April 11, 2010

RaeCullen's Interview with bsmog about 'The Long Walk Home'

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Summary: Broken by his experiences in the Civil War, Edward marches with Jasper and Emmett to Gettysburg. A stolen night's sleep leads him to the girl he thinks could save him, but the battle rages on, and his duty could destroy them both. AH. Canon pairings.

I’m not usually one for historical fics, but I saw ‘The Long Walk Home’ by bsmog and thought I would give it a read because I was looking for something different. Boy am I glad I did! It’s beautifully written, historically accurate and the characters are so real their emotions are practically tangible. Bsmog does a beautiful job illustrating the war and what it was like for the soldiers and civilians during the 1860’s. At times, it feels like you’re there in the thick of the battle. She provides just enough detail without it feeling like a history lesson.
We’ve been walking forever.

It feels like forever anyway. I can’t remember what it feels like to have one whole day when I’m not walking. Or fighting. We only stop walking to fight. Then we bury our brothers and our cousins and our friends and pick up our wounded and start walking again. Only way a man doesn’t have to keep walking is if he’s hurt bad or dead.

Sometimes I look out at those dead boys all scattered across the fields of Virginia or Maryland and I think I might just like to trade places with them. They just look so peaceful laying there where they fell. Even the mounds of freshly moved soil where makeshift graves mark the final resting place for so many look soft and inviting, though they won’t for long once the scavengers get to them. And their occupants don’t have to walk anymore.

Of course they aren’t peaceful, they’re empty shells that once were men, piled one atop the other in shallow, nameless graves. But I’m empty too, and I still have to keep on walking and fighting.
It begins with Edward, Emmett and Jasper walking along towards another battle. The boys are tired, achy and it seems as though Edward is ready to give up, until they stumble along what looks to be an abandoned barn owned by none other then our three favorite girls: Bella, Rose and Alice. Could Edward now have found a reason to keep on fighting?

By using multiple POV's, Bsmog gives us a well-rounded insight into the events of the story, which captivates us all the more. The girls are strong and independent, something rare during that particular time period. The boys are young, but kind and perfect gentlemen.

So if you’re looking for a well-written fic with excellent characterization, passion, action and a bit of heartache stirred in; I definitely recommend The Long Walk Home.

Here is my interview with the lovely BSMOG!


Where did you get the idea for this story? What was your inspiration?
BSMOG: Honestly? When I finally decided I wanted to write something, I was so terrified about doing it that I didn't want to write anything that resembled anything I'd read or found when I went diving. So I kind of wracked my brain for a while, and I kept coming back to the idea that it'd be interesting to see what it would be like to pick the characters up and transport them to a different time. The Civil War was a pretty easy pick for me, because it's my favorite historical era, and I've been to a lot of battlefields. Pretty much it was combining the fact that I'm kind of a history buff with wanting to do something different.
Rae: Such a great idea! I don’t think a lot of people do historical fics.
B: Thanks! I haven't seen very many, I kind of wish there were more. Or if there are, I wish I knew about more of them!
R: I know that Sue (roselover24) just did an interview with Melolabel on SYTYCW about her period piece fic. My beta writes a period piece with Melolabel too.
B: I saw that, the frontier west one? I marked that to read.
R: Yea and my beta's is another Westward one too
B: Oh nice! What's it called?
R: The Marksmen
B: Awesome. Thanks!

Is there anything you would want readers to know specifically?
B: Hm. I include this in just about every A/N, but mostly that I really do try to sprinkle truth through as much as I can. Most of the anecdotes I include actually happened, especially the battlefield stories.
R: Really? That’s really interesting!
B: Yeah. Like for example, the story that I think Edward mentions in the chapter leading up to the battle about the nurse at Antietam who had a bullet go through her dress sleeve and into the soldier she was tending? That was actually Clara Barton, the founder of the Red Cross.
R: WOW.. that is very cool.. very interesting
B: So pretty much just that. I'd love to take credit, but truthfully most of the auxiliary stuff actually happened. It's more authentic to me that way.
R: I love that you're so knowledgeable about the topic
B: Thanks, I try to be. The research is important to me, I don't want to paint a false picture, you know?
R: It's wonderful that you've done your research. And absolutely, it’s important that you are accurate in a historical piece.
B: It helps that I kind of like doing the research. I love reading about it and especially visiting battlefields. I picked Gettysburg for TLWH honestly because I've been there so many times that it came easily to describe the field and the area around it.

