Interview - Editor's Choice - HarmonyBites

Interview with Harmony Bites
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The Editor's Choice for May - Harmony Bites
by Annie

Our interview with Harmony Bites took place in Professor Snape's quarters. She was warm and friendly-Snape was not. There was more than a bit of competition going on between the lovely Harmony Bites and the insane enthusiastic Madam Minnie. At one point I believe I heard Madam Minnie shout to Snape that she could love him better. She was quickly Obliviated of their weeks together.

Harmony Bites story Gambit was chosen as Editor's Choice for the month of May 2006. It's a lovely look into the mind of Ron Weasley. As we sat down interview her we did manage to get a glance at Professor Snape's Dark Mark. When we mentioned it she smirked and told us it made him mysterious.

  1. How did you get involved with writing fan fiction?
    My first introduction into fanfic was a handful of years ago. I was looking for more information on Russell Crowe, and stumbled onto fic of his characters. I was enthralled, and wrote a little myself, (character of Terry from Proof of Life) While I was researching Russell I stumbled into some erotic Snape fic and was utterly horrified! LOL I might have been interested in HP fic if the kids weren't still young at the time (characters and actors) I just hadn't seen them grown up in my head yet.

  2. What story was the most fun to write? Which was the most challenging and why?
    I've only just started writing. Matter of Wizard Pride is my first HP fic, so I'm very honored to have it picked for the month. I have started writing several more though. I just wrote a H/G fluffy smut for a LJ friend, called Birthday that I had a lot fun with. I also just finished (and hope to publish soon) and piece called When They Met, about a Arthur attending an Order meeting during the first war. It all came out on paper just the way I wanted and I smiled for the rest of the day when I was done. It just felt 'right' you know?

  3. Describe yourself in three words.
    Bright, loyal, anal.

  4. What serves as inspiration for the stories you write?
    Often if I disagree with a comment or a piece of fanon that will spark me to write something in a burst of "I'll-show-you-ness." My story on this site, "Gambit" was written for two reasons. First, I'm writing a Hermione/Snape WIP and I didn't want to fall into the one-true-pairing trap of writing Ron as a shallow, stupid prat. I needed to get inside his head. Second, just before sitting down to writing the story I'd read yet another HG/SS where Ron -- having proved a prat -- met a grisly death. "Gambit," a first person Ron story where he has a brain, was my attempt at a corrective.

  5. If you were a character in the Harry Potter books who would you be and why?
    Hermione. Predictable, I know, and I never really was the teacher's pet--not enough of a swot or a suck-up. But I was and am a great reader, introverted, the kind to look up everything to suss out the territory, organize everything and everyone around me if they allow it, do logic puzzles for fun and have dozens of lists. Oh, and I have brown, bushy hair and brown eyes. Who else?

  6. What type of environment do you like to write in?
    On the computer. Preferably in quiet surroundings. Which is hard to get in my household, which may be half my problem

  7. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why?
    I'm tempted to say Half-Blood Prince since it lured me into the fandom, but I enjoyed Order of the Phoenix the most -- I liked how JKR built relationships there beyond the Gryffindors.

  8. Favorite character in the books? Why?
    Snape: Because he's such an enigma. Because JKR never lets us into his thoughts so there are many possible directions you could take the character, and I don't think the latest book is the last word on him. Because he built that imposing persona from the neglected, bullied twitchy kid we saw in OotP. Because he's an absolute genius who created his own spells as a teen and rewrote his text in the margins and twenty years later his experienced, former teacher can't match his techniques. Because he hates Harry yet I believe even in the last pages of the latest book was still trying to teach him and protect him even as he ran. Because I have a lot of sympathy for those who do the "dirty work" that keep us safe and free while getting scant thanks for it and paying a high price personally. Because the question of redemption -- whether and how it is possible -- fascinates me.

  9. Outside the Harry Potter realm, what is your favorite movie?
    Apollo 13.

  10. Tell us where you're from and something interesting about your city.
    I was born, raised, and live in New York City and can't imagine living elsewhere. I was out-of-state in law school on 9/11 and can't begin to tell you how proud I was of my fellow New Yorkers on that day, even through all my heartache. I knew one of the police officers who died that day trying to save people in the World Trade Center. My city has been described as cold, and I think nothing could be farther from the truth. New Yorkers are cautious, wary, no one's fool, busy and impatient -- but we have a big heart.

  11. If you were trapped in a room and had to pick one of the women or men from Harry Potter to be naughty with-who would you choose and what color socks would you wear?
    Hmmm - -Snape- -of the fanonish Sex!God! variety if he would wash his hair first. And no socks!

