Interview: Cassandra Wolfe

Today we’re joined by Cassandra Wolfe. Cassandra is a phenomenal artist jack of all trades. She’s predominantly a fantasy writer who is working on a novel that sounds absolutely fascinating. When she’s not writing, Cassandra enjoys photography, particularly wildlife. She’s incredibly passionate, as  you’ll soon read. 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’m a bit of a jack of all trades really but my main focus at the moment is my writing (funny considering I’m trained as an art teacher). I work mainly in the fields of urban fantasy. I am currently working on the final drafts of what I hope to be my first novel featuring a bunch of werewolves living in modern day Australia along with a few short stories that I’m working on getting published in some online anthologies.

Outside of writing I’m trained in painting but I find that these days most of my work tends to utilize photography as a medium, with wildlife being one of my favourite subjects. I’ve also dabbled in both ceramics and sketching.

What inspires you?

I get most of my inspiration from the natural world and folklore. I grew up in a family that loved nature so I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the African wilderness which made me fall in love with the wonder that is wildlife. There’s a certain thrill that comes with getting up close to wild animals and it hasn’t faded now that I’m dealing with kangaroos instead of springbok. I’m rather proud of the fact that I can and have gotten within meters of hartebeest, bat-eared foxes, snakes and lizards. Reptiles are my absolute favourite subjects to shoot simply because they’re so chill that it makes approaching them a piece of cake.

The folklore that inspires me comes through mainly in my writing where it combines with my love of the natural world in the form of critters that are closer to that world than most people are. I tend to include a lot of shape shifter lore in my work and the fae are never far behind! I also enjoy including aspects of my religion into what I write in terms of how I shape the magic and witchcraft that is 99% guaranteed to be a part of my fictional work.

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

I was the kid who always wanted to sit down and write stories when asked what I wanted to do; it used to drive my sister up the wall. I actually entered a writing competition when I was pretty young and got to meet a whole bunch of authors at the close of it which helped drive my passion even if my story for it wasn’t what you’d call great. I still own the signed copies of one of Fiona McIntosh’s series and every time I feel disheartened by my writing I find reading that ‘keep writing’ on the front page keeps me going. Reading that little handwritten quote inspired me to be published one day when I was all of ten years old and that dream has yet to die on me.

My passion for Visual Arts came later in life even if, like most kids, I liked to draw when I was young. I actually originally planned on going into the equestrian industry with hopes of training race horses one day and even got a job as a groom at a show yard but unfortunately I had a bit of a tough time of it there. I ended up being rather over worked and on top of a couple of injuries I received I was slowly wearing my body out. I found that at that time the one thing that got me through it all was my art. I was doing some writing at the time but what really distracted me from my sore legs, ankle and back was painting. I bought a couple of canvas boards and some acrylic paint and Bob’s your uncle, I was falling in love with art all over again.

When I finally accepted that working in the equestrian industry wasn’t going to be possible going into art was the obvious choice. And since I had no desire to try and live purely off of my art I felt that being an art teacher was a perfect fit for me.

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?

Not so much in my drawings and photographs per say but I do have a few in my writing. One of the big things is ‘circles’, I love having little tidbits here and there that circle back and link to another part of the story. Half the time they’re completely irrelevant to the plot and very subtle in their implementation but I just love including them. Eyes would another one, I fully believe that eyes are the window to the soul and as such the eyes of my various critters tend to tell a tale in themselves. It’s one of the reasons why all of my shifter characters retain their human eye colour when in animal form.

On a larger scale you can expect to see a bunch of diversity in what I write, half of my characters end up being some version of queer (often less well known sexualities) and I try to limit the amount of cis, straight, white males in my writing since they’re over-represented in fiction.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t be afraid to experiment; try different mediums and genres, play around, try something that might not work for the hell of it. It’s the only way to grow no matter what your field is. And above all, persevere. It doesn’t matter if what you made didn’t come out the way you wanted it to, you still made it and the next time it will be even better. Even your worst mistake is better than not having tried in the first place.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as demisexual and homoromantic.

