Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Meet & Greet with Janna Banana

Monday Meet and Greet

Hello, Lambchops!

Guess who I got? Hmmm? Sorry, I couldn't hear you over the cacophony of fan-girl screaming *clears throat to let out quite a few screams myself*

Ahem. Yes, that's right! We have Janna Banana today *squeeeeee!!!*

For those of you who are non-Jasper, Janna is like le queen. I mean, even Kaylene fan-girl screams her name. Janna is the grand dame of bringing over canon chiquitas to what Edward-lovers like to call...le darkside. She is singlehandedly responsible for most canon to non-canon mutinies in fan fiction and she has singlehandedly caused many a former Edward lover to patooey phlegm all over Mr. Masen's sparkly beige socks.

When Darkness Turns to Light is a classic. It is canon in the non-canon world. It is bible. It is holy. We bow down and sigh as it passes us by. And sometimes...just sometimes, you become that lucky, lucky person who gets to introduce it to someone new to fan fiction. My experience has been plentiful in this regard, but just recently it happened over at A Different Forest. Someone started a campfire asking if anyone could recommend a Jasper/Bella fic, as they loved Jasper, but wanted to see a Jasper/Bella pairing. I was like, "WHAAAAATTTT?" I then proceeded to "Pardon me", "Excuse me", and "Get the fuck out of my way" as I felt the need to gently wrap my arm around this reader's shoulders and take her under my wing. My standard answer? Always When Darkness Turns to Light (my first J/B story) and Colliding Meteors (my second J/B story).

I felt contented. I felt like I had provided a service. But more than anything? I felt jealous. Because this individual was about to embark on a very special journey...a journey I will never be able to experience ever again. And no matter how much I would like to perpetually rub up against a new WDTTL or CM reader to absorb their initial reactions, it just won't work (although video footage would be supreme...just to watch that reader's face...and sob a little with nostalgia).

Janna popped my non-canon cherry, and you never forget your first, now do you?

And Janna's been busy. She has sent a WDTTL one shot off to her beta, and she is currently penning the sequel to WDTTL (le sigh), as well as an original story she has in the works (congratulations!).

So, without further ado, let's find out a little bit about my fellow Canadian and one of Fan Fiction's favourite authors.

Tell us about yourself. Married? Single? Kids, age, ..whatever you'd like to share.

I'm 37, I've been married for 13 years to the most amazing guy EVER. We have three beautiful children, two boys (6.5 and 3) and a girl (just turned 1). Before the kids, we travelled a lot but since the arrival of our third, our babysitters have made themselves pretty scarse and trips out of town are now put on hold. I'm hoping that once the baby is around 2ish, we can start again.

I live in Ottawa, Canada. I am now a stay at home mom as I decided to quit my job once the third babe was born. For 12 years I was a legal assistant to an international trade law lawyer who is based out of Kyiv, Ukraine and Beijing. I was responsible for running his entire practice and I loved it but wouldn't trade being at home with the kids for the world. I cannot believe how fast they are growing.

Tell us about Twilight. How did you first get into the Saga, when was the first time you read it, and which book is your favorite?

I was taking a trip with the hubbie and my best friend and her hubs to Las Vegas in September 2007. So, I popped into my local bookstore to grab some books. Twilight happened to be at the end of an aisle in the adult fiction area. I read the back and thought, this sounds great. Had NO idea it was YA.

(Here's a picture from Janna, "in Vegas in the pool at Planet Hollywood. The Eiffel Tower is from the Paris Hotel next door. Anyhow, this is the weekend where I discovered Twilight. Obviously the banana tat is mine. Ah, the things you do when you are 18...)

