Monday, July 22, 2013

A Short Q&A With Badsquirrel


1. Why did you start writing?
I lived in my head most of my childhood. I liked writing, but I didn’t start writing down what was happening in my imagination until my late thirties. This was shortly after I stopped smoking weed and stopped being so lazy. I had the characters for Shine in my head and I got curious about whether or not I could write a full story. It took me a year to write the story and then I spent another year agonizing over every single word. It was quite rewarding to have the finished story in my hands.

2. If you had to do it all over again would you still write?
Yes, though I might have started earlier.

3. Once you’ve written a story do you ever sit down and read it for enjoyment?
I have re-read all of my stories at least once (okay, okay…many times) and must admit that I am sometimes shocked at what I read. A particular turn of phrase or a story line development will jump out at me and I have to wonder where that came from. I do not always recognize my thinking in my stories.

4. How did you start writing Xena fan fiction?
Not relevant. I don’t do Xena stories.

5. Is your muse a constant companion, or does it abandon you for long periods of time?
Is the muse the writing or the imagining? I have long periods where I don’t write, but the daydreaming of characters and situations is pretty constant. Sometimes there will be a particular scene that won’t stop playing out in my head and I have to write it down to make it stop. I have a lot of individual scenes written that do not turn into stories. I am currently in a dry spell as far as a story goes, but I do write scenes on a fairly regular basis.

6. How do you feel about sequels?
I love when an author takes a really good story and writes a sequel to it. It’s hard to let go of characters that really capture you. Caring about what happens to them doesn’t stop at the end of the first story. I am always grateful to see sequels. However, I have never written one. I have scenes for sequels in my head, but no full blown storylines.

7. Is writing a quiet thing for you, where there can't be any noise or conversation going on?
Most of the time, I write in complete silence. Sometimes I will have the TV on just for the illusion of company. I don’t listen to music at all when I am writing. I do not require the silence. It just sort of happens.

8. Do you prefer to write/read romance, angst, horror etc, etc?
I am a science fiction geek. I also like to read lesbian fiction. So far, I have only written romances.

9. What usually sparks a story idea for you?
I am never quite sure if I am going to write another story until I do. However, if I do write another one, it is going to have Bob the Pig in it. Where did Bob the Pig come from? Beats me. I was just sitting around daydreaming and I saw an enormous pig. His name is Bob. He is going to be the watch pig for one of my characters. I know where they live and I have a general plan for the story. I am just waiting for it to flesh itself into a full story so I can write it.

10. Where do your ideas come from?
I don’t know where my ideas come from, but I know why. I write romantic stories so that I don’t have to live them. I am not suited to having real relationships. By writing them, I can have all the romance I want and I get to be in total control. Everyone does what I want and I know how it’s going to turn out. In real life, people never do what I want and it makes me miserable. My story relationships are awesome. The sex is always mind blowing and everyone is happy.

11. What advice can you give to future writers?
Don’t succumb to writer’s block. If I feel stuck, I go to a movie or write a grocery list or power-watch a series on Netflix. If I can’t write today or this month, so what? Do something else. Sitting and staring at a blank piece of paper is silly. You’re just making it worse. Sometimes it can take days for a character to tell me what to say next. If you have to wait for a character to speak up, so be it. You don’t have to sit still while you wait. Go do something fun.

12. What has the show Xena meant to you?
I never watched it.

13. How do you feel about the way it ended?
See 12.

14. How real are your characters to you?
Very. Although, some characters are more real to me than others. Or maybe it’s that I like some of my characters more than others.

15. Do your characters speak to you?
Pretty much all the time.

16. Are you in control of your story, or do the characters run the show?
When I try to force the story my characters tend to go off on tangents. I’ll have to throw out pages and pages of weirdness in order to get back on track. The characters are in charge of flavor, but I am in charge of where the story goes.

17. How would you feel about another writer giving one of your characters a cameo in their story?
I don’t know how I feel about this. I suppose I would be open to it, but I’d like to be asked first.

18. Has online writing changed your life in any way?
It gives me something to brag about at parties.

19. Have you ever been stalked on the internet by an overzealous fan?

20. Which one of your online stories is your favorite?
It’s hard to choose one. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Shine because it was my first, but if I had to choose one, I think it would be Dark Side of the Moon. The story is about Sarah, an emotionally stunted young woman, and Jordan, who runs a dungeon for the BDSM crowd as a hobby. Jordan wants people to be comfortable with her, but she has hidden her essence to do it and doesn’t know how to get it back. Sarah has to learn how to let people care about her. I had to stretch outside my comfort zone to write it. I think the characters in the story have more flaws than I usually write, but they are basically very good people. The challenge was to be accurate about BDSM without alienating readers or becoming too clinical. Of course, my last story, Warriors of the Heart, has Stevie in it. Stevie is an archetype for goodness. It’s hard not to love that.

21. Do you do a lot of rewrites?
After a story is written, I read it over and over, tweaking things here and there, but mostly small tweaks. While I am in the process of writing, it is two steps forward and one step back. I change things constantly.

