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Saturday, February 25, 2023

Interview with Michele Kirichanskaya, author of ACE NOTES


Today's interview is with Michele Kirichanskaya, author of ACE NOTES (out March 21st). I was super excited when this author wanted to be interviewed! I think books like this one are super important to have and I was thrilled to be allowed to read and talk about it.

In this interview we talked about what it was like to get this book published, where the idea for this book came from, what message she hopes readers will take away, and what other ace books she's looking forward to. At the bottom of the interview you can find links to follow Michele on her social media and where you can purchase this book.

I just want to make a quick note that I was sick while editing this interview. If there are any gramamr errors or spelling mistakes or mistyped dates, I apologize.


How did the idea for this book come to be? Why did you want to write it?
There's a common cliché that queer writers often write the books that their younger selves would have wanted, and I guess that's somewhat true with Ace Notes. For a while there had been this idea in the back of my head to write a book of "notes" about my experiences as an asexual person, a sort of summary of the lessons and information I picked up over my years of living as ace. Back when I was coming into my aceness there wasn't really a lot of books on the subject, fiction or non-fiction, so I figured why not make it easier for the next person who does come out as ace.

Sounds like a great way to have gotten the idea! I'm sure that many people will appreciate the book and the tips that you have!
What was the publication process for this book like?
Honestly, the publication process for this book was pretty straight forward. When I originally was told by an ace colleague that someone at Jessica Kingsley Publishers was looking to work with ace writers, I sent out an email reaching out to them. They reached out back, and after a bit of back and forth, they had mentioned to send over the book proposal for Ace Notes. Once the proposal was officially accepted and the contract signed, I started to work on the project and finished it in within about four months. Since then the book have gone through numerous edits, and is set to publish in March 2023.

That sounds like a relatively smooth process considering some of the others that I've heard. I'm glad that you were able to discover that JKP was looking for ace writers and that a dialogue was opened!.
What was your favorite part of writing and publishing this book?
Writing this book was definitely an interesting experience that I got a lot out of, but some of my favorite parts included interviewing other amazing aces who provided their own personal insights into the ace community, as well as collaborating with a talented artist (Ashley Masog, check out their work here) to develop the twenty amazing illustrations featured in the book.

That sounds amazing!! It's invigorating to get to chat with other people in the community!
What was it like to write this book? It's a very informative but also a quite personal book.
Given I was writing this book during a pretty tough period in my life, including the fact that there was a pandemic going on (and still going on) plus the war in Ukraine just started then (Ukraine being the country where my family immigrated from) I guess you could say writing this book became somewhat of a life-raft. Writing this book gave me a place to go to when the news on TV got to be too much, a place where I could escape to and feel less "useless." I couldn't control the things around me, but I do have some agency in my words, so writing this book was a good reminder of that.

It's amazing! The dynamic between writers wanting to escape and readers wanting to escape. I'm glad that you found agency in your words and that you permitted them to speak.
Throughout this book, you have interviews with other aces and even a section with quotes. Were those always planned to be part of the book or were they added in later?
I think it was a bit of both. From the beginning I knew I wasn't to make sure that "my perspective" of ace-ness wasn't the only one featured within the book, though how that would manifest wasn't clear until later on. With the quotes, I borrowed the concept from a section within Tessa Miller's book What Doesn't Kill You: A Life with Chronic Illness - Lessons from a Body in Revolt, in which she asked other individuals to describe their experiences with chronic illness.

That's amazing! I'm very glad that you wanted to showcase other perspectives throughout the book! I think that's very important.
A follow-up question regarding those interviews and quotes: How did it feel to conduct those interviews? Receive those quotes?
For the quotes, it was relatively simple, just asking as many aces as I knew personally who would be willing and able to provide some words on what they find joyful or enlightening about being ace or the ace community, which provided a lot of great quotes. For the interviews, it was a little more time-consuming, researching which aces would be available and interested in speaking one-on-one over Zoom about being part of the ace community, then conducting and editing the interviews which I had to transcribe. But overall, each of the aces I spoke to for the interviews were incredibly helpful, each generously providing their time to give insightful understandings of their experiences with ace intersectionality, which I'm very grateful for.

Sounds like an amazing exprience!
What message do you hope every reader takes away after reading this book?
As a writer, I can't predict what each reader will take away from their individual reading of the book. But I do hope that any ace reader coming across this book will take away that they're not "alone" or "broken" in being who they are.

Fair point! As someone who has spent the last year questioning whether I'm asexual, I appreciate the message that you're trying to convey! It's so important.
At the end of the book you provide a list of ace reading recommendations, do you have any personal favorites from that list?
While all the authors on the list are incredible at what they do, I want to highlight the following titles, Hazel's Theory of Evolution by Lisa Jenn Bigelow (Middle Grade Fiction), Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe (Graphic Novel Non-fiction), and Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen (Non-Fiction.)

I haven't read these books yet, but they're definitely on my list!!
Are there any ace books being published in the future that you're looking forward to reading?
I'm really glad we're in a time where more and more ace books are being published. I'm looking forward to books like Being Ace: An Anthology of Queer, Trans, Femme, and Disabled Stories of Asexual Love and Connection by Madeline Dyer and Love Letters for Joy by Melissa See, as well as the other ace books being published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Ooh I'm very interested in both of these books!! I can't wait to read them when they're out! I'm also looking forward to other ace books that JKP publishes!
Do you have any plans to celebrate the publication of this book?
Eating cake maybe (ha ha.) (Bit of an inside joke with the ace community about cake.) But for now we'll see maybe some rest before working on the next book.

Haha! I hope you get some good rest after the release!! It's well-deserved!
Are you working on any other books right now?
I am, but since I'm a bit superstitious I can't say anything about them until those projects have a hope of seeing the light of day.

That's completely fair! I'll just follow you on Twitter and keep an eye out for any more news that you post.
Thank you so much for taking part in this interview!! I greatly appreciate it and I look forward to seeing what else you write!! I hope you have an amazing release day and a great rest of the year.
Thank you to everyone who read this far! Make sure to give Michele a follow and check out her book. If you like what I do consider giving me a follow as well or donating to my ko-fi. Thank you!

You can find Michele Kirichanskaya on their website and Twitter.

You can buy ACE NOTES from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Michele also has other links to purchase the book on her website.

If you can't buy her books but you still want to read them, consider requesting them to your local library or suggesting them on Overdrive!

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