Octaves of the Heart Interview with M Phoenix

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Octaves of the Heart Interview with M Phoenix
Interviewer: Octaves of the Heart
Interviewee: M Phoenix
Date(s): early 2000s
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Buffyverse
External Links: online here; link
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Octaves of the Heart Interview with M Phoenix is posted at the Buffy website Octaves.

For others in this series, see Octaves of the Heart Interview Series.


I’ve been watching BtVS ever since the first episode aired in the UK, and I experienced the strange sensation of falling in love with a TV show at first sight. However I didn’t discover online fandom and the joys of fanfic until 2002 when the BBC’s erratic scheduling of S6 drove me to seeking solace and spoilers on the internet. I started lurking around the Existential Scoobies board, then voraciously reading my way through the Better Buffy Fic, and UCSL archives. It wasn’t long before I was addicted, and could regularly be found slumped in front of my computer screen at 8am, exhausted and bleary eyed but unable to stop reading until I’d finished just one more fic. Finding fandom and livejournal was a revelation for me, a whole world I had no idea existed. I still love it with a passion that makes me a little giddy sometimes.

A year later I started writing fanfiction by accident. I know it sounds odd to say that it happened by accident, but it really did. I hadn’t written fiction since high school, and had been suffering from writer’s block for years, then one morning shortly after seeing Chosen I woke up with a first line in my head. It refused to go away so I decided to humour it, opened up my laptop and just started typing, not expecting anything, and idly wondering what the line might lead to. 35,000 words, an insane French priest, a severed prophetic head in a box, a whole lot of fighting and industrial quantities of angst later, I finally found out. Journey To No End was prompted by a mixture of my frustration with S7 and all the missed opportunities I saw there, all the ‘what ifs?’ buzzing around my head, and a deep desire to explore the Buffy/Faith dynamic. In many ways it’s still the story I’m most proud of, and it’s the story it is because I had absolutely no idea of any of the rules about what a new writer should or could do. As a result I probably broke most of them.
It’s hard to say what inspires me to write, there’s just something about the Jossverse, the richness of the characters and the metaphors, the easy mixture of humour and tragedy, the constant shades of grey and moral complexities, the way that everyday life gets woven so seamlessly into a modern myth that actually works, that keeps me entertained, excited and always wanting more. I like to experiment with style, and I’m happy writing in any person, though I seem to be having a steamy affair with second person behind third person’s back a lot of the time. I have tried and failed to write happyfic, it’s just not in my nature, and I’m never more content than when torturing my characters in true Jossian, bring on the pain, tradition. Stories can come from anywhere, either watching the show and wondering about a missing scene or character motivation, or from a conversation with a friend, from a song, a line in a book, or just that sudden feeling of the shift and connection of ideas in the dark and twisted recesses of my imagination.