Wednesday, August 4, 2010

FFA Officer Review

Officer Jazz In My Pants aka Phillipa 'JIMP' Duke
Reads, reviews and interviews Mrs. The King

Though, like many other fanfiction readers, Wide Awake was my first exposure to fanfiction, my most unforgettable moment was every second of any story to do with the famous Mrs. The King.

From what I've seen, her talents in the field of fiction go unparallelled, and I for one will feel the world spin on its axis when a rookie author delivers to such a high standard. I'd never felt so much emotion and involvement in a story before Poughkeepsie fell into my lap, and I honestly couldn't resist the opportunity to interview her. It took some time and thinking, along with some deadline breaking, but this revealing interview was happily managed.

1. What got you involved in the rat race of fanfiction?

I always wanted to work up the courage to try and write something. Fanfiction allowed me to try while remaining anonymous. Edward and the Twilight cast seemed like such safe characters to play with. I wrote before I read and I'm thrilled it worked out that way. The other authors in this fandom are so talented, I would have been very intimated and never have tried. As it turns out, those exact authors reach out to so many new writers and are sweet and very encouraging.

2. All tales start somewhere, even yours. What was your first exposure to fanfiction as a reader?

I started writing 'Drink You Alive' and then I read 'Wide Awake'. What a story to start with! Truly, it is a legend for a reason and well worth the time to read. I read it all in a huge gulp and was so satisfied. I had to wait for the ending, but I was grateful for the journey the story took me on.

3. How did you let loose with the creative before?

I love to read, and have always read. I liked to paint furniture, and still do. I'll take a coffee table and slap a huge magnolia on it. But writing is my favorite, by far.

4. How did it feel to get that first review, and does that feeling wilt with time?

Wow. My first review was for 'Drink You Alive' and I almost pissed my pants. That story still has crazy plot that no one would ever read. Edward with a different chick? What? I would check my email daily and see if I had a review. Those early readers are such dare devils. They will basically dive into fics and give them a shot. Reviews never get old, for me anyway. I think it is an amazing way to learn to write. I think I am addicted to the instant response that fanfiction allows. Reading becomes a team sport. Now, I'm so attached to my readers, new and old. Seeing their names in my inbox is like getting a sweet hug from a dear friend. It is such an honor to write for the brilliant, honest people that read fanfiction.

5. You are a favorite author for many, but who is your favorite author and what drew them to you?

It is really hard for me to name one favorite author. I go to different writers for different reasons. Feisty Y Beden's stories make you smarter and you can feel your heart beat. shalu has a gentle way with words, she is like a word whisperer. Angstgoddess003 is fearless and brave with her stories. Lolashoes is so elegant, she makes me want to put white gloves on when reading. Feathers_mmmm writes stories that make you feel like you were drinking champagne bubbly, light. Algonquinrt, she is exquisite, funny and professional. Tara Sue Me makes me feel like I am peaking in the curtains of someone's bedroom. tby789? The Office was so gorgeous. Her writing made me feel pretty. Nina, MsKathy, Writeontime, AdorableCullens. There are so many and I will leave people out and I hate that. My favorite stories and authors on my profile do a good job of rounding them up.

6. From reading your stories, it is obvious that you like to give Bella power and stick to the traditional BellaxEdward pairing. My question is, do your characters reflect upon you as a person, or is it due to your vivid imagination that your stories hold such independence?

My stories have their own life. My characters think their own thoughts, it is a strange experience to sit at a computer and think "Emmett's point of view" and have all his cursing and observations wind up on the page. I love giving Bella power because I have a deep respect for my fellow women. I've seen too many strong, determined ladies that I respect to ever feel comfortable writing a heroine that couldn't hold her own. So I guess my characters do come from my own life, or at least the shadowy outline of someone but then they take their own shape as the plot develops.

7. On the topic of power, you both take and give. In 'Poughkeepsie' Edward is a homeless hotty that's barely ever seen by anyone; until Bella trots along that is. However, in 'The Revenger', Edward has everything and covets the one thing that, though he currently has in his grasp, still does not hold the control he desires. Despite these two completely different situations, each Edward you write holds a strong element of character and instability of the mind. Do your Edwards represent anyone you know, or again, is it just a representation of yourself and your life experiences?

