October 21, 2010

Guest Blogger Angela's interview with StellaLunaSky about her fic Grand Jete

She moves through her comfortable life without much passion, without much conviction. When she meets the man who can teach her the importance of treating transient life with respect and love, she has to take the grandest leap of faith she's ever faced.

I’m one of those readers who have a million WIP stories on my alert list. It was getting to the point that I couldn’t keep them straight so I made it my mission to only read completed stories until my alert list dwindled a little.  Enter Miss Stellalunasky and that mission was shot. I had already read her Romance/Humor story Bad Fauxmance and it was one of my alert stories that completed, clearing a spot for a new one. She basically replaced herself on my list.

She didn’t do it on purpose of course. She simply asked a question on Twitter to her Nurse/Doctor followers who knew things about hospitals and such. After I commented on it and listened to her reasons behind the question I had to read the story she was getting doing on. 

I was hooked from chapter one. Grand Jete (which I learned is a ballet leap) is the story of a young woman, Bella, who has lost her passion. She teaches dance in her childhood dance studio, goes to college, and moves through life without much thought to why she does what she does. Then she meets Edward, a cute, somewhat reserved man and her world brightens, her passion is rejuvenated.

The relationship starts as a friendship but builds perfectly. There isn’t a boat load of angst or crazy plot twists. You will not find two broken people battling horrible, unspeakable things that life throws at them. There aren’t drugs or violence in this storyline, the things that seem to be filling the Twilight Fandom. It really is a simple story of ‘boy meets girl’ with the added drama that Edward is sick. Their chemistry is raw and passionate and the banter between them is adorable and funny.  I find myself ending a lot of chapters with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.

You really feel a pull towards these characters; their love comes across as real, like you’re watching them live their lives together.  Their fights ring true and the make ups are sweet. I know there are a lot of people that read a story with the full intent of wanting hot lemons and sexy scenes… let me tell you that even the implied sex in this story gives me the warm and fuzzies!  She makes you feel their want and need so much its ridiculous.

Bella is strong and assertive; Edward is cocky but so sweet. Neither of them takes the other for granted and they both call each other out on their shit. In my opinion, this is my favorite Bella/Edward connection.
So far this is my favorite banter between the two because it really does sum up them as a couple:
"I thought you were staring at me because you could tell something was wrong."
She shakes her head, running her nails against his scalp. "I know it sounds corny, but I was staring because you're so handsome. I couldn't look away."
"I don't think I'd believe that if it was anyone else but you."
"Because you're so weird."
She huffs. "See? I try to be nice, and – "
He kisses her, his mouth open and soft. She practically sighs when he draws away. "The first time I saw you, you were in dance clothes, all black. I could see your pointe shoes hanging out of your bag. You kept messing with your hair, taking it down and putting it back up. Your freckles made your face look otherworldly, because they were sticking out against the paleness of your face. I wanted to touch every single one." As he says this, he drags the pads of his fingers, mapping each one against her skin.
"It's a testament," he continues, "to how beautiful I found you that I couldn't stop staring at your freckles, when you have such a nice rack."
"Such a guy," she comments, hardly bothered.
It’s a must read in my book and a beautiful story that I look forward to each Thursday.

20 Questions with StellaLunaSky
I just want to say right off the bat that I LOVED Bad Fauxmance!!! That story is made of win (okay, enough fangirling!!) Now on to Grand Jete…
What was it that gave you the ‘spark’ for Grand Jete? Was it a picture? A moment or event? Can you remember the initial inspiration?
- I wrote a fic about a year ago called The Queen of Hearts. It was a catharsis of sorts, as my father had just passed away from cancer, and the fic dealt with Charlie having cancer. Well, after I finished Bare and Bad Fauxmance, I decided I wanted to write something that showed people can live from cancer, too. There are survivors out there, and their stories deserve to be heard, too. (Even though I'd never consider myself an expert with cancer. I'm trying to shy away from the medical details and focus more on what happens after that).

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 write every Thursday! I've tried to write GJ on other days, maybe to surprise my readers with an early chapter, but it just won't happen. It's like my brain knows it's time to write so it helps my get down to business. I usually listen to music - the same song over and over again. Usually the song I listen to over and over becomes the chapter title.

3. Do you picture particular actors for Bella and Edward, or are they someone else entirely? If so, who?
- My Edward is always some version of Rob. I just imagine a more fragile looking guy: thinner, more sickly towards the beginning. And he has reddish hair, and Rob's is pretty brown. Bella isn't Kristen, even though that's who she is in my banner, just because it's easier for banner makers. I picture a girl with long, shiny dark hair, thin and toned from dancing, with an upturned nose and freckles. That could be anyone you see on the street, and I think that's beauty of fanfiction and Twilight - Bella is, as Kristen Stewart says, a vessel.