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

Most people haven’t heard of it to be honest, I’ve only heard it mentioned once. That time there was a bit of confusion about it but I didn’t exactly feel comfortable explaining more since I was just a prac student at the time. As a whole the Australian education system is generally anti-LGBTQIA+ with a recent program designed to teach high school students about the various genders and sexualities and why it’s wrong to discriminate being muzzled and defunded by the government over fears that it was sexualizing children. I find that being an art teacher makes it easy enough to get around that prejudice however as half of the artists I teach experienced some form of discrimination.

I haven’t really encountered anything in terms of my writing but if I get published it’ll only be a matter of time considering Wolf Moon and its sequel currently feature at least two lesbians, an ace-aro, and two non-binary folk.

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

That it’s the same as being straight. That’s the big one online at the moment and it drives me demented considering that most of the people spouting it refuse to be swayed from their position by the experiences of actual ace and aro people. It’s especially frustrating because of the impact it has on the ace (and aro) communities as both are made to feel unwelcome in both straight and LGBTQIA+ spaces.

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

Ignore the current online discourse; it’s not reflective of real life LGBTQIA+ spaces at all. Most of the people in those spaces have no issues with aces or aros and those who do aren’t worth giving a damn about if you ask me. Whatever your orientation you are valid, it doesn’t matter if things change down the line or if you don’t have the exact word to describe your orientation, you and your experiences remain valid. Just hold your head up high and be proud of who you are.

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

Those interested in my writing can find it at http://cassandrawolfe.tumblr.com/ I tend to post drabbles, and writing advice there as well as keeping people updated on the progress of my bigger works there. My art can be found at http://thepaintedwolfe.tumblr.com/ with the vast majority of it being wildlife photography.

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

Interview: Clara Quinion

Today we’re joined by Clara. Clara is a phenomenal science fiction writer who is quite prolific. To date, she has written three novels, a number of short stories, and some poetry as well. It is quite apparent that she has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I write science fiction. Also bits of art, photography, and craft.

What inspires you?

Everything. I’m a highly sensitive introvert with synesthesia. I take in more sensory impressions than most people, spend a long time mulling them over, making connections, and come out with some interesting thought-experiments.

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

I used to draw all the time when I was a kid. During my teens I got more into photography, and thought that would be my career. That didn’t work out. I got into writing by serendipity: having failed to get into any arts courses at university, I applied for a bunch of other creative courses through clearing, and got into an English with Creative Writing degree.

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 write in a multiverse called The Sustained World: all worlds capable of sustaining intelligent life lined up, separated by the Void, yet transversible. The denizens of The Sustained World are called Eltoids, which is a wider definition than humanoid, and means creatures capable of intelligence, communication, and manual dexterity, the symbol of which is a three-noded triangle. I’m also working a lot with black crow imagery: in The Sustained World, the Reapers who take the spirits of the deceased to the Void take the shape of crows.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do your own thing. Not what’s popular. Not what you think will sell. Not what everyone else is doing. Your own thing. You don’t have to be the best at your medium. Being authentic is much more important.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual and biromantic/panromantic. And queer, as far as I think that gender roles are arbitrary rubbish.

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

Nothing comes to mind. In the past I haven’t actually spoken much about not wanting to have sex. Just kept quiet and nodded along when people bring such things up. I have a pretty filthy sense of humour and I don’t mind talking about sex at all, but I always get uncomfortable if I see sexual imagery.

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

Not directly, but I feel that it’s been indicated to me that being sexually active is like a further step in developing towards adulthood. Probably by the same sort of people who think getting drunk is a sign of maturity. Knowing yourself and what you like and don’t like is a great step in your development.

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

There is nothing wrong with you. Sex is not a fundamental need like eating and sleeping. It’s more like an interest. I have no interest in sex just as I have no interest in sports. We are all different, and that’s what makes us beautiful. Do your thing, and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong because you don’t like what they like.

