January 12, 2011

Sue's Interview with Struckatthesky about 'Through The Oak Door'

One kiss sparks the clues, but what do they all mean? Bella dreams of her future self, knowing the life she lives ends in tragedy. How can she change her story when she already knows the ending? The door is there, but where is the key? AH, ExB, Rated M.
Twilight - Rated: M - English - Drama/Mystery - Chapters: 11 - Words: 50,822 - Reviews: 628 - Updated: 1-2-11 - Published: 12-4-10 - Bella & Edward

This is yet another fic that I got from stalking people on Twitter. I believe it was Emmy that was chatting about this one. Then I saw a BUNCH of others on my feed getting all giddy and I said HEY I need a fic that will make me giddy! So I clicked the link.

And HOLY MOLEY I did not know what I was getting into. 
This fic is part horror, part suspense thriller, part romance, part mystery that has my sitting on the edge of my seat biting my nails desperate for the next update! According to the author it will only be about 17 chapters long and as of the publishing of this post it is on Chapter 13.

I do not know what to say without spoiling the story. However, if you had read rec's from me before based on my word alone, then please go give this one a shot! 

CHILLS I tell you. And not just from the kisses and lemons! 

You know what to do. Read the fic, leave the love and let me know what you think!
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 wrote the first chapter of Through the Oak Door over the summer. It was a random idea and I knew it would be a genre that I don’t normally write. I used to write fan fiction (2008/2009) and after a few things that I would like to forget about happened, I went on a hiatus and became a lurker. I have maintained a friendship with someone over the last two years and I sent her the chapter on a whim. She told me to post, I said I would sleep on it. Well, I slept on it for a couple months and finally, after NaNoWriMo and connecting with a few other authors, I decided to crack down, write an outline, and start posting.
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 sit in front of my laptop, drink too much coffee, and I may or may not smoke a cigarette or two (yes, I’m one of THOSE people). This creates my ‘space’. Then I just write. Most of the time, I don’t even outline (with the exception of Through the Oak Door.) I feel like they hinder me and I am of the belief that everything can be edited after the fact. Through the Oak Door has way too many tiny details linked together that I would have never been able to keep track had I not outlined. I’ve also never written a mystery before, so this is a new avenue I’m walking down.

As for music, I’m kind of funny about it. A lot of times, it distracts me, but other times, it helps create a mood. For Through the Oak Door, Metallica’s Unforgiven II (and I rarely listen to heavy stuff) has the most perfect lyrics ever for this story as a whole.  

As for triggers, they come out of nowhere. I never know when I’m going to get an idea. All I can do is sit down and write it out, even when I don’t want to. That’s the key – keep writing, even when it feels as if each word is like pulling teeth.

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?

Oh dear, I’m not good at summaries…

Through the Oak Door is a love story with a cup of mystery, a tablespoon of humor, a touch of fantasy, a dash of suspense, and a pinch of horror. It’s like a buffet – a flavor for every palate. Who doesn’t like buffets? They’re like the best bang for your buck ever – but this particular buffet is free. Free is good, right? Who doesn’t like free?  And to top it all off, there’s no a-hole taking the last of the fried dumplings before you get to them. *stands in awkward silence for the remaining minute and thirty seconds while perspective reader suddenly develops a craving for fried dumplings*

(I am lame. This cannot be changed and I am comfortable in knowing this about myself.)

Do you picture particular actors for your characters, or are they someone else entirely? If so, who?
not her Edward but he does give good jaw!
I try SO HARD to see Robert Pattinson as Edward. I mean, Rob gives good jaw. He’s beautiful and I want to hug him, I think (but only if he makes the first move – I play hard to get like that). But he’s just not the Edward in my head. He is while I’m watching a Twilight movie, but not when I’m reading or writing fan fiction. I think this roots from the fact that I began reading the books and fan fiction before I was aware of who had been cast. I lived way out in the sticks and only had *gasp* dial-up available (this travesty has since been corrected). Same goes with Bella. I have my own interpretations of all the characters.

Is the story all planned out or do you do it as a fly by the seat of your pants thing? Do you have a Beta and would you like to give him/her a shoutout here?
This story is completely planned out, which is a new concept for me. I’ve never written a story like this before as I tend to write what would fall into the literary fiction genre. I do have to chalk it up to a learning experience, though.

