Witness: Battle Cat

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Witness: Battle Cat
Interviewee: Battle Cat
Date(s): February 7, 2019
Medium: Tumblr post
Fandom(s): Mad Max
External Links: Interview responses
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In February 2019, the Tumblr community Mad Max Fanfic Awards (community) interviewed Battle Cat, a Mad Max fanwork creator, as part of the Mad Max Fandom Creator Spotlight.[1]


Creator name (AO3): battle_cat

Creator name (Tumblr): fuckyeahisawthat

Link to creator works: https://archiveofourown.org/users/battle_cat/works

Q: Why the Mad Max Fandom?

A: Fury Road blew my goddamn mind. I like action movies and female action protagonists, but nothing has ever quite hit me like Fury Road. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I had never written fanfic and didn't know what ao3 was, but the characters just wouldn't leave my head. I started seeking out meta on Tumblr, and many of the people who were writing and sharing great meta were also writing fic, and at some point I started thinking, hey, this is a thing I can do. And then I did it, A LOT.

Q: What do you think are some defining aspects of your work? Do you have a style? Recurrent themes?

A: Smut smut and more smut, lol! And sometimes action. I really like writing about intense physical experiences and the emotions they generate. I come from a screenwriting background, so I tend to be terse and am always thinking about how to say the most with the fewest words possible. I love writing characters who find it very hard to talk about their feelings, so Max and Furiosa are pretty much perfect for me.

Q: Which of your works was the most fun to create? The most difficult? Which is your most popular? Most successful? Your favourite overall?

A: Ahhh I can't pick between all of my children! AO3 statistics says Zero to Sixty, my Max-and-Furiosa-get-together fic, is my most popular by hits, kudos and bookmarks, which is not surprising given that it was written early in the fandom. I don't think I can pick a favorite but I have a lot of love for: Desperate Measures, Her Reputation Precedes Her, Hard Run, Tough to be Tender, and Scarf Thing. The only fic I'm still slightly unhappy with: Equinox. I feel like I set up some great tension and then wrapped it up too quickly.

Q: How do you like your wasteland? Gritty? Hopeful? Campy? Soft? Why?

A: Hard but with some humanity left still.

Q: Walk us through your creative process from idea to finished product. What's your preferred environment for creating? How do you get through rough patches?

A: Most of my short pieces are really just a single scene, sometimes with setup and aftermath. Sometimes I'll start with an image (like one of @youkaiyume’s excellent smut drawings) or a concept or idea for the scene. Something short, like under 2,000 words, I will ideally sit down and write in one draft, maybe in a day or two. I don't do a lot of drafts, although I do somewhat edit as I go. Something longer like a multi-chapter fic, I usually have a separate Word document with notes and a very rough outline. I usually have the ending or the big climactic scene in my head before I’ve got everything in the middle figured out. If I'm struggling with something, I'll usually step away and just let my brain chew on it for a while, until I figure out what about it isn't working for me. I learned in grad school that your brain can be doing a lot of creative heavy lifting while you're off doing other things.

Q: What (if any) music do you listen to for help getting those creative juices flowing?

A: I'm not much of a music person, tbh. I have gotten inspiration from fanart, Tumblr submissions and kinkmeme prompts, though.

Q: What is your biggest challenge as a creator?

A: Finding enough time and energy to write. I'm someone who needs big chunks of time to let my brain get into the creative state and this whole having to have a job thing is a real drag.

Q: How have you grown as a creator through your participation in the Mad Max Fandom? How has your work changed? Have you learned anything about yourself?

A: When I saw Fury Road, I had been in a serious writing drought for the better part of a year. I was frustrated and feeling very hopeless about the filmmaking world. Even under the best of conditions, filmmaking is an incredibly slow process with a lot of gatekeepers. Being able to just write something, put it on ao3 and get instant feedback was an incredible breath of fresh air. I remembered my love of writing and found a whole new creative community. I started exploring a new genre, erotica, and learned that I love it. I started writing prose again after a long period of focusing on screenwriting, and gained a new appreciation for what can be done in the short story format.

Q: Which character do you relate to the most, and how does that affect your approach to that character? Is someone else your favourite to portray? How has your understanding of these characters grown through portraying them?

