- How did you get involved with writing fan fiction?
Like most fans, I started out reading the HP books. I was lucky enough to discover them late in the series (after GoF had already been published), so I had four books to read, one right after the other, and didn't have to put up with years between installments. I did have to wait for PoA, but only for 6 months or so, and I managed to keep myself busy re-reading books 1-4, working, etc. until it was finished. Waiting for OotP was much harder to do, but somehow I managed and needless to say, I was beyond excited when it was finally for sale at my local bookstore. Not only did I get a copy on the first day, I finished it in no time.
The problem was, once I was finished, I was at a loss for what to do to get my HP fix. All these questions kept popping into my mind about what was going to happen and where J.K. Rowling was headed and I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to go years without any answers this time. So I got online and started lurking at some of the HP sites and that lead me to this wonderful thing called fan fiction. And WOW, was there a lot of it. More than enough to keep me entertained. For a month or two anyway. But my mind kept going back to where J.K. Rowling left off in OotP and what the Power the Dark Lord knows not could be. And then one day while I was reading a story it dawned on me that I could do this. I could write a fan fiction. All I needed was a plot. And not only could I entertain myself, and answer all the questions I wanted answered the way I wanted them to answered, I could share it with others and entertain them as well. So I started mapping out a storyline in my head, and once I started writing it all just fell into place.
- Who is your favorite Harry Potter character and why?
You of course. Aren't you everyone’s favorite? I suppose we’re supposed to favor Harry, he is the chosen one and all, but I’ve always had a thing for sidekicks. Luke Skywalker? No way. Who cares about him, he’s moody and that bad boy Han was yummy. Frodo Baggins? Couldn’t stand him. Sam was always the hero in my eyes. Why? Because he had a choice. He wasn’t the chosen one, he could have walked away and was given numerous chances to do so, but he didn’t. Even though he didn’t get any of the glory (or very little of it) he stayed and fought it out to the bitter end because it was the right thing to do. It’s the same with Ron.
Harry doesn’t have a choice. Voldemort has marked him for death and sooner or later one of them will have to die. Ron does have a choice. He’s always had the choice and each and ever time he’s presented with the opportunity, he chooses to stand beside his best mate and help him fight his insurmountable battles. He chooses to stand with Harry, not just out of loyalty and friendship, although that’s part of it, but also because it’s the right thing to do. And Ron Weasley wasn’t raised to turn his back on others and shrink away from doing the right thing, just because it’s easier and/or safer. In my eyes Ron is every bit the hero Harry is, more so in fact because he has been given the choice.
I would like to note that the famous Weasley blush has come up on my cheeks. I don't remember when my face has ever been this hot.
- What was the most shocking moment of the HP series?
OH! I’m going to have to think about that one. I’m usually pretty good at predicting how things are going to unfold, so very little shocks me. I’ve been mildly surprised a time or two (probably more than that actually). I guess I’d have to say the deaths are what stands out the most. Not who has died, or that key characters have been killed off, but how it’s happened. Sirius falling through the veil was unexpected and Dumbledore… I admit, the manner in which Dumbledore died did shock me. I knew it was going to happen, of course. I knew that Dumbledore was a goner, even before I picked up my copy of HBP. It only made sense. He needed to be killed off so Harry would be forced to deal with Voldemort on his own. The mentor must be removed before the hero can come into his own and defeat the villain. But how Dumbledore died, begging Snape to kill him, THAT truly surprised me. Both that Dumbeldore would beg him to do it AND that Snape would comply without so much as batting an eyelash.
- If you could ask JKR one thing what would it be?
Hum, only one? Not that she’d answer, but I’d like to know how many members of the Weasley family, if any, are going to die by the end of the series. I don’t want names, mind you. Just a number. Die? I might die! Who is this JKR character and why would she kill me?
- In writing The Price of Love—did you have any idea how popular it would be? How much research went into writing it?
Absolutely not. I had no clue how popular the story would become. Frankly I still have a hard time believing it. Unless someone comments on the story in a review on one of the sites I’ve posted it at, I’m pretty much oblivious. I’ve been told by others that it’s a huge hit and that people are/ or were talking about it in droves when I was still working on it, but I was never exposed to much of what was said. I don’t really know what has been discussed in live Journal discussions or on other message boards, etc. All I’ve had to gage the popularity of the story on is the number or reviews I received and how many hits the story had gotten. When I first started writing the story, the number of reviews was low. Say 5-10 per chapter. Hardly enough for me to suspect it was a huge hit. It wasn’t until Harry whipped his Invisibility Cloak off and caught Ron and Hermione together that the number of reviews skyrocketed. That’s when I realized there actually was a much larger fan following than I had previously assumed.
