Monday, July 27, 2009

Author Interview: Locqua

1. What made you decide to write Twilight fanfiction?

This is kind of a weird/funny story, because I completely stumbled into the world of FF unintentionally. For the record, I had no idea what it was when I started writing my stories - seriously!

After reading the books and falling in love with everything Twilight, I became absolutely obsessed - like crazy-obsessed. From the moment I started the first book, I could not get Edward out of my head, and even after finishing BD, I didn't feel any sense of closure, or that I was ready to let go of the characters. I simply couldn't get enough, and felt this indescribable urge for more.

One of my fellow Twi-hard friends told me to check out SM's website, where I quickly read through all of the "extras and out-takes", as well as the partial draft of Midnight Sun....multiple times. This helped feed my craving, but didn't end the obsession. In fact, it was a combination of SM's POV changes and "missing moments" that spurred the idea in my mind that if there was nothing more to read, I could simply write my own to entertain myself, even though I felt like a total dork at the time for doing it. The first thing I wrote was "Rose's Wish", because I had a soft-spot for misunderstood Rosalie, and I wanted to try and see if I could walk a mile in her shoes. That, along with a fast-forming love affair with Midnight Sun, led to "The Day I Lost Edward", followed by a couple of other short pieces that have never seen the light of day.

Then while browsing through SM's page a month or two later, I found a link to the "Twilight Fanfiction and Art" website (which features only in-canon, T-rated or under FF), and discovered that I wasn't the only obsessed fan writing my own accompaniments to the series - I had no idea so many people were doing it, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of it was really good. Finally, a way to feed my cravings for everything Edward! After discovering, I decided to take the plunge and post some of the one-shots I had written just for fun. As I got more involved with the fandom world, certain stories/writing challenges spurred new ideas, which led to the creation of all of my other posted stories, including Music Lessons.

2. It is obvious you put in a lot of thought to your musical selection in "Music Lessons", what made you choose the pieces you did?

Probably one of the biggest draws to the Twilight series (for me personally), is my love for Edward, and subsequently the feeling that he and I have a lot in common (love of music/pianists, obsession with cars and speed, pessimistic-romantic tendencies, etc). Stemming from that, I thought I could really get into his head when it came to music - particularly classical piano music. The first question I asked myself was "what kind of pieces would Edward prefer to perform?" In my opinion, pieces from the Baroque & Classical eras seemed too stuffy and unemotional for Edward - he was definitely the type who would gravitate towards the music of the Romantic and Contemporary eras, much like myself. So that's where I started.

My favorite piece to perform on the piano is Aufschwung (Soaring) from the Fantasiestucke Suite by Robert Schumann, because it perfectly conveys the extremes of my emotions and demonstrates musically how quickly I can go from feeling absolutely on top of the world to hating life in the blink of an eye. When thinking about Edward's inner turmoil, the dynamic expressiveness of the piece seemed to to fit him too, and as I started researching the song and Schumann's motivations for writing it, I realized how ironically well the piece melded with Edward - it was almost as if it was written just for him.

Thus Music Lessons was born, though it started as just an exercise of attempting to expound upon the Edward we read about in Midnight Sun, and to see if I could write his POV in the same style as SM. How would it feel to be an angsty vampire, performing such a piece for his true love, and how would he describe his emotional state to the reader when he lost himself to the rapture of the music?

After finishing the first chapter, the piano pieces came to me effortlessly as the story unfolded and grew. I stuck to using pieces I had performed, because for me, I had to really know the compositions inside-out in order to accurately describe them from Edward's POV. Upon finishing the third chapter and immersing myself in the Schumann Piano Concerto, I realized Bella's education really needed to expand to a more broader definition of music appreciation, and not just stick to compositions written for the solo piano. So I dug up my old orchestra programs and concert tapes to build the playlist for their trip to San Francisco. I had so many fond memories of performing various concertos, symphonies, and other works over the years that I simply transposed those experiences into Edward's head. In fact, Music Lessons was supposed to end at Chapter 3 with the "piano" lessons. Then with Chapter 14 at the finale of their trip to San Francisco. Then at Chapter 17, once the "out-takes" were finished. But I had so many songs that I was dying to use, that the story kept growing, and eventually I found myself writing a second "trip" for E&B just to fit all of the music into it.

