “dancing princess,” my interest in the arts in some form was apparent.

After I quit ballet, I immediately decided I would focus on becoming an author-illustrator. I wanted to make people fall in love with my characters and worlds as I had with so many, from Harry Potter to The Dark Is Rising.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

As of now, the closest I have to a signature is my actual signature. I do sign some artwork with it. My name is 13 letters long, so I shorten it to six letters.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

  1. Keep on trying. The more you work towards your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it.
  2. Let others see. I know you may want to hide your work; to you, it is imperfect, or lacking. But the positivity of your peers and loved ones, even complete strangers, gives you an important confidence boost.2015-02-14 11.47.07

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual aromantic. I’m completely baffled by relationships on a personal level, though I think they are beautiful when it comes to the rest of the world. I’m also somewhat sex-averse; whenever I imagine myself in a sexually-charged situation, I can’t help but laugh at it.

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

As of now, I haven’t, but I wouldn’t be surprised if an editor or publisher told me I needed romance and/or sex to make my book readable or exciting. If that were to happen, I would try to stand my ground and emphasize that if they find asexuality implausible or boring, then they need to tell me if I am either of those, as well. If they don’t understand, I’ll go find someone else to help me.

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

So far, the only person to resist my being asexual has been my mother. While she believes it exists, she associates it with bad hygiene, boringness, and unkemptness. She claims that because I care about my appearance and am a happy, cheerful person I cannot possibly be asexual.

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

Find others online. Tell people you trust in real life. You are not alone, and they may make you feel like the struggle is shared.

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

So far, my work is all fan fiction, which can be found on Archive Of Our Own under the username ErLiAu and on Fan Fiction Net as ErinLisaA. One work or two are silly, but all are worth reading. I have one story on wattpad, but it is the first chapter of one of my other stories.

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

Interview: Moon

Today we’re joined by Moon, who also writes under the pseudoname Wintermoth.  I met Moon at Indiana Comic Con and was incredibly excited to meet fellow aces in a genre space (three asexual identifying people came to my panel at that convention).  Moon was cosplaying as Rose Tyler.  It turns out she’s a fan fiction writer and dabbles in a lot of fan art.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I’m a writer. I’ve been writing short stories since I was very little. I even used to illustrate them! They weren’t very good, of course, and most of them featured mermaids. I remember filling an entire notebook with drawings of a series about lions, sorta like a comic. But my drawing skills are pretty much what they were in sixth grade so I’ve pretty much kicked the illustration thing. Other than winning a few essay contests, my writing wasn’t anything special that I can remember, but I did devote a lot of my free time to reading and writing. Then my friend Wendy introduced me to fanfiction (it was a Shugo Chara fic – I remember because she loved the show and was trying to get me into it) and I thought fanfiction was the coolest thing on the entire planet so I dove in headfirst.  I’ve moved through a few fandoms there and right now I’m writing Doctor Who.  Outside fanfiction, I’m also (slowly) working on a novel with characters developed by me and my best friend over the years.

I also run a studio on Youtube where I make fmvs, usually Final Fantasy or Doctor Who, but the primary focus is the audiobook section. I make what are essentially radio plays of webcomics with a full cast of marvelous voice actor and actresses from all over.

What inspires you?

I usually don’t like this question. The easier one to answer would be: “What doesn’t inspire you?”  I can pick up ideas from anywhere at any time. For example, I have a cold and I sneezed five minutes ago after suffering from that I’m-gonna-sneeze-any-second-now tickle for about fifteen minutes… and I had an idea for how to resolve a plot point in my novel.  I discovered a few years back that writing near open water works really well for me, something about the sound of the water.

For the music videos, usually I listen to a song long enough and then I start picturing scenes from shows or games in my head and it’s all downhill from there.

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

I have no idea what got me interested in writing because it was so long ago. The Youtube stuff, however, if I remember right . . . I only found Youtube because I was on a mad hunt for every single Danny Phantom episode I could find back in 2006. Youtube had episodes up at the time and then, from there, I began browsing Youtube and became aware of amvs/fmvs. I thought it looked interesting and then I realized after a few tries that, oh, hey, I’m good at this.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not that I can think of, really. I always put my username on my fmvs but that’s about it.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This is mostly going to apply to writing but this first part applies to anything, even homework.