As for the research, I guess it depends on what aspects we’re talking about. I’d already read book 1-5 several times before I started writing, so I had most of the facts down. The Harry Potter Lexicon was an invaluable source when it came to checking on spells, correct spellings, and miscellaneous HP info though. Other aspects, like the whole Coupling Potion thing and the Lànain, didn’t take any research at all. They damn near wrote themselves actually. In fact, the only thing I had to research for the Lànain, was a Gaelic word to use as the name. Overall, the only thing I really spent any length of time researching was syntax and lexicon. I spent loads of time looking for British slang words to use because I didn’t want the story to sound overly American and being a bit of a perfectionist, I wanted the Latin terminology I used for the spells I created to be accurate.
- What is the defining moment in the characterization of your favorite character?
In my story, or J.K. Rowling’s books?
For me, Ron’s defining moment in cannon occurred in PoA. Not that he didn’t have his moments in the first two books, or the three that followed. But seeing him stand up on his broken leg so he could place himself between his best friend and the mad murderer he thought was about to kill him…quite simply put, it’s the bravest act I’ve witnessed from any of the main characters to date. Sure Harry has done loads of brave thing throughout the series, but the difference is, he doesn’t really have a choice. Ron does and did have a choice at that moment in the Shrieking Shack. When he stood up on his broken leg, Sirius told him to sit back down before he hurt himself, and by doing that, he let it be known that he had no intentions of hurting Ron further himself. But Ron still stood up to him. He still tried to place himself between Harry and a man he considered a deranged killer, and he then told that man he’d have to kill him to get to Harry. That says everything about the kind of person Ron is. It wasn’t bravado and it wasn’t just an impetuous act of loyalty. He meant what he said. If Sirius had been a killer, if he really had been a Death Eater out for blood and he’d leveled his wand on Ron instead, I doubt he would have changed his mind and stepped out of the way. He’d have stood his ground and protected his friends the best way he knew how.
As for his defining moment in The Price of Love? Well, to be honest I don’t think I should go into that in detail here, just incase anyone who hasn’t read the entire story stumbles across this first. I wouldn’t want to ruin it for them. So I’ll just say that in PoL, Ron’s defining moment is similar to the moment in the Shrieking Shack, only different in many ways, and basically the same arguments I used above would apply to this example as well.
- What advice would you give to first time writers?
Write for yourself, not for the amusement of other people. If you’re happy with your end result, if you can entertain yourself with each new chapter you write, then you will entertain others as well. But more than anything you have to be satisfied with what you’ve written.
The simple truth of the matter is, no matter how good your story is, no matter how well written or popular, it’s impossible to please all of the fans all of the time. In fact, I’ve found that the more popular a story becomes, the more criticism it’s likely to receive.
You have to realize that really good stories draw the fans in and they can’t help becoming emotionally invested in the storyline. And the more invested they become, the more they start to think about where you might be headed and how they’d like to see the plot unfold. And when what they want to see, or what they expect to happen, doesn’t go exactly the way they envisioned it, some of them will feel disappointed. Most will roll with the punches, but there will always be those that simple can’t take it all in stride and want you to know how disappointed they are.
And even though you go into it knowing that you won’t be able to please everyone, part of you will still want to and strongly worded criticisms will sting. Not only that, they can be VERY disruptive to the writing process if you don’t believe whole-heartedly in what you’ve written. That’s why it’s vital to write your story for yourself first, and for other’s second. If you believe in the merits of what you’ve written, if you’ve followed your vision as you set out to do and are proud of your work, it’ll be much easier for you to defend your work or let the criticisms roll off your back entirely. As long as you are proud of what you’ve written, that is really all that should matter.
- Which is your favorite Harry Potter book?
Goblet of Fire. I really enjoyed Harry struggling through all the tasks, it was a totally different type of struggle for him. And of course tit’s in that book that we’re smacked over the head with the fact that something other than friendship is developing between Ron and Hermione.
- Tell us something interesting about where you are from.
ER… a few years back, the local college was voted the number one “Party School” by Playboy magazine. Needless to say, most of the full time residents were not happy about that. Especially when it lead to the wrong sort enrolling, even more parties, and a mini riot downtown. But as I mentioned, that was years ago. The school has tried, several times, to clean up it’s image since then. Even so, we’re probably still on the list.
- What character is the easiest for you to write?
Strangely enough, Ron Weasley. Of all the HP characters, I see myself in him the most, even if he is a bloke. In fact, he was so easy to write that there were time when he almost seemed to come to life, take over my body and direct the flow of the story himself. There were actually times that I changed the entire direction of a chapter for that reason.
- Which character is nearly impossible?
