I was super excited when P and AG offered me the opportunity to interview In.a.Blue.Bathrobe for the blog. I HEART Tropic of Virgo. I fan-girl her obsessively even if she isn’t fully aware (most of this is behind her back while AG rolls her eyes and sends me LOL cats and stuff that I don’t understand). But TOV really became the story I waited so eagerly for updates. I have literally read it at least three times. I have no idea why it captivates me so much but it does. And most of you know I loooove Edward. Well, TOV Edward is the fic of dreams and fantasies and endless g-chat discussions.
I popped Blue’s G-Chat cherry by inviting her to talk to me on the spot. She answered my questions, fan’s questions, talked tattoos and even played Kill-Fuck-Marry with me… I was in fangirl heaven.
Angel: Okay, so I'm going to start by telling you that I had heard of TOV and was a little skepticalof the poet/musician theme plot. I have no idea why, but I just am a skeptic. So my really good RL friend (FF name greenyellow) whom I turned onto FanFic and now gives me recs told me to read it, and I did, and I was just FLOORED at how much I loved it. So I think I read maybe the first 15-17 chapters or so all at once—which thank goodness, because I would have lost my shit if I had to wait for updates early on. But something about the plot and the characters and the writing just really made me happy.
Blue: Erg. well, thank you. I still get blushy and crap when people say nice things like that.
Angel: Awww, well, it's true... at least I think so and your legions of fans agree.
Blue: The poet musician thing is really overdone, and if I had realized how much, I probably wouldn't have done it.
Angel: Maybe—probably? I don’t read many of that type, so I don’t really know.
Blue: I actually had read only a few fics before I started the first chapter, and the first chap was really a one-shot.
Angel: Oh, that's even better. I’m sure, you weren't as… ummmm... influenced, maybe, by having not read as much?
Blue: I hopefully wouldn't have used so many of the gawdawful cliche's if I had... ew.
Angel: Hmmm, well, they didn't bother me. To me the clichés are not about, well, the cliche, but how they're written. I have no idea if that makes sense?
Blue: How much had you read before doing CoH?
Angel: Fic? Wow, well, I've been in the fandom for over a year, and COH started in January, so I had been reading FF for about 6 months, but I didn't read many AUs at all.
Blue: AUs seem difficult to write!
Angel: It’s different. You have to think of "everything with the vamps," but I like it.
I have a question about something I have heard that you may have heard as a crit. (I have heard this about TOV.) People sometimes say that the "misunderstandings" between the characters are kind of annoying or whatever. Personally, I love these in this fic because they seem very, very realistic to teenagers. People seem to forget e/b are teens and that sometimes you wake up or sit next to that guy or girl in bio class and are just FREAKING OUT and not thinking clearly and really worried that you like them way more than they like you. Did you do this on purpose?
Blue: Yeah, in a way. After the initial chapter, I set out to really divide them into three separate levels-Logical thought (D_88 and O_G) Emotional thought, Bella and Edward. And then the sex and music thing, which was visceral.
Angel: Yes. I was surprised at how much I liked their text and email communications. Normally, this kind of thing annoys me a bit? But here it worked very, very well. Okay, let me ask questions from yer fangirlz.
Q: In ToV did the poetry have other inspirations then your B&E characters?
Angel: So, basically your poetry and by result your entire fic kind of was inspired by the music you listen to?
Blue: Yeah, but I have to admit that there was a little bit of Henry Miller and Anais Nin, too.
Q: How did you come up with the premise for ToV?
Blue: Well, Nina had this cocktease contest, and...
Angel: You know—I didn’t know this was a one-shot to start. I never would have known.
Blue: Yep. That's why the first chapter is so raw.
Angel: Ugh. Yeah—it’s good. So good. Well, it's solid too. Better than most first chapters (due, I guess, to being a full one shot).
Blue: You know how you can look at the story stats and see the hit count on the chapters?
Angel: Yes (<—obsessed with stat page).
Angel: From yours? Really?
Blue: Yep. Most people can't get past Jessica and the tequila.
Angel: OMG I LOVE THAT PART. Which is so weird for me, but I do— it stands out, and it was not a full lemon or anything but raw and just powerful.
Blue: Which is what I was going for, so thanks. I got four votes in the contest, and one of them was mine.
Angel: Aww, you know I did a contest once and came in really low. Meh.
Blue: It makes me giggle. I wrote Nina and asked if I could just continue the story since I sucked so bad.
Q: Anything in the story related to a personal experience of yours?
Blue: I've had an online crush or two. And erm, well, some of the lemons may have some basis in fact... A lot of it, actually. I'm not a musician, but my family is, and Esme and Carlisle are very much based on my crazy parents.
Angel: Well, speaking of sex—when I read the bathroom sex/angst I immediately cut and pasted and sent to Angstgoddess003 and made her read it because it was just
Delta of Mercuryugh... so heart-fail yet hot, yet confusing, yet hot. THEN, like a week later, my husband was watching The Wrestler (the movie), and there is this just… nasty, skank bathroom sex scene and I was like ....."wow, yeah, SEEING bathroom sex and reading it are just two different things."
