Thursday, December 3, 2009

Author Interview: SubtlePen and HMonster4

Questions for SubtlePen:

H: Why TWI FF? What sucked you in? I mean, come on - neither of us are the book's target demo by any means!
SP: I was sucked into the Twi-verse by a book nerd coworker. She got me reading Janet Evanovich, which was TOTALLY outside anything that interested me previously, but the books cracked me up. After that, I read anything she handed me, including The Host, which sat on my desk untouched for like a month before I dove in. After reading that, she handed me Twilight. This was right around the time BD came out, as I recall. It interested me because I’ve been to Forks and PA, and I knew it was about vampires (I’d been a pseudo Buffy/Angel fan) from all the hype surrounding the movie coming out and BD, and I enjoyed The Host. I read the 1st book in about 2-3 days, finished on a weekend and didn’t have the patience to wait for Monday to ask her if I could borrow the rest of the books, so I went out and bought my own that weekend and read the entire series in about a week. As many complaints as I have about the books, I have to admit SM created compelling, believably flawed, endearing characters. I’d heard of the concept of fan fiction before, but honestly thought it was pretty stupid. I was talking to another co-worker about all the sexual angst in Twi, and she said I needed to read some fan fiction to resolve my Edward UST…. It took me a couple of months to find Twilighted, and the rest is history.
H: I was late to the Twi party – I didn’t read the first book until late July of 2008. I polished it off in 24 hrs, ran out to get the next two, then was a cranky bitch for a week until BD came out. Once I’d polished all four, I was left feeling unsatisfied by the resolution, and started trolling. I tripped across FF (had never read before – any fandom) and it sucked me right in. Like so many others, I started with Canon, then AU, then ultimately AH. I lurked for a few months consuming everything, and growing increasingly more frustrated by the stories I read. I got to a point where I found myself saying ‘aw come on’ or ‘I could do better’ when I’d read something overly clichéd or unoriginal, so over the winter break in 2008 I outlined my first story and dug in.
SP: you and I have a lot in common in how we ended up here. It’s probably how a lot of us stumbled onto the path to pervy goodness.

H: Where did you get the idea for Aro's Heir?
SP: Aro’s Heir was literally the result of a nightmare. I’m constantly thinking in what-ifs, and I guess I went to bed that night pondering the evil of the Volturi, on top of eating bad Chinese or something, cuz it sure cooked up a doozie. The dream was basically the assault scene. I woke up asking myself what on earth would have to happen to BxE for them to end up in that situation, and the fic was born. Everything else after chapter 1 is the result of me trying to reconcile chapter 1, and making something good come of it.
H: I have to admit, I was a bit scared to start Aro’s Heir – but Alice kept banging on me. I kid you not I’d get an email every few days asking if I’d read it yet – so I was on a biz trip (imagine that) and broke down. It totally sucked me in. I hadn’t been doing a lot of Canon or AU at the time, and it was such a refreshing clever change. I think you get the blame for sucking me back into the vamp world….it just took me a while to get there. Alice is the Huggy Bear of Aro’s Heir pimpage. The h00r owns me.

H: Spoiler Alert!! So the first ch of AH starts out pretty intense…was it hard to move past that? Was it hard to write?
SP: Yes, it was hard to write, in the sense that I was putting characters I love through a horrible experience. The hard part was uploading it and holding my breath. I honestly wasn’t sure if it would be approved for Twilighted, or if I’d be drummed out of the fandom for it. I was prepared to let it drop if it wasn’t received well, and just finish it for my own satisfaction. I was deep in the midst of writing Mind Over Matter at the time, so I was writing 2 different stories about BxE developing realistic intimacy, from very different perspectives, sometimes writing the stories side-by-side, both documents open and active at the same time. I was blown away by the response to AH, in particular the number of readers who pleaded with me to continue. Of course Ch 1 got me a few haters, too. One in particular was so hateful I knew I had to continue just to prove them wrong. Chapter 2 and beyond was much easier to write because it was ‘over the hump’ in a way – the worst was behind me at that point, and I was ready to start helping them heal. The amazing thing has been, and continues to be, the number of reviewers who have confided in me their personal experiences with sexual assault, and praised me for writing the story. Those that don’t feel the story has a place in the fandom are welcome to their opinion, but the opinions that matter most TO ME are those of sexual assault survivors who’ve contacted me and thanked me for showing Bella and Edward taking a journey they themselves have traveled. In my opinion, it’s just one more way to explore the very canon theme of barriers to sexual intimacy between BxE, as part of a larger story.

H: One of my fave scenes in FF was the most recent ch of AH with the cocoa butter (read it if you haven't!!) - do you draw from your RL experiences for scenes like that, or is it all genius?
SP: I love the cocoa butter scene! I am fortunate to have a hubby that does things like that, and I do draw on personal experience to dream up many of the things I write. I firmly believe you write most convincingly what you know from your own life. We can all do research about different things to create back story for our characters, professions and cities and whatnot, but I’m most comfortable writing about events and emotions I’ve personally experienced. Plus, I have a very vivid imagination. I feel like I know the characters pretty well, so it’s kinda like posing Barbie dolls. Put in X situation, WWED? Voila! A story/scene is b
H: I am so glad I’m not the only one that does it. My very first fic had Edward in a flight suit for Halloween (a la Top gun). My hubby did that for Halloween one year (his dad was a navy fighter pilot – so it was even a regulation flight suit). Can I just say that some of the strategically placed zippers are win win
SP: oooh. Zippers are good… except when the little metal pulls jab you in the taint. Just sayin’.

