Ask the Author: RivkaT

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Ask the Author: RivkaT
Interviewee: RivkaT
Date(s): June 7, 2010
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Supernatural
External Links: interview and comments are here; reference link
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RivkaT was interviewed for Supernatural Roundtable.

Some Excerpts

As I imagine many people did, I invented fan fiction in my room as a kid, mostly Star Trek and Sime/Gen—I even wrote in with my bog-standard OFC idea to one of the Sime/Gen zines (a universe by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah), and as I recall Jean Lorrah, presumably recognizing that I was about 12, wrote me a very nice response. A good welcome to participatory fandom. I also found Star Trek slash intriguing.

Fast forward a decade or so, and I found myself with a lot of free time. Then I fell for The X-Files, and a friend told me that more stories could be found online! My computer had MS-DOS, one meg of RAM (this is not a typo), and a dialup modem. I was set for life!

I was fortunate that one of the first stories I read was one of Jane Mortimer’s. I wrote her an adoring feedback letter and she responded very graciously. After I’d read a couple hundred stories, I decided that I could at least write one that would not bring the average quality down, and I did. After that, well, I was hooked.

Eventually, astolat convinced me to give Supernatural another try (I’d seen the pilot but hadn’t been engaged—possibly because I watched a very dark show in a small window on my computer), and Dean Winchester convinced me to stick around.

I’ve written more stories in SPN than in any previous fandom, which is both surprising and completely understandable—surprising because I felt like I was in XF and SV forever, and understandable because I’ve participated in a lot more prompts/challenges/etc. in recent years. One of my favorite things to do, actually, is Eight Crazy Nights: I take prompts and post stories/ficlets for every night of Hanukah, increasing the number every night. I love remix and have been blessed with a number of good ones for my own stories...

Substantively: I often write Sam/Dean (which I see as fundamentally a tragedy, but a delicious one), with excursions into various other pairings. Dean/Castiel can be absolutely wonderful, but it also makes me hurt for Sam, so I have a complicated relationship with it! Many of my stories explore issues of consent, from mistake to various levels of coercion. I try to warn—or mark that I’ve chosen not to warn—and I think that some of the tropes are themselves signals for issues of consent (“aliens make them do it” or “sex pollen”) but if I’ve missed the mark I would appreciate feedback. I love standard sf/fantasy cliches/plot devices because they are an excellent way to illuminate character. Working with mustangsally78 in the X-Files and Buffy helped me relax a little and take chances with metaphors and similes; she also gave me the excellent advice that, when writing a story, blow the budget—you can have as many big fights and set pieces as will work.
Well, I am pretty obviously a Dean girl first and foremost. My operating id principle is that Dean should (a) suffer prettily and then (b) get what he wants.

Sam/Dean compels me because of its obsessiveness, its interiority--closing a box on themselves and shutting out the rest of the world, like Mulder & Scully in later seasons. Dean/Castiel therefore makes me hurt for Sam because unless something really big happens (or unless Dean & Castiel manage to convince him that he's still always part of DeanandSam) it leaves Sam out in the cold. In some ways, Dean/Castiel works for me best when it's clear that Castiel loves Dean more than Dean loves Castiel, because Dean is still oriented towards Sam first and foremost. I kind of want Dean to have someone who loves him first and last and always, even if he can't give that to anyone but Sam. Sam/Castiel seems to me to hinge around the axis of Dean, so it satisfies my narrative kinks; and I see Dean as being able to be happy with casual sexual encounters as long as he has a primary emotional relationship with Sam, so he doesn't feel quite as left-out. But Sam/Dean/Castiel might be just about perfect for me.

For me, the tragedy of Sam/Dean is that they've got nothing left but that box. They might, because of what they've gone through, be able to be happy in that box. (One must imagine Sisyphus happy.) But given what it took to get them there, it's a tragedy to me, even if they don't end up feeling it as such--it's Sam's crushed hopes, really, and the fact that Dean now recognizes that his choices and potential hopes were crushed too. Under the circumstances, it is much better for them to be happy than for them to be miserable (like Mulder & Scully!), but happy isn't the same as right. I tried to get at this in the timestamp to Filthy Mind, actually, but I don't think I succeeded.