Could you tell us a little about yourself as a way of introduction (i.e. where you're from, professional aspirations, what you do to unwind and relax, etc.)?
I wish there were an interesting way to impart this information, instead of an infodump, but whatever. ;) I'm originally from New Hampshire, but have lived in many places around the States during college and afterwards, including Texas, Los Angeles, and now New York. I'm currently going into my third year of law school and am very involved in political and social issues. To my fellow Americans: Please vote [] November 2nd. /political geekery.

While procrastinating and conscientiously *not* reading my assigned cases, I watch TV (or TV on DVD!) or read or, sometimes, write. I've been a fangirl for a long time. Though X-Men is my current top-obsession, I also get geekish about X-Files, West Wing, Sports Night, Gilmore Girls, and Alias, to varying degrees.

Oh, and as for the excessive length of my answers, Marguerite [] says I'm not long-winded, I'm merely thorough. :)

How long have you been writing fan fic and what made you put that first story down on paper?
I can't bear to look up actual dates for my first story, but I'd say close to ten years. I cut my teeth on X-Files fandom, back when there weren't pairing- or character-specific lists or archives. There was the Gossamer archive [] and there was :) It was rough, in some ways, but I learned a *lot* from posting my Mulder/Scully stories to an audience that included people overtly hostile to the idea of them in a romantic pairing. Nobody over there ever pulled a punch, and I'm a better writer and better at taking criticism -- sort of ::g:: -- for it.

As for why I wrote my first fanfic... Tough question. I'd written various stories growing up, and fanfic seemed like a fun new way of exercising that skill. (Not that I was particularly skilled back then -- I wrote a SONGFIC, for the love of all that is holy!) A lot of my XF fic was filling in the blanks, the missing pieces that we didn't see onscreen. (And, no, I'm not archived as Macha over there. Thank GOD.) That's still why I write a lot of my fic.

What interesting things has your involvement in fan fiction and/or the X-Men fandom done for you?
Fandom in general has brought me so many dear friends, and X-Men in particular has exposed me to *more* great writers and a group of incredibly witty and welcoming fannish types. Wit and good humor are prerequisites to any positive fannish experience, so the WRFA and wrbeta, under Devil Doll's leadership, are simply a joy.

As a writer, learning how to write inherently... uh, *comic* characters with reality and humanity -- that's been a challenge. And I spent the three years prior to falling into XM fandom writing West Wing fanfic, which is *very* different, generically speaking. While that was a lovely outlet for my political wonkishness, it's nice to come at societal problems from another point of view -- writing the people on the ground affected by the bad policy as opposed to the people trying to fix the policy from above. Heroes of a different color, I guess. I'm fascinated by Xavier's and Magneto's differing approaches to mutant-human conflict.

In regards to writing Logan/Rogue fic, do you feel that their chemistry in the movie(s) inspires you to write, or do you write to enhance their chemistry?
Probably both. I was originally squicked at the age difference. In fact, the first time I saw the movie (at, yes, Emily Meredith's [] house despite some protesting from me), I was drinking -- a *lot* -- as we watched it. I was so drunk that the CAGEFIGHT didn't even register. ::boggle:: The next day, I was like, "Was the Statue of Liberty in the movie? Oh, and wait -- did one of 'em have, like, *claws* or something? 'Cause what's *that* about?" :)

All I really remembered afterwards was this little girl crawling into Logan's trailer, and the thought of them paired romantically was icky. (I am *not* a fan of Hollywood's obsession with pairing aging action stars with twentysomething nymphettes.) Then, nearly a year later, I finally bowed to Em's pressure and flat out *bought* XM 1.5 to watch. That time, the instant bond between Logan and Rogue hooked me right in, and I am still incredibly impressed by how much Anna Paquin aged Rogue in that final farewell scene.

All of which is my typically long-winded way of saying -- their onscreen chemistry inspires me to write stories that expand on the chemistry. :) And incidentally, the first story I *started* writing was Nice Southern Girls, which is set eight years after the first movie, just to get over any lingering squickiness I was feeling.

What sort of writer are you--nose to the grindstone, or lightning bolts of inspiration?
Probably more the latter, though it does takes some sort of nose-to-the-grindstone-ness to finish fics. I usually lack time to write more than I lack ideas (though when I purposefully *make* the time to write, I'm often stunningly uninspired.) I write more words per day during finals than any other time. It's exhausting.

Those lightning bolts, however, are often just a basic idea. I'm usually not too sure where a story's going before I get there, save the broadest of outlines. Like, say, "Logan and Rogue will end up together." Well, duh! Heehee. It's the journey that's the fun part, and the best stuff I've ever written comes not from me forcing it, but from me sitting back and just sort of... writing down what the characters are saying. There's something to be said for the muse theory []. ;)

Speaking of inspiration, where on Earth do all those plot bunnies come from? Do you get a lot of ideas all at once, or do you save them up for a rainy day? :-)
Oh, God. The plot bunnies. Hmmm... Well, most of the ideas I come up with on my own are the result of me driving long distances while bored out of my mind and listening to CDs. I'm very influenced by songs, especially lyrics that evoke a strong emotion or scenario that I could easily read into "my" characters. For instance, Gravel is the end result of my absolute adoration for Ani DiFranco's song, "Gravel." [] The story hews close to the lyrics at first, but because this is Logan and Rogue in a very specific situation, I just let the story play out without trying to force it to conform to the song's "story." Similarly, the hideously depressing through like water was the combination of my idea about the consequences of Rogue's mutation and listening to Alannis Morrisette's "Precious Illusions" [] one too many times.

Other times, the ideas fall out of the air, fully formed. This is incredibly rare, however, and has resulted in exactly one series in XM: Every Purpose Under Heaven. Being a very political person, half the fun of X2 for me (since there was way too little Logan/Rogue interaction) was catching the repeated references and allusions to post-09.11.01 America. Okay, perhaps "fun" isn't the right word, but you see what I mean. And the paranoid atmosphere, the distrust of the "other" in the movie -- eventually, Every Purpose just sort of... occurred to me, fully formed. And, man, did I have too much fun with the MUTANT Act/PATRIOT Act [] stuff. ;)

The only trouble with an idea like that is what happened to me while writing it -- I told the original, fell-fully-formed-from-the-sky story in the first three parts (End of Summer, Fall Back, The Longest Day)... which left me with *no* clue what should happen in the fourth and final installment (Reawakenings). Hence the long wait between the first three stories and what turned out to be the epilogue, because I had a lot of trouble getting my mind around the resolution.

Most of the rest of the time, Em will politely request (or, you know, demand) bubblefic [] or piningfic or some other sort of story, and I'll refuse and refuse and refuse. Then she'll dare me or bribe me and then I write it. :)

What about, "Nice Southern Girls"...where did the idea for that story come from and did you enjoy writing it?
Um... the idea? I honestly don't remember. I wrote the first segment as probably the first piece of XM fic writing I'd done. When I'm new to a fandom or a character, I tend to spend some time getting to "know" them by way of writing them. In poor Marie's case, getting to know her meant digging into her Southern background and coming up with the opening to what turned into a smutfest. ;)

Oddly, I didn't feel like I "knew" her well enough to write much more than the introduction until I'd written a few other stories. Probably if I'd started writing Nice Southern Girls in the third person, I could've written it sooner, but first person requires not only "getting" the character, but also being able to sound like her.

It was a lot of fun to write that story, though. I'm not a big fan of PoorInnocentNaive!Rogue and BigStrongHandsome!Logan. Sorry, but a teenaged girl who can make it for eight months on her own is a lot less na´ve than that, and Logan as perfect and flawless (or boorish and totally animalistic) quite frankly doesn't interest me enough to write about. I know it's been done to death, but I really do find Logan's moral code and his potential resistance to a sexual relationship with a girl he rescued fascinating. Would he have trouble seeing her as anything other than that girl, or would the trouble be that he felt guilty because he *did* see her as a woman?

And just how frustrating would it be for Rogue to want him for so damn long and to *know* he wants her back but is too damn stubborn to admit it? So, yeah, that's pretty much what Nice Southern Girls is about.

