Interview: Sarah Viehmann


Today we’re joined by Sarah Viehmann. Sarah is a phenomenal author whose debut novel, Unrooted, is scheduled to be released this winter. Unrooted is a retelling of Snow White that features two protagonists on the ace spectrum. When she’s not writing novels, Sarah frequently blogs about fairy tales and sometimes about asexuality. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate writer, 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 am a novelist writing adult fantasy, a series of fairy
tale retellings beginning with Unrooted,
debuting Winter 2018 with REUTS Publications. The first book retells the “Snow
White” fairy tale and features protagonists on the ace spectrum, along with
other LGBT+ characters, disabled characters, and characters of color. Unrooted is the first in a series of
five books called The Iridia Series.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the human impulse that drives us to tell
stories. How do we use stories to communicate deep needs within the individual
and the community? How do stories changes based on who is telling them? How
have stories changed and how will they continue to change in the future? My
fairy tale retellings seek to explore, if not answer, these questions.

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

When it comes to fairy tales, I was introduced to them by my
father reading me Three Billy Goats Gruff
and similar fairy tales before bed at night. I also frequented the local
library and always went directly toward the 398.2 section where fairy tales are
housed. As for writing, I tend to joke that I’ve been writing since I could
hold a marker, but that really isn’t too far off from the truth! I’ve always
been inventive and a lover of words, so combining those two things into writing
seemed to be incredibly natural 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?

Oh goodness … I’m not sure how to best answer this. I
think the themes that appear most frequently in my work include mother-daughter
relationships, women who have lost and regain their voices, and attention to
language. There are also many elements from my academic study of literature
that appear in my work, such as structuralism and mise en abyme (the mirror in the text), and those who might be
familiar with such ideas should be able to pick them out.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Do it, and do it for yourself. Disregard any thoughts of
“what if no one likes it?” It’s yours to
like, and what other people think only matters once the work is done and/if you
decide to share it. Don’t let the input of others affect your creative process,
because then the work won’t be true to you.


Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I identify as asexual and grey-biromantic. The latter part
of that is more nebulous for me and I slide around a lot. I tend to find
cis-women and nonbinary people more aesthetically attractive than cis-men, but
that could be a matter of circumstance than anything else!

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

Yes. I once pointed out amisia in a very popular book series
that appeared in the preview a few days before the newest book release. I spent
a weekend fending off aggressive anons on tumblr telling me I’d read it wrong
and I shouldn’t be upset by it. It’s difficult being in the minority of writers
and readers who can and do point out things like that in published writing (and
that’s not the only example). I still find it very important to point these
things out so readers and writers alike learn, but it’s always a little
uncomfortable having to be That Person. In addition to that, I try and model
positive ace and aro representation in my own writing as a model for what I as
an ace and grey-ro person would like to see in writing.

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

Recently, I think it’s the idea that ace people don’t like sex or are disgusted by it. That’s
not the experience of all ace people, and it shouldn’t be a stereotype. That
said, the experience of those who are sex-repulsed
should be respected.

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

It’s okay to try on labels to see what fits. You’re not
betraying anyone by adjusting the label over time to figure out what fits you
best. I had to play around with my romantic orientation a lot before I decided on one, and I’m still not wholly committed to
it. Also, seek out other ace folks, because on the whole I find we’re an
incredibly kind and welcoming community willing to help you figure things out
if you have questions.

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

My official website is,
but I’m most active on Tumblr (
and Twitter at SarahViehmann.
You can also find Unrooted on
Goodreads! Please stay tuned for its release and other exciting things leading
up to the release date!

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

Hello everyone! I’ve been so busy the past couple of days I forgot to share this awesome interview I got to do over at @asexualartists! Thanks so much for hosting me, Lauren! 

Top Five Wednesday

Welcome to Top 5 Wednesday! Every week, join me and other bloggers/booktubers as we discuss our Top 5 Books according to the theme from the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads Group! This group, started by @thoughtsontomes and @gingerreadslainey, has prompts every week.