Why should readers read your story?
B: eek. That one's hard. ;)
R: I know, we ask the hard questions around here.. lol.
B: apparently! Hehehe. Seriously, this is hard...I really am trying. lol
R: I know.. it's a tough one.. take your time.. I think one reason people should read it is because you've done your research so thoroughly.
B: I guess I'd say I think one reason is that it's fairly different from a lot of other fics out there. One other reason, and it's surprised me and turned out to be pleasantly effective, is that the characters fit the time period really well without losing recognizable elements of themselves.

So you do anything special while writing a chapter like listen to special music, need total silence, eat a bag of M&M's, drink heavily, whatever…?
B: The music is important. I can't write TLWH to music with any lyrics.
R: What kind of music?
B: Almost always George Winston piano music actually. I have four of his CDs on a playlist that I let run on repeat when I write.
R: Great choice!
B: I wrote the battle scene to the soundtrack from the movie Glory, which is a little cliche I guess, huh? ;)

What do you do after you click the submit button for a chapter?
B: Depends on the chapter. After some of them, I just kind of relax and have a glass of wine, and occasionally actually get to work on the next one. After a few of them though, and I'm sure you can pinpoint exactly which ones I'm talking about, I've been so nervous that I've waited on pins and needles until the first couple of reviews come in.
R: Really? Which ones? I think they are all awesome and you’ve had nothing to be nervous about!
B: So sometimes I obsessively refresh my inbox until they do, or else stalk Twitter until someone reacts. The end of the battle chapter was nerve-wracking! The kiss terrified me because it wasn't in my initial plan for that chapter, and it just kind of...happened. I wasn't sure how it'd be received.
R: Well, I think it was wooonderful! A perfect fit too.

What actor/actress do you picture as YOUR Edward and Bella?

B: I think to be honest, I envision Rob as Edward, but that's because he fits it well in general. Although, there's this incredible pic that Ninapolitan tweeted once of Henry Cavill in a wool coat in black and white. I'm not sure who he'd play, but it just FITS. For Bella? Evangeline Lilly I think, who plays Kate from Lost.
R: I LOVE her.
B: She’s stunning!
R: I know!

Is the story all planned out or do you do it as a fly by the seat of your pants thing?
B: It's a little of both. I know generally where I want it to go, but a lot of what comes out in terms of details comes to me when I write. The biggest surprise was that I never intended to write from all the characters' POVs when I started out.
R: I think it was a wonderful choice to do that. I even mention in my review that I think it add to a wonderful perspective we just wouldn't get otherwise.
B: Thank you! It felt like a risk, but it's been a lot of fun.

Do you have a posting schedule? If so what is it?
B: My schedule is pretty much whenever I can get a chapter out.

Do you believe in HEA?
B: I do, but I think my definition is a little looser than some people might like.
R: Ut-oh. LOL.
B: If there's hope for the characters at the end, or if they have a sense of a future, that's HEA to me.
R: I think that’s a reasonable definition.
B: That's not to say that there's not a definite END, it's just that every loose end might not be wrapped up.

Give me a list of your current projects AND do you have any more fic plans in the future?
B: So the Golden Lemon Awards are going on through February, and I'm on the staff at Twific News. I'm working on a follow-up story to the one-shot I wrote for the For the Love of Jasper contest, which will be Edward/Bella. Eventually it will be a series of vignettes incorporating all the characters in one way or another. I'm thinking maybe four separate chapters/vignettes right now. I've played with the idea of a pseudo-sequel to TLWH to follow the paths of the other characters, but I'm not sure yet if I'm going to go down that route given that it'll be more historical research.
R: Could you just do it as outtakes?
B: Yea, I may do that instead. I have another story idea that's really loose, I'm just not sure yet if there's enough to it for it to be interesting yet.

What brought you to fanfic? To Twilight?
B: My fiance's brother gave him the book for Christmas last year as a joke. I picked it up one day because I was curious, and then I didn't put them down until I finished all four. I think I read them all in about five days. When the movie came out on video, I watched it, and then I think I was poking around on the IMDB boards one day looking for info on New Moon. There was this post titled "Read all the books and I want more, help!" or something like that. Basically about thirty people answered it and recommended Wide Awake.
R: But of course..lol.
B: The rest as they say, is history. ;)

What is your background in writing?
B: I have a journalism degree and a degree in Spanish which pretty much boiled down to four years of writing in two languages. I also work in communications, so I write and edit for a living.

