October 12, 2010

Swimom7's Interview with HappyInLove about her fic 'There Fell A Stillness'

There Fell A Stillness by HappyInLove

Summary: A man who doesn't believe in faith. A woman who may be losing hers. Two lost souls collide in the stillness between hope lost and found. "I think you need this more than I do. Everyone needs a little something to believe in sometimes."
Twilight - Rated: M - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 12 - Words: 61,422 - Reviews: 231 - Updated: 10-3-10 - Published: 9-14-10 - Bella & Edward

When I first started reading fan fiction, I would scan the FF Fridays recommendations on HisGoldenEyes.com, desperate for something new to read. There was a story rec’ed that didn’t have many reviews and so I decided to give it a try. This is how I met HappyInLove. I would review and she would write back, intrigued by my pen name as we discovered a love of swimming in common and we talked back and forth about everything and nothing. I call her ‘my girl.’

One day I had an email that HappyInLove had written a new story. Intrigued, I let the chapters build up and finally began reading knowing I couldn’t handle the wait any longer.

I was right.

There Fell a Stillness tells the story of a broken and humbled Edward. Orphaned by the very accident that also took the use of his legs, he is confined to a wheelchair, bitter and locked within his Mensa-mind. Younger brother to Emmett who inherited the family company after the loss of their parents, older brother to Alice who was shipped to Europe before she was old enough to understand why, responsible for the innovations of their business, Edward gives ‘no fucks’ to anyone and everyone around him.

Bella Swan, artist, student, and friend of Rosalie, Emmett’s fiancee, meets Edward at the rehearsal dinner. Open, guileless and unassuming, Edward’s walls begin to crumble under her soft, Southern manners and unassuming beauty. Bella is able to still the constant numbers and counting and complicated math equations that plague him, trap him as sure as his wheelchair.

Faith is explored as Bella searches for hers and Edward insists he has none, but both seem to meet somewhere in the middle as they discover that faith is more than belief in something. It is also belief in yourself.

HappyInLove has such a beautiful way with words, weaving a tapestry of emotions and thoughts into complicated patterns that pull and tug at you depending on how she wants you to feel. She pursues the art of the metaphor as her personal Holy Grail, utilizing the most disparate of comparisons but somehow still able to evoke emotion and understanding instantly. Her stream-of-consciousness style pulls the reader along by a string and you are only too happy to be along for the ride.


Kit: how are you sweetie?
HappyInLove: Pretty good. Eating some chicken nuggggs, so the day is automatically good.
Kit: I agree - but what kind are they?  Because Chickfila is closed...(It’s Sunday).
HappyInLove: Wendy's. I went to buy leggings for derby practice and stopped in my mad rush home because I hate being late.
Kit: I have a bud light and a football game on and the two youngest kids are asleep, so life is REALLY good.
HappyInLove: Damn, you're living the dream!
Kit: LOL :)
HappyInLove: All you need is some nugggs.
Kit: I know - or...chocolate cake..LOL
HappyInLove: Ohhh yes!
Kit: okay - So I know you have your first derby practice today (so excited for you by the way) and I want you to have SOME Sunday left, so I'm gonna jump right in.
HappyInLove: Thanks! Bring it on
Kit: Firstly, I just read ch. 10 again and it killed me again although I can see some of the changes you made towards the end? Am I right?
(Kit’s note: HappyInLove had chapters 1-10 posted and then pulled them to rework and repost)
HappyInLove: Um...I think so, ha ha. It all blurs together.
Kit: Why did you pull it and start over and where is Maya's story?
HappyInLove: I pulled it because...ha ha, lots of reasons...um, mostly I believe in accidentally putting everything into my writing. Like, I think you'd be surprised about how much you know about me by my stories...but at the same time, it's also people I know, people I love or interact with or dislike...so...I was in a place that was just...not conducive to giving the story the right direction I guess...and Maya's story is going to be completely overhauled and fixed, added to, and edited. I feel like it could be so much more.
Kit: I get that - okay - so we can look forward to Maya’s story again, bigger and better!
HappyInLove: Yeah. Ha ha!
Kit: Okay - first 'official' question

