We have brainstormed some and decided on how to set up this Q&A thingy in the best way possible. What we have settled on is to host one every month. In the beginning of each month, we will replace the old Q&A with a new one. For the month of July we have BellaScotia. Here we have the schedule for the coming months. Check out when your favorite author will be ascending the hot seat!
October 2011- queenofgrey, author of In Bloom, Porcelain Heart, Carpe Noctem & Fiat Lux, and many more
Please send us your questions that you would like to pose to these authors. You can do that in any number of ways. Send us a message of twitter (@mamasutra73 and @IcarusToSun), leave it as a comment here, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. When you email, don’t forget to include in the subject which author you are directing your question(s) to.
So what do you think? Looking forward to hearing from you. Let us know what you think of this format.
Talk to us…
Q&A of the Month: July 2011
Q&A of the Month: July 2011
Just as promised, we bring you with the awesome BellaScotia, author of Secrets and Lies. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Here it goes, this month's Q&A:
Congratulations on Secrets and Lies winning in two categories of the Avant Garde Awards – Best Rosalie and Best Kid! We are so very happy for you.
Thank you very much for agreeing to let us strap you down to our hot seat! Please know that we absolutely LOVE your work and we are ecstatic that you decided to do this Q&A. I know that a lot of your readers would love to know a little bit about the author; about you – the person. So, I hope you won’t mind if we set the tone of our session with you answering some questions about yourself. Of course, we greatly respect your right to privacy, so please only share what you are comfortable with.
What part of the world are you from?
What’s your first language?
What do you do in real life?
I work for an internet bank. Though I use the term ‘work’ loosely, and I never see any actual money.
Are you a boy or a girl (considering the context, what are the odds of you being a boy, but hey! We hope to be surprised someday!)?
You won’t be surprised today. I’m a girl.
How old are you (I know, I know! But people are curious! You don’t have to be overly specific!)?
I’m older than I act. I should really make more of an effort to grow up.
Describe yourself using no more than 5 words.
Disorganized. Forgetful. Passionate. Volatile. Needy.
Which word(s) did you edit out from your answer to Q6 to keep to the word limit?
What’s the significance of your pen name? Why did you pick it?
No significance. The Bella part is obvious and I used Scotia because I thought it sounded like it would have something to do with Scotland. Geography is not a strong point of mine, so I was a little mortified when I found out Nova Scotia is in Canada… actually is it in Canada? Or is it just near Canada? *blushes* If I’d known I was going to be referred to by that name on twitter I would have thought of something much cooler.
Say something about your family and friends. Do they know how gifted you are with words?
My husband is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing he takes care of everything around the house and even brings me cups of tea. I write a lot, but he never complains, I think that’s because he likes my lemons ha ha. He’s happy if I’m happy. My friends and other family aren’t interested in my writing at all.
Tell us a little about who influenced you the most in trying your hand at writing.
Nobody really. I’ve always been a day dreamer. When I was a kid I was always making up stories. I won a couple of writing competitions but for some reason I didn’t think seriously about writing till a few years ago.
What do you like to do when you are not at work (or writing!)?
I like to socialize. Going for meals, to the pub, to the movies… stuff like that. But, I have two kids so when I’m not writing or working, I’m usually looking after them or cleaning up after them. Oh, and I spend way too much time on the internet.
Tell us about your favorite books, music, movies, celebrities, ….
I hate questions like this. I can never answer them. I’m easily pleased so like lots of stuff. One of my favourite books is East of Eden by John Steinbeck but I’ll read just about anything. Movies: I love cheesy 80’s movies, anything that makes me laugh, time travel movies and Super hero movies. One of my favourites is The Dead Zone (which doesn’t fall into any of the previous categories. Lol). My taste in music is varied, I love bands like Radiohead, Muse and Pink Floyd, I like Sinead O’Connor’s early stuff, I like great song writers like Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson… but tend to like their songs better when other people sing them. Oh, and I like Dolly Parton. There’s too many to mention which is why I struggle to answer this question.
Do you dream of taking your writing beyond the ficdom? i.e. try your hand out professionally? If so, what are your future plans?