Blue: That's funny. Fats made this great avi with Rob behind K, just their faces... and we looked at it, and were like, THAT'S WHAT THEY SEE IN THE MIRROR!
Angel: Ha! Yeah. No thanks
Blue: And Fats goes, "Dammit. You made my avi weird."
Angel: Well, I mean, if it was rob and not Mickey Rourke, I may not have minded so much…
Blue: Mickey Rourke? Ew. He was hot in his day, but that is looong over.
Angel: For serious. Moving along from bathroom sex.
Q: Are you musical? Been in a band, etc? If not, you could have fooled me.
Blue: I used to sing a bit. Dad's an operatic conductor and a concert pianist... Stepdad plays guitar and collects music. All kinds.
Angel: I love how you use so many remakes. It’s unique. It fit the characters nicely.
Blue: It's weird to write about music if your readers don't know the pieces, but I wanted at least a little bit of something new. I don't know how to say what I mean. :(
Angel: No, that makes sense.
Blue: I wanted stuff to be familiar, but with a new twist if folks went looking. Like with Fever... I got a lot of messages that said, "Oh, I love Ray Charles!" Ray Charles is sooo not Edward.
Q: Could we get a complete list of all the songs/artists mentioned in TOV?
Blue: Yes, I keep meaning to put that on my bio, I just never can get my lazy ass around to doing it. I will. Soon. Promise.
Angel: Yes—well and if you want, you could make this a deadline??? js...
Blue: Yes, maam.
Angel: Ha! IF YOU WANT.
Q: Do you play any musical instruments? Who does she see as TOVward (bc she said Rob "sometimes")? Have any tattoos?
Blue: I used to sing a bit, but I kind of suck, and I can read music, but I don't play anymore. There is a tarnished flute from junior high band under my bed. I see Edward as Rob when he looks young and is smiling and messy, but its a concept thing. There could be a bit of Zac in there, but then I feel all weird and like pedocougarphile.
*I have 6 tattoos. 3 stars, one cat, and two, well, that's a whole nother story. I'm sort of writing that one at the moment... Might be part of the "mix it up."
Angel: Hmm, six tattoos... did this girl know this? TOVward doesn’t have one does he? I’ve read it three times I dont recall this…
Blue: Nope, not a ToV story.
Angel: <—has two tattoos (no judgments).
Blue: What are your inks? If I can ask?
Angel: Oh—I have one that is a sun type thing, I’ve had it for… gah 15 years and then I got one last year, a star like three stars "layered."
Blue: Nice! Mine are just little turquoise five-points, one on each ankle and one between my shoulder blades.
Angel: My star is kind of big not huge, but it’s on the middle of my upper back/lower neck. It may be bigger than I wanted but... not really.
Q: Poetry is woven so beautifully into Tropic of Virgo. Do you write poetry apart from fiction, and if so, do you find that the two different forms (poetry and prose) influence each other?
Blue: I'd never really written much of anything before I found fanfic six months ago; a few teenage poems and a self indulgent blog, but that's it. So I'm not sure how to answer
Tropic of Virgothat. Choosing words seems a lot like picking the right crayon out of the box: instinct and mood make you grab a certain color. Poetry is like an impressionist approach to drawing, or even abstract expressionist, while prose is more representational. Blech. I think in images, I suppose.
Q: I know the popularity of ToV came as a bit of a shock, but what, if anything, has it taught you about writing fanfic? What's been the best part of the experience? What, if anything, would you do differently going forward?
Blue: There's no accounting for taste?! Urm, I don't know really. I learned that angst is a powerful thing, and folks will retaliate if they feel hurt by your words. Next time, I'll give myself a little more time than 5.5 days on average between chapters; ToV was written at such a breakneck speed that I made mistakes.
I'm a resident artist at a theatre, and when you get good enough at your art, they make you an administrator over other artists, and you don't get to be artistic anymore. So fanfic has given me this incredible outlet in a medium that I'd never really played with before.
The best part? I've met a lot of fabulous women who are intelligent, creative, pervy and fun, who support and encourage each other to be even more so.
Q: Fave book? Fave album ever? Age she wrote 1st poem?
Blue: First poem? Prolly as soon as I could rhyme in baby talk.
Fav book? a dictionary? That's like asking which body part you love best. Oh, wait.
Angel: Ha! For real! You know what's funny? I bet no one in the fandom would say that Twilight is their favorite book, which is kind of odd but...
Blue: Where the Sidewalk Ends? Tolkien, this great writer John Burdett, who writes weird psycho mysteries set in Bankok, Patricia McKillip, Edgar Allen Poe, oodles more.
Angel: Fave album?
Blue: Abbey Road? Temple of the Dog? Little Earthquakes and Houses of the Holy.
How about you? Fave book?