Once in Vegas (it's a yearly trip for the four of us), I parked my butt at the pool, got my daiquiri and cracked open the book. I DID.NOT.MOVE. other than to turn a page and take a drink. I was sucked into the book from the first sentence. So good! I loved it! Though, I kept turning the page waiting for the sex since - I thought, it was in the adult section, WHERE IS THE SMUT??? But alas, no sex. Bummer. That did not deter me from scouring Vegas for a bookstore to pick up New Moon, which - shockingly - are few and far between in Vegas. What? People don't go to read? So, I picked up New Moon and just repeated day one at the pool. Book, booze and sun. Grabbed Eclipse on day three at the airport on the way home and the series was all said and done by the time I got home and I was hooked! My life has not been the same. (I say the series was all said and done because I would just like to forget that Breaking Dawn ever happened.)

The order of my preference is Eclipse (when Jacob takes those few steps to kiss Bella? WOW), New Moon and then Twilight. I do love Jacob. I think his heart is totally in the right place and he always gets a bum rap in fan fics, which I dislike. It's okay to like both Edward and Jacob because I could totally see how she was torn between the two. I just don't understand why she didn't see the hotness that was Jasper!!

What got you to start reading Twilight fan fiction? Do you remember the first fic you read?

Absolutely. I was browsing Stephenie Meyer's website and saw links that she recommended. There was the link to the fanfic, The Lion and The Lamb by Alphie (Edward's POV of Twilight). I was hooked. I then discovered the rating system and quickly changed my preferences to M and HELLO, there's the smut I've been long searching for! At that point, I had no idea smut was called "lemons". And it took me the longest time to correlate the two! Really, why is it called a lemon?

A note to Janna: According to Wikipedia, "Explicit sex stories in general, especially in anime fan fiction, are known as lemon, lemony-goodness, and lemonade, a term which comes from a Japanese slang term meaning "sexy" that itself derives from an early pornographic cartoon series called Cream Lemon... The term lime denotes a story that has sexual themes but is not necessarily explicit. "Lemon" stories without much plot other than sex are also referred to as smutfics or as PWPs ("Porn Without Plot" or "Plot? What Plot?"). Similarly, many authors will call their stories "citrusy", or a mix of both limey and lemony.

Which are your favorite stories?

The first fan fic that really struck a cord with me was The Absence of Light by stupid shiny volvo driver. Wow. Wow. Wow. It is only two chapters but wow (I said that already, I know). I had a physical pain in my chest after reading it. It was SO good. I reviewed her story and she emailed me back and we struck up a friendship. I then read the rest of her stories. The Dark Dance of Temptation is PHENOMENAL. Her Edward is just amazing. I cannot say enough. I am not a huge fan of Twilight Edward, I'm just not. Even with my love for Jasper aside, I didn't like how Edward treated Bella (which I took FULL advantage of in my story). He never treated her as an equal and made decisions without taking into consideration her opinions or feelings. To me, there were several instances where I felt he was condescending. Can you imagine being with a guy like that? I'd kill him.

Now, stupid shiny volvo driver's Edward is perfect. Just perfect. The Dark Dance of Temptation is Edward's POV and Becoming Whole is Bella's. I recommend both.

I then fell in love with so many stories: You've Kept Me Waiting by Mandi1 is a great Jasper/Alice story which shows how they met and lived before they finally meet up with the Cullens, Boycotts and Barflies (my favourite all human story WHICH, by the way, is now being published!!), any story by fibrekitty, Alice laughed has the BEST Claire and Quil stories, the list really is endless and I feel bad that I haven't listed them all.

Who are your favorite characters, from who you like the most to er...who you would like to kill right off the bat?

Gee, which character is my fav???? I wonder. JASPER, BABY!! Though, I am sorry. I dislike Jackson Rathbone (am I even spelling it correctly? I don't even know) SO MUCH. He is just not the Jasper in my head. At all. I guess because I was so into the series so long before the movies were cast, I already had a 'set in stone' idea of how I saw each character. Note from JaspersDestiny: I asked Janna who HER idea of Jasper was for WDDTL, and she sent me the pic you see here of Calum Best that Stephenie Meyer had up on her website. Per Janna, she doesn't think Calum Best is attractive at all, but this picture gets her 'motor running', as she put it!

So, the Jasper that I wrote about and fell in love with is not Jackson. No way, no how. Jackson is blond Edward Scissorhands. I've never seen this person act in any other movie and I do hope that the Twilight movies are not indicative of his talent because, I'm sorry. HE SUCKS. He does not do it for me at all. So, really, even if I wrote the story AFTER the movie was cast, Jackson still would not be my Jasper.

Was that a rant? That was a rant. Sorry. I'm moving on but ugh...

I'd express my true feelings about Robert Pattison but then I would fear for the safety of my children. Let's just say again that, I had ideas in my head for each character long before the movie was cast and I LOVED who Stephenie Meyer had in her head for each character. Henry Cavill for Edward. YES.YES.YES. Plus, every time I see Robert Pattison interviewed he talks about his lack of hygiene which really disturbs me on a level that I don't comprehend. My mind just goes to the places that you would want to be well washed on a male and I think, how do people find him attractive? He admits he's dirty. I can't get past that. Wait, I just expressed my feelings didn't I? Dammit.

The only characters that I thought were cast really well were Alice, Victoria, and Bella (though Kristen Stewart's acting leaves a lot to be desired, the physical resemblence in my head is pretty spot on).

Did I get off topic? What was the question? Oh yes, killing someone. Well, I'd kill Edward so Bella would find her way to Jasper!!! But really, as expressed above, I was never over the moon about Edward. My heart breaks for Jacob every time I read New Moon and Eclipse.

Which fics are you reading right now, and which ones have your complete attention whenever they pop with an update?

I barely have time to be on the computer anymore so my fanfic reading has sadly dwindled to one story and it isn't Twilight related. Right now I'm only reading one fan fic which is by Terri Botta, Hope Is The Thing With Feathers. It is a fan fic for the Sookie Stackhouse series which I have been a fan of since the beginning. Her writing is amazing. The last two books have been disappointments for me because I'm so sucked into the fan fics and Terri Botta's writing that I'm disappointed that the actual books aren't as far along as they are!

Other than that, since I had my third baby last year, quit my job, built a new house, moved, had one child get H1N1, another hospitalized with pneumonia (both are 100% okay now) I just haven't had the time to read on the computer. If I get a few minutes, without kids, I try to write.

I used to respond to every review and email but now I just don't have the time and I feel terrible about it. So, I've signed up for Twitter and try to keep everyone up to date that way (you can find me at JannaBanana1519).

What made you finally decide to start writing your own?

It is SO cliche but I had a dream. It was Jasper in a bar, crossing a crowded room to kiss Bella. So, I woke the next day, wrote out the scene and thought, hell ya, me likey (not so much my writing but Jasper and Bella). I then wrote chappies 1 and 2 and sent them off to stupid shiny volvo driver to see what she thought. She said keep on going, so I did. I didn't start posting WDTTL until I was at about chapter 45.

The most important thing to me when writing the story was how to get to that first chapter that I wrote (the kiss) and make the journey there believable. I had read so many fanfics where Edward goes hunting and Bella starts fooling around with Jasper. Helloooooo, that just wouldn't happen. So, I wanted it to be believable. I wanted the friendship to be incredibly strong before we got to the luvin'.

What's the atmosphere like when you're writing? Music.. screaming and ripping each other apart, or husband bitching in the background? Do you drink and/or smoke?

When I wrote the story, I was still working, so I was able to write on my lunch hour and breaks or when days were quiet. However, since the birth of the third baby, I just can't seem to find the time. I can't have distractions when I'm writing. I can barely pay the bills on the computer when the kids are awake, let alone write something. I am a chronic rewriter and changer so I have to be deeply focused. So, if I have 20 minutes to write, it doesn't work for me. I read the last chapter, I sit, I think, I ponder, I write, I erase, I destroy.

Even with WDTTL, I was almost finished and thought, I really like Felix, I'm going back and making his character bigger. So, I had to rewrite several chapters to beef up his part. So, that's what I do. I change, edit, redo, etc., etc. WDTTL is the first thing I've ever written so I don't know what the hell I'm doing and I constantly doubt myself.

