Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Meet & Greet with thatisastory

Author profiles: FFn and Twilighted

Hello, Lambchops!

Today we bring you thatisastory, the brilliant author of Afterlife and its still early sequel, Vie. It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me how much I love Afterlife, as I wrote a ‘Where in the World is...?’ segment on Jess when Vie looked to be abandoned not too long after it had started. How much do I love Afterlife? Hmm, let’s see...I kind of got trigger-happy when nominations were still being accepted at a certain awards site a while ago and I nominated the story for Best Road Trip story – because it just is, plain and simple. The problem was that they weren’t accepting stories that had been completed after a certain time frame – and while I knew that, I still nominated Jess and then *head-desked* myself later when I realized my mistake (note to those awards people: No, I am not stupid; and, yes, that was ME). *mumbles* Yes, I can read!

If you haven’t already read Afterlife or started its sequel, you should do so. It’s a beautiful story that follows Bella and Jasper as they learn to find their way and purpose after their mates’ deaths. Afterlife is just heartbreaking, and it's filled with anguish and a grief so profound that it brings you to your knees as you literally watch Bella and Jasper fall to their knees, unable to imagine how life can ever go on. They are both suicidal – one tempting the ‘law’ as he gives in to his vampiric, nomadic side, regardless of the consequences; the other basically starving herself, stuck in a catatonic state. Together, though, they painstakingly care for each other and they honour the memories of the ones with whom they thought they would spend eternity. Vie, on the other hand, is still an early tale, but it’s about celebrating life. And we watch Bella and Jasper embark on another new journey together, with a few surprises already awaiting them.

Jess became a VIP author over at A Different Forest not too long ago – congratulations, Jess! – so you can check her out there, as well as at FFn.

You can also follow Jess on Twitter at @JessOfRVA; that's right, Lambchops! Jess is a proud Richmond, Virginia girl. Who can blame her? It looks so pretty!

So sit back, relax, and enjoy our interview with thatisastory!

*whispers hauntingly in your ears* And go read Afterlife! Now! ...and then Vie

*ahem* Because THOSE are STORIES - right, Jess? *giggles maniacally*
~Tina (JaspersDestiny)

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

My name's Jess, and I'm 26. I live in Richmond, Virginia, and I'm happily single. I love kids, and will have some someday, but that's a while down the road. In the mean time I'm living and loving life as I build my career, and have a ball spending time with friends, online and offline.

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?

Before I read the books, there was a while where I looked around at all the cultural references and I just didn't get the fascination. I watched the trailer and still, I didn't understand the allure. My friends insisted it was just one of those things I'd 'get' once I'd read the books. But being who I am, I stubbornly refused to give into the hype. Things changed though, obviously. I started reading the books right after I went through a really awful break up. I felt like my world was crashing down around me, and my dear friend Logan put Twilight in my hands and said, "You need to read this, and here's the second book, because you're not going to want to stop. When you're ready to get out of bed, you can come get the other two." I began to devour the books, and within a week I'd read them all.

New Moon is definitely my favorite, and I think that's because I related so much to it when I was going through that rough time. Emo-Bella is an amazing Bella. It's one of the few times we see some development and growth, as opposed to blindly lusting after Edward. At the same time, I really hated how Bella's crushing lack of self esteem played into the story, how willing she was to just accept Edward's lying and leaving her behind. Ultimately this book proved to be the most therapeutic. At the same time, it also holds the most potential for canon, AU fic. Eclipse would probably be my second favorite, as I love the humanity that's shown in the not-completely-human characters. It's probably also the funniest of the four books.


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

I really didn't like Breaking Dawn. I really, really, REALLY objected to how the story rounded out so anticlimactically with a mutant child to boot. I hadn't expected Bella to go from the headstrong, non-traditionalist to suddenly pining for motherhood and selfishly toying with everyone around her. To me, it wasn't the beautiful family portrait I'm sure it was ultimately meant to be. I didn't like who Bella ultimately became either. I HATED that the Cullens were mostly peripheral characters throughout the book--I felt so cheated! I think this planted the seeds of wanting more stories out of Twilight. I remembered reading Harry Potter fanfiction waaaaaay back in the day, and I wondered if the same phenomena had taken place within the Twilight fandom. I found a community, Lion & Lamb, and from there I started looking at what fics were out there. What initially pulled me into fanfic was a story by NiceIceEdward and Elisabeth_I called "In Jasper's Care." The story was great--Post-Eclipse/Pre-Breaking Dawn (human) Bella is taken hostage, along with (vampire) Jasper, by the Volturi. They manage to escape, but are faced the task of survival. They care for one another and ultimately establish a close friendship. And I was hooked. Jasper and Bella could be more than two people who carefully regard one another through an entire series. At the same time I was reading Mistaken Vows by twi_ction, and this absolutely solidified my love for canon/AU. From there, the habit grew.

Which are your favorite stories?

I really am only naming a few here!

