fanstRAvaganza two, Day 6!

Wow, day six already. My spring break is almost over, and there’s just the weekend left of fanstRAvaganza two. We hope everyone who’s been working hard all week can use the time to catch up with the many postings. At this blog, you can vote on my poll (which Porter trousers?) till the end of the event next Monday; learn about fitzg’s opinions on Mr. Armitage’s work; participate in the attempt to write a restraining order to prevent undue violence to John Porter in Strike Back, series 2; read about Angie’s development as a fanfic writer; or decide which eyes you’d like John Porter to wear to your first encounter with him. Make sure to visit the participating bloggers’ sites, below:

An RA Viewer’s Perspective (Mulubinba)

The Spooks Fan Blog (Skully)

The Squeee! (Traxy)

Avalon’s Blog (Avalon)

Phylly’s Faves (Phylly)

RA Frenzy (Frenz)

The Richard Armitage Fan Blog – (Nat)

From the Quill Tip (Sarah)

CDoart: Richard Armitage & History & Spooks (CDoart)

Nevermind, Mr. Armitage (pi)

Mesmered’s Blog (Prue)

White Rose Writings (Musa)

Confessions of a Watcher (Judiang)

Richard Armitage Fan Videos & Graphics (bccmee)

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Thanks to Nat and Traxy for their organizational efforts.

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[Note: Much of the fanfic linked in this interview involves explicit situations. If you want non-explicit versions, click on the wattpad links, which are PG-13. As in the previous interview, we reference Dreamer Fiction, which houses a great deal of fic, much of it explicit, kept behind a password so it doesn’t fall into the hands of minors. Complete, uncensored versions of the fics referred to below are found there. Readers who want to join DF need to provide a reference from a current member specifying that they are at least eighteen years of age. If you are not yet reading DF and seek such a reference, leave a note in the comments below and we’ll try to help you out.]

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Today’s interview is the longest one I’ve ever published, but every single word is worth reading. I think that many of us will return to this piece repeatedly for inspiration because it’s such a classic, and yet unique, Armitage fan story. Yup: today’s interviewee: khandy, known IRL as Kate. She’s got strong skills of observation, and so she’s written a strong story each for several of Mr. Armitage’s major characters. You can find her stories at DF, fanfiction.net, and wattpad. I started reading “The Gruinard Project” (ff.net; wattpad) in July, 2010, when it was recommended by a commentator, and rapidly became hooked, and then found another of khandy’s pieces, “In the Bleak Midwinter” (wattpad). They’re both strong examples of her skill with a story. Every reader will have her favorite moments in khandy’s works. My own: the chapter in Lucas’s parents’ house in TGP, and the moment where Alison glimpses John Standring playing with his young sheepdog, Winston, in ItBM. On a particularly bad day in August I simply scanned those chapters over and over again for their sweetness and comfort. There’s something simultaneously peaceful and breathless about khandy’s style — her stories have an exquisite sense of tempo that you’ll recognize again in her remarks in the interview (edited to follow U.S. typographical conventions). Though khandy comments at this blog, I don’t know her especially well, and so I was a bit shy about asking her for an interview. Turns out she was a bit nervous, too, about revealing all this stuff about her journey as a writer. She didn’t need to be. I learned so much, and if you love her work as much as I do, or even are just curious about how someone decides to write 100,000 words about a television character and then moves on from there to writing her own novel, I bet you will, too.

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The first Armitage character that made khandy want to write about “what happens next”: Peter Macduff (Richard Armitage) responds to the praise of Duncan Docherty (Vincent Regan) in ShakespeaRE-told: “Macbeth.” Source: Richard Armitage Net

 

S: What was your first exposure to Mr. Armitage’s work and how did it affect you?

khandy: Actually, I have to blame my brother’s partner. The woman has no idea what she started. She gave my daughter a box set of costume dramas for Christmas in 2007 and North & South was in it. We watched it in one sitting on a wet Sunday in January. Everything was forgotten: housework, cooking, cleaning, and walking the dog, as I was mesmerized by the man playing John Thornton. I’m not sure at what point I realized he had been Harry Kennedy in Vicar of Dibley or Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, a show I hadn’t watched but had seen trailers for. I watched N&S four times that week, discovering something new every time, but more than that I was captivated by the difference from Harry. I was desperate to find out more about this actor’s work so I did something I had never done before: I googled him and I found a whole world I never knew about. Within weeks I was a member of C19 and had bought several DVDs of his work. I also discovered that the Internet can be about making friends, and through this actor who I will never know, I have made several new friends.