This may seem oddly specific, but in honor of Pride being this month, I wanted to have a topic to celebrate LGBTQ+ books. But, the book community tends to, when given the chance, lift up cis m/m pairings the most. And while those books are still important and valued (we’ve even had topics covering m/m relationships earlier this year, which featured many cis m/m pairings), I wanted to shine the spotlight on some of those lesser known, recognized, and celebrated books.

#5 – Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Spoiler, there are going to be a few ace-rep books on this list! Tash Hearts Tolstoy is about an asexual, heteroromantic girl trying to navigate her feelings about her romantic orientation and her sexual orientation. This inner struggle resonated with me a lot and I continue to be thankful that this book is out there.

#4 – Huntress by Malinda Lo

This is a fantasy novel featuring an f/f relationship. The story is a wonderful adventure, and the characters are captivating. If you’re not sure where to start finding queer, especially f/f fantasy, definitely check out Malinda Lo’s work.

#3 – Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Let’s Talk About Love features a relationship between a biromantic asexual girl and a straight boy, both of whom are people of color. The ace representation in this book was spot-on, and I loved the way that she put into words some of the troubles of reconciling asexuality with other feelings, like romantic or aesthetic.

#2 – The Female Man by Joanna Russ

This is a classic lesbian sci-fi novel written in the 1970s. I read it for my transgender literature class a few years ago, and there’s an f/f romance as well as so many other interesting speculations about gender and womanhood. Do keep in mind that this was written in the midst of the second-wave of feminism, and I haven’t reread it recently to find out if it’s TERFy or not. 

#1 – Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Not only was this book the first time I’d experienced the word ‘asexual’ in the text of a fiction work to refer to someone’s orientation, but this book also features a trans boy, a gay girl, and most likely other queer characters that I’m not remembering. It was a delightful rainbow of identities, as is this whole series, and I wholeheartedly recommend it!

Clearly, I have a shameless bias when it comes to ace rep in book because it’s so rare, so I was glad for this opportunity to showcase a few! There are so many great queer books out there, and I’m looking forward to hearing what some of your favorites are!

Hey Sarah! I’m in the midst of writing a novel and I had a kind of complicated question for you, if that’s alright? One of my POV characters is asexual and I’m not quite sure how to convey that. I’d placed him in a romantic relationship earlier in the plot, before I’d figured this out about him, and it’s sort of become essential to the storyline. Is it alright to keep that and, as an asexual person yourself, what is a good way to portray his arc in writing? Thanks!

Hi! Thanks for the question! I actually have a few posts about writing asexual characters here and here. Here’s also some advice written by swankivy. 

But in short, your character can still be in a romantic relationship and be asexual, so that’s totally fine! Just allow your character room to explain his orientation and/or feeling either in the narration or in a conversation so that it’s clear that’s what he is. I don’t know what your genre is, but it’s always nice to see ‘asexual’ on the page. That’s up to you, though! 

Let me know if you have any other questions after looking through those posts! 

Let’s Talk About Asexuality | Day 4: Q&A with Authors on the Ace Spectrum

I participated in this awesome interview for Asexual Awareness Week, along with some other kick-ass writers with whom I’m honored to share space. Check it out!

Let’s Talk About Asexuality | Day 4: Q&A with Authors on the Ace Spectrum

im so sorry if im bothering you but how did you know you were asexual? i have been questioning for a few months now and im just so confused thank you ❤️ also im really excited to read Unrooted !

No, you’re not bothering me at all! I figured it out because of a Transgender Literature class I was taking, which made me realize I had never felt sexual attraction. I dug around on tumblr and was introduced to the term ‘asexual’ and found out it fit. If you browse my ‘asexual’ and ‘asexuality’ tags, you might find them helpful!

Hi, Sarah! First of all I’d like to say that I love your blog and the great advice you give. I’ve also enjoyed reading your fanfiction ACOWAS! I have a question, which is actually a big one that I’ll try to wrap up in an as short as possible text which will probably be send in multiple parts. Thanks in advance for reading it. I’m not that much of a talker in real life. (1/?)

