Slashcast Insider Interview with Heidi8

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Slashcast Insider Interview with Heidi8
Interviewer: emmagrant01
Interviewee: Heidi8
Date(s): September 7, 2011
Medium: online
External Links: online here as a transcript, Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Slashcast Insider Interview with Heidi8 is a podcast created by and posted to Slashcast as "Episode 22." Slashcast includes an transcript.

The interviewer is emmagrant01.

The Interview Series

See Slashcast Insider Interview Series.

Some Topics Discussed


I actually got my first email account on something called America OnLine, which was this little tiny company out of VA that had this this red brick building and I was in law school in Washington, and I got an email account in 1992. And in my first 9 years on the internet, I was mostly in a couple of small-ish music fandoms. Everything but the girl, crowded house, a few other things. And in the crowded house fandom, I did a bit of moderator work for one of the forums, and I was in law school at the time, so I did - I actually moderated the first cyberspace law board on America OnLine, circa '93-'95. But it wasn't really until I read an article in the Washington post in the summer of 2000, basically the day before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out, that I thought about getting into any sort of book-related fandom. There were of course no movies at that point, no one had even been cast. They mentioned this Harry Potter yahoo club , this harry potter for grown ups. And I was like, "oh my god that sounds perrrrrfeeeeect."

But Google didn't really exist back then, and yahoo search engine was pretty atrocious at trying to find things, so it took me over two and a half hours to find this yahoo club. Of course, the next day, everybody had the book on the same day, everybody was reading it and talking about it – we didn't use spoiler tags. We didn't use 'oh my god, you know, spoiler notifications' in the subject, we didn't anything. It was just all talk talk talk talk talk, oh my god, who's this – Cedric's back and he's dead and Voldemort's back, and who's this Barty Crouch Jr guy anyway, and we had no idea about David Tennant back then. Um. And about two weeks later, the whole time people had been talking about fanfiction. And I was aware about what fanfic was, but I had never actually read any online fanfic, although believe me, I read a lot of what would be called RPF fanfic involving historical figures - it's one of my favorite tropes and genres in, you know, published novel reading. But I'd never read any fanfic. And people were like, "oh, if you can't wait for the next book, my god, we're going to have to wait for another year. You're going to have to read Paradigm of Uncertainty. You should read Call of the Wild. And I did .Those were the first two fanfics I ever read. Paradigm of Uncertainty was Laurie's story that had started long before GoF came out, and it was amazing. It's still up on FictionAlley, so you can go back and read it and sort of see what people were surmising and supposing about where the story would go, and it was fascinating. And then Call of the Wild is the massive Remus backstory pre-Goblet of Fire. I mean, it's so fantastic. He's off in Romania and he's hunting vampires and it's just absolutely brilliant. And I think there was the interlude where Gilderoy shows up and steals his stories and wipes his memories. And then how he ends up back in the UK right before Prisoner of Azkaban starts and that's when Dumbledore goes and asks him to sort of be there for Harry. And those were the first two stories I read, and I just sort of got obsessively into it and started reading more and more stories. And new things were being posted every day. That was back when, my gosh, there were 30 or 40 new chapters being posted on per day and you could read all of them.

...Paradigm of Uncertainty – Justin Finch-Fletchley is gay in that story. So you could say that the first fanfic I ever read had slash in it. I mean, it's mild snogging with random OCs, but still, its there. And I think that was the very first fanfic, or at least the very first Harry Potter fanfic that ever got written up in Salon magazine. So from the very, very start, the mainstream media was not focusing on you know, Harry Potter fanfic written for 12 and 13 year olds, where Pikachu and Ash go to Hogwarts, and believe me, there were a lot of them. And there were already focusing on grown-ups who were writing these stories and taking them well, well well beyond the maturity level that we had seen through the first three books, and really through the fourth book as well. The first story that I read that was more than an R rating was probably Grimslasher's Boys Own Camping Adventure. I read stories that, you know, had discussed Remus/Sirius before that, but I think that was the first time that I read a "how they got together" story. I mean, it was just fantastic, it's probably still one of my all-time favorite fics.

