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here today interviewing one of the most well-known users on the wiki (for multiple reasons), !! Now, over the past few days it has been my utmost pleasure to read her quite thrilling story, . I have also have been given the great honour of being the first person to interview the former Fanon Administrator, and both review and interview a user for their work.
HotN is, honestly, a literary masterpiece (even if it doesn't have Toph). Following the lives of Lostris, the soon-to-be Fire Lord and a young firebender named Seraphine, Heiress of the Nile delves into a world rife in political turmoil as the Grand Vizier attempts to take the throne from Lostris before she becomes old enough to rule - just a few scant months into the future. And I have no idea what Seraphine is doing, but she's too awesome so it doesn't matter.
After 9 chapters (including a prologue) and almost 75,000 words, Lostris does more than tell a story. She lets the characters drive the plot, which is exactly why it's such a compelling story to begin with. I'm sick of waffling on, because there honestly is absolutely nothing for me to say except you should read this, and I should have been forced to have a look months ago.
We all know what inspired this story - you've mentioned if often enough. But, why River God?
You know that moment you just read a book or see a movie and you can't stop thinking about it once it's finished? And when it's finished, you just feel like starting to read/watch it all over again? That's "why River God". I read the book when I was cleaning hospitals for a summer job, so that basically meant that I was reading during my breaks, but then you are obligated to stop whenever the break is over, no matter the point where you stopped. So whenever I had to stop at a point where I really couldn't put the book down, I just started to fantasize about what could happen. And you know my vivid imagination. It's scary :-p And, you know, cleaning stuff is just boring, so that leaves you with a lot of time to think about stuff. And the book has it all. The seemingly historical accuracy, the romance, the tension, the adventure, the drama, the twists.
Huh. So you wanted to continue it? Was it a conscious decision to turn it into a fanfic?
Not really, since I didn't even know what fanfic was up until the summer of 2010 when I found this wiki. It was more a product of boredom and anxiousness to continue reading the book when I couldn't. Though I have to admit, the story I was thinking about then had nothing to do with Avatar yet.
What was it like then? What changed?
I rediscovered Avatar and suddenly some of my characters could bend whereas they couldn't before ^^" One of the original influences to the story -besides the book- was also Charmed. So there was a lot more magic involved.
And did that develop into the Avatar influences we read today?
No, a lot of that was just dropped, cause it didn't fit in the Avatar-verse at all. And it made the characters way too powerful. I can't really pinpoint what made it all change. I'm a very "go with the flow" writer. So whatever series/book/movie I liked at that moment was bound to influence the story. And since it was only in my head at that time, things were very easy to change.
Huh. Okay, well, you only have 8 chapters released at the moment, even though it was initially published over 18 months ago - why does it take you so long to release the chapters?
Time. That's the short answer ^^" Both on the wiki as in real life. University obviously demands that I spend some time there -those know that I'm studying for my exams, and it's funny to see how many of my notebooks have draft versions of some HotN jotted down at the back :-p And on the wiki, I guess you could say that I'm an editor first and a fanon writer second.
Did you expect it to take this long?
Fanon is fun and all, but the wiki's goal is still being an encyclopedic, so that gets my attention first. But no, I did not expect it to take this long. Though you could really put that into perspective. I have 9 chapters published (prologue included), which gives a combined total word count of 74,546 - more than the average completed fanon on here. So if you would cut up my chapters in a more standard shorter length, I would be like the top publisher XD
Okay, the actual synopsis/blurb/summary is pretty vague, and doesn't tell the readers that we would actually be following not only Lostris, but Seraphine as well. Why did you keep the latter out of the synopsis - particularly when she was recognised as the Best Female Main Character at last year's Fanon Awards?
Because she was never really planned like she turned out ^^" As said, I write on impulse. I have a few key point that I need to touch upon to get my story moving, but I don't have a set road to get there. I don't start writing with a definite idea of what's going to happen in that chapter. I just start and then I see what comes out. For example, Kun's introduction in the first chapter! That was never planned. Not that elaborate anyway. And the same could be said about Sera. It's partly because it was never really planned, and it is partly because when I leave it vague, I am free to do what I want, and to suddenly switch everything around without people knowing that it was never originally planned that way ^^ Originally, the first chapter was planned to be an overall introduction chapter for all the characters. I just kind of went overboard with Sera's part, so the other's had to be bumped up to the next chapter ^^"
Will we find out what happened to Kun, and his sister?
Ah yes, you'll definitely see them again.
Which character is your favourite to write?
Can't you guess from the writing? ;-)
And yes, *gives Fruipy a Fuity Oaty Bar for having the right answer*
Do you hate thinking of character names?
Haha, what makes you think that? It can't be the fact that most of my character names come from the book or the series. No, I'm sure that's not it.
How did the personalities of each character develop? Are they inspired by people you know, or have met/spoken to?
