February 2, 2011

Tanja's Interview with Lillybellis about We Come To Life Beneath The Stars

As Bella Swan starts over with hopes of finding her future, Edward Cullen is hanging on desperately to his past. She's treading water, and he's a corporate golden boy. They share an office, but few words...until one night changes everything.
Twilight - Rated: M - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 13 - Words: 119,551 - Reviews: 2312 - Updated: 12-8-10 - Published: 6-16-10 - Bella & Edward

Everyone probably has people they completely trust with fic recs to the degree that they don't even question what this story is about. They just start reading, knowing that they'll most likely love the story when this person does. This is how I came to find We Come To Life Beneath The Stars.

At a time where I wasn't really reading any new Twifics someone tweeted the link to it and I bookmarked it to read later (read: when I felt like reading fics again) without question. And let me tell you, once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I read all available chapters (13 then) in one day.

The story is about Bella who's basically starting over her life in her mid-twenties. She quits the job she got through some favors her aunt called in
and starts working as Executive Assistant. She also breaks up with her boyfriend of 6 years whom she fell out of love with. Both decisions her mother can't understand.

At the new job she meets Edward Cullen, who is sitting at the desk across from her and seemingly hates her. Soon things between them get interesting.

To learn more about the mystery that is Edward Cullen read the story and the interview with Lillybellis.


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?
WCtLBtS is being written from a prompt that was given to me for the Support Stacie auction by a lovely lady named Emily (bemily). The only request that she had was that she wanted Edward to be a sweet guy, buried under the exterior of an a-hole. Other than that, she let me do what I wanted to with it.  And I’ll tell you, the woman has the patience of a saint, because this story has gone through so many different versions. I actually already had one completed, and then told her that I wanted to change it a bit (which turned out to be a LOT) as I posted it. I’m never happy with anything that I writeI always want to change it—and she’s been great about the whole thing. 

As for what inspired the actual plot of the story outside of the prompt, I can’t really remember. I just asked myself, ‘why would a sweet guy act like a jerk?’, and then once I had the answer to that, I played around with a few different scenarios. My thought process is a messy, dangerous thing. It takes me forever to settle on a plot.

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?
Reading makes me want to write, especially if I’ve read something that I thought was pretty or moving. I would put everything off until the last minute if I could, so most of the time I have to *make* myself write. When that happens, I go back and read a few passages of my favorite books to get me in the mood. 

I have to have white noise while I’m writing. No TV, no music. I just need to be in a quiet room with a fan blowing in the background.  I have a really busy mind, and the static seems to settle it.

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, this is bad.  I usually try to talk people out of reading my stories, LOL.

I try very hard to keep the relationships in this story true-to-life. I wanted people to read it and think, ‘this is the way I am with my brother,’ or ‘this is the kind relationship I have with my mother,’ or ‘this is the way I felt when I was falling in love.’  It’s not all that innovative, and it’s not the best thing you’ll ever read, but I think that the story line involves issues that have touched a lot of people’s lives (especially in times like these), and I think the main characters are people you can get behind despite their flaws.  People you’ll root for to figure things out. 

See?  I told you I’m a horrible saleswoman!

Do you picture particular actors for your characters, or are they someone else entirely? If so, who?
No, not really.  I couldn’t point to a particular person and say, ‘there, that’s my Edward.’ He’s just some mess of copper hair and emerald orbs or pools or whatever who lives inside my head.  Same goes with everyone else.  They’re all sort of faceless, which, for me, comes in pretty handy most of the time.

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, but I do leave myself a little room to play.  I tend to suffer from word vomit when I write, so sometimes chapters get away from me.  The story is longer in length than I’d intended, but the plot is exactly what I’ve planned it to be.

   Do you have a Beta and would you like to give him/her a shoutout here?
WriteOnTime is my beta, and she’s crazy wonderful. I love commas and hate hyphens, and she wades through my crap and makes it right.  She’s very thoughtful as she betas, so she always gives me lots to think about.  She also leaves me cheesy song lyrics in her commentary from time to time.  What more can a girl ask for?

I bounce ideas off of my friend Beth, and she’s never steered me wrong.  She tells me things like, “Yes, Lisa.  Edward would look ridiculous in leather pants,” or “Do you realize that this dialogue makes Bella sound a lot like Joey from Friends?”  Sometimes she’ll attache a YouTube for demonstration.  It’s the best.
Have you got any other projects going on? Any planned for the future?
I’m working on a Fandom Gives Back fic that the purchaser has been patiently waiting for, but I’m not sure if she’ll want me to post it.  If she does, then I will.  That’s the last Twific I’ll be writing.

What was it that brought you to Twilight fanfic?  What is it that has kept you here (besides your own writing)
I actually ventured in to ficdom to find missing moments from the Twilight books.  I decided to write to see if I could actually map out and complete a whole story.  I stay because I like to read, and I love creativity.  It’s fun to find a story you like that updates frequently, especially since we get to read for free!
Do you have a background in writing? No, not at all.  I wrote a collection of horribly emo poetry when I was in high school, and did some work with the yearbook/school newspaper, but that’s about it.

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’m pretty insecure, and I think that most of what I write sucks.  I’m always worried that I’m going to get made fun of when I post, and I’ve found that this fandom is full of very encouraging women.  I send my work to people I trust, and if it’s not good, I know they’ll tell me, so that helps a lot.  It’s also nice having instant feedback.

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 keep it to myself.  I accidentally let it slip to one family member, but I think I’ve successfully thrown her off of my trail!

Is there a particular character in your story that you identify with the most?  
Um...Emmett, probably.  Of all the characters in this story, my thought process and sense of humor is the most similar to his. 

     Which RL author(s) inspires you?
I read a lot, so the list is long.  Two stick out in my mind in particular, because I recently read some of their work that made me laugh and cry, all within the same page.  Jenny Downham wrote a beautifully sad story that I loved called, Before I Die.  The other is Garth Stein, who wrote my absolute favorite book called, The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I mentioned up above that I sometimes read to get into the mood to write.  I read these two books for inspiration quite often.

Did any FF authors inspire you?   What was it that had you reading FF and thinking “I could do this”?
There wasn’t a particular story that made me want to start writing fic.  I just read a lot of it, and wanted to see if maybe I could put a whole arc together, and write it from beginning to end.  As far as FF authors who inspire me, I suppose there are a few.  Gondolier, to mention one, inspires me a lot.  I think the memoir chapters of HL5 are some of the prettiest writing I’ve read in this fandom.

What advice would you give to an aspiring fanfic writer?
Write a little every day, get yourself in the habit.  Even if it’s just a paragraph or two.  And if you have an idea floating around in your head, put it on paper, share it.  See where it can take you. 

Give us a Random Fact about yourself?
I’m scared of all bodies of water that I can get into and not be able to see my feet.  I’m also afraid of the things that inhabit them, like fish and all of the crap that lives on the floor of lakes and oceans.  Disgusting.

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?
Personally, there are probably too many to pick just one.  So, since this interview is about writing, I’ll pick a writer and say J.K. Rowling.  I got so lost in Harry Potter; I would love to sit down with her and be able to pick her brain.  I don’t have 1/100th of the imagination that woman does.  Maybe some of hers could rub off on me!


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