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

http://thesustainedworldatransverse.tumblr.com/ and www.facebook.com/ClaraQuinionWriting

Thank you, Clara, 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.

Interview: Brenna

Today we’re joined by Brenna. Brenna is a wonderful young artist who is quite versatile. She does visual art, writing, and singing. She’s currently studying art in school and is incredibly passionate, 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 do many arts from painting and drawing to singing- but the one I’m most passionate about is my writing. I even go to an arts high school for it.

What inspires you?

Music usually inspires me, but other times it’s dreams or TV shows, movies or books that I really like.

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

I really got into writing in sixth grade, I loved it and I realised that that’s what I want to do for a living. When I was younger I really wanted to be a vet- then I wanted to be a singer, then I wanted to be an actress, so you can say I’ve always been into art- but it wasn’t until the sixth grade that I was sure of which art.

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’m not sure if I do- I’m sure if you look intently through my recent works you would be able to find something. I usually write first person from a female protagonists view, that female protagonist is usually quite arrogant and sarcastic. That’s all I can notice for now, but I’m positive that there has to be something else.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

To young aspiring artists: Go out there, experience new things, work on your art- because you’ll never be perfect, there’s no such thing as perfect- but you can pretty well damn try.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as heteromantic, demisexual.

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

I haven’t actually experienced any ace prejudice or ignorance in my field, as I said- those in my field that I interact with all go to the same arts school as I, and so we are exposed to many sexual orientations, many genders, many religions- and so we kinda have to go into everything with an open mind. I say I’m very lucky not to have experienced it in my field.

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

The most common misconception that I’ve encountered is that since you identify as somewhere on the asexual spectrum you are also aromantic. It actually gotten tiring explaining it to people when I tell them that I identify as demisexual and then in later conversations say that I want a boyfriend, they’re always like “oh but aren’t you aseuxal?” Yes, I am- but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel romantic attraction.

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 understand where you identify on the spectrum- you honestly don’t need to put a label on it, no, or ever. It’s okay if you don’t know why you feel, or don’t feel these things- we don’t know either, the best thing I can tell you is to embrace it and move on with your life, it’s a part of you and you can choose what to do with that knowledge.

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

People can find more of my work on Wattpad at: https://www.wattpad.com/user/JazzHz0o0 but I would advise not reading the stories I wrote before 2016, because they are cringey and make me visably cringe when I read them. But you can do what you want with your life, just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Other than that I am working on another story that will come out soon, because it is almost finished- so look out for that.

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

Interview: Morgan Lees

Today we’re joined by Morgan Lees. Morgan is a wonderful artist who specializes in fantasy art and illustration. They’re have an ongoing comic entitled Corner the Maze, which is delightful urban fantasy about a racing driver who winds up in a different dimension. Aside from the comic, Morgan also does a lot of freelance illustration and has done some theater (including stage combat) in the past. Their work is beautiful and the detail is extraordinary, as you’ll soon see. 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 draw, paint, write, and do theater – some of those things more than the others. I’ve been focusing primarily on my comic of late, and I’m a freelance illustrator. My comic work is done in pen and ink, and I’ve been working with pencil on toned paper a lot lately for other art. I haven’t done much with theater aside from stage combat lately, but I’m hoping to get into it more again when I have more time (which I’ve been saying for years now, so who knows when that will be). I guess the common thread is that I like telling stories with art in one form or another.

My comic is called Corner the Maze, and it follows the adventures of a racing driver who finds himself inadvertently trapped in another dimension after falling into a strange portal during a race. It ties into the same setting as the books I’m writing, and some of the characters end up appearing in both, but I’m making sure that they both work well as standalone things, too.

What inspires you?

Mostly I have a lot of story and character ideas jostling about in my head, and I want to get those out and in some form where other people can (hopefully) enjoy them. I’m also inspired by music, nature, and rather unpredictable flashes of insight coming from seemingly random sources. So, I guess mostly it’s whatever happens to set my imagination off, which isn’t very predictable.