4. I love the chemistry between Bella and Edward, it’s very believable and raw. They seem to just click. There isn’t over the top drama or events, just things that real life people have to handle. Do you base this on a relationship you’ve had or one that you hope to have someday?
- I think the most important thing to me is to write believable characters. When I wrote Bad Fauxmance, I had to think like a guy. When I wrote Bare, I had to think like a teenage girl. But for Grand Jete, I'm just writing what I know of human emotion, my own thoughts on love, life, people, relationships, etc. I'm young - only 22 - but I've been in a few relationships, serious ones even, where I really had to think about myself in terms of what I wanted/want out of love. I think that's something that worries me about younger people reading Twilight or Twilight fanfiction - they aspire to have their 'Edward', when in reality, there is no man in the world out there like him. He's entirely fictional. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is yes, I've had relationships somewhat like theirs, but really I'm just picking out the lessons I've learned about fights, making up, disagreements, living together, first times, etc etc, and trying to place them into this story.

5. Is Grand Jete all planned out or do you do it as a fly by the seat of your pants thing?
- For the most part, it's planned out. I have an outline that I kind of stick to, but I'm always getting new ideas. I have the epilogue all written up, so I know what's going to happen to them in the end. I knew I was going to introduce Tyler halfway through, that Alice was going to be a bit nuts, that there's going to be a big dance recital at the end... and I better not say more :)

6. Have you got any other projects going on? Any planned for the future? I know you wrote a Hunger Games O/S called Favor Fire (which is incredible!) Do you plan to do more with it?
- Thanks! :) I may write some more Hunger Games, but as far as Twilight fanfiction goes, once I get my FGB o/s's finished and complete Grand Jete, I'll be all done in Twific world.

7. What was it that brought you to Twilight fanfiction? What is it that has kept you here (besides your own writing)?
- I've been writing since I was about seven years old. My first story was about a girl who got the lead role in a school production of Titanic (I know, right? Leo was smokin' hot), when I was around 10 years old. Ever since then, I've had constant stories running through my head, and I've written most of them. When I was about 16, I hit a dry spell, and I didn't write for almost 3 years. I started writing RPF again (which I didn't think was weird, although I know a lot of people do. My first ever fanfiction was boyband fic, so I was just used to the idea of seeing them as fictional characters), and then that brought me into the Twilight fandom. I started writing Bare years ago as an original story, so I tweaked it a bit, thinking Edward would work well as a moody painter. As far as what's kept me here, it's all about the readers. I'll always be writing, whether it's for an audience or not, but the people who read Twific are so encouraging and talented in their observations, I write fanfiction to interact with them. They're not guinea pigs because I write original stuff for myself, but I truly do write fanfiction to get feedback on things I'm trying as a writer - styles, tones, point of views, etc. The Twific readers are awesome.

8. What was the first fanfiction that you read? What are your current ‘must read’ stories?
The first fanfiction I read was probably a Harry Potter fanfiction - I've been reading FF since I was 14. (Did you guys know that RPF used to be on FF.net?) As far as the Twilight fandom goes, the first fic I ever read was "Die to Self" by JenWordSong. My friend's mom sent me a link to it because it has a 'first time' scene in it (this was pre-BD), and I was so intrigued I kept searching.
My must-read stories list isn't very long because I'm pretty busy with school and everything, but I love "Raw & Rosy" by tuesdaymidnight, "On Grey Mornings" by littlesecret84, and "Dead On My Feet" by Cesca Marie.

9. By nature writers tend to be a notoriously insecure lot so how are you finding the online writing experience? How do you handle negative feedback?
- There's a difference between negative feedback and being just plain rude. I never expect to please everyone reading 100% of the time, so if I get reviews that say, "Bella was such a jerk in this chapter" or anything like that, I just nod along or think about why that person took it that way. It's very helpful to receive reviews in general, because they can shine light on things readers think are important that an author doesn't even think about. I remember phrasing something in one of my chapters of GJ that made it sound like Edward was going to kick the bucket, but I didn't even mean it that way. But the reviewers jumped all over it. It's a great lesson.
I'm not really insecure about posting things online anymore, because I've garnered readers by now who know how I write, what I write, and all of that. I've been in the fanfiction world for over a year, so people have pretty much decided if they like my writing style or hate it, I think. People who like my things keep me on author alert, and those who don't sometimes let me know in a review or just stop reading. But am I insecure about my writing itself? Oh, yes. Very much so. I always have to ask my betas if something is too cheesy, or too over the top, or if it's just plain dumb.

