"Wh-when you can't run, you cr-crawl. And when you can't d-do that..."
"You find someone to carry you..."
Fruipit always has a way of writing poetically, which is something I really love when reading stories. Her work paints pictures in my head and I love every second of it. When Past Meets Present is no exception. I've always loved Toph as a character, and this fanon made that love greater than it was prior to my reading. I feel as if I'm reading a first-person chronicle of Toph's life, even if the story is in third-person; that is something I truly love about this story. It carries much more meaning than a simple plot; it's one of those stories that you can't not read.
The title is symbolic in more ways than one. Why did you choose When Past Meets Present as the title?
Because I did base it off the Spirit Toph/Ummi theory. When Past Meets Present is just ambiguous enough that it makes people go, "What the heck is that about?".
You love Toph, as noted throughout this story. Where did this love come from?
Huh. I'm not actually sure. I think it was a number of things, the first being the whole "angsty, unrequited, forever-alone" sort of personality she seems to have. The second is probably the complete and utter lack of character developement she has. I mean, she's "the snarky, blind earthbender". I like her because you could give her a really abusive past, or a myriad of psychological issues and as long as you do a good job of justifying why, it's believable.
You are very well versed in the writing of actual characters, such as keeping the personality and actions in-character. How do you feel Toph changed as she herself grew older?
I think she began to understand that what she says and does can and will affect the people around her. When we first meet her, she doesn't really know her own strength in regards to the strengths of other people. She has been isolated her entire childhood, after all.
At the end of the first chapter, "a Spirit licked her lips." Where did you get the idea to include a spirit in Toph's story? And what exactly is the Toph/Ummi theory?
I needed a spirit to justify exactly why she changed, to explain what happened to her (not that I've actually done that yet). The Toph/Ummi theory is (and I don't quite understand why Toph), but Toph is the reincarnation of Ummi, and is therefore spiritually linked to Aang. I'm gonna say this right now - this isn't a Taang story. It follows the canon relationships.
From the second chapter, readers see that Aang tries to mend his and Toph's friendship. Why do you think their friendship dissipated in the first place?
Spoilers! Haha well, I can say that because of the fight Aang and Toph had, it had further-reaching consequences than either of them realise at the moment. At the moment, both have half of the story. And the reader has even less.
Aang and Toph fight in "Fragments"; was this evidence that they're old "tough" friendship still exists?
Actually, I needed a catalyst for them to apologise. I think in that fight Toph got rid of her anger with Aang. There's more to it than that *coughcough the sword cough*, but at the time of writing, I needed to show two sides to Toph - how strong she has become, and how weak.
Katara asks Toph if she has a problem with Suki; is this a possible Tokka reference? Do you support Tokka as well?
Nope. No Tokka at all - at least in this story. I do love it, and as far as I'm concerned it's still canon. Just, Lin isn't his biological daughter. There was another reason for Katara bringing that up, and it will become apparent in a fairly angsty chapter coming up.
In "Introspection", Katara releases an energy build up and sends her sprawling to the floor. What did this energy have to do with Toph?
Well, the crown chakra is one of pure consciousness. It's the Self. Toph's energy is supposed to signify death of Self, but in a more abstract term. It isn't her death, per se. But if I say too much, I'll give too much away.
One of my favorite lines came from "The Fireflies". And Toph's... pregnant? Why?
Is she pregnant? Is she really? Or am I just screwing with you again? We all know how excitable Katara gets. Give me a few chapters and you'll find out.
Just for Fun
If you could live the life of one character from the Avatar universe, who would it be and why?
Hmmm. Can I say Appa? I love Appa, and I think it would be even cooler to be him than anyone else. I mean, he has this mystical connection to Aang, can understand people and other animals and airbend. Not to mention someone died to save him. He's pretty awesome
Who is your favorite character to write about in this story?
Oh, Toph. Of course! But I love writing the Bird Spirit. Her motives will become clear in a few chapters. I think I just like writing angsty stuff. A lot.
Do you have any advice for fellow authors in regard to writing in-character characters?
If you can justify the actions properly, "characterisation" can be swung to make your characters do anything. It might take a while to build up to the particular action, but if you do build it up, your readers won't think, "Well, that was random..."
When Past Meets Present is a story that goes beyond clusters of words and punctuation. It's a story about the feelings of experiences: love, anger, fear, and so many more. When a story has the ability to speak to the heart and mind, it's a testament to the author. If you love Toph and want to see her in a brighter light, please do yourself a favor and read When Past Meets Present.