Do you find yourself curious about Blackberry? She is a fanfic author who writes for the Inuyasha fandom and has a penchant for giant monsters. Come meet her and find out what she has to say about writing fanfiction, writer's block, and the need for more action and less romantic mush!

Penname: Blackberry

  • How long have you been writing?

    Fanfic, since about 2003, though I had written a short story as an exercise in college years earlier. (It was for a humanities course, not a creative writing class.) I was encouraged that the professor liked it a lot! I have done a lot of technical writing (brochures, manuals, correspondence, etc.) for my job, so I'm used to writing in general.

  • What first got you interested in writing fanfiction?

    As a gen fan, I was feeling frustrated at the fanfiction available, which was (and is) mostly romance. I don't have a problem with romances per se; in fact I do read and enjoy quite a lot of them, but I wished for some stories with more problems to solve than just romantic entanglements. So I thought I'd try my hand at writing what I'd want to read. I didn't figure I'd be able to write a literary masterpiece, but I thought my skill level was at least technically proficient, and I should be able to write something at least as good or better than some of the stuff out there.

  • Are there any fanfic authors that have influenced your own writing? If so, who are they and what do they write?

    I loved Present Time by Alandrem, because it had a really meaty, original plot with multiple threads and a lot of things going on. Not so much the writing style--English is not her first language, and it shows; she really needed a good editor. The story had a lot of promise and I'm sad that it's not likely to ever get finished.

    There's other authors out there in Inuyasha fandom who've written beautiful, descriptive prose (for instance, Aino-kaachan and Scribe Figaro), others that have written fun, well-constructed stories (for example Rozefire--and her dialogue is great too), and others that have written exciting action epics (Jadewing}, Yamisui). I admire them, and while I can't match their talents, I try to emulate the characteristics that make their writing stand out.

  • What are your favorite shows to write ficition for? What about these shows lend themselves to the creative exercise of fanfiction?

    As of yet, I have only written Inuyasha fanfic, though I am interested in a number of shows, books, comics and manga. Inuyasha lends itself well to fanfic because there is so much room for more detail. As a very long running series, it is already incredibly detailed, but has many jumping off points for speculation, and the internal space to further explore the characters and their motivations. Also, the pace of romance in the canon material is slow, leading impatient people to want to speed it up. That seems to be a primary motivation for a lot of fanfic!

  • Which of your stories is your personal favorite? Why?

    I don't have many to choose from; I like them all, but I suppose I have a special place in my heart for Urban Renewal. It was the first bit of writing I ever posted publicly, and it melded two of my fannish interests. I love giant monsters.

  • It is an old adage that the best writers are also readers. What types of books do you read, and who are some of your favorite authors?

    The answer to that question depends on what day you ask. :) Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my favorite authors, and other current favorites are Dorothy Sayers, Steven Brust, and Jim Butcher. Past favorites (when I was younger) were Anne McCaffrey, Robert Heinlein and Misty Lackey, as well as X-Men comics. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but I'll read mainstream fiction as well, and a lot of nonfiction, depending on what my current research obsession is. I've read a lot about Japanese history, culture and religion in the last couple of years, for instance.

  • Have you tried your hand at original fiction? Do you have any aspirations with regards to original fiction?

    I've had a couple of plot ideas for novels floating around in my head for a number of years now, but I've not bothered to write them down. Writing fanfiction has given me the confidence that I might be able to write an original story, but I don't aspire to be a professional author.

  • How do you conquer the problem of writer's block?

    Try to rethink the problem. Go over what I've written already and try to see if I could take an alternate path to get somewhere, or if I need to rewrite the whole thing from the beginning. Be willing to toss out precious prose if it's not getting me where I need to be.

  • Have you discovered any tips or tricks that help with your writing that you would like to share with our readers?

    Use an outline! It doesn't matter how sparse it is, as long as you have a plan for getting from the beginning, to the middle, and then to the end of your story. The more detailed your outline is, the better.

  • If you could meet any one person from history or fiction, who would it be and why?

    The answer to that question also probably depends on what day you ask. There's so many cool historical people to choose from! To pick one, today I'll say Elizabeth I of England. Tough woman who managed to rule a country despite all the forces against her, and presided over a flowering of arts and sciences. She would be an amazing person to talk to.

  • Which has the greatest coolest factor - Ninjas, pirates, or zombies? Why?

    They're each cool in their own way, I suppose. Zombies are icky, though--being dead and dropping body parts kind of detracts from the coolness. Pirates were not known for their hygiene or necessarily their personal honor, so I guess that leaves ninjas. But who would win--ninjas, or Godzilla?

Have you read Blackberry's stories? What did you think of them? Do you have a comment on any of her answers? Let us know!

Category: Author Interviews