FF Team: What’s your name?
Ms. Gemma: My pen name is GemmaH – Gemma plus my last initial. I’m appalling bad at thinking up interesting tags, I always get jealous of those who have really cool ones.
FF Team: Where are you from?
Ms Gemma: I live on a smallholding in rural Lancashire in the north-west of England. I’m very lucky, it’s beautiful here.
FF Team: How are you?
Ms. Gemma: I’m good, thanks. A little more tired than I was before I picked up my writing again!
FF Team: What’s your favorite color?
Ms. Gemma: I love shades of green at the moment, but I’m quite fickle and often change my mind.
FF Team: How’s the weather outside?
Ms. Gemma: Wet and grey! I shouldn’t complain though, we’ve just had a warm, dry spell for a couple of weeks and it saves me watering the plants in my garden.
FF Team: What’s your favorite drink?
Ms. Gemma: Coffee during the day, but I’m partial to a pear cider or two in the evening ;)
FF Team: What’s your favorite music?
Ms. Gemma: I like all kinds of music, but my favourite acts are the singer-songwriters. I like a lot of the less well-known artists, people like Lewis Watson, Johnny Flynn, Ryan Keen, Sam Bradley, Marcus Foster, Jack Savoretti and Bobby Long. I love seeing acts like these live in small venues too, you can’t beat small gigs.
FF Team: What helps you get in the mood to write?
Ms. Gemma: Sometimes it’s peace and quiet, which is usually in short supply at this house with three boys! Other times it’s the right kind of music.
FF Team: What inspires you to write?
Ms. Gemma: Usually music. Most of my stories have started because of a song I’ve listened to. Lewis Watson has been my biggest inspiration for over a year now after I heard one of his songs on the radio as I drove home from college one evening. I memorised his name and the title of the song and downloaded it when I got home. I’ve used his songs a lot since then. Everyone should go and find some of his stuff to listen to, Halo is my current favourite and would make a good angsty fic with lines like ‘You know that if you keep this up you’ll be more scars than skin’. Oh, and Droplets with Gabrielle Aplin is beautiful!
My starting point for ‘She’ was Fall for Anything by The Script.
If it’s not music it’ll be real life, either something I’ve read in a newspaper or seen, or experienced. Elusively Yours came about after I read a newspaper article about a woman whose husband had cheated. After they split up she felt compelled to begin a series of affairs with other married men because she felt so bitter towards married couples she wanted to make them miserable too, which is essentially what Edward does in my story.
Positive feedback can definitely be inspirational. When I was writing Of Pleasure and Pain I received a lot of PMs from readers saying they’d been through similar experiences and they thought it was well portrayed. That’s always amazing to hear, more so in a lot of ways than if someone just likes the plot – although obviously that’s good too!
FF Team: What made you start writing fanfiction?
Ms. Gemma: I think I came into fic the same way as most readers. I read the books and then stumbled across a fanfic library on a blog. I’d never even heard of fanfic before and got sucked right in. I hadn’t really done any creative writing since I was at school, but I’d always harboured dreams of writing a book someday. My boys were 5, 4, and 2 years old and I’d got into the bad habit of sitting with them while they fell asleep each evening, usually with my laptop. One evening, I was reading a particularly bad fic and thought to myself ‘I can do better than this.’ I opened a blank Word document and began to type, having no idea what I was writing or where it was going. That became my first story.
FF Team: What’s the first fanfiction story you ever wrote?
Ms. Gemma: Natural Satellites & Shooting Stars. It’s a Nessie/Nahuel/Jake story – my one and only, but I loved writing it at the time. I still hear songs that I used while I was writing that take me right back there.
FF Team: What fandoms do you write in?
Ms. Gemma: Only Twilight. I’m not sure I know anything else well enough to go there.?
FF Team: Do you write Non-Canon or Canon and why?
Ms. Gemma: I've written both. I definitely don’t shy away from non-canon, I do whatever I feel is best for the stories and my characters.
FF Team: Who’s your favorite character to write and why?
Ms. Gemma: This was tough, but I’m going to go with Bella from Of Pleasure & Pain. She begins in a really painful place, her world falls apart just seven paragraphs into the first chapter. It was gut-wrenching to write in places, but I love angst. You can’t beat trying to decipher the sensations of complete and utter grief and betrayal and putting them into word form. Sitting at the laptop and experiencing actual physical symptoms of anxiety; the churning stomach and tense muscles, is what I thrive on when I’m writing.
Carrying her through that and the tough healing process that followed was satisfying. I’m not a great one for planning, I knew what I wanted the final outcome to be, although it ended up slightly different, but we kind of worked our path out together as we went along.
FF Team: Tell us a little bit about him/her?
Ms. Gemma: Bella discovers that her husband, Edward, has been having a nine-month long affair with her ‘best friend’, Angela. I’m proud of her as a character, I think she’s incredibly strong and I admire all the decisions she makes along the way. She doesn’t take any easy routes, she’s able to set her emotions aside long enough to see the bigger picture and make the best life choices for her at that time. I was constantly asked as the story went on, if it would be a HEA. For me it was always going to be one, because I considered that for Bella, a HEA would be for her to be happy doing whatever she was doing, whoever it was with; even alone, if that’s what she’d chosen.
FF Team: The fans want to hear from you! Tell us a little bit about you and your writing, the feelings you get from it, and how you feel when you get reviews and encouragement! YOU HAVE THE FLOOR HERE!
Ms. Gemma: Okay, well don’t ever bother asking what’s going to happen in my stories because the chances are I haven’t decided yet! The twists and turns happen along the way, often inadvertently. It’s not unusual for me to only realise what direction I’ve taken when the reviews come in and point them out, for example, ‘OMG, does that mean …’ and I’ll sit and read it and think, yeah, I guess it does, how the hell am I going to work that in, now?!
My brain will either be running at a hundred miles an hour as I write, or I’ll spend so much time over-thinking, I won’t get anything down at all. I long to be good at what I do and sometimes I’ll read old stories back and a line will jump out that I still love, but most of the time I’ll sit cringing as I go through it. I get big-time author envy reading other people’s beautiful words.
Whatever twist I’ve put into a story, you can pretty much guarantee I had a much worse one up my sleeve that somebody managed to talk me out of ;)
I love writing, but it’s always a struggle to fit it in these days, which is why I ended up taking down my previous WIP, Making Waves, and also why I’m posting She as short updates. I’m a sucker for feedback and I consider all of the reviews carefully. I don’t mind bad reviews if they’re either constructive or made by someone ranting because they hate a character, that means I’ve done a good job, as far as I’m concerned. Good reviews make me smile, laugh, and feel happy. I’m a bit of a fail at replying to reviews and I genuinely feel bad about that, I have very little free time for writing and prefer to spend it on the chapters, rather than review replies in general. I would like anyone who reviews though, to know that I read and appreciate every one. I also love to read people’s theories on how the story will go, that might be my favourite kind of review!
I was shocked and honoured to be asked to do this, so thanks for thinking of me, I hope my stories bring a little escapism for a while. And go and check out Lewis Watson’s music!
FF Team: Where to find her work: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/2096001/GemmaH