Was there ever an instance when you had solid ideas for a fic but the character(s) said, "No way!" Where do you go from there?
Probably, though I'm not one for rigid outlines, so if a story takes a turn, I'm usually just like, "Oh, interesting, a 90-degree turn. Cool." The only time I've had trouble by being constrained to a very specific plotline is writing a remix, and it wasn't the *plot* that was giving me trouble, but understanding *why* this character (Logan) would do something.

I do have this story that was going to be my version of the Logan/Rogue/Scott/Jean quadrangle, only I was going to toss in Bobby for good measure, and call it a pentagram. I had the basic outline of the story in my head, but I just couldn't actually *write* it. Every time I tried, I'd get maybe a sentence or two, and then I'd reread it and realize that even two sentences in, this was *sucking.* Bobby wasn't talking to me, so I busied myself with other fic. Now after writing Rock, Paper, Scissors, I feel like I have, to a certain extent, told this story. The Rogue/Bobby parts at least, and Entropy, the companion piece I'm writing to Marguerite's Chaos Theory [], takes care of the Logan/Jean/Scott/Rogue stuff, so... I guess that's one story that will never be written. Blame Bobby. :)

"Logan Gets Leid" is a story that only contains lines of dialogue. In general, which comes easier to you, writing the dialogue or the plot/descriptive passages in stories?
DIALOGUE. God, dialogue. My undergrad degree is in film, and writing screenplays trains you to focus on dialogue to tell the story. That, plus three years of dialogue-centric West Wing fic writing, and my descriptive skills -- never that strong to begin with -- are severely impaired. I can blow through seven silly puff pieces like Logan Gets Leid if I can just write straight dialogue, but give me interior monologues or -- heaven forbid -- *setting descriptions*, and I'm reduced to a mass of quivering insecurity.

I have to make a concerted effort to flesh out my stories past basic dialogue attributions, especially if I need a strong sense of setting. It always feels so awkward to me when I'm writing it -- like, "The desk was brown and large and in the corner, with a brown chair in front of it." ::bangs head on keyboard:: GOD, could I bore my readers any faster? In that aspect, Gravel was hard to write, because I really wanted to take some time with the hot, sticky, sweltering springtime-in-the-swamps setting.

Sometimes using first-person POV helps, because you're sort of locked into giving an internal monologue, but I still consider pretty much everything non-dialogue that I write to be not that great.

We fans all have favorite dialogue from the movies..."You don't know, or you don't care?" "Pick one."...comes to my mind. Do you have a favorite line from the movies? How about from one of your stories?
From XM, "When they come out, does it hurt?" "Every time." For so many reasons, not the least of which is the gorgeous direction and cinematography. Mostly, though, it's her simple curiosity and the fact that Logan is willing to reveal something so intensely personal to her, and he's just barely met her. That might very well be the moment I tipped from interested to obsessed.

As for my fics... Ugh, I always suck at answering questions like this, and then Em always mocks me. I really like the part in Gravel where Rogue says something like, "Did Jean kick you out of bed? Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not that easy anymore." 'Cause - *ouch*! The funniest thing I think I've written in the XM world is a moment in Imperfect Smile, where Rogue has a fat lip and the swelling causes her to call him "Wogan." I still crack up picturing that moment. Wogan. ::snerk:: I'm such a twelve-year-old sometimes.

What POV do you most often use when writing your stories and why?
*GrammarGrrrl Answer*: Third-person. I am *so* not into third-person omniscient, where the reader can "see" into various people's heads, so if it's third-person, we are only privy to one character's thoughts. I do write first person POVs, but not as often as I used to. Usually the choice between third and first is made for me when I write the first sentence. It needs to be catchy, and it needs to reflect the idea that got me to open the blank document, and if it comes out third person, then that's what I'll go with.

Either way, everyone else's actions are filtered through the narrative character's perspective. So if it's Rogue's point of view, she's reading Logan's actions with her own prejudices and biases in place. That is a fun thing to play with, especially if you can manage to write something where the narrative character and the reader see the same actions, but the narrative character misinterprets it while the reader understands. The audience is privileged above the narrative character, and can then gnash their teeth in frustration when, say, Narrator!Logan completely misunderstands Rogue's point. ;) It can be fun if it's done right.

I usually write in the past tense, because it feels the most... normal, I guess. Though on occasion, I'll use present tense to give the story that sense of immediacy.

