So in full disclsure, AC was a super trooper, giving this interview back in the late winter before releasing her new fic and losing the kitty mentioned below. She played along with my silly questions, poking fun at fic, life in general with grace and aplomb. My apologies for the delay and condolences on the loss of what sounded like an excellent cuddle buddy.
I’m Adorable Cullens – I’ve been reading since fall 2008, writing here since Christmas of 2008. I started writing Silence & Security on Christmas Day that year. That should tell you how much fun Christmas with my dysfunctional family generally is. It had been years since I had written any fiction and once the story started, I couldn’t stop writing. I wrote all the way home from my mom’s house – my hubby at the time thought I had lost my mind (not that I ever told him it was fanfic – also, he was driving, not me). He got his walking papers shortly into the new year though, so I guess that was hard cheese for him, wasn’t it?
(AC checks instructions from hmonster. “Keep it lighthearted.” Ruh roh.)
What is your idea of the perfect story?
I have to be emotionally invested for a story to stay with me. That means the characters need to be real and compelling, the plot tightly wrapped and the writing (whatever style it might be) solid. Fresh, original takes on the existing characters, interesting twists on canon and great pacing are all things I take note of. A nice romance never hurts.
What were you drinking when you came up with the idea for The Mirrors? Is it sold here in the States?
Labatts 50? I’m sure you can get it in some border states …
I get this question a lot, and I usually avoid answering it because people think I’m strange enough already. The Mirrors is based on the little folk tale that Bella’s grandfather, Jack, tells Edward and Bella about the warrior princess and her beleaguered realm in Chapter 18. The story of the princess and her time in our world was the first story I ever wrote into a full-length manuscript as a teenager. I still have it and referenced it several times while writing The Mirrors. (The pages are crispy and yellow!) It is a very poorly written and probably very reflective of my life experience at the time. (Read: None.)
But I always loved the story. As I was finishing Behind Enemy Lines and felt like I wanted to write another story, I started thinking about the image of the child in front of the mirror at night. It’s been with me all my life. Since the original story was not suited to fanfic, I took the original tale 12 generations into the future. Next thing I knew, I had Teddy and then Swan.
Busting into your room and watching you sleep – scary, sexy, creepy?
Uh … a person sleeping? I’m a single mom with a frighteningly demanding job and a fanfic habit on the side. All you’re gonna see is a lump under a pile of blankets with a cat that looks like the debil sleeping beside it.
What do you most dislike about your writing?
I can be too wordy. Sometimes I get stuck on a word (“just” is a repeat offender) and I use it a zillion times in one chapter. Mostly, I wish I could come up with good story ideas as easily as some authors seem to be able to. The idea for Silence & Security came out of nowhere. Behind Enemy Lines practically wrote itself. Writing The Mirrors was like shitting a bowling ball – that fucker hurt. Now is a quiet time for my creativity, so I’m not writing anything at the moment. I have confidence, however, that a new idea will come eventually.
Which character in FF do you feel the most empathy for? Which would you most like to smack?
Good questions, both, and interestingly, maybe the same answer. I have a ton of empathy for Bella. I know what it’s like to have one’s life bitterly disrupted, to have your hopes dashed by the departure of the one person you thought was always going to be there for you. At the same time, I wanted to bloody smack her in Eclipse. The dude came back – stop grousing already!
Under pain of death, MKF; Charlie, Aro, Mike Newton?
Fuck? What is fuck? Oh yeah – the smex thing. It’s been a while for me, dontcha know. I actually find that one easy. I’d marry Charlie in a heartbeat. I bet he could fix all sorts of things around the house really easy, and he’s got that terrific copstache. I’d kill Aro – he’s too creepy to live anyway. And I’d fuck Mike. I have the feeling he wouldn’t be the best lay, but I’m hardly in a position to gripe about the quality of sex now, am I?
Who are your favorite writers (both in FF and published lit)?
In published literature, my favorite author is Guy Gavriel Kay, a Canadian historical fantasy writer. I’ve bought multiple copies of some of his books over the years, having read the previous editions into tatters. MM Kaye’s The Far Pavilions about colonial India is another one I’ve had to buy a second copy of. I’ve read about half of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and I’m enjoying it very much.
In fic, I fall in love with a lot of stories, but my favorite author’s list is a short one. Tarasueme is on there, of course – she’s a master storyteller. Algonquinrt, whose ability to switch from heart-rending realism to gut-splitting comedy is amazing. LolaShoes and MsKathy, both for their ability to write love – the emotion and the act – so beautifully. And a new arrival to the faves list is ItzMegan73 – she writes a brilliantly flawed human Edward in all her stories.
And I’d pretty much give my left tit for thatwritr to write just one more story. In the Blink of an Eye gives an interpretation of canon characterization (especially of Rosalie) that is unforgettable.
What would you consider absolute torture to read?
Anything by Leonard Cohen. I don’t care if he’s Canadian or how good his music might be, that guy is messed up. Oh wait, that’s not what you meant.
As for Twific, that list is long. I won’t read anything with rape or abuse in it. By personal choice, I do not read fics that involve the Holocaust. Those are my hard limits. Any story that involves a canon “parent” with a canon “offspring” of some kind is pretty cringe-worthy – Carlisle with any of the girls, Esme with any of the boys. Same with Edward and Alice. I have read some viable Charlie/Alice material, but it still squicks me out.
