- How did you get involved with writing fan fiction?
Harry Potter is my only fandom, and I didn't get involved until about Thanksgiving 2002, after I'd seen Chamber of Secrets. I discovered this extraordinarily huge online HP community, including FictionAlley.com, where I started reading a lot of fan fiction. Some of it was very well-written, but other stories made me think, "Hmmm, I could probably write something at least as good as this if I tried." I hadn't written anything since high school (long, long ago) but I thought I'd give it a try because I find the Potterverse to be endlessly fascinating. I guess I started writing for real in April 2003, when I landed on LiveJournal. A lot of my earliest writings were just comment drabbles and really quite awful.
- What story was the most fun to write? Which was the most challenging and why?
The most challenging story to write has been UMBRAGE, a very long (to me) multi-chaptered fic that's nowhere near complete. I started writing it in November 2004 and., more than 70,000 words later, I'm still working on it, a little at a time. It's a long, complicated, extremely angsty story and it's very plot-heavy, which is quite unusual for me. It's reminding me strongly of why I usually just write one-shots or short multi-chaptered fics. Plotting is my Achilles' heel as a writer. The most fun to write was probably The Next Best Thing. That plot bunny had spent about a year hatching in my brain and when I finally wrote it, the words just pushed their way out. I loved writing it in part because it's one of my favorite types of stories to read - fluffy smut with just a tad of angst that's based largely on miscommunication between two people and assumptions about what each of them would like.
- Who is your favorite Harry Potter character and why?
This is a tough call, but I'd have to say that Hermione Granger is my favorite character, and she edges out Harry Potter by just a hair. Hermione is like a junior version of myself in some ways. Like her, I was always the first one to raise my hand in class, the kid who thought she could find all the answers in books, the one who didn't want to break any rules and who hated demerits almost as much as getting a B. Plus we've both got bushy brown hair. I also am very drawn to her sense of social justice (at least in books 4 and 5) and her questioning of the status quo. Finally, I adore her devotion to Harry. I believe she loves him in ways that neither she nor Harry understands yet. (insert evil grin)
- Where are you from and tell us something interesting about where you live?
I live in Wisconsin. We have lots of cows, cheese and cold weather. The city where I live has 4 lakes, the largest of which is 26 miles around. It's a great place to live, except in winter..
- What advice would you give other writers?
I'm the last person you should ask about this. I keep asking other writers their advice. Okay, if I had to say something, it would be to write what you yourself would like to read. Don't worry about other people's reactions; if you've written something good, other folks will find it. And if your writing smut and it doesn't make you squirm and want to shag someone, you should work on it more.
- What is your favorite food and would which famous person (non-HP) would you most like to share it with?
Chocolate. George Clooney.
- If you were trapped in a cupboard with a Harry Potter character who would it be and what pick up line would you use on them?
It would be Harry himself. I don't think I would use a pickup line. I'm congenitally unable to flirt with anyone. I would probably look into his eyes, tell him he's been entirely too modest (except in HBP, where he was kind of a prat) and he really is a great wizard and ask if he'd like to snog?
- Which is your favorite Harry Potter book?
OotP. I was one of those folks who actually liked CAPSLOCK HARRY. He'd been through a lot of crap and was finally starting to ask questions and rock the boat. He'd been entirely too passive up till then. Also, I loved the emotional closeness we saw developing between him and Hermione during the book, the way he instinctively leaped to her defense both physically and verbally so many times. His reaction in the Department of Mysteries when he thought she'd died made me cry - he was terrified that he'd lost her.
- Do you think we're completely mental?
Yes, but in a good way (to quote Ron Weasley about Luna Lovegood in HBP).
- What was the most shocking moment of the HP series?
The moment that shocked me the most when I first read it was when Harry had detention with Dolores. That quill is one of the most evil, diabolical things I've ever seen, and it showed not only what a sadist she was, but also the lengths to which she (and by extension, the Ministry) would go to prevent Harry from talking about what happened at the graveyard in Little Hangleton.
- If you could ask JKR one thing what would it be?
Why haven't Harry and Ron ever discussed girls, specifically Hermione? That's one thing that seems completely off about the books, the idea that male best friends have never discussed their mutual female best friend's femininity and how that relates to them. Unless, of course, JKR is saving that for later…(there IS still one book left).
- Who is your role model?
For what? Writing? Life?
If you mean writing, I'd say probably Lissanne (aka Liss or LissanneJ). I love her novel-length fan fics, Love Is A Battlefield and Love Is A Crime. I love her characterizations of Harry and Hermione, and the fact that she basically stays within the established Potterverse and doesn't go off into alternate universes. No matter how long or short her fics are, they're always full of emotion and lots of emotional intimacy.
- How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
- What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
My little MP3 player (because 124 songs are better than none), a ton of Cheerios, and 30 gallons of SPF-45 sunscreen.
- Which HP character would do the best on Survivor and why?
Snape, because he's always out for himself.
- What is the defining moment in the characterization of your favorite character?
When Hermione lied to Dolores Umbridge about knowing where the "secret weapon" was and pretended to cry, which stopped Umbridge from using Cruciatus on Harry. It showed, to me, that Hermione was willing to do anything, even lead a teacher badly astray, to keep Harry safe.
- What inspires you to write?
I get a lot of inspiration from visual images. I think I've written at least 3 stories that were inspired totally or in part by paintings or drawings. I also prefer post-Hogwarts fic, both as a reader and a writer, so I'm inspired by trying to think of what these characters might be like and what kinds of experiences they might have 5 or 10 years or more down the road.
- If you could choose Harry's fate what would it be?
Harry defeats Voldemort not by killing him, but by finding a way to drain his magical power and turn him into a Squib (which would be a fate worse than death for Tom Riddle). Harry loses some of his magical power in the process, so that magically he becomes just another average wizard. He realizes that what he's been looking for has been right under his nose all along, and he and Hermione go off and have a couple of children and live a quiet, ordinary life. (Oh did I forget to mention my shipping preference? Like many HP fans, I say canon be damned when it comes to shipping. I ship what I love and what I'd like to see, regardless of whether JKR ever writes it.)
- Which character is the hardest for you to write?
Probably Snape. In fact, I've never attempted to write him. I would probably fail utterly.
- Give us your epitaph.
Beloved wife, mother and daughter, and a good friend.