In the land of KiyaRaven, I am known as Catty-Wan and I’m damn proud of it. Some of you may know me as Irritable Grizzzly out there in fanficland. The one with the long rambling psychotic profile about cliché’s, spelling, and grammar.
Like the rest of you, I started out as a fan of “The Screamers”. As a fellow writer, I was blown away by the characters and the story. They were so unique. After reading WAY too many fics where people have basically copied other people’s stories, it was a breath of fresh air to find someone who had her own distinctive voice and was also the funniest human being on the planet. We started talking and I quickly realized the magnificent woman behind this amazing fic. I was honored when she asked me to be her beta, mainly because I get the chapter first and I’m a greedy bitch.
I thought for her first blog, you’d want to know about some of her background. We realize you have many more questions for her, so she will be answering readers’ questions once a week.
Read on and become just as impressed with this remarkable woman as I am.
Your background is writing stage plays. What made you want to write fanfic?
I started writing stage plays in High School and I always loved writing short stories as a kid. I think the very first assignment that ever snapped my cracker was in the seventh grade when we were all given a picture and had to write a descriptive essay about it. The other kids had pics of carnivals and parties and sunsets and mountains. I had a picture of a goddamn rubbish dump. At first I was like, "Whaaaat? What the fuck am I going to say about this? There's a banana peel - it's gross?"
I sat there for about ten minutes sulking and banging my head against the desk, and then a random title came to me - The Dumping Ground of Discarded Dreams.
I started writing about the dolls that had been abandoned by their heartless owners, the half-burned happy-snaps tortured by a venomous ex-girlfriend, a box full of memories left by an old woman who had no-one to claim them. It was the first time I experienced the feeling of having the story practically write itself. I was twelve. I've written in some form or another ever since.
The first fan-fic I ever wrote was for Angel. Fucking loved that show, and Buffy (although Buffy got waaaay too whiny for me towards the end. I blame Marti Noxon. Still not talking to that bitch.) Anywhoo, I wrote this fic about a girl who Angel has to protect because she's a healer. Guess what her name was? Kiya. I wrote a few chapters and really enjoyed fucking around with someone else's characters, but I never finished it and I never posted it. It was just my private bit of fun.
Years later I got addicted to Twilight, and after reading all the books a couple of times I was desperate for new material. I stumbled upon Twilighted one day and within hours I was a fucking fan-fic junkie. I couldn't get enough. The very first fic I read was The List by Laura Cullen. Still one of my faves. Hot as hell and brilliantly written.
After reading several fics (some awesome, some absolute shite) an idea started rumbling around in my brain. Every night before I went to sleep I had this image of Edward Cullen running, terrified of a faceless enemy, and every night Bella would reach out and save him. The locations were always different, but the night she saved him in an alley, I knew I had to start writing. I couldn't not.
I wrote the first chapter of The Screamers in about three hours. It sat on my computer for a week before I got up the guts to send it into Twilighted. Eight hours later I got the email that it had been approved for posting and I almost fucking wet my pants with excitement. By the time my trembling hands managed to find it on the website it already had seven reviews and I orgasmed a little bit reading each of them. Reviews still make me feel that way. LOVE me some review porn.
Note from Cat: SM also said “Twilight” started with a dream – the meadow scene. Edward likes seep in through the writer's subconscious!
As an actress, do you find it's easier to develop the characters when you write?
When I write from a specific POV, I really have to get myself into the mind of that character before I start, so I guess my writing is coming from the actress in me. I have to think about their issues and thought processes and how they would react in any given situation. It's pretty much identical to how I approach a character onstage, but instead of saying the words, I'm writing them.
Were you a writer, a singer or an actress first?
I started dancing first when I was five. From there I added singing and acting. Writing was the last thing I got into and now I also direct and produce.
What was your first professional job, both acting and writing?
I started performing professionally when I was about thirteen. I grew up in a country town and people used to pay me to come and sing at their events. Fuck, that's hilarious. I'd forgotten about that.
My first professional writing gig was when I was twenty. I had been writing corporate theatre shows for about a year and one of my clients commissioned me to write a show for a national competition. My show won the competition and soon I had corporate shows coming out of my ass. That's really where I cut my teeth with my writing, but because I always had to work within someone else's creative guidelines, I soon got bored and started writing stuff that I was passionate about.
Where do you get most of your ideas?
Fuck knows. Sometimes weird shit just pops into my head and I have to write it down. With The Screamers the majority of the stuff in there has just poured out of my head like molten crazy. Although I have a story outline for it, I don't have a breakdown of what happens in each chapter. I usually just start writing and see what happens.
What is your motivation to keep writing when you're blocked?
I love writing, and I don't usually have too much trouble prattling on. The main thing that blocks me is time. As with a lot of women, I'm busy as all fuck and don't get to spend as much time as I would like feeding my little fic addiction. Fuck real life, ladies. Just fuck it.