(2/?) Online I also don’t talk about myself and inner struggles and such, because I don’t feel like irritating or exhausting people with long parts of texts about me. Plus, I don’t know anyone but you to ask this kind of question. It’s about asexuality. My best friend is definitely straight so going to her with my questions wouldn’t be useful. I’ve recently read a lot about being asexual on a site about asexuality (it might even be the official one?) and reading all the explanations made me –

(3/?) – start thinking about me and the way I look at people. The first part of my big question is about sexual attraction, because I didn’t quite get the meaning of it by the way it was described. An example: my best friend, who’s straight, sent me a picture on Instagram a couple of weeks ago with a caption she wrote “I’m usually not attracted to women but she’s attractive and good-looking!”. And that confused me and was the first time I really started thinking about how I look at people and –

(4/?) – what I feel/think when I see someone for the first time. I don’t get the “attracted to” thing at all. In the case of my friend, she stated her attraction as sexual attraction. I’ve never felt the “oh I’m attracted to you” kind of feeling that so many people seem to experience. Another example. Last year I was in a class of 26 other students. It was almost the same class as three years ago, so I already knew the people and such. There was one boy with longer hair, almost shoulder-length.

(5/?) Several times a week I thought by myself: “Wow, this boy has gorgeous hair! I wish mine looked as nice.” I once noticed his eye colour which I really liked. I wasn’t captivated by it or something like that, but there was a sparkle in them (I guess because of the lights in the classroom) which I really liked. And in my thoughts I did nothing more than simply stating to myself that this person had gorgeous hair and nice looking eyes. For some reason, when I see people (boys and girls) –


(6/?) – I look at their face and in the back of my mind I simply state things like ‘she has a peculiar nose” and “this guy has an interesting hair colour” and “this girl has beautiful legs” and “this boy is tall!”. I can’t remember experiencing anything other than this. I’m also the kind of person that will say “this guy looks nice” and “this girl looks nice”.

(7/?) I find it weird to hear that as a girl, stating that another girl looks pretty, people will think me to mean that I “like like” this person. I have received a strange look once of one of my classmates, a girl, when I stated that I thought this certain celebrity who is a woman has gorgeous looks. Like it is “not normal” to simply state that I think this woman has great looks.

(8/?) While a girl who says she thinks this celebrity guy is “hot”, other girls will say the same and they’ll just start talking about how good-looking this certain fellow is. And then I’m just so immensely confused. Because why can’t a girl say another girl looks nice while this girl (me) only means that this girl looks nice. I don’t mean anything else but that. I assume that these girls might have mistaken me sharing my opinion and observation for sexual attraction? Which brings me to my –

(9/?) – general point: what ís sexual attraction precisely because I don’t think I know what it means exactly and I simply don’t get it. After thoroughly thinking about this and the information I’ve gathered on the previously mentioned site, I began to wonder if I might be asexual since I don’t experience sexual attraction, or whatever it may be… And it got me confused to the point that I finally came to your ask box to ask you for advice.

(10/10) – I don’t know any person to go to. Again, thank you for reading all this and I apologise for the spam and the trouble of 10 asks :/

Hey there! Don’t worry, I totally understand having questions about this. My answer might seem short in comparison, but please don’t think that’s because your feelings are invalid or anything like that. This sort of confusion is something lots of people experience, and it has a lot to do with how we talk about attraction in our culture. The language gets confusing and often doesn’t satisfy what we’re actually trying to communicate.

To sum it up: sexual attraction includes a physical response to a person’s appearance. That is, some sort of hormonal response occurs that makes you think, consciously or maybe unconsciously, that you would want to have sex with them. This is different from aesthetic attraction, which is simply recognizing that a person is beautiful or handsome, without any personal physical investment in that statement. Take Chris Evans, for instance. He is an aesthetically pleasing person. I enjoy looking at him because he is handsome. But I have no interest in having any sort of physical relationship with him. I’m not sexually attracted to him, but he’s aesthetically attractive. What you’re describing to me sounds like aesthetic, and not sexual, attraction. I think pretty much everyone has some sort of aesthetic preference regardless of their sexual or romantic orientation (there are exceptions to every rule, but I’ve never heard of someone who has no opinions on what they find nice to look at). Not everyone experiences sexual or romantic attraction, though. 

