November 1, 2010

Sue's interview with DeJeanSmith about her fic 'Evermore Experience'

You guessed it, SUE is recing another historical romance.
This one however has a bit of a twist. It is mystery romance - time travel - supernatural all wrapped into one package.
The best thing about this story I have to say is the character "L". I love her. Really, really love her. From what I have read she is the key to this story. Her personality and heart and turn of phrase will have you just wanting her for your auntie too!

SO WHY does SUE think you should read this fic?
Well for one thing it is one of those relatively unknown little stories. It grabs you, sucks you in, makes you want more. Now if you are not fond of waiting for answers to your mystery then by all means put it on alert and once it is complete give it a read. The great thing is she updates pretty regularly, so even if you wanna read it as a WIP, you will not be waiting months in between updates.

The story follows Bella who gets a chance to go live the Evermore Experience. It is billed as a complete immersion program. Participants are giving a character with a background so they can experience life as it was during this time. And HERE is where the magic happens!

I look forward to the updates from this fic. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. So enough of my rambles, lets see what I learned when I interviewed DeJeanSmith!

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’ve always loved the notion of time travel. From Bellamy’s Looking Backward to the Back to the Future movies, I love it all. Add to the mix the fact that history is a passion of mine and as a kid, I dreamed of waking up in some other time and place, it was a natural progression to imagine an experience where Bella could go back in time and live the life she enjoys in her favorite stories.

One day I was e-mailing back and forth with Georgeygirl (The Weight of Words), and I told her I had this idea for a story.  She urged me to write and gave me her two cents worth on my ideas.  It really was the push I needed to sit down and tell my tale.

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?
Writing really is an escape for me.  Usually, I wait until the girls are in bed, fire up my laptop and sit on the sofa in front of the TV.  Sometimes I write while they are at school, but it’s mostly in the evenings.  I cannot write with music going—I get distracted by the lyrics, but I can tune out the TV just fine—I guess it’s just a quirk of mine.  And, if the words don’t flow, at least I have something to distract me after a full day.

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?
(Why do I feel like I should use the Old Spice deodorant commercial voice here?  Nah….)

Ever loved a book so much you wanted to dive into the pages and immerse yourself in that world?  Me, too. That’s what happens in Evermore Experience--twice.  First, take the characters from the Twilight series and their world of vegetarian vampires.  Bella Swan is a graduate student in love with early-nineteenth century British literature. One day, she receives an invitation to a six week, all expenses paid program where she’ll not only study her favorite time, she will live it.  Next, throw in time travel, a secret double life, and a crazy aunt, and you’ve just scratched the surface of what goes on in this alternate universe.

Do you picture particular actors for your characters, or are they someone else entirely? If so, who?
When I read the original books, I had an image of the characters in my head.  The casting didn’t exactly match what I envisioned, to be honest.  That’s not a complaint, that’s just a statement.  As I write, I picture the same characters I saw in my mind’s eye as I read the stories.

Is the story all planned out or do you do it as a fly by the seat of your
pants thing?
This question made me laugh because before I sat down to write a single word, I created a twenty-plus page outline.  It was rather impressive and extremely detailed.  And as of chapter 11, that outline has remained completely untouched.  Even the prologue was not a part of that original outline.  I may go back to it later but right now I don’t see that happening.

Once I started actually sitting down and writing, Evermore Experience has become more of an organic experience.  I throw lots of ideas onto the keyboard and some get fleshed out and some get edited out.  Fortunately, more get developed than deleted.

Do you have a Beta and would you like to give him/her a shoutout here?
I don’t have a Beta.  Frankly, I’m a bit too type A and would probably drive a Beta nuts.  I may ask for a pre-reader in an upcoming chapter, though.

Have you got any other projects going on? Any planned for the future?
No, no other projects really.  I may do an outtake if requested at a future time, but right now, I’m focusing solely on Evermore Experience.

What was it that brought you to Twilight fanfic?  What is it that has kept you here (besides your own writing)
I discovered Twilight fanfic last Halloween when I was just playing around on Google after the kiddos went to bed.  I immediately fell in love with the alternate realities both human and vampire.  The whole ‘what if’ scenarios kept sucking me in and I discovered A LOT very, very talented writers.

Do you have a background in writing? 
I’ve always loved to write.  I wrote my first book in kindergarten & donated it to my elementary school’s library.  In high school, some friends and I wrote what could be described as rock and roll fan fiction.  It was well over 1,000 handwritten pages and complete and utter fluff.  But a whole lot more fun than biology class!

