Monday, July 27, 2009

Author Interview: Krum Cake

Pastiche interviews the finger-licking good Krum Cake, author of the most epic dude Twific of all time on man-journals, the New Moon trailer, and whether or not Bella really smells like Freesia.

1. Why Seth?

Because Seth is that guy. The goofy one. The ridiculous one. The sidekick. And my bordering-on-obsessive love for secondary and minor characters demanded that I embrace Seth with all my heart and soul, as cheesy as that sounds. Because there is always so much more going on with the goofy sidekicks than their original stories let on. That’s why Kronk from “The Emperor’s New Groove” ended up getting his own movie, you know? Not just because he’s awesome, something he and Seth have in common, but because there’s more to his life than the small slice we see in Emperor Kuzco’s story. Similarly, I felt like we were only getting a slice of Seth’s life in Bella’s story. And so I wanted to dive into his head and get the scoop—on the ridiculous realities of imprinting, on the Cullens, on his sister, on his dad’s death, on his mom’s relationship with Charlie, on everything. Even the sidekicks have stories to tell.

2. Why a man journal?

Two reasons:

  1. First-person POV and I do not get along in story-telling. I always get all jumbled up, unsure of when it’s appropriate to use the future tense as opposed to the past tense, and how to include enough details to appeal to all the senses while keeping true to the character voice. So Seth’s man-journal is partially an exercise in writing first-person stories for me. I’d like to think I’ve improved, but who really knows?
  1. I love stream of consciousness. I love pointless rambles. I love dialect. I love fun character voices. A diary format was the best way to ensure that I would have a hell of a fun time writing Seth’s story.

3. Have you ever written anything before? And what prompted you to get into writing fan fiction for Twilight?

Lame as this sounds, I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. I think I first realized how much I loved to write way back in first grade. We had to write stories all the time in school, but I distinctly remember how successful I felt after writing this one short piece about accidentally tripping into a rocket ship and going into outer space, where I met a friendly postal alien who kindly delivered a letter to my mother to inform her that I was currently stuck on Mars. In middle school I started writing a quartet of “books” which I only got halfway through. They were about these cats who had their own kingdom and got betrayed by evil lions and fell in love and got kidnapped and had some babies and fought wars and dabbled in magic and…that’s enough of that.

As for writing Twilight fanfiction…it just sort of happened. I have said more than once on that I am not Twilight’s biggest fan, and I stand by that claim. But I do love me some shape-shifters, and one day last summer I was feeling bored and the heat made me feel like I was on crack, so I just began to write Seth’s man-journal. And here I am. (There is more to my fanfiction history, and you’ll get that exciting story later on in the interview.)

4. How does it feel to be writing in the mind of a teenage boy? Do you have to down Bud Light and eat Slim Jims prior to writing?

Ahaha, not quite. Actually, I have never had Bud Light or a Slim Jim, so it’s possible that they would make me feel even more testosterrific and I’ve been missing out on the world’s greatest muse ever:

“Okay, seriously, the beer and jerky thing is getting really old. Your breath smells like feet.”

“Sorry guys, gotta eat and drink my way to inspiration, you know? It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. I’ve perfected the opening-Slim-Jims-with-my-teeth technique and can now open forty-seven in thirty seconds. Wanna see? I could give any horny teenage boy a run for his money in a condom-opening contest, that’s for sure. It’s a skill.”

Wow, anyway. The truth behind my ability to get inside the mind of a neurotic teenage boy is that I used to do a lot of RPing. I have years of useless RPing experience. I started on Xanga doing Harry Potter RPs, then I got more into forum-based RPing where people basically wrote mini-novels back and forth and in order to snag a character, you actually had to write out long, detailed personality descriptions and life histories. We all took it way too seriously, but it was amazingly helpful for character development. And since almost no one ever wanted to play guys, I always found myself getting inside the minds of guys (you know, taking one for the team), and honestly, it was a lot more fun than playing girls. For some reason, I always sucked at girls. But let me tell you, I made a kickass James Potter.

Good God, I am a serious nerd. But my point is that it’s something that simply takes practice, at least for me. I’ve gotten better as time goes on. Oh, and another embarrassing tip: watch The Bachelorette. I’m totally serious, too. You get like fifteen men shoved together in a tiny little house, and when they interact, it’s like watching them in their natural habitat. Not only is it informative as to the daily workings of the average American man (except for the spectacular scumbags like guitar-playing Wes this season), but it is also the most hilarious thing you will ever see. If I’m being entirely honest, it’s my preferred form of entertainment, watching the men on that show interact. Their sheer guyness is enough to make me piss my pants with joy.

Aaaaaaand I’m done embarrassing myself enough for one day.