Roleplaying games have also been a big source of inspiration for me since I was really little. A great percentage of everything I’ve ever drawn has been one of my characters or another, either in pen and paper games or from CRPGs, and that probably had something to do with getting me thinking about characterization and storytelling so much as well.

Stylistically, again with the roleplaying games, I always really liked the black and white illustrations found in the RPG books I grew up with – first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and then Middle-earth Roleplaying/Rolemaster – and I’m sure that had some effect on my pen and ink style. Same goes for Choose Your Own Adventure type books.

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

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t get serious about it until I was eighteen or so. For some reason, both drawing and writing as career options seemed out of reach to me when I was younger, but then I decided that I was going to give it my best shot and see if I could make it work. I was actually more focused on theater (directing and lighting design especially) when I was younger, but the amount of travel that would end up being necessary for that put me off in the end – that, and what I really want to be doing more than anything is telling my own stories. That’s what led me to the comic, and what inspired me to get my writing in shape.

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?

Not really! I sign my work with my initials and the date, but that’s about it.

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What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t stop practicing. Whenever you’ve got time, as much as you can possibly stand it, practice. When I look back and see the difference between where I am with my work and where I want to be, and look at the people who are where I want to be, the single greatest difference is always that they were more dedicated earlier on. I goofed off a lot when I was a kid and a teenager – there were plenty of whole weeks where I didn’t draw at all. There are lots of different ways to learn, and there’s no one piece of advice there that will work for everyone, but practice is universal.

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Nerevarine

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m aromantic and asexual. I’ve simply never had the slightest sort of romantic or sexual interest in anyone else. It took me an oddly long time to realize that’s not how most people are, and once I realized that, it “only” took me another few years to realize the rest of it.

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

The worst I’ve encountered is people thinking I’m weird, but then, the place I’ve generally spent the most time with other people in my life is in the theater – and it is true that people tend to get less flak for being seen as different there than in some other places. I was also home-schooled until I went to college, so overall I’ve had a lot less opportunity to encounter prejudice than many people. I did deal with some in college, but again, pretty mild and not directed at me (I hadn’t yet quite realized that I was asexual at the time). It made me uncomfortable, but that’s about it.

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

I did get a lot of people telling me I would grow out of it when I was younger (although that was only when I expressed a lack of interest, since I didn’t identify as asexual yet), but nothing in that vein for the last six or seven years. Again, I’m probably lucky with my circle of acquaintances in this regard; they tend to be rather reasonable and open-minded people.

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Shadow of Murder

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

There’s nothing wrong with you, and if you’re happy with yourself, that’s what matters. There’s no one recipe for happiness, so don’t let anybody tell you that there is. You don’t need to have a romantic relationship or have sex to have a great life (although of course neither of those things will stop you from it either), and being unusual isn’t worse in any way, just different.

I wish I had more useful advice, but I just went about happily assuming that nobody else actually cared about those things either until I was already in my twenties, so… yeah. I’m kind of oblivious about things sometimes, especially where people are concerned.

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

My comic can be found at http://cornerthemaze.net/ and updates every Tuesday and Thursday, my illustration portfolio is at http://morganelees.com/ (which is also where my writing stuff will be, when I get any of that up again), and I generally post all my art to my DeviantArt account at http://remmirath-ml.deviantart.com/. I try to keep those all just about as much up to date, but if anything’s going to fall behind, it’s usually DeviantArt.

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Turn Away

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

Interview: Brandon

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

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Please, tell us about your art.

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

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

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

What inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Troll Art Commission by padalickingood

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

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

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Anya

Today we’re joined by Anya. Anya is a phenomenal up and coming writer who is working on her first novel. She has written a variety of forms: short fiction, poetry, and fanfiction. Anya has also written a little non-fiction. She’s an incredibly passionate writer who has a great love for the written word, as you’ll read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am an aspiring writer. Or, more accurately, I am a writer aspiring to get published. I used to mainly write short stories, but I am now working on my first novel! I sometimes write fanfiction, and I dabble in poetry and non-fiction occasionally, but my true love is – and probably always will be – fiction. I do various different types of fiction, but I do tend to lean towards the dramatic and fantastical.

