In an author’s note you say that you had an abusive father and that is where some of the story comes from. How cathartic has it been for you to write the story down and exorcise your demons, if you will? Has it given you some closure?
DR: Because the issue of abuse is so personal it can be healing to get it all out there. However there is that invisible line that I can cross that brings up a lot of old pain. I’m hoping that once the story is over it will help close a door on some issues from my past. It’s kind of like therapy, a session can be good or bad, but each time you go there it is a step forward. More than anything I hope that the story helps another abuse survivor move forward, and know that they’re not alone.
When Charlie kills Phil and Renee goes to prison did you feel you were offering Bella justice that many victims of abuse do not get?
DR: Simple answer is yes. More complex, in killing Phil and sending Renee to jail I was punishing my own abuser, and I was also punishing the real life Renee. I met my friend that the Renee/Charlie/Bella relationship comes from in group therapy as a teen, we’ve been friends ever since. She even reads Homecoming. She’s still ticked she doesn’t have an Edward.
Given the web of relationships (i.e., Tanya and Renee and their mother) you show the reality of abuse begetting abuse and that, despite that, there are still heroes and saviors to rescue victims of abuse. When you first read Twilight did you read the Cullens all as heroes and how did you view Bella? Did you view her as weak or silently strong and how has that affected YOUR Bella?
DR: When I read Twilight I really felt, and still do that the Cullens saved Bella, from more than just the nomad vamps. They saved her by loving her unconditionally (excluding Rose lol). Bella took care of her mother and father as a young girl, she didn’t know how to rely on someone else because for the majority of her life she was the rock, the adult in her family. Charlie might have been trying, but I always felt it was a little too little, too late. He let his flighty ex wife, who he knew could barely take care of herself run off with their child and never fought for custody.
So I never saw Bella as weak, I saw her more as a survivor of neglect. I think that is why she was so quick to cling to Jacob when Edward left, he gave her attention that she was starved for since she had so little of it her whole life. My Bella is a lot like her, she has been without real love and affection her whole life. The difference is that my Bella even if Edward walked away wouldn’t go running into the first guy who makes her laughs arms. By putting her in therapy, and giving her a stronger support system, she’d make it through, or even call Edward out if he tried leave.
I had a very similar experience coming into the world as your Bella. My mother was a teen mom who got pregnant by an older man, who happened to already have children and was married but she had no idea. So I really identified with that aspect of Bella’s life. Personally, I want to thank you and commend you for telling the real life stories that are out there that help many of us relate to the Twilight characters.
DR: Thanks hun. I love when someone can identify in some way with a character that I’ve written.
What was it about Twilight and Fan Fiction that gave you the courage to write from such personal experiences?
DR: Twilight drew me in, and I call it my happy place. Fan Fiction gave me the anonymity and a bunch of kick ass supporters on previous stories. All of that combined led to me being able to share Homecoming with others.
What are Bella’s concerns for her future now that Phil is dead and Renee is in prison?
DR: Bella is concerned with healing, and with growing. She’s trying to get over her past so she can have her happy ever after.
Are you writing this to help others deal with their own issues of abuse and abandonment or are you writing it for you?
DR: Both. Like I’ve said if one other person can find healing, or even the motivation to try and heal from this story I’ll know it has been worth the time and effort I’ve put into it.
What advice do you have for other writers who want to tell stories that have difficult subject matter like yours or don’t necessarily have the Happily Ever After? What would you say to encourage them to tell their stories anyway?
DR: My advice would be stand firm to your vision of the story. Reviews are going to have theories, or even the “I wish….” , if you start trying to please them all you’ll end up hating your own story. I would encourage anyone who wants to write to do so, when you get that review that says thank you for giving me the courage to seek help, or the review that says thanks for making me smile after crappy day it makes you feel so good inside, really it does.
When you get into further therapy sessions will you get more involved in the family history of abuse that has plagued the women of Bella’s family, to explain how it continues?
DR: I only have 2 more planned out sessions as of right now. One goes very in depth into Bella’s life with Renee, and Charlie is there for it. I’m not sure how much I’m going to delve into the family history of abuse as of right now.
How will Edward become Bella’s hero? Her upbringing must be so foreign to him and the rest of the Cullens but they have all jumped right in and welcomed her with open arms. Is it more than Edward coming to her rescue?
DR: Edward is already her hero, in Bella’s mind for caring about her unconditionally. While Bella’s past is very hard for him to grasp, and so outside his norm, his compassionate nature gives him the strength to be there for her. His being there, being her rock is his way of “saving” her.
I know you have a lot of real life stuff going on and updates can’t be planned or predicted but is this a story you will continue to tell and finish to the end or is it emotionally exhausting to tell such a difficult story?
DR: I’m going t finish the story, I promise. I actually have a few future chapters partially written, and the epilogue is done. So it will be done. My updates have been slow because my mind hasn’t been on writing lately, my Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and other things going on in my life has really affected my updating.
Is there an author or person in the fandom that has been your rock and given you strength to write and tell the story? There is always a good support team behind every writer. Tell me about yours.
DR: Jeesh there are so many fabulous ladies that have been there for me and been my rocks. I have to give a huge amount of love to my betas TwiDi and RachelleMyBell, they’ve really been so encouraging, and don’t complain about having to fix my grammatical and punctuation errors. They both have very busy lives, yet always make time to get the updates fixed up pretty. And they are fast too.
Just For Fun
- Fun: Reading, hands down my favorite hobby.
- Favorite smell: Vanilla
- Favorite candy: I love Cadbury milk chocolate candy bars.
- Blue, brown or green eyes (preference wise): Hmmm probably brown followed closely by green.
- Country or Rock and Roll : Both, I love music, in various genres. My IPod has MPD.
- Favorite place you have travelled: Niagara Falls Canada, there is *I think it’s still open* this butterfly pavilion you can go in and the butterflies are all over the place, they land on you. It was so beautiful. I loved it.
- Do you have a bucket list and what is at the top of the list?: I don’t have one. I just believe in living life, and if I don’t d everything I ever dreamed it just wasn’t meant for me to do.
- Dogs or Cats: Both. I can’t remember a time I didn’t have one of each.
- Baseball or Football: Football.
- Favorite season: Fall.
- Favorite Twilight Saga book? Movie?: Twilight for both. The reason? Both have a lot less Jacob ;0)
- Favorite TV show: Paranormal State, Psych and Glee.