Many thanks to Aibhinn who volunteered to be the next subject of the Meet the Authors series. Read further to discover the aspirations, strengths and weaknesses of a life-long writer, and why an author should give her characters free reign. Just remember, when she says 'Write Or Die', she means it!
Oh, since I could form letters. I distinctly remember sitting down at the age of 6 with the intent of writing a book.
I found the now-defunct Gryffindor Tower site in 2003 and discovered the joys of Harry Potter fanfiction. I started betaing, and then writing, for GT shortly thereafter, and when GT went down, some friends of mine and I created Phoenix Song. My Harry Potter work is archived there, though I don't write much any more. :) In early 2006, I found the reboot of Doctor Who on the SciFi channel, and fell in love. By July of that year, I was writing in the DW universe, and once Torchwood came along, I started writing for that, too.
Oh, quite a few. Imogen and Tartanboxers in the HP fandom gave me my first pushes into the genre. In DW/TW, Rallalon, Canaan, WendyMR, and Dark Aegis have been some of my favorites. (I want to be able to write like Rallalon when I grow up.)
I like writing in the Doctor Who/Torchwood fandom because there's so much scope for the imagination. My stories are always about the characters—how they react to the situation I put them in, and to each other—and the DW/TW characters are so well-drawn and well-realized that it's not difficult to put them down on paper. They talk in my head sometimes—which is usually fine, except when it's Jack Harkness and I'm in my classroom at work. Then it can get problematic. *grin*
I think my very favorite is Interstices. It's a short little one-shot, getting into Jack's head at two different times in his life, showing how his immortality changed him. I think it's probably the deepest, most honest story I've ever written, and I'm immensely proud of it. It even got recced on the crack_van community on LJ!
Oh, that's difficult, because I love them all so much. Probably Jack. He writes his own dialogue in my head, and he can be so very naughty.
I think I'm a strong plotter, but I struggle with actual composition. I love to edit; I hate to draft, so sometimes I just sit and stare at the Blinking Curser-O-Doom for far too long. I've discovered an app that really helps with that, though: Write or Die. It's amazing how much easier it is to draft when you're working to a timed deadline.
I read a lot of fantasy and some science fiction. I also like mysteries and (well-written) historical fiction. Some of my favorite authors are Guy Gavriel Kay, Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, Melanie Rawn, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Diana Gabaldon.
I'm taking screenwriting classes at the local film institute at the moment. I've already written one screenplay, which desperately needs a good revision or six, and am working on another. Whether anything happens with them is still up in the air, but it wouldn't hurt my feelings at all to be working in Hollywood or for the BBC.
No. I'm incredibly protective of my original fiction, not least because if it's published anywhere (including online), that can make it problematic when you try to sell it. Pretty much my classmates and a few trusted friends are the only ones who see my original work.
Good question. Usually writer's block, for me, is simply a matter of having too much other stuff on my mind and allowing myself to become distracted by it. The Write or Die website I referenced above has helped me a lot—though it doesn't work so well for screenplays!
When people say, "Write what you know," they mean it. You can know something through experience or through research, but make sure you're familiar with the subject before you try to write too deeply about it. There are things you can fudge, of course, but the more you know about it, the more comfortable you'll be. That said, don't be afraid to stretch your mind and your wings a little; especially in fantasy and sci-fi, you have to! I've never travelled in a big blue box or kissed an immortal 51st-century bloke, but that hasn't stopped me writing about it. That's the joy of fanfic!
Also, I've discovered, if you want your story to go one way, and the characters want to take it somewhere else, let them. You'll be surprised what wonderful things your subconscious can come up with.
I'd like to meet Aslan, from the Chronicles of Narnia. He always seemed SO COOL to me. I mean, seriously, he's a LION. A lion you can CUDDLE WITH (if you're Susan or Lucy). What could be more awesome?
Oh, zombies are just gross, even in Shaun of the Dead. Pirates can be fun on film, but I don't expect they were much fun in real life: pretty smelly and ucky teeth. I like ninjas because they're not only awesomely graceful and incredible fighters, but they were very, VERY well educated. If I could speak Japanese and have a chance to talk to one, that would be really cool. :)