When we say things like “He’s cute,” or “She’s hot,” these are our way of trying express our responses to how we look at people. Personally, I always found “hot” to indicate sexual attraction, but this isn’t true for everyone. I tend to hesitate to use that descriptor myself. In an ideal world, we should be able to express that we find someone beautiful without being assumed to feel attraction for them. Unfortunately, our culture is not quite at that point.

It’s ultimately up to you if you think you may be asexual, but based on what you’ve described, it sounds like a possibility. If you have any other questions or would like me to clear anything else up, please feel free to ask! 

How can you know you’re aro/ace? I’ve always wondered. I’m a 21yo virgin who’s never been in a relationship and only kissed a guy once and idk if I’m just picky or if romance hasn’t been a priority in my life so far or if I’m maybe aromantic or asexual. Tbh I think I still don’t entirely understand what being aro/ace means. And I hope this doesn’t come across as ignorant or offensive I’m just genuinely really confused…

No worries, I totally understand the confusion! I was 20 when I first realized that at least one of these labels fit me. Basically, it had never occurred to me that sexual attraction was A Thing. It was kind of shocking to learn that there was this whole aspect of human interaction that I’d never experienced. It took a lot of reading to figure exactly what sexual attraction even was and realize that I didn’t experience it, but eventually I realized it was the truth. I’m in a similar position experience-wise, but the thing is, experience doesn’t determine your orientation. I’ve heard of many married people who realize that they’re asexual! 

If you’re questioning, I’d just read about what sexual attraction feels like to allosexual people and figure out if you’ve ever experienced it. If not, or if rarely, you could be on the ace spectrum! (All of this applies for aromantics, too.) Good luck, and if you have any other questions, feel free to come and ask!

The Aphobia Masterpost


I started writing this as a comment on another post, but it got too long so fuck it, this is going to be its own post, and it’s going to be a collection of basically everything I can get my hands on about asexual oppression, history, and the shit aphobes say. Yeah, this is going to be long, heavy with links to a lot more reading, but I’ve had it up to here with the “discourse”.

Everyone who wants to is free to reblog this post and use it as a reference when arguing with aphobes. (fyi, I created the blog @asexuality-and-aphobia in the middle of this project to be a reliable source for my links.)

Aces don’t face oppression

Asexuality was listed in the DSM as HSDD (Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder) until 2013, making it officially a mental illness that would be treated with therapy and medication. It is still in the DSM, except that you can ‘opt out’ if you self-identify as asexual, which is great except that asexuality is still so unknown that there undoubtedly many people who are asexual but don’t know that it’s “a thing”. This means that who knows how many asexuals have been sent to therapy and told they’re sick, then been “treated” for their orientation to try and force them to experience sexuality “correctly”. 

In short, our orientation has been and continues to be pathologized, and asexuals have been put through corrective therapy: x, x, x, x, x

Posts of people describing the hardship they’ve faced for their asexuality: xxxxxx, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x

The blog @acephobia-is-real has so many submissions and examples of hatred, harassment, hostility, and abuse, of aces who have been raped and/or sexually assaulted in an attempt to ‘fix’ them, and made suicidal due to aphobia and/or their own perceived brokenness, that it would be pointless for me to try and link any. Just go and start reading. Try their suicide tag.

There may be dissatisfyingly little research done on asexuality, but there has been enough done to prove that they do face discrimination, no matter how hard some may find that to believe. But guess what? You, an allosexual person, do not get to say shit like “aces don’t get kicked out” or “aces don’t _____” any more than I as a white person get to say that things I don’t experience must not happen to black people either. Just because you haven’t experienced it personally or witnessed it with your own eyes doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. You haven’t walked in an ace’s shoes, you don’t know what they deal with. Period. 

Not even other aces can tell asexuals that their experiences aren’t real or aren’t valid. Different people can deal with different amounts of oppression, that doesn’t mean the lack of oppression is the default “truth”. 

