Debra! Thank you again for those wonderful reviews on Out of Time!
1. Out of Time is one of the most complex stories I have ever read, both in characterization and in plot handling. How did you go about writing it to not utterly confuse yourself? Or did it confuse you?
First of all, thank you for those compliments! I wrote this story to test-drive an OF time travel plot, and I never thought it would turn out so well! For some reason, the timeline never confused me, which, now that I think about it, is a strange thing because the last time I tried writing time travel in The Fires Within, I became so confused that the plot fell apart. But for Out of Time, I'd planned the story with greater care, and even though I made changes to this plan - such as in the second-to-last chapter - they had no effect on the timeline. In my plan, I wrote down each of the dates, based on the age that I wanted Moody to be - 70, mid-40s, just short of 20, and 10 - then I structured Lily's story around those dates
2. Did you do any particular research for it?
Yes, quite a bit. I kept looking up little things like the agriculture and landscape of the Lake District, the dates of major bombings in WWII London, the types of magical items that Alastor Moody might possess, and information about Moody himself, from his speech patterns to any hints to his history that have appeared in the books or elsewhere. I'm becoming more obsessed with details in my stories. XD
3. Did you plan it? The plot I mean.
It was a new experience to plan things out in advance, not just the timeline, but also the various clues that lead to the story's revelation, including the wedding ring and the portrait. I wasn't sure how obvious to make these clues, and I often worried that readers would figure out the plot too soon - a couple did, though not with 100% certainty, so I was safe. Having a set plan - with some wiggle room, of course - made a big difference in getting me to update faster. I didn't have to sit back and think about what I wanted to happen next and how it would affect the story.
4. One thing I've noticed about many of your original characters is that you have a very distinct voice for each. What do you think is the secret of creating an OC that people can easily relate to up to the point of considering them canon (when writing fanfiction, but not only)? I mean, do you follow any given process when creating new characters?
Oooh, this is a good question! It's wonderful to hear this about my characters! It's a challenge to make them sound different because there's only so much you can do with dialect and language, and many of my main characters share similar traits, so sometimes I worry that they're all really the same person, just caught up in different plots. I gave up writing character bibles and filling character forms years ago, but I'll try to describe what I do with characters.
A character has to fit into their world. Even if they're alienated from it or actively rebelling against it, they still have to come from it, somehow - they will always have these little habits or ways of thinking that can only come from existing in that world. I often design my characters based on the kind of story I'm writing, and as the story continues, the character grows - eventually, they come to influence the plot. That's what is key for me: that plot and character are interconnected, each contributing to the development of the other, and both are a part of the world in which they exist, be it Rowling's Magical World or an original setting.