What music do you listen to in order to motivate you? Calm you?
I'm a music theatre h00r so I listen to a lot of Broadway stuff. Jason Robert Brown is one of my faves, both to listen to and perform. His songs have so many complex layers of emotional subtext it fucking gets me hot. He's brilliant.
One of his songs "Someone To Fall Back On" constantly inspires me when I'm writing Asstard. It's on my blip.fm page if you want to have a listen. http://blip.fm/home
When you write, do you just keep going until your head empties, or are there a lot of starts and stops?
I stop and start a lot when I write, mainly out of necessity because I don't have time to sit down for a few hours and empty my head. I'll write, then stop, come back to it later, re-write, add a bit more, stop...ad-infinitem. I re-read and re-write A LOT. When it starts to flow and feel right, I leave it alone and send it to you, Catty-Wan.
What makes you cry?
A better question would be "What DOESN'T make you cry?" I'm a cryer. I cry watching fucking Extreme Makeover for fuck's sake. I'm pathetic.
What makes you laugh?
You. And the girls on Unicorns United. They fucking rock my socks and I would have a lesbiotic relationship with any of them.
Were you surprised at how well-received your fic has been?
I've been blown away by the reaction. Really. I owe a lot of props to yourself, as well as the very fine Lambcullen and Maylin from UU who found me and pimped the crap outta me. Since then I've been blessed to have some great recs from various people, one of which is the fucktabulous MrsTheKing of Poughkeepsie fame who is a fucking goddess in my book. Also people like Kassiah from The Fictionators and Tonya from The Twilight Sisterhood get massive boob gropes for reading and reccing, and also KatHat on CafeMom and most recently @ssherrill115 gave me a kick-ass review on her blog - SoutherFanFictionReview http://www.southernfanfictionreview.com/?zx=a10a5641d0a91a11. I can't thank everyone enough for their support. It still blows my mind that people are digging on my stuff. Fucking astonishing.
Did you base Edward on anyone you know?
Edward is a bit of a conglomeration of several people I've known and worked with over the years, except way fucking hotter of course.
What made you come up with Emmett as a "Serenity Counselor"?
I've been wanting to get Em into the story for a while now, but I didn't really know how to wedge him in there. The whole 'Serenity Counselor' idea came out of nowhere really, but the more I thought about it, the more it made me giggle. I love Emmett, even though I suspect he may be a l'il bit gay.
RE: Bella's abuse. What made you come up with the past you had for her? It was very realistic, both the abuse and the effect it's had on her.
I have a friend who used to be homeless and although her past wasn't the basis for Bella, it was certainly the inspiration. Over the past few months I've had several very brave readers tell me their stories concerning homelessness and/or abuse and it seriously makes me fucking homicidal to think of those girls being hurt like that. I think I based Edward's anger issues on me because I really do get incredibly violent when I hear about people hurting folks I care about. It makes me fucking crazy. (Yes, I do have an inner Madwoman, and she's a bitch, so don't fucking mess with her.)
RE: Edward's addictions. Again, very realistic. What kind of research did you do?
Being in the theatre, I'm around addictions constantly. It's sad but true. I have friends and collegues who have pretty much smoked, snorted or injected every drug under the sun and some of them are paying for it dearly. I toured with a very well-known actor here in Oz and we had many discussions about his substance abuse. He managed to quit heroin, cocaine and booze, but found it impossible to stop smoking. That was the inspiration for Chapter 7 - Pity-poison and Porn. My addictions are pretty fucking lame - fanfic, sugar and a certain British actor. *le sigh*
Where did you come up with the idea for "The Madman"?
The Madman came from the fact that I myself have an evil little voice inside me that often whispers the most fucking inappropriate things. Sometimes I think I'm possessed. It's the voice that tells me to trip old ladies and laugh my ass off when I see a toddler fall flat on their face. My Madwoman is at her worst when I drink. Fuck me, the things that girl has made me do after a few too many vinos? Fucking appalling...
You seem to write very intense scenes and then lighten it up just when it gets almost too much to bear. Is that intentional?
Not really. I just tend to write organically and what feels right ends up on the page. I like to think my characters are on a journey and all have lessons to learn because that's how I live my life. It can't always be candy and rainbows not matter how much we want it to be, but we also can't wallow too much in our problems. That's just fucking morose. I know that some people were surprised by the big break-up scene in Chapter 18 because it was pretty harsh, but hey, break-ups ARE harsh. As much as I love writing comedy it would feel shallow not to write depth to go with it. You can't have the sweet without the bitter in my opinion.
Note from Cat: I completely agree. All rainbows and puppy dogs and no conflict makes for a very dull story!
Well? Are you impressed?