H: You've started writing Slash - where did the inspiration come from? Where you scared to post it?
SP: Heh. Slash. I think, deep down, under my middle aged, hetero female, vanilla marriage exterior, is a gay man with an exhibitionist streak. I’ve discovered I love M/M action. There. I’ve said it. Out Loud.

The first time I read slash, it made my eyes bleed. Horrible ExJB garbage probably written by a 14 yr old virgin. I shied away from it until I stumbled onto All I Ever Knew by manyafandom, or maybe it was Over The Top by Starfish422… not sure which came first, but those are the 2 that stand out to me as very very early slash addictions. Now I can’t get enough. It’s virtually impossible for me to put into words that don’t make me sound like a complete and total creeper… I love reading about men, who love men. As long as they aren’t too flame-y or twinkish, because that’s almost caricature to me. Too stereotypical to get my lady bits jumpin’.

The inspiration for “Simple” was truly the Love Through Lemons contest parameters. The idea was to convey the idea of love between characters, without using the word ‘love’ or anything that came close. In my own twisted head, I morphed the prompt into ‘okay, 2 characters who can’t say I love you... Why can’t they say I love you... Refusing to accept love…’ and Edward was obvious for that. Twisting the concept a little farther turned into Forbidden love… then Taboo love… and it came round to being a slashy Edward/sibling story, which could only mean Jasper to me. I posted it with no shame, more anxious to see the reaction to the mystery pov than the slash itself. I strongly hoped with the mystery POV that people would fall in love with the journey the characters were on, and that the reveal might make them think twice about their preconceived notions about what love should look like.

H: You know you popped my slash cherry, don’t you? You took my virginity – do you feel any shame??
SP: Heh. I’d never popped a girl’s cherry before Simple popped yours, sweet Heather. *admiring the polish on my fingernails with a smug grin.* To all the slash doubters out there, let me say this. Mmmm, sweet sweet man love. Don’t fight it, baby. Let me make it gooood for ya… You know I can
H: I told Profmom72 I pre-read your Slash/Backslash entry and she went into a fit of hysterics. She couldn’t believe that *I* was really reading slash. Poor girl may have snarfed her coffee!
SP: This just makes me squee. I love the idea of corrupting innocents. (JK, but its fun to think how many slash-haters jaw-dropped on that reveal, and then read it again, and then read chapters 2 and 3…)

H: OK SP, I have to ask you – since we went there – what did you think of the infamous leg hitch and the fade to black? Were you ready to go beat SM, or did you roll with it?
SP: I thought the leg hitch was a token, a throwaway detail meant to pacify, and that it was intended to be a substitute for the intimacy subplot she refused to acknowledge. Not that I’m bitter… it was hot and all, but it was too little, too late, and too isolated to convey anything meaningful about developing a mature relationship. IMHO, she did her tween readers an ENORMOUS disservice by refusing to show them what healthy, age appropriate pre-marital intimacy can, and should, look like. Guh. I could write a 5k word essay on this topic alone. Ditto on the entire honeymoon and all the begging and cock teasing Bella had to do, cuz you know, that’s a great thing to teach young girls to do to get their way. Cuz it will be, like, MAGICAL

H: What do you do when not writing FF
SP: Great question. I’m a wife (married 15 yrs) and mom (one son, 6 yrs old), and work a day job in academia, as a Dean’s admin assistant. When not wife-ing, mom-ing or chained to my laptop, I sleep, but not very much.

Questions from around the fandom for SubtlePen:

From Ellab_twilight: Do you have a process or routine you follow when you prepare to write/edit?
SP: If I’m starting a new story, I often spend a lot of time doing stream-of-consciousness writing, whatever comes to me, as it comes to me, just to get it all down while it’s fresh, not picking it apart or trying to organize or analyze it too much. I’ll sit with this steaming pile of mess for a while until my anal retentive need for organization and structure kicks in, and then I will sort the mess into a loose outline, adding detail and structure as I go. Sometimes, an idea will literally come to me so fast and hard, I sit down and just WRITE, and it comes straight from the brain to the keyboard shaped like a full-fledged story. A couple of my one-shots have come out like that, like I burped and out popped a whole story.

When writing a new chapter for an existing story, I pretty much already have an idea what needs to happen ahead of time to follow my outline for the story. Sometimes they just flow right out, sometimes I have to really be ‘in the zone’ for me to be productive. If I’m having trouble coming up with the opener for a new chapter, I’ll go back and re-read the entire fic to get back in the groove of the story, and go back to my outline for inspiration. You know what needs to be said, but sometimes you don’t know how to start the conversation, if that makes sense. I’ll sit with a chapter for several days after I think it’s mostly done and re-read it a dozen times or more, tweaking details that link it to past and future chapters, adding layers, checking for continuity, trimming fat. If I can make it through a read-through without changing more than spelling/punctuation, I know it’s ready to post.

