Hello my lovely readers!!! I am bringing you another awesome author today! *Cue trumpets*
Okay, so this chick is actually quite the little fandom jumper. She’s written for OUAT (where I found her), Chronicles of Narnia, Maximum Ride, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Life with Derek and Supernatural. I can’t even pretend I have any clue about some of those fandoms, but I was intrigued enough to skim her HP and GOT stuff…still seriously great. Anyhoo, she’s awesome and I’m gonna let her “talk”. :)
Let’s start with an introduction. I’m Kelly, or as more people know me, Kelpie. And you are?
I’m Ashley or Ash, better known as nitefang.
So tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m Filipino and currently a college senior, majoring in Anthropology and minoring in creative writing. At the risk of making this sound like an application, I graduate in the spring. However, I don’t know what to do with my life beyond that point. I just wanna write stories forever.
What do you do with yourself when you’re not writing?
My effing thesis. All of my regrets in signing up for that. But before that, I slept and read a lot. I’m so lazy.
What are some things you never leave home without?
A spare hair tie, definitely. And my phone—never know when I need to type out an errant story idea or field a call from my grandparents who want to make sure their plants are still alive.
What are some of your favorite books?
I mean, apart from Harry Potter, of course, I loved reading Angels and Demons by Dan Brown—just the Robert Langdon books as a whole. I have a thing about fun adventure, treasure-hunting things. I was also very big on Meg Cabot and the James Patterson YA series, Maximum Ride. I also devoured the Warriors series—the one about cats. I never knew I could be so invested in feline relationships.
Favorite TV shows and movies?
The thing about me and TV shows—okay, I watch a lot of shows (The Blacklist, Outlander, Hart of Dixie, Once Upon a Time, Haven), but I can’t say I have a favorite. Maybe Avatar: The Last Airbender.
My all-time favorite movie has to be Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. It came out on my birthday, and when I got the DVD, I watched that movie every morning for at least two years. At one point in my life, I could quote the entire thing. I recently watched Kingsmen, and oh, my God. Highly recommend it.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and had 3 famous people with you, who would you choose and why?
Bear Grilles, for obvious reasons. Our survival would rest entirely on his shoulders. Jennifer Lawrence would be there to keep our spirits alive. And then I’d throw in Nick Jonas to sing covers in the background as the soundtrack to our endeavors—plus, you know, eye candy.
What is one place you’d love to visit?
New Zealand, for sure. Lord of the Rings, bro. That’d be the only time I’d agree to run around some hills—when I’m pretending to be Aragorn or something (“Legolas! What do your elf eyes see?”)
Do you have any pet peeves?
The incorrect pronunciation of Iraq and Iran. It’s not EYE-rack and EYE-ran; it’s IH-rack and IH-ran.
What are some of your favorite foods? How ‘bout comfort foods?
I adore microwave Salisbury steak. I will willingly die from it. As for comfort foods, I love my mom’s chicken and asparagus soup.
What’s your favorites scent—one that says “home” to you?
Home smells like fried garlic and onions. Granted, I wouldn’t make my car smell like that, but you know…
What kind of music do you like? Any you absolutely can’t stand?
I still listen to the music I grew up with. Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Celine Dion, even Wilson Phillips. I’m pretty well-versed with Top 40’s pop and stuff, but it’s not always my go-to. I also listen to soundtracks of movies, basically anything by Hans Zimmer.
I cannot stand incomprehensible rap. Take from that what you will.
Tell me one random thing about yourself.
I’m only 22, and already I have at least five white hairs somewhere on my head. And that’s not counting the god-knows-how-many I’ve already pulled out. And before you tell me not to do that, I have black hair. It stands out.
Just for some insight into you, pick one. Feel free to tell why or why not.
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate, all the way. I thought Fig Newtons were full of chocolate before I ever had one. So much disappointment.
Silver or gold? Silver. My skin tone’s too yellow for gold to complement it.
Apple or PC? Apple. More reliability. Windows was a pain.
White whine or red wine? Red.
Liquor or beer? Liquor.
Coffee or tea? Coffee.
Sleep in or get up early? Early.
Okay, now for the good stuff.
What are your preferred fandoms for writing/reading?
I wrote for Glee and Once Upon a Time, but now I’m finally getting into Harry Potter. I’ve been reading HP fics since I got into fandoms when I was in my sophomore year of high school. I also read Hunger Games and Firefly. It really depends on my mood.
What kind of environment do you write in?
I write mostly when I’m alone. I like to recite dialogue out loud before I write it.
Ever write in your PJ’s?
All the time.
How ‘bout naked?
Uh, I live with my grandparents, my mom, three uncles, and my aunt. There’ll be none of that.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
If I think up a plot that I really like or that I find interesting, that’s how it usually starts. Very rarely have I actually used a real-life experience as kindling for a story.
Do you put real life into your stories?
Surprisingly, no. I use aspects of personalities from other stories and sort of mesh them around together. Only once or twice have I ever put something real into a story, and if I did, it was a throwaway comment.
Do you write on a schedule?
My life doesn’t follow a schedule, really, so the trend persists. It happens when it happens.
Do you plan out your stories or just write whatever comes to you?