Angel: Hmmmm…I do really like Harry Potter, my husband teaches 5th grade so we have always been into YA literature, but that’s not really my favorite. I love The Book Thief… its amazing.
Blue: Is that the Shakespeare stealer series? and I do love me some HP.
Angel: No, it’s umm Markus Zuzak. It’s YA although really you wouldn’t know it—I didn’t know when I read it.
Q: There's so much twific out there now. What kinds of stories draw you in?
Blue: Weird ones. I like immediately clever plots or strange twists on canon, or a nifty ambiance that draws you in right away.
(Digression on books, comics, ComicCon, geekiness and other nerdy behaviors…which per usual rounds back too…)
Blue: Is Rob your Edward?
Angel: No, not really, Rob looks like a totally hot 35 year old man to me half the time and he is completely a spaz and dresses badly (sigh, which i love) and is all scruffy and weird and that to me isn't Edward although at the same time he does have all these traits that are very Edward-ly.
Blue: (I'm giggling, because I think I understand that...)
Angel: Yeah, sorry. That’s kind of how I work with rob, but it’s funny… okay, Fun Angel Fact: I’m an artist, so I am very visual, but I do not ever really imagine what characters look like in books if I see the movie first or if it becomes iconic like HP or whatever I do kinda insert them.
Blue: Yes. Me too.
Angel: But when I read Twilight, I didn’t know who was playing the roles yet so when I found out it was Rob aka Cedric I was like," OOOOOO.o." and was excited. He fit perfectly for me because really Cedric is a little like Edward in a human way.
Blue: Yeah, I liked Cedric a little too much....
Q: I know you're a working mom. How do you fit your writing in? Where and when do you like to write?
Blue: I don't sleep much. I only have one kid, and her finally hitting high school helps. I like to write when everyone else is asleep. It's the only time I get to myself. Luckily, Mr. Blue and the kidling usually sleep 'til noon on weekends.
Q: My question is: what do you like in a review? What's helpful and what just makes you 100% happy?
Blue: Any question or comment that makes it clear they've read the story. Genuine interest is a real ego boost; I'll admit that. I get fussy when people ask if Bella is on birth control, or why don't they use condoms. It was enough of a plot element that I want to yell, didn't you read it?!
Angel: Good grief! Yeah, that was pretty clear. For TOV did you get many flames or hater reviews?
Blue: Yes. I got quite a few when he wakes up with Lauren...
Angel: Oh. I liked that part, but then I wasn’t reading it updated
Blue: And a whole lot of hate fot the ribbon mashed in the dirt. "fot?!"
Angel: Ha—whatever… What about on the forums and stuff any haterade there?
Blue: That was the point where a lot of people said too much miscommunication fuckery.
Angel: Well, I told you about this. I loved it. Let me also explain why. Mainly, because it was miscommunication, which is realistic, and IT WAS NOT YOUR PLO. Too many fics have a plot that is really just one long stupid miscommunication.
Okay, my question: out of anyone famous, who would you kill, fuck, marry?
Blue: Oh, hell, narrow it down for me!
Angel: Okay, The Beatles.
Blue: Kill Paul, Fuck George (a lot) and Marry John. You?
Angel: Hmm. Kill Ringo, Marry George, Fuck John
Next: Janis, Jimi or Jim?
Blue: Kill Janis, Fuck Jim and Marry Jimi.
Angel: I would... kill Jimi, fuck Jim, marry Janis.
Blue: Girls or guys?
Blue: Kill Bella, fuck Rose, and marry Alice.
SM's guys: Kill emmet fuck jasper marry edward.
ToV guys, fall on my own sword after watching them do each other.
Angel: I'm not doing twilight ones... I would kill Bella, fuck Angel and marry Edward. How about...? Well, I don’t know if you read these: WA fuckward, Teenage Angst Brigade Edward, or TOVward
Blue: Oh, that's hard!
Angel: I KNOW! (I’M SO SO SORRY, AG. PLEASE FORGIVE ME!) Kill WAward, fuck TTABward, and marry TOVward.
Blue: Kill Angstward, Fuck Tovward, marry Fuckward.
Angel: Hahhaaa ! We are so opposite! I just told AG—I said Fuckward has to die because he comes with too much baggage and can only get into community college (She is now not speaking to me—FYI, and I expect hate mail from her fangirlz.).
Oh yeah, one more!
Q: If you are going to write the sequel: Tropic of Gemini?
Blue: Aside with a Wolf is probably the start of that. But it's in the Jasper contest, so I can’t add on for a bit.
Angel: Oh, well then you need to start hoarding chapters (hint-hint-nudge, nudge)
Blue: Delta of Mercury is a side story, part of the the Twi25 thing. But, Gah, I'm still trying to come up with a plot!
Angel: Ha, well... I would really love to see you do a good job of writing them Alice/J and keeping e/b involved a little but not taking over.
Blue: That's the plan.
Angel is the Rob-sessed, Vampward writing, marathon-running author of Creature of Habit, and more recently Daedalus in Exile. She also makes nifty art stuff.