When I came upon Welcome To Paradise, written by the lovely Suzie55, it was only three chapters in; it's now up to fourteen. From the very first chapter, I was instantly hooked. I wondered then why I hadn't read anything of hers previously.
After reading those three chapters of Welcome To Paradise, I discovered Suzie55 on twitter. From the first moment we spoke, she was completely gracious, always replying back. I knew after talking with her more and becoming even more invested in Welcome To Paradise as the story progressed, I had to interview her. So I did. Here's the interview, so I hope you enjoy. Once again, I'd like to thank Suzie55 for allowing me to interview her.
1. How did you come to learn about Fanfiction? What made you decide to try your hand at writing it?
I read the Saga and was hooked on the books and a certain young British actor. So, I did what any girl with a new obsession does, I googled info about the movie and the actors. I eventually came across KSTEW411 and saw her talking about this story she was reading and loved. It was Master of the Universe. I googled that and voila - I discovered fanfiction. I read stories on her rec list for about 3 months before I decided to write my own. I had been writing novels (unpublished) since July 2009 after being inspired by the Saga and ready to create again. I had a new story in mind and decided I would like the feedback and it was a great way to better my skills.
2. Have you read all the Twilight books? If so, which book is your favorite and why? Which is your least favorite and why?
Yes, I've read all the books. Isn't that a requirement to write Saga fanfiction? lol. My favorite is Midnight Sun because I think it shows how truly charming and funny Edward really is. I think the books, since they're from Bella's POV, really show him as a one dimensional character sometimes making me wonder what the attraction is. But, out of published books - the first book is my favorite because it captures all the magic of first true love. My least favorite is Breaking Dawn because even though it's a beast of a book, it has so many holes in it. It's like Meyer wasn't allowed to really go where she wanted to go with the story at some points.
3. Before writing Welcome To Paradise, did you write any other stories? If so, how do you feel they differ from WTP? Which one has been your favorite to write?
The Rules of Hollywood is my first story for fanfiction. Actorward and Brown Eyes are my main characters in that one. Actorward is total swoon in my eyes. It's love at first site for him when he meets Brown Eyes and his love never falters.
In Welcome to Paradise, Surferward...at least in the beginning not only falters, he flat out rejects his feelings for Bella. He's fighting them most of the way. He gets himself in situations that he thinks will help him move past these foreign feelings because he hasn't felt that for a girl before. Those feelings scare him and he doesn't know how to handle them. Thus, enter the angst...hehe.
Cop out answer here: They are so different from each other. RofH was easy for me to write and I wrote it quickly. I felt so a part of the characters that the words were natural and flowed. WtP is complicated and the characters always seem to take the less traveled road to get to their destination. The line that was also used in the blinkie is very true for them: I never quite know my journey's end until I arrive.
RofH is all about the destination. WtP is all about the journey.
4. What inspired you to write Welcome To Paradise?
Two things: I love surfing. I used to get Surfer magazine when I was 13 just to ogle the boys and dream of being a surfer girl. I eventually went to the Surf Diva camp in San Diego as a 'grown up' to pursue it a little more. Btw - I don't live near the beach. I love Hawaii and have attempted surfing there...I stood up...once. lol
Then, there is this certain picture of Rob in a white button up and jeans carrying his shoes in his hand and holding a cigarette. I call it Walk of Shame Rob on twitter. If you follow me, you've probably seen this pic many times. That picture kind of solidified this idea because I had found my bad boy lead. Surferward would sleep with women and not be ashamed. That's his MO. That's how it started at least...
5. When deciding a plot to write about, does it just come to you, or do you do some kind of researching to aid in plot development?
I'll admit, not much research has gone into this story. I like to be accurate when it comes to little things like Hawaii, the beach names, and throwing in a few touristy spots that I've visited. But, this story is a relationship story between lovers, friends, and family. Research wouldn't help me build those dynamics, the characters do.
I will say that I didn't give Edward a Vanquish because they stopped making them in 2007. So, he drives a Vantage which is the newer model. Not important and confusing to some readers like I've made a mistake, but I like that it's correct for 2010.
6. Out of the entire Twilight saga, who is your favorite character and why?
Edward. I love the the Saga, but I sometimes find Bella kind of boring and the wolves just aren't my thing. Edward is truly going through a crisis - internally and externally. He's fighting the ultimate battle - does he take what he wants or protect what he needs...something like that.
7. What are some hobbies you like to do besides writing?
I seriously don't have time for other hobbies right now, but if I did, I like to play tennis, plan events, I used to paint a lot, but writing isn't my hobby, it's my passion. I was writing before fanfiction and I'll write after this trend has past. But, I'll enjoy the fanfiction ride while it lasts.
