Interview with Paola

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Interview with Paola
Interviewer: Bethany
Interviewee: Paola
Date(s): November 2012
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Hanson
External Links: November 2012 Author: Paola – Spotlights, Archived version
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In 2012, Paola was interviewed by Bethany for the spotlights section of her website

See others in the series at Interview Series.

Some Excerpts

I’ve been writing hanfic for less than six months, although I have been writing non-fiction since 2005 first with a blog, then book reviews. Currently I have a blog dedicated to reviewing and interviewing emerging writers, and I also collaborate with a site covering pretty much all arts – music, TV, film, books. In fact, it was while researching an article on fan fiction for that site that I first thought of writing my own.

Why hanfic? Up until that point, the FF I’d come across had been consistently bad. I’d read fics from various fandoms – House M.D., My Chemical Romance and, of course, Lord of The Rings, but the quality of the writing was always terrible. When I stumbled across ‘Truth is a Whisper’ via Tumblr, I found the first part very original and I was impressed by how accurately an online relationship had been portrayed, down to the actual formatting of the dialogue and character’s screen names. Can I call it post-modern? Then I found Tyanne B’s ‘Hammer Price Verse’ – a crossover J2/Hanfic; I was surprised to learn that Tyanne had English as a Foreign Language (EFL) like me because her writing was excellent. I got in touch with her and she encouraged me to try.

As well as a general outline for the whole story, I outline each chapter. I also have info sheets for every main ‘aspect’ of the story: the cult, the medical stuff, the ‘Outside’ – I update them as I go along and constantly refer to them. It’s surprisingly easy to forget the details of something you made up yourself!

Unfortunately, I’m a very slow writer and on average it takes me about two weeks for a chapter of 5-7k words. And possibly because of having EFL, I feel that my work must be as good as it can possibly be in terms of grammar, spelling etc, so each chapter goes through two re-writes and a final proofreading before posting. Formatting takes me ages too because I cannot bear wrong spacing, typos, fonts that go wrong etc. I’m incredibly fastidious with presentation.

I began researching cults in 2005 – oddly enough at exactly the same time as I discovered Hanson with ‘Underneath’ – although the two things were certainly not connected! I read a lot of first person accounts by former cult members, survivors from Scientology as well as Christian-type cults and it’s a very, very fascinating area to explore. I’m also a huge fan of dystopian fiction and film, such as ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood and the TV series ‘Jericho’ to name but a few. So with TI I am attempting to combine the two.
There is a certain element of taboo which undoubtedly makes incest between three extremely attractive brothers very sexy; and this is probably why a lot of ‘cest fics are so sexually explicit. But what really draws me to it is the idea of a love that knows no boundaries, that refuses to comply with society’s diktats. It inevitably involves characters who are forced to live outside of the mainstream and who will probably never be ‘normal’. But define ‘normal’, anyway?