  12. Who are your favorite real life authors? Do you have a favorite fandom author?
    Among professional authors an eclectic mix: Shakespeare, Dante, Austen, Heinlein, Asimov, Rand, Conroy, Kundera, Hornby. If I have to pick one favorite HP fanfic writer, it would be KazVL on the strength of her unfinished HG/SS, "Falling Further In." I believe it's hard to read that story and ever see HP in the same Gryffindor-centric way again. She didn't just make me rethink Snape (in fact made me fall in love with the character), but made me rethink every character in the book and how they relate to each other from Dumbledore to Crabbe. I especially loved how she built the relationships among the staff, and Snape's role as Head of House. That story was among the first fanfics in HP I ever read, and even eight months later I can't say any other I've read has had the same impact on me. (And, incidentally, she writes a very intelligent, sympathetic Ron.)

  13. What drew you into fandom? Why the Harry Potter fandom?
    Getting into an intimidating school that scared me silly caused me to grab onto an old friend, Trek, like a teddy bear. I looked it up online and discovered this thing called "fan fiction" and wrote my first stories in that fandom. However, I burned out after a couple of years and believed my muse was buried for good. I hadn't read or written fanfic in over a year other than betaing for a friend in Trek. I wasn't even a huge fan of the Harry Potter books before Half-Blood Prince, nor did I like Snape, but for me that sixth book read like the first half of a mystery. I finished the book convinced all was not as it seemed and that Snape was no traitor to the light. That suddenly made that character all the more intriguing, and made me go in search of the fandom to see if others saw the events of the book the way I did. From my previous experience with fan fiction, I knew that the fans' stories especially would get to the heart of the matter. Coming across a rec list for Snape stories I clicked on a link for KazVL's "Falling Further In" and read into the night and well into the morning. After that I was addicted.

  14. What advice would you give other writers?
    Read with a writer's eye as to how writers do what they do in works both pro and amateur. Get to know other writers through forums, chat, email lists, LJ because they will have many of the same problems you do and can offer valuable insights. Read books by writers on writing -- I love the one by Stephen King: "On Writing."

    Get a beta, and be careful who and how you choose. You need to feel they're on your side -- they should be sympathetic to your style and vision, and you should not get the feeling from them that betaing you is an onerous chore, but that they're excited to get your latest story or chapter in their inbox. If a beta takes weeks to get back to you as I've known to happen in HP where betas get assigned through sites -- end the relationship. However, a good beta also must evaluate your writing with a critical eye, and will be doing you a disservice if all they do is point out typos and missing commas. The best possible beta would be a writer you yourself respect and admire so you feel confident they know what they are doing. And you as a writer have to learn both to be open to criticism, yet know what you want to accomplish through your story and be willing to push back. Get the idea I think a good beta is crucial? I do -- but it takes time and care to find a good one and build the relationship. (And incidentally -- if you get a beta half as good as the one the Quidditch Pitch assigned me upon submission for my story -- Kobe Grace -- consider yourself very, very, very lucky.)

    And write. Try to write something every day -- and shut up the part of you telling you its all garbage and you suck as a writer. We all have those moments.

  15. What is the defining moment of your favorite character? The moment that made them stand out?
    Snape on the Astronomy Tower -- before that I only thought of him as the nasty, abusive teacher that threatened to poison Neville's pet, after that he became far more interesting to me--whatever his motives.

  16. # If you could ask JKR one question what would it be?
    Is Snape really evil?

  17. What was the most shocking moment in the Harry Potter series?
    Dumbledore saying "Please, Severus." It had been Dumbledore who had been my favorite HP character before the last book, and I couldn't believe the man who called death the "next, great adventure" would plead for his life--and I believe that if, as with Draco, Dumbledore was pleading for Snape not to become a murderer he (and JKR) would have been far less cryptic. Those words challenged a lot of my assumptions about the characters and made me think them through more deeply.

  18. What do you do for fun outside of fandom?
    Karate. Running. Baking. Reading. Movies. And...er other things I'm not listing.

  19. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
    I'll never know -- never was that patient.

  20. If you could choose Harry's fate, what would it be?
    That he survives -- and manages to have a long life and happy life. God knows, as even JKR admits, after all she's put him through he deserves it.

  21. Which of your stories has been the most fun to write?
    "Gambit" was certainly easiest--the first draft was written in a burst of inspiration in a couple of hours--one of those rare gifts from the muse. On the other hand, parts of my HG/SS WIP Book of Shadows have been the most fun I've had writing--but other chapters have been the most frustrating times I've ever spent at the keyboard so...

  22. Give us your epitaph.
    She coulda been a contenda -- if she could only have finished what she started.

We left Harmony Bites in the company of Severus Snape. We were concerned for her welfare and quite frankly a bit disturbed by Madam Minnie's reaction. However, Professor Snape kindly Obliviated her for us and all is well now.

Of course, she can't remember how to make coffee.