From LaViePastiche: What exactly is the draw of Slash for you? What did you pop her slash cherry with? Were you nervous to start writing it?
SP: As for research, I am intimately familiar with the workings of the interwebs and it’s primary function as an outlet for amateur porn, which can yield a lot of realistic dialogue, and difficult to describe positions, and interesting sounds, and cumshot placements…. We all have our own idea of the perfect spank bank material. Mine just happens to include men, with other men. It’s a difficult thing to explain. Someone on the boards told me one time it’s no different from men fantasizing about watching 2 women. Hmph. Okay. Never thought about it that way before.

Writing it makes me nervous, though, since I don’t technically have a penis with which to provide first-hand experience. Then I tell myself, hey, 99% of TwiFic readers don’t have a dick either. I do have a pretty vivid imagination, and I just assumed if it was horrible, reviewers would tell me. I’d love to find a helpful gay male perspective to see if I’m got it remotely right. There are a handful of AMAZING slash writers out there, and I don’t write more slash cuz I know I’ll never be as good as them.

From AccioBourbon: I've written a handful of lemons now (4?) and it's much easier, but I just can't seem to use the graphic, slangy terms for body parts--especially the male ones. Come on, don't make me say them. It seems to me that this would be a real problem if one wanted to write slash. Two guys instead of one-- twice the number of parts. Should a writer be true her instincts and write it her way, or bite the ... bullet... and start using them?
SP: can I just tell you how much I love the name AccioBourbon? Cripes, that’s brilliant. If you want to freak out over creative things to call a cock, please read JTrue’s Culture Shock. Sweet jeebus. It squicked me out at first, and I had to suppress the giggles, but jeez... he must have an extensive cock-synonym database or something cuz it KILLZ. Pole, rod, cock, staff, meat, snake, bone, mast, spike, spear, crank, hose, joint, dick, and organ… and most of those are used in chapter 1. He has almost as many words to describe testicles as he does a penis. ANYway… I have a deep and abiding love for the word ‘cock,’ with ‘dick’ thrown in now and then (but never with a straight face), but that’s about it. I think you have to use what feels natural for you and your characters. I personally don’t feel comfortable using some of the more creative ones right now, because I just can’t picture canon Bella saying them in Aro’s Heir. In a different story or context, hells yeah. Every NC-17 writer should read “Physical Telepathy” by caligula42. She wrote this fuckhot lemony one-shot “to prove that it is possible to write smut, or just a plain old sex scene without any ridiculous euphemisms for reproductive organs or bodily fluids.” It IS possible to do it, and do it well.

From seamonkologist: Quick question to those who enjoy/write m/m slash...when did you first realize it was something that was a turn on? And did you ever feel the need to hide that it turned you on?
SP: it wasn’t a turn-on at first, cuz the stuff I read at first was utter crap. Once I found ‘the good stuff’ I was hooked. Hubs knows, and thinks it’s funny.

From Feathers_mmm: Do you have a theme or set up in fanfic that you are sick to death of reading?
SP: *pulling up my big girl panties* I’m really done reading snarky high school stories. I know its canon and all to put them in high school, but after Midnight Desire and Frenemies, the rest sort of pale in comparison… No offense, but yeah. High school. I still read a few really good angsty HS stories, though. Just Wait by InstantKarmaGirl is pwning me HARD right now, as are Fourteen by CrimsonMarie, and Safe & Sound by Touchstone67.

Gun to your head. One night with robbie where he is a willing participant in anything you want him for.
SP: Alice, baby… you’re killing me. I’m a married woman. You can’t DO that to me. (Oh Master, tie me up like a good DomWard would and have your naughty depraved way with me please oh please oh please Master RPattz…) srsly – wouldn’t you kill to see him all covered in sex sweat?

You write a story which gives considerable "screen time" to the Volturi which is quite rare. Do you think the release of New Moon will increase the number of fics in which the Volturi play a more prominent role? Would you be interested in writing one?
SP: I hope the remaining movies do the Volturi justice, and I’d love to see more writers explore using them as adversaries, or diving into what makes them who they are. SM created a wonderful antagonist in them, and then didn’t really let them live up to their evil potential. Once Aro’s Heir is done, I can’t see myself doing another major Volturi-heavy chapter fic. I’ll be ready to move on to something new. I can tell you from experience, writing a handful of characters with special powers is a bleeding hemorrhoid to deal with. *shudder* I’ve been toying with a few twisted slashy Demetri/Felix one-shot ideas, but nothing concrete at this point.

Questions for Hmonster4:

SP: How long have you considered yourself a writer? Do you picture yourself trying to publish some day?
H: I went in and out – I stopped writing for about 15 years while I did things like work, get married, have a kid. But my son ( who is five) and I recently started playing a game called ‘tell me a story’ where we ramble off a few lines, then have the other one continue the story. I realized I really enjoy doing that, and there might be something to be said for trying to come up with something on my own. So I am doing NaNoWriMo (yeah – supposed to be writing for that not answering interview q’s – oops!), and writing in my free time. It might not come of anything, then again it might. Who knows? I am of the camp of nothing ventured, nothing gained..
SP: again, we have very similar back stories, including storytelling with my 6yo son, usually in the car, and we all three will add to the story in turns.

