Interview: AbsolXGuardian

Today we’re joined by AbsolXGuardian. AbsolXGuardian is a young aro-ace writer who specializes in fanfiction. She’s incredibly enthusiastic about her work and obviously loves to write, which always makes for a great interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write fanfiction. My first posted fanfiction was a story exploring a headcanon for the Fire Emblem games. It is under the f/m section of AO3, but it wasn’t meant as a romantic story. It simply had a big focus on a pairing for plot reasons (a pairing that wasn’t canon to boot). My main focus is angst and canon compliant stories expanding the backstory or what happens after the end of the series. I have a fair amount of Gravity Falls one-shots posted. Gravity Falls is also fandom of my current long-fic After the War. All my fics are mainly just headcanons that got really out of hand. They’re also really sad.

What inspires you?

My main inspiration are other big writers on Tumblr. I just want to get my ideas out there and have other people enjoy them. I was first inspired to write Return to Ylisse by seeing The Apocryphal One’s Fire Emblem fanfictions. The only fic I can really point to having a big inspiration is After the War. A lot of the ideas of the protagonists coping with the events of the series are based on the much better Fisherman’s Knot. Lyrical music does influence the plot or a character’s thoughts a lot. I’ll just be listening to a song and think “Hey, this fits a lot of the idea I have for a fic.” Then another line will inspire me to change the story a bit. They also help me with getting into a character’s thought process a lot.

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

When I was in third grade I wrote my first Pokemon fanfiction. It was your typical self-insert fic. I also started a couple of original stories that I still have saved on google drive. Once I got over my president and lawyer phase, I wanted to be a computer programmer with some published books on the side. Now a days, I’m more focused on being a computer programmer when I grow up rather than publishing books.

I first got reinterested in fanfiction last summer when I was hyper fixated on Fire Emblem. It was the summer and I had an idea (also a lot of free time). That was when I wrote most of the Return to Ylisse chapters. Once I got into the Gravity Falls fandom, I decided I wanted to write After the War. But wanted to finish what I started. So I finished up Return to Ylisse and started working on After the War. I’m forcing myself to order all my long fic ideas and eventually get to them. I have written some one-shots between After the War chapters.

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

There’s no real special signature my fics have. Other than a lot of sadness, but that’s a common thing throughout all fandoms.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I mean, I’m kinda one myself, but I’ll give it a try.

Just keep at it. Treasure compliments. Use suggestions. But completely disregard the haters. Don’t let it go to your head.

Also if you’re experiencing a great emotion, just try to log off. Analyze what you are feeling. This will let you repurpose it in your writing. You (hopefully) won’t be experiencing anything as extreme as your characters, but you can exaggerate it. Try to do the same with other emotional scenes in books.

Oh and here’s a tip I got once that I’ve taken to heart. If you don’t know what your characters would say and you feel awkward writing it, so do your characters. Add in awkward pauses. “X didn’t know what to say, it was all just so overwhelming”

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic asexual.

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

With fanfiction, the community of each fandom is a lot more important than the field as a whole. But with fanfiction as a whole, it may be the popularity of smut/romantic fics over gen fics. For someone that’s aro/ace, that’s hard to write, but also hard to empathize with as you read. I just deal with it by creating the content I want. I’ve never been directly questioned/harassed about my orientation, but that’s what I’ve seen.

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

In general, just the misunderstanding with the dual meaning asexual has. For people who only learned the scientific meaning in school, it can be confusing to adapt. But it isn’t hard if the person is open minded.

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

You’re valid. Also anyone who is bothering you about not finding a partner with or without knowing your orientation is a jerk.

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

Other than my AO3 and FanFiction.net profiles, you can find me at my Tumblr blog: https://absolxguardian.tumblr.com/. It’s mostly just a mulit-fandom, but it’s the easiest way to contact me. I’d love to talk about my own fics, asexualitly/aromantism, my fandoms, or even read gen fics you send me and give feedback. Also I liveblog while I’m writing with the tag #writingwoes.

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

Interview: Kerstin

Today we’re joined by Kerstin. Kerstin is a phenomenal fanartist and visual artist. She writes a lot of fanfiction and cosplays as well. When she’s not writing, Kerstin enjoys drawing. She has been drawing and writing for years and has a great deal of passion for both, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

hand
Hand

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m mostly a writer, especially a fanfiction writer nowadays. I started with original stories when I was about nine or ten years old and continued to write original works until I was maybe sixteen. I never lost interest in writing but somehow I barely ever finished anything because I didn’t have the drive to write without getting any feedback. That’s where fanfiction came in. It’s a great way to practise writing, explore different styles and genres and also get feedback from people who love the characters as much as I do.