Only in here cause I like him topless
Beta? Not exactly, but I do have an awesome friend who knows all of my plot secrets, pre-reads chapters, and who is my one woman cheerleading squad with pretty much everything I may be working on. She’s my lady and I love her bunches.
Have you got any other projects going on? Any planned for the future?
Not for fan fiction, but I never stop writing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the novel I’ve been working on will go somewhere once it’s finished. Fan fiction is fun for me, like a vacation from writing while still writing, if that makes any sense. I don’t fret over it as much or get as nervous with it as I do my original material. If I do continue to write fan fiction, it will most likely be in the form of one shots and novellas. Never say never, though.
What was it that brought you to Twilight fanfic?  What is it that has kept you here (besides your own writing)?
Like most people, I was completely enraged over Breaking Dawn. I was like, “Are you serious? Really? You did not just do this to me, Stephenie.” But, alas, she did, and no matter how much I want to change Breaking Dawn, it is fruitless to even entertain the idea. I got on Google and started doing random searches and almost instantly, I found Twilighted. I also discovered the idea of AH stories right off the bat. I thought the concept of everyone being human was brilliant with endless possibilities, so I started reading and never looked back.
Why do I stay? I stay because I found people – so many, in fact – who felt the same level of disappointment in Breaking Dawn that I did. I found people who make me laugh and understand my sarcasm. It’s all about the people here. Oh yeah - and the fan fiction. I definitely prefer AH to AU, but I read both. There’s something in this fandom for everyone and it feels good to be a part of it, albeit in a small way.

Do you have a background in writing?  
I had a poem published when I was twelve. I thought it was silly, but my English teacher kept praising it and even bought a pretty little journal that she gifted to me. I still have it to this day, the pages having been filled for years now. I can remember writing a story on construction paper complete with illustrations when I was a kid, going as far as folding the paper in half and stapling the edges so it looked more like a book. I’ve always been a writer, even when I wanted to be everything else but a writer. Now, I’m attending college and working on some credentials so I have something to fall back on if writing doesn’t work out for me.  I’ll probably cry if it doesn’t, but being a professor of English doesn’t sound too shabby either.

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 have my moments of insecurity with writing, but not so much with fan fiction. At the end of the day, I’m just having fun and playing around with ideas because I genuinely enjoy doing it. Fan fiction is a tool for me to test out and delve into areas that I haven’t ever gone with fiction. And it’s so much easier because I don’t have to create the characters. They’re already established. It’s like doing a paint by numbers kit. Someone else has already done some of the work, I just have to add my own touches. I’m just glad people seem to like it. I have some awesome, passionate readers and I love all of them. I’m happy to share the experience.
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? 
I sing like a canary about my fan fiction. I don’t tell strangers or acquaintances about it, but I don’t feel the need to hide it from the people who know me. They know I write like a maniac. A lot of them have read something of mine related to Twilight fan fiction. I’m honest and have no qualms with admitting that I like to write stories using someone else’s characters.
Is there a particular character in your story that you identify with the most? 
Little pieces of me make it into everything that I write. With Through the Oak Door, Bella is kind of similar to me. I have a constant inner monologue the way that she does. She’ll say something sarcastic in her head that doesn’t correlate to what she says aloud. I do this too. And her curiosity is similar to mine as well. If I want to know something, I’ll look for an answer, even if I know I may not like it.

Which RL author(s) inspires you? 
I love Henry Miller. That man – gah! The way he took the simplest, most human things and worded them into something completely profound packed with rhetoric is amazing to me. I also like that he isn’t afraid to write about sex and never felt the need to make it sound flowery and pretty. He had a talent for taking thought provoking philosophy and lacing it with taboos. His prose is smut and grit but it’s also very intelligent. How he balanced this, I have no idea. He wrote bravely and without excuses and I admire that.
more random jaw porn
Did any FF authors inspire you?   What was it that had you reading FF and thinking "I could do this"? 
The first fic I ever read was wtvoc’s ‘Welcome Home’ one shot. I was right on the All Human train from the get go, (even though I started fic writing with an AU). Of course, after discovering her, I discovered Jandco and her story ‘The Teenage Angst Brigade’. That was the first multi chapter fan fiction I started. I love the way they write, especially together.

As for me writing fic – not a very enlightening story, I’m afraid. I was sitting at my desk in front of my computer and an idea for an AU struck me out of nowhere, and I wrote the first chapter of Bound to a Secret in thirty minutes. Writing wasn’t new to me, but writing fan fiction was, but I said, “What the hell” and gave it a go. No one knew who I was and I could always go back to lurking if I tanked. I had nothing to lose. I only posted to Twilighted then and had no idea about the waiting period for validation. I was resigned after a week of not hearing anything, thinking the powers that be over there thought it was utter manure, and brushed it off.

