Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday Sit-Down with Chery Dyson!

Welcome to the first Saturday Sit Down! This week we'll be talking to Cheryl Dyson, Harry Potter fanfiction author extraordinaire! Cheryl Dyson, also known as dysonrules, writes more than HP fic but she was interviewed by Alexis for Magic Monday's and so the focus of this interview is around her HP stories. Grab a drink, settle in, and enjoy!

Let’s start with the basics...

What’s your penname?
Cheryl Dyson or dysonrules

Where do you post most often? Can you link us? (In reality, we just want to stalk your work)
Livejournal, but I usually upload them to just after.

What’s your favourite genre and pairing to read?
ROMANCE, and Harry/Draco

Is there a pairing or genre that you absolutely cannot stand?
I hate most darkfics. I don't like things that leave me feeling bad for days after reading, plus it really messes up my reading. I really don't like Harry/Ginny.

What got you into the Harry Potter fandom? It was the epilogue, wasn’t it? Damn that epilogue.
LOL! No, I got into HP shortly after the third movie was released. I had a friend who wanted someone to flail with and then I turned into 234873430 times more of a fan. Poor girl. I also joined HP for Grownups on Yahoo and had some very intelligent discussions about canon. That's where I heard about fanfic for the first time. Who knew that would change my life? XD

What do you find to be the most challenging part about writing your fics?
Writing the fics that don't want to be written. Some stories write themselves and it's GLORIOUS, almost like you're just a conduit for these words that are trying to get out. Other times the idea just dies, or the plot takes a direction you don't like, or you just lose interest. Those are the hard times – when you look at the blank page and just want to cry. If it's a gift or a fest fic, you have to power through it.

Best review you’ve ever gotten? Worst? Have a story there?
Oh wow, I've gotten some amazing reviews, but I think the most memorable one was when a girl wrote "I got so excited when I saw you'd posted a new chapter that I leaped up, got my hand caught in the door and had to go to the emergency room!" My writing has injured someone – I don't know whether to be proud of that or not. :D I think I've been lucky in that I don't get many bad reviews – maybe the readers of romantic stories are just nicer than the ones who wallow in gruesome darkfic?

How do you get into the zone? Do you have a particular method that gets the mojo flowing? Ritual sacrifice of a virgin at the full moon, that sort of thing?
I'm always in the zone. Usually I'm so far in the zone that it takes an air horn to drag me out of it. People can talk directly to me and I can pretend to listen while staring straight at them, but my brain will be focused on the next scene and I don't hear a thing. The smarter ones have taken to adding, "REPEAT WHAT I JUST SAID." *sternface* That sometimes works. I can usually write anywhere, anytime.

Do your friends and family in your real life know about your fanfiction alter-ego?
They know everything. I don't hide it from anyone, including my family and people at work. I love what I write and I'm proud of it, so it doesn't bother me if anyone else doesn't like it. (My family takes it in stride – we're all strange in one way or another.) My fan name is my real name – I think that's pretty unusual.

What do you look for in a good fanfic?
A story that sucks you straight in and keeps you there. I love a well-turned plot and snappy dialog. I even love angst if the characters learn and grow and get through it, as long as they end up together – I need that happy ending!!! I also love when fics have at least one scene that really speaks to you, so when you think back on that fic you remember that ONE scene and it either gouges your heart out or gives you that little flutter in your chest – that certain spark which makes the story unforgettable.

On the other hand, what makes you stick your nose in the air and flounce that bitch?
Boring stories or bad writing. If I don't care about the characters (and even amazing writers can give you characters that you want to stab by the end) then I usually won't finish the fic, or if I do I won't remember it.

Tell us a bit about yourself...

Anything that you feel comfortable sharing? Married? Kids? Live on a nudist resort? Seal hunter?
Not married, but living with the father of my two children except we don't like each other anymore and are more like roommates, hence my intermittent random boytoys. My kids are awesome and they also know what I write. So far it hasn't bothered them, although my son is sometimes not amused when I ask if he has a boyfriend yet.

Oooh, tell us a guilty pleasure! As long as it’s not Hannah Montana, I promise not to judge you. Perhaps.
I love Hawaii Five-O. For a story about COPS, it's one of the cutest, fluffiest shows (and fandoms) in the world. I don't have writing bunnies for it, but I love reading the fics and watching the pretty people.

Do you have a favourite published author? And by published I mean someone who has a contract with a major publishing house, like J.K. Rowling herself.
Not really, since I read more fanfiction than books these days, although I've been a fan of Sue Grafton for a long time. Her Kinsey Milhone is probably my favourite female character in any series. I just love her.

Favourite musical artist? Anything we should check out?
I'm a complete music slut. I love most modern rock, some hard rock. Three Days Grace, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, Sick Puppies. But I can't write and listen to music at the same time. It distracts me, even though a gigantic crowd of people won't make me bat an eye. Go figure.

Time to spread some love...

Who do you drop everything for, including Mrs. Next Door’s smelly brat, and run to the computer when you get an update?
OMG, I feel really spoiled now. I have a few favourite authors (Faithwood, Alaana-Fair, Ladyvader, and Bryoneybrynn) and I beta for them because I want to read their stories FIRST. So I get the updates in my email and sometimes I get to read the whole story weeks before it's posted. I AM SO SPOILED, I KNOW!

Do you have an author that you fangirl over? And do you squee? Cause I totally squee.
Faithwood, for sure. *waves fangirly banners wildly*

If you were going to break someone into the Harry Potter fandom, what fic would you give them first?
It depends on the pairing they liked, I suppose. Harry/Draco is my OTP forever, but I love many different pairings. Oh wow, that is such a hard question. I would have to tailor it to their likes – some fics are more fluffy and some are plotty, some are darker. It really is a matter of taste and I would direct them accordingly. The lovely thing about HP is that there are fics for everyone.

Can you suggest a fic to be recommended on the blog?
My current favourite is Reparations (and Foundations, the sequel) by saras_girl. Those fics are like putting on the biggest, cuddliest blanket and burrowing with your favourite warm drink. All around amazing feel-good stories. Ten billion thumbs up.

Okay, now we get stupid. It’s the best part...

If we took away their wands, stuck Harry, Snape, Bellatrix, Hermione, Mrs. Weasley and Fudge in the same room and told them that they had to fight to the death if they wanted to be able to leave who do you think would be left standing?
Let's see, I'll dredge up some Ravenclaw and work this out logically. Mrs Weasley would take out Bellatrix first thing, probably by jumping on her and beating her head against the stone floor. Snape would snap Harry's neck before the rules were even finished reading, because it's what Voldemort should have done when he had nine thousand chances. Then Hermione and Mrs Weasley would freak out and try to kill Snape for killing poor Harry and Snape would probably get at least one of them before going down, I'll say Mrs Weasley survives because she's bigger and stronger. So that leaves her and Fudge and I think he would just kill himself to make it easier on himself so… MRS WEASLEY WINS! XD

Ever replaced the word “wand” with “wang” as you read canon? Or hell, as you read fanfiction?
Who hasn't? HAHAHA

Let’s say that your friends and family don’t know that you write fanfiction. You’re at the office, or the family get together, wherever really, and someone mentions that they’ve been reading this fanfiction online. As you listen to them recount the details of this story, you realize with growing horror that this is your story! How do you react?
I would fall over laughing FOREVER.

Many thanks to Chery Dyson for taking the time to do the interview with us and for her fantastic fanfics, from many fandoms, that she shares with us! Be sure to check out one or both of her profiles, she's more than worth a read! *whispers* Pssst....Chains of Earth...*ahem*

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