SP: What is the best time for you to write? What puts you in the mood/gets your creative juices flowing?
H: Anywhere, anytime. I try to take advantage of any chance I get. Definitely after the kiddo is in bed. I’ll grab some time in the morning or at lunch. I have mom time on the weekends where I get to sneak off and write. I do always keep the notebook with me – and scribble things down, but I am a typer – maybe it’s being a Gen X’er – have a hard time taking written notes – but give me my laptop and watch out!

SP: Do you remember writing your first lemon? Were you terrified, or gung ho?
H: Gung ho? Try LIT!! I popped open a bottle of wine (Foix a Deux Menage a Trois – how apropos) and managed to drink 2/3 of the bottle before I ever got a word on paper. I’ve gotten better over time, and can write a lemon sober now, but I do still get nervous. I think part of it is my approach – which is probably more along the lines of Erotica than Smut.
SP: LOL. Bohemia frequently lubricates my pervy mind… writing a more erotic lemon takes a totally different mood than writing a gritty, graphic parts and pieces fuck fest, it’s harder for me to write the gritty stuff.

SP: What is it like to do a collab? Is it wonderful or a pain in the ass? What are the challenges?
H: I love collaborating. I know that Profmom72 and I don’t write in a format that is at all acceptable under regular publishing rules, but it’s fun. The way I write with her is so different from my style on my own, that it’s a great way to push myself and learn. I think we’d probably bring people to tears of they saw how we did markups, elaborations, etc – but it is so much fun, I really enjoy it. And truth be told, we haven’t argued over direction, plans, anything. We go in with the same expectations, sanity check along the way, and it’s really worked out well. The biggest challenge for us lately has been time. We both work, we are both parents, and have other things going on – so squeezing in the 30 minutes in the a.m. to talk and hash through stuff has been hard of late, but we both enjoy it so much that it all pays out.

That said, I don’t honestly know if I could do it with someone else. After one completed collab and one 2.3 of the way done, plus having beta’d multiple stories and one shots for each other, Profmom and I know each other’s quirks and such – and it’s seamless.
SP: I so admire that you are able to do that. The idea of a collaboration is fascinating to me, and I’m envious of the kind of relationship you must have with her to make it possible. I don’t play well with others enough to make it work. *epic, unhealthy control issues*
H: You know what’s hysterical – we are both totally type A – but we’ve never gotten into it over our story. I think having a common place to work from does wonders. And we can laugh (often and well) which helps keep everything in perspective.

SP: What do you admire most in your favorite writers? Dialogue, humor, action, backstory, sneaky twists, angst, ust?
H: A well developed character. I am totally unashamed of my desire for well thought out secondary characters. I want depth and detail. I want people to go beyond the cliché and give me someone I can believe in. Beyond that, backstory. I want to know why, how, justifications. I don’t willingly accept the ‘just cause.’

Crap – if that’s the case, why did I read Twilight in the first place?
SP: *giggle snort*

SP: Tell me about your first cheerleader, if you rememebr. The first review that reallymade you feel like you'd done something to be proud of.
H: My first cheerleader beyond Profmom72 was Lucette21 – she’s been with me from chapter 4 of my first fic. She always provides amazing commentary and insight – but she pushes me too, she doesn’t accept the just because, and wants a reason or logic for why. I adore that – it’s what pushes me to get better, to be better.
SP: there’s something truly fulfilling about hearing from a reader that doesn’t hesitate to ask tough questions, and takes the time to scratch beneath the surface and can communicate that they *get it.*
H: OMG seriously. AccioBourbon has become my other half (we jokingly call each other MonsterBourbon and BourbonMonster – kind of like CrossCriss), and she pushes me hard. There is no just cause, there is no selling out. She’ll call me on my shit and let me know if I am taking the easy way. And 9.5 times out of ten, she’s right.

SP: Have you ever had any real negative reviews? aside from the usual "I hate you for doing X to my Edward"
H: I caught a lot of heat on DD for chapters 17-22. I had a plan all along for the story I wanted to tell, and I think people got so caught up in the build/UST that when the blow out happened, it caught folks off guard. Like I confessed earlier, I am all about evolving characters and having them grow, which admittedly some people don’t like. So I got a few screamers – some from people I recognized some from Socks. The socks ones bugged me – not for what they were saying, but because they felt the need to be anonymous to leave the commentary. It upset me at first, but I put myself out there, I have to respect that it’s part of the process. Yeah, it stings, but it goes with the territory.

Questions from around the fandom for HMonster4:

From Ninapolitan:
KFM - Grady Sizemore, Tom Welling, Ryan Reynolds

H: Hahahah – why would it figure that would come from Nina? Marry Grady Sizemore –the guy has a killer bod, adorable dimples, and is sweet as can be (he’s a local boy and we see him around – he’s totally shy and adorable). Fuck Tom Welling six ways to Sunday and back again, enjoying every damn minute, and kill Ryan Reynolds; sorry Neens – someone has to bite it!