Some chapters that were posted were the 10th version of what I initially wrote. I am sure I drove SSVD crazy with all my edits, but she is an amazingly patient beta and too sweet to tell me otherwise! But, she encouraged me every step of the way to keep going until I felt it was right. The only chapters that I wrote in one sitting and hardly changed a thing was the chapter at the end where Bella says good bye to Jacob and then the last chapter with the change. Those were really easy for me to write. I always knew I would end it right after the change so I always had that in my head.

Great example for everyone: I even asked for this interview back so I could change some things!! That's just what I do. Then, when this is posted, I'm sure I'll go back and say, dammit, I should have said this or that...

Even with the sequel, I wrote the first two chapters in Edward's POV and struggled. First, he's a wordy bugger so they are LOOOONNNNGGG, but I just felt I couldn't find his voice. So, I scrapped the entire thing and started over. I've got almost four chapters done but it will be a while before it is posted. I have to admit that I have lost a bit of steam with respect to writing it. I've started an original story and want to focus on that, but the sequel is in my head and I will get it out.

I do have a one shot that is finished and with my beta for review. I felt it needed to be written, as the sequel starts long after WDTTL ended, so I wanted to answer a bunch of questions before the sequel is up.

Drink - yes. Love white wine, gin and tonics and Hell's Kitchen martini's (raspberry vodka, chambord and cranberry juice).

Smoke - nope. I did for 13 years and loved it when I did. I really did. I was in college and then university. Partying, having a great time - but it's been 14 years since I quit and now I'm the total pain in the ass non-smoker who HATES the smell of smoke.

What else do you like to read besides Twilight?

Shit. What don't I read? I love so many books, but I am a true paranormal erotic romantic at heart! I just finished the Demonica series by Larissa Ione and am in love with it. J R Ward, Lara Adrian, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, Kelley Armstrong...the list is endless and ever-changing. I love it when I get reviews and people suggest books for me to try. I'm always on the hunt for something new.

What else do you like to do?

Besides the obvious of reading and writing, I love to spend time with my husband. With the three kids, running the house, keeping up with my girlfriends and the work I do on the side, I really, REALLY value the time I have alone with him because it is very rare. He works long hours and by the time we get the kids to bed, I clean up from the day, I'm ready for bed. So, we take one night a weekend and make it a date night (which usually consists of ordering pizza and a bottle of wine as we don't get out much anymore) and I love it. We challenge each other with silly games on the Wii, Othello, watch movies, or just chat, but it's the best. Though it's only one night a week that we get to just sit and be with each other, he does so many other things for me that melt my heart over and over. Every night he runs me a bath after we get the kids to bed. He always brings me a glass of cold water when he comes to bed so that when I wake up to feed the baby in the middle of the night, it's there. He's just the most thoughtful person ever.

I hate to cook and workout but do both on a regular basis. They are both the bane of my existence, but one does what one has to. Kids gotta eat and I want to stay in shape.

Tell us a secret.

Is it bad that I don't have one? I really, really don't. I firmly believe in owning your actions so everything that I've done, I'm okay with it (though, if I could go back I might rethink a few things...). You get one life to live, one kick at the can, so I don't believe in doing anything that will make me or someone I love unhappy. I have an amazing husband, phenomenal kids, great friends, and I love my life. My motto is, if you are unhappy, change it. There is no room or time to be miserable. This is it - one life, people. Be happy, make the most of it, and live life without regret. I'm not saying to not be accountable for your actions, but do what makes you happy, and don't let opportunities pass you by. I don't want to hit the end of my life and say "I wish I had...or I should have done...".

Misery makes me feel dirty, and not the good dirty.


  1. ya'll are killing me- KILLING ME! I will read When Darkness Turns to Light ONLY because I have loved the ALSL blog since I found it, even though I want to cover my ears, shut my eyes tight, and rock myself to a "happy place" thinking of any other pairing beyond Edward & Bella (OK and maybe some Carlisle)...and while I'm there I guess I should read some Janna Banana too.


    Okay. Fangirl moment over. I had so much fun reading this. I think I love her even more. I couldn't agree more when it comes to the subject of RP as Edward.

