June 1, 2010

Sue's Interview with jennde about 'Finding Home'‏

Finding Home by jennde

AHHH here we are again. As you know, I have mentioned that I like period dramas. I may have also mentioned that my ALL TIME favorite contest EVER, was the Age of Edward contest that happened last year. Out of that contest several full length stories were spawned.

Among them is the fic I am talking to you about today. My favorite time in American history is WW2, especially stories that deal with how Americans handled this war on the homefront.

Looking back on this time from our modern eyes, it was NOT a good time. The propaganda was horribly racist, and things were not very PC.
However, considering the time, it drew the country closer together. It was a time of personal triumph and tragedy all around the world.
As an American woman, I am fascinated with what the women who were left behind did to keep the home fires burning.
Before WW2, the work place was very much a man's world. Women stayed home, men worked .
When the men went to war, factories and businesses needed workers so they went with the only work force that was available - women.

This is not a story of Rosie the Riveter.

This is a story about Edward and Bella, who have known each other since they were young. They both grew up in Hawaii. The story speaks of their friendship that eventually becomes love, and how they deal with war coming in the way of their relationship.

So if you like young love, romance, sweetness, a touch of angst, some mystery, some history, and want to see how these two survive then this is the fic for you! 

Read my interview with jennde after the jump.

1. What was it that gave you the ‘spark’ for your story?   Was it a picture? A moment or event? Can you remember the initial inspiration?I had never written a piece of fiction in my 30+ years when I was encouraged by my friend Tiffany to enter the Age of Edward contest last summer. I honestly had no intention of entering but she somehow convinced me that I could do it. She's very persuasive.

The contest required that the story take place at a specific time in history, and the time period in which it took place had to be very clear in the narrative. In the process of coming up with an idea for the story, I went through a whole mess of time periods but realized that I needed a hook to make sure the reader knew exactly  where we were. So my mind conjured up the two most significant events in American history. 9/11 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. 9/11 was out because the story had to take place in the past, so Pearl Harbor it was. In writing about it, there would be no doubt as to the time and place. Plus, I've always had an interest in American history, and that era in particular.

So I wrote a one shot for the contest called Infamy, which was eventually expanded into Finding Home.
2. Do you have a particular process when it comes to your writing, perhaps a certain mood, environment or music? Do you have any ‘triggers’ to get you in the writing mood?

I do write to music sometimes, but that's about it for process. I do like quiet and tend to do most of my writing at night, but that's more out of necessity than anything else. I work during the day and come home and take care of my family, so nighttime is the only free time I have.

I tend to write scenes as they come to me or as the mood strikes, and then I kind of bind everything together in the editing process. I'm not a linear writer. So each chapter is usually a mess of random scenes until right before I send to beta, when I'm forced to have it make sense and flow properly.
3. Give us an elevator pitch. Say you’re in an elevator with a prospective reader for 2 minutes – what would you tell them about the story? 

At it's heart, Finding Home is about a girl trying to find the place where she belongs at a time when women were defined as wives and mothers. World War II gave women the opportunity to venture out into the workplace and be more independent; opportunities that wouldn't have existed had the war not taken all the men away. I believe in many ways this emancipation of women was start the modern feminist movement.

But it's also a story about love and commitment, about sacrifice and duty to country; it's about friendship and family, and about grief and loss. I don't sugarcoat anything; war is hell, and I try to get that across in the story. As noble as our cause may have been, the men who went to war didn't come home unaffected, and the women they left behind had to adapt in order to survive.
4. Do you picture particular actors for your characters, or are they someone else entirely? If so, who?
Not really. I wish I had something clever to say, but my Edward is very much as he's described in the books (except human, of course) and Bella is a pretty brown haired girl. They don't look like any real life person. I don't follow celebrities so I couldn't even give you an approximation to someone famous. Sorry.

Is it wrong to say that Edward is a stunningly handsome Naval Officer and Bella is a pretty, smart girl-next-door and leave it at that?

5. Is the story all planned out or do you do it as a fly by the seat of your pants thing? 

It's planned out from beginning to end, but I've certainly found myself adding and subtracting elements as the writing process has come along. As an example, I added in a rocking chair that Bella acquired from her neighbor that  came to play a large part in the narrative. It also allowed me to play off the time period, because there was a lot of swapping goods instead of buying new during the war. In many cases, store shelves were empty and there was a huge black market business; I read somewhere that something like 40 percent of all transactions during the war were illegal. Anyway, it allowed me to add that historical element while furthering a story line, but it wasn't in my original outline.

6. Have you got any other projects going on? Any planned for the future? 

I'm not writing anything else at the moment, but I'm keeping busy in the fandom.

I'm not sure how much more I'll write. I have an idea for another story and the outline is about finished, but I won't start it until Finding Home is complete and then that might be it. Writing takes a lot out of me and I tend to obsess about my work to the point of distraction. I know authors who can write, send to beta, edit and then post. I can't do that. I write, send to beta, obsess, edit, obsess, edit and then edit some more until the calendar forces me to post. If I didn't put myself on a deadline, I would probably post once a month. My beta, Lucette21, put me on a schedule and it was probably one of the best things she ever did for me. She knows me well.

Although to be perfectly honest, I'm very firmly entrenched in 1940's America and am very tempted to go back there. I had this idea the other day...never mind.

7. What was it that brought you to Twilight fanfic?  What is it that has kept you here (besides your own writing) 

This probably won't make me any friends, but I really didn't like the books after the first one. At all. My sister left Twilight at my house when she stayed with us during Christmas 2008 and I read it in a few hours. There's something so magical about first love, even when one of the parties is fighting not to murder the other.