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?
Kit: This question is referring to There Fell a Stillness.
HappyInLove: Um...I think the spark came as I was finishing Cien Anos...I mean, I have no idea what it's like to be paralyzed...or anything like being in a car accident, or being in a war torn country...but I like to believe that as a writer there is this innate ability or desire to explore humanness...is that a word? If not I'm making it one. For There Fell a Stillness I really wanted to explore Faith.
Kit: And I think you do that beautifully, Bella's faith is still a mystery. Catholic or Protestant?
HappyInLove: I'm just a kid, and I don't know what love is, or faith...I have no idea what I believe in....so this is me...stumbling through fear and love and doubt. We have no idea what Bella believes in, and better yet, we know what Edward does.
Kit: I feel like Edward wants to believe but he has lost his faith in everything. When you say 'this is me' do you mean you are doing this semi-autobiographical?
HappyInLove: Oh dear goodness no. Well...okay...I mean that I'm not just one character.  My conflicting beliefs, ideas, doubts, cynicism, hope are all thrown in each character.
Kit: Right - this is you exploring your inner self.
HappyInLove: Yes! Exactly. Maybe not just me...but sort of tiny doubts that everyone has had, or will have or does have...I sorta have to believe that I'm not the only one so completely confused by faith and love and your own past...if not I feel like a lame-o.
Kit: No - I think that is a universal feeling. If that is the pre-requisite - I fall in that too...and you know, I could be your mom! LOL! You're good to even explore it at all because I'm not sure a lot of people would.
HappyInLove: Ha ha that's true, my email contact name for you is Mom. I get so excited when mom mothers me.
Kit: I'm gonna cry aww...sniff, that makes me happy.
HappyInLove: Ha ha no cries!
Kit: So why the wheelchair?
HappyInLove: Um...I'm honestly not sure, I'm intrigued I guess, and I think it's a real test of faith.
Kit: I love it though. It humbles him and he hates it.
HappyInLove: Maybe it's the easy way out, but it was basically a cheat for me to have a character who pretty much was 'allowed' to lack faith...if that's appropriate....
Kit: Right - someone who has lost everything and has to figure out that what he gains in the process is so much more...that maybe he would have never seen the good had he not been knocked down off the pedestal he was on.
HappyInLove: Exactly! And it was a situation that was easy to portray with little description...you know?
Kit: Yes - and the wheelchair is it's own character, a symbol almost.
HappyInLove: Pretty much. I like to forget it's there though.
Kit: I forget too, but it IS there - present - not necessarily present in the words, but always in the situation.

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?
HappyInLove: Ha ha ha gosh, I literally laughed at the idea of me having a process...as I'm sure everyone knows deadlines don't really work...
Kit: LOL
HappyInLove: But I guess when I'm starting a new chapter...I usually can't start until I have one line...Like one line that I love. Like...Ok, one of the chapters it was "she had eyes that tasted like winning and felt like defeat" and then I flipped it. I basically try to write TO that line...if that makes sense. I know what I want to happen, and I let the story get there...so it's not much of a process, more like a shitshow.
Kit: LOL
HappyInLove: But I listen to music about 97% of my day...so that influences me and my mood.
Kit: but you don't necessarily listen WHILE you're writing...?
HappyInLove: If I'm at work. I can't listen sometimes, but most of the time I do.
Kit: Your 'process' (because it is a process - what you described) - is like a 'prompt' thing, you come up with that one line and base the chapter around it?
HappyInLove: Yeah! Like a prompt that I have to wait for my brain to create.
Kit: Yes - I love that, because you have SO MANY beautiful and funny lines.
HappyInLove: I came up with one the other day while I was driving, and then I just started pouring out the next chapter. It sucks...It's limiting and frustrating. And I struggle with opening chapters a lot. So usually the middle of a chapter eventually becomes the beginning or vice versa.
Kit: So what do you do then?  You're driving - do you pull over? Write it down?
HappyInLove: I have dry erase markers...and my windows get covered...my car windows....my mirrors and bedroom windows...I really do write on everything.
Kit: hmmm - I remember this now... seems there is some of you in our Edward? Writing on windows...does it come off? LOL
HappyInLove: It’s basically my neurotic side, LOL! Yeah it comes off. I put my window down and it erases. I'm classy like that.
 Kit: That is the best thing ever - I love it.
LMAO! Okay - the next question is tough...
HappyInLove: oh gosh...

