Why did you start writing fic?
I was trolling for X-Files websites about two years ago and came across a fanfiction site. It was my first exposure to fanfic. I hadn't even known about it before that! I had written one really, really bad story back during the whole "I lost my ova stage"! So I was reading a couple of stories and got hooked. But as I was reading, I kept thinking, "this was great, but it would be better if …" or "I could do this." And the ideas started coming and wouldn't leave me alone. So finally I sat down and burped out all my ideas on paper and then crammed too many of them into one story and "Healing Ophelia" was born. It was full of grammatical and tense problems but I got it posted somewhere anyway, and the rest, as they say, is history. I soon learned of beta readers and such and boned up on my grammar. Things got better after that but not until I'd written a couple of grammatically challenged fics! (Scene of the Crime was my second and Writing Madness was the third.) Once Kimpa agreed to archive my stories, I never looked back.
Where are you from? How has your location affected your writing?
I live in Connecticut on the east coast. I don't know that it's affected my writing much, other than I've set a couple of fics, "J is for Jealousy" and "V is for Vicious" in locations near where I grew up.
What all kinds of genre and pairings are you interested in reading?
I am a "die-hard shipper". For me, that means that I can't stand to see Scully and Mulder with anyone but each other, although I have loosened my grip on that a little in recent months and actually wrote a "threesome" with Skinner which will come out soon. But for the most part, I don't mind seeing anyone on the show with anyone as long as Mulder and Scully end up together. I tried writing a Mulder/Other and Scully/Other, and I couldn't get through it, although I did manage to write a story (via a challenge) where they start out with others but end up together. When I needed a break from the MSR, I wrote a few Skinner/Other stories and that has now become a series. Most recently, I broke out again and wrote a Doggett/Reyes Romance. Depending on the response, I may continue that. So far, the signs point to yes.
After the first two Skinnerfics, I was disappointed in the response. People expected MSR from me and they were reluctant to read the Skinnerfics. As time went by though and they'd read everything else, they would read it and then discover a whole new category of fic that they could enjoy. So that's cool when that happens, … and they tell you about it!
I do not care for slash/other stories, and not because I have a problem with it per se, but because I see the characters as well established, heterosexual characters in love with EACH OTHER. And I don't see them as reckless sexually, neither one prone to fleeting sexuality or one night stands or the same sex. However, I have enjoyed the occasional story of MSR with a third party included as long as the MSR is preserved, which is what I hope I have done in spades in my next story, "Bound in Matrimony". Satina and Shannon write some hot M/S/K and I've read some and enjoyed it. Yes, they think I hate it, but I don't! However, if the MSR isn't preserved … I don't enjoy it as much.
What kind of summary, keywords, pairing, etc. really gets your heart pounding before you even read the first line of the story?
This one is tough to answer. I like jealousy fics where there is a catalyst for one or the other to finally break down and confess their feelings. I like first time stories the most, although I enjoy stories about an established relationship as well. I like to see MSR, NC-17 and RST on the list! I steer away from UST … for me, what's the point? If I want UST, I'll just watch the show! For me, the whole point of "MY" fanfic is to take the characters places they won't be taken on the show. Although I do read some of them if they are recommended to me. Unfortunately, I have a limited amount of time to read and write, so I tend to stick with the fics that float my boat the most. If I had time, I would read everything, but I just don't have that kind of time.
What is your secret strategy for writing good sex scenes?
I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me! (*g*) No, I try to make them as "realistic" as possible for starters. I don't have them do things that Houdini wouldn't be able to accomplish! Everything I write is "doable" if you know what I mean. Second, I try to be sure and describe the "feelings" of the characters, not just the mechanics of the act. Without the feelings, it's just sex and anybody can "insert Tab A in Slot B"! I want the characters to "make love", even if it's rough or out of control, the feelings have to be there. I think that's what pulls the reader in. It's what pulls ME in. An author that can describe the "feelings" gets me hooked.
What causes you the most difficulty while you're writing a story?
Probably humor. I don't do humor so well, I don't think. And so I have a special fondness for authors that can throw humor into serious situations and not ruin the story. When I've tried it, I think I've taken away from the story, because to me it sounds "trite". But authors like Char Chaffin that can do humor have my vote.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about writing their very first fic?
