Your Name: Perverse Idyll Your Team: Team Firebird! Er, Phoenix!
1. 'Canon compliant' is a hot button topic in Harry Potter fandom (thanks to all the 'After-Book Specials' JKR is hosting). What is your definition?
The narrative between the covers of the seven books is canon. A strict construction of “canon compliant” would mean adhering to the letter and the spirit of the texts, insofar as one can guess JKR’s intentions. Anything else, including the muddy waters of TMI our esteemed author is stirring in public, falls under the heading of interpretation: movies, lexicons, talk-show circuits. But for fic purposes, it’s all a matter of source. If you’re basing your fic on the movies, then you can try being compliant with those and with book!canon, and I wish you the best of luck. If an author has a stated point of reference and claims to be faithful to it, that’s a form of compliance, too. But if you want “pure” canon, stick to the books.
If the question is, how do I feel about canon compliance? *shrugs* Whatever floats your boat. Or polishes your broom, heh. I don’t put restrictions like that on what I read or write. And not only because I have issues with canon. One of the wonders of fandom is its collective imagination. Plus it would mean dispensing with most of the fics written before the last book, and pardon me, but over my dead body. If I had to choose between canon and fanon? No contest. Fanfic takes the gold.
2. Has fanfic influenced your writing? If yes, was it a particular story you can name for us?
In a general way, oh yes. I think – I hope – fandom’s teaching me to be a more accessible writer. And I’m writing smut for the first time in my life! Should I be boasting about that? *g* Some of us are late bloomers, okay? But the fics that have hit me hardest, the ones I’ve strapped to my soul with bonds of love - those are beyond me, alas. I can aspire, but I mostly just shake my head in awe because I know I could never write something that witty, beautiful, erotic, heartbreaking, etc. I can’t single out one particular fic without slighting all the others. I’m very passionate about my favorites, and my list, she is long.
3. What element(s) about the relationship between Snape and Harry do you find most intriguing?
How much time do we have? Pull up a chair and help yourself to a glass of port. We may be here a while.
First, I apparently have a deep-seated kink for power dynamics, because my other favorite pairing is Snape/Dumbledore (no, wait! come back!) precisely because some of the same issues crop up there as well – issues of power, trust, betrayal, authority, disparity in age, teacher-student taboos. Then there’s the duality: Snape’s bitter outlook on life pitted against Harry’s essential innocence, the push-pull of complexity vs. simplicity, Snape’s technical brilliance and creativity vs. Harry’s intuitive gifts and somewhat passive attitude toward magic, Snape’s struggle to be worthy if not exactly good, compared to Harry’s free pass as virtue’s representative in the wizarding world, outcast vs. hero, ugly vs. popular, etc. Alongside that are the ways in which they’re alike: valor, emotional deprivation and incompleteness (fans like to say that Snape’s emotionally stunted, but there are ways in which both these men are older than their years), ability to hold a grudge like nobody’s business, obstinacy to the point of stupidity, tantrums as an emotional outlet, sarcasm (although Snape totally pwns Harry in this regard), subservience to the schemes of a more powerful wizard, a tolerance for obsession in matters of love (otherwise Harry should have been thoroughly squicked by Ginny’s fixation on him, which bears a remarkable resemblance to Severus’s feelings towards Lily).
Also I’m a sucker for the hostility that makes them lean into each other and snarl in each other’s faces and wind each other up until finally one of them snaps and someone pushes someone else to the wall and WTF suddenly it’s sexual and the power struggle is off the scale.
4. How would Severus Snape find your team mascot most useful?
Um. Well. I have a plot bunny that addresses that very question. Involving weeping phoenixes and gaping wounds. Miraculous healing powers. Ungrateful gits called back from the brink of death, that sort of thing.
5. What would you consider your greatest strength in writing?
Ummmmm . . that’s a poser. My greatest strengths also tend to be my greatest weaknesses. So I’m inclined to say that my love of words tops the list, but it’s a two-edged sword, as anyone who’s read my longwinded comments can testify.
6. Is there something your beta(s) constantly catch you doing?
Overwriting. Purpling the prose. I could go on, but hey, maybe I’ll practice brevity for once. :)
7. Have you ever collaborated/partnered with another author or artist? If yes, please describe it for us. If no, would you consider it?
Only once. It was a lovely accident and will probably never be repeated.
I beta mainly for rinsbane, and in December 2006 she was visited by the idea of writing a Snarry Nutcracker. She took her inspiration primarily from the ballet and its music. This particular fairy tale’s one of those weird, dark, magical oddities that got under my skin as a child, so I knew it in greater detail and had very vivid opinions about it, which I, um, proceeded to shower upon her. It being year’s end, she was hard-pressed for time and very generously suggested that if I wanted to incorporate my fancies into her fic, I should feel free to do so. I was also a bit crazed with Christmas approaching, so I wrote a lot of extremely descriptive prose while in a semi-conscious state, and complicated the plot with as many parallels to the Nutcracker as I could muster. rinsbane mercifully performed the final edit, which allowed the fic to breathe again. We both missed some typos and inconsistencies but managed to squeeze it in under the holiday wire.
The fic’s called The Nutcracker’s Delight, and it’s not as much of a two-headed monster as I would have expected. Which is amazing, since our styles are like night and day. The best thing about the experience? It was fun!
8. Now that canon is complete, do you find it more freeing or less when it comes to writing or enjoying fanfic/fanart?
Hrm. *grumbles* My nerves are still a bit raw on the whole Snape question, and I haven’t entirely shaken the cold voice that keeps insisting, “But he’s dead. End of story. It doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t save this character.” Fandom is helping my imagination claw its way out of that premature grave. I’m kind of desperate for good post-DH fic in which Snape buggers up JKR’s happy ending, or any post-HBP fic which rewrites canon altogether. So my reading hasn’t been hurt at all, but my muse almost chucked it in despair because I was still waffling over unfinished fic when Book 7 was released. Ouch.
9. In your opinion, what kind of kink/theme does fandom need more of?
Fandom’s way ahead of me on the kink front, though I’d love for Snarrydom to find a way to maintain the scenario of desperate hostility between Snape and Harry that ends with one of them absolutely breaking emotionally. I have a thing for Snape being devastated by his own feelings, and not in a woobie way. In a borderline-psychotic, helpless, out-of-control way. That long lack of affection’s got to have left him a bit wiggy.
As for themes, I’d like to read all the variations on forgiveness and redemption that JKR failed to deliver. I was all primed for some sort of resolution of that boiling undercurrent, and I didn’t get it, and I think the absence of it diminished both characters for me. I’d love to see that narrative arc restored and completed. That doesn’t mean it has to end happily. Just that the seething resentments and secrecy and misunderstandings and thwarted love have to burst out into the open. There has to a reckoning, an accounting.
10. How do you feel about participating in this year's Snarry Games?
Elated. Terrified. Untried and unproven. Determined to ride this bunny to the finish line and get one of my Snarry obsessions off my chest. And absolutely delighted to be part of Team Phoenix! *flaps wings*