Drawing has always been important to me, too. I’ve drawn for pretty much my entire life, anything from little doodles or abstract art to manga to attempts of realistic art. I mostly draw people, many original characters, but recently I’ve started using real people for references as well and tried myself in art studies.

Lastly, I also started cosplaying about four years ago. I don’t do it regularly but it’s a lot of fun, especially when you see other people’s reactions to your portrayal of their favourite character. I’ve made cosplays that were close to the originals as well as freeforms.

What inspires you?

Honestly, pretty much anything can inspire me. Photos, buildings I pass, sceneries I see while going for a walk, music, people or objects around me, characters I adore,… Occasionally I’m inspired works by other artists, especially when it comes to drawing – I just love Renaissance and Romantic art. In fanfiction it’s the canon characters mixed with headcanons, oftentimes also conversations with friends that give me ideas. I’m also a big fan of thrillers and medieval European literature and I try to combine these two types when I write.

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

Ever since I was a child I’ve been reading tons of books and soon started coming up with my own stories. It just fascinates me how words can create worlds and capture one’s imagination but everybody still has their own pictures in their mind while reading the exact same story or sees different things in the same painting. I love the emotions art can elicit. I’ve wanted to become an author for years now and just graduated in art history and German literature and I hope that it will help me pursue my dream.

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 don’t really have any signature.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Keep creating, no matter what field of art you like. You will get better, even if it might not seem like it occasionally. Practice is crucial, but so is having fun. Create what you’re interested in, not what you think you should create. Accept constructive criticism and don’t beat yourself up if you think your art isn’t getting any better. It is. You just need some time. And remember, no one will ever be able to create the exact same things you do – your art is one of a kind and you should be proud of it.

jensen jeffrey
Jensen Jeffrey

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as akoisexual and akoiromantic. Now and then I find some people attractive but it usually doesn’t last very long and if this attraction is ever reciprocated it just fades away.

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

So far I haven’t since I only recently started including asexual characters in my writing and most people don’t even know I’m on the spectrum.

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

The misconception I get confronted with all the time is that people on the spectrum don’t ever have sex and can’t have functioning relationships because sex “is a crucial aspect to any romantic relationship”. People don’t seem to understand that sexual attraction and enjoying sex are two different things, that you could have sex even if you’re not physically attracted to that person and that there are people who make relationships work just fine without sex.

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

Personally, I was glad to find a term that describes me because I felt a little less alone, but it’s not the most important thing to find a label for yourself so if you’re unsure, that’s okay. You’re not strange, you’re not alone, and you’ll be fine. You might encounter individuals who won’t be able to understand your orientation but their opinion doesn’t matter. Find people who accept you the way you are. Try to stay true to yourself – I know it can be hard, but it’s okay to struggle and question your orientation, I still sometimes do that, too. Your orientation does not define what kind of person you are.

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

I occasionally post some of my artwork and cosplays on my Tumblr: http://crazy-walls.tumblr.com/

My fanfictions can be found on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/crazywalls

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

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.

Interview: Edy

Today we’re joined by Edy, who also goes by omegalovaniac. Edy is a phenomenal versatile artist who is mostly a writer. She writes fanfiction as well as original work. Her original work tends to be terror and supernatural. Edy is also a first for Asexual Artists: she hosts her own low-fi community radio program. It’s obvious she’s an artist with a great amount of passion. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

pccff16woy

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer before anything else; I really enjoy fanfiction and have for years, even if the wide majority of my older work is no longer accessible. I hope to have a few more fandoms published for in the coming year. The original work I’m pushing for publication is along the lines of uncanny terror and the supernatural, and the original work that won’t be meant for mainstream release is stuff I’ve been working on for over a decade now. Most of the artwork I put out is for fandom or the non-pub fiction. I also do cosplay, and I host a weekly lo-fi community radio show every weekend.

What inspires you?

My current font of inspiration is Disney’s Wander Over Yonder, but I have irons in so many fandoms that it’s a bit overwhelming on any given day, to say the least! There is so much inspiration in shows and films I enjoy, and comics and books I read. There’s a lot in the people I’ve met and places I’ve gone and things I’ve done. There’s a lot in the songs and poetry I hear. I find it’s important to be open and take in as much as I can, as there are a lot of stories to be found, everywhere and in everything.