I have published a non-fiction book and several related articles in peer reviewed journals, but all have a rather limited audience and not as much fun as writing fan fiction.

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’ve always enjoyed writing. In fact, I have three other stories in process (which have gotten pushed back due to the success of EE). But they were all for my own personal enjoyment.  No one, not even my husband, ever saw a word.  It was rather lonely, to be honest.

When I discovered the world of fan fiction, I realized that there were a lot of people out there just like me who had a modicum of creativity and wanted to explore it. I LOVE the online writing experience.  The fact I can use a nom de plume gives me a lot of bravery.  I can just write what I want and throw it out there.  The fact that anyone reads Evermore Experience, much less comments and reviews, has given me more joy than anyone can imagine!

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.  My girls know I write but not what I write.  Other than that, no, my writing is a private thing.  It’s not that I hide it, it just never comes up in conversations.  Which is a bit sad because part of me would love to share the fact others enjoy my writing, but another part is thrilled I don’t have to deal with a holier than thou attitude.

Is there a particular character in your story that you identify with the
Of the canon characters, I identify best with Bella. She’s creative, cultured, and educated and really does not put up with all the decision-making Lord Masen and Edward try to do for her and she is not afraid to call either of them on that, regardless of her feelings for them.

That said, there is a special place in my heart for L.  She’s based on a real person I know both in appearance and in her complete lack of filter.  She’s fun, silly, and has a really good heart.  I could also see her as the kind of person you’d wake up next to in a jail cell saying, ‘man that was a lot of fun!’

Which RL author(s) inspires you?
I’m not sure I really have a RL author that inspires me.  There are a lot of authors I admire—JK Rowling for her creativity and perseverance, Steinbeck for his writing about social wrongs, GB Shaw for his wicked sense of humor, Piers Anthony for the Incarnations of Immortality series, Riordan for his Percy Jackson series that finally got my older daughter hooked on the myths I so dearly loved as a kid.

Did any FF authors inspire you?   What was it that had you reading FF and thinking "I could do this"?
Yes!  Angstgoddess003 & Madcowre were the first two authors I remember reading (Withering the ferns & Kidnapped, respectively).  I think I found Georgeygirl’s The Weight of Words pretty quickly afterward, too.  They hooked me into reading more and more fan fiction.  Some was good, some was terrible, and a few were fantastic.  The entire idea of fan fiction—taking already established characters and creating an alternate universe for them--just seemed so appealing when I saw these authors and others take them and make them flourish.  When the inspiration for EE hit, with a little encouragement, I took the plunge.

What advice would you give to an aspiring fanfic writer?
Never underestimate the power of editing and letting a chapter sit.  You will be amazed at what somehow disappears between your brain and fingers when the creative juices are flowing—I’ve missed entire phrases that I catch when I go back to reread after letting my mind rest a bit.

I also firmly believe spell check is your friend.  Those green squiggles in Word aren’t always right, either, but at least check to see what grammar mistakes Bill Gates and Co. think you’re making.

Give us a Random Fact about yourself?
I wanted to be an Egyptologist as a kid and once conducted an archaeological expedition in the backyard of my childhood home.  I didn’t find the next King Tutankhamun, but I did find some pottery shards, barbed wire fence, and a bullet from the Civil War.  My mom was not amused.

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?
That’s a really, really tough question.  Can I have 7 ½ minutes with two people?  If I can, I pick my dad who passed 10 years ago and catch him up on his grandkids that he never met and tell him about my writing (he would have been most supportive since he is the creative one of my folks) and find out if he’s gotten to talk to any of the great Utopian writers he loved so much or to Agatha Christie and PD James (he loved a good mystery).  And then I’d pick Andrew Jackson.  We’d share an adult beverage, and he could explain to me what he was thinking with the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes and a quick story or two from his Kitchen Cabinet.

What is your FanFic Pet peeve?
I am a language fanatic.  Spelling, grammar, syntax.  All of it.  There is nothing worse to me than to find a promising story only to discover it is written in text-speak or jumps tenses or is poorly thought out.  It makes me want to rewrite it properly.  If you’re going to spend the time putting your ideas out there and expect me to spend the time reading it, at least use spell check and right click on those green squiggles in Word.
What is your Fandom Pet peeve?
I really don’t have one.  Everyone I’ve met online in the Fandom has been very, very nice.  Maybe it’s just who I have been associated with.

Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for this opportunity, and I hope I don’t sound like too much of a dweeb.


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