Oh yay! I only just saw this but I got so excited when I did. More questions...I love questions
I've been very impressed with the way you've written the mental health aspects of Emily's story so far. Do you have any sort of background in this area? Any personal experiences that inform your writing?
I have some personal experience in this area, I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past...still do actually although it's fairly high-functioning these days. I am rather passionate about mental illness because of this, mostly about the stigma that's attached to mental illness and how this creates a sense of shame amongst people who suffer from mental disorders and feel the need to hide it. I just saw this as a good opportunity to write about it in a very realistic way, and I'd had this story idea floating around for a while so that's where it came from. I've also met a lot of other MI sufferers (we tend to be able to 'sense' each other I think lol!), so I've also learnt a lot about other's experiences that way. Naturally, I also do in depth research for my writing.
What's the best thing about being an Aussie on a site where most of the members are Brits and Yanks? What's the worst thing?
The best thing is getting to know people from all over the world and making new friends who I otherwise wouldn't get to meet. The worst thing is time zones! I always seem to be online when everyone else is asleep!
What led you to get out of teaching?
Short answer - I had a nervous breakdown. Long answer - I was never really happy as a teacher (sound like someone we know? ) and it had never really been my passion, I'd just chosen it because I was good at it and it was a secure and sensible career option. I had been flirting with the idea of studying costume for about a year before I got sick, and when I had to take time off work I had a lot of time to think about options and eventually bit the bullet and made the leap (double metaphor FTW).
Do you set aside a specific time each day (or week) to write, or do you just write when the muse is upon you?
I look at my writing every day that I can, maybe four or five days a week, but sometimes I can't seem to write at all. Other times, I can't seem to write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts, but I try to write every day that I get the chance, even if it's just a bit of editing or planning.
If JKR allowed you to exchange one of the "good" characters who died in the books for one that lived, who would be your choices and why?
Part of me wants to say 'The series is perfect the way it is, every death served a purpose,' and whilst I do believe that, there were two deaths that just broke my heart: Dobby and Fred. I sobbed like a baby when Dobby died because it was just so moving, so poignant, so unnecessary. and Fred breaks my heart because all I can think about is how poor George has to go through life without him by his side Gah! I'm getting teary just writing this! I don't know who I would trade either of them with though. maybe Hagrid, because I honestly thought he was going to die anyway, but no...I can't do that, it's like asking me to kill of one of my own children! (not that I have children but you know what I mean)
If you had never read the HP books, do you think you would be writing your own fiction anyway? What are your other inspirations?
I've always written for my own amusement, but I never let anyone read my writing or took an interest in improving my writing skills until I found HPFF. I think a lot of it was the variety of stories and the people here on the forums that inspired me to write and instilled that sense of 'betterment' in me as a writer. So actually I don't know if I would be writing very much if it hadn't been for HPFF, and if I was, it would be absolute dribble!
A few people I know think that there's an inherent sexism in the HP books because the "leading" characters (Harry, Dumbledore, Tom Riddle) are all male while the "supporting" characters (Hermione, McGonagall, Bellatrix) are mostly female. Agree or disagree?
I totally disagree! One thing about feminism that bugs me is this sense that one gender is better than the other. I believe that men and women are equal but not identical. They play their irreplaceable roles in the world and it's the same in HP. I find it a little offensive that people would classify McGonagall or Hermione as less important than Dumbledore or Harry, and to those people I would suggest they didn't really understand the books at all, because the Harry Potter series is overflowing with strong women. I mean the crux of the story is a woman (Lily) who performed the strongest piece of magic in the whole series by loving her child so much she put her life before his. McGonagall is an absolute BOSS who has more strength than she receives credit for, Hermione might be an annoying know it all but she is remarkably brave, incredibly intelligent and saves the day just as much as Harry does. The idea that because the main protagonist and antagonist are male, the book is 'sexist' is so narrow minded, because the story is so much bigger than Harry or Tom Riddle.
Thanks for the questions! I had loads of fun answering them