Hmmm…get the idea down on paper first. What do you want to have happen? Do a little outline for yourself. Know what the catalyst for the involvement is going to be. Is it jealousy? Is it a case file that reveals revelations for the character, is it a trauma that goads them to accomplish the "event" of the story. Usually the writer has a "scene" imagined in their head. Write that first. Then decide on a beginning, middle and end. Every good story has a beginning (a build up), a middle (events that make things happen), and an ending (a non ambiguous conclusion). Write "around" your scene or idea. This way, you preserve the "idea" of the fic and what you want to have happen. It also prevents you from forgetting the point of the story in the first place. I guess the best advice is to just write the best you can, however you can and go for it. Then choose a beta reader and ask for "suggestions" .
This is a nitpicky thing to me, maybe because I made such a mess of it when I began, but if I read a story chock full of grammatical mistakes and tense errors, it takes away from the story for me. I don't go nuts over a mistake here and there or a typo. Lord knows, all my fics have typos and such. But if the grammar is "really bad", I usually don't make it through the fic. I think it's important to have a beta reader who has the grammar thing in hand and can correct those things. This way the reader gets a "smooth read" and not a choppy one. It pulls the readers attention away from the content of the story.
One of these days, I plan to go back and rewrite my first few stories and correct all the mistakes. It's frustrating for me since each time I read a story of mine, I always find another mistake! But for the most part, I think my stories became more enjoyable after I got a beta reader. I can see other people's mistakes. They jump off the page at me. But I can read my own stuff 10 times and miss the same mistake, because I'm reading what's in my head.
With the XF running on its last year, how do you think that will affect you fanfic-wise? Do you think you'll still find the interest in it as much as you did when you first started?
Yes. I've had this discussion with readers before. It comes up every time a good author leaves the scene because "they can't stand the show anymore". Early on, I decided not to rely on the show for my story lines. My motivation was not pure at the time! I just felt that so many authors were doing "post-ep" fics that I didn't want to jump on that bandwagon. I wanted to be "different". Therefore, I decided to use these wonderful characters and take them places the show never would. My story lines were not culled from the show, although many references are made to episodes throughout my fic. The "point" of the story rarely has to do with a specific episode. This way, even when the show went downhill, or now as it is ending, I don't feel affected from a "fanfic" point of view. I will continue to write as long as people continue to read. That's the way I feel now anyway. Of course, that could change. I've only written two post ep fics out of the 66 stories that I've written. I think that has saved me from the trap of relying on the show for my story ideas.
I will always have interest. I love the characters and that won't change because the show ends. I will love reading stories about these wonderful characters regardless.
What music, if any, most inspires you to write? What do you like to listen to while writing?
I don't. I'm one of those annoying people who needs quiet to concentrate. I don't need absolute silence, but if music is playing, I start singing the words and then I can't think about what I'm writing. When I write, I usually lock myself in my office, close the door on the TV my husband is watching, and go to town. I tend to get in the "zone" when I write. I tune out everything around me and lose myself in creating the situation. I don't hear the phone ring, I don't hear anything. My mind often works faster than my fingers and I make a bunch of typos and stuff but I can always go back and correct that later. For me, the newcomer or the veteren, it's important to first "get the idea on the paper". You can move it around, change it, add or delete from it later.
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration?
At first, they came from me. I had lots of ideas and I wrote stories about them. The Alphabet Stories were born from my desire to see how many different "first time" scenarios I could create and still be "fresh". Now though, the muse does dry up after so many stories. I rely more and more now on the readers. They give me challenges or tell me what they would like to see in a story and I will often run with the idea and build a story around it. "First Time Jitters" is a perfect example of that. I never would have written that story had a reader not sent me the challenge. It's an idea I never would have come up with on my own. But once presented, it got my gears turning and I wanted to see if I could make that idea plausible and "real" in a story. I think it worked. Everyone seemed to like it and weren't shouting, "Oh, come on!" I have a message board on my site and the people there give me ideas quite often. I don't use all of them, but they often give me directions to take. I get lots of sequel requests, so that's kept me busy when I've run out of other options.
Do you ever get writer's block, and how do you cope with it?
Sometimes. First, I take a break and walk away from the fic, let it sit for a couple of days. If the ideas still don't come, then if I'm hooked on the idea, I will present it to the readers and ask them for their opinion, what they want to see happen. Or sometimes, I'll throw it at my beta reader and ask her for her opinion. Other times, I've ended up abandoning fics because I just couldn't get them to come out. Then I just move on to the next idea.
Why did you originally get involved with the X-files? How did the show catch your attention enough to keep you watching?