S: What specifically made you decide to start writing fanfiction about characters Mr. Armitage has played?

khandy: I had never heard of fanfiction until I joined C19, but I am an avid reader, so when I discovered a whole section of the board with stories I was intrigued. It was like discovering a door to go through in this new world I had found. I read, no, devoured these stories about Richard’s characters. At the same time I took delivery of the ShakespeaRe-Told DVD and watched Macbeth. James McAvoy I barely registered, because Richard’s Peter Macduff grabbed my heart and would not let go. Here was a character that had little screen time and I wanted more. I wanted to know what happened next. A story began forming in my mind, but I was unsure and not confident. On C19 at that time there was an active thread called “The Peachtree Café” and several people who posted there wrote fanfiction. They advised and encouraged me. But I didn’t start with Peter’s story. I decide to follow the maxim, “write about what you know,” and so, because of my medical background, I wrote “A New Track.” I hadn’t seen any Golden Hour stories so it was different to what I was reading on the board. To my surprise, for a short, simple story, it was quite well received, so I decided to push on with the Peter story, which became “Redemption of a Haunted Man.” That was the turning point. Is it a sign of an inflated ego to say that I realized I could tell a story? I loved the whole storytelling process, and even then, I seriously began to think of writing a novel.

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khandy had several particularly inspiring performances by Mr. Armitage to point to. Here, a scene from Spooks 7.5. that underlies “The Gruinard Project”:

khandy: I just love the subtle changes in RA’s face as he realizes that Harry lied to him about not knowing what Sugarhorse was, and that Harry expected him to put himself there again without regard for his emotions. The expression on his face when he says there are some things you just can’t expect from people in his job is so moving. The movements are all so small, nothing big or flamboyant. This scene gave me a lot for TGP in terms of Lucas’ character.

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S: You are perhaps most well known as the author of “The Gruinard Project.” What were the most important ideas, questions, and issues that spurred you to write it?

khandy: Lucas North entered my world several months after I had begun writing. I think I was writing about John Thornton at the time Spooks 7 aired. I had been so excited that Richard was joining the show for two reasons: it was a show I loved, and I would also get the chance to join in live discussions on C19. He didn’t disappoint, giving a performance that literally simmered; all the pain and anger of the character showed in those intense eyes and subtle facial movements. At the same time, the writers had left a lot of Lucas unexplored — there were a lot of bare bones for me to hang some meat on in terms of the story-telling. In real terms, learning about how Richard suffers for his art also helped me fill in the background of that story.

I had already decided to challenge myself to write a novel-length piece and this is what TGP became. I wanted to see whether I could plot a story that could hold a reader’s interest for more than 100,000 words. So the main spur was twofold: my desire to take my writing to a new level and KUDOS kindly giving me the perfect character to do that with.

S: Regarding TGP, how did you come up with the plot?

khandy: The plot is the most important part of the story for me as a writer. I can and do read and enjoy fanfiction that has virtually no plot, with just one romantic interlude after another, but that is not what I want to write. I always research my plot before I start to write and know where it is going, so it varies very little. Sometimes, during the course of the research I am presented with information that helps shape the story. For example, while researching Spencer Perceval, I discovered that the man who shot him had been imprisoned in Russia. That was such a gift, I had to use it. The first part of the plot I thought of was the character of the businessman. At the time we were just entering the economic crisis and bankers were getting bad press. So I got the idea to have this seemingly respectable businessman be a master criminal and utterly evil. I’ll let the reader decided if he is based on Alan Sugar or Richard Branson. I decided to do a biological weapon attack because I wanted it to be different from just diