Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Talking with author Evelyn Shepherd

Thanks for having me, Dawn. I'm very excited to be here tonight. I admit that I took a while to consider what I wanted to discuss on this blog, as there are many topics I could touch upon, such as writing advice regarding style or plot development. However, as of late, I have been thinking a lot about fanfiction and I've decided that this would be a great place to talk about it.
            Within the last few years, fanfiction has become more of a mainstream topic. We are seeing it more and more in the media, especially after the success of fanfiction-turned-novel Fifty Shades of Gray. On the Internet, outlets such as AO3 (Archive of Our Own), Fanfiction.net, and Tumblr have provided spaces for fans to enjoy and share their fandoms with others.
            But not everyone agrees that fanfiction is “real writing” or that it should be allowed. Prominent authors such as Ann Rice, Laurel K. Hamilton, and George R.R. Martin have all spoken out against fanfiction and taken strides to protect their stories. In most cases, authors who are against fanfiction view it as a form of plagiarism and an invasion of their characters/worlds.
However, authors such Neil Gaiman and J.K. Rowling have endorsed and encouraged fans to express themselves through fan stories. I personally, am in favor of fanfiction. As a former fanfiction author myself, I see it as a community that nourishes new and budding authors.
Some consider fanfiction to not be "real writing", though this is far from the truth. As someone who continues to read fanfiction, I can say that I've come across some extremely talented authors.
"But if they're so talented, why write fanfiction and not something real, like short stories and novels?" This is something that we all have thought before, but we must realize that not everyone is ready to take that step, or that they may not want to. Fanfiction provides writers a chance to exercise their writing skills and help shape them in an environment that they already know and with characters whom they are intimately familiar.
I grew this way myself: using the characters and storylines from Gundam Wing, Final Fantasy VII, and Harry Potter to create new stories of my own. That eventually inspired me to make my own characters and stories!
Fanfiction is a growing process for many people, which is why I am a supporter of it.
I’m not saying every story is amazing. Like all writing, there will be bad and good. Some of my first stories (fanfiction and original) make me cringe when I think about them. But they gave me the tools to help build my craft.
Many of the authors, some of whom I know personally, will spend countless hours researching, plotting, and writing stories—for free—and sharing them with the world, but because their stories are rooted in fan culture, they are looked down upon by society. These authors work just as hard as published authors in creating amazing tales for fans to enjoy, and their passion lies in the same place as every published author: writing.
Fanfiction is a regular part of media. It comes in many forms, sometimes ones we don’t even realize. The BBC Sherlock and Elementary can be characterized as a ‘modern day AU (alternative universe)’. Fifty Shades of Gray began as a Twilight fanfic that was edited into an original story. The Great and Powerful Oz is an origin story for the Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum. All of these are based off of pre-existing worlds and characters. They’re works of fanfiction in their own way, though the media won’t admit that (well maybe Fifty Shades…).
I’m not here to step up on my soap box and instill a belief that fanfiction is okay. Ann Rice isn't wrong in disagreeing with it. Those are her views and her characters, so she has every right to feel that way. We are all entitled to our views. The point I’m striving to make is that as a literate community (both writing and reading), we shouldn't turn our nose up at fanfiction authors. They are writers, whether they dream of publishing or not, and as fellow writers we should send our support to them and encourage them to continue to write.
And to answer questions that may pop up: yes I support fanfiction and would not be upset if someone wrote it about my stories. I also support fan art.

            What are everyone’s views on fanfiction (or even fan art)? Do you support fanfiction or are you against it?

White Bone, Red Sky by Evelyn Shepherd
A Theo Bourne Novel
Loose Id
Paranormal, Vampires, M/M
Available at Publisher / Amazon / Omnilit

Theo and Carlos are called out of vacation when a madman called the Bogeyman begins to butcher small children. It's a race against more than the clock as a third victim is abducted. The FBI has stepped in to put an end to the terror that has seized Columbus, but with very few clues to go on, Theo and Carlos are left scrambling for answers. Rhett Bishop just might be the help they've been looking for, but it comes with a price -one Theo isn't sure is worth paying.

The deeper they delve into the bloody massacre rocking Columbus, the more things spin out of control. Theo struggles with his own crippling fears and tries to build the courage to ask Carlos one of the most important questions of his life. But things can never go easy for the two detectives, and as they sort through their case, Carlos begins a battle of his own. A contender has stepped up to take Carlos's place as Alpha of the local werecoyote pack. If Carlos isn't careful, he may lose more than his position as pack leader.

I stepped off the airplane and followed the flow of traffic out of the terminal. The world felt unsteady after being twenty thousand feet in the air, as if the ground were as soft as a cloud and I’d sink straight
through. I looked around. Port Columbus International Airport was a hive of rushing civilians. My grip tightened around my carry-on as a man in a cheap-looking suit slammed into my shoulder. Someone’s hand caught my arm and steadied me. I looked back and flashed Carlos a grateful smile as he steered us out of the stream of bodies.

“You got everything, coraz√≥n?”

“Yeah. Let’s get our bags and head home. I’m exhausted.” A yawn escaped me, almost as if to emphasis the fact. We were both jet-lagged, in need of a shower, and stiff in every way but the good one. All I wanted was some food and our bed.

For the last two weeks we had taken a much needed—and painfully earned—vacation to Madrid, Spain. It was a long-overdue celebration of our anniversary. I still had trouble believing that in four months, we’d be celebrating two years together. It was a feat I had never thought possible.

“Come on, baggage is this way.” Carlos dropped a quick kiss on my lips and started moving toward the luggage carousels.

I quickly caught up with him, letting my shoulder bump his as I passed. Warmth unfurled in my stomach and pushed away my fatigue when I looked over my shoulder. Carlos had loosely braided his black hair from his face; the pleat draped down his back to just past his shoulder blades. He had become disheveled during the flight, his black tank top wrinkled and his poured-on jeans riding low on his narrow hips.

We had come a long way since we first met. It had been a rocky beginning, filled with denial, then followed by hesitation. That rocky beginning, which had become stronger and more cemented during the past two years, had laid our foundation. Somehow, between almost dying and all our fears, we had found happiness. Now I was terrified to think of a life without him. 

“Try to keep up, mutt,” I goaded teasingly.

Carlos’s smile deepened at my challenge, and we all but ran to the baggage area, making our way down the escalator without mishap. I slid my cell phone out and powered it up as we waited for the baggage carousel to start. The flight had been a taxing ten hours with a layover in New York City. We had made it in on the 742 by eleven, but I didn’t think we’d make it home officially until after midnight.

About the Author

I live in Columbus with my dog Sunny and cat Geronimo, though I'm originally from South Carolina. Writing has been a major part of my life, one of my greatest outlets. In high school I churned out half-finished stories all the time, most of them not very good. After a short stint in college, where I pursued a major in criminology, I decided to throw in the towel. For financial purposes I gave up that life and with a bit of soul searching, decided to turn back to my outlet. Now I'm a full-fledged author.

Of course it wasn't as easy as just saying "I'm a writer"! It took a lot of sweat, blood, and twice as many tears to get to this point.

I've been a fan of the fantasy genre for as long, if not longer, as I've been a fan of writing. Though I'm an avid reader in all genres, I have a particular soft spot for it. So it only made sense for me to turn to urban
fantasy/horror as a genre I wanted to write for. Erotica was just an added bonus, because as I always say, the best things to write about are sex and violence!

1 comment:

Evelyn Shepherd said...

Thanks for having me Dawn!