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?
HappyInLove: Oh fuck...wait...sorry, that's not my answer.
Kit: (and no cheating - saying you would keep quiet cause you don't promote yourself that way) LOL!
HappyInLove: Um....um...have you ever seen the movie Titanic? Because basically I'm writing a story...just like Titanic...without a boat...or an iceberg. And there’s a wheel chair and Jack is an asshole. So basically it's nothing like Titanic, but it's still charming. It's exactly like Titanic, but not at all. But now you're intrigued and want to read it.
Kit: Right - I am! well done!
HappyInLove: Does that count for my pitch?
Kit: LMAO - yes!
HappyInLove: Yessssss!
Kit: Okay, we sort of touched on this before but...
HappyInLove: Ok, what are we touching now?
Kit: To me, your writing seems very organic, but the question is (and I'm really curious)... 

Is the story all planned out or do you do it as a 'fly by the seat of your pants' thing?
HappyInLove: Um, I usually know how I want a story to end. Cien Anos, I knew exactly how I wanted to do the last chapter...and the story was all about eventually getting there...but this one...just the opposite. I know what I want to maybe happen, but I have no idea what I'm doing...so it's like if 'planning' and 'clusterfuck' had a baby...and you get my process
Kit: Sorry - laughing and have to explain that to my husband who is sitting across the room from me.
HappyInLove: Ha ha. Gosh, so your husband is going to be like 'wtf...this girl is a freeko'
Kit: Ha! He's laughing...no - he knows all about our 'other kid' who goes to FSU...
HappyInLove: Ha ha eggggscellent.

Do you picture particular actors for your characters or are they someone else entirely?  If so, who?  (Didn't you tell me one that you have never read the books you just think Rob and Kristen are hot?)
HappyInLove: Ha ha, yeah basically. Um...I don't really picture anyone but more like moments...
Kit: So - not a constant thing like Rob in a wheelchair with skinny legs, more like if they are in a scene together, you can picture it?
HappyInLove: Like when I'm writing, I picture the scene, and the littlest parts of people.
Kit: Right, hazy features?
HappyInLove: It's not really Kristen Stewart's eyes I keep describing, ha ha.
Kit: Yeah - I get that! LOL.
HappyInLove: Yeah, I'd rather the reader pick. My characters are intimate and real people... different situations of people I know. So ya'll wouldn't know them anyway.
Kit: I think that’s okay - when I read it I don't picture her either...I picture someone...softer.
HappyInLove: Ha ha I picture someone way better, not that I hate her... just in my opinion someone I like more.
Kit: Right - exactly, less edgy.
HappyInLove: Um, just someone I know
Kit: That's cool. Sigh - Ya'll - makes me warm inside.
HappyInLove: Ha ha, my accent comes out at the worst times.