Silly, immature fic is a much more likely pitfall to encounter these days. Cardboard cutout characters with banal interpretations make me want to barf. Any summary (summery?) that has the words “Edward is a player” in it is a no-go. I also can’t stand stories with random characters (Bella’s previously unknown twin sister, new members of the Cullen family, etc.) who are obvious stand-ins for the author and who become the love interest for Edward or Jasper or Jacob. Isn’t anybody monitoring these children’s online activities?
And I cringe – literally cringe – when I read these fics about high school kids who do nothing but screw and do drugs all day long. I have a 7-year-old … those stories make me want to lock her up until she’s 40.
This doesn’t mean I don’t like younger fic – I’ve read some T fiction lately that is terrific. An Introduction to Swirl and Daisy is a great example, Satellite Castle is another.
Leg hitch – cock tease, or swoon worthy?(Fucked if I didn’t have to ask hmonster twice what this question meant.)
Look, as an adult, I was howling with disappointment over the fade-to-black in Breaking Dawn. I didn’t expect a Jackie Collins sex scene in the middle of the book, but come on, woman – throw us a bone! Literally.
That said, I wasn’t surprised by the choice she made, nor did I feel misled in anyway – just bummed out. It’s a YA novel with an abstinence theme written by a Mormon. The main characters got married at 18. If I were in her shoes, I don’t know if I would have played it any differently.
If you could have written one story, what would it be?
That’s easy … I would seriously love to be able to write a comedy like Mr. Horrible. I tell a good joke and have the occasional guffaw in my stories, but algonquinrt slays me with her writing. There are other funny stories in fanfic. There are other stories that started out incredibly funny then turned into train wrecks, went in directions that didn’t speak to me, or lost their appeal after a few chapters. But Mr. H is fucklarious from beginning to end. I can write adventure, fantasy, romance and even the smex, but I can’t write the funny like Algie can.
Is there one of your stories that holds a special place in your heart? Why?
Make no mistake – I love all my stories dearly, and they all mean different things to me. But if I had to choose, I’d probably say The Mirrors – mostly because of Teddy. He was incredibly difficult to write because of his repressed emotions and memories; for the majority of the story, he truly is a lost soul. Some nights, he would simply elude me, and the chapter wouldn’t get written. And in the end, he found himself and the broken parts of his shattered personality knit themselves back together.
I actually bought a Berkeley hoodie at the San Francisco airport on the way back from a business trip, just because Teddy went there. I still refer to it as “my Teddy hoodie.” He wears it in Chapter 19 of The Mirrors, sitting on the front porch with Grandpa Jack. Teddy and The Mirrors remain very close to my heart. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to write a story since – I’m still too much in love with Teddy to write another Edward over top of him.
If you were to die and come back as a character or place from the saga, what would it be?
Anyone who gets laid will do nicely, thank you.
What is your favorite cliché?
“Orbs.” That’s a show-stopper for me. I will drop what I’m doing to report an “orb” sighting to Ms Kathy or Algie. It’s better than hunting for punch-buggies on the highways. (Anyone who does not know what a punch-buggy is can safely assume they are a lot younger than I am.)
Funniest moment in your fan fic history?
I’ve had an awful lot of funny moments, most with Ms Kathy and Algonquinrt. (A lot of them came at the expense of really bad fics, so let’s not talk about those.) Algie and I got into a screaming match one night when I was delivering feedback on a chapter of one of her stories. I couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t getting my suggestions and she couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t giving clear feedback. Turned out to be an “eyelash” problem – basically, a compatibility problem between the editing function on my PC and her Mac. The edits that were big as a house on my screen were the size of eyelashes on hers. A lot of shouting went into that misunderstanding. A lot of laughter came out the other end.
Maybe that’s the best thing about the friends I have made here … they are very “real” for people who are so very far away. We talk, we laugh, we drink … and we fight hard from time to time. But we always come back together. Since I travel a lot for work (and have a lot of frequent flyer miles as a result), it’s easy for me for to move around when I don’t have mini-AC. So I’ve met Algonquinrt and stayed at her place a couple of times. Ditto for Ms Kathy and philadelphic. I count myself pretty lucky there. Need to get with Feisty next.
Name fan fic characters (can be male or female) you’d take a run at if it were humanly (or vampirically?) possible and why.
You want me to run? Now? I had a really freaking hard day, I’ve have you know. (AC consults briefly with hmonster on what this question actually means.)
Yeah, my desire to bed fanfic characters and/or RPattz has waned since I fell in love with my waiter at the local diner. My shrink feels this is a positive sign since my waiter is 1) alive and 2) we know each other. The odds of actually bedding him are exceedingly low – he’s nearly half my age and is so far out of my league, it’s ridonk. Philadelphic has met him – what an epic day that was. Fuckhot Waiter is my own personal Edward – beautiful, wonderful and utterly out of reach.
If you could have spent 30 minutes with Bella in New Moon – October-January, what would you have said or done?
I was always rather impressed by Bella’s ability to maintain her funk. I got dumped by guys in high school and university, and I can tell you, I could only mope for a week or two, and then I got disgusted by my own filth. Moping is boring, IMHO. She did it for months! Impressive.
Snarking aside? Reading New Moon for the first time and seeing those pages empty except for the months on them was impactful. If I had had 30 minutes with Bella during that time period WITHOUT knowing the truth about the Cullens, I would have frog-marched her to a psychiatrist for treatment of severe depression. No hesitation. As a parent reading New Moon, I’m appalled that Charlie didn’t force her to seek treatment.
But if I got the 30 minutes and DID know the whole back-story, I don’t know that I would be able to do more other than sit and listen. Perhaps a bit of Patron?
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