5. Which do you get more of: readers asking for more on the Cullens? or readers thanking you for giving them a break?

Far and away I get more people thanking me for the break from the overwhelming number of Edward/Bella fics in the fandom. It’s sometimes very difficult to find Quileute-centric stories, so I think people are just appreciative to have found something a little different.

6. How did you get involved in fan fic?

I have my sister to thank for that. I still remember going into her room one day way back in like, 2002 or something and finding her reading something on the computer. I was all, “What’s that?” and she was like, “It’s this story someone wrote about Snape being Harry’s real father, blah blah blah,” and the rest is history.

For the record, I’m not really a fan of those Snape father-figure stories, Severitus or whatever the hell they’re called, but I have to admit that I feel a sort of affection for them because one of them was my introduction into the fanfiction world. All of my first fics were horrible Harry Potter stories that would have made dear J.K. Rowling hurl into her handbag, and from there I ventured into hobbit-centric Lord of the Rings stories, back to Harry Potter, made a pit stop reading Pirates of Caribbean stories featuring my beloved James Norrington, and finally made my way to Twilight. And that is the boring and unnecessary history of Krum Cake’s fanfiction experience. Thanks to this interview, I’m pretty sure you now know more about the history of my writing in general than you ever cared to know ever.

But wait, there’s more! Random tidbit I just thought of! I think my first fanfiction was based off of the Baby-Sitters Little Sister series by Ann M. Martin, which was a spin-off of her Baby-Sitters Club series for a younger audience. I wrote a book—made a cover, copyright page, ISBN number and everything—that is probably the most embarrassing item currently buried in my bedroom, and that includes my diary from middle school detailing my varying crushes. Yes, I still own the book, titled “Karen’s Camp Trip.” Yes, I’m afraid to go anywhere near it. (Lie. I just whipped it out seconds ago to confirm its existence. Sadly, that is my name on the cover. There is no denying my creative ownership.)

7. What fics are you reading now? What's your favorite?

My current favorite is Waiting for the Sky to Fall by Kobe Grace. It’s a Leah-centric fic that takes place after the events of Breaking Dawn, and it’s not your typical “Leah sets off on her own to finally leave La Push and grow as a human being” story. Kobe’s story has got character. She really understands interpersonal relations, because Leah’s varying dyads—with her now-step-sister Bella, with her similar yet mythologically opposite sort-of-friend Rosalie, and even with her bud and Sudoku-whiz Emmett—are startlingly realistic. I really can’t praise this story enough. If you’re a fan of Leah and literacy and snappy dialogue, then you absolutely must check out this story.

Also, I definitely need to promote But Inside I’m Screaming by epicinsanity101. This may sound surprising, but it’s the astonishingly heartfelt and hilarious diary of Jessica Stanley. Yes, Jessica Stanley. It really gives depth to a character that, let’s face it, was pretty 2D in the books. Epicinsanity101 does not warp her character in order to garner sympathy for Jessica—she simply tells Jess’s story as honestly as she can, from her weight issues to her crazy mom to her frustrating love-hate (but mostly hate) for Mike Newton.

I have about a million more, and if anyone is looking to get into pack fics but doesn’t know where to start, I’m your woman! I’m more than happy to recommend the hell out of my favorite Quileute-centric fics.

8. What are the corresponding Bath and Body works scents for the Cullens? I must know this. In fact, can you do a chart?

I think the scents differ on who you ask, but I will happily give you Seth’s observations. And while each of the Cullens might seemingly smell almost bearable on their own, walking into their home is the equivalent of walking into Bath and Body Works store for Seth, and we all know that men’s noses are simply not equipped for that kind of olfactory overload.

