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?
I define Canon compliant as what is stated in the books primarily, and anything JKR asserts outside of the books secondarily. Which is to say, I think that anything not actually included in the books, whether it comes from the author or not, could be ignored or altered in a story and still have it be, essentially, canon compliant. While I think the information JKR provides about the HP world is interesting, and a great resource for those who choose to use it, it has a sort of tentative or theoretical air about it to me; authors change things as they write (remember Mr. Weasley wasn't supposed to live through the final battle), it's just the nature of the process, so if JKR decided to write another book, who knows what other information she's confirmed would change?
2. Has fanfic influenced your writing? If yes, was it a particular story you can name for us?
Definitely. My view of the HP world in general has been more influenced by fanfic than the books themselves, so of course it affects my writing. Naming a particular story... that's more difficult. If I read a story with great dialogue then I'm going to re-examine the way I write my own dialogue. How I envision the characters is often a combination of their canon actions/my interpretation, and the way their portrayed in those fics I love. For example, I think that in the books, for all his intelligence, Snape's character is extremely childish in his behavior; he throws tantrums, holds grudges, etc. -- but fanfic often eliminates that aspect, and consequently I find the fanon interpretation so ingrained that I forget his childishness myself when writing.
3. What element(s) about the relationship between Snape and Harry do you find most intriguing?
That's a tough question, especially since people envision their relationship differently. I imagine them being able to banter and fight all the time, but still maintain the relationship, which I think is what most intrigues me. I do consider myself a romantic, but I've always been more attracted to those classic love stories where the couple starts out disliking one another (i.e Pride and Prejudice) than those where they fall madly in love and then face outside obstacles (i.e Romeo and Juliet). What I like is not only the UST that often comes with these stories, but seeing the relationship dynamic change and develop. What's really interesting about the Snape/Harry dynamic is not only that they have this relationship beginning in animosity, but that they could be in a romantic relationship, both knowing they love and are loved, and yet never need to say it.
4. How would Severus Snape find your team mascot most useful?
Aside from the many, many uses for Dragon parts in potions? (you know, compared to the what... 3 uses for Phoenix parts?) I think he'd appreciate the uses for Dragons and Dragon parts (like the hide and claws) in battle.
5. What would you consider your greatest strength in writing?
Yay! Let's talk about my skills! I think I do a decent job of getting big stories in little packages -- but that could still use improvement, so I guess I'll say it's my use of details/setting/props in relationship to the story overall. I very, very rarely include anything that doesn't have some meaning to one of the story's themes, even if I know it's not clear enough or unlikely the reader will notice it (sometimes I don't get to include enough other tie-ins that would make a single detail's meaning click for the reader). I think I can say it best with an example -- in Understanding I use the line "Snape's footsteps in the outer room are a deep, steady murmur of stone and sole" -- this one's pretty clear, but to show it's no accident: I say deep and steady together to evoke the idea of a heartbeat, but they're also reflections/clues to the relationship Snape and Harry have in the story - deep for meaningful, steady for solid/stable. Stone and sole -- outside of their physical truth, the story is d/s, so stone stands in for Snape's strength/dominance over Harry, the way he is unbending in his demands, and sole stands in for the obvious - heart/soul and real, classic feelings of love between them, and, fittingly, they are pressed together by Snape's footsteps, intertwined.
6. Is there something your beta(s) constantly catch you doing?
*Asks her awesome beta, bironic*, who says: "Hmmmm. You mean, aside from pushing you to get writing already? :) I'm coming up with mostly punctuation/formatting stuff -- making sure your paragraphs are separated, fixing up commas and capitals around dialogue (like here: “Right[,]” Brushing the hair from his eyes, Neville turns[,] “[w]on’t be a minute, do you mind?” where the commas would be periods and Won't is a new sentence), that sort of stuff. Maybe discussing whether your very complex and awesome points are coming through in your tightly written text?"
I'll add to this a tendency towards cliches. And spelling, but I blame that one on the learning disability.
7. Have you ever collaborated/partnered with another author or artist? If yes, please describe it for us. If no, would you consider it?
I've never collaborated/partnered. I would consider it, but I'm wary because I know myself well enough to know I don't play as well with others as I try to. I think that in order to work with another author on a story, we'd have to be very similar in how we approach writing overall, not to mention it would have to be someone whose writing I had the utmost respect for. A fic/art collaboration would be both more interesting to me, and much less likely to cause stress for all concerned.
8. Now that canon is complete, do you find it more freeing or less when it comes to writing or enjoying fanfic/fanart?
I don't really notice a difference from my own perspective, because I never paid much attention to canon compliance in the first place. I expected her to kill off Snape, though I still find his death frustrating because I would prefer not to have the pressure of working around it in my own stories.
9. In your opinion, what kind of kink/theme does fandom need more of?
We need more glory-hole fics, definitely. More long d/s stories, more living-like-a-Muggle stories, more dub-con. More fics where one character is in disguise (I wouldn't be me if I didn't add that one). More Everything.
10. How do you feel about participating in this year's Snarry Games?
Fantastic! I am so glad to be back (again! :) I love the snarry_games (period)
Thank you, synn! Stay tuned for more Champion Interviews and Opening Games Crack Art!