Well fast forward to early December of 2008, I’m cleaning out my Spam box in my email and I saw that Admittedly Obsessed had validated my story. Between me posting, getting validated, and then discovering I had been validated took about 7 weeks all together. I did a congratulatory fist pump, logged into Twilighted, and prayed that I had a review, just one. I had 36 for one chapter and I was ridiculously excited about it. I’m not even kidding. I logged off my dial-up I had at the time and called my mom over that shit. It was like Christmas morning. I also realized I had no chapter two. In fact, I had no idea what the story was going to be about, really.

I started posting on fanfiction(dot)net soon after and everything just kind of took off. That fic ended up becoming a featured story on Twilighted and my second validation beta, Helena_handbasket, started a thread for it on the forums. I was told by a friend I had made that it was featured on a pod cast and I drove to my mother’s house to use her cable internet so I could listen to it. It was so much more than I could have ever hoped for, especially when Bound to a Secret and its sequel are probably some of the most bizarre pieces of fan fiction ever. Bella becoming an immortal human, a curse, time travel… yeah. Like I said, fan fiction is a way for me to play with crazy ideas that I don’t normally write. I’m just glad people liked it, because in all honesty, it kind of makes me cringe when I read over it now and see all the mistakes and clichés (in my defense, they weren’t clichés yet at that point in time – oh how the times change). I’ve definitely grown as a writer and learned a thing or two about pacing by writing fan fiction.
What advice would you give to an aspiring fanfic writer? 
Have fun. Don’t keep yourself from trying something just because you’re afraid of what people may think. Be honest with your readers, they appreciate that. Take the good with the bad and enjoy the ride. After all, it’s only fan fiction.

Give us a Random Fact about yourself?
I’ve been to Forks. It has got to be one of most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I also saw a Native American boy who was extremely tall and well built while eating at the diner, but there were no pale, beautiful, Adonis-like creatures running around. I did see some flannel and jaw scruff, though. Lumberjacks can be hot – who knew? I may have seen the Brawny man as well. It’s different and kind of cool to have real knowledge of the Forks/La Push/Port Angeles areas while writing Twilight fan fiction. In chapter one of Through the Oak Door, I mention La Poel at Lake Crescent. Real place and insanely beautiful. It also has awesome mud. That people fall in. And then they have to get half nekkid in front of the chipmunks while changing clothes so they don’t get that awesome mud in the car. Just saying.
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? 
Jimmy Hoffa. I want to crack that cold case. I want to say something all mafia-like and cool such as, “Did they feed you to the rats? Do you sleep with the fishies?” I also want to carry a briefcase and wear a fedora with a feather from some pretentious, exotic bird fashioned to the brim while I have said conversation.
What is your FanFic Pet peeve?
I don’t’ agree with flames. I would never give them myself and me having received one (someone told me they wished I would die the first go around), I know how horrible they can be. I don’t judge fan fiction very much because I know that a lot of people who write it are doing it for fun and just playing around with their own creativity. I respect that and cannot fault someone for having plot holes or continuity issues, especially when I don’t have to read a story and the fact that no one is getting paid to do this. I’m not expecting stories that are going to win awards and critical acclaim. Most of these people are homemakers, students, lawyers – what have you, and they’re just writing a story for the fun of it. Not everyone wants to be an author some day, and I have a lot of respect for them having the gall to post something in the first place. Yes, there are some stories with content that makes me cringe, but not everyone shares my opinion. I respect that and I don’t read the story. To each their own.
Not only that, I don’t know the personal story of everyone in this fandom. Maybe they need the cathartic experience of writing. I’m a champion for humanity, not a person who kicks someone who may already be down on their luck. I’m not saying everyone has ugly experiences they may be dealing with, but like I said, I don’t know everyone personally. I don’t want to responsible for giving someone a shitty day by doling out negativity over something like fan fiction. Sometimes people just need a voice, even if it is disguised as fiction. And if you enjoy being a jerk and make it a point to act like one, that’s your prerogative. I don’t want to know you and I doubt you want to know me either. Glad we can agree.
What is your Fandom Pet peeve?
I kind of answered this question with the last one, lol. I jumped the gun.
Anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank the academy…

No, really, I love you all and I am very thankful that you read my story and share your thoughts. Everyone has been awesome and you have no idea how good it feels to share this experience with you. And thank you, Sue, for giving me this opportunity :)


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