The pieces listed in each chapter were chosen in two ways. First, I tried to match the mood of the piece to Edward's emotional state. The more lighthearted pieces were used when he was feeling particularly jubilant; the somber pieces were used when he found himself melancholic or doubting his control. Also, the vast majority of the music used in the story was introduced to me during my volatile and impressionable teenage years, therefore the pieces bring back a certain set of intense, and sometimes raw emotions that synced up with Edward's quite nicely, including first-love, fear of the unknown as you grow into an adult, etc. Second, I wanted each piece to act as a soundtrack for it's respective chapter. I absolutely loved how SM had "playlists" for her books, and I wanted to borrow that idea and incorporate it into my story. Although the timing doesn't always line up, the story is meant to be read while listening to the music referenced in each chapter.

Lastly, much like SM has described in how she writes, I tend to visualize stories as "movies" in my head. As I was writing, I needed a soundtrack playing in the background in order for me to really get into the mood of the story and to feel what Edward was feeling as his relationship developed with Bella. For me, the classical music was the catalyst that brought the movie out of my head and onto the page.

3. Are you an experienced musician of sorts yourself?

I guess you could say I am - or was (I haven't played proficiently in over ten years). I started taking piano lessons when I was seven and continued for 13 years. I competed in the yearly MMTA State Performance Contest eleven times, competing at all levels up through Senior Young Artist, and performed in the State Honors Concert at Northrup Auditorium at the University of Minnesota twice. I spent the better part of my childhood and teenage years competing, performing in dozens of recitals, taking theory and comprehensive exams, attending various music camps and workshops, and even composing a little.

My biggest accomplishment on the piano was performing piano concertos. I competed twice in the St. Cloud Symphony Piano Concerto competition, and I was blessed with the opportunity to perform the Schumann Piano Concerto with my H.S. Orchestra during my senior year. I also got to perform "The Carnival of the Animals" by Saint-Seans with the orchestra my sophomore year. For a pianist, performing with a full orchestra is quite an experience!

The piano isn't my only muse; I am also a cellist. I started playing cello when I was ten, and took lessons for nine years. I was active in my school Symphony and Chamber Orchestra through my senior year, and was chosen for All-State twice. In addition to performing with my classmates at numerous orchestra concerts, I participated in several HS & community musicals as a member of the pit orchestra, performing either on cello or piano. I was also a member of the Quite Lite Opera Company pit orchestra for three years, performing Gilbert & Sullivan musicals every summer, and I performed at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC.

When I wasn't performing with the orchestra or in piano recitals, I was busy teaching piano to beginner students, playing keyboards occasionally with my HS Varsity Band, and singing in my HS Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and Women's Ensemble. I continued to play piano and cello in college for a couple of years, but eventually switched my minor to Creative Writing. :) I guess everything happens for a reason....

4. This is technically a Canon piece, what made you opt to do a non-Canon alternative ending?

When I started writing FF, I made the decision to only do in-canon stories because they were what appealed to me. The only liberty I allowed myself was marginally pushing the "T" rating of the original books, because as much as I loved SM's "less is more" writing style, I thought she left out a lot of good stuff, particularly between the engagement and the wedding. Therefore, Music Lessons was designed to be a missing moment between Eclipse and Breaking Dawn - when all of the vague "practicing" was taking place prior to the wedding. Also, this was one of those rare periods in E&B's relationship when there was no extraneous "drama" - it was one of the few truly happy times for the couple when they could focus all of their attention on one another. Sadly, a lot of these types of scenarios were either missing from the books, or way too brief.

I tried to write the story and the intimacy between E&B in a way where those readers who wanted them to go further physically could interpret certain scenes in that way, even though I envisioned them to be relatively innocent. As a reader, I personally enjoy stories that leave the more intimate scenes vague, because it gives you the freedom to imagine whatever you wish, and this was my way of hopefully appealing to a broader audience.