Hoh, that's a difficult question to answer. I think the answer that would hold most of the truth is "they developed in the spur of the moment". What now is HotN is an old story, as in, the very first thought dates back to like 2005. But since I never wrote anything down, a lot of the things changed over the years due to other influences and well, me just forgetting stuff. So because the story has changed form rather often, it's rather hard to pinpoint exact changing points. But no, the characters are not based on people I know/have met. They can have influences of characters from shows and movies and all, but not from "real" people.
Ahh. Now, when you introduced Lostris in the Prologue, she was rather cruel to her sister. Why did you introduce her like this - especially considering what happens at the end of the chapter?
I'm the most interesting person ever to be interviewed, cause... I don't know ^^" It was just something that came out. And I see siblings do something like that. I can insult my brother often, but I get mad when someone else says the exact same thing to him that I just did. It's like "I can do that, cause he's my brother, but if you do that, I'll kick your ass". I think Lostris is sort of the same. She loves Tayla, but she also likes to show off to her little sister.
- Sibling rivalry?
I think you can go with that explanation ^^" It seems like something I could've thought at that time, cause really, I don't really know anymore what I was thinking. That's a downside of "writing on the flow", I don't really know why "the flow" takes me places ^^"
Will we ever find out what happened to her sister?
Yes, you'll find out what happened to Tayla
Is Sami interested in Sera? Like - *waggles eyebrows* - interested?
Lol interesting way of asking the question. Subconsciously, yes. Cause after what happened to Korra and the mess that got her to leave her "A" and her home, she doesn't really want to go down that path again.
Will she act on it?
Define "acting". She's going to slap Sera in the face in the next chapter ^^ I'm going to leave the "is she going to act on it" in the middle, but I'll say that even though Sera will leave the camp in Betrayal, it will definitely not be the last time we've seen Sami.
Will she let Sera know of her feelings?
Ha, the question should really rather be "will she acknowledge her feelings to herself".
- Will she?
As expected, Sami will find out Sera's true identity in Betrayal, which will leave their relationship at some very shaky grounds. Especially since -spoiler alert- Sera will kill people in front of her, so there will be no denying how dangerously and cold-hearted she can be. And "will she"? Hmm . . . Let's just say, what fun is it to foreshadow and torture your characters if there is no point? That would just make you cruel without reason. Sami is one of the few characters of which I can say that she has definite influences of TV characters. Namely Temperance Brennan from Bones (in the naïvety and not always understanding what people are saying) and Moira Isles from "Rizzoli & Isles" (which happened to be the series I was watching when I wrote Sami's first appearance) ^^ Though Sera also shares some influences from Shego from the "Kim Possible" series ^^
Have we met all the pertinent characters?
Eum, at this moment, I'd say yes. Cause with a "go with the flow" style, you never know of course ^^"
Why does Naja want to be Fire Lord?
Hmm, how to answer that one without giving too much away. Eum . . . Well, obviously there is the appeal of absolute power, which for someone who grew up on the streets is always interesting. But there is more to it than that. And that has to do with his sister, Elaina. She was mentioned in chap 7, Royal Pain. Naja and Intef toasted on her ("To Elaina. To justice. To the fall of the House of Tamose"). So part of the reason why Naja wants the throne has to do with "A marriage? You want to me to marry the daughter of that associate of murderers? The daughter of that lying son of a bitch? After what he and his buddies did to Elaina?!"
- So he wants revenge?
There is obviously a story behind that, one which will still be explained, but since it hasn't completely be formed yet and since it would be too much of a spoiler, I can't really say much about it. But yes, revenge is definitely a factor.
Ok. Now, Lostris (the character) - are you planning on giving her a love interest *ahemTanuscoughcough*
- Is that all I get? "Yes"?
Yes :-p What more do you want? Juicy details? *waggles eyebrows*
- Elaboration and expansion. Juicy details works too :D
Well, Tanus obviously loves Lostris. She was the girl Meren was teasing him about during their training session. So he's obviously into her, and he seems very okay with her having seen him naked
- Did he "show" her he was interested? In the pond?
Haha Well, he's a guy. A very well-trained guy at that. He literally has nothing to be ashamed of ^^
1. it was in the river Nile, don't even call the Nile a pond *glares* and
2. what exactly do you mean with "show" her. What, are you asking me whether or not "he raised the flag" in front of her? :-p Hehe, to satisfy (or not) your curiosity: no, he did not. He was naked though, so she could see it. But he was more embarrassed than excited at that moment. Though Lostris knows he likes her. They've known each other forever; they sort of grew up together. That isn't very clear yet, since I still have to add in a lot of background for the characters.
Possibly during the festival? And I think it's cute :D Will there be a lot of UST (unresolved sexual tension) in the upcoming chapters?
Definitely during the festival ^^ A lot will happen during that festival. Isn't UST part of the reason why one would even consider adding a romantic notion to a story? ^^ So yes, there will definitely be UST
Lostris is the Avatar, yes? When will that be revealed?
The first book of HotN is called "Lost and Found" for a reason. It's actually a sort of introduction book Where a lot of the characters are revealed, as well as possible story arcs to be touched upon later in the story. As such, it can be said for certain that Lostris = the Avatar will be revealed in that book, cause it is something that she lost and found again.
