Tell us something about yourself: Where are you from? Age/Gender? Hobbies? Anything you'd like to share.
Thirty-something. British. Lived, worked and travelled all over the world, and used up pretty much all my nine lives doing it. There's a fair chance that I've been there, done that and have the scars to prove it.
How did you begin writing in general?
I wrote a ficlet. An S6 Spike drinking and feeling miserable Angst piece, posted it to The Gutter, and people liked it. I wrote a twist in the tale six line funny for AYW, and people liked it and it made them laugh and feel better after that piece of shite. That made me feel good. I ended up writing a series (currently on Buffy Issues related hiatus) that people followed. But it was Three Lions and the reaction and audience engagement with the twists in that which cemented me into writing.
What inspired you to begin writing fanfic?
Spike - he's bossy that way.
I was also pissed off with BTVS and especially the behaviour of the title character. I knew the show and the abusive treatment of the demons I loved wasn't satisfying me, so I thought I'd see what I could do. Friends had been telling me for years that I should try writing fiction, so I thought I'd give it a go. Hundreds of thousands of words later...
What do you enjoy about writing fanfic?
The dialogue with the readers. The chance to really push the boats out that ME were too chickenshit to go for lest the questions that the grey threw up for the 'verse have to be really addressed. Exploring the characters at a deeper level and without the black and white moral apartheid crap ME ruined BTVS with getting in the way. Being able to write the grey, the stories that explore that there are sometimes no easy answers, that life and people are complex, grey and not always right, or good, or perfect - and neither is life.
Why have you chosen to write about Spike? What do you find interesting about his character?
He doesn't give me a choice. He talks, I have to write - as I said, he's Bossy.
He's also a mass of contradictions that make up an irresistible force. He's fascinating to write. He is the little black dress of the Jossverse - he goes with anyone and it can work. He's the ultimate rebel against the rules of his universe, so much so that the show itself has to try and ignore that he destroyed its childish and offensive structure of moral apartheid. His flaws offer as much writing gold as his virtues, and I'm not blind to either. He specialises in doing the impossible. He's the ultimate rebel hero with a heart of gold. He hits every single button I have. I love my darling boy.
What other characters or relationships do you find most interesting to write?
I've written all the characters, and a great deal of Wes and Giles, but I'd have to say Lilah's my current favourite character not called Spike. This may well be because she really is in many ways the girl and human equivalent of my darling boy. My darling girl is smart, sexy, owns her own sexuality and decisions, knows what she wants and goes for it, and is willing to pay the consequences without whining. She's also the female character that exposes the ME black and white reductionist moral structure for the crap that it is. She's Evil, and unashamed of it. She also loves, is witty, overcomes an immense ammount of crap from the men in the workplace to come out on top, while being deeply human in all the complexity that really means, and is fundamentally honest where it counts. I love Lilah.
Of the work you've written, which piece is your favorite? Why?
Scarborough Fair and its twin Root Systems, but especially SF. It plays with some of the biggest themes I've ever explored and goes deep into the characters, and pulls them into the most awful situations possible to see what their response is. I think as it's Spillow, it doesn't get the love I have for it. But it's as far from 'Cor, Red, you're so dark', Willow-Sue as it's possible to get. It's dark, Angsty, sad, funny, horrific, is truly anchored into a totally human/natural forces apocalypse, still makes me cry over the Fang Gang in the garden, and I wish more people would give it a try.
Kamikaze was just plain fun to write, as a rollercoaster of everything I enjoy writing. I know it's a crossover, but I think it works.
Which piece was the most difficult to write? Why?
Three Lions, and what happens with Willow. The characters told me this had to happen. I knew that if I didn't write it the way it does in the story, that it would utterly gut the story and there wouldn't be the impact I wanted when I wanted it. I was utterly convinced I would be buried under flames and everyone would hate me for writing it. I did write it, and most people accepted that it did have to happen that way for the story and that it took the story to places it would never otherwise have got. Therefore, it did get there, and because I didn't wuss out on the consequences, it still makes me cry now - for all the minor technical flaws I see in the writing now - because the story just works best un-gutted. And learning that from this story, I was able to go to difficult places in other stories and make them work better. If I'd not written and gone there with Three Lions the way I did, I'd never have been able to write or show anyone The Girl Who Isn't There, and I do think that was one of my strongest pieces of work - even though it was also one I had massive worries over how it would be perceived due to some of the themes in it.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a fanfic writer?
I think I have good pace, and know how to structure the pace to get the emotions I want out of the reader. I'm good at deriving plot, horror and humour from the characters. I think that I also plot well, and that I can use plot to explore the characters. I think my dialogue has always been pretty good. I can write comedy, action-adventure, gut-wrenching angst, and I've learnt how to write smut - something that really made me nervous when I started writing, as I was convinced I'd never be able to do it. I write what I know or can understand and acknowledge all my characters flaws as well as their virtues.
I started out having to remember and re-learn a lot of the technical factors. I'd done no creative writing at all for over sixteen years when I wrote my first fic. I'd only ever written memo's, e-mails and notes to clients looking to sell things, essays, analysis and commentary for years, and certainly nothing fictional since A Level English. Fic was a whole new skill-set .
Do you feel that your work has improved as time has passed? If so, in what areas do you think you have improved the most?
The technical factors. I look on some of my earlier work and cringe at the punctuation errors and other technical flaws. Hopefully I'm getting better at eradicating them. I'm certainly working at it all the time.
What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of writing fanfic?
Sitting down and getting the story from head to keyboard. I don't type that brilliantly and I hate making mistakes. But I do try to learn all the time. Though I praise whoever made Spellcheck on a daily basis, as quite simply, I've always had a massive vocabulary and an inability to retain the right spelling of certain groups of it. But, ::pets:: trusty Word.
What advice would you give to new fic writers?
Go for it. Take chances. Write what interests you, for you, and not just because everyone else is. If writing a character from another country, please, please get someone from that country to Brit/Yank-pick it - which also applies to ME, as the alternative can be truly painful. I know I'm still shuddering over the starkers incident in JR. Also get a really good beta and listen to them.
Do you read other fanfic? If so, what are some of your favorite stories and/or authors?
My fellow London Calling writers, Lori and Magpie naturally, and the fabulous Lovesbitca. But my LJ friends list pretty much sums up who I read. I read a lot. Luckily I also read very, very quickly.
Do you write original fiction? Or fiction in other fandoms? (If so, where can we find it?)
Not yet. But I do have original characters that have been nagging me to write their stories, and I'm going to have to do it to see if I can.