8. Do you feel while writing your story that the characters speak to you, like they sometimes take over to the point the chapter is altered from what you initially planned?
The characters are a part of me. They don't speak to me. I just know them so well that their actions, thoughts, etc...just come naturally and in my mind are in character for them. When Bella is upset, my heart hurts. When Surferward is mad, I feel his anger for him. It's sometimes not so beneficial to be this close to them, but on the upside...the smexy times are good. Just sayin'...
I free flow write which in my mind means I have a basis of where the story is heading, but no outline. I know the beginning, major plot points, and the ending. From there, it's getting the characters to connect the dots which usually isn't too much of a problem. But, sometimes, I do get lost in the details or all the sudden they demand a pineapple (aka lemon) from me. I kind of roll my eyes at them, but Surferward is hard to resist so he usually gets what he wants. *chuckles*
9. Overall, how has your experience been writing Welcome To Paradise? Anything you'd want to change?
I love writing this story. I originally thought it was going to be a quick summer fic that would end in September, but over the course of developing these characters, I've come to realize they deserve the rest of their story to be told. So, here I am with an opportunity to really dig deeper into their story which is exciting to me.
10. In reading or writing, do you have a specific genre you prefer? What I mean is, angst, drama, romance, etc?
I'm cheesy, but I like Chick Lit a lot - reading and writing. I'm a sucker for a good romance though I've never read a romance novel. I kind categorize a lot of the fics I read as romance novel material though and I love them. I'm kind of open to how the romance happens, dramatically, quietly, angsty...so I'm open to all kinds of stories. Writing...I think RofH is romantic with a little humor. WtP is a drama with angst.
11. Once Welcome To Paradise is finished, do you have plans to write another fic? If so, do you already have ideas as to what it will be about?
Yes, absolutely! I LOVE this form of expression and the fandom community. I've had an idea for almost two months now. I have a title which is usually the last thing I come up with, ironically, and the very basics of a storyline. I've made myself wait until I get further down the storyline with WtP before attempting a chapter one with it though. And, who knows, I might change my mind and go with a completely different idea.
I wrote a one-shot for Fandom For Preemies that was really different for me to write, but it was fun. It actually did take a little research. It won't be my next full length fic, but I got to challenge myself and try something out of my comfort zone.
12. As a writer, putting our work out there means you're willing to accept criticism for it. That also means you're bound to get some bad reviews. How do you handle such a review? What advice would you give fellow authors who receive a bad review?
I believe the more dramatic or controversial fic you write the more criticism you'll receive. Just my opinion though. On that note, I've been lucky in the sense that readers are very kind to me. If they are confused, they ask me to clarify. If they are upset by the chapter, they usually tell me that they are mad at the character and then list what they liked in the chapter too. As I've said, very lucky author here. I think the people who've disliked my story haven't bothered reviewing and I'm kind of fine with that. lol.
13. Who is your favorite character to write and why?
Edward. I love to write Edward because you do anything you want with him and it can be acceptable. Bella not so much. People have very strong opinions of how Bella should be or act.
My Edwards also swear a lot (I don't in real life) so I get to use all the good curse words when I'm writing EPOV. He thinks them and says them. He's fun to write.
These questions were submitted by readers.
1. What's your favorite holiday? (via johnnyboy1029)
Christmas because I've finally reached a point where it's not about the presents, but about the magical feeling that surrounds that holiday.
2. What's one thing that scares you? (via johnnyboy1029)
Snakes. Always snakes!
3. If you could spend a day with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why? (via johnnyboy1029)
Jane Austen because I would love to see how she wrote such amazingly descriptive and emotional stories about all the classes of society yet lived so simply.
4. What color is your comforter? (via johnnyboy1029)
*giggles* Brown with some kind of cream colored design going through it. It's pretty, but fits nicely into a home with a man in it too. (my hubs likes it)
5. Who do you prefer more, Edward or Jacob? (via THMasen)
6. I want to know how you come up with the lemons? Is there a lemon creator app out there I dont know about? (via Jendill1)
I wish there was an app and if you find one, linky me please - haha.
I write a lot of lemons in my stories and it's hard to be creative or make it different everytime. I don't set out to write one. The story usually demands one so I see where the characters are at the time and work with that situation. Ex. Against the house in chapter 11. They were there and Surferward and Bella demanded some make-up smexins. Their emotions took over so the side of the house seemed like the obvious place to hook them up. It beat the dirt path in my opinion.
I'm also a very visual person when I write so I tend to write every little detail because I see it that way in my head.
When writing a lemon just let yourself go to the point where you're comfortable or what you like to read. Good old perviness helps too.
Thank you so much, JMC.