*Slightly Less Boring Answer*: As for which character I usually write, it depends on the story and whose internal monologue/emotional reaction is more... I don't want to say important, but necessary to the storytelling. In Gravel, for example, Rogue's betrayal and hurt need to be palpable, so it's written strictly from her POV. Every Purpose Under Heaven was fun because I switched off POVs between Logan and Rogue, which I think helped the story to be more complete.

The hardest story to write, from a POV/narrative standpoint, was through like water. Not only were there first *and* third person and present *and* past tense sections, but the past/third segments rotated viewpoints, so that I ended up writing from Logan's, Marie's, Scott's, Ororo's, Jean's, and Xavier's points of view. *That* was a definite challenge, and while the story seemed to need that sort of structure, I'm still a little uncertain whether it works the way it's intended to, or if it's unnecessarily formalistic and all "look at me with my experimental writing!" ::shrug::

"Nice Southern Girls" is written from Rogue's POV and "What We Had Inside: Through the Looking Glass Remix" is from Logan's POV. How was it different telling an entire story from Logan's perspective as opposed to Rogue's?
The remix is from Logan's POV because I wanted to know what the hell was going on in his tiny little mind. ::g:: Ditto for my forthcoming companion story to Meg's Chaos Theory. Both of these stories are, essentially, fanfics for fanfic stories, which lets me dig into Logan's skull and figure out what the *hell* he was thinking. ;)

If you're asking whether it's hard, as a woman, to write from a man's POV, yes, it is. Or it can be. Yet in all of my fandoms save X-Files, I have ended up writing "the guy" POV in a series of stories with a coauthor penning "the girl." I'm not sure why that is. I probably find Rogue easier to identify with on the more obvious levels -- she's a woman, she's young (I was once ::g:: ), she's lusting after Logan... Heehee.

You've written a couple of series, "Every Purpose Under Heaven" and "Rock, Paper, Scissors." Are series more difficult to write than standalones, and if so, what are some of the problems you've encountered?
Series in general are a great way to explore larger story arcs, which is why I adore them. If you ask Em or Meg, they'll tell you that I am incapable of writing anything short. That is *patently* untrue. That said, I do adore writing series, though they can be challenging. Rock, Paper, Scissors, for example, was a brief outline in my head when I started writing it. The first three went pretty much as I expected them to go, and then the fourth story sort of... veered a little bit. At that point, when Rogue was struggling for control of her mind, I really, really, really, *really* wanted to take that story and write *a lot more* of it over weeks and weeks, or write several "extra" stories in the series as she pulled herself back from the edge.

But I'd already written the first three in an established pattern -- one story covers a small period of time, and they're in two year increments. To write several stories over the course of a couple months would just mess everything up, including the rotating POVs. I struggled with the ending of the fourth story for quite a while as a result, but I eventually convinced my muse to stick with the format and I'm glad I did.

The various stories in the "Every Purpose Under Heaven" series seem to focus on, and put Logan and Rogue through, different types of struggles. Do you usually/deliberately set a specific goal with each part of a series?
Not in that sense, no. I knew the basic plotline of Every Purpose Under Heaven when I started writing it, and the first three flowed rather easily (which is quite unusual). As I was writing, the plot dictated the types of struggles each character would face. I wanted Logan and Rogue to be struggling with themselves, each other, and a larger, political problem. As it turns out, each chapter, in retrospect, seems to focus more closely on one of the three.

So, um, yeah, that was mostly an accident. Go, me! Heehee. My goals are more end-result, and then I see what happens as I'm writing.

Characterization is important and can include such things as speech patterns, mannerisms (body language, little habits, etc.) and actions. What particular things stick out in your mind as essential to writing Logan and Rogue as unique characters?
I know this is, like, the eternal argument in the XM fandom, but since I'm firmly and unabashedly a movieverse girl, I base my characterizations on *that* version of Logan and Rogue. I know a lot of the fanon that I disagree with is probably comic canon, but I still write Logan as tall and muscular, and Rogue with brown eyes.

