Monday, October 12, 2009

Author Interview: Edward A Masen

1. How did you discover Twilight Fanfiction and more importantly what compelled or inspired you to go from fic reader to fic author?

Becoming a fic reader/author happened pretty much simultaneously, right on the heels of having read the entire series over a week during Christmastime of last year. I got online and started participating in the Twiverse, and with that came exposure to fic (I have a theory that the missing Isle Esme lemon is a primary gateway drug to Twilight fanfic). I tried my hand at an EPOV Isle Esme fic right away, but many pages into it, poor Bella was still stuck in the beach house while Edward stood in the surf, ruminating about everything from Steinbeck to hurricanes. So I gave that one up and moved on, finishing a New Moon script which I've chosen to keep off the internet, except for a few first-draft scenes that are archived on Twilighters Anonymous. It was during the script project that I developed a bunch of ideas that turned into My Lost Youth.

2. What fanfics are you currently reading, and which update is the one you anticipate most?

I keep up with EliseShaw's No Longer Alone, A Coming of Age and Carlisle and Esme: The Deleted Scenes. I also follow Pastiche Pen's If Love Could Light a Candle, Emilie Fauve's In My Power, Blondie's Dark Side of the Moon, Kristen Nicole'sThe Caged Bird, orangesky728's The Woods Are Lovely, Dark and Deep, giselle's Ithaca is Gorges, Gravity by Nightshade, michellephant's The Vampire in the Basement, Screwed from the Start by PassionforTwilight, Visitationby radiofreeamy, and Ethan Church by Dryler. My guilty pleasures are tby789's The Office and TrampyVampies' Evading the Orbit. The one I most look forward to these days is Ethan Church. It's an incredibly engaging story- spooky, sweet and smart all at the same time.

3. What genre do you find yourself most drawn to as a reader?

I don't read enough fiction to have a favorite genre (unless classics constitute a genre). Twilight is the first contemporary fiction I've read in some time. When it comes to non-fiction, I tend to read about history (esp. maritime history), geology (esp. anything related to volcanology), horticulture, true crime, philosophy and biographies. As a fanfic reader, I love canon stories that share my obsession with the early 20th century Cullens, but as you can see from my list from question #2, there's plenty I enjoy from other genres, as well.

4. What made you decide to write in canon as opposed to another genre like AU or even AH where you might have more freedom or opportunity to play with the characters?

Canon doesn't feel restrictive to me. It never even occurred to me to write AU/AH because I was already so compelled to explore what canon had to offer, particularly Edward's formative years and Carlisle's evolution as a patriarch. Besides, my strength as a writer, I think, isn't in creating plots, but fleshing them out. The only thing about this story that feels limiting is that it takes place in a different era. I've pretty much buried myself in research- it's probably 60% of my writing process.

5. In writing MLY you've spent a lot of time poking around in Edward's head. What about writing Edward has surprised you the most? Scared you the most? Or been the most challenging thing to tap into?

The biggest surprise is how much of a kid he still was at first. He comes across as so world-weary in Twilight and the partial Midnight Sun draft, it's easy to think he was just born into the vampire world that way. But when you journey back to when he started out with Carlisle, he was much more light-hearted. The most challenging thing to tap into is what changed all that - the time he spent preying on the worst of humanity. He's reluctant to talk about it, to put it mildly. I can't say Edward's scared me much yet, except for one thing: a few months back, I had a rather bizarre dream in which I was Edward. The next morning I thought it might be time to step away from the keyboard for a little while...

6. My Lost Youth was recommended as a PG13 fic, but as you continue your exploration of his evolution, you've warned that dear Edward will take a dark and almost sinister turn which will change the rating to NC17 or M. Without giving up the goods or plot points, how dark do you expect MLY to get?

Well, Edward went from a relatively innocent, sensitive, good-natured kid to a morose brooder who's absolutely convinced that his soul is not only in danger of damnation, but already lost. What he could have seen and done to make him think that?

As many Twilight readers have concluded, the time he spent on his own as a vigilante vampire is likely where most of his self-hatred originated. In writing it, I've discovered that it's not the darkly romantic, atmospheric journey I thought it would be. For the most part, it's disturbing, often sickening, and existentially horrifying. Edward wouldn't have been hunting only mobsters, wife-beaters and run-of-the-mill sociopathic killers, but truly shudder-worthy monsters like Albert Fish and the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run. Imagine what it would be like to constantly seek out and live in the minds like theirs, to see their crimes. How enraged would you be, especially when you're as passionate as Edward is? And in that rage, what would you do as judge, jury and executioner, especially if you had Edward's physical abilities? What would the intense ecstasy of killing do to you psychologically? How deeply would such experiences poison you? Imagine that, and you'll have a decent idea of how dark MLY gets.

The good news is that MLY won't be earning its NC-17 status through graphic violence alone. There's some very pleasant mature content on the horizon, as well.

7. Do you think Edward has much of a sense of humor?

He used to, but not much of it was left by the time we met him in Twilight. Slapstick comedy, bawdy jokes- he's never had much use for those. He's amused by irony and good wit, but still doesn't laugh much. Also, one of his most contradictory traits is that, despite all his self-hatred, he doesn't laugh at himself much. I like to think Bella's helping him out with that in post-BD world.

8. Any interesting plot bunnies running around in your brain for future fics?

Nope. Just dust bunnies, unfortunately.

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