January 18, 2011

Waywords - Nerac, author of I Never Knew interviews lola-pops, author of We Were Here

If you’re not already familiar with lola-pops, author of the now-completed Summer of Salt, you’re missing out. Her new story, We Were Here is already shaping up to become a favorite across the fandom after only four chapters. I got a chance to pick her brain recently about this exciting new tale, here’s what she had to say!

We Were Here by lola-pops

FFN Summary: Upon waking, there's a brief, blissful period in which you don't yet recall the sins of the night before, but eventually, you have to open your eyes. I'm Bella Swan, seventeen years old, cheerleader. This morning I woke up in the wrong bed.

Nerac: How would you describe your story We Were Here to someone who hasn’t started reading it yet?

lola-pops: I would describe WWH as a story of undeniable, unlikely chemistry. Bella is an unhappy, popular girl, who wants something different, but doesn’t know herself well enough to know how to change. Edward isn’t exactly a loner, but he does exist outside the normal realm of high school, inside a world that is both very covert and very public, simultaneously. Most people aren’t aware of what he does outside of school, but he’s notorious in his own right, mostly because he’s so closed off that people project their assumptions onto him.

So it’s a love story that begins in high school, but I hope to take it on from a unique perspective! As with Summer of Salt, it will span time quickly in parts, so while the initial setting is critical to the development, this won’t be a full-on high school fic.

Nerac:What was your inspiration? Can you tell us how many chapters to expect?

lola-pops: I thought of the concept for this story while I was in a bathroom stall at our favorite bar. The door and walls were covered with these drunken, grandiose statements, incorrect quotes and bad grammar-- lines where people crossed out each other’s words to contradict them and so on…and in the corner there was this lone, simple little statement. “We were here”. It reminded me of something written on a school desk, or scratched into a lunch table.

So…WWH was conceived of while I was in the bathroom. At a bar. This may say more about me than I’d like it to. Ha!

But anyway, I’m looking at about 25 chapters at this point, although I’m not fantastic at sticking to an outline, so you never know!

Nerac: Is any of it taken from your own personal experience?

lola-pops: In the sense that I’m a graffiti artist, no, but it’s a community that I’m familiar with. I know people on all sides of it. Some who still tag, some who now work on legal walls, and some who have run into serious trouble because of it and are no longer part of that lifestyle. It’s a controversial subject, and my experience also extends to the complete opposite side of it. Years ago my parents owned a building that was tagged constantly, and they dealt with both fines from the city, skyrocketing insurance for the cost of replacing windows (some graf writers put muriatic acid in their markers so it etches into glass), and the upset of replacing and finding it tagged again the next morning.

So lest anyone think that I’m glorifying graffiti, that’s really not my intention. I hope to show it from a few different angles, and really examine the motivation behind it.

Nerac: Are you an outliner? Did you have it all planned out from start to finish before you began writing?

lola-pops: I wish!! I mean, I have clear ideas on some aspects of the ending, but I’m really stream of consciousness when it comes to the actual writing. I often just start putting down words and see where I end up. This is probably not the best way to do it, but outlines just don’t work for me. By the time I finish a chapter, I’ve changed everything that I was planning for the next one, and I operate on the overall feeling of it, I guess. If something doesn’t come out as true to life, I scrap it. Nothing is sacred in that regard.

Nerac: You have an amazing way with words, and a great ability for telling a story. Do you have any prior writing experience or training?

lola-pops: Thanks so much! I really don’t have experience. However, I do come from a long line of storytellers. I’ve watched some of my dad’s stories evolve over the years…how he includes some details and omits others, and how inflection or phrasing can change the entire meaning of a sentence. He taught me the power behind a single word, when it’s placed in the right spot.

That said, the man took 55 years to perfect the art, so I’ve got a long way to go!!

Nerac: I’m personally intrigued as all get out about your new boy. Will we ever get a peek into Edward’s mind?

lola-pops: Yes! Yes, we will. Very soon, in fact. I love writing his point of view. Bella is not as much of a departure for me, which isn’t to say that it isn’t a challenge to write her, but he’s…well, he’s a dude. I have a great group of guy friends, so in some ways it’s easy to get into their heads, but they have been very generous with answering super random questions as I write.

