Introduction: Only four chapters in, Nerac's new fic I Never Knew is already proving itself to be a must-read. It's well-written, original, and filled with the type of intrigue that leaves you wanting more. If you haven't already started this drama/romance, I highly recommend that you do! Here's my interview with Nerac herself!
FFN Summary: After a phone call from a stranger turns her life upside down, Isabella Dwyer realizes that the people you trust the most sometimes tell the biggest lies. Can she convince a man in uniform to help her discover the things she never knew? AH.
Interview Questions:How would you describe I Never Knew to someone who hasn't started reading it yet?
Oh goodness, you start with the hard ones, don't you?! LOL! It's been so hard to describe because if you're not already reading it, I don't want to give anything away that I planned to be a surprise... So I'll just say this:
Beginning with one pretty significant event that changes everything she thought she knew, INK is the story of a semi-young girl discovering her life. Herself. Finding her way, and experiencing the bumps that come up along the way.
Where did the idea for the story come from? How long did it take you to conceptualize?
Believe it or not, INK was literally one of those naked-in-the-shower plot bunnies that came to me one morning (come on, we all have those, right?), and wouldn't get out of my head. I wanted to explore the possibilities of a Bella who had no ties to the characters we're so used to her being bound to in stories we read. And the premise itself seemed like a promising choice. I don't quite know where some things come from, but this one just seemed too good to pass up. It was something I'd never read or heard of being done before, and those kinds of explorations are always fun.
The outline itself is still molding and changing as I continue to write and continue getting to know this Bella better. There are things that started out as part of the story that aren't even part of the plan anymore. It grows and changes every day. Though I have a loose plan for how I want things to happen, the details themselves are still developing. And I'm sure it will continue to do so, because I'm horribly wishy-washy and change my mind far too often than is good for me.
Bella has to deal with the possibility that her parents lied to her about who her birth father really is. What has reader reaction been like so far when it comes to Bella's situation?
The reactions, for the most part, have been amazing. I am so humbled by the response to the story after only three chapters...
A few don't like her – they believe she's too confused and controlling – which brings out my inner mama bear to the extreme. But this is the point. Characters need to start somewhere so they can develop into something better. As I told a few readers, we can't all start perfect, sometimes you have to climb a little to get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And in the journey, sometimes we fall, more than once, and have to find out how to pick ourselves up and make it to the end. This story is literally Bella's journey to the gold.
There are many more readers, however, who are sympathetic to her situation. They're supportive, and they want Renee in front of a firing squad. Which I love. She is the intended villain here...for the most part. (I'll let you all wonder about that one, hehe)
Most are curious about the connections she's made so far, and how they'll play into the Bella's future. And those things will all be revealed in time...
Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect from Edward - or should I say Copward - in upcoming chapters?
Edward is in a tough situation, and at the point when this interview posts, I believe it'll be safe to say you'll all understand exactly why. Most of you have put the pieces together that Edward is connected to Charlie in an unconventional way, though Bella is a little slow on the realization there.
Once she figures it out, and realizes that he's literally the only connection she believes she has left to the father she never knew, she has to explore that. One of the largest steps she'll take in her discovery is asking for his help. It won't be easy, for either of them... but what they find in the process, I hope you all love as much as I do.
We get to learn about Charles Swan at the same time Bella does. There's a lot for her to process. How do you get into her frame of mind when writing?
I'm not sure, I just... close my eyes, and try to imagine how that would make her feel. How that would make her react, and then I put it on screen with my fingers. I've been working on the story since the beginning of October, and her character and behavior has developed quite a bit since then. Once I figured out who she was, and what she needed, it was easier for me to portray the way she would react to situations. I learn something new about her every day.
This story is in present tense, BPOV. I must say you execute this POV very well. What informed your decision to write in present tense, and how are you finding it so far?
To be honest, present tense used to confuse the hell out of me, lol. I'm not sure what convinced me to choose that for this one, it just felt right. Everything is happening to Bella in the moment, and it felt to me like the excitement and fear of all the things she has yet to face would be much more powerful this way.
The first time I wrote in present, I was so lost and confused... my poor beta. Nicki deals with everything I throw at her, and she's been so helpful in putting up with my learning how to do this so it flows and doesn't feel broken or wrong. A lot of times, I write a chapter, and then I go back and re-write it, I change things up so it feels seamless in my head. There's still a lot of red-penning that goes into it after the fact. It's been about eight weeks since I started writing the story and it gets easier every time. I suppose it's like this with every POV or tense, it takes a little bit for you to get into it, but once you find your comfort zone...
I really like the fact that Edward and Charles knew each other in this capacity - it's a refreshing change for these two to have the history, as opposed to one or both of them having history with Bella. Do you find it intimidating to construct this bond?