Another long story. I wrote a book a few years ago, sent off sample chapters and synopsis to a publisher, they requested the full manuscript which I was delighted about. However, they decided not to publish but gave me some good advice to get an agent etc. Sadly, I didn’t follow it up and didn’t write for another four years. I regret that now. I decided to try my hand at fanfiction and I can now see all my flaws. Lol. I’ve learned a lot though, and my immediate plan is to give up fanfiction, work hard to improve the technical side of my writing and rewrite my novel. Then I’m going to try again to get it published.
Tell us something about yourself that you’d want us to know, that we haven’t asked you yet.
I honestly can’t think of anything.
Let’s talk about your story little, shall we?
What inspired you to write SaL? Please give us the long version of the tale.
I’ve always liked stories where people go back to their past and have to confront their mistakes. It started off as a seed where Bella has to come back to Forks. That was it… then I had to come up with something that would bring her back (Charlie’s illness) and then I had to come up with a mistake (her affair with Edward) then the secrets and lies just started coming to me! Lol. I wrote the first chapter and started posting straight away. I didn’t even have a full plot but I knew it would come to me as I wrote. That’s how I’ve always written. I tend to get into the heads of the characters and let them dictate the plot. I can’t write sensational plot lines and then try to fit my characters into them.
Why did you choose the name Jacob as Edward and Bella's son (you must get that a lot!)?
Yeah I do get that a lot. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was really just my way of adding a wee bit of mystery and a twist at the start of the story. Also, I’ve written Jacob in all my stories as a rival to Edward and this time I wanted him to be as far from canon as possible.
The great emotional depth you went to in order to portray Bella's state of mind when she first returned to Forks to look after Charlie is simply incredible. Did you reach within yourself to paint it with such poignant colors? Please give us an in-depth version of the story behind the story.
Oh, I don’t think I could really go into any great depth. I just try to imagine how someone very different from me would cope in situations I’ve never had to cope with. Sorry, that’s really boring but it’s the truth. It’s difficult to reach within yourself to find these emotions, because Bella is not me, so I had to imagine how it would make ME feel to have these things happen but then change it to fit her character.
For the longest time the readers (us included) doubted that there could be any kind of reconciliation between Edward and Bella; they'd hurt each other too much for too long. But voila, you managed to do just that. Was there ever any doubt in your own mind about giving these two a HEA? Or was it always laid out clearly in your head?
Oh it was ALWAYS going to be a HEA. In my head both of them made bad choices for what they thought were the right reasons, but they always loved each other. There is nothing in this story that is black and white, so it was just a matter of making them work towards forgiving each other and themselves.
Tell us a little about the kind of response this story has received from the readers. Would you please share some experiences that left a mark in your mind?
When I posted Charlie’s chapter… you know the one. So many people shared their experiences with me through reviews and PMs. It really humbled me that so many people had been touched by that chapter and especially since they said I had got the tone right. I have no real life experience of this (Thankfully) and so I was worried that I would get it horribly wrong and upset or offend people who had been through it. People were really open about how it affected them when they read it and I cried a lot reading those reviews.
Reading your ANs, we get a sense that you have a very special partnership going with your prereaders and betas during this project. How big a part did they play in inspiring you or to bounce ideas?
None of my other stories have been beta’d and I wrote them at break neck speed. However, I started to see that my punctuation was shocking so I decided to send SaL to PTB. Courtney was the first beta on the first two chapters and by the third she asked if she could be permanent Beta. She kindly did a gchat session with me where she basically asked me tons of questions about the story and it got me thinking about the back story and where I wanted it to go. We chatted for five hours solid, and it blew me away that someone was willing to spend that much time talking about my story with me. That helped me more than anything to get things up and running. Then later I met Mel through the Twilighted thread and she offered to pre read for me. Both of these ladies offer me honest advice when they think that something is not as strong as it could be or maybe doesn’t work. SaL is very much a team effort. I know I do all the writing but these two ladies really do help to keep it flowing when I start to struggle and Courtney works so hard on my shocking punctuation.
There is something to be learned from each review. What did you take away from the good reviews? On the same note, what have you learned from the bad ones?