I also did a lot of typical research. I now own, like, eight books on graffiti, and I think I’ve watched every documentary on it that exists. The beauty of getting into Edward’s head is that we get to see what this looks like from his point of view, where it’s not just paint on a surface. It’s not just artistic talent. He’s been involved in a world that’s very territorial, dangerous and illegal. I’m fascinated as to what motivates someone to go this direction when they could just as easily pick up a paintbrush and take it to canvas. Turns out that it’s different for everyone, really. I’ll go into that more in later chapters.

Nerac: I’m really curious about your characterizations for some of your characters in WWH. Specifically, Edward’s role as a tagger…and of course, Jasper’s role as the apparent jerk. Alice as the unfriendly cheerleader and Bella as the popular girl gone shunned. How do you decide who will play what role in the stories you write?

lola-pops: This just sort of happens, honestly. I had the bare bones of the story laid out in my head, but as I wrote, Jasper suddenly became someone that I knew in high school, and Alice became the girl he ended up with. I wanted Bella to encompass everything that girls in high school strive to be, but also show that these things don’t make a person happy or fulfilled. We start the story just as the dense cloud of melancholy that surrounds her starts to clear, and she starts to really see things. One of the things she sees is Edward.

As for his role as a graf writer, that stems from both people I knew, and also the fact that it’s a form of art that I’m really interested in. I knew it would be challenging to portray something so visual through words and those are some of the passages that I work on the hardest. All I can hope is that I’ve been somewhat successful in that regard.

In all my writing, nothing is quite as simple as it seems in the beginning, so some of these characters that come off one-note, actually aren’t. Because is anyone, really? Even the most clichéd of individuals has duality to their lives and personalities…whether or not they embrace that is another thing altogether.

Nerac: Is there anything that your experience with writing and completing Summer of Salt taught you that you brought with you into writing this new tale? Something you think other, less experienced authors, might find useful?

lola-pops: First off, I learned how important it is to stick with your direction regardless of reviews and feedback that may make you want to go back and rewrite the whole damn thing. Each story is a journey and not all are pleasant at every turn. That said, take reviews with a grain of salt, period. Not everyone will like it! It’s literally impossible. Just do your thing and appreciate the people who do enjoy what you’re putting out there, and if someone gives you constructive criticism, consider it, keep or discard it, and keep on keepin’ on.

Second, and this kind of ties in to the first, keep a sense of humor about yourself, and all of this.

Third, the one thing that I spend the most time on is making sure that every action, every word out of a character’s mouth is true to how I see them. Nothing pulls me out of a story (including my own) faster than reading something that doesn’t ring true.

Having said all that, I have to admit that I’m flying by the seat of my pants most of the time! I’m a deeply flawed individual just like everyone else, and you have to make your own set of guidelines. To each his own! Truly.

Fun Stuff:

Nerac: If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

lola-pops: This may be the toughest question I’ve ever answered! I’m poring over my ipod as we speak. I’m more obsessed with music than anything else. Even fictional teenage vampires. Freals. So I’m going old-school, because it’s gotta be a classic if I’m going to listen to it forever and ever. Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield is my pick. This song makes me feel hopeful, strong and alive.

Nerac: Favorite alcoholic beverage?

lola-pops: I’m partial to a glass of pinot noir, but I’ll try just about anything once. That isn’t necessarily one of my finer qualities. Hee.

Nerac: DVD case in your house that should be falling apart from so much use?

lola-pops: Almost Famous. I quote that movie more than any other thing in the whole world. It’s a family favorite, and that’s the kind of story that I love--it completely pulls you in and makes you wish you knew these people…that you could insert yourself into the story line.

Nerac: Most embarrassing moment?

lola-pops: My life is really just a series of embarrassing moments strung together. I blush constantly. Some of my worst stories stem from my forgetfulness. Like, forgetting to zip my fly, for instance, or forgetting to check to make sure that my skirt isn’t tucked into my tights.

The one that sticks out the most, though, is at my senior prom. We were walking in a big group, and I was at the front telling the people behind me a story (of course) when I tumbled face first down a flight of stairs, landed on my stomach with my skirt over my head and everyone saw my practically naked bum. I have yet to live that down. At this very moment, I’m embarrassed all over again. :)

Nerac: Peas or carrots?

lola-pops: Carrots!! Always and forever. ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...