However, as the story and the sexual tension grew, I had a lot of readers begging me to break canon and let E&B "go all the way". Although I knew I'd never morph the story from in-canon to AU, I also couldn't ignore the requests, because honestly, I had been gunning for E&B to give in as well by the time they left Port Angeles on the ketch (more times than you can imagine!). Midnight Sun had shown that Edward's internal dialogue and thoughts weren't quite as chaste as he led Bella to believe, so it made perfect sense to me that he was as horny as Bella - he just hid it extremely well in the published books. So really, all of the ingredients were there...and oh, how easy it would be to let them off the hook and do what they wanted to do so badly....

But, one of my secret reasons for sticking to in-canon stories is that I'm absolutely terrified of writing lemons - even tasteful, non-explicit ones. I mean, come on - after reading some M-rated FF, I knew I'd pale in comparison, plus it seemed like everyone wrote them, therefore there wasn't much room for creating something unique and different - it had all been done before. So I had to work through some substantial fears (plus, this little voice in my head kept screaming "what if your Dad, or brother, or boss reads this?"), but eventually I caved and took a stab at it. I still like to think of the story as being in-canon....just with an extra little chapter for those AU fans.

5. Have you written in any other fandoms?

No, I have not. As I mentioned before, I didn't even realize there was such a thing as Fan Fiction until last fall. I can't really see myself writing for any other fandoms unless something better than Twilight and Edward come along. I'm not holding my breath!

6. Do you have any original writing?

Yes I do. In college as a Creative Writing minor, I wrote a lot of different things, including a short play, children's book, short stories, and lots and lots of poetry. I also did some work with scripts (I was a TV/Radio Production major) and wrote quite a few articles for print media.

Once out of college, I stopped writing on a regular basis except for my personal journals, and it wasn't until Twilight entered my life that I got back on the old writing-horse again. I was a little rusty at first, but in the past nine months I've realized how much I missed this form of creative expression, and have no plans to quit anytime soon.

When writing last fall, I actually started a novel about a young woman who completely walks away from her life after her love tragically dies, and attempts to reinvent herself. My original plan was to use my FF stories as "practice" to get back into a writing mindset, then dedicate my time to working on the novel. But writing FF is highly addicting (at least, for me it is) and I found myself spending less and less time working on my story and more and more time writing FF. I haven't touched the novel for about six months now, and I'm actually a little scared to go back and look at it because I'd probably either trash it completely, or hack it to pieces and start re-editing versus continuing on.

I have also toyed with the idea of morphing it into a Twilight AH story, but I'm not completely comfortable doing that because I'd have to change a lot of details I love, and I'm not sure how I'd fare in the AH realm. But you never know - it might see the light of day in one form or another....someday.

7. Do you prefer to read or write Canon or AU in this fandom?

At this time, I prefer to write in-canon. I'd consider doing an AU story, but I have so much respect for SM's characters and storyline, that I wouldn't drastically change the known canon. I find stories that take one tiny little detail and change it are much more intriguing than the ones that skew the canon out into left-field.

As for reading, I started off reading all in-canon, and a little AU (but all under a "T" rating). I used to tell myself I wasn't interested in anything that wasn't in-canon, because of my love for the books and because I wasn't interested in reading gratuitous erotica that runs rampant in a lot of the AH stories. But through recommendations (and honestly, because there's only so much in-canon stuff out there, and hey, I was curious), I slowly dipped my toes into some AH stories, and found that there are some really good ones. My all-time favorite AH story is still "Wide Awake." AG - please finish it! :)

8. If there is any one composition you could choose for the readers to listen to, what would it be?

Just one? Oh man, this is hard....

In fact, after sitting here forever trying to decide which one is my all-time favorite, I just can't do it. So I'm going to take a little liberty with the question. I would highly recommend all six of the below - they are my all-time favorites, in no particular order:

Solo piano piece: Chopin's Nocturne in D-flat Major
Concerto (all movements): Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor
Overture: Bernstein's "Overturn to Candide"
Symphony: Sibelius's "Symphony #2 in D Major"- Allegretto
Suite: Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" - 1919 version
Ballet: Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" - Moderato

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