Nobody is trying to say that asexuals have it “as bad” or worse than gay or trans people, but we don’t HAVE to “have it worse” to be included and for our experiences to have merit without being compared to anyone else’s. Let me say that again: our experiences have merit without being compared to anyone else’s. 

We just want to protect our safe spaces

Aphobes have:

Are all aphobes this vile? Maybe not, but this is still the disgusting, hateful attitude festering in the gatekeeping community, and it stinks like shit. The examples I have provided above are only a fraction of the harassment and abuse that is perpetrated on a regular basis.

Het aces/aroaces are straight

Some het aces identify as straight. Some het aces don’t identify as straight, they identify as asexual, and it’s not your place to label them against their will. There is no world in which aroaces, people who experience no attraction to anyone, are straight. 

We accept SGA (same-gender attracted) and trans aces

Firstly, SGA (same-gender attraction) is a term that was used and is still used in Mormon conversion therapy, so as one can understand, a lot of people are very uncomfortable being labeled with this description. Secondly, it enforces a gender binary of “same” and “opposite” gender that leaves a large number of nonbinary people out in the cold. Is a genderfluid person only “same-gender attracted” if they’re attracted to other genderfluid people who are genderfluid in exactly the same way? How about agender, intergender, demigirl/boy people? And before the argument “well they’re included as trans” is made, there are plenty of nonbinary people who do not identify as trans. I’m one of them.

The standard of “SGA and trans” as requirement for entry to the LGBTQ community is used nowhere outside of aphobic tumblr, and it seems crafted specifically for the purpose of excluding aces, aros, NBs, intersex people, and others not deemed “gay enough”.

(SGA did NOT come from ‘SGL’, same-gender loving. That is a term created by black queer people and not to be appropriated by white people.)

Discussion of the history of the word ‘queer’ and why it’s better than ‘SGA’: x, x, x, x, x

There are also many “SGA and trans” aces who are against the gatekeeping and feel that they are hated by these aphobes.

Your “discourse” is harmful to all asexuals. And PS, your rhetoric is literally indistinguishable from TWERF rhetoric

The LGBT community has always been about fighting homophobia and transphobia/we came together to fight homophobia and transphobia

Despite the fact that bisexual and transgender people have always been around, and have done great things for the community, they have faced a great deal of lateral oppression from the LG part of the group that did not want to see them get an equal share of attention, support, or legitimacy. This post is not about proving LG transphobia and biphobia, but it’s so rampant that I don’t feel like I need to provide sources whatsoever. Nevertheless, here’s a collection of biphobia, and the blog @terf-callout documents some of the violent transphobia on this site, particularly in the lesbian community. This post is an example

The A stands for Ally so that closeted people can be the community without being outed

No one is saying that we don’t care about closeted people, but a) even if you’re a closeted L, G, B, or T, you are still a L, G, B, or T. Allies do not need to be part of the acronym to be intrinsically welcomed. As someone said, this is like saying the ‘B’ in BLT stands for ‘bread’. We can pretty much safely assume that a sandwich is going to include bread, we don’t have to go of our way to give it a letter. Either you are outing every “ally” as a closeted queer person, or you are giving 100% cis straight people an LGBTQ member card, the very thing you are arguing against by trying to exclude asexuals.

Furthermore, this puts forth the argument “I’m willing to let cishet straight people into the community for the sake of a few closeted people” while at the same time stating “I’m not willing to let the A stand for asexuals because I don’t think letting cis heteroromantic asexuals into the community is worth giving all asexuals representation and support”. Which says that you consider asexuals less valuable and more of a threat than cis straight people.

Bonus: The History of LGBT(QQIAAP+)

Aces have never been a part of the LGBTQ/queer community

Stop tokenizing bi and trans people/stop comparing bi/trans and ace experiences

We’re not the ones doing it. They are comparing them, themselves.

