August 18, 2011

Sue's interview with Maggie's Gutter about her fic 'How to Paint a House'

Bella Swan is a naive fifteen year old, set to spend another kiss-less summer alone. Edward is new to town, and doesn't know a soul. Watch an unlikely friendship blossom over the simple task of painting a house. But for these two, nothing is simple.
Twilight - Rated: M - English - Romance/Angst - Chapters: 8 - Words: 38,637 - Reviews: 366 - Updated: 8-16-11 - Published: 6-22-11 - Bella & Edward

15 is a weird age for a girl. We all hit this stage at different times. The one where you are not quite a kid and not quite a grown up (T: *insert cheesy Britney Spears song here*oh SHUSH T I'm being all sentimental here!) Some girls get there earlier than others. And that is pretty much what this story is about. That awkward 'I'm too old to be a kid but too you to be an adult' phase. In a way you still want to be little. Climb trees, play with toys and be silly. On the other hand you do not want people to see you as a kid. 

Enter the cute older guy. I do not know about any of you readers out there but I know I had a cute older guy in my life at that age. He was so cool. He drove a car, he listened to amazing music I was never allowed to listen to at home, he thought I was funny.

Reading this story brought back all of that. Memories I have long buried. Those first stirrings of not being a little kid. I love that this story was rec'd to me (again you can thank Whatsmynnom and Twitter for this one) All I can say to those of you out there that are not fond of angsty stories is this one is wussperv safe SO FAR. I have no idea what the authors plans for this story are but I am willing to go on this ride with her. She has captured this age and this weirdness so well!

Now you all know what to do. Go read the fic and come back and tell me what you think. I REALLY wanna hear from you on this one.

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?
A Taylor Swift song? No, it was more a mixture of things. My own experiences
growing up. A desire to just read a story like it, and being unable to find
one… Having a just massive crush at fifteen is one of those things you never
shake. I STILL think about the boy I crushed on at that age. I just wanted to
explore that, realistically, and with a summer backdrop.

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?
Yeah, I usually write after my coffee in the morning, when I'm rested and my
brain is firing. I can knock it out pretty fast when I'm caffeinated.

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?
Friendships form, friendships end… friendships change. People change… people grow up… people regress. It's not so much about what is actually happening… so far it's been just a bunch of innocuous events…it's more about who it is happening to. Bella. I think there is something in her that almost any woman young or old can relate to. I think the story is worth reading just to get to know this quite charming and lovable version of Ms. Swan. I based a lot of her feelings on things I remember feeling at fifteen… so obviously, she's awesome, lol.

Do you picture particular actors for your characters, or are they someone
else entirely? If so, who?
Yeah, I picture Rob for sure as Edward… especially the Edward in this story.
Edward is this mild mannered giggly sort of sweet boy. I find Rob to be just
adorable and sweet, so he's definitely Edward in this story.

And in other fics I hardly ever picture Kristen. Bella is always sort of a
blur, but never Kristen. In this one, she's Kristen all the way when she was young, like when she did Into the Wild. Tomboyish and gangly, but still just natural and gorgeous... and the last to know.

Is the story all planned out or do you do it as a fly by the seat of your
pants thing?
I usually do a loose outline with dialogue… but find that when I separate it
into a chapter, and start to plug away, I change it. Mostly, I just want to
keep a map on where it is headed emotionally. If they end up running from
wasps instead of rescuing a dog… oh well.

Do you have a Beta and would you like to give him/her a shoutout here?
No, I write alone.
Have you got any other projects going on? Any planned for the future?
Uh, yeah. I wrote a story called The Boy in the Water like two years ago. NO
ONE read it, so it sort of died. I have promised one loyal reader that I'll
finish it someday… so I'm hoping I'll find my mojo with it again, and tie it
up. It's kind of a wild story, with a pretty original concept if I do say so
myself. I think people who like How to Paint a House may like it too. It's
from Bella's POV, and she's absolutely out of her mind trying to accomplish
something… you have to read to find out, I don't want to spoil it. Maybe if
interest picks up, I'll give it another go.

What was it that brought you to Twilight fanfic? What is it that has kept
you here (besides your own writing)
I think I read my first fanfics during the spring and summer before Breaking Dawn came out. I was just pumped and ready, and needed to fill that void. The fanfics I read at first were canon, vamp fics… just extensions on the novels.
Then I read an all human about Edward being an actor and Bella was his assistant or something and I was like, "Wow, the possibilities are sort of endless… you can just insert these two anywhere."

Now I write more than I read, but I'll tear through something now and again. I think my favorite genre are the teen fics. I'm that way in general. I don't think you ever love as hard as you do when you're young. 

Do you have a background in writing? 
If term papers count as writing, then yes. I am a professional student
essentially, who has been working the higher education system now for over
nine years. When I'm not writing fanfic, I'm writing my dissertation.

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?
Well, reactions have been very positive so far. So, so far, so good. I'm a
little wary of people getting too critical over fanfiction. It's a creative
outlet, and I think anyone with the balls should never be criticized. Then at
the same time, I have read some garbage… so yeah. I'm a little like Bella in
this regard… I would just rather not know, lol.
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?
Bwah! They don't even know I've read Twilight. Not that I'm ashamed, because I'm not, it's just not something that really comes up in conversation. Also, how do you tell your mom that you write lemons? You don't… or at least I don't.

It's really something I do just for me. It eases me and lulls me when I'm stressed. I love that there are so many like minded women on the internet who just get it… I don't need my friends and family to, that's quite alright.

Is there a particular character in your story that you identify with
the most? 
I think I've basically inserted my fifteen year old self into Bella… soo… Bella.

Which RL author(s) inspires you?
Stephen King. Is he too commercial? I wish I had some obscure French
existentialist, but alas, I like Stephen King above all others… sue me. 

Did any FF authors inspire you? What was it that had you reading FF and thinking "I could do this"?
Oxymoronic8, I think that's her penname. She wrote an adorable fic called Innocent, Vigilant, Ordinary which I loved… and then she just stopped writing it. I'm guilty of that too, but she had a big following, so it wasn't quite the same. I also lol'd at Jandco, and really liked her sense of humor and her sort of rapid fire delivery.

Those two authors were my early favorites and sort of inspired me to try it
out by myself.

What advice would you give to an aspiring fanfic writer?
Oh, I don't know…just write I guess. Just do it.

Give us a Random Fact about yourself?
I have a five handicap in golf. For a girl, that's pretty good.

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?
My Pop, and I'd just say goodbye. He died rather suddenly, and I was in
college and too busy. I wished I had the chance to just be with him a minute
before he was gone.

What is your FanFic Pet peeve?
I have a lot. I don't really want to offend anybody…so I'll keep my mouth

What is your Fandom Pet peeve?
Robsten vs. Nonsten. Oh good Lord, stop it you weirdo's.


Daniela Vieira said...

Is there any chance you have Maggie's Gutter's email? I'm REALLY worried about her, she just disappeared. Please, help me find her. I can't stand this anymore!

margey said...

there seem to be a lot of desperate readers of HtPaH out there! really, if anyone has heard anything, it would be good to know. this story was incredibly popular.
have to admit i loved it too.

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