... I was one of the dozen or so people who founded [ FictionAlley ]. Back in, oh god, February or March of 2001, Harry Potter for Grownups decided to stop allowing discussion of fanfic on the main list, and split off into three lists. Before that you could discuss pretty much any Harry Potter-relate topic on the main list. So, at that point, fanfiction was splintered off into another list. There were a lot of Yahoo groups for fanfic at that point. At that point, Yahoo Groups were a place to archive your fic... Heidi: Because it was free, and if you wanted webspace that wasn't anywhere that was completely ad-riddled, like GeoCities, then you needed to basically use a Yahoo group. And was fine, and a lot of people put their stuff there, but they had some massive amounts of downtime in the spring of 2001. And there were server issues and things like that, and people just couldn't upload their stories when they wanted to, or edit it when they wanted to, so like being on a Yahoo group, you had a little bit more control. But even a Yahoo group, because even of the limitation of the size- of the number of files and the size of the files, and the way it was moderated and things like that, nobody really felt like that was a permanent solution. So there was talk all through the spring about setting up a website that would host fanfiction. So we took control of our own place, and we started uploading stories all through the month of July, launched it with the novels-focus section...

You know, the Harry Potter stuff does keep me so busy, I mean, in Supernatural, I've helped moderate on SPN SummerGen, I've been one of the reccers on Crack Impala, and I've been vaguely participatory in other things, you know, there've been a couple, oh god, back in the day of Heroes and things like that. But I think I've just been so busy and so caught up in Harry Potter the last two years that what I really do in other fandoms is vid and read. And those are the two things that I really enjoy doing.

I think that my perpetual comfort fic – the one that I go back to if I have a two-hour stretch on an airplane and absolutely nothing is catching my eye – is astolot's Old Country, which is a Supernatural/Harry Potter crossover, and it's just brilliant, the way that, because of course she wrote Harry Potter fanfic back in 2000, maybe even earlier than that, and her take on Harry and Draco is probably one of the first that I read that probably got me to understand how the two of them interplay with each other on so many levels. So to see her writing a story where the Supernatural characters are put into the Harry Potter world right after Deathly Hallows, just, is fantastic and will always be one of my go-to, I will always love these stories.

[My favorite fanart?]: I'm going to have to be really old-school in this, because nothing will ever touch me the way that seeing the first FictionAlley cover, back in early July of 2001, seeing Starling and Pricilla – the stuff that she was doing with Starling back in 2000 is really how I see the characters in my mind when I’m not occasionally thinking of the way that they look in the films.

...either 2002 or 2003, we did a challenge on FictionAlley that was basically write what you'll never write kind of thing? And me and a friend of mine wrote Harry inherits a unicorn farm when Sirius – from his parents that Sirius had been keeping custody of. And Ginny is working there, and it was this extremely – it wasn't [?], it was just this amusing Harry and Ginny story, and I never had thought that I'd be able to write that and, you know, do it credit. Other than that, I think that I've pretty much read at least a paragraph of every pairing that you can come up with, because for a long time, I was coding fics for FictionAlley. And you know, I avoid Hagrid ships as much as possible, because Hagrid in sexual situations with human beings generally squicks me. But there's nothing that I wouldn’t read if it was written creatively and written well.

And had there been internet in 1990 and 1991, my God, I would have been all over [Twin Peaks]. And now you can't stumble over an issue of Entertainment Weekly without reading fandom-generated analysis and bullseyes and comments and things like the International Quidditch Association showing up on the Daily Show. Can you imagine, ten years ago, that could have never happened. Back in 2002, people were absolutely terrified that FictionAlley being mentioned on the front page of the New York Times would spell the end of fandom because the Powers that Be would now know about us and come and smack us down. Well, it's been nine years and that hasn't happened yet, and obviously, given the way things are going, it's never going to. That's a question that people never ask me anymore: do you think the Powers That Be are going to come and shut down all of fandom forever and ever? No. They're not. They like us. Most of the time.