Pack snacks.  There’s nothing worse than being into your work and on a roll and suddenly realizing you’re hungry then having to get up and go all the way to the kitchen/nearest food source, get the food, go back, settle down, and try to resume working. Ugh. It sucks. Exercise is for athletes.

Know your skills and your limits. Find out which areas you’re good in and which you aren’t. A lot of younger writers fall short when it comes to something like dialogue. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are then practice, practice, practice so you can improve your sills and push your limits but take care to not bite off more than you can chew.

I’ve had people ask me how I’m so good at writing and I’ve given a myriad of answers over the years. I used to spend my school hours writing in notebooks. There are at least six notebooks from my 7th grade year somewhere in our storage shed with nothing but Neopets stories in them. I spent years roleplaying with friends (and still have the transcripts of many of these to prove it somewhere) on top of years writing fanfiction. And, before I even started writing, I spent years making up complex stories with my dolls and toys and each had their own character and purpose to the plot. Basically, what it all boils down to is that I worked my butt off and I’m always going to be working my butt off.

Writing is an art. Some people have an inherent skill in their art others have had to fight tooth and nail to get to where they are. If you woke up one morning and decided you want to be a doctor and tried to start practicing medicine, yeah, that’s not going to happen. You aren’t qualified; you don’t have the skills. You can wake up one morning and think ‘hey, I want to be a writer’ and just start doing it but like anything else, writing takes time and practice to build skills to make you good at it. Unless you found a genie, helped a mermaid, or made a deal with the devil, you’re not going to just become amazing at it overnight.  So if you really want to be a great writer, buckle up, buckle down, and get at it.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual. BUT I’m not entirely certain. I know I’m not gray ace but I’ve never been in a romantic relationship so the possibility of being demi is there but for now simply saying Ace is easier.

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

I’m fortunate enough that I’ve never experienced anything personally.  But it’s kind of annoying how in . . . like . . . everything there is always a relationship in everything. Like, even if it never develops into anything romantic, there’s always an underlying sexual tension somewhere in every storyline and ugh.

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

There seems to be this idea that being asexual means I can’t have kids. Like, I’ve had to reassure people (in my family) that I can and that nothing’s broken down there. Though, in hindsight, the fact that I’m able to procreate reassured them is just a liiiiiitle irksome.

The less open people in my life seem to think this just a phase or something and I’ll be back to normal soon. Whatever. I’ve been told I don’t understand what things are like in ‘the heat of the moment’ which just makes it seem that sexual people lose brain capacity when they’re getting it on.

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

Read. READ. READ. READ. Any bit of information on different sexualities you can get your hands on, read it all. Sexuality is fluid and a large spectrum but we all fall somewhere on it and I swear you do have a place, all you have to do is find it. I promise, somewhere is something that when you read it you’ll think this is me. For me, there was an immense relief when I realized I was Ace.

If you think you fall somewhere on this general end of the spectrum you can always come talk to me. My inbox on Tumblr is ALWAYS open for people who are ace-questioning or just curious about asexuality. I may not respond immediately cos I do this thing called sleeping and it happens at weird hours but I respond to any messages I receive. If you want to come off anon, I won’t publish your asks, but understand that anon questions cannot be replied to without publishing.

Also . . . keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if your family/friends approve or not. Really, it doesn’t. Whether or not they like it, it’s not going to change anything. What matters is that you are happy with yourself. There is nothing wrong with you and you are not alone. And I don’t think God would have any issues with it either since the Bible is pretty big on not doing the do unless you’re married anyway, so you can chillax about that, too.

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

For now just Tumblr (http://wintermoth.tumblr.com/). My sidebar has links to all the other relevant profiles I have. 🙂

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

Interview: Amber Engelmann

Today we’re joined by Amber Engelmann.  Amber is a very talented and versatile artist.  She’s both a visual artist and a writer.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

FMA AU promo hazel nico copy2

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

In both my writing and my art, I focus on people. I love looking at people and dissecting how they think and breaking it down in my writing, forcing me to experience it along with them. In my art I love to simplify what I see into lines and expressions in my art in ways that don’t need words.

What inspires you?

Stories. I’ve always loved stories of every medium, be it from television or books or video games, I love to see what they have to say and let them inspire me to consider things I wouldn’t have otherwise thought about.