Oddly, the thing I remember most about learning how to extrapolate character traits from canon is a betacomment I got back in my horrible XF writing days. I had Scully listening to Tori Amos, a favorite of mine, and my beta reader said, "Um… Scully's in her early thirties and an FBI agent in Washington. I'm not sure she would have ever even *heard* of Tori Amos." Wow, no kidding. But I was writing what *I* knew and what *I* would listen to, and I had to learn how to *not* do that. In short, I think you have to watch the movies enough to have an instinctive sense of how each character would act and then try not to let your own personality (or your own preferred characteristics in a hero or heroine) bleed into your writing. Which sounds easier than it sometimes is.

Do you intentionally write humor into your stories, or does it just happen that way? :-)
Wow, you mean other people think they're funny, too? Excellent! Heehee.

I read this great quote from Aaron Sorkin (playwright and creator/writer of "Sports Night" and "The West Wing" []) where he said that his default is broad comedy. I think that is so true of me, too -- if I'm stuck, I write a stupid joke. If I'm blocked, I have somebody take a pratfall.

Some stories, like A Conversation on the Rocks or Osae Waza, are intended to be comedic from the outset. But it's very hard for me to get through an entire scene without *someone* cracking a joke.

Denial!Logan is an incarnation that pops up in several of your humorous stories. Is writing this version of Logan easy and/or fun for you? Why or why not?
Denial!Logan might just be my favorite flavor! But only when he's right at the skinny edge of giving in. I think this plays into my comedic instincts -- Logan's internal struggle over lusting after Rogue can be really *funny*, so in that respect, I guess it's easy for me to write. I think underlying this is my fascination with Logan's honor code. I think he is staunchly honorable, but that his moral code doesn't necessarily match up with Xavier's. Logan is much more utilitarian, and I just find him fascinating.

You participated in the recent Remix-Redux challenge. How was that experience different (if at all) from the other stories you've written for challenges - namely, "Imperfect Smile" and "Logan Gets Leid?"
Logan Gets Leid is one of the silliest things I've ever written, and was mostly a LiveJournal entry that got away from me, as I'd recently been on a cruise myself. Imperfect Smile was written to get somebody to say "annibirthary," since DevilDoll made that a challenge of a sort, and I cannot resist challenges. With that one requirement, I was able to come up with a plot -- if you can call it that -- to suit my purposes, all in order to give Rogue a fat lip and make her say "annibirthary." Challenges like that are really good exercises, as they give you a starting point and let you go.

Writing a remix, I found, is very different. Instead of an idea, I had an entire universe constructed already, and I wasn't allowed to *alter* it. There was also the added weight of knowing that, unlike my fanfic in general, the original author *would* read the story and might outright *hate* it. I chose to rewrite a story originally told by Rogue from Logan's perspective, and since Dieben wrote such an excellent Rogue, I had a lot to live up to. So, yeah, it was daunting and it was harder than other challenges I've participated in, but I was really happy to have done it.

How and why did you choose "What We Had Inside" to remix?
When I was assigned Dieben [], I ran right out and reread all of her stories. There were *many* that tempted me, but I chose "What We Had Inside" for two reasons: 1. because it's post-X2 and, since I skidded into this fandom when X2 was in theatres, I don't write much post-X1, and 2. because I found the premise - that Rogue had touched Jean briefly and it had altered Rogue's abilities - utterly fascinating. And, of course, reading the story, I *craved* knowing what was going on in Logan's mind. While Diebin's story was complete on its own, it also left enough leeway to write a remix that wasn't just a retread. (Though I was *not* pleased when I realized that I had to write - ugh! - the Logan/Jean kiss from X2 into the story! Heehee.)

"Osae Waza" features a lot of yummy UST. How do you write sexual tension effectively and how is writing it different from writing smut?
Um. ;) Well, I learned how to write UST because for a long damn time, I couldn't bring myself to write smut. I'd turn *bright* red and get hugely embarrassed and then I would have to stop and go away. So I guess being a big wuss forced me to find other, less explicit ways of writing sex scenes, or the lead up to sex scenes. For Osae Waza in particular, I was mostly just being stubborn about it not being a smut story, so I pushed the boundary about as far as I could. Heehee.