    Janna, you truly wrote THE BEST Jasper/Bella Fanfic out there. It was because of your story that the Jasper/Bella community exploded into what it is now. You've inspired me like you inspired countless others.

  3. Wow, I can't say how much I love you and your fic! It's my standard answer along with Colliding Meteors whenever anyone is looking for something to read. I gush over it constantly.

    It's nice to know you write like I do. I have to have quiet and no interruptions to write or I can't sink into the storyline and into the persona I'm writing as. Too many interruptions and I might as well give up, cuz I get nothing done. Then, of course, I go back and re-write sections. I also tend to start chapters many times only to completely scrap what I wrote and start it over. I do that about 3 times before I'm satisfied.

    And, if you're looking for something good to read book-wise, I can't suggest enough the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. She is an amazing author and my absolute favorite. She has created a world that is beyond your imagination. If you like vampires, werewolves, mythology, Atlantis, magic, demons, etc., then I highly suggest her. Check out her site. She has a listing of all her books, info on her world, and profiles for all her characters. I go gaga over her men. I swear, I'd take any one of them, and I do mean ANY. (I'm partial to Vane, Zarek, Wren, Xypher and Jericho though hehe.) Anyway, based on your author selection, I think you'd like this series.

    Good luck with your writing. I look forward to reading it sometime in the future! Let us know when you post it - your original story or the sequel to WDTTL.


  4. This was the best treat I could possibly think of for a Monday morning!

    One of my friends insisted I read WDTTL last winter and I didn't want to because I was so into alternate POV's of Twilight. Eventually I started reading, and I think I read the story in one day. I remember being at my friend's house getting ready to go to dinner and I kept saying "get ready without me,I've only got X chapters left!" I finished the story and that very the idea for my Felix centric story. All thanks to Janna Banana.

    Thanks so much for this interview! It was great and good luck with future projects!!

  5. I remember actually cringing when Janna brought up that she was thinking about writing a Jasper/Bella fanfic because, frankly, I thought at the time, the fanfic world was not ready and I could just imagine the flaming that might take place. Since flaming was the last thing I wanted to happen to her, I stayed on my guard, asked her thousands of questions, insisted she give me backstory stuff, (which she could totally add as numerous one-shots) and a fanfic that she had estimated to be somewhere around, oh... 26 chapters long, (hahahaha! I'm not kidding here!) evolved into a 52 chapter novel.

    And yes, ladies, I do have Janna's latest smut-shot... I mean ONE-shot (the 2nd revision) in my possession and will be getting it back to her asap! (uhmmmm... not that that means anything because it's ONLY the 2nd revision)

    Stupid Shiny Volvo Driver

  6. First, thank you SO much to the lovely ladies that have created this site and treat us daily to some of the hottest pictures on the web. I don't know where you find them but they are smokin.

    I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your keeping my story alive. It's been over a year since I hit that "complete" button but still get excited everytime I hear that I've converted someone else over to the Jasper side of things (aka, the sexier the side, the hotter side, the better vamp talent side, etc.....).

    Maelyn, yes, I have read all the Dark Hunter books. I am a Vane girl all the way!! And Zarek. Oh, and I'm partial to Fang. Gah, and Wren. The guy on the cover of that book??? The lips??? Just imagine those lips....And then there's Acheron. OMG, Acheron. I am crazy for him. Plus he sings Nickelback for crying out loud. That was a wet panty moment. Ok, so I like them all.

    Thanks to everyone for leaving a comment. I think it will be awhile before my ego deflates from the amazing introduction with the interview.

    Now the pressure to meet the crazy bar that you have set....GGGAAAAHHHH.

  7. OMJ You've read the Dark Hunters? Awesome! Someone else to gush over them with. They are, every single one of them, a powdered donut, I swear! Can you believe I've not read Fang yet, but I have the book! I'm so bad. I know I'm gonna love it, but I'm curious how they work the whole not mates thing unless she just fooled you into thinking they had sex before? Hmm...

    Okay, if you ever wanna chat DH or books in general, look me up! :)