Not that Seth would ever admit to anything being sensual about Bella, considering he’d like to keep his balls in tact for at least another few millennia, but there’s no denying the passion in that little girl, and sometimes he swears she’s still got a beating heart underneath all that cold skin of hers.
Sensual Amber
Dr. Cullen is not a complicated or fancy man. Sure, his hotness makes him worthy of being on “Grey’s Anatomy” or “General Hospital” or something, but he’s just this really nice dude trying to live his life as nicely as possible considering he’s an undead, bloodsucking creature. To Seth he smells clean, fresh, and happy, which is definitely an overwhelmingly puke-worthy combination.
Dancing Waters
Dancing Waters
If there’s a logical explanation for this, Seth doesn’t know it. He swears that Emmett sometimes slathers Sweet Pea lotion on his hands to fuck with Seth’s nose even more. The double-attack is enough to render him near unconscious.
Sweet Pea
Seth is pretty sure that Mrs. Cullen’s goal in life is to smother him with her boundless motherly love. She smells so sweetly comfortable and maternal that sometimes he starts thinking that he can smell the same wretchedly lovely scent on his own biological mom.
White Tea and Ginger
All I’m saying is that this is the only Bath and Body Works fragrance that Seth can stomach when Sue or Leah buys it to stink up the house with, because c’mon, we all know Seth has a major man-crush on Edward.
Warm Vanilla Sugar
Thankfully, since she’s only half-vampire, taking in Nessie’s scent is only half like choking to death on an industrial-sized tub of lotion while being intravenously injected with body spray. To Seth, she smells cute, fresh, and young—in excess, of course.
Pink Grapefruit
My personal favorite, which is neither here nor there. Seth sees Rose as someone who is terrifyingly gorgeous, strong, and just not someone to be messed with, which is exactly why he adores her. She smells like feminine strength.
Moonlight Path
Sometimes Seth forgets that Alice doesn’t smell overwhelmingly sweet and energetic like Nessie does. But whenever he sees how serious she can be, how unconditionally she loves her family and Jasper, how much scrap lies beneath her tiny frame, it doesn’t surprise him that she attacks his lungs with summer and radiance and tiny little scarlet fruits.
Sun-Ripened Raspberry
Seth likes to claim that he once got high from snorting cinnamon, and the resulting dizziness is not unlike the confusion he feels around Jasper, because he’s always afraid that Jazz is using his powers to fuck around with his emotions. But there’s also something rich, deep, and mysterious about cinnamon and pumpkin, and if Seth’s wasn’t so monogamous about his man-crushes, we all know he’d totally have the straight-hots for angsty and tortured Jasper.
Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin

9. Have you seen the recent New Moon trailor/pack picsdoes it even remotely resemble your mental picture of the shape shifter transformation? And just who do you think would make a good Seth for Eclipse?

Okay, excuse me for a moment for buying into the movies’ ideology that the males of Twilight are just slabs of delicious, delicious man-meat, but OH MY GOD, Jacob was looking FINE in the trailer! I mean, I was smack in the middle of giggling over Laurent’s claim that Bella was mouthwatering when I found myself quite suddenly recoiling away from my computer in complete and utter shock over the appearance of a very shirtless Jacob. Man, I’m fanning myself just thinking about it. Give me a sec’ while I re-watch the trailer to hone in on my opinion of the transformation and ogle at Jacob some more like the shallow, shallow hypocrite I am.

The transformation looks pretty good to me. There were even bits of Jacob’s clothes drifting to the ground like confetti after the fursplosion, which makes up for the fact that the epic leap into the air and surround-sound growling were just a tad dramatic. But hey, it’s the movies.

As for Seth, I have no earthly clue who I’d like to see play him. If there was such an actor who had the endearing bumblingness of Michael Cera, the lanky-yet-strong physique of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the appropriate Native American ancestry, he would be born to play my imagined version of Seth. But I have faith in the casting director, because he/she’s done a pretty good job so far, if you ask me.

10. Why Krum Cake for your pen name? Is this a Harry Potter ref...?

You know it! By now, my love for minor, misunderstood characters is starting to become rather apparent, and one of my first obsessions was with Viktor Krum from the Harry Potter series. He’s a big, flat-footed, crooked-nosed, silent, moody Bulgarian. C’mon folks, what’s not to love? I got my penname from something one of my friends yelled out in the movie theater when the Durmstrang boys manly-manned their way into Hogwarts: “Cut me a slice of that Krum cake!” Please and thank you.

11. Also, if you have anything you want to rant about, let me know. I LOVE rants.

I love to rant. I can rant for days on end. And of course, now that someone has actually asked for me to rant about something, I can’t think of a single thing I’d like to whine and complain about, which would shock my mother to death, I’m sure. Although I do sort of wish the chimpanzees in my game of Zoo Tycoon would stop breeding like rabbits. I mean, seriously. It’s getting ridiculous. It’s gotten to the point where the other chimps get those green happy faces over their heads when I play Russian Roulette with the poor things and start selling them off randomly, and that’s just cold. Still, I prefer the chimps to my lowland gorillas—those guys are total douches.


  1. It's nice to see an interview from a minority author in this fandom. I absolutely adore her story, and the Jessica Stanley fic too.

  2. OMG, I got pimped out! That's so cool!

  3. Yay! Nothing I like better than seeing my favourite authors pimped out, and I have been a devoted reader of the epic Man Journal since I first discovered the brilliance that is Krum Cake (and I am glad to finally find out where the name came from). Seth is awesome, and the Cullen-scents...who the hell knew? Somehow, Emmett as a sweet pea is pretty damn awesome. Great pick for a rec on this site!

  4. Krum Cake purty much owns me. Like I think I'd lick her to get more Seth... This was probably the most fun interview ever. I couldn't stop laughing.

  5. I love this fic & this author. She always used to leave the nicest (and funniest) responses to my reviews! I seem to spend half my life pimping this fic out, either on the podcast or in LJ communities, so it's nice to see someone else stepping up! Well played, Shannon.


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