April 10, 2010

Tanja's Interview with Camoozle, Author of "A Constant In The Darkness"

You can also read her story on Livejournal


Hey girls (and boys, if we have any male readers) this is Tanja speaking. It's my turn to guestblog, so here we go:

If you ever had the pleasure of me asking you to rec me a fic, you probably know that my answer to the question "What are you in the mood for?" would be "something angsty".

Yes, I confess, I LOVE angst.

There's nothing better for me than a fic that makes me want to curl up on my couch and cry. Even though I know I will be all emo and messed up for a while afterwards. And I can only agree with Cam in her interview when she says "I really love stories that explore the fucked up nature of human beings." (Yup, I'm sick that way.)

So, when Sue finally convinced me that I really want to guestblog, I instantly knew that I'm gonna talk about an angsty fic. And while there are some great angsty fics out there, I decided that "A Constant In The Darkness" by Camoozle would be the one story I REALLY, REALLY want to talk about.

You wonder why? Well, Cam writes about some really heavy topics that, like she says herself, usually don't get the attention they deserve.

Her summary:
Bella, suffering from an eating disorder, returns to Forks to care for her estranged father. She seeks comfort in Edward, an aspiring chef, who is having difficulty dealing with his own demons. AH, AU, OOC, B/E
Twilight - Rated: M - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 24 - Words: 251,811 - Reviews: 1439 - Updated: 12-23-09 - Published: 6-2-09 - Bella & Edward

My summary:

After her father Charlie, who she hasn't seen or heard from in 7 years, had a massive heart attack, a 17 year old Bella leaves her mother Renee and step-dad Phil in Phoenix and moves back to Forks to take care of him. In Forks High School she meets Alice, Edward's younger sister. Both Edward and Alice are living with their aunt and uncle, Esme and Carlisle, and their son, Emmett, after some serious tragic events 2 years earlier. To better deal with these events, Edward has been taking cooking lessons and wants to train to be a chef. Enter Bella, suffering from eating disorders and abandonment issues.

But enough of my stupid ramblings and on to Cams interview:


Where did you get the idea for this story? What was your inspiration?
I was joking with my husband about the fact that canon Edward technically has an Eating Disorder, which is defined as an abnormal relationship with food. I mean, he starts dating and eventually procreates with his food source. I thought it was funny that their last name is Cullen, because it sounds abnormally close to Culinary. And I wondered if SM did it on purpose, like a subliminal PDA about eating disorders. That was originally the idea that got me thinking about this topic being able to have a place in Twilight Fandom.

Also, my family is pretty skilled in the culinary field. Both my grandpa’s were chefs and one of them owned his own Italian restaurant in which I spent much of my young life. A lot of stuff in the story is based on my own personal experiences.

Is there anything you would want readers to know specifically?
Mainly that these topics are real and usually don’t get the attention they deserve. They are both disorders that are portrayed in the media in an exaggerated and stereotypical way, yet there are many aspects to each of them. They’re not as cut and dry as they are depicted.

Why should readers read your story?
As a release, they find it interesting, they’re bored, they can relate, I don’t know, this is a tough question. The situations are difficult so I keep wanting to answer the question “Why SHOULDN’T they read”..lol..

This story is Angst/Hurt/Comfort, your other story Because You're Mine is Horror/Mystery. What made you choose these genres. Or better, why did you choose Angst for "A Constant In The Darkness"
I’m an angsty, mopey, masochistic bitch. It’s what comes naturally, I guess. I didn’t choose the genres, they chose me?? Lol…Honestly, I really love stories, movies, books…that explore the fucked up nature of human beings. I love psychological thrillers and Because you’re mine was written for the murder mystery contest so I had a few guidelines I had to follow for that, but it was more of an excuse to write something that dealt with a the psyche of a serial killer.

Do you do anything special while writing a chapter? Like listen to special music, a need for total silence, eat a bag of M&Ms, drink heavily, whatever… ?
I laugh at drink heavily  I write best with little distractions, usually at night, engulfed in silence. I get ideas mostly when I’m driving, maybe something in a song with trigger an idea and I have to write it down right away or I’ll forget. Then when it’s quiet, I can take the ideas and turn them into sentences and dialogue. If I’m stuck I will use pen and paper because for some reason thoughts sometimes flow better when I’m actually scribbling them down as opposed to typing.

What do you do after you click the submit button for a chapter?
I fight the urge to vomit...lol Right after, I seriously feel panic and then I take a deep breath and reread once more, just because I’m obsessive. But my beta is very thorough, so now it’s just a compulsion that I indulge in.

