Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Author highlight : SydneyAlice

Kat and I were very honored with how many submissions we got for our Under the Mistletoe contest.  Each one was so fun to read, and I want to thank you all again for your participation - even the voters!! We had an awesome turn-out in voting, so pat yourselves on the back - you all did marvelously!

Our 1st place winner was SydneyAlice, who has authored 18 stories for Twilight fanfiction.  When I pulled up her profile to see exactly what I would be writing for this highlight, I was impressed to say the least. I chose to read her newest story I Thee Wed, and was drawn in immediately.

I do. baha. No but really, helllooo lickable Edward.

Wedding planner Bella Swan is hired to plan the wedding of the year. What happens when she breaks the cardinal rule of wedding planning and falls for the groom? "I don't want to be a choice your heart has to make. I want to be your heart's only option."
Each chapter opens with a list of 80's songs that pertain to the mood of the chapter, or are mentioned within the chapter.  I love this because I love 80's music, she had me at In Your Eyes *le sigh*. I Thee Wed is refreshing in that it holds true to our beloved Bella/Edward characteristics, but takes it in a different direction, and I found the storyline to be very original.  It is only a mere seven chapters in, so naturally there are more questions than answers at this point, but it is worth the wait - and SydneyAlice a faithful updater!

Though angsty in its uncertainty with how Edward and Bella will end up, the story still maintains a light and heart-warming feel. And - hello, this Edward quotes Dirty Dancing*dies*  You feel for these two in their dilemma, you want it to work.  I highly recommend spending a little time catching up, you will be happy you did!! Besides, the Alice/Bella dynamic is reason enough, Ali is feisty and funny and their interactions are the best.

I flinched. "Thanks for the reminder, Ali."

Alice was instantly apologetic. "I'm sorry, that was way out of line. I just love you, and I want to see you happy again."

"I know you do," I whispered. "I love you, too. But truly, Alice. There's no one out there for me."

"I just don't believe that," Alice murmured softly. "People are meant to go through life two by two. 'Tain't natural to be lonesome."

I knew she was being serious, but I couldn't help but giggle.

"Did you actually say 'taint?"

Alice rolled her eyes. "That's a beautiful, meaningful quotation from one of America's finest playwrights, and you're bitching about his grammar?"

"This is a ridiculous conversation, and I'm leaving."

Say I do! to I Thee Wed, you'll be happily ever after that you did!
 (see what I did there? I know, the cleverness is endless.)

For this post I had a chance to 'sit down' with SydneyAlice recently and pick her brain.  (The virtual world is rather cozy for sit downs, no? By that I mean we g-chatted, yay technology!)  I asked her a few of my own questions as well as some things readers wanted to know, enjoy!! [Warning: spoiler alert!! There are a few spoilers for her o/s What Child is This if you have not yet read it - go do that!]

Buff: Hello!

Sydney: hey

Buff: First off, can I just say I love your blog, very pretty.

Sydney: oh thank you. I cant take any credit for it though
I picked the design but wayward girl takes care of it for me

Buff: awesome, it looks great!

Sydney: Thanks!

Buff: What would you like me to call you, is Alice okay?

Sydney: It doesn't matter. SydneyAlice isn't my real name at all lol

Buff: lol that was my next question
obvi Buff's not mine

Sydney: haha

Buff: So then you appreciate the anonymity the way I do?

Sydney: It's sort of necessary for me

Buff: I wanted to ask you a few questions about What Child is This first since it was our first place winner.

Sydney: Sounds good. I was so excited

Buff: I loved the story by the way - very touching.

Sydney: Thank you!

Buff: How did you come up with the concept?

Sydney: It was Christmas Eve and I was just in a sentimental mood. I had been wanting to write a Christmas one-shot but couldn't really think of something original. Then I was watching some Christmas program on television where a man goes back in time to see what he left behind (very It's a Wonderful Life), and I thought that might be an angle to explore, but that seemed kind of easy to do from Edward's POV

So, instead, I decided to do it from a child's POV

and during the course of writing I considered the possibility that it could be their child

and it went from there

Buff: wow, so you wrote it all in one night?