I’ve been very fortunate with this story to get so many reviews. The main thing I get from reviews is the motivation to keep writing. It’s really great to hear what people like most about the story or what has moved them to leave a review. I haven’t received a lot of negative reviews, however there are a lot of people who reviewed at the start but who flounced mid way. I wouldn’t have minded them telling me why they flounced, but I think a lot of people don’t want to seem like they are bashing writers. I’ve had a couple of people tell me what they don’t like about the story and I respect their opinions, I talked with a couple of them and found it really useful because it helped me to look at the story from a different perspective. I’m not the perfect writer and it’s natural that a lot of people won’t like my story. On the flip side, I got a couple of nasty anonymous reviews. They bothered me at the time, but now I realize that if they don’t have anything constructive to say then I shouldn’t pay attention. There will always be people who just want to rattle your cage.
Please tell us a little bit about your future projects. We hear that you are planning on leaving fandom after SaL is done. Isn’t there any hope of more outtakes/spin-off of SaL? Or another fic featuring Edward and Bella? What else is cooking in that brilliant head of yours?
Ha ha! If you knew me in my day to day life you would NOT call my head brilliant. I’m not planning on writing any more fanfiction. I’m not leaving the fandom with a big song and dance or anything. I just feel that I don’t have anything else to gain from this. Writing fanfiction gave me my passion back for writing. SaL was my attempt at writing a story from start to finish with a rigid posting schedule. I wanted to see if I could write under time pressure and when I didn’t particularly feel like writing without it affecting the quality. I also wanted to get it Beta’d so I could improve my writing. I feel like I’ve achieved both those things and I’ve really enjoyed the experience… especially all the great people I’ve ‘met’ while doing it.
I also don’t think I have much to offer the fandom now. I did have one story idea in mind but then found out that someone else has already written a similar story, so I don’t see the point of rehashing it. (Would you believe that when I started writing SaL I didn’t know there were so many stories out there with a similar premise? If I’d known I wouldn’t have started this story).
My immediate plan is to work on my creative writing skills and then to apply what I’ve learned to my original novel. If I get writer’s block again or lose my focus I might consider doing a fanfiction one shot, but it’s just a possibility at the moment. I have no plans to write any further outtakes for SaL… I don’t think they would generate much interest after the story is completed.
I may take down An Education and fix the punctuation on it. That story still gets TONS of hits and I cringe when I read it and see all the errors.
Carlisle in SaL isn't the most likable chap of the bunch. Esme's recounting of their past regarding his feelings for her sister and the inherent rivalry he had with Edward's father perhaps explains (though doesn’t justify) his hostility towards Edward. Will we see any kind of redemption for Carlisle in SaL before the final curtain falls?
I don’t like to wrap my stories up in neat little bows. That’s all I’m saying.
What would be the one thing that you’d like to say about SaL to all the readers that they don’t know?
At one point I wished that I had swapped Mike and Edward around. I love writing this Mike and I started to wonder what the story would’ve been like if Edward was the friend supporting her while Mike was her ex. It wouldn’t have worked so well though, so it’s probably best that I didn’t go down that route.
What can we do to make you change your mind about leaving the fandom?
Maybe we are asking these questions out of turn, but it would be a shame if we didn’t grill you a little about Twilight!
When and how did you join the world of Twifreaks?
November 2009. I was confined to bed after major surgery. I was flicking through the TV channels and Twilight came on. My 16yr old neighbour had been trying to get me to watch the DVD for months but I didn’t fancy it. Anyway, after watching the film, I had so many questions, so I called her and asked her for all four books. I read them in four days. Oh and my daughter loves to remind me that my first impression of Rob was ‘He has a really flat face, like he’s been hit with a shovel.’ (I’m bracing myself for some abuse now) It wasn’t until I saw him on YouTube videos called ‘Funny Rob Pattinson moments.’ That I really saw his charm and, dare I say it, beauty! Lol. After I read all the books, I felt like I wanted to know more so I did an internet search to see if there were any forums where I could discuss the books. I was delighted when I found that there were fanfiction stories out there. And my obsession was born.