I have proof of an asexual being homophobic/transphobic/racist/a terrible person

Of course there are asexuals who are terrible people. There are legions of gays and lesbians who are racist and transphobic. Does that make them not gay/lesbian? Does their bigotry invalidate their sexual orientation, or remove the L and G from the acronym? No, I don’t think so. Some asexuals being bad people doesn’t justify you trying to invalidate all of us.

’Allosexual’ is a bad word because ____

I actually have an ‘allosexual’ tag just for posts about why ‘allosexual’ is a perfectly fine word: x, x, x, x, x. x

The split-attraction model is homophobic

What we call the split-attraction model was first described by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a gay advocate from the 1800s, as “disjunctive uranodioning”. (source) (credit to this post)

The term ‘corrective rape’ was coined by South African lesbians and should only be used by lesbians

No one means any disrespect to lesbians or other victims of corrective rape, but this is not a correct statement.

“We’ll Show You You’re a Woman” describes the violence directed towards LGBT people in South Africa, stating, “Negative public attitudes towards homosexuality go hand in hand with a broader pattern of discrimination, violence, hatred, and extreme prejudice against people known or assumed to be lesbian, gay, and transgender, or those who violate gender and sexual norms in appearance or conduct (such as women playing soccer, dressing in a masculine manner, and refusing to date men).” It goes on to say, “Much of the recent media coverage of violence against lesbians and transgender men has been characterized by a focus on “corrective rape,” a phenomenon in which men rape people they presume or know to be lesbians in order to “convert” them to heterosexuality.”

The Wikipedia article on corrective rape in South Africa states that, “A study conducted by OUT LGBT Well-being and the University of South Africa Centre for Applied Psychology (UCAP) showed that “the percentage of black gay men who said they have experienced corrective rape matched that of the black lesbians who partook in the study”.”

It is not only lesbians, but also bisexual women, transgender men, gay men, and

gender non-conforming people

in South Africa who experience corrective rape. This is not in any way meant to minimize the horror of the epidemic or shift attention away from lesbians, but other victims, including asexuals, deserve attention as well. Do not silence or speak over victims of rape by policing their language.

Aces are valid, they’re just not queer/LGBTQ

You cannot in one breath say “Asexuals are valid” and in the next deny their experiences. Spend five minutes in the community and you will see testimony after testimony from aces describing their abuse, their sexual assault(s), the countless times people have called them confused, broken, wrong, mentally ill, inhuman, sinful, and how these experiences have left them feeling hopeless, alone, alienated, subhuman, depressed, and suicidal. Almost every asexual out there will tell you a story of how their orientation has caused them pain and struggle, and you can’t call them valid while at the same time calling these experiences invalid and nonexistent.

Bonus: This is a list of all the mainstream LGBTQ groups that include asexuals.

Form your own community!

a) We do have our own community, because every letter in the acronym has its own community and yet is still part of the acronym, b) you fucking shits won’t stop sending us hate and bombarding us with shit meant to trigger and harass us.

Aces take resources from other LGBTQ who need them

I’ve seen some pretty wild claims about this one, insisting that asexuals “steal” things such as scholarships, beds at homeless shelters, food and space at pride events, suicide hotlines, and so on, yet I have never seen any actual proof that any “stealing” has ever taken place. For one thing, I thought “you’ll never get kicked out or fired for being ace”, “no one is suicidal because they’re asexual”, so why would you think aces need these resources? Either we don’t need them or we don’t use them, you can’t have it both ways. 

For another, how heartless do you have to be to tell asexuals that they can’t use suicide hotlines? Do you realize that you’re saying that asexuals should be denied life-saving services? That, in essence, asexuals are suicidal due to their orientation, but you think they’re not “queer enough” so they deserve to die? Because that is the logical progression of refusing someone suicide prevention, and that’s the message aces receive when you tell them they are “stealing” suicide prevention. 

LGBTQ resources offer them to asexuals, and benefit from us using them.

Lastly, do you not realize we are also PROVIDING resources? We are bringing bodies and minds to the community, we are here to be voices, to volunteer, to bring encouragement, information, and support. We earn our keep. You just have to admit that you don’t WANT us here. 

Nobody wants to hear about your nonexistent sex life