22. Is there ever a point in your writing where you get stuck each and every time? How do you get out of it?
I hate writing sex scenes. Hate might not be a strong enough word. I loathe writing sex scenes. A one page sex scene can take me weeks to write and every moment of it is a misery. I love writing romance, but I wish I could just allude to the sex and move on. It is such a struggle. My beta reader (the indomitable QMBG) demands that I include sex scenes. She is quite insistent on it. That’s the only reason I do it and she deserves credit for pushing me to get it done.

23. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most and why?
I love that it is quiet and I am alone when writing, but the nature of what I am writing is like being in a relationship. I get all the good and none of the bad.

24. When you're working on a story are you obsessed with it until it's done?
Not so much. I can walk away for a day or ten, but I always go back.

25. Who are your favorite top five writers? Online or published.
The Dar and Kerry series by Melissa Good is probably my favorite. There’s no sex in it, but it drips romance. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read the series from start to finish. Every time she comes out with a new story in the series, I start at the beginning. Rita Mae Brown’s older works are a particular favorite. Six of One and Southern Discomfort are my faves. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan has kept me riveted for decades. I have not read the last one yet as I don’t want it to end. In my next life, I want to be a dragon rider in Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. Preferably a blue dragon. Then there is Tom Robbins and his quirky characters. He makes me think outside the box.

26. The song says "Who rules the world? Girls." If that were true would the world be a better place?
I don’t know, but I can’t imagine that it would be worse. It is nice to believe that women would do a better job, but women can be just as off-balance as men.

27. Do you write a story straight through, or do you write in pieces, then put it all together.
I write straight through most of the time, but the exception to that was Rumors. I wrote that story backwards. I wrote the last chapter first and then worked my way back to the beginning one chapter at a time. I had the story in my head when I started, but I just couldn’t write chapter one. I finally decided to write the loudest part and see what happened. It was a very odd process.

28. What do you enjoy most about writing?
The power. Mwahahaha. Actually, it’s like living in your daydreams. Anything can happen, but if you don’t like it, you just change it up. When I am writing, my connection to real life is a tenuous thing. I go to work every day and do what I need to do, but I’m not really there. I spend more time in the story than I do with the people around me. Also, I’m easier to get along with when I’m writing. I’m quietly distracted all the time instead of focusing on how irritating people are.

29. Do you read books for pleasure while you are writing?
Absolutely. I read every single day.

30. Do you have a favorite Greek God?
I love the whole panoply of Greek myth, but I do not have a favorite. They are all so flawed. It’s hard to admire any of them. Usually, it is the victim who draws my attention. Arachne is a favorite.

31. Have you created a character that you would like to meet?
In Dark Side of the Moon there is a woman named Amanda. She is the girlfriend of Pete, who is essentially Jordan’s butler. I do not dare to dream of a meeting that would culminate in any sort of intimate connection. In fact, I would probably be utterly speechless in her presence. But I would like to be in her orbit for a brief time.

32. Do you have a pet peeve?
OMG. There are so many. Let’s narrow it down to my top three. First, Wednesday. I propose we spell it Wensday. It just makes sense. Second, I hate the national anthem. It’s a stupid song. Let’s change it to America the Beautiful. Or My County Tis of Thee. Anything is better than what we have. Third, people who speed up to pass me and then slow down right in front of me. Why isn’t it legal to run those asswipes off the road?

33. What do you see yourself doing in the future?
Getting older and crankier.

34. What is your favorite word?
It’s a phrase. Superluminal translocation. I just love it.

35. What is your least favorite word?

36. What turns you on?

37. What turns you off?

38. What sound or noise do you love?

39. What sound or noise do you hate?
Scraping an empty coffee can along a sandy sidewalk.

40. What is your favorite curse word?
I like them all. Frequently.

41. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I’ve always wanted to be a photographer for National Geographic magazine.

42. What profession would you absolutely not like to participate in?
Therapist. I just don’t care enough to even consider it.

43. If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Here is BadSquirrel's favorite story:

The Dark Side of the Moon by BadSquirrel - 330 pages
The product of an emotionally bereft childhood, the only things Sarah Wylie has going for her are her drive and ambition. She has a plan for her life and every step she takes serves a purpose. Though it turns out to be rather unconventional, the job posted in the Student Union seems like the logical next step in the life she is building for herself. But her new job and employer will challenge every aspect of her character and the dreams she has fought so hard to achieve.


  1. Okay, I'll start the chant...More please, more please, more please. I truly love your stories. Every time I try to decide who my favorite characters are, I have to re-read them all. My favorite turns out to be whichever ones I'm reading about at the moment. As you say at the beginning of each one..."I only wish I knew these women and the town of Edgewater." Thanks for the great entertainment.

  2. Brilliant writer, I look forward to reading everything that Bad Squirrel writes. My most favourite The Dark Side of the Moon. but that was a difficult choice as I re-read all her stories. Please keep writing, the wait for a new one is so worth while. Interesting Q&A Thank you....UK fan......