Though the last several years I’ve been paying more and more attention to the more personal stories – the ones of people’s personal lives and experiences that don’t traditionally get attention. I listen to what I hear and digest the information slowly, and I like to think that it shows up in my work as well.

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

Ultimately I think my purpose is to fill the world with my stories, but I didn’t even consider the possibility of being a writer until sixth grade when my mother suggested it. I always thought I’d be like my mom and be an artist, but as time goes on stories have become more important than my art, though my art will always be an important part of my life.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

In my art, I don’t have a particular signature besides my name. However, I’m sure my writing will be very notable for having a non-Christian spiritual edge and an overwhelming majority of queer characters of various genders and sexualities. I couldn’t get away from them if I tried.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do what you love, and hold onto it. There’s a lot of pressure to be like someone else or pleasing other people, but ultimately the only person whose job it is to make you happy is you. It’s incredibly powerful to know what you love, and actually follow through with doing it.

Also, don’t compare your work to anyone else’s. It’s just bad for your self-esteem.

Miss Tsurisa v4 copy3

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual.

For a long time, I didn’t consider myself ace. I still find myself having to remind myself that demisexuality is on the asexuality spectrum, because no one really talks about it save for an occasional post on Tumblr. For me, demisexuality is this really weird space-between-spaces where I don’t quite fit into the sexual community and where I don’t really fit into the asexual community either. I never felt quite bothered by this, but I do feel like in a conversation where we’re trying to raise awareness, we need to be aware of the people who are in between, such as those who identify as demisexual or gray-A (or pan/bi or any non-binary individuals).

Let’s imagine people complexly and remember that there are those who don’t fit into the blacks and whites – especially when it comes to sexuality.

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

I’m exceptionally good at avoiding drama, it seems. Though it helps that I haven’t been published yet, so there’s not much ‘industry’ for me to interact with yet. The people who come to me with asexuality-related questions on Tumblr are usually very respectful, and at least vaguely informed before contacting me. I consider myself lucky to have such well-informed followers.

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

The biggest misconception that I’ve seen is that asexuality is just a phase – that the person will grow out of it, and they just don’t want to deal with the complications of sex yet. While it might be possible that some people will decide to change their mind later, this argument reeks of I-know-you-better-than-you-know-you and that is just not the case. It’s condescending, and disregards that the asexual individual probably has thought very, very hard about who they are and what they’re feeling, and completely invalidates their feelings. Every person is the expert on themselves, and we need to trust each other to know what is personally true for ourselves or not. Especially if the issue is as harmless as a label.

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

Ultimately, a label is just a word. It’s okay to experiment with different words until you find one that fits. There are a LOT of labels out there defining all sorts of different attractions, and sometimes you won’t even have to look for them – one will just pop up and you can go ‘Oh, so THAT’S what that was all this time.’

Don’t worry about having everything figured out – sexualities are fluid and something that fit before might not fit later. I’ve identified as heterosexual, bisexual, a panromantic lesbian, and a quoiromantic demisexual with bias for ladies. And it’s still subject to change, based on how I’m feeling at the time, because sometimes I’m feeling one side of my identity than others – and that’s normal.

Long story short: Labels aren’t something that should stress you out, it should be something to play with and learn from. Don’t let other people police who you are or aren’t. You know who you are better than anyone else, so identify in whatever way makes you feel the most comfortable at the time. You can always change your mind later.

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

I have a website, but it’s very old at the moment. One of my goals this year is to update my website with current information. For now, you can follow my personal blog (http://unprofessionalamber.tumblr.com/) or my art and story blog (http://amberskyewritesanddraws.tumblr.com/) for updates about my work. I’m also open for commissions! There is a link on my art and story blog.

If you’re interested in the book I’m in the process of writing, you might want to follow the official blog for the book (http://theplacewethriveseries.tumblr.com/). It doesn’t have much content right now, but that will be the first place I’ll put new information.

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

Interview: Fen

Today we’re joined by Fen.  Fen is a talented and versatile writer who writes both fan fiction and original work.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

red lips

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write short poetry and prose and things that are kind of in between.

What inspires you?

Everything! I can be doing the most mundane thing and suddenly an image will flash into my head complete with the most perfect wording and I will have to get it down right then otherwise it’ll be gone forever.

This usually happens the moment before I fall asleep. I’ve spent many a morning grieving over lost potential.

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

I’ve been a voracious reader ever since I can remember, and knowing that people made a living by creating something that brought me so much joy just made me determined to do it as well. Sadly, my Mum, while supportive of my imagination, never encouraged me to go professional because ‘writing can never be a job’. So I don’t write as much as I should.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Usually in my poetry there’ll be a reference to a storm; someone once described me as a force of nature more terrifying than a storm (because they know they can survive the storm) and ever since then that’s how I’ve described all women.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Be that force of nature. Believe in yourself so strongly that people will bunker down in fear, or risk their lives to revel in what you create. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you cannot make a living doing what you love. And never, ever stop making art.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Panromantic asexual with a sex drive but no sexual attraction. Confusing.

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

Not in my field, no, but I tend to keep myself pretty secular anyway.

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

In general: that asexual people just haven’t had good enough sex yet (or similarly ‘how do you know if you’ve never tried it?’)

Directed at me personally: that I can’t be asexual because I dress sexy. Being aware of how damn fine I look does not give anyone else the right to my body.

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

You’re not broken, or weird, or ‘just in need of a good shag’. If you’ve never had sex, that’s fine. If you have previously had sex, that’s fine. Your asexual-ness isn’t defined by your sexual history. Fight the ones who try and tell you how to identify.

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

Either on my tumblr at fenrir-kin.tumblr.com, or there’s the odd fanfic over on archiveofourown.org/users/FenrisKin

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

Interview: squire

Today we’re joined by squire.  squire is a writer who hails from the Czech Republic.  She writes both fan fiction and original work.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

My trade is writing. I write and publish SF and fantasy stories in Czech, my mother tongue, and in English, I write fanfiction in the fandoms I am active in. Sometimes, these two do overlap, like when I sold one of my Czech stories to a publisher in a States to be published in English translation or when I translate English written fanfiction into Czech for the benefit of the less language-wise equipped members of the Czech fandom. Other than that, I keep my fannish and my professional work separated.

What inspires you?

Pretty much anything. In the course of my life, my interests and fields of study varied; I started off as an aspiring linguist, studying both Latin and modern languages, and ended with a degree in chemistry. In my original work I always strive to address the eternal question of science fiction: what makes us humans?

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

I wanted to be a writer pretty much since I was six. I have had only one deeper rooting and longer lasting ambition, that is, to have a family. I come from a large family, having three siblings and numerous aunts and uncles, and I never once entertained the thought of not having children of my own. With three little young ’uns of my own and a handful of nephews and nieces to look after time to time I think I couldn’t be happier if I tried.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Nothing I am consciously aware of. My Czech readers do sometimes remark on my ‘unique’ style though they never care to elaborate 😉 As to my English work, I am afraid that the most prominent feature of it is my lack of actual knowledge of that language. I studied many languages, but never English, and I learned that one through reading. I might look fluent enough in writing but once it comes to actually opening my mouth I find myself at serious disadvantage. There are many words that I know the meaning of but not how to pronounce them:) I am completely dependent on the services of an English-speaking beta-reader every time I write something in English. They are too kind-hearted to complain but I am sure that fixing my drafts is a tremendous task.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Only one – and I dearly wish I followed that one myself more often (;-)): It’s not a competition.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I don’t think there is a label that would fit me. I once saw a funny article posted somewhere, dividing various types of attraction after the thoughts passing in the person’s head. Imagine seeing someone’s rising attraction, then the thoughts would be like this:
– Sexual attraction:  “Geez, I wanna fuck them.”
– Romantic attraction: “Oh my, I wanna date them.”
– Aesthetic attraction: “Sweet Christ, I wanna paint a portrait of them.”

Well, and then there’s me, who upon seeing a person I am attracted to thinks “Oh my, I wanna bake a batch of scones for them.”

I am born caregiver, I think. Always was. I like to care for someone, to see them well fed and happy. I vent most of this towards my family, of course. I experience total of zero sexual attraction. Though I am not opposed to having sex, seeing as I am married and the level of intimacy is actually quite nice. (And of course, those three children had to be conceived somehow, didn’t they:)) But I wouldn’t be heartbroken if I was told I could never have sex again from this day onwards. I always prefer a quiet evening with a book over any physical exertion in the bedroom and I can only thank Heavens that in my husband I have found a person who not only understands but is fine with it as well.

