Though she may be a newcomer to Whovian fandom, our featured author of the week has already left her mark on the fandom. From her imaginitive use of old-school canon to her distinctive prose, cryptile has managed to successfully straddle both old-school and New Who as her current gripping, yet often hilarious, epic "Past Due" has so aptly shown. And so I'm delighted to hand over to cryptile for her author's interview.
Tell us ten facts about yourself.
1. I'm female.
2. I lived in North Dakota for the first 20 years of my life.
3. I used to be an English major, but now have a B.F.A. in Comic Art.
4. I can't hold my liquor.
5. This is my first fandom where I've actually written fanfic.
6. I liked the Sixth Doctor before it was socially acceptable to like him. However, that period was before Big Finish Audio redeemed his reputation, that means I'd based my appreciation for him off those godawful Eighties episodes. Which is sad.
7. I love dinosaurs. A lot.
8. I am keeping a running tally of predatory birds I've seen in the Twin Cities (sharp-shinned hawk: 3, peregrine falcon: 1, Swainson's hawk: 2).
9. I get lost pathetically easily.
10. As a teenager, I had a crush on George Orwell.
What seduced you to the show in the first place?
I was a cradle Whovian. Mom and Dad got hooked on Tom Baker back in the day, so big chunks of my childhood Fridays were spent watching PBS fundraising drives. Doctor Who basically represents to me everything good about being young and overimaginative, and the fact that it works on an adult level too is impressive. I fell for the new series after the "turn of the Earth" speech, mostly because it nailed that level of wonder perfectly.
What made you start writing Doctor Who fanfic?
I knew Whofic was out there, but didn't really pay attention. My roommate -- someone I introduced to Doctor Who, believe it or not -- started reading fanfics and pointed out some good ones to me. Later, she wanted to co-write one, so we traded off every few paragraphs and posted to time_and_chips. We never finished the story -- my bits had the Tenth Doctor going after Nine with a butterknife -- but having to write for the characters interested me enough to want to try it out on my own.
Do you think writing for Doctor Who has added anything to your writing style or made you try things you wouldn't otherwise have?
I'm not sure -- I've been writing stuff for ages, but I'm still a fanfiction newbie. I'm not quite certain how the influence works out.
BBC volunteers to make an episode out of just one of your fics. Which would you like it to be?
Past Due, but only if it gets rewritten by Mark Gatiss, script-edited by Douglas Adams, and directed by the lovechild of Joe Ahearne and Peter Grimwade.
Tell us a bit about the process of writing a fanfic for you.
I've only written five fics total (see caveat above re: newbiehood) but the process seems to differ depending on what it's about. Come to Dust just sort of happened -- I wrote down the line "This, then, the nature of grief" and everything just poured out (though editing it took forever). The other vignette fics were built up around disjointed thought processes and then beaten into shape and edited, though you can probably guess at what time of night some of them were looked-over . . Past Due is killing me because it's a huge balancing act and some parts try to run away from the main narrative, plus I keep changing my mind about the order of events. It's a drastically different experience from just sitting down and writing a little one-off, which makes me almost wish I'd waited until I'd ironed out all the stupid bits in my head and just done some more vignettes instead.
What do you think you as a writer add to a fic that makes it distinctly yours?
Invertebrates, unsubtle homages (not to mention blatant ripoffs), running around pointlessly, crimes against spacing and italics, the Ninth Doctor being cross.
What's your most embarassing moment in Doctor Who fandom?
When I was fourteen I wrote Craig Hinton a fangirly letter after reading Millennial Rites.
Which character comes easiest for you to write and why do you think that is?
Probably Nine. Doctors who have the Olympian Aura of Other are difficult when it comes to getting into their head, but the angry/vulnerable ones seem to lend themselves to internal dialogue. Also, writing for Nine means I can drop in old skool references without necessarily being bogged down into the huge canon pit (a very good thing, seeing as how I have virtually none of the NA, MA, or Eighth Doctor books and no idea of what the hey was going on).
And which character drives you to get out the alcohol and bash your head against the keyboard when trying to write?
Maybe Jack, seeing as how he's charming, loose, and capable -- things I ain't. Writing for Ten when he's not in Default Post-Regenerative Crazy Mode (TM) is also hard, partly because we haven't really seen him in action yet, but also because he strikes me as being so much in the whole Other mode that One, Four and Seven were. It's tricky for me to second-guess him, since Nine just wants to yell at things and go sulk for a bit.
What's the best Doctor Who fic you haven't yet written?
The one where Ten and Rose and maybe Jack go back to the 1870's at the time of the Bone Wars, when dueling naturalists O.C. Marsh and E.D. Cope were paying vagabonds and hoodlums to dig up dinosaur bones in the Old West.
Where's a good place to find your writing for the unaware?
I'm on Teapsoon -- http://www.whofic.com/viewuser.php?uid=795 --, and sometimes I post to my journal (though mostly only to see that the HTML is correct).
This space is yours. What would you like to say?
time_and_chips is full of wonderful, clever people with brilliant stories. There should be more fics with Yeats quotes in them. Enterprise sucked.
Finally, we'll know to take away your keyboard the day you write...?
Allison Cheney stared in horror. "Doctor, what on Earth are you doing?!?"
The emaciated man covered in beans paused in his solitary bacchanalia. "It's an ancient Time Lord tradition! Drinking shandy in the Hormel Chili bathtub! --Oh, of course; it must offend your delicate human sensibilities --"