Do you have a Beta and would you like to give him/her a shoutout here?
HappyInLove: I don't. I doubt anyone could handle me as a writer. Ha ha.
Kit: I am always amazed at this. But I can see why - it would change it a little, I think, and like I said - I love how organic it is.
HappyInLove: A lot of the conversations, quotes...like Edward giving "no fucks" is actually my roommate. And 'sleeps' and hurts' and other things are things I have said to others. The cynicism is all talks I've had, or variations of things that have happened, so I can't imagine editing it.
Kit: I love that! 'No fucks.' I read someone else's review about this - and she brought this up giving 'no fucks.'
HappyInLove: LOL. Someone else gives no fucks? NICE. I'm starting a movement.
Kit: Yes! I will start saying that now and give you total credit. :)
Kit: So it IS quite personal to you...it IS you and your life, just bits and pieces but out of order and context
HappyInLove: It is very personal. I'm every character, and everyone I talk to daily are characters, or parts of characters, and sometimes I'm Bella and sometimes I'm Edward, and most of the time I'm both.
Kit: I love that, really - cause it makes me feel like I can know you better...
HappyInLove: I'm just narcissistic enough to want to fall in love with myself. ;)
Ha ha, kidding! (I hope I am.)

Have you got any other projects going on? Any planned for the future?
Kit: We talked a little about you redoing Cien Anos and reworking it.
HappyInLove: Goodness no. I have my hands full with this and life and football. But yeah, I’m slowly reworking that. I'm mostly working on RL stuff...LOL, "RL."
Kit: Football. Yesssss, love this time of year. I know you must have gotten tons of squeals about that, reworking Cien Anos.
HappyInLove: By that I mean poetry and short stories to be published here.
Kit: To be published WHERE? On FF? Or at school?
HappyInLove: Sometimes at my school. LOL, nothing legit.
Kit: Okay - so, I SO want a copy or a link or something!
HappyInLove: Oh, goodness no!
Kit: Oh, goodness YES!
HappyInLove: I'd be much too embarrassed
Kit: I want all you have to give ;)
HappyInLove: Ha ha, it's a lot of lines from my stories.
Kit: There are so many...
HappyInLove: I'm working right now on something with my old poetry teacher and I love (if you haven't noticed)...weird metaphors that shouldn't work...but I believe you can make metaphors work if you really try...so we're doing things like 'eyes like a matchstick' and big things with love that shouldn't work. Gosh, that's a horrid explanation.
Kit: See - I think thats a GREAT thing, exploring different ways to make the reader feel. Kit: I just remember in Cien Anos - at the end when Edward called himself a DILF - LAUGH OUT LOUD.
HappyInLove: Haha yeah, I'm also grossly inappropriate, I like ruining romantic moments.
Kit: I was telling another author about you and telling her about your metaphors and how they are NOT similes but that they work so well because you are able to create a 'feeling' more than an actual comparison.
HappyInLove: I LOVE the influence of real life on the 'story book' moments because my family...when someone dies, we make jokes, and we cry and we laugh and say inappropriate things, because that's life, really. Or, I like to make a fool of myself when I like someone, so they know...that I suck a lot, but that I can laugh.
Kit: Yes - that you can put yourself on the right 'plane' of life.
HappyInLove: Yes. 
Kit: An example, “Her eyes were like the sound of the lawnmower on Sunday morning.” I think everyone can relate to that in some way - either the memories that evokes or what it gives you the warmth that you want...and my favorite - “It was like having to choose between brownies or cupcakes...” (referring to her boobs or her ass...). I love that line.
HappyInLove: HAHAHA I actually loved writing about the cupcakes, and still continuing that metaphor. I LOVE continuing the random metaphors, because they stick in your mind, and are fun and funny and silly, but he's being dead serious when he thinks that stuff.
Kit: He totally is and the metaphor makes all the sense in the world. They are brilliant - I tweeted it the other day cause it was so good.
HappyInLove: lolz you tweet quoted me?! I' feel...so HONORED!
Kit: It was brilliant *shrugs shoulders*.

What brought you to twilight fanfic? What is it that has kept you here besides your own writing?
HappyInLove: Um, a friend brought me, and I'm a fan of instant gratification, and also just writing.
Kit: it's a good place to post and get feedback instantly - you're right
HappyInLove: Exactly.