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

I can’t remember a time before wanting to write. From scribbling comics and characters to lugging an old typewriter around the house to keeping a notebook with me wherever I go, that’s me and a lot of people close to me know that. Telling stories is something I enjoy almost as much as hearing good stories. As for the radio, I have a clear memory of dragging one of those “My First Sony” radios around and pretending to broadcast radio dramas of sorts – stories I would make up on the spot or retellings of my favorite Looney Tunes cartoons (Hair-Raising Hare comes to mind). Art has always been a part of that, too, in illustrating what I’d write or want to write, and then moving onward to fandoms and friends’ original characters. The costuming is nothing new, either. If I could have been Babs Bunny every day that one year instead of Halloween, I tell you what. If I could be Lord Dominator every day instead of trying to find work-place appropriate costumes for Halloween this year, well, I’ll tell you what again.

CanaryCoalpsre

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 am a huge sucker for callbacks, references, and homages. HUGE. So of course, I use them too. I had someone tell me once that it pulled them out of their immersion in the fictional world of their choosing when they’d catch one, but adversely, I feel even closer to the characters, they are more relatable. They make the same jokes I would and they enjoy the same things I do. I love it. I recognize it’s not for everyone, at least where the pop culture aspect might be concerned, but I feel like utilizing them carefully in one’s own story as a closed loop, that’s a good, solid move. The ideal goal is to become part of that myself, one day. Someone references a quote of mine or a thing I’ve done, in something they’ve done.

I also really enjoy subverting tropes like no one else’s business, twisting them and seeing how far I can break them or how much better I can make them. Tropes can be good and useful. They can also be terrible. But even if they’re terrible they can still be some fun…

Where the radio show is concerned I’ve reached for a staple tool I’ve used in my writing in the same way that I might use TVTropes: Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies. Every week I pull a card from my tattered, DIY deck and craft an hour-long segment around it. It’s a big challenge and I look at selecting songs for it in the same way I might pick pieces for a collage. It’s gotta be comprehensive, but at the same time very lateral in composition, and overall, enjoyable and entertaining. From songs with different time signatures for “Distorting Time” to exploring musical themes of Philosophy in the current show I’m putting together for “Disconnect from Desire”, this segment I call Obliquities is my signature, cornerstone segment.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

A few things. Don’t listen to Stephen Moffat. Don’t be afraid to do things, even if someone already has – you might do it more differently than you think. Remember to take breaks often and play with your pets if you have them, drink some water, have a snack, and then get back to it. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you find you’re in a mental block moment! Your brain needs some serious rest too, sometimes. Be serious and be honest about your collaborations, both towards your partner, your input, and the output. Learn. Listen. Keep at it.

pccgfgroup

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’ve finally settled on Asexual. Just that. I’ve not yet decided where my romantic leanings lie (as I can at least say aromanticism isn’t where I’m at) and I waffle on those so much that I just say forget it, more often than not. It took me a long enough time to find the word “asexual” and what it means in relation to me and my life that I also spent sometime shuffling through the other forms of it and doing some thinking as I went along, for good measure. I’m happy sitting here for the moment.

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

Oh, yes. In earlier fandom fun I wrote some explicit things, did some adult art for friends, but as I realized I wasn’t super comfortable writing them, or writing them well, even, I started to taper off of doing that. And my audience started to taper off, too, very visibly. That is what it is. No matter how much someone who is selling you sex would have you believe, though, sex doesn’t always sell. Great and amazing stories can and do exist without it just as much as they do with. So I persist.

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

That it’s unnatural. I heard this from the Chair of my local Pride organization when I had started to volunteer for it, and I became sort of a token joke at meetings and sponsored canoodling events, as if I couldn’t possibly have an opinion on matters pertaining to sex or sexual relationships. They are not a good person in general and there’s been a lot of education happening from me and others. Including one of my favorite performers that we had worked with, with the organization. Being told “girl, what are you even doing here” by him was a bit jarring, but he has since apologized, and is working to better his personal understanding, and that of his drag scene, of the diversity in the queer community. I’m proud that the open discussion about that has had an effect. It was hard finding the words for it. Even as a writer I was at a loss for so long, and so angry about it until I was able to fix that, even if just for myself at first before others.

faircolor

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

It’s okay! I’m still struggling. There are days when I want to love everyone and days where I want to love no one. Days when I want to be touched and days where I feel I might implode if I were to be touched, even non-sexually. Days where I know, and days where I don’t know. That’s just the way of it, sometimes, and it’s perfectly fine. It’s all part of getting to know yourself. And if you feel comfortable being as fluid and as wonderfully elusive as a Water Weenie, that’s just great too. There is nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with you. Don’t let that weird connotation of being “broken” somehow keep you from seeking yourself. It’s not true.

