Candy Apple

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Fan
Name: Candy Apple
Alias(es): Candy_A
Type: fanwriter
Fandoms: Hawaii Five-0, Sentinel, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, Donald Strachey Mysteries, Hogan's Heroes, Nip/Tuck, Starsky & Hutch
Communities: Candy's Place
Other:
URL: https://www.squidge.org/~candy_a/ (Candy's Place)
Candy_A (AO3)
Candy Apple's Nip/Tuck fanfic (WWOMB)
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Candy Apple is a multifandom slash fanfiction writer, especially well known for her work in The Sentinel fandom. In 2001 she participated in the Sentinel Slash Virtual Season and an interview with her can be found at the Sentinel Slash Virtual Season website. In 2012 she was writing in the Donald Strachey Mysteries fandom.

From the AO3 profile:
I discovered fandom in 1995 via Starsky & Hutch, when TNT was doing reruns. It's ironic that in 2014, I'd find Hawaii Five-0 the same way, on the same network. Between then and now, I've written for S&H, The Sentinel, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, Hogan's Heroes, Nip/Tuck, Donald Strachey Mysteries (Movies), and now Hawaii Five-0. I contributed to The Sentinel Virtual Season project, and co-managed and contributed to the Starsky & Hutch Slash Virtual Season project, which produced three online "seasons" of stories, artwork, and special features (and corresponding printed zines) following S&H after the final episode of the series. I co-published two zines for the Donald Strachey Mysteries in 2013 and 2014 with a friend and fellow fan, StoryFan, under the name StoryCandy Press.

Interview

Notable Works

Comments on Her Sentinel Stories

Okay, so a couple of days ago I asked for older and less well known fic recs. Thanks loads everybody, I am working my way through them with much joy. I specifically asked about Candy Apple's fic and got a very mixed response. Someone (I can't remember who, sorry!) said that they didn't get the appeal of Candy's fic and if I did could I explain it. So after reading a bunch of her stuff, I have a few ideas on her appeal.

I should say that I read; To Have and to Hold, Family Skeletans, On the Radio, All my Roads, Outside Influences and a few of her short fluffy pieces.

First off, Candy writes well. If she turned Blair into a girl Harlequin would probably publish "All My Roads". And it wouldn't be hard, because her Blair reminded me of nothing so much as the "fiesty" herione of a period romance. Which sort of defeats the purpose of slash, as far as I can see. Her characterization of Blair squicks me, but a lot of writers see this Blair. And he fits in her stories, which leads my problem eith them.

Switch some pronouns, rewrite the sex and ax the coulple of scences that dwell on Jim and Blair being gay and you've got a marketable hetero love story. I, personally, don't like romance novels. But I love a good love story. For example, the plot of Neil Gaimen's "Stardust" is; Boy loves girl, goes on quest to win her love, meets other girl, they are adversarys, then form an uneasy alliance, by the time they get home to first girl, boy and second girl have fallen in love. There are bad guys out to get them and secret identities and some other stuff going on too, but that's the basic plot. It is also the basic plot of like half the romance novels for sale at the corner store. But "Stardust" isn't a romance novel because it has (aside from brilliant writing and wonderful characters) the one thing that to my mind sets romance apart from love, and that is a sense of humor. Do you know the phrase "Gotta laugh or you'll cry" ? In a romance novel the love is so important it overshadows everything else. But if the writer can see for herself and comunicate to the audience the shear absurdity of the importance we place on love, then it gives the story priorities that the reader can relate to. Yes, love is important. There is nothing better than being in love (and having great sex with the person you love), but I find completely humorless, "I'd die without you, my angel!" Jim and Blair to be really goddamn annoying. So inconclusion, if you like totally earnest, "no this isn't nuts at all" romance; Candy is really good. If you're the kind of person who thinks "Shakespeare in Love" could have used fewer declarations of love and more jokes about syphilitic prostitutes then she's probably not for you. This is my personal reading bias, I do not mean to imply that Candy's stories are in anyway bad because they are romance novels, only that they aren't my thing.

Is this why other people who don't read Candy, don't read Candy? Is this why people who do read Candy, read Candy? Did I miss the point of Candy's writing? Do other people really want to see Blair kick some guy in the head, then say "Who's little now, bitch?, huh? huh? That's what I thought."[1]

...why [do] people read Candy or don't read Candy? I'm one of those who do, and love every minute of her stories.

Now let me say that I don't read romance novels, historical or otherwise. I have never read any, but from what other people have said about them I'd guess they are stereotypical and would completely waste my time.