Do you have a background in writing?
HappyInLove: I like to know what works, what could be funny. Maybe if I think it's serious....or vice versa...and then I can take that and put it in my other works. I'm an English major...but I've never been a hardcore writer before. I've only taken one creative writing class, ha ha.
Kit: See...and the rest of us have to work so hard! But now you are working through some stuff with a professor?
HappyInLove: Yeah, my poetry teacher is amazing. He had to switch schools because of budget cuts...tip your teachers, but we email a lot. He taught me about graffiti haikus, and my favorite quote "Never be cliche. Tell me something in a way I've never heard...that'll really fuck someone up."

How about your creative self-confidence? By nature writers ten to be a notoriously insecure lot, so how are you finding the online writing experience?
HappyInLove: Um, creatively I have pseudo-confidence.
Kit: Explain that :)
HappyInLove: Um, I'm incredibly insecure about lines that I really love, but at the same time I'm proud sometimes when I have a metaphor and it actually says what I feel. Like...I have trouble, saying 'I believe [blank]...' but if I can say it, even if it's a horrid line...I love it. But sometimes I believe in what I write...and like it. That's few and farther between because writing is so individual.
Kit: I feel the same way - when you get that little "zing" inside when you know you've nailed it, but then you are afraid no one else will get it.
HappyInLove: Exactly!
Kit: see - *holding your hand* mfeo! :)
HappyInLove: Ha ha!

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 to yourself?
HappyInLove: People know I write. I publish at school under a fake name, um...but this is just mine I guess.
Kit: So no one knows you write 'fan fic'?
HappyInLove: Just the friend that got me involved.

Is there a particular character in your story that you identify with the most? ( I think we've answered this already - sort of.)
 HappyInLove: Oh goodness. Yeah, I'm a lot of every character, but most of my craziness is Edward.
Kit: The writing on the windows...the ‘no fucks?’
HappyInLove: Definitely. I mean, other characters get the personalities sometimes of people I love or know...but Edward pretty much is just me. The counting, the awkward metaphors...the no filter...
Kit: I love that - but I see you a tad more optimistic than him, although I think he WANTS to be optimistic.
HappyInLove: Lolz, you'd be surprised at how un-optimistic I can be...but I hide it better I think.
Kit: I'm so glad you brought up the counting - I would've kicked myself if I’d forgotten!
HappyInLove: Aw, don't kick yourself!
Kit: All that - the numbers and the factors and the math equations: are they real or did you make them up? Like - did you ACTUALLY figure all that out...? Cause I am TOTALLY impressed.
HappyInLove: Um...some of it is real, some of it is shoddy google usage, some is made up. Oh, yeah, and I estimate I think. Like I tried to estimate the ice cubes in Buckingham palace.
Kit: I have been dying to ask you this, it stuns me - some of it...Yes, that was one, and the angle for the rainbow.
HappyInLove: I did the math for the ice cubes and looked up square footage, but It wasn't that hard. The rainbow thing I pulled out of my ass, I have no idea what I said. I just like to be pseudo-smart.
Kit: So tell me, how in the hell do you swim and NOT count the laps? I can't stand it if my numbers end with a 50 - like 2550. I have to swim another 50 to make it an even 2600.
HappyInLove: Swim time is the only time I can sort of not count. I mean I count, but usually to 10 and start over or something. Sometimes I do 6, then start over at one, mostly I just count my sets, so it's a lot of little counts.
Kit: I remember the time you told me you just swam for an hour and DIDN'T count. So swim time is like your Bella - it makes you forget the numbers.
HappyInLove: Yeah, there are a few things. I mean, I'm no where near as bad as my Edward with numbers. Mostly for me it's over thinking metaphors or ideas. So my numbers are just different from his. They might not actually be literal numbers. But swimming, and weirdly enough, writing actually makes me forget. And music does too.
Kit: I think most people can identify with that, and I KNOW most writers can.
HappyInLove: I hope not. It sucks to have a brain that sucks.
Kit: Your brain doesn't suck.