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

Not many. My parents don’t know and I doubt they would mind, seeing as I already “provided them with grandchildren” (I think my mother would even approve because she’s living in constant fear that I’ll be having more children and ‘waste away my life at the kitchen counter’). My husband has a very low sex drive himself, we met as virgins and were happy to take things very slowly. At the last school reunion, I sort of came out to my old mates and friends, but it didn’t raise questions at all – maybe because at the same time, two of my former schoolmates came out as gay, and everyone was much more interested in that. I found it amusing.

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

I never encountered any large misconceptions – maybe because I never needed to announce my asexuality in the open and as long I was dating, the question just didn’t arise. And I must confess that to people who’ve been around me during my younger years I must have looked the opposite of asexual – my need to ‘have someone to look after’ was so great that ever since I was 15 there wasn’t a week I was single. I might have had a bit of reputation, actually. What people didn’t know was that ‘things’ between me and my then-boyfriend always ended before we made it to the bedroom.

Actually the only funny question I ever got was a rather timid inquiry after the way I got my children. I think that sometimes people would over-do their understanding of asexuality and assume that asexuals just never do anything.

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

I might just be terrible at giving advice.  The only one I can think of is maybe don’t try to fit into labels.

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

Well, as much as I would like to boast over my Czech work, I think it’s of little use here 😉 My stories get published in print anyway, so they can’t be linked.

If anyone would be interested in the stories I wrote for Sherlock (BBC), my username on the Archive of Our Own is ‘squire’. Feel free to drop by (and drop a Kudos if you like:)).

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

Interview: Stephanie Pitcher

Today we’re joined by Stephanie Pitcher.  Stephanie is an aspiring game artist and if her work is anything to go by, she has a really bright future ahead of her.  I particularly loved her design of Galadriel’s Mirror and the rose.  My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Pic

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Professionally, I’m an aspiring game artist. I model and texture things you would find in video games, like props and simple characters. I also do a lot of fanart, as I find it a fun way to practice developing my art skills.

What inspires you?

Cartoon shows, musicals and horror movies. I realize it’s a weird mix, and I think it probably happened because my parents had completely opposite personalities. I’d watch Disney movies and musicals with my mom, then five minutes later I’d be seeing classic slashers with my dad.

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

I’ve been doing art with and on everything I could since I was able to figure out how to hold a marker. My mom used to cover the walls in paper because she knew there was no way she was going to keep me from drawing on them.

I always wanted to be an artist, but my dad kept drilling it into my head that there was no way I could make a living on it. When I was almost through high school, I was talking to my mom about what I wanted to do as a career and mentioned in passing that it was too bad I couldn’t be an artist. Her response was ‘why the hell not?’ She helped me look for art programs and I wound up getting an art talent scholarship to a local university.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I really don’t. I guess the only really unique thing about my art is how often I change styles. I’m very affected by my most recent interests – if I find a new show or movie that I love, I usually integrate something about it into my art, whether I mean to or not.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Practice all the time. Carry a sketchbook everywhere you go. Even when you think you’re just aimlessly doodling, you’re still learning something.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I have no interest in sex. I don’t really even like to be touched – you have to be really close to me for me to not feel uncomfortable even just hugging. I can appreciate that people are pretty or would be considered attractive, but looking at them doesn’t make me want to actually touch or be with them in any way.

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

I only recently came to understand and accept that I’m asexual, so most of the ignorance I’ve encountered has been my own. It took a couple of years for me to accept that asexuality was actually pretty normal, and to understand how varied the spectrum of sexuality/asexuality is.

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

That asexuals can’t be in healthy relationships. Our society has such a deeply-ingrained notion that love and sex are supposed to go hand-in-hand, so it was hard to understand that a relationship could be both sexless and happy.

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

You’re not broken. That was something my best friend told me when I realized I might be asexual, and I had to keep telling myself when I felt like something was wrong with me. You don’t have to be interested in sex to be ‘normal’. You are worth loving even if you never want sex. You’re not alone. You are not broken.

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

I have a fanart blog at ichadraws.tumblr.com, and a site with my game art at stephanielpitcher.com.


 

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