From Profmom72:

You were known for your sexual tension in DD. What are your favorite examples of sexual tension in other fics?
H: It’s funny – I wasn’t set out to do the whole UST thing in DD – I just wanted him to mess with her head, and the UST was how it ended up playing out. I’m all for UST if there is a method to the madness, so I get a bit nit picky…anywho my faves? Hmm…Caligula42’s Irritable Grizzly Adams gets me very tingly. Ninapolitan’s the Wingman is so achingly sweet and real. The slow burn in Creature of Habit was wickedly awesome too.
SP: oh yes – Nina’s Wingman FTW!!
H: BUT, and here is where I get fruit thrown at me (preferably lemons) I am a big believer that UST can go on after the relationship has been consummated. If there has been a slow burn going, and they fuck like bunnies, it’s not all tied up in a neat bow. That burn is still there, it can just be acted on, often to much more yummy burn.
SP: I agree completely. If it’s handled well, and the rest of the plot is well developed before hand, you can def avoid the “Moonlighting” effect.

You've written a number of different "wards" and Emmetts and even Garrets. What most attracts you to a male character in fanfic? If it different if you are reading vs. writing?
H: Oh geez – what attracts me to a male character in FF…where to even begin. Humor is big for me – whether it’s cracking jokes or using humor to diffuse a situation, so I tend to get lured in by that. If I think back on the male characters in FF that lured me in it would be Edward from A Heart’s Savior, Garrett from The Fallout, Emmett from If it’s the Beaches, and I would be remiss not to mention AccioBourbon’s Peter from her Twilight25 drabbles. All the characters are smart intellectually and emotionally, but not without their baggage. They all have an edge to some degree – they aren’t the perfect golden boy, they have flaws and that is what gives them depth. They all also have a certain something that makes them sexier than hell too – for to me, it’s not just looks that make a man attractive, it’s that total package.
SP: I’m a sucker for damaged males that desperately need TLC. I’m a fixer, at heart. Too much arrogance or suave machismo is a turn off, unless the guy has serious issues underneath.

You've written a number of different "wards" and Emmetts and even Garrets. What most attracts you to a male character in fanfic? If it different if you are reading vs. writing?
H: As for in what I write – as I think about it, I’m a bit hypocritical. I joke that the Emmett character in Deconstructing Dracula is my epitome of the perfect man, but as I read what appeals to me in other fics, I realize that I didn’t give him any type of edge, he was just a really good guy with a big heart, wicked sense of humor and a killer bod. Hmm…..I may need to noodle on this….
SP: – oh yes – he was DEElish. Pining for a woman that pushed him away… strong and still vulnerable is my kryptonite.

From Feathers_mmm:

What is your favorite scene in fanfiction? Give one you've read and one you've written.
H: Favorite scene in FF….without a doubt, the Sharpie on the Tshirt from Rite of Passage. Just wow – no words. As for mine – it’s a toss up between the fight/make up in the Emmett & Rosalie fic I did for Daisy3853 and the kiss up against the glass in the reptile house in Deconstructing Dracula.

What trends you are sick of?
H: Man, no matter how I answer this, I am gonna piss someone off. Thanks Alice – you are officially off my Christmas card list!! Seriously though, it’s hard to answer, because my tastes are in kind of an evolutionary state right now. I’ve been on a huge AU kick lately – and I am finding myself reading almost exclusively AU. If it’s generalities, then I’d have to say the high school fics, even though that’s where the books started. I think it’s because I haven’t seen anything done recently that is new or fresh and isn’t so far OOC that it’s merely character names stuck on original characters. OH – and how could I forget – vilification of Tanya. Come on peeps, she wasn’t bad in the books, just intimidating to a character with low self esteem – why is she always a whore/bitch/skank/etc? Victoria, Heidi, Gianna, Jane – all fertile ground to vilify – why does poor Tanya always get the shaft?
SP: I agree completely.

What's your fav fic, one that you could reread again and again?
H: Without a doubt, Heart’s Savior. It was one of the first AH’s I read, and I go back to read it every 4-5 months, I just adore it.

If you could pick a fic to make into a film, which would it be?
H: Any fic at all? Probably Rite of Passage and The Way Home by Caracol. I madly love both of those stories – and they have the type of dialogue that would pop so well in a movie. If I had to go for a more recent one, probably Paved with Good Intentions by 4Jace –it’s got that sweeping, Epic type of story that would be so easy to get caught up in.
SP: Poughkeepsie, without a doubt. I would stand in line in a blizzard for opening day tickets, then buy the extended dvd and wear it out and have to buy another. Dialogue, action, sex, UST, heartfail, explosions, vegas, more heartfail, and an HEA. That screams blockbuster.

If heaven exists...what will Mr Welling be wearing when you arrive at the pearly gates?
H: Bwahaha. Read my fic – you can pick the details out easily! Grey t-shirt (sweaty FTW) and a baseball hat (extra points if it’s backwards). If I can’t have the sweaty grey t- then a fitted black polo and faded jeans. Yeah, it would be predictable to have him buck nekkid – I’d rather do that in private.

From AccioBourbon:

How does a history/poly sci major end up writing fiction?
H: There goes Acky – outing my secrets. I actually wrote a lot in high school, some short stories but mostly poetry. Won a few state wide competitions no less. But I got to college and found out that my existence would be dictated by writing papers (I think my senior year I did 50 of them – including a 100 page thesis). It sapped my will to write. Once I started on the career path, I let myself fall out of touch with writing as a creative outlet. It was fifteen years between my stints at writing, but I do have to say that age gave me a perspective that I needed.