Do you have a soundtrack to your stories? Tell me about your love for Joni Mitchell. (Readers of the story will know what I mean)
Obviously, I get inspired by music and the music I choose will put me in a certain mood according to the tone I’m trying to convey. If I’m going to write violence, I like Rage Against the Machine. For sad, self loathing, The Decemberists or Death Cab. Sarcasm or Fuck the world is Third Eye Blind, lovey dovey gooey goodness is Snow Patrol. Other general mood enhancers would be Joni, of course, Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Adele and Robbie Williams

The title is from the song “Case of You”, it’s a song about the many emotions we go through when we choose to love, we consume, we regret, we get knocked flat on our ass but sometimes it’s just worth it. It embodies everything I wanted to convey in this story. I grew up listening to my mom’s Joni LP’s and with so many of my life experiences, I can hear a lyric or a song and just relive the experience. Most of the quotes just pop into my head as I am writing and I will write it, because at that moment, that was exactly what I was trying to say and Joni just always puts it more eloquently. I get so many story ideas from her songs, the imagery she paints, the small details and metaphors she uses just speak to me. She talks about nature, disappointment, consequences, the way our own self destructive patterns fuck everything up and every song is like a snapshot in time, like a portrait of her life at that particular moment. If I could encompass my soul in one person’s life work, I would choose hers. It’s more of a sick infatuation at this point…lol.

Who do you picture as YOUR Edward and Bella?
When I’m writing, I don’t really picture anyone. I see their shapes, their classically canon features, but they’re a bit blurry and nondescript, if that makes sense. Of course, in banners and icons, I have a strict devotion to RPattz and KStew. I just can’t have anyone else be E&B.

Is the story all planned out or do you do it as a fly by the seat of your pants thing?
The story is psychotically obsessively planned. I have an outline that I’ve redone like four times, as new ideas come to me, but the general outline has always remained the same. Sometimes my beautiful beta, n7of9 will suggest things and I’ve actually completely rewritten the ending of a couple chapters based on our discussions, but the general plot points are fixed. Just recently, I finalized the last chapters and I’ve already summarized the ending. There’s no turning back now ;)

Do you have a posting schedule? If so, what is it?
I don’t really have a posting schedule…I should, but some chapters need to be closer together based on the content. I tend to post on average about every ten days.

Do you believe in HEA?
It depends on context and perspective…in life? In fanfic? In general? And what determines what HEA means? I think in fanfic, HEA can exist because it’s fantasy, it’s a story and if the writer wants to have a perfect ending, then that’s their choice. I personally don’t think anything ever works out the way you think it will and it’s never perfect. I tend to like stories that don’t have the anticipated HEA or it is flawed, that there are long lasting consequences from the choices that the characters make. In real life, everything can’t always be made better with “I love you” or “I’m sorry”, shit stays with you, people hold grudges, they dwell. We have to make a decision whether we consume the experience or let the experience consume us. This is my experience and I’m just trying to write this story as realistically as possible.

What are you currently working on/do you have any more fic plans in the future?
I have all kinds of ideas but I’ve made a vow to work on one thing at a time. I really want to write a Bella vamp fic centered around the Volturi. I’ve had ideas for stories based on two other Joni songs “The Gallery” and “The Last Time I Saw Richard” and my beta had a phenomenal idea that has consumed my brain for the last few weeks.

What brought you to fanfic? To Twilight?
I teach fourth grade and I read Twilight because I try to keep up with what is hip amongst the kiddies. And then I frantically drove to Target to purchase the rest of the series and read them over Winter break. I started reading fanfic because my good friend misformarisa recommended Wide Awake. I was floored by the amount of stories out there and read EVERYTHING. My husband works out of town four nights a week and my days are filled with kids and work and responsibilities and I needed something creative in my life. I started writing because I have one of those minds that never shuts up. I would try to fall asleep and my mind just runs with questions and ideas and shit and I found writing helped to calm my busy brain.

What is your background in writing?
I have always loved writing, especially poetry. I have books and books filled with my dark, emo, mopey as all shit poetry.

If you could have 15 minutes with any Edward, fanfic or SMs, which one would you choose and what would you do?
If you do not LIKE any of the Edwards, feel free to substitute an actor/character here.
15 minutes huh? That’s not enough time! This is such a hard question. I love canon Edward. He’s intense and emotional and makes mistakes. I’d probably talk to him about music, world events and things from the past. I actually just thought of like fifty questions I could ask him…yeah, fifteen minutes would not be enough time.

What is your FF pet peeve?
Skeleton stories. I have read so many stories that are just phenomenal ideas with no flesh on them. But then again, I’m a detail junkie and my brain always has questions and wants more. I also can’t read fluff…I just can’t do it. I need angst, I need complexities, I want drama, I want to spend hours thinking about how fucked up the story is.

