Interview with Author Harper Fox

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Interview with Author Harper Fox
Interviewer: Jamie
Interviewee: Harper Fox
Date(s): July 2014
Medium: online
Fandom(s): m/m original fiction
External Links: online here; WebCite
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Interview with Author Harper Fox is a 2014 interview with Harper Fox, a writer of m/m original fiction.

The author was formally the Professionals fanfic writer, Angelfish.

Some Topics Discussed

  • her gratitude for the support of Josh Lanyon
  • her writing
  • some thoughts on why women are interested in reading m/m fiction
  • more

Excerpts

What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?:

Like a lot of m/m authors, I came into the genre via fanfic. I used to hesitate to admit that, then questioned myself as to why I was regarding it as an “admission”, as if fanfic were a lesser artform or something to be ashamed of. Like all fields of creative endeavour, fanfic is only ever going to be as good or as bad as the authors writing it, and I’ve seen everything from the ridiculous to the absolutely sublime. It’s also a superb school for writers, offering a pre-made universe and a scaffold from which new authors can hang their own tales – and, importantly, test-drive their work with a large and mostly kindly readership. My fanfic name is Angelfish and I think I’m pretty much “out” in that regard. Or if not, I certainly am now! :–D For me the magic moment came when I realised that I could do what I’d always loved so much – writing passionate gay romances, love stories between men – and do it without the scaffold. And, eventually, not only get paid but begin to make a reasonable living from it! That’s got to be a dream come true for anyone – to take a childhood love and realise it as a career option. Like becoming a professional Lego-castle builder or something…

You write under a pseudonym. Why?:

Well, my real name’s far from glamorous. There was an element of wanting to sound like a sexy romance author when I chose my pseudonym. I chose a gender-neutral first name mainly because I wanted to be judged as a writer rather than male writer or a female writer. It gave me a bit of cover as well for how much of my identity I wanted to expose while I was finding my feet. Now, I have to say right now that I never for one second wanted or intended readers to think I was a man, and I don’t think anyone did. If they had, it was only until my first photos and bios started to appear, but given the white-hot social media spotlight authors can come under, I think it really has to be a writer’s option to retain control of the aspects of themselves they choose to share with the world. I’ve been exceptionally lucky – I work for myself, my family are brilliant and tolerant, and I’ve had no reason to hide – not to mention that, having risked exposure, I’ve been rewarded only with friendliness, welcome and acceptance. That has not been the case for every author in my genre and I completely understand when career or family reasons have obliged them to stay undercover. Basically, the name gave me the option and the control. Also, in pure commonsense terms, if you’re writing in any genre with “erotic” or “erotica” in the title, using a pseudonym is probably vital. We live a in a judgemental world. We write in a genre that provokes strong reactions. We maybe get the odd person who mixes us up with what we write and wants a piece of us or our family that we’re not willing to give, and putting our legal name to our work just makes us too vulnerable, too easy to trace. I have to say, that kind of reaction is incredibly rare! But a pseudonym is a sensible safeguard, unless you really are prepared to throw your whole life out there. The safety and privacy of the people closest to you is a very serious consideration, too.

Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?:

You know, I was so surprised when the vast, vast majority of feedback I was getting about my work came from women. I didn’t realise, when I started, how many female readers and authors there were in the genre, although my experiences with fanfic should have given me a hint! I do have gay male and trans* readers and it gives me so much pleasure to hear from them, as I often do, that my work has had a positive impact on their lives, or simply that they’ve enjoyed it. And obviously it’s great to hear from gay men that I’m getting stuff right! Now, people ask me a lot why women enjoy my books, and I always really have to scratch my head because I should imagine that every woman who does read them would probably give a different answer. The solitary theory I have is this: in a straight romance, women tend to identify, for good or ill, with the female protagonist. They share her joys and griefs on a physical level, and that can be tiring. If both halves of the love interest are male, a female reader is kind of out of the equation on that level, and perhaps she can enjoy the book as – to put it in one way – a non-combatant! I’ve read an awful lot of bad stuff about why women enjoy m/m and it saddens me. My own experience is so far from negative in this regard – it seems to me that so many women have a vast, benevolent, protective, loving interest in gay men, and, being full of that interest and love, it naturally follows that they’d like to read stories about them. Hmm, that feels like a very inadequate answer, but it’s all I’ve got!

Reactions and Reviews: At the Original Interview Site

[lenagrey]:

Awesome interview, Harper!Thanks for having her, Jamie! It gives me another opportunity to say how much I love Harper and her writing. I’m always waiting, with baited breath, for my next ‘fix’.

[jennysmum2000[:

Excellent interview, thank you for sharing.

Reactions and Reviews: At Other Sites

Facebook

There are a lot there.

Other Fan Journals

Harper Fox is old news, apparently, from a 2014 interview, but I only heard about it now in the wake of the Josh Lanyon stuff. Was it well known in Pros fandom? She says she thinks it was no secret.

The thing about Angelfish/Harper Fox that sets her apart from Josh Lanyon and his years' long deception is that:

1) there was never any suggestion--that I'm aware of--that Angelfish was a man, much less a gay man;

2) she didn't interact much in the fandom beyond posting stories, did she?

Perhaps she did interact actively with readers who commented on her fic... [snipped]... I didn't have any personal interaction with her and, thus, might not know how active she was.

And, of course, I've been out of LJ fandom for years, where Pros is still cemented in place since the distinguishing feature of Pros fandom is that it hates change and will die on the hill of how it's always been done, so I might've missed if she was active or not as Angelfish. [1]

References

  1. ^ comment by Istia at Random Thursday, October 1, 2015