When did you start writing? Who in RL knows about you writing FF?
H: I started writing FF in late December of 2008. One friend knows about it, and I just outted to my husband about a month ago (after 3 glasses of wine). He looked at me a little funny, said okay, and kept making dinner. Yeah, he’s easy going like that.

From Cullen Crazy:

I'd like to know if she pictures RPatz as her Edward typically or if it's someone else?
H: Okay – time for more fruit throwing…R Pattz is a nice looking guy, but my Edward? No. I’ve yet to see any actor or model embody what I would see. I think part of my issue is I’m attracted to athletes, and RPattz is just so scrawny. I’m out of shape from my college ball days, but I could probably squat more than he does! I do have to admit though, there is a college student that works at the target by me who looks a lot like what I’d envision – right down to the hair color. I get all flustered and look away when I go in there. Makes me feel like such a dirty old woman – and I’m not old!

Also, where does she get her inspiration for her stories?
H: The inspiration for my stories differ. Conversations with friends, something I read or a song I hear – it really is a hodge podge. I’ve always had a wicked imagination (chalk it up to being an only child), so I get an idea or nugget, and just go from there. I’ve actually started carrying around a notebook to jot down ideas because I’ll get them at the most bizarrely random times.

From Charmie77:

What is your process for writing? Do you outline or do you have a general idea of where the story is going to go and then you just play with your characters?
H: My writing process has evolved – with the first I had very loose bullets – maybe a page max. With DD I outlined copiously – but that was to keep me in line with all the subplots and things I knew I need to foreshadow or allude to. The one thing I did learn the hard way is that I personally write better stories if I can get a good bit in the can versus going chapter by chapter. DD was always written at least 5-6 chapters ahead of what is posted. I am actually expanding my Darkward one shot (yeah – you heard it here – I am doing an AU) that will be completely written before it’s posted. I end up writing, the going back and weaving it together so that those little things you think might be mentioned as throw away really aren’t – they do mean something down the road.

How did the idea of Deconstructing Dracula come about? Was it your love of that country, Dracula or maybe just a flawed Bella?
H: So this is kind of funny – I read the book my senior year of college for a humanities class, and always found it fascinating. The whole thing was written in first person pov – but done via correspondence – letters, journals, newspaper articles. I just happened to catch Bram Stoker’s Dracula on the satellite one day, and started playing around with the comparison of Dracula and Twilight (um – like Lucy and Edward have the same coloring? Bella and Mina had a lot of the same character traits, as did Emmett and Quincey). I didn’t have the chops at the time to write an AU, but started playing around with the concept of Dracula in a human application; it was a story about moderating sexual desires and self identity – kind of like Twilight, just applied in a different way. I wanted to see if I could apply that and make it stick. It was really fun early on when people didn’t know whether E was a vamp or human.

As for flawed Bella, I am guilty in every story I write of making her grow up. I know it frustrates some people, who prefer to see ExB together – but to me, especially in DD, it was important that the character come into her own so that she could go toe to toe with Edward. Bella in the books never really did this in my mind, and I can’t help but want to fix it.

Who do you envision as Bella, Edward, Emmett, Alice, Jasper, Rosalie? Does it vary with your stories?
H: I haven’t found a good approximation of Edward yet. Maybe he’s too idealized for me. Emmett – without a doubt, Tom Welling (or as I jokingly call him, Tommett). Rosalie would be Rosamund Pike. Alice – Rachel Leigh Cook, although I do like the way Ashley Green looks in NM. ElleCC broke me on Jasper – Justin Hartley all the way (hehe – we joke about double dating). I like Elizabeth as Esme – it really does seem to fit. As for Carlisle? Jeez that’s a hard call. Part of me wants to say Michael Vartan – but that doesn’t really fit. I envision him as looking very British – sharp features and all that.
SP: My Edward is frequently RP’s head (freshly scrubbed) on KLutz’s body, sometimes he’s just a creature of my imagination, but NEVER does he have RP’s body. My Emmett is often Daniel Cudmore, currently starring as Felix (OMG, him carrying that girl in the x-men movie, wearing only his boxers...) My Jasper is usually model Ryan Daharsh or sometimes Jackson Rathbone, sans crappy blonde wig. My Jake is TLau’s body, with a more manly, adult actual Native American face.

Do you like playing with the canon elements or do you like going off and maybe molding them for your own benefits?
H: I try to hold true to Canon personalities, even if I am writing AH. The personalities or actions will never deviate too radically, and some of the tenants will hold true (e.g. Alice’s intuition). I will admit though, my perspective on Canon has totally changed after starting to write AU, and talking in depth with Giselle-LX.

Do you have any future stories in the works in that noggin of yours?
H: Always! I am 10 chapters into the expansion of my Darkward one shot I Know You. I wrote something for the fic exchange. I also am auctioning off 3 one shots in the fandom gives back effort – so there will be more to come! I do have to admit though, I am so smitten with Canon and AU, short of my prompts for the fandom auction, I may have left the world of AH behind.
SP: I Know You pwns me. You write Darkward HOTT, bb. More, please.
H: Once the contest is over, I swear. I have 11 ch written, just one more and an epi to go.