Which Real Life Authors inspire you?
HappyInLove: Real life authors...Kurt Vonnegut, David Sedaris, Jonathan Safran Foer.
Kit: See? Your brain doesn't suck...I know of 2 of them...not the Jonathan guy...LOL.
HappyInLove: He wrote this AMAZING book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close about this boy whose father dies in 9/11, and he finds a key in his closet and tries to solve what it's used for...it has the line "I hope you never love anyone as much as I love you." Blew my socks off....a must read. Life changing.
Kit: Okay - I'm gonna put it on my ‘to read’ list.

Did any FF authors inspire you?  What was it that had you reading FF and thinking, I could do this?
HappyInLove: I honestly don't read FF...gosh, I'm going to be murdered. But I barely have time to write, let alone read. Plus school work on top of that. I've read yours! and I loved it.
Kit: *blush* but honestly - I think a lot of people are like that.

What advice would you give to an aspiring fanfic writer?
HappyInLove: Um...give no fucks, and follow Kurt Vonnegut's 8 rules for being a writer. That's all you need, really. But follow through on your metaphors, and that everything can be an innuendo if you try hard enough

*Kit’s insertion: Here are Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules of Writing Fiction, which can be adapted to non-fiction as well:
1.      Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2.      Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3.      Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4.      Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
5.      Start as close to the end as possible.
6.      Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7.      Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8.      Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Give us a random fact about yourself
HappyInLove: Oh God, um, I have a kitten with extra toes, named Digit. She is sleeping on my lap right now aka on the keyboard, and making it impossible to type.
Kit: That's okay - I have bickering kids, ugh. We all have something...LOL.
HappyInLove: She is the blame for my delay in writing, honestly. She likes to sleep on my lap top.

If you could have 15 minutes with any FF Edward or SM's Edward, 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 here.  Rob, Kellan, Pfach or Jackson.... any actor at all really.
HappyInLove: I get 15 minutes with an Edward?
Kit: Yep! Which one and what would you do?
HappyInLove: God, that's the toughest.
Kit: Yeah...I agree.
HappyInLove: Hmm I'd really like to babysit Ben Affleck’s and Jennifer Garner's daughters...is that too weird? Oh, well.
Kit: No, I love that! That you chose someone random.
HappyInLove: Ha ha ha, that sounds so creepy.
Kit: Violet and ??? Can't remember the other one. Is there another one?
HappyInLove: Seraphina, I think. OH! I'd LOVE to play guitar with Bob Dylan, or just chill with him. Does that count?
Kit: That's cool - yep! I'd love to hang with Alpha Rev. LOL!
HappyInLove: OH! Or make Cakes with Cake Boss!!
Kit: 3 more questions: easy
HappyInLove: okie dokie

What is your FanFic Pet Peeve?
HappyInLove: um...I hope this doesn't make me sound ungrateful, but reviews that say, 'great chapter,' and only that. I don't care how many I get...when I get ones that are just...amazing and thoughtful and critique me, those are amazing, you know? Does that count?
Kit: Yes - it does count. I understand that, totally. You don’t want smoke blown, you want to get better, to know what you did right or wrong.
HappyInLove: Exactly.

What is your Fandom PetPeeve?
HappyInLove: Lolz, the drama. I'm not really involved, but I've heard of it.
Kit: Like with Rob and Kristen?
HappyInLove: I have no idea. Just drama all over the fandom.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Kit: Like - HOW your next chapter is almost done?  *bats eyelashes*.
HappyInLove: Ha ha ummmm....nope, unless you want a picture of my kitten.
Kit: Yes, I do - but that's just for me...:)
HappyInLove: Um, my next chapter is in...my brain? I guess it's coming, soon.
Kit: That's just me being greedy
HappyInLove: Ha ha. Stick around and I promise more inappropriateness and innuendos.
Kit: LOL! Can’t wait for that!
HappyInLove: I feel like that's all I can promise, and in a very untimely manner
Kit: But I will wait forever...sigh.
HappyInLove: Ha ha I promise not to take THAT long.


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