Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Short Q&A With at3sparky


1. Why did you start writing?
I started writing because I was complaining about some really bad fiction I was reading on the internet. The person I was complaining to told me that if I thought I could do better, why didn’t I write something. So I did. And I didn’t get hate mail. So while I was bored at work, I would open up my doc file and write a little bit more, and a little bit more until I had a story or three.

2. If you had to do it all over again would you still write?
Probably, since I am an engineer by temperament and training and do writing as a hobby.

3. Once you’ve written a story do you ever sit down and read it for enjoyment?

4. How did you start writing Xena fan fiction?
I started out writing original fiction, not really even Uber fiction. It’s just that places like the Academy of Bards was willing to post my stories. I like doing my own world building so I don’t like to play in other people’s universes.

5. Is your muse a constant companion, or does it abandon you for long periods of time?
I always have story ideas, running movies of my own in my head constantly. For me, it’s getting my ADHD under control enough to try and put the pictures I see in my head down on paper. Sometimes I can get the movies to replay enough to capture the stories on paper, most of the time I can’t.

6. How do you feel about sequels?
I love following my characters through story arcs, so I guess you can say I’m big on sequels.

7. Is writing a quiet thing for you, where there can't be any noise or conversation going on?
Yes, I have to eliminate as many distractions as I can because it is so easy for me to get off track. My wife really wants me to go on some type of ADHD drug. On bad days, she can follow my progress through the house because of the started but not completed projects I leave scattered around.

8. Do you prefer to write/read romance, angst, horror etc, etc?
Right now, my big obsession is Urban Fantasy, and I think that is because it is currently dominated by women, so most of the protagonists are women. I do love to read almost everything except romance. At the moment, I like to write sci fi and urban fantasy.

9. What usually sparks a story idea for you?
Dreams, bad movies/TV shows, what if conversations with my wife.

10. Where do your ideas come from?
The movies playing in my head.

11. What advice can you give to future writers?
Write. Just write everything down so the act of writing becomes easy for you. The converting of ideas/stories from what I see in my head to the page is the hardest part of the whole thing for me and I am told it gets easier with practice.

12. What has the show Xena meant to you?
When Xena first came out, I was in A school in the military, which meant I lived in the barracks with 1 TV per floor. I didn’t spend a lot of time watching TV and rarely anything I wanted to watch because communal TV. Then I was stationed in Spain for a number of years and got to watch AFRTN (afarts) so no Xena there either. When I finally came back to the states, there was this thriving culture in the lesbian community in Kansas City built up around these two TV shows, Xena and Buffy. For me, the TV show will always be about the fan culture and not so much about the actual show.

13. How do you feel about the way it ended?
That was some brutal shit. I know they were trying to make her go out like a warrior and all, but really? I am not a fan of the ending.

14. How real are your characters to you?
My characters have this whole back story and motivations and life that don’t always come out in the story but does influence how they interact. So they are very 3D to me. Do I expect to turn a corner and bam, there they are? No, they are figments of my imagination.

15. Do your characters speak to you?
Do they address me by name? No, but I get to watch the movie of their lives.

16. Are you in control of your story, or do the characters run the show?
Most of the time, I feel like I am just watching it all go by and I just write down what I see. For example, I did not want to move my werewolves to Orange County. I hate LA. I work down there all the time, so I am quite familiar with it, but I wanted the werewolves to stay up here, in the Bay Area. I couldn’t write that story. It just wouldn’t work. I finally threw up my hands and went ‘Fine! You get to move to LA’ then I was able to write that story. Of course, I got to cheat as well and move parts of LA around to suit myself, but the story had to take place in So Cal no matter what I thought I wanted.

17. How would you feel about another writer giving one of your characters a cameo in their story?
Depends on who the author is and what the story is about.

18. Has online writing changed your life in any way?
It’s how I met my wife, and I have made quite a few friends this way.

19. Have you ever been stalked on the internet by an overzealous fan?
Yes. But not for my fiction writing.

20. Which one of your online stories is your favorite?
It’s a toss up between Damage and Territory. One is about science geek girl and the other is about werewolves.

21. Do you do a lot of rewrites?
Not really. I should, I know it would make me a better writer and my stories so much better, but once again, ADHD girl does not want to do boring stuff and it’s really hard for me to keep going over and over stuff.

22. Is there ever a point in your writing where you get stuck each and every time? How do you get out of it?
Endings. Oh my God, I can’t end stories.

23. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most and why?
World building. I love creating these universes that my characters live in.

24. When you're working on a story are you obsessed with it until it's done?
Sometimes. If I can get hyper focused on a something, that’s usually when I can finish it.

25. Who are your favorite top five writers? Online or published.
In no particular order because they change depending on what I am currently reading:

Lilith Saintcrow
JA Pratt
Anne Bishop
Jennifer Estep

26. The song says "Who rules the world? Girls." If that were true would the world be a better place?
No. Replacing the patriarchy with a matriarchy won’t fix the problems with sexism in our society; it would only slant them in our favor.

27. Do you write a story straight through, or do you write in pieces, then put it all together.
I have to write a story straight through. I have tried the pieces thing, and that did not work out well.

28. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Getting the stories out of my head so there is room for more stories.

29. Do you read books for pleasure while you are writing?
I am an addict and books are my drug of choice. I usually read 10 books a week so I am always reading, even when I am writing.

30. Do you have a favorite Greek God?
I always liked Hephaestus, because he was always making cool stuff.

31. Do you have a pet peeve?
People who form opinions not based on facts. And refuse to change opinions when overwhelming evidence is presented showing that their opinion is wrong.

32. Have you created a character that you would like to meet?
Yeah, I have created a couple. I’d like to meet Justice, from Damage and I would like to meet Shea, from Wolves of Orange County.

33. What do you see yourself doing in the future?
Traveling around fixing stuff, writing more stories as the mood strikes me.

34. What is your favorite word?
Amuck. I love that word, both the sound and the meaning.

35. What is your least favorite word?

36. What turns you on?
Smart women

37. What turns you off?
Willful ignorance

38. What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of a well-tuned muscle car engine.

39. What sound or noise do you hate?
The ringtone I assigned to my supervisor on my work phone.

40. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck. I was in the Navy and learned to use it as a noun, a verb, and an adjective.

41. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Astro physics. Yes, I am a math geek.

42. What profession would you absolutely not like to participate in?
Anything that involves working in an office.

43. If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
I’m an atheist, so I haven’t really ever given this any thought.

Here is at3sparky's favorite story:

Damage - 43 pages
Jay Rollins is a crime tech at the Johnson County Crime Lab. She faces some of her most difficult challenges, professional and personal when she gets called in to help with a muder in her hometown of Lawrence, Kansas.

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