From Lucette21:

In 25 words or less, why Emmett? And by this I mean a) why him out of all Twilight characters and b) why him, out of any character in any fandom.
H: 25 Um, why not? He’s tall and gorgeous with a killer smile. He laughs at life, he’s smart, and is not bullshit. If that isn’t my epitome of the perfect man, I don’t know what is.

Okay, in all seriousness, let’s break it down. I like tall – really damn tall. And I like a killer smile. I like shoulders a mile wide and muscles – no lanky. And I like sarcasm and humor. There are pretty much only 2 characters in twi that I can think of that fit that bill, and Garrett didn’t appear til book four, so it’s an easy answer.

Besides – Emmett would be soooo damn good in bed.
SP: Oh honey baby… YES.

Would you ever part with canon and write Emmett with someone other than Rosalie? If so, who is your preference (slash pairings allowed).
H: Let’s get this abundantly clear…Emmett doesn’t do slash. IF (big IF) he did a threesome, it would totally be two women, cause that’s how Em rolls.

That said – I joke with Ahlem and ElleCC that if it weren’t for Rose, Em would be all over Leah – those two were just made for each other. She’s attractive and full of fire – can you imagine those two together? Yowza!!!

Not necessarily a KFM but place these characters in order of preference: Carlisle, Edward, Jasper.
H: Oh I’ll go there. Marry Carlisle – yeah, um, pretty much the perfect husband. Fuck Jasper – with that talent of his, can you imagine? And this is blasphemy – but kill Edward, he’s too controlling/Emo for me.
SP: OK – I know this was your Q, but please. Totes gotta get in on this shit. Marry Jasper (since Emmett wasn’t an option), Fuck Edward (cuz I totally dig a challenge and would love trying to make him forget why he was emo), and Kill Carlisle (sorry babe) cuz just… no.

Do you have a dream Emmett multi-chapter story that you are holding off on writing because you feel it wouldn’t get the love it (and he) deserve?
H: Do I have one? Hell yes. But it’s a bone of contention – if you don’t have E or B in a story – it simply doesn’t get play. I’ve done 2 novella length Em/Ro fics that all chapters combined don’t have the hits that one chapter of BAT or DD does. It’s too bad, because they are good stories. I know that we all got sucked in b/c of a red haired vamp, but there is so much more than just the two of them.

Who is your favourite Emmett (not written by you)?
H: 30/31 my two fave ff Ems are polar opposites. I adore OCD’s Emmett in The Fallout – he is the perfect canon Em. If I am going AH – Emmett in If It’s the Beaches owns me, he’s so tormented and sexy and just wow.
SP: TRIPLE YES on Beaches Emmett. I think I wrote several reviews in which I begged her to put BxEm together at the end.
H: OMFG could he be any hotter? Emibella and I talk about that often – what I wouldn’t give for a weekend at the Four Seasons with him and no reason to leave the suite.

Questions for both from around the fandom:

From Legna989:
What would I find in your refrigerator if I looked right now?
SP: leftovers from the BBQ joint down the street, eggs, milk, apple juice, 14 different bottles of salad dressing/asian cooking sauce/jelly, some pork chops thawing, grapes, carrots, pepper cheese cubes, and 2 loaves of bread.
H: avocados (I always have avocados), tons of salad dressing, yogurt, beer (Magic Hat #9 and Great Lakes Christmas Ale), Edamame, Dark Chocolate, Bleu Cheese, and Green Apples
SP: mmmm, avocados…

From MsKathy:

Favorite makeup product?
SP: brown eyeliner and strawberry lip smackers.
H: I usually only wear makeup if I am visiting a client (man, that sounds totally wrong!) I am a moisturizing junkie – so Fresh Anise night serum, and cream ancienne for day. If I am actually wearing makeup, Tarte cheek stain.
SP: I wear actual makeup about 2x a year. A little blush, eyeliner and lip gloss is about all I have the patience for.

Favorite pair of shoes?
SP: Naot cross-strap sandals. I wear them 10 months out of 12, barring rain and snow.
H: on the weekends and in the summer, my Nike running shoes. If I actually have to look appropriate, my J Crew tall boots with a 3 inch heel. I’m 5’3 and a lot, married to a man who is 6’4, I need the inches!
SP: *needs the inches* yeah. She meant shoes.
H: No, I got inches….teeheee

What does a typical "writing session" look like, or are they haphazard and when you find time?
SP: hap-hazard. Usually late at night, but I’ve been known to blow an entire weekend in my pajamas behind closed doors with my laptop.
H: anywhere, anytime. There is no rhyme or reason. I actually wrote a DD lemon at one of my son’s softball practices this summer, isn’t that awful?