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

My fanfiction can be found on AO3 here: http://archiveofourown.org/users/3amepiphany.When I say it’s a wall of single fandom pieces, I mean it. I hope to have more things up soon enough, but come Wander Over Yonder with me there for a bit in the meantime, yeah?

The stuff I’m not tossing at the mainstream publication demons, and the ephemera around it and the arduous labor of love that is what I call writing (and not just dragging my face aimlessly across the keyboard) can be found here: http://billetdouxnondistribue.tumblr.com. If furry works aren’t your bag, I apologize. That’s … what … that’s what it is. Also, some of the fic I write that doesn’t end up on AO3 as well as the art I do and have had done for me winds up there.

As for the radio show, I can be heard streaming online worldwide here: http://radiosunnyside.org every Saturday night from 5pm-8pm PST. My show is called Written on the Studio Wall and I am DJ Hot Donna. Thanks for tuning in!

cardcolor1

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

Interview: Clara

Today we’re joined by Clara. Clara is a wonderful and versatile artist who does a bit of everything. She’s been drawing for a few years now. When she’s not drawing, Clara loves to write and does quite a bit of fanart as well. She’s obviously a very passionate artist and it shows in her interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I consider myself a writer, fanartist and artist. I’ve written one complete novel and am constantly working on my writing skill, as an artist I’ve been playing around with creating a style in digital art and I’ve been expanding into the animation area and as a fanartist I use both of my ‘platforms’ in different ways by writing fanfiction or drawing fan art.

What inspires you?

Seeing other people their work and the things I see in the news or read online. In general I get my ideas either from seeing/reading what other people have made or seeing things online that I want to write something about or draw something like that.

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

Somewhat. Ever since I was little I’ve been playing games and thanks to those I’ve always wanted to work at a gaming company like Ubisoft or Bethesda. I’ve always been playing story-heavy games or RPG so when I discovered a certain thing called fanfiction I got hooked on reading it and eventually decided, why not? And so I started to write and by now I’ve written a complete novel in my second language, English. Drawing came from my obsession with Pokemon but I never planned on drawing as much as I am now.

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 don’t really have anything like that. When it comes to my writing I’m certain I don’t have anything like that because I feel like my writing changes all the time and when it comes to art I don’t do anything special either, I’d like to reveal something but I don’t have anything.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I don’t have much as I myself am still quite young, I haven’t finished high school yet. The best advice I have is just to do what you love. If you’re being held back because you feel like you’ll never be good enough, there will be always be someone better but no one can be better at you being yourself so don’t worry too much about it. Do what you want, take criticism but only if it’s constructive and use it to continue but just never let yourself be held back because of other people.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as Asexual and Biromantic but as most people haven’t really heard of biromantic, panromantic, aromantic etc. I just tend to say I’m Asexual and attracted to both genders.

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

I have never been the victim but I’ve seen it a few times though not necessarily in what I would consider my field. I’ve seen a big discussion of people whom were discussing if people who are Asexual but only attracted to the opposite gender belong in the LGBT+ community. In general when I see it if I know I can form a rational discussion I would engage but otherwise I wouldn’t, sometimes it’s hard to do that but I know that having a discussion with someone who isn’t willing to change views is pointless.

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

That we don’t have sex or aren’t romantically attracted to people. Asexual is just that you don’t desire or feel the need for sex. There are people who are Asexual and don’t have sex but there are also ones who do. Just as there are people who identify as Asexual and Aromantic but others who don’t.

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

Don’t worry about it too much. Who you are sexually interested in or who you want to have a relationship with does not define who you are and it won’t make every decision in your life. It’ll have an influence but that doesn’t mean you need to let it rule everything you do. If there are people who are worried about a future, don’t. There are plenty of Asexual people who are adults or have finished University/college and are in a happy relationship with someone. Some people in those relationships have sex and some don’t. In the end a partner is someone who accepts you, not someone who only wants to be with you for sex because then it’s not a healthy relationship to start with.