Rogue's mutation certainly affects how sex takes place (if at all) and how such a scene can be written. How do you deal with this in your various stories...or do you have her in control of her mutation in such stories so you don't have to deal with it?
Interesting question. As I mentioned above, when I fell into this fandom, I watched XM on DVD and within a week had seen X2 in theatres. My impression of Rogue's mutation in the second movie is that it's *not* instantaneous, and my favorite explanation for why is that she's been able to gain some measure of control. I don't like it to be easy for her, but I like the idea that she can hold it back for a few seconds at a time. In most of my fic, I give Rogue a little control and let Logan and Rogue figure out the rest with scarves and whatnot. Because, you know, without all the protective gear, I could be writing any other of my fannish couples. ;)

Plus, I really like the idea that Logan, who's a sensual man, has to really pay attention and concentrate when he's with Rogue.

You stated that "Topless in Tahiti" was the working title for "A Conversation on the Rocks." How did this preliminary title eventually evolve into its final form, and in general, how do you come up with your story titles?
My first response to this question was, "Um... I think Em had something to do with it?" Luckily, Em's got a much better memory than me. Turns out, this was originally Em's idea -- she pointed out that it'd be fun if Rogue didn't want to go to a cold place anymore now that she *has* to wear layers all the time. Instead of that, she should go to Tahiti and be all naked. Then Em refused to write it and pestered me about it, and voila. Insta!Story.

I don't remember *why* we started calling it "Topless in Tahiti," but I generally suck at titles. Suck, suck, SUCK. Most of the time, I steal bits of song lyrics or poems, or use some painfully obvious word if all else fails.

Which of your stories is your favorite and why? Least favorite?
Oh, I can never pick. Among my favorites, for different reasons, are Every Purpose Under Heaven (mmm, politics!), Gravel (for the heartbreak), and Nice Southern Girls (I really like this incarnation of Rogue). Least favorites include Logan Gets Leid (utterly implausible) and Their Life and Their Limits (because I had a lot of trouble with the middle section of this and haven't quite gotten over my resentment; plus I think it could be better).

You have several author friends who serve as beta readers. What do they all bring to your writing process?
Talent and humor and handholding, among many, many other things. Depending on the story, my beta readers include Em, Meg, Lulu, Philateley, and even though she's not in the fandom, Jo March. Every single one of them inspires me with their own writing (rare as it may be in some cases), and they really are invaluable. To have any one of them say they *like* a story is a relief, because I operate from a place of deep insecurity where I really do think this latest thing I'm working on is so obviously a sign that any minor talent I may once have possessed has fled. ;)

Thank you so much, ladies.

Typically, how much does the final story differ from what your mind's eye sees when you first begin writing it?
Usually quite a lot. I'm not a big outline person, and I don't force myself to follow a set plan when I'm writing, so if a story turns out differently than I'd originally envisioned, I go with it. I try to let the characters and their reactions to each other and a given situation dictate where the story goes, and not my original picture of the plot.

"Osae Waza" has a "DVD commentary" version, giving us a peek at the creative process. What a terrific idea! How did this come about, what was it like to "make" it and are you planning more for other stories?
The DVD Commentary thing was a LiveJournal meme I stole from Victoria P. [] because I thought it was *such* a great idea. It was very fun to do, especially since I made Em comment with me - it's more interesting to have a conversation than a monologue, right? ;)

Can you tell us what stories you have in the works right now and do you plan on writing a sequel to the story, "Gravel?"
I have many, many stories in the works right now, because I've heard the third year of law school is a breeze. ::snicker:: I *am* tossing around ideas for a sequel (or seven) to Gravel, but haven't started anything yet. Sorry, Devil Doll. I'll get to it. Probably. And there will be belt buckle-ness. ;)

As I mentioned above, I'm writing a companion piece to Meg's Chaos Theory, and I've got several other L/R pieces -- including a NOT!babyfic, which I'm writing in tandem with Meg -- in progress. But the next thing you'll probably see from me is a sequel to katherine's [] lovely A Sure Thing, a story that I adored from first reading and only hope I do justice to with the sequel.

Do you have any comments, words of wisdom, or shameless plugs you'd like to leave us with?
I've probably said *more* than enough, what with the longwinded -- excuse me, *thoroughness* -- of my answers. ;) I don't have much in the way of wisdom, and I really suck at shameless plugs.

Instead I'll say this: Thanks to my fellow XM fans for being so kind and embracing to new converts. Y'all rock.

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