From Lillybellis:

If you could only read one fic for the rest of your life (aside from your own), which would you pick?
SP: Poughkeepsie. or The Mirrors. Or Bella Swan Diaries.
H: Heart’s Savior
SP: you’ve mentioned that one like 3 times. I think I need to read that one.
H: OMG – sappy, sweet, sigh worthy angst. Prob one of my top five Edwards EVER

What is your favorite cliche fic phrase? (Releasing a breath you didn't know you were holding, etc.)
SP: HOT, TIGHT, AND WET. God, that phrase should be stricken from the fandom. I much prefer warm, slippery and muscular.
H: oh lord where to start. Pools or orbs to describe eyes. Wet folds (just ewww, no). I actually read a fic that used nether lips. NOOOO!
SP: Yeah – nether lips. I think I’ve used folds, but probably as a last resort. I actually love the “C” word, but I’m terrified to use it. I keep waiting for my mother to backhand me. For some reason, “slit” bothers me lately. Oooh! Tangent, but hey. Guys who can suckle (really? Suckle?) your boobies while pushin’ the pork. I mean, most of these characters are over 6’ tall. Are they made of Gumby, too?
H: Hate to tell you, my hubs is over 6’, and the only way that is happening is if I am on top and willing to take a lot of advil after the fact.

What is the surefire thing that will turn you off of a story every time you see it?
SP: Misused words, or trying to use big words without clarifying the definition first. Describing outfits down to the name on the label, unless it is relevant to the plot. If you’re trying to make your Bella likeable by putting her in a specific designer’s clothes [hello? How old are we?], but your reader happens to hate that designer, you just shot your Bella in the foot. Let the reader picture it for themselves, and find other ways to make your characters cool/hip/likeable/metro/whatever. Oh yes, I forgot. Entire song lyrics. I skip that shit. Every. Time.
H: shallow characterizations. If the secondaries are cliché, I am out of there. No plot – I adore smut, but I need a story too. No mindless chapter after chapter. I am loving Master of the Universe right now b/c it’s got smut – but it’s got a ‘where the hell is she going’ story line right now that has me fascinated.
SP: I know! That’s a great one for hot smut with plot. When he told Bella about his mom, I *died*.
H: Um – the boathouse? FM.

From Mitzreboo:

What are your hard limits with pairings and why? Would you read a hard limit if an author u adored wrote it?
H: um, Em and Bella. No no no no! He’d break her! Other than that, I am surprisingly open. Roseward? With the right story, sure. Em and Alice would actually be pretty damn funny – cause Alice would be too feisty to let Em do any damage. I am dying for a little Carlisle/Denali action – cause you know that he’s got a little fire lurking under that buttoned up demeanor.
SP: I can’t do Esme with anyone but Carlisle, and actually, I’m iffy on Carlisle with anyone but Esme. I’m hard pressed to buy in to that pairing (never say never – I’ve only seen one I could stomach) but I’m digging on just about anyone else.

If you could date/meet/have Hot SMEXY times with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do ;)
H: Em or Garrett, TYVM. Hell, maybe both. Yes, I said it.
SP: heh. Em. …or Jake. (but not in a squicky jailbait kind of way, but a hot, long-haired Native American kind of way) As for “what” we’d do, I’d say the “won’t do” list is probably shorter. *slutty wink*

Standard Pack Questions for Both:

Do you have any tattoos?
SP: yes, 3. an ‘angel’ for lack of a better description on my left shoulder, a mermaid on my right, and a life-sized luna moth on my left inner forearm, which might some day turn into a full sleeve of insects and autumn leaves. This idea makes my tattooist very very eager.
H: Nope, not a one. I kind of have a needle phobia.

What is your favorite sexual position?
SP: Doggie, but my husband prefers missionary… Hmmm.
H: cowgirl. I married an Emmett – I don’t like getting smushed!

Hardest part about writing ff?
SP: Confidence. And Planning.
H: Being an overachiever. I keep having ideas – both fic or other, (indies, etc) and I need to take a breath. Legna989 has accused me of being a vampire b/c I do too much.

If I looked under your bed right now what would I find?
SP: dust bunnies, my cat, slipper-socks, and probably miscellaneous legos or a paper airplane.
H: Legos, probably a tennis ball (if it belongs to the kid or dog is TBD), and old Vanity Fair magazine

For those of you that use 'toys', which is your favorite?
SP: I can’t imagine Heather answering this. I have a humiliating habit of killing toys, but come to find out they are designed to wear out so that you have to go buy new ones. My ‘old faithful’ is a plain boring pink thing that is so ridiculously loud I lovingly refer to it as the ‘weed whacker,’ but it has outlived several quieter replacements. I don’t go for the fancy twirling animatronic gizmos.
H: Hahaha – so honest answer!! The tivo. My hubby is a morning guy, and with a five year old, that doesn’t work well. We taught him how to use the Tivo so mom and dad can stay in bed. I’ve never been so thankful for Phineas and Ferb or Star Wars the Clone Wars in my life!! I used to have one of those little lipstick clones for travel – but I usually gate check my bag, and I actually saw a woman’s bag get searched and the ‘suspicious’ item, which identical to mine get confiscated, so that bad boy doesn’t travel anymore!
SP: This says a lot about me that my gut reaction to the word toys was completely sexual. I know it was intended that way, but it never entered my mind to be coy and answer with electronics…. *asshole grin*
H: Smart Ass

That's it for this week. Come back next Thursday for PurdueLiz and DefinatelyStaying.


Miztrezboo said...

awe my fav interview to date! Two of my FAV authors and honest, hilarious and Sexy [COUGH Tommett.. yes Heather has CONVERTED MEE.. in some instances ;o) COUGH]


Subtle Pen said...

yippee! this was a blast to do - thank you to to the luscious Heather for hookin' this shiz up... wet slurps!!!