If you could have 15 minutes with any Edward FF or SM's, which one would you choose and would you do? If you do not LIKE any of the Edwards, feel to substitute an actor here Rob, Kellan, PFACH, or any of the other actors.
B: So I'm going to skip over the many, MANY inappropriate responses I have to that question and try to say something decent here.
R: LOL. We like inappropriate over at SYTYCW.
B: If I could have more than 15 minutes, I'd have Tattward do my next tattoo.
But, given the time constraint, I have two. I'd like to hug Stutterward for about that long. Really. In a completely innocent, the-poor-kid-needs-hugs kind of way.
R: YESSS me tooo! Stutterward own my heart.
B: Or, because I love his banter, I'd have a latte with Coffeeward from The Daily Grind. Hopefully I'd be funny enough to get him to write something on a coffee sleeve for me.
But the tattoo would still be number one. ;)

What is your FF pet peeve?
B: love smut as much as the next girl, but when a fic turns into a multi-chap of Penthouse Forum with no plot? Instant flounce. On a more basic level, their/there/they're and your/you're.

What is your Fandom PetPeeve?
B: I respect that people dislike stories. I dislike a lot of them myself. I respect a reader's right to constructively criticize in reviews or PMs. But trashing the author as a person, either in reviews or in communities is really uncalled for. When I see that, it makes me rage.
R: Did you see Sue’s bitching post earlier this week?
B: I did, it made me want to hump her leg. ;)
R: LOL. Me too.
B: Repeatedly trashing the story doesn't really help; mostly it demoralizes the author, and that's counterproductive to what's so great about fanfic. We have an outlet for writing that we wouldn't have otherwise, it'd be a shame to chase someone away.

Which character do you identify with the most?
B: I tend to say Jasper is my voice of reason, and when I say that, I mean not only is he the voice of reason among the group, but he is for me as well. But I also have found myself identifying much more than I ever thought with Emmett. Writing his emotions has been easier than writing any of the others, and getting into his head has really been a breeze. He's such a worrier, and so loyal, but he kind of hides it unless he's forced to show it. And he uses a little humor to diffuse situations, which is something I do a lot.

Any character who would you like to see yourself with? Either as buddies or more?
B: Oh I'd love to hang out with Rosalie. That girl would be fun to have a beer with, as long as she didn't shoot me or beat me over the head. Truthfully I'd love to hang out with all of them. I have a bit of a crush on Emmett, but I'd rather buy him a drink.

Which RL author inspires you?
B: Inspires me? Hm, I'm not sure. But right now there are a couple that are keeping me loving books right now, so I could go with those I suppose. I've started loving Neil Gaiman; the guy has an incredible imagination and his way with words is stunning. The second one is Christopher Moore. He writes all comedy, and I so wish I could write that way. I can write angst and drama all the live-long day, but trying to put funny down in print is really hard for me.

Did any FF authors inspire you?
B: I know I'm biased, but InstantKarmaGirl does. She's so dedicated to her characters and her stories, I really admire her investment in both. And her idea and storyline are very real and believable, which is challenging given the storyline she's covering. Then the second one is feistyybeden, because frankly, she's brilliant. Everything she writes is incredible, and the breadth of what she comes up blows my mind. Sleepers, Awake is without a doubt my favorite fic.

Any recs for us?
Just Wait – InstantKarmaGirl
The Daily Grind – letmesign1901
Tie Me Down to this World – StruckUponAStar
The Price of Balance – averysubtlegift

If you could ask any Twilight Cast member a question, who would you ask and what would your question be?
B: Honestly? I might ask Jackson Rathbone why he tolerated that wig.
B: I know that sound ridiculous, and it partly is, but it was IMPOSSIBLE to take him seriously with that train-wreck on his head!

Anything else you would like to add?
B: Other than a ginormous thank you to you? Not really. ;)
R: You are very welcome!
B: It's a hard balance when what I'm writing is actually a turn-off to some people, just because all they see is the history. But to be honest? The people that do read make it SO worthwhile. I have some of the loveliest reviewers in the fandom. I know everyone says that, but seriously you guys are amazing. The reviews I get from you all are so effing SMART!
R: yea.. I get that…but I think it's so much more then history… I think you do a great job with putting just the right amount of history in it so it fits with where you are taking the story!


There ya have it folks! My interview with the lovely and adorable bsmog! So go check out The Long Walk Home. Trust me. You won’t regret it!

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