Tell us something about yourself: Where are you from? Age/Gender? Hobbies? Anything you'd like to share.
I am from the Midwest Ė Illinois, specifically. Even though I live in a rural area, I grew up in a large city in Upstate New York, so I canít really claim to be a hick. Iím a 40ish farmerís wife and the mother of two school children, and I enjoy writing about my family stuff as much as I enjoy writing stories about the Buffyverse. Right now my hobbies are trying to keep up with my family and dinking around on my computer, but I also enjoy counted cross stitch, singing, acting in plays, teaching, and cooking.
Those are things I think Iím good at. The things Iím not so gifted in would include housework and anything that requires a creative eye, such as decorating, photography, flower arranging Ė you name it. Iím hopeless. Writing stories is my only creative outlet.
How did you begin writing in general?
I can remember composing stories and commercials in my head when I was a child. I read a lot of books and would write sequels to them, or make up stories with my friend that we would act out. As I grew older and began to watch television shows that were about more than H.R .Puffinstuf, I began to do the same thing that I had with those books. Once I entered high school and found ďcreative writingĒ I was in heaven, because for the first time I was being graded on original ideas and not just a summation of someone elses work. I loved writing the short stories I submitted for classes and would keep those papers when I discarded everything else.
What inspired you to begin writing fanfic?
Fanfic was something that I always composed in my mind, but never dreamed of putting down on the page. I thought I was a freak because I did this, and never realized that there were others out there who liked to play with these fictional characters. One day, while going online to find out if Buffy dying at the end of Season 5 meant the end of the series, I stumbled across some wonderful stories about Buffy and Spike and Willow and Xander and Giles and Dawn and Riley. It was fascinating. Not only were people doing what Iíd always dreamed of doing, but they were doing it very well!
After that I couldnít get enough and I devoured every Buffy/Spike story I could find. I eventually got to know some of these writers through online correspondence, and after writing a few short, humorous scenes, the encouraged me to do more. So I did.
What do you enjoy about writing fanfic?
I enjoy the whole process of recreating the characters as closely as I can. I love duplicating the speech patterns and getting them to do and say the things that I wanted to see on screen. My favorite things to write are not stories that change what Iíve seen, but rather stories that enhance and enlighten what weíve been given. I like to write what happened between the scenes and to try to get into the characters heads and gaining fresh insight into their actions and attitudes.
I also enjoy writing speculative fics while the show is in hiatus. Of course, Iím always wrong, but itís fun to pretend the characters might do what I envision.
The biggest charge I get out of writing is bringing smiles to the reader. If I can write something that makes another person laugh out loud then Iíve been rewarded.
Why have you chosen to write about Spike? What do you find interesting about his character?
Spike is such an incredible character to write. Heís been everywhere and heís done everything. Heís a rebel and heís hilarious. He always gets the good lines and the insight into the other characters. He can go from being the jokester to being the most tragic character Ė all within a scene. There are endless possibilities with him.
What other characters or relationships do you find most interesting to write?
Anya is fun to write, because she tends to say the things I wouldnít say, but often think. She has no social filters, so it just comes out and is often refreshing and shocking and funny. I also love Andrew because I am Andrew. Iím a geek, but love to hang out with the Ďcool kidsí. He is another character who says what he thinks without any social filters Ė he just thinks more innocent things than Anya does.
Of the work you've written, which piece is your favorite? Why?
My favorite piece is probably the first longer story that I wrote. Itís called ďChoicesĒ and it was the first time where I had an entire plot written in my head. I was obsessed when I wrote it and often got out of bed in the middle of the night because I couldnít sleep when there was a story that had to be told.
Now that Iíve been writing for a few years I can see the imperfections of that story, and have been tempted to re-write or fix it many times, but it still remains the same story that I first envisioned. There was a huge response from my online friends to that story and, even though the fandom at large is not familiar with it, I think Iíll always consider it the best thing Iíve ever done.
Which piece was the most difficult to write? Why?
The piece Iíve had the most difficulty with was my most current work, called ďHeroesĒ. The main reason was that it was done as an assignment for a Ficathon, and Season 7 angst was requested. Almost all of my writing is light and fluffy. I donít have a lot of dark edges, so I had to really work to come up with something that would go to a place I donít like to go, yet still sound genuine and not forced. I wanted to write it from Spikeís perspective, since heís my favorite character, but it just refused to work. Spike may have died in Season 7, but he wasnít the angsty figure. Buffy was. I changed the perspective to hers and the story fell into place. Iím pretty proud of it.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a fanfic writer?
I think my strength is characterization and dialogue. I get a lot of comments on the humor of my pieces, but the humor is coming from the characters, not from me. If I get them right then the laughs are there. My weaknesses are plotting and productivity. I think Iím the slowest writer who ever lived. If I get two pages done in a day, thatís an accomplishment. This is why I mostly stick to shorter, lighter pieces. I need to work on my attention span!
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?
Yeah, I think Iíve improved. Iíve learned a lot about cutting extraneous words out of my work. I think the stuff I write now sounds more genuine than my earlier stuff. Early on I spent a lot of time winking at my audience with what I thought were clever pharases and references. Now I read that stuff and it annoys me. Iím learning to just write the story.
What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of writing fanfic?
Coming up with fresh ideas. There are a lot of good writers out there who can write romance/sex/action/plot better than I can. I try to fit my writing around the grooves of that. Maybe thatís why Iím so slow!
What advice would you give to new fic writers?
Just start writing. Donít overthink it, just do it. Find your voice and your characters and write and write Ė then get feedback from writers you admire and trust and listen to what they tell you. Donít change who you are or what you write. Instead, work on fine tuning it.
Do you read other fanfic? If so, what are some of your favorite stories and/or authors?
Yes, I read quite a variety of other fanfic, but not as much as some of the other writers do. Iíve said that Iím a slow writer Ė well, Iím a slow reader too. I like to immerse myself into a story before moving on. Some of my favorite authors are Barb Cummings and Caro (Spikewriter) and Elsa Frohman and Dutchbuffy (whom I have the honor of betaing). I also enjoy Nautibitz and am in complete awe of Anna S, who can probably walk on water. I read these people and Iím tempted to stop writing because they do it so well that nobody really needs me. Except, I canít. Iíve gotta write.
Do you write original fiction? Or fiction in other fandoms? (If so, where can we find it?)
I have never written original fiction, thought Iíve made a few half-hearted attempts in the past. Itís something I want to try once I get over my current Buffy fandom craze.
Since Iím not involved in other fandoms, the only link I have is to my website, which is strictly Buffyverse fic: http://www.geocities.com/mommanerd/
And yes, I know itís creatively lame Ė Like I said in the first paragraph, thatís not my strong suit! Anyway, the stories are there and theyíre easy to access, and thatís what counts.