A: Furiosa is the character who lives in my head most vividly. She has a lot of characteristics I tend to put in my original female characters: a certain ruthlessness and hardness; hypercompetence combined with standoffishness punctuated by a few key moments of vulnerability.

Q: Do you ever self-insert, even accidentally?

A: I don't really like talking about characters as self-inserts. I think every character has some part of you in them whether you're aware of it or not.

Q: Do you have any favourite relationships to portray? What interests you about them?

A: Maxiosa for sure. I already had a pattern before Fury Road of writing hard women and caring men, so Furiosa and Max fit right into that. They are both incredibly damaged people who have been the victims and the perpetrators of violence, have a lot of self-loathing, have been isolated in various ways for a long time, and are used to having no one to trust. Bringing those two people together and watching them slowly allow themselves to trust each other is very powerful.

Q: How does your work for the fandom change how you look at the source material?

A: Fury Road is an incredibly rich text and there are so many things that are only hinted at, left unexplained or implied. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched it at this point, but there are always more details to notice and spin headcanons about.

Q: Do you prefer to create in one defined chronology or do your works stand alone? Why or why not?

A: For MMFR, I started out writing mostly short smutty one-shots. At a certain point it made sense to start stringing them together, and the ones that take place in the same timeline are now roughly in order in the series Together. It happened organically, though - I tend to write my longer stories non-chronologically anyway, so at some point I realized I was constructing a giant smut novel.

Q: To break or not to break canon? Why?

A: Ehn, I am pretty agnostic on this. Sometimes sticking to canon can be a fun limitation you impose on your story. Other times, ignoring it can be a fun what-if.

Q: Share some headcanons.

A: Ace definitely lived. Nux definitely died historic. Valkyrie is alive in some of my stories and not in others. Dag’s baby is a girl and she names her Angharad. Max comes and goes from the Citadel, staying for increasingly longer periods of time. Furiosa often wants to leave, but feels too much responsibility to the new Citadel to ever let herself.

Q: If you work with OCs walk us through your process for creating them. Who are some of your favourites?

A: I haven't created a lot of OCs in the Mad Max world because the canon characters are just so interesting to explore. But when I do they just kind of pop up. Biltong from the story Her Reputation Precedes Her is a personal favorite.

Q: If you create original works, how do those compare to your fan works?

A: My original works are mostly on the action/thriller/horror spectrum. I had never written smut before MMFR, but to me, it's very similar to writing action. You're telling a story through high-intensity physicality and the emotions surrounding it. In my original works, I mostly write female protagonists in high-intensity situations, so it made sense that MMFR would catch my attention.

Q: What are some works by other creators inside and outside of the fandom that have influenced your work?

A: @primarybufferpanel ’s Orbit was my fandom gateway drug. @primarybufferpanel, @sacrificethemtothesquid, @lurkinghistoric, @v8roadworrier, @thebyrchentwigges, @thatonezombiecosplayer, @youkaiyume, @ecouter-bien, @bethagain, @fadagaski and @yohunny have all created things that I find inspiring, epic, thrilling, heartbreaking, hot, funny or all of the above. And I'm lucky that I’ve gotten to know many of them online and in meatspace!

Q: What advice can you give someone who is struggling to make their own works more interesting, compelling, cohesive, etc.?

A: Stop and ask yourself: What does this character want? Why are they doing what they're doing right now? Concretely, what are they trying to achieve? What are the obstacles? What are the consequences if they don't get what they want? If a scene or story isn't working for me, usually it's because I don't know the answer to one of these questions.

Q: Have you visited or do you plan to visit Australia, Wasteland Weekend, or other Mad Max place?

A: I’ve been to Wasteland Weekend 3 times (2016, ‘17, '18) with Clan of the Boltcutters, and plan to go again in 2019. It's been so cool watching our camp and the festival grow and change each year. I had never been to anything remotely like Wasteland before I got involved in the Mad Max fandom, and now I can't imagine it not being part of my year. Australia...maybe someday.

Q: Tell us about a current WIP or planned project.

A: While I’ve been writing in the Venom fandom lately, I do plan to come back at some point and finish Closer, a story I really liked writing that I just haven't gotten time to get back to. I also have a few lingering MMFR projects that will hopefully be completed later this year.


  1. ^ Witness: Battle Cat. Posted February 7, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2019