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 significant other knows. It makes it really easy because he knows Thursdays are my writing days, and I don't have to make up excuses about why we can't hang out. He's happy for me and a bit bemused, but he get annoyed at my BlackBerry going off with FF alerts all the time. My family has no idea that I write. Well, they know that I write, but not in a public capacity. My mom hasn't read anything I've written since I was maybe 11.

11. Is there a particular character in Grand Jete that you identify with the most?
 - Bella and I are a lot alike. We deal with fights the same way, we both dance (well, I used to, but I have bad knees and pre-arthritis, which is just so fun), we both come from affluent families, we both started smoking the same way, we both think honesty is more romantic than over the top cheese, all of that. But I've never been in any of her situations, so I guess I'm writing in a way where I'm asking myself what I would do if I was confronted with those things. I hope I'd be as strong as Bella, but I've never had a sick boyfriend, or have been a dance teacher. I'm not a good cook and I'm awful at photography. All of Bella's talents are based on someone else, but Bella's internal ticking’s are often my own. I hope no one looks at it now and sees it as a diary, because like I said, I've never been in any of the difficult situations she's had to face, but I guess Grand Jete is kind of a personal reflection on how I would deal with some of life's difficult situations.

12. Which RL author(s) inspires you?
- JK Rowling. She's so beautiful, modest, graceful and smart.

13. Did any FF authors inspire you? What was it that had you reading FF and thinking “I could do this”? 
-Tropic of Virgo by in.a.blue.bathrobe opened my eyes to what fanfiction could be as far as a creative outlet. It certainly inspired Bare in the way that it showed that there was an audience for more than just cut and dry storytelling. There could be poetry.

14. What advice would you give to an aspiring fanfic writer?
 - Get a beta, and make sure she's not afraid to be honest with you.

15. Give us a Random Fact about yourself?
- I share a middle name (Meredith) with someone in each generation on my dad's side since before the Civil War.

16. If you could have 15 minutes with anyone alive or dead real or fictional who would it be and what would you say to them?
- I would spend 15 minutes with Anne Boleyn, the 2nd wife of Henry VIII. I'm obsessed with the Tudor Era (ask me anything, seriously. I could tell you), specifically the 6 wives of Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn is my favorite wife of his. She's fascinating.

17. What is your FanFic Pet peeve?
- I don't think I have one anymore. I read so little nowadays that I have the updates I always read because I know I'll love them. Everything else I tend to stay away from.

18. What is your Fandom Pet peeve?
- I'm not super involved in the fandom any longer. I just kind of write my updates then go on my merry way until the next Thursday, so I'm pretty oblivious to fandom drama now. It's kind of nice.

19. If you could go back to any of your stories and change something, would you? If so, what would you change?
- I'd plan my first story, Bare, better. I lost track in the middle of it, and you can tell - one of the chapters has a completely different tone than the rest. I just ran out of mojo. Luckily I got back on track, but reading that chapter still makes me cringe.

20. What’s the biggest compliment that you’ve gotten (in a review, tweet, PM, ect…)?
- Recently, people have been telling me that Grand Jete has made them realize the importance of living in the moment. That's huge and it never fails to make me smile. When I was writing BF, I loved people telling me I was insane but they couldn't help laughing. For Bare, it was that I inspired someone to start painting again.

I’d love to thank Miss Stella for answering all my questions… I have not and will not ask Edward’s fate because as much as I love a good Happily Ever After, I think it would ruin Grand Jete if I knew!


Angela said...

Yay!! It looks so good! Thanks so much for letting me do this!!!

mssl.twilight said...

hold on... there may not be a HEA?? nooooo!!!! lol

But I must say, this is definitely one of the stories I wait for every week to update.. I just really love how blunt and honest Edward is. He's just so straight to the point.. No extra unnecessary sparkles or whatever.

So thanks to Stella Luna Sky for bringing this to us.

Susan said...

Great review & interview with the author! Always so interesting to hear about what inspires authors to write and their personal likes. I loved TOV too. This story is like a breath of fresh air. I just want more. :)

Moi said...

Really interesting post and interview! The ballet photos caught my eye and so decided to click on!
Good work! :-)


Ruby said...

Excellent review and interview with one of my all-time favourite Twi fanfic authors. There will be a huge hole in my reading schedule when she stops writing Edward/Bella fics. She is an amazing writer.

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