Secret Prophecies by Bexi21 If you haven't read it, you must. It gives us a look at the greater world, builds on original mythology, gives us strong characters, and an amazing Jasper to boot! The author provides readers goodies like soundtracks, trailers, character profiles, and images as well!

Loneliness Be Over by Pixievamp08 *le sigh* I love this story so effing much. It's a fun, fluffy story that makes you love--wait for it--Embry/Bella. I know, I know, I was shocked too, but it's absolutely amazing. It's AH, one of the few AH I like, but it gives a realistic, angsty portrayal of someone torn between two worlds.

No Choice by Glasscannon The question alone should get you to read the story: What if the pack had shown up a minute later instead? Oh yeah, imagine the possibilities. Go read this. NOW.

Humanity by NiceIceEdward She shifts the world starting at Twilight--what if Edward had left, and Jasper had been the one to save Bella? It's a really cool take on an alternate universe.

Dreaming of Butterflies by Stretch The story is incredibly painful to read. I can only take it in small doses. Still, I cannot help but love this for what it is, amazing writing.

A Murmur of Fire in the Veins by ElleCC It's a standard at this point! I love it! It's sweet, fun, well written, and it makes me crave Mexican food.

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

Well if you know me, you know I kill characters right off the bat without a second thought.

In The Saga, Jacob in Eclipse is pretty damn manipulative, and Edward is incredibly possessive. Neither of them are particularly appealing at this point in the series. Overall I enjoy all the characters. Except the mutant child. She's not cute, she's annoying.

When it comes to in fic though, I object to cliche characters: Slutty Tanyas, Jessicas, and Laurens; abusive Jacobs; vapid Alices who only like fashion and event planning; clinically depressed Edwards; codependent Bellas whose magical feminine wiles (and sometimes magical lady parts,) have savior-like abilities; and Emmetts that are "surprisingly" intelligent. Those are the characters that need to be given an early exit.

As for characters I love, obviously there's Jasper, but let's look beyond the obvious: The rare, well written Jacob who gets his day is an amazing thing to read. Doesn't mean he gets Bella, but it does mean he's happy and isn't left to wander the frozen Yukon for the rest of his days. I love a well done, confident Bella who doesn't have to be physically attached (and aching) for Edward. She can love and function--it's realistic, and that's something that we rarely see. A clever, confident Edward who doesn't spend half the story moodily running a hand through his hair is an amazing thing. Conflict can happen without people being depressed or on drugs! Also, Rosalie being the right kind of bitch--and there is such a thing, will win my heart over every time.

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

See my favorites. EVERYTHING stops for Secret Prophecies and Loneliness Be Over though. I mean everything. Work, life, friends, it all goes on hold, and I will give the authors hell if they update at a time when I can't get to a computer.

What made you finally decide to start writing your own?

I was talking with NiceIceEdward at one point, and I said that I really wanted to create my own versions of the characters, the way I thought they ought to be. She was really supportive, and started working through this idea I had with me. We addressed a few questions: Who are the characters? How do they get that way? What's an image you see, and how do you want them to get there?

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?

If I have an idea, I will take a drive for an hour and work through it while listening to songs that fit the mood of the idea. Afterwards I sit down and write, usually in silence, or sometimes with classical music playing. Usually a few cups of coffee are involved. If I'm really stressed then a cup of tea. Sometimes my cat Jonah likes to help as well.

What else do you like to read besides Twilight?

I read a lot of fantasy fiction and [American] Southern literature. A few faves include the Harry Potter series, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Rapture of Canaan, anything by Mark Twain. Oddly enough, motivational non-fiction is enjoyable too, it's very positive, and keeps me grounded.

What else do you like to do?

I'm a karaoke diva, I drink with the boys, I bake amazing pies and cookies, I crash parties and change their music (and thereby improve their parties, guaranteed, every time.) I'm a near constant stream of sarcasm and foul language. I'm at home on a dark road with a good soundtrack. I love giving massages, traveling, and a new notebook with a new Sharpie to write with. I'm addicted to coffee, Twitter, and Etsy.

Tell us a secret.

I used to write RPF Moffatts, Hanson, Good Charlotte, and Gil Ofarim. But I should be forgiven because I was only 15 at the time. I didn't know RPF was creepy back then.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I have to say, what hit me the most was this:

    "...stubbornly refused to give into the hype. Things changed though, obviously. I started reading the books right after I went through a really awful break up. I felt like my world was crashing down around me..."

    That is so me. That is exactly how it happened. Except Twilight was sitting on my coffee table and no one gave it to me, but I was a mess and needed a distraction. I had refused to read it for the longest time!

    Eclipse is my favorite book of the four, then Twilight, and NM and BD tie. I really have a strong issue with Jacob and i don't like how neatly BD was done up. There are tinier reasons, but that's basically it. I felt Bella in NM though.

    Also, I'm totes over "surprisingly" intelligent Emmett. He's not dumb at all! He's just a fun loving guy. He gets the shaft so much.

    thanks for this post!