Sydney: oh yes, all in one sitting
it took me about three hours

Buff: impressive

Sydney: that's how I write
I rarely take more than a day to write anything

Buff: I loved how it was very easy to accept that Edward was being visited by his deceased son; it wasn’t overly explained. Did you intend it to be that way?

Sydney: Yes, I wanted to give the readers enough hints to make the connection without just spelling it out and making it obvious. I still had some reviewers ask if Anthony was real or imagined

Buff: I think it was very well done, just enough information.

Sydney: Thank you

Buff: Obviously there are some classic Christmas story undertones in your one shot, as you mentioned It's a Wonderful Life, were you pulling directly from any others? For example, peeking in the window reminded me of A Christmas Carol

Sydney: no, the peeking in the window was completely coincidence. I just wanted them to have the chance to look inside without coming face to face with those he left behind

Buff: How do you go about your writing, are you an outliner?

Sydney: I'm not an outliner. I make notes of characters, ages, occupations...but that's about it. When I start a story, I have a general idea of the beginning, middle, and ending. It's the details in the middle that I fill in along the way. I have a wonderful beta named Shaina who I constantly bounce ideas off of, and a prereader named KatMom who has been very encouraging.

Buff: I'm glad you mentioned that. Betas and pre-readers are very essential to a good story I have found, it helps the writing process exponentially. How did you find/choose yours?

Sydney: Shaina found me. She was a faithful reader, and she offered to beta if I ever needed one. She has an English degree, so I thought she'd help me keep my commas in check. I was such an ellipse whore, but she has broken me from that! lol. KatMom was also a reader and a friend I'd made while reading "Master of the Universe" by Snowqueens Icedragon. I asked her to pre-read another story of mine, and she's kept the job!

Buff: You have quite a bit of stories on your profile, how do you find time to write it all?!

Sydney: Many of them are one-shots, which I can write usually in a day. I write on days off (snow days lately) and weekends. I have a very messy house that I ignore!

I don't have kids, which helps, as well.

Buff: Do you ever suffer from writers block ?

Sydney: Sometimes I struggle with a chapter. I've learned that if I'll just walk away and come back, that usually takes care of it. I'm a really consistent updater, so I just make myself write through it until I'm happy

Buff: I have two reader questions for you

What is your fav. 80's song?

Sydney: oh gosh
That's so impossible to answer because I was a child of the 80s. I remember when Madonna was new!

Buff: lol
just go wth a NKOTB

Sydney: lol I really wasn't into them

Buff: zomg, I was pathetically in love.
and I say pathetically for a reason.

Sydney: I will say that my favorite albums were Thriller, True Blue, the Top Gun soundtrack...

Buff: good choices
2nd reader question is:

Do you have any idea how long I Thee Wed is going to be?

Sydney: I never have a clue how long stories are going to be. My general rule for a full length story is 20-30 chapters

Buff: What is your favorite character you’ve ever written?

Sydney: hmm
Probably Seth in "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"
I was ridiculously proud of the man he became in the epilogue

Buff: What kind of fan fiction are you drawn to? Do you like to be tortured with gut-wrenching angst, or are you a fluffy kinda gal?

Sydney: FF I like - I do like fluffy. I can handle some angst, but I like fluffy smut!

Buff: Do you have any current stories you’re fangirling over?

Sydney: I drop everything to read MotU II
There are a few others I love but they hardly ever update

Buff: Favorite novel?

Sydney: Breaking Dawn

Buff: Do you have any hidden talents?

Sydney: Not sure if it's hidden, but I like to play piano

Buff: Have you played for long?

Sydney: for about five years

Buff: And lastly, I have one more reader question

Do you own a pair of fuchsia shoes?

Sydney: LOL
The fuchsia shoes were a picture prompt. I would break my neck!

Buff: Well, thank you so much for your time darlin, it was a pleasure chatting with you! And Congrats again on winning first place!

Sydney: Thank you so much!

Thanks again so much to SydneyAlice for entertaining me for a good hour!! If you haven't read her o/s, well it won first place for a reason - go read it!!  You can find SydneyAlice on twitter @Sydney_Alice (I feel ya on the pesky underscore gf.) Or she has a magnificent blog as well!

Thanks lovies, Kat and I have another author interview scheduled for this week, so we should be posting that along with a story review sometime next week!!

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