Well, four days in and already Beginning of Line has gotten so much love and support from all over the place! To those of you reading and spreading the word, thank you so much! Don't forget that we're on Twitter, as well as Facebook. I'd love to see you there, too.
So, in an attempt to build a sense of community 'round here, and also because I'm nosy, I've decided to start a feature here at BOL called The Friday Five, where I'd ask the same 5 questions every week to that week's writer! As Pema Newton, writer of "Are You Alive?" was our first writer, she gets to be our guinea pig! Take it away, Pema!
1) If you had to choose ONE, what's the most important thing people should know about you?
That I'm a sucker for a good story, well told. They are what I love to read, to watch and to write. I think one of the reasons I have a yen for long form Sci-Fi dramas is because they lend themselves to the telling of complex stories about serious subjects, with arcs that can take years to play out and characters that can totally transform over time.
2) Favorite thing about writing fan fiction?
It's fun. Who doesn't want to play with other people's toys! In my case, it was a great sandpit to play in while I developed my plotting, character development, world building and the writing craft. I'd written a first draft of a crime novel while I was living in India, but it had kind of got bogged down. I'd got stuck at 80,000 words and couldn't see a way to land that plane. So, I started writing some stuff online with a group, involving original characters in a DS9 season 8 world. It was really freeing to write for fun, to put stuff out there on a regular basis and have people respond to it. It gave me confidence to pull out the bogged down novel and take it to a Post Grad writing course at university .... an MA and some years later that novel is still in the bottom drawer but the next novel found a publisher and I'm now working on the next in a crime series. (And yet, I STILL have a DS9 tie-in novel rattling around inside my head - beware the power of the sci-fi verse!)
3) Least favorite thing about writing fan fiction?
Eventually you want to be able to take your work to the next level. And that means you need to be able to create original fiction. As much as it's freeing to plunge in and play - it can also let you fall into bad habits (sloppy control of shifting points of view is a trap for young players!). It's good to push the boundaries if you are really looking at writing seriously. However, there are many writers who have made the leap from fan-fiction, Liz Williams writes original sci-fi and Una McCormack writes DS9 tie-ins. In the glory days of Trek on TV there were a lot of writers on those shows with "fan" backgrounds *cough* Ronald D Moore *cough*. So, if fan fiction is as far as you want to go with your writing, then I'd say, have at it and enjoy. If you hope to write for publication, then don't settle in and get too comfy, keep pushing yourself to write original stuff as well.
4) Of all the characters on Caprica, why did you choose to focus on Fidelia and Clarice?
Simple answer, they were the characters that best served the story. The development of the religious mania of the cylons (as seen in BSG) was, for me, the real hook in Caprica. So, in the finale, seeing Clarice getting her prophecy hat out in front of a congregation of cylons, well, who wouldn't want to get stuck into that! Clarice is a fascinating piece of work. I never saw her power-crazed lust for power as being mutually exclusive to her having a genuine, (if really frakked up) faith. I imagine she and Lacy will be engaged in a heavy hitting long running internecine war. So, between Zoe, Lacy and Clarice, those cylon kids had a seriously conflicted family life! I wanted to explore the direction Clarice was taking with her religious ambitions. She is far too narcissistic to ever admit her vision of apotheosis was a mistake, but really, it was an absurd idea! There are much more potent ways to gain religious converts, as our own long history of proselytising on the back of missionary work to the desperate, the hungry and the poor has shown. Seeing Clarice working "smarter" had a lot of appeal. As for Fiddy, well, the Taurons seemed to me to be the least likely to embrace the whole concept of an "eternal" life in a V-heaven. In fact they don't seem fond of the whole V-world fad, the last Guatrau's experience with a holoband didn't end well, after all. Joseph, Sam and Evelyn only ever entered V-world for work reasons - not pleasure. Above all, the Tauron desire to "return to the soil" implied an acceptance of the finality of death. So that begged the question of what would tempt a Tauron to want to upload an avatar? I think recognising the vulnerable and offering them salvation is the genius of Zoe/Clarice/Lacy's new and improved apotheosis, achieved by working with menial cylon labourers - and a Tauron was the perfect subject to demonstrate its effectiveness. I reckon Fidelia, The Guatrau, would be appalled were she ever to discover that she had been manipulated by an old lover in such a way.
5) If the technology were available, would you want to be resurrected as a skin-job cylon?
No. But that's easy to say now, isn't it? Ask me again when I'm old, in pain, or facing a serious illness...what would it take to tempt you to upload?
Thanks, Pema! And if you haven't already checked out her story, "Are You Alive?", what are you waiting for?! It's right there on the CURRENT EPISODE page! :)