And the next chapter is the last for the book?
Betrayal? Oh no, not at all. The festival is a definite catalyst for things that were lost that needed to be found. So that will definitely take me a while to write that all up. Like Sera still has Aryanna (which is Kun's little sister. She has received a name by now, so you know that that means that she's actually got a purpose :-p ). So technically, one could say that Kun has lost her and still needs to find her.
How many chapters do you expect for the first book? And how many books?
I really can't say that, cause that's up to the flow. Out of Place for example was completely not planned. Sera was on her way to Thebes and then she would've gotten some medical care there. But then the flow decided that I should insert Sami. Which ended up prolonging Sera's journey to Thebes with at least 3 (long) chapters. So I honestly don't know. Though I'd like to stay below the 20 ^^" As for the books, well . . . No idea ^^". After Lost and Found, the more classical "Avatar journey" will start. So depending on the amount of details, that can range from one to three books ^^" I think it's a safe bet to say "a long time, a lot of chapters, a high word count" ;-)
Looking forward to it! How do you feel about the positive reception the HotN has received?
Can one feel weird about that? ^^ I don't know, I've never written something before, let alone in English. And then to have native speakers praise your work and your writing. It's weird. A good weird, but weird nonetheless ^^
Did you expect it to become so popular?
Not at all. Especially since it has nothing to do with Avatar, really. Sure, the story is about an Avatar and there is bending and the hybrid fauna. But apart from that, it's set in an entirely different world with an entirely different cast. Though to be honest, at some level I did expect people to show interest in it, just because it was written by me -at that point a fanon administrator, now an administrator. And on the wiki, a story seems to have two ways to become popular:
1. be really good on its own -but then it'll likely still take some time before people notice it or
2. be written by a known user. Then it seems like people are more willing to give it a shot, more based on their knowledge of the author than of that of the story (if that makes sense ^^").
What was your proudest moment when writing this?
Proudest moment . . . hoh . . . My favorite chapter so for is Friend and Foe, cause I just loved writing for Sera there. But proudest moment . . . I can't really pinpoint one, but I have had that moment where suddenly everything in your story falls together, without you actually having planned it. The moment where everything just suddenly seems to click and falls into place, making perfect sense. I'd say, those are my proudest moments ^^ Oh, and the fact that I am actually still writing it, that I still want to write it, and am still having fun writing it ^^
Will you keep writing even after HotN is complete?
No idea. I don't think so. Unless I get another idea, another story in my head that I just need to tell. I've never been a writer. I'm a dreamer. A fantasizer (is that a word? ^^). I have a vivid imagination and I like to just sit there and let my fantasy take me places, but I don't necessarily want to write it down. I would describe myself more to be a dreamer than a writer. So I would not stop coming up with stories, but I don't know whether or not I'd write them down.
Do you ship any characters in ATLA?
Yes and no ^^" No: I don't care about shipping. I don't care about Kataang, I don't care about Zutara, I don't care about Tokka, Sukka, Yukka, Taang, whatever. I just really don't care. It's a TV show. You watch it, you move on. That's my basic stance on shipping in ATLA. Granted, that's perhaps also fueled due to the fact that I am older than the average target audience. And I had never seen ATLA when it aired. I got to know it via reruns and then via the internet, so I never was involved with the shipping wards and whatnot. As for "do you ship"; yes: I do ship the canon-pairings, just because they're canon. Not because I particularly like the ship, but just because they're canon and that's what happened. Or at least, that's my feeling to wards ATLA shipping. Towards TLoK shipping: no, just no. Bloody Makorra, seriously, just no. As I told you before -I think-, I feel like I know too much about the ATLA universe to really be into fanons about it. But I do enjoy good writing, so once in a while, people can surprise me with a fanon hinting toward Taang or something ;-) Linzin would've been my preferred canon ship for the adults, Korrasami for the youth ^^
Yes, we all know you love Korrasami ^^" Okay, third last question - why did you agree to let users review HotN for the open position in the FRS?
Why did I agree to let people review HotN? It's free critique, what's not there to like? It can only help me better the story, so I think everyone would like that ^^
How do you feel about this years fanon awards?
I actually really don't have an opinion about that. I like the fanon awards, cause they can be a way of recognizing unappreciated and/or undiscovered pearls on the fanon portal. Though I sort of feel like -as with every award system like that on the wiki- that it has more to do with popularity than with quality, and there is nothing one can really do to change that mindset.
Final question - is there anything you want to tell the 20+ subscribers, and possibly even more lurkers out there?
Eum . . . This is more a general remark to all fanon readers, not just mine: COMMENT. And not like "awesome chapter" and be done with it -though that's better than nothing, cause then the the author knows the chapter has gotten some attention. But in general, really, comment and give constructive feedback, so that the author can learn and grown from it.
One of the most interesting interviews I've ever conducted (could you tell it was on the IRC?), HotN deserves all the praise because honestly? It's just that good. Next time you have a hankering to read a story - it doesn't even have to be fanfiction - take a look at HotN. If you regret it, I'll eat my hat. This is Frui, signing off~!