No. Not really. I do find it nerve-wracking, that people will find the connection squicky, or wrong. That they'll believe on principal that what I have planned shouldn't be because of those connections I've created. But, I do hope that they'll stick with me until they know the reasons behind certain things and that their understanding will change their perceptions of what, in some cases, may be considered wrong.
There's the capacity for great fallout over Charles' decision to list Bella as his next of kin. Do you think we'll always agree with how Bella handles the effect of the will? And how she deals with certain people?
I can never tell when people will agree or disagree with my decisions for certain things. But I'm always hopeful that they will hang in there long enough to give both me, and the characters, the benefit of the doubt.
The supporting characters in this story are important too. How would you describe characters like Rosalie and Sue?
I'll tell you the truth, the most important supporting character is Edward. Rose, Sue, the others, they don't play much into the end-game of this story.
Can you give us any hints as to what kind of romance E and B are in store for? (Slow-burn? Torrid? Romantic? Reluctant? Long-distance?)
I totally cheated and asked one of my pre-readers, and ltlerthqak says: “It's reluctantly slow, yet amazingly hot, but that's just her opinion.” Of course, she's seen things you all haven't... heehee.
What has been like working with your betas and pre-readers for this story? Does a lot change from first draft to finished product?
I love them, seriously. Love them. bellamarie117, cosmogirl7481, ltlerthqak and nicnicd are my support system, and without their colorful sprinkles full of giggles in my documents, I don't know where I'd be. They read my first draft, of the very first chapter, and encouraged me to continue.
Now, they continue to read my first drafts (poor girls) and give me their honesty, which I can honestly say – is priceless. With a few h00r moans thrown in for good measure, I can go back to the figurative drawing board to add, adjust and edit. Then I send the final draft to Nicki to work her magic before it posts.
When I say I couldn't do this without them, I mean it literally. They really do keep me going and without there help, I have no doubt this story wouldn't be what it's become.
You're quite involved in the fandom! How do you find all the time?
Gosh, I don't even know... I spend way more time on my computer than is probably healthy. I spend much too much time doing fandom related things when I should be working. I have no kids (unless you count the furbabies)... and all of my family lives in California. My husband used to travel for work pretty often, so this kind of became my 'something to do' when I was alone. Now I just squeeze it in when I can. I'll admit my activity as of late has gone down immensely, I don't read nearly as much as I used to (in favor of writing). A lot of the stories I pre-read/beta'd for have completed in the past months (at one point I was up to eleven!). And I try spend my weekends away from the computer if at all possible in favor of doing other things or just relaxing with my hubs on the couch.
What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about writing fan fiction?
Go for it. The biggest step is getting your stuff out there and accepting that you'll be judged by others. But once it's done, the reward is worth it. The people you'll meet and the friends you'll make in the process are something you'll never be able to regret.
Fun Stuff:Most memorable lie you've had to tell?
Uhm... I don't know, lol. I don't know if it would be considered a lie, but I did keep my engagement to my husband a secret from my parents for several years. In fact, they didn't find out until I was in the hospital and one of the nurses referred to DK as my 'fiancee.'
Worst lie you've ever heard?
Hmm... nothing is coming to mind.
Favorite Twilight book of the series?
Hands down, Eclipse. :)
Three things you'd take to a deserted island?
A notebook, a pencil and my husband.
What did your prom dress look like?
I didn't go to prom... by boyfriend was a douche. See question #8 for proof. :P
Longest road trip?
When I was fourteen, I road-tripped with my best friend and her family from Northern Cali to Southern, we spent about two weeks on the road in a mobile home. We spent time at Disneyland, visited Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, stopped off in Laughlin (right outside Vegas) and got sunburned to a crisp. After that trip, I vowed I'd never go on another one, lol.
Sweet stuff, like Spree's are definitely my go-to. But who doesn't love a little bit of chocolate?
Most interesting experience with a cop?
Umm... Oh gosh, I can't believe I'm admitting to this. But, I maybe-kinda-sorta lost my virginity in the back of a car. In the middle? A police officer knocked on the window and interrupted us. With a big, bright white flashlight on our bare asses. He made us get dressed and leave. Mortified doesn't begin to cover that feeling...
The sad part is we got caught by the same cop.... two more times. After that, we found a new place to do it.
Favorite TV show?
The Vampire Diaries right now. But I'm also a big fan of Fringe, Grey's Anatomy, Gossip Girl and Private Practice.
Peas or carrots?
If I had to choose, I'd say carrots. But only raw ones, dipped in ranch. ;)
I want to thank Belladonna1472 and Nerac so much for this wonderful interview and I can't wait to see who Nerac interviews.