I have always been science fiction fan. I read Allan Dean Foster, Greg Bear and Catherine Asaro to just name a few. There is so little sci-fi on TV, and Star Trek doesn't count! It's just too cheesy for me! I like science fiction that borders on reality and gives it that "believability". For me, there have only been two shows in the last decade to accomplish that, The X-Files and Roswell. That's it. I've written three fics for Roswell as well, but abandoned them when I started writing for the X-Files and got caught up in that. I still want to return to it and write more for that. But the inspiration and encouragement has come from the X-Philes, it's a much bigger fandom than Roswell.
I watched the show because the trailers and advertisements were enticing. I watched the pilot and I never looked back. It was so unique and so different from anything else on television that I was instantly hooked. I loved the "believability" of it, the universal themes woven into the fantastic situations. It made it addictive to me. I've seen every single episode. Haven't missed one. If I can't be home, I tape it.
Have you found that your own relationships have altered your writing in any way? Has it helped it to become more detailed and thorough?
Yes. I've been blessed with a wonderful relationship. I have a husband that actually communicates with me! He is sensitive and secure about his masculinity, not feeling the need to "prove" it to anyone, and therefore, can let his hair down and be himself without fear of "looking bad". He really doesn't give a damn what people think of him! It's refreshing. I think our ability to communicate has given me insight into the male psyche and I've used some of his opinions in my fics and made them Mulder's. His take on relationships and priorities is very mature and sound.
We also are both very "Open" about our sexuality. It's not a secret between us. We love each other and love expressing it that way. There are very few inhibitions between us because we share a implicit trust in one another. I think I've been able to transfer those feelings of love and trust to the characters.
How much of a factor does characterization play in your stories? Do you find yourself drifting away from the original characters developed by Chris Carter and developing them into something more your own?
I've done both. I've done stories where I tried to keep the characterization "right on" in line with the show. In others, I've experimented with taking them places so "off the beaten path", that I don't think anyone can predict how they would be in those situations. When that comes up, I try to keep them believable as human beings with normal needs and feelings and manifestations of those feelings. I try to think about how I would react or behave and transfer that to the character.
So I've experimented with both. The stories that keep them in character despite their new adventures seem to capture the readers the most though, so I always try to keep them in character to a degree. Am I successful? I don't know. You'd have to ask the readers. Some will say yes, others will say no. I think it's all a very subjective thing anyway. Some character traits are glaring, but others are not. We all see things differently. I hear people go on and on about Mulder's enormous ego and they translate into "no insecurities". I don't see the character that way. I see much of his ego as false bravado and a defense mechanism. He knows he's "way out there" by normal standards of society and simply accepts that about himself. For the most part he doesn't care what people think of him as long as he can continue his quest.
However when it comes to Scully, I think he very much cares what she thinks and needs her approval and support to maintain his emotional balance and motivation to carry on. The rules he applies to the rest of the world don't apply to Scully in my mind. She grew to be the most important thing in the world to him, even eclipsed his quest in my mind. If he had to choose between his quest and her, I think he'd choose her. I think this was hinted at when he traded his "sister" for Scully in that episode where the clone returns and the bounty hunter snags Scully.
He may be obsessed but he does have priorities and when it comes to keeping Scully in his life, all bets are off. The machismo and ego are out the window. He cares to much. He loves her to much to maintain his outward bravado if he thinks he's going to lose her. I think he has a lot of insecurities. You can have both, an ego and insecurities. I don't think they are mutually exclusive although there are some that think that way. That's there opinion and they are entitled to it. I've been accused of being way out of character because my Mulder didn't have the gigantic ego they see on the show. To me, he wasn't out of character at all. He was dealing with Scully and the potential of losing her and I see his character as losing all ceremony and "all bets are off". He will go to any lengths to keep her with him. That's my opinion.
What else would you like people to know about your stories?
I guess I would like for them to know a couple of things. First, I've tried to do a little something for everyone. Some people like the light fluffy stuff, some people like the hard core smut stuff and I've tried to give them that. I find my writing very cathartic and a release and escape from the mundane troubles of my life. I want them to know that I can't possibly express how much it means to me that they continue to read the stories and send me feedback. It sounds trite, but that feedback truly does keep me motivated to keep writing. If no one read it, or told me they liked it, what would be the point? Yes, I do it for myself, but I also do it because I want to entertain people. I hope that they realize how much that means to me that they express that to me. Other than that, heed the warnings on some of the stories. Everyone knows my stuff is NC-17, so I don't think it's necessary to say that, but some of it is more extreme and if it is, I put those warnings on there for a reason. And I just hope they keep reading. It's given me a chance to express myself creatively in a way I never would have dreamed of doing. So I need to thank the readers. I couldn't … wouldn't do it without them.