I always plan. I can’t help it. I like to get my stories all down in some form so I can pull back and rearrange things to the benefit of the overall plot. I can never do things on the fly, and the one time I did… Well, I’m still revising the story today. It’s been four years. I need to move on. But I can’t. It hurts.
Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions?
If I’m writing fanfiction, I make sure that while I am in the process of writing the story, the only fanfic I read is of that fandom I’m writing for—so that I’m not mixing up characters and atmospheres. I made the mistake of getting into Glee fanfiction while I was writing my Life With Derek fic, and it was a mess. I still haven’t finished it.
Is one genre easier for you to write than another? Is there anything that you just aren’t that great at writing?
I’m much better writing humor or fluff than I am angst or any kind of sadness. I don’t know how to make myself do it, to get into that kind of mindset or emotional state to be able to properly articulate that kind of feeling.
What is the hardest part for you about writing fanfics?
Capturing the atmosphere of the story. Glee fics were easy for me because I was still in school, but when it comes to Harry Potter, it’s a little difficult because of the influence of the movies on the books on top of the preconceived setting readers already developed. So when you’re reading, you’ve kind of got this expectation, this set feeling. When I think Harry Potter, I immediately jump to the Great Hall, with the warm woods, the golden light, the clatter of cutlery, and even the bell-like music. There are times when I want to sustain that feeling, that atmosphere, and other times when I need to move away from it. I like getting to the point with my stories, so it’s often going to be dialogue-heavy, not much scenery. So it’s a bit of a struggle.
Is there a method for coming up with titles for your stories and/or chapters?
Definitely. That’s why I like to plan things out in their entirety so that each section gets a heading, which is a chapter title that encompasses the action of the chapter. Then the entire story has a title that encapsulates what’s going on or is a key point in the story. I like to be witty too, but if it doesn’t happen, I can’t force it.
Which character do you identify with the most?
Draco Malfoy. I’m not a big fan of him because no one has the excuse to be a piece of shit to other people, but his struggle during the sixth and seventh books—with his life and his family on the line—really hit me kind of hard. I’m very family-oriented so if they happened to be indoctrinated into the agenda of a sociopath, I wouldn’t feel that I’d have the choice to leave them. I’d stay and try to keep them alive as best as I could, even if that meant screwing myself up.
Which of your stories is your favorite to write? Which of your stories is your favorite concept-wise?
The stories I most enjoyed writing are my Harry Potter fics. I love being able to weave stories around magical elements and play with characters that I’ve loved since I was small. There’s just something about that world that elicits a lot of feelings for me, and being able to submerse myself in that as a writer is kind of dream-come-true-ish.
Concept-wise, my favorite is the one I’m writing now—it’s unpublished, but it’s about Fred and Hermione being caught in a bit of an explosion that traps them in a book of Muggle fairy tales, and they’ve got to play through the stories, with the unhelpful aid of their friends and family outside of the book. Being able to put Harry Potter and Disney together is the best thing.
Do you talk to your family about your writing?
What is your favorite book/episode in your preferred series?
“Mash-Up” from Glee. “Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home” from Once Upon a Time. “The Cave of Two Lovers” from Avatar the Last Airbender.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received on your stories?
I consider two to be the best—one had a person crying from laughter in the middle of the night and trying to stifle it because everyone else in their house was asleep, and the other had a person crying because of how well I was able to articulate exactly how they felt about something. Being able to affect people in that way is one thing I strive to do as a writer.
How do you deal with the inevitable criticism?
I take it as a means to improve. Unless I know they’re absolutely wrong or doing it vindictively, then it’s received and accepted with a good dose of humor.
What is your favorite/least favorite part about your preferred fandoms?
Ship wars. It’s always going to boil down to ship wars that ruin fandoms. It happened to me in Glee, and it made me take a break from Once Upon a Time a couple of months ago. I’ve managed to stay far away from it in Harry Potter.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
There’s no such thing as a writer’s block. It’s just a normal hitch in storytelling that you’ve either got to power through or take a break and write a different scene. Visualizing is a great way to help you write, setting your characters and even finding a good song that matches the mood. Writer’s block isn’t a good enough excuse to put things down and stop writing entirely.
When I say “take a break,” I mean skip to a scene that’s more vivid in your mind and start off from there too. If this is something you’re absolutely stuck on, go from a different angle, start from a different point, use a different character’s perspective, or even ask yourself if it’s really that necessary.
And do not ever say you’re not going to read a genre because you don’t want to step on any author’s toes and then write in it. Some dumb bitch said that in my advanced creative writing workshop, and we all literally stopped and stared. Her story sounded almost exactly like a published author’s novel, and we kept telling her that, she was like, “No, I’ve never read his work. I don’t read this genre so I can have plausible deniability.”
I have never wanted to throw my entire backpack (with my laptop, notebooks, and textbook in it) at a person so badly.
Have any recommendations?
If you’re a Dramione fan, read anything by Bex-Chan. If you like Chloe Sullivan (from Smallville) at all, read Tarafina/Sarcasticfina.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions!
See? She’s smart and awesome and I can’t get enough. :) So go stalk, uh-I mean, read her stories and let her know of her awesomeness. :)