Today we’re joined by Tanya Lisle. Tanya is a phenomenal author who writes mainly supernatural YA fiction. She has a number of books available and is currently hard at work on a couple series. She loves the horror genre and there’s brushes of that in most of her work. It’s clear she’s an incredibly passionate artist who loves the written word, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I tell stories, largely with a supernatural bent (Urban fantasy, superheroes, general supernatural elements) and with a horror edge to it, usually with some queer content as well.
Currently I’m working on two sequels to White Noise, which is an older YA series, and The Looking Glass Saga, which started as middle grade, but has gotten older as the characters age. I’m also looking at writing one more book for Tales from the Twisted Eden Sector, which is for an older audience, as well as the next book in Cloned Evil, which is more in the New Adult range.
What inspires you?
A lot of things inspire me. I tend to get the majority of my ideas when my mind wanders during stressful periods of my life looking for that escape. Coming up with interesting concepts to explore always seems to happen when I’m neck-deep in the middle of another project, so I end up jotting the ideas down and come back to them later when I have more time to flesh them out.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I have been writing since I was little. Originally, it was asking teachers if I could write an essay or do a project as a story instead, or adding a narrative to the project in a way that still got the requirements across. When I got into high school, a friend of mine wanted to do a comic with a bunch of us in it and asked me for a backstory for my character, which she ended up really liking. After that, I just kept writing stories without needing the excuse of doing it for I have been writing since I was little. Originally, it was asking teachers if I could write an essay or do a project as a story instead, or adding a narrative to the project in a way that still got the requirements across. When I got into high school, a friend of mine wanted to do a comic with a bunch of us in it and asked me for a backstory for my character, which she ended up really liking. After that, I just kept writing stories without needing the excuse of doing it for homework!
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?
It doesn’t always make it into the final version, but every draft has a scene where a fridge is thrown. It’s a long standing joke and, if you know me, you know that I cannot let a joke die. And sometimes it ends up being necessary to the plot, so it’s not all bad! A little ridiculous, admittedly…
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
There’s already been a lot of great advice, so I’ll stick with this one: Know why you’re doing it and what success means to you. Your success might look different from other people’s and you don’t need to compare yourself to other people in order to determine if you’re on the right track for your artistic journey.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m asexual aromantic. It took me a very long time (Until I was 26!) to figure out that was even an option, but once I did I was so happy I found something that fit!
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
It’s less prejudiced than it is a lack of representation. Like in other places, some people don’t think of it as legitimate, but I’ve also heard that it’s boring to have a story without romance. I’ve seen more books with asexual characters, but less on the aromantic side. There’s a sense that without that romantic subplot, a book won’t sell and therefore you must include some romance.
I’ve admittedly fallen into this trap as well. More recently, now that I’m getting more comfortable talking about my own asexuality, I’m starting to make it more of a point to make various character’s sexualities more explicit and to not walk so carefully around it in fear of not gaining that larger audience. The Looking Glass Saga is a series with an aro/ace lead that I’m going to be making more explicit, and I’m working to include more characters on the spectrum in upcoming projects.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
It’s either that I just haven’t find the right man yet (Because really you’re straight dontcha know?) or that it’s just that I don’t like sex.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
It’s okay to not know exactly what words fit you, and sometimes it takes a while to figure those out. It’s a spectrum and you might not fall neatly into one box or another. And, of course, you may find out later that one word doesn’t fit you as well as you thought it did, and that’s fine too!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
You can check out this link, which has all my books and will redirect you to the store of your preference: https://www.books2read.com/ap/nlzBXx/Tanya-Lisle
And if you would like a sampler of books, you can check out the mailing list here: https://mailchi.mp/506eec46f344/get-your-free-book-now
And, of course, the blog and social media links:
Thank you, Tanya, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.