What is your Fandom pet peeve?
How serious people take this fandom. It’s a hobby, it’s supposed to be fun but readers and writers alike have these complex lists of things they hate, things they absolutely won’t read or write in stories, which is cool as long as it doesn’t become an attack on others personally. If I don’t like something, I don’t read it. It’s not my job to police the world of fanfic and make sure stupid people aren’t writing stupid shit. It’s going to happen, accept it and move on. There’s a hundred stories you could read instead. Likewise, if someone doesn’t like my story, it’s okay. It’s not for everyone and I’m not going to get all whiny if someone thinks it’s too angsty or too detailed or because I describe vomit to a disturbing degree. That is what happens when you put your story on the internet and ask people to review it. If they don’t like it, they might tell you. It won’t change anything that I write, but I accept your right to express your opinion.

Which character do you identify with the most? Any character who would you like to see yourself with? Either as buddies or more?
I totally identify with canon Edward. I’m obsessive, I’m a control freak, I’m drawn to things that are bad for me, I have stalker-like tendencies…lol. But Alice is my favorite Twilight character. I feel like the finer points of her personality are completely disregarded in fanfic. She’s able to continue to look into the future, retain some innocence and hope, even after seeing horrific visions of her family members dead. She empathetic and accepting, and in knowing the possible outcomes of a situation, she sees that there is great power in our choices. She is fallible and flawed and I love that she puts more faith in the choices of those she loves rather than in her intangible gift.

Which RL author inspires you? Did any FF authors inspire you?
I have so many favorite authors…Tolkien’s imagination just astounds me, as well as J.K. Rowling. I love Kate Chopin, Austen, Dickinson, the Bronte sisters, Sylvia Plath, women that wrote about topics that were considered taboo and didn’t give a shit. The poet in me is drawn to Robert Frost and Oscar Wilde, and I look to Henry David Thoreau and Ayn Rand for philosophy. I also have a soft spot for Steinbeck and Dickens and their flawed characterizations.

In fanfic I love Jeesiechreesie, her writing is poetic and I love her use of vocabulary. Masque of Red Death is just so horrifically beautiful and to be able to turn something so graphic into beauty is an awesome talent.

Any recs for us?
It’s really hard for me to write and read at the same time. I can only read fics that are complete, because I want to sit for hours and read the whole thing. I haven’t started anything new lately. Any recs for me???

Hm, depends what you're in the mood for... Have you read Withering the Ferns by AngstGoddess003 or Tropic of Virgo by In.a.blue.bathrobe? Both complete.

If you could ask any Twilight Cast member a Question who would you ask and what would your Question be?
I actually kinda had this chance when I saw the cast at the taping of the Jimmy Kimmel show. We had to write down questions and the staff picked questions to be asked by the audience. My question was dumb and didn’t get picked…I always choke at these opportunities…So, now that I’ve had time think of something I’d probably ask Taylor why he’s such a douche. Seriously, I hate him. I don’t have a reason, I don’t even understand it much myself, I just have this unnatural detest for the kid.

Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for thinking of me for this interview! It warms my heart little lady 

Thank YOU for agreeing to do this interview! I'm still fangirling over it LOL.

Bonus Question:
In your fic your talking about some serious topics. What made you write about eating disorders and Schizophrenia? Any personal experiences with those disorders?
I have heaps of experience with both disorders actually. I had a friend in high school whose father and brother were schizophrenic and many of the descriptions of Edward’s parents are things that happened in real life. I also had a neighbor that suffered from the disease and some of the things described in the story I experienced and observed in my neighbor. It’s a devastating disease, and in writing this story I have discovered that it affects more families than I originally thought.

As far as eating disorders are concerned, I have had eating issues and bulimia since I was fifteen, but I have never been as thin as Bella is described in the story. It wasn’t until I had my daughter that I realized that I didn’t ever want her to see me heaving over the toilet and I found it within myself to curb the compulsion. And that’s exactly what it is, dealing with the compulsion. It never goes away. Bella is more specifically based on the experiences of one of my best friends who suffers from Anorexia. I want to be completely clear that all the situations with eating disorders in the story are either based on my own or my friend’s experiences. I’ve never been diagnosed, I’ve never been to therapy, and much of my knowledge comes from the internet or first hand experience. I think people have this preconceived notion of what an ED is and the truth is that there isn’t one fix all cure because the disease is so multifaceted and each cause for the disorder is different.

For more info about Schizophrenia and Eating Disorders, go visit the links on Cam's FFn profile here.


So, here you go, my very first interview for SYTYCW! I hope you enjoyed her answers as much as I did. And I sincerely hope that, if you aren't reading the story already, this post will want to make you read it. Now I'm off to listen to some Joni Mitchell songs while waiting for an update.

Hope to see you soon!

T x


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