But I thought the rest were terrible and contrived. I even returned the last three to the bookstore for a full refund after I finished them. I'm a huge re-reader when I like something, but I knew I would never touch those books again. I know everyone likes to complain about Breaking Dawn, and I agree wholeheartedly, but for me, Eclipse was just as bad, if not worse.

So, I went looking for alternatives. And that's how I found Fanfic.

What keeps me here is the great friends I've made and the quality of the work that is produced. There are some amazing writers out there whose stories keep me on the edge of my seat.

8. Do you have a background in writing?  Has the fanfic experience expanded your creativity? 

I had absolutely zero fiction writing experience prior to last summer when I wrote my first one shot. I think part of the reason I keep writing, even though I sometimes find it frustrating, is the creative outlet it gives me. I have a fine art degree, which I don't use in my chosen career, so writing is the only way I can be creative day in and day out. I'm grateful that I started, it's been a really rewarding experience.
9. How about your creative self-confidence?  By nature writers tend to be a notoriously insecure lot so how are you finding the online writing experience?

I think if my creative confidence could be measured in numbers, it would be somewhere in the -82 range. Which is why I edit obsessively; I always think it can be better. And I constantly marvel that anyone is still reading after 23 chapters and 100,000+ words. Honestly.

However, I do find online writing, where stories are posted chapter by chapter, to be good for my process. I would say that 99 percent of my reviews have been positive, so that is definitely a motivator. Knowing people are interested makes the writing process easier because I know someone, somewhere will enjoy what I spend my time producing. I've been blessed with some outstanding reviewers who have been with me since day one and have stuck with me through all of Bella and Edward's trials and tribulations. They should all get medals. Maybe the Purple Heart.

10. Do you tell your friends and family that you’re an online author with a devoted following, or is this something that you tend to keep for yourself?
My husband knows, simply because he wanted to know what the hell I was doing in front of the computer for all those hours. Honestly, it was either tell him I was writing fan fic or convince him I was having an online affair. It took me a while to decide which would be worse, but eventually told him about my writing. He's surprisingly supportive, though he does get his digs in. But I have plenty to pick on him about so it all evens out in the end.
12.  Is there a particular character in your story that you identify with the most? 

Probably Rosalie. She's tough and blunt and unafraid. She's more like a modern day woman than a 1940s girl and I really enjoy writing her. I had a very tough time writing Bella for most of the story because she was absolutely nothing like me. But it's getting easier now. She's more like me and I understand her a bit better now than I did before. I can't ever fully comprehend what it was like to be a timid war bride, but I can relate to a girl who is trying to make it on her own in the world.

13. Which RL author(s) inspires you?

I don't know if they necessarily inspire me, but my favorite RL authors are Stephen King and Nelson DeMille, though I did kind of want to junk punch him for his last book.

14. Did any FF authors inspire you?   What was it that had you reading FF and thinking “I could do this”?

Hm. I don't know if I'm inspired by any fan fic author, though I think there are some outstanding writers out there. Gondolier, author of Hydraulic Level 5, comes to mind. I'll never be that good, but I can hope to maybe come within a mile of her some day. Sebastien Robichaud blows me away with every new chapter of The University of Edward Masen. I beta that story, so maybe I'm biased, but I find the writing superb and incredibly smart and of a higher caliber than one would normally find in fanfiction. No one makes me laugh like Ninapolitan does. I also enjoy work by Vixen1836, staceygirl aka jack bauer, Babette12, Profmom72 and echoesoftwilight, just to name a few.

I never thought, "I could do this." Hell, I still don't think I can. Why is anyone still reading?

15. I have a hard time winding these things up so let’s have some fun. What would your porn star name be? That’s the name you get when you combine the name of your first pet with the first street you lived on – personally I’m *cough* Fluffy Brockman. 

I grew up in New York City, so my streets were numbers, and my first pet was a dog named Patrick. Can I make one up? How about Chesty St. Clair? Or Buffy von Fuckmepumps?

16. Give us a Random Fact about yourself.

I didn't bother getting a driver's license until I was 24. City kid, remember?

17. If you could have 15 minutes with any Edward, FF or SM's, which one would you choose and what would you do?
(If you do not LIKE any of the Edwards, feel to substitute an actor here. Rob, Kellan, PFach or Jackson)

15 minutes doing what? Talking? Playing Parchesi? Reading aloud from the Bible? I need a bit more information before I can fully answer the question. But my favorite fanfic Edward is from Ninapolitan's The Wingman. I'd do anything with Stutterward for 15 minutes.

18. What is your FanFic Pet peeve?

Unedited work. There's nothing that will put me off a fic faster than obvious, completely avoidable typos. If Edward puts his arms around Bella's waste, I cringe, giggle at the mental image, and then I put the fic down. There's nothing more disappointing than starting up a heavily rec'd story with 856,284 reviews and finding typos in the first chapter.

19. What is your Fandom Pet peeve?

The public and personal attacks on authors. If you don't like it, don't read it. I don't understand the need to tear into someone who is simply trying to entertain, and not hurting anyone. If you don't like the work, that's understandable, tastes vary. But when an author is attacked simply for writing, it truly baffles me.

20. What did you want to be when you grow up?

I'm actually a fairly content person. I would love to get paid to write every day, but that's unlikely, so I don't dwell on it. I have a fantastic job, a wonderful family and great friends, so I really have no complaints. I'd love to own a restaurant some day, but I think the hours would kill me.

21. Anything else you would like to add?

How about a special shout out to all of my readers, reviewers and ladies of the Twilighted thread? They really do inspire me and I feel very lucky that so many people who care about the characters I've created.


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