Awesome question. I never looked at it that way. For me, Poughkeepsie Homeward wasn't unstable. I saw him as a guy that just needed to get through his grief. It was manifesting in his delusions about his skin. His power came from taking a risk on loving with his whole heart despite the chance of pain. My Revenger character is stone cold evil, so far anyway. He has all the material things a person could want. Bella from Revenger knows that the material things mean nothing and love wins on any scale. I am curious to see how the plot will turn out. The plot for that one has been in my head forever, but it changes with every chapter now. Bella is far more bad ass than I had planned and I really like her that way. I'm a fan of role reversal.

8. Would you ever consider straying from the traditional pairings?

Yes! In Crushed Seraphim, Jack (the Devil) and Bella form a bond. In an out take requested by readers, I had Bellaphim choose him instead of Edward. It felt wrong at first, but Bella had a great time. I still love Jack. Sigh.

9. Are there any brutally brilliant ideas waiting to be written swimming around in that noggin of yours? If there are, do you care to share?

You are adorable. I think I am learning to take one thing at a time. That was my most productive. During Poughkeepsie it was my only active story and I would put out four updates at one time. Now I am working on finishing Drink You Alive, GYNAZOLE and the Revenger and I can't update any of them as often as I would like. Revenger kills my brain right now though. In any free time I am thinking through that plot.

10. Your stories touch the hearts of many a reader. I found myself sobbing to my computer screen about the injustice of life 50% of the time in 'Poughkeepsie', but the rest of the time I was laughing and relating myself to the characters. I'd never cried so hard in my life when Bella admitted to seeing Edward glow when he was dying, and I'd never laughed so hard when Emmett's saxophone appendage was mentioned. You obviously have a talent of turning Twilight so OOC (out of character) that it barely resembles the original characters, but doesn't stray in the way that makes it tacky and unreadable. How do you keep that balance of sorrow and humor?

Another awesome question. Poughkeepsie made me cry like someone was pinching me while writing it. That scene where Bella is counting out the compressions? I was afraid I would electrocute myself before I could finish typing it. Homeward is still so close to my soul. Pimpmett came rolling out of Poughkeepsie, he was so funny. With his character I took crazy risks. I let him say anything that I thought, it was scary. Because the response to him was so positive I realized if I wrote what scared me, the readers liked it in reviews. The humor is how I deal with anything in real life. I crack jokes, so I think that seeped into the stories.

11. How do your ideas come to you?

'Drink You Alive' I built brick by brick, it was forced. It came from my desire to spend more time in the Twilight universe. 'Poughkeepsie' I thought of in the shower. I wanted to write an Edward who had nothing, but was still everything a girl could dream of. To me a couple working together to get though life is the ultimate romance. The Revenger was a dream that I keep thinking about. Gynazole oozed into existence when I was sitting in a Target parking lot waiting for my UTI meds. Crushed Seraphim was supposed to be a lighthearted Christmas story and it turned out to be more of a character study. I guess mostly ideas come from just asking "What if?"

12. What would your family and friends say if they read your material?

They actually do read it! I don't talk about my writing at work, but friends and family follow along. My mom actually called me with a plot suggestion for GYNAZOLE Emmett and his man parts. Mr. The King has read every chapter of every story so far. He is a good man. I'm very proud of my fanfiction affiliation, I'm in amazing company between the genius readers who can keep up with tons of stories all with the same character names and the fantastic authors who can entertain and hold people's attention with just a chapter at a time.

13. Do you have any tips on how to keep stories fresh for the readers?

Write what flows and write what scares you. Poughkeespsie and Revenger scared me. Crushed Seraphim and GYNAZOLE flowed like they were already written and I'm just hitting the keys to fill up the space. In the beginning of Drink You Alive I wrote what I thought a book should sound like, with Poughkeepsie I just let it come out, I found I like third person writing the best. I think if you keep it fresh for yourself, you will find that fanfiction readers are so incredible and willing experiment with you. And read your reviews, there is so much valuable input, even in negative reviews. The feedback in fanfiction is so valuable!

So, to all of you MTK Virgins, that cherry needs popping. Though her stories may take some time to get in to, it is well worth it. Afterall, she's my fanfiction heroin for a reason; and we're talking both drugs and high-horsing. I'd like to thank MTK for her time and for answering at all.