Did you read the books before the movie, or was it the other way around?
Which one is your favorite book and movie of the series, and why?
Eclipse was my favourite book. I loved the tent scene, particularly the part where Edward told Jacob that night wouldn’t even make his top ten nights. However, in the movie they gave Jacob all the best lines and made Edward look like an idiot. I hated that. Favourite film is probably Twilight. It has the most charm. New Moon doesn’t have enough Edward in it and Eclipse Movie, was too far removed from the book in my opinion. I didn’t enjoy Breaking Dawn at all and for a few months I was crazy enough to think I wouldn’t go near the films, however, after seeing the trailer… and some leaked stuff, I’m looking forward to it now.
If your fascination with Twilight predates the movies, what was your reaction to Rob getting cast as Edward? Did you support the petition to replace him? Tell us a little about that.
No, Rob was already Edward before I had even heard of Twilight.
How well do you think the actors cast to play the characters fit their role in the movies?
It’s difficult to say because I saw the first film before I read the books. I don’t like Nikki Reed as Rosalie. I’m not sure why, she just bothers me.
Edward or Jacob? And why?
Hmmm, since they are both controlling and manipulative it’s very difficult to pick. I’d go for Edward based on looks I suppose. Yes I AM that shallow.
Other than Edward and Bella, who is your most favorite character and why?
Oh that’s a difficult one. I kinda like Jasper, his back story is the most interesting, or it could be because I have a wee tingle for Jackson Rathbone (just not when he smiles. He has a weird mouth and looks smug when he smiles.) In the movies I really liked Jessica… mainly because Anna Kendrick was so good and brought some humour to the role.
What do you like most about Edward? And what do you hate about Edward?
I like his devotion to Bella. The way he puts up with all that pain just to be near her. I hate how controlling he can be and manipulative. Like when he tampered with Bella’s truck so she couldn’t go to La Push… That was kinda creepy.
Same question re Bella.
I sort of liked her strength in leaving her home because she knew her mum needed space with her husband. But then she arrived in Forks and ended up in this really intense relationship right away. THEN she befriended Jacob and relied on him too. It was like she was incapable of just being on her own without someone there to shower her with devotion. I also hated how she kept running back and forth between Jacob and Edward in Eclipse… she was completely unfair to both of them because she knew she wanted to be with Edward, but she still liked to keep Jacob in the picture too for purely selfish reasons. Jeez, I’m making it sound like I don’t like these books.
If you were Stephenie Meyers, what would you write differently about the books?
I wouldn’t have written JPov in Breaking Dawn. Edward was the one we most wanted to hear from so I would’ve written that. Though given what happened to her Epov novel, then perhaps I’m being a little harsh. Also I would’ve killed off a couple of main characters in the battle just for added drama. And Bella would’ve been a little bit less perfect.
Where do you stand on a scale between 1 to 10, 1 being you are perfectly content to catch up with Twi-dom once a week or less, and 10 being your Twi-obsession has taken over your life so bad that your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/significant other is threatening you daily with breakup/divorce?
I’d say I’m about a 3 when it comes to Twi-dom… but a TEN when it comes to Rob!
What didn’t we ask you that we should have? Please state both the question(s) and the answer(s).
Q. What has been the best thing about being part of the Twilight fanfiction community?
A. I started writing fanfiction to pass the time when I was recuperating from surgery. At first I was just posting chapters and getting no response. Gradually people started to review and then send me PMs etc. It sort of snowballed and now I’ve met so many people from all over the world. I talk to them on skype, I email them, I talk on twitter and I’ve even met a couple in person. I travelled to London recently to meet Mel my pre reader who is now a good friend and we talk every day. It’s amazing how being a part of this little community has brought so many great people into my life. Sounds a little bit cheesy but that’s just how I feel about it.
Thank you for being so patient with us! You are AWESOME!
Thank you for asking me to do the interview. I really enjoyed it.
So, there you go! Hope you found it as exciting as we did. Let us know what you think.
Also, don't forget, TwilightMomofTwo will be coming soon to talk about Resurrection. Please keep in touch so you don't miss it.