What inspires you?

Honestly? A lot of things. I don’t even know what brings it on. The strangest things inspire me. I’ll be reading the newspaper and come across an article that sparks a story within me. Or I’ll be talking to a friend and it will fan an idea I had into a full blown flame. I think what really encourages me to write is the idea of putting myself into other people’s heads. I tend to write about characters that are very different from me (though a lot of them do tend to be acespec) because I like to use writing as a way to explore people, as well as situations I might not generally get to experience.

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

I’ve been a total bookworm since I was a little child, so the desire to be a writer happened very organically. I had to write a diary for school, and that diary turned into a book full of short stories, and I never stopped writing since then. I think I’ve always had that need to be a writer within me. I don’t think I’m a writer because I want to be one, I just think I never really had another choice. Throughout my life whenever I strayed from writing, there were always things that brought me right back to it.

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 know if I do. I think my writing style has developed and now reflects my voice, in a sense, but I’m not sure if I do anything unique. I know I tend to be kind of indulgent, and so sometimes there are certain tropes that appear in a lot of my works.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Writing sucks. It may seem easy, but you will spend hours hating yourself and hating your work, and thinking you’re never going to make it big. You’re going to be stuck on a word for hours, and even days sometimes. People are going to think what you do is a hobby and treat you like you don’t know anything about the real world. Knowing all of this, if you still want to be a writer, then my friend, I promise you have it within you to succeed.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m still figuring it out, in a sense. I go back and forth between demiromantic demisexual and grayromantic graysexual. Or some mix of the two… I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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

All the damn time. I’ve always sort of fancied the idea of writing for TV, and I think part of it is because sex and romance are such a staple on TV. I want to prove that you can have characters that are openly proudly asexual and acespec and interesting in TV shows. I want to show that you don’t necessarily need sex for a story to be interesting. I don’t know if I will ever get into television, but I know I will write my book one day, and I currently have an asexual main character and a demisexual supporting character. I hope exposing people to characters like them will teach them about this sexuality. I don’t quite know how else to handle it. While aro-spec, I am heteroromantic and grew up in a culture where we were not exposed to the LGBT community as much. It was through TV shows that I learned I had a skewed view of the community. I want to use my books in order to do the same thing with asexuality.

That is another factor too, actually. I’m from India, and I remember once reading an advice column, and there was a boy who’d written in. He was describing how he wasn’t interested in girls so… maybe he was gay? But he also wasn’t interested in boys. He asked the person writing the advice column if there was a name for what he was. The man wrote back “The name is ‘cute’.”

That really pissed me off. I know asexual awareness isn’t going to happen anytime soon in India where the LGBT community is treated appallingly. So I think this is my way of sort of reaching out, helping people like that boy. I know he’s probably not going to pick up my book and see the ace protag and realise holy shit, I’m not broken, but I hope it will help people like him. Also, I sometimes like to believe he will too. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

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

That we just haven’t met the right one. People keep telling me that I’m wrong about myself, or that if I keep going on dates with whichever guy I’m seeing that I will develop feelings and want to have sex with him. That I’m just making up labels.

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

You’re not broken. Sometimes it’ll feel like it. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re all alone, but you’re not. There are tons of acespec people out there, and a lot of people just don’t talk about it, but we’re out there, and it’s normal, and it’s OK.

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

You can find my fanfiction here, but there isn’t much explicit ace representation in it unfortunately. A lot of my fanfiction actually has acespec characters, but since most of my longer pieces were written before I knew the terms and before I fully understood that what I was writing were demi characters, there’s some badly phrased explanations of sexual identities. My newer ones are all one-shots. Though if you want fluffy pieces where characters don’t have sex, and tend to fall in love only after knowing the other person for a while, then check it out!

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