That’s no secret. I’ve complained about it enough times. Harry is most definitely the hardest for me to write. Especially early on in the story, when he’s stuck in his woe-is-me state. It’s hard to write woe-is-me Harry when what you really want to smack some sense into him.
- What would be the thing you’d miss most?
My computer. Don’t throw it into the lake. Please. PLEASE! I’ve already had two of them die on me and if it gets wet…. Sob… Please don’t kill my pretty, new computer. I forfeit. I don’t want to be the Tri-wizards Champion.
- Give us five ways you’d use the Imperius Curse.
I wouldn’t. It’s an Unforgivable and I don’t want to go to Azkaban. Seriously, I can’t think of any situation where I’d choose to use the Imperius. Unless it was to humiliate Voldemort. You know, to force him to do really embarrassing things in front of his followers. But I’d have to be suicidal to try something like that. Wouldn’t I?
- Fred and George have given you a Daydream Charm. Which four characters would star in your daydream and where would it take place?
Four? I have to have four. I only need one. But school boys don’t really do it for me, so he’d have to be a much older version. I’m thinking Ron Weasley in his late 20’s. Yeah that ought to do nicely. As for where? Does it matter? Actually I’d enjoy seeing the Burrow, so going there would suit me fine. Well when I'm 29 I'm so going to look this roguesugah up!
- What is your favorite food and would which famous person (non-HP) would you most like to share it with?
I don’t know if I have a favorite food. Sometimes I crave certain things. Like chocolate, but it’s not like I want to eat one thing every day. As long as it’s sweet, I’m good. But for the sake of argument I’ll say… chocolate cake. Which famous person do I want to share my cake with? Honestly, I have no idea. If I’m completely honest, the answer is probably none. I’d much rather share it with friends, who I know I’ll have a good time with.
- What inspires you to write?
A good story written by someone else. Especially if I’ve really been drawn in and then have to wait for another installment. I used to read a lot of comic books, and comics almost always end with cliffhangers. And since I had a month to wait until I could find out how the situation would be resolved, I’d use that time to think about the direction I’d take if I were the writer. It’s situations like that that inspire me. I guess for me, there has to be some question or issue I feel compelled to explore. There has to be some point. Even if the point is only to entertain myself.
- What type of environment do you like to write in?
A quiet one. Even now, as I try to answer these questions, there is someone standing in the room talking about what she’d like to be doing instead of the dishes, as if I’m listening. Yes, a quiet place with no one else around to distract me is best. Unfortunately while I was writing PoL that was nearly impossible to accomplish. (Our Internet connection is in the kitchen). I can tune out the background TV noise now, but people taking to me or at me while I’m trying to write still drives me to distraction. That’s why I finally broke down and bought a laptop. Unfortunately I can’t hide in my room (where it is quiet) and use the internet at the same time, so from time to time I still have to contend with the noise.
- Who are your favorite real life authors?
I’m one of those people that can read pretty much anything and find something to enjoy about it. So I don’t really have a list of favorite authors. Other than J.K. Rowling. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King books, but I wouldn’t say he’s a favorite of mine anymore. Generally I just read things that my friends or family members give me.
- What do you do for fun outside of fandom?
I go shopping. Although that is as much business as pleasure. That is how I spend most of my weekends though. Other than that it’s the usual things. Hang out with the people I care about, going to movies or just watching TV together. That kind of thing.
- This is a standard question: Why does Simons_flower keep killing Ron? Is it to torture Annie?
Probably not. Although I’ll admit that torturing people is an added bonus when killing Ron. Of course killing him, and leaving him dead is just plain evil. Making it appear as if he’s been killed, all the while planning to prove he’s alive, well that’s an entirely different matter.
- Fate: Answer must be live or die
Snape: DIE! Hopefully redeeming himself and proving that he was loyal to the Order, despite appearances.
Ron: LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!
Fred: ER… Live I suppose.
Molly Weasley: I can see it going either way with her. But if backed into a corner and forced to choose, I’d go with… die.
Harry: Don’t stone me. Er… looks around nervously. Die. L
Not because I dislike Harry. I just think that… well, it may be necessary in the end. For some reason, I can’t really explain, I’ve always suspected that in order to kill Voldemort, and keep him dead, Harry may be required to make the ultimate sacrifice, and kill himself as well. (It would be the ultimate expression of love and I can see that in and of itself taking Voldemort down). Not only is he connected to Voldemort by magic (aka, the Killing curse that failed and his scar), he’s connected to him bodily as well. Voldemort has Harry’s blood running through his veins and I admit, I was concerned about that as soon as it happened. I was even more concerned, once I read the prophecy. The thing with prophesy is that it is usually open to interpretation. And what seems straightforward (in my experience with other books) very rarely is.