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

On Tumblr // doctorclarami.tumblr.com
Deviantart // doctorclarami.

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

Interview: Inu

Today we’re joined by Inu, who also goes by InuShiek. Inu is mainly a fanfiction writer who writes stories based on a variety of fandoms. Aside from fanfiction, Inu is also a dedicated crafter, doing a fair amount of knitting and crochet. She also recently did a rather unique sewing project. It’s very apparent she loves what she does, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Blanket
Blanket

 

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a fanfiction writer mainly, but I also crochet and knit in my free time. I enjoy writing for several fandoms, but mainly Transformers. I began writing little drabbles on paper back in middle school, and I began writing much more frequently online since graduating high school. I picked up crocheting almost 2 years ago, and knitting a year and a half ago. I’ve made a large blanket, but mainly small items as gifts for friends and family. (I think my favorite project so far is a crocheted Optimus Prime hat. It’s magnificent!)

I also occasionally sew. Let me lead by saying that I am an Animal Sciences graduate student, so much of my time is spent studying and teaching nutrition. Because of this, my most notable sewing project has been a life-size replica of a horse’s digestive tract made entirely out of fleece. It is nearly 100 feet long! So….much…..sewing…!! But it’s been used for several educational events and it’s always fun to see peoples’ eyes widen when they realize just how big a horse’s digestive tract can be!

What inspires you?

As far as writing goes, I rely heavily on my online friends for ideas and requests. Most of my fanfics are actually of the smut variety, so people will sometimes make requests with their favorite characters, specific scenario, or kinks in mind. I enjoy writing for them, and seeing them enjoy something that they didn’t have to write themselves is nice

For yarn crafts, I enjoy spending time on Pinterest and Ravelry looking for project ideas and patterns. I’ve saved so many patterns that I’ll probably never be able to make them all! I’m constantly on the lookout for new yarn of all different colors and materials, and they often inspire the article I’ll make. For example, I saw some lovely yarn with my university’s colors, and I immediately knew I wanted a scarf made of it for cold football game days.

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

I’ve always had an imagination that had me making up stories in my head. Back in the days when folks posted fanfiction on Quizilla, I read my first fanfiction and realized I could make stories up using established characters from shows, books, and movies that I love. I introduced my best friend to it, and we set out on writing a joint fanfiction that turned into a massive 400+ page fic. I was hooked and I’ve been writing in various fandoms ever since.

As for the yarn crafting, my grandmother used to crochet often, and I’d sit and watch her for hours when I was little. She showed me how to crochet chains, and I would make these things sometimes 10-15 feet long for no real reason other than I could. I was too young to really understand how to go back within the chain to add multiple rows to projects to make them wider, so I’d just make chains. I enjoyed the action, but I couldn’t do anything with the chains I made. I wound up quitting for several years, and decided to pick it back up when I learned that my best friend also wanted to learn. We made blankets as our first projects (yikes!), and haven’t stopped crocheting and learning together since. I learned to knit a few months after picking crochet back up because the types of projects that can be knitted are so distinctly different. I enjoy the repetitive motions of both crafts, and being able to pretty pretty and/or useful things for myself and my friends is a treat

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?

My fanfics tend to be very short (more drabbles, really), and I like to think I’m at least a little recognizable for my style and how I incorporate various kinks.

I haven’t developed my crochet or knit skills to the point of being able to create or customize my own patterns, so I don’t really feel like I’ve got any recognizable features yet

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Find what you enjoy, and do it because you enjoy it. I remember when I first started writing and posting online that I didn’t get many views at all. I started to get discouraged, but I eventually realized that I was trying to write to please everyone. After that, I started writing things that I enjoy or that others specifically asked for. I still don’t get as many views as some of my own favorite authors, but I’m ok with that because I enjoy the writing

I still make mistakes. I find typos, continuity errors, dropped stitches, miscount rows, and all that stuff. I just keep working because I learn from those mistakes and still enjoy the final product. Don’t get discouraged because you made a mistake or you aren’t famous. Make art that makes you happy, no matter what form that art takes

Digestive Tract
Digestive Tract

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual. I usually don’t even experience aesthetic attraction to people

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

Occasionally I’ll get asked how I can write fanfiction like I do and be asexual, but the questions aren’t phrased rudely. Plus, I know most people think asexuality invariably means “I want nothing to do with sex, thanks,” and they’re usually pretty understanding when I explain that it’s a spectrum and we’re all different in our experiences and preferences.