Candy does not waste my time. I have read most of her stories more than once (in some cases, like with "After All" and "All My Roads" I've read them about five times). Anyway, the point here is that I have no way to know if Candy's Blair is a "romance novel heroine". But I don't read stories just for Blair. I read them for the *entire experience* of reading a story.

In other words, I read for the plot. I read for the quality of the writing. I read for the character interaction. And while the Blair and Jim in my head are not the same as Candy's Jim and Blair, it doesn't matter because for the duration of the story Candy can make me believe in *her* Jim and Blair. She can totally convince me of her setup and of her characterisation. And so I am completely drawn in. If printer ink did not cost R300 a cartridge I'd print out all her stories so I could read them anywhere instead of sitting at the computer.

Candy is a great reading experience. But I don't read her for just one aspect. All the different aspects combine to make her stories real treats for me.[2]

There's enough angst followed by enough happiness in any of Candy's stories to make me an extremely happy camper -- most of my favorite stories in the fandom drag the guys through a bucket of pain before dumping them out into the happy ending. I'm not really as into physical h/c so much as psychological, and Candy seems to write one as often as the other, so that works for me too. And a lot of them tend to be first-time stories, a genre I totally adore.

She's got a sense of pacing and timing that work *really* well for me, and she writes long -- which I appreciate. I read too fast -- if I blink, I miss most stories that get posted. Something I can settle into is a *good* thing.

The language is a lot -- I wouldn't say lush or pretentious. Hmmmm. Indulgent, I think, is the closest I can come. The descriptions are not what I would call "guy" descriptions -- I tend to think they come from Candy rather than from the guys themselves. The endearments make me cringe because I *just don't see* Jim and Blair talking or thinking like that.

But the thing that makes a lot of Candy's stories disappointing for me is the lack of a revelation moment.

In her work, there tends to be a very slow build up toward an inner realization on the part of both characters that they are in love with one another. For me, that totally drains the tension. I enjoy the will-he-or-won't-he want me thing, but in a lot of these that seems to have happened before the story ever begins. By the time we get close to the first time they express their feelings for each other out loud, the response is a foregone conclusion for both of them. And I don't get anything out of that kind of thing -- I want more of the fear and uncertainty between them than I ever get out of Candy's work.

[snipped]

Anyway. That's what I've come up with. Candy's work doesn't work for me not because she's a bad writer, or because she's a bad story teller, but because she's making choices that don't work for me. I can definitely see her appeal -- I sometimes refer to it as a guilty pleasure, because I keep reading anyway, *hoping* for a really dramatic revelation moment even though I know I'm going to be disappointed. And there's a kind of comfortable wallow-factor, too, that makes it time well-spent even if I don't get out of it what I really wanted. [3]
Warnings: Some of her stories contain violence and or rape themes. They aren't shown, but are discussed. So you should be wary if you don't like that. None of it is J/B hurting each other. There is some h/c going on alot and some healing. None of it is too bad and the relationship between the guys is so loving it tempers that and helps the healing process. Thought you should be warned though. Candy is my absolute favorite Sentinel writer. I love her stuff so much I can't just rec one of them, so I'll just point you to her page and peruse through them all. She is wonderfully talented and has a gift for rich characterizations. The characterizations she weaves are who the guys could be to one another if they opened up to each other and let their real selves that we can all see be shown. She has a serious addiction to pet names, but you get over it as you read. Sometimes the need for them by the characters as security is why she uses them. She can put the characters through the wringer, I'm telling you, but the love they feel for one another always shores them up whatever the painful circumstances. A while ago on a list a newbie to the fandom asked for Sentinel rec's, Candy was recommended by everyone that answered the post, along with saraid and Francesca also rec'd here. The thing everyone agrees on is that these are wonderful writers. I love all of their work. My suggestion is to just start with her standalones and then work your way through each of her series. Don't forget her Starsky & Hutch crossover, you can find a rec for that on my X-Overs page, it is what turned me on to the S/H fandom. If you wonder how she worked that out, S&H are older, not the young bucks they were on the show. Give her stuff a shot, anyone will tell you it is not to be missed.[4]
Okay, I admit it. Candy Apple is a guilty pleasure. Oh dear - all those pet names.;) I'm not sure what it is about the lady's stories I enjoy so very much and can't really, honestly, explain why. Um.. I never find a typo? <g> She almost flies in the face of my dread of clichés but I love her Jim and Blair. [5]

References

  1. comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (December 4, 2000)
  2. comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (December 4, 2000)
  3. comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (December 4, 2000)
  4. Slash Slut's Sentinel Recs; reference link
  5. comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (May 24, 2003)