I sometimes attend a weekly knitting group in my town. There are two regular attendees who are homosexual and bisexual, and they sometimes bring another friend who is pansexual. They’re very open about their own orientations, and I feel like they’d likely be open to mine if I made it known, so that’s been great to know that I’m not on an island

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

Personally, I most often encounter the misconception that we are all sex repulsed and/or have no libido. We can consider ourselves to be in those categories, of course, but it’s not a requirement by any means. We’re all different and have our own individual reasons. Because nearly all of my fanfictions involve sex, that seems to throw some people for a loop when they learn I’m actually asexual.

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

Don’t let anyone try to force you to be someone you’re not.

You’re on the ace spectrum and you’re wonderful, okay?

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

http://www.ravelry.com/people/InuShiek is the site that I use to track my progress on a few of my ongoing knit and crochet projects. It isn’t a comprehensive list (because I’m bad to start a small project and finish it before I ever add it to Ravelry), but there are some WIP photos of a few of my projects.

https://inu-knits-and-crochets.tumblr.com/ is my crafting blog where I post about the crafts I love and share patterns that others have created

All of my fanfiction is on AO3, but, again, most of it is smut of some form or another. Please don’t click if you aren’t comfortable with that http://archiveofourown.org/users/InuShiek/works

I’ll also post prompts, drabbles, and links on my main blog (which has further NSFW content. Please don’t click if that isn’t what you want to see): http://inushiek.tumblr.com/tagged/inu+fic

OP hat 2
OP Hat

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

Interview: Cas Fletcher

Today we’re joined by Cas Fletcher. Cas is a wonderful writer who writes in a variety of forms. She writes short fiction, poetry, and fanfiction. Cas is currently working on a longer story, which might become a novel. It’s very apparent that she loves the art of writing, 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 mostly write short stories and poetry, but I also write fanfiction and I am planning something of a longer piece at the moment. Not sure if it’ll be a full length novel, but I suppose I’ll find out when I get there.

What inspires you?

I feel like I have a lot of different stories to tell and I am mostly motivated by my characters demanding that I write them down, however I do feel like another major motivation for me is spite. Ever since Steven Moffat’s lovely ‘asexuals are boring’ comment, my main aim is to include as many asexual characters as possible in my stories, just to prove him wrong. That and his special interest in nonsensical plots and overindulgent twists have set me firmly on the course to prove myself better than him.

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

I read a lot of books as a child and I came across a book that had been written by a girl who was fourteen at the time, and my little girl brain thought ‘well I’m nine, I’ve got plenty of time to write a book’ (I haven’t and I’m twenty-one now, but oh well, I’ll get there) and I’ve been writing since then.

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?

Nothing particularly special, I don’t think. The strongest aspect of my writing is often the dialogue, so you’ll find a lot of that in the longer pieces.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

My advice would be, don’t be discouraged if you read back a first draft and it’s not exactly the way you want it to be. Editing and redrafting is the majority of the process and if you keep at it, it’ll get there eventually. Also try not to compare yourself to other authors’ published work. When you read a book, it’s been extensively polished and edited, and what you’re looking at is the result of month-years of hard work, arguing with editors and a lot of wasted ink. Finally, let your characters drive the plot, otherwise the plot just comes across as empty and forced. They are the core of the story.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual, bi-romantic.

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

Nothing especially in my field, but perhaps an abundance of forced, explicit sexual scenes. Once my scriptwriting tutor told me that my relationship is meaningless because I don’t have sex (not that she even knows this) and that was quite hurtful.

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

When I first got together with my boyfriend, people kept asking me ‘so does that mean you’re not asexual anymore?’ It’s like they think that it just goes away as soon as you get a partner.

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

My advice would be to find as much information as you can. Definitely check out AVEN. It helps a lot to know that you aren’t the only one that feels this way. I’m only just discovering the community myself and I’ve felt very welcomed.

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

My original works can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/casfletcherwriting/ WordPress: https://casfletcher.wordpress.com/ and Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/casfletcherwriting, whichever you’d prefer, and my fanfiction can be found on AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Nurmengardx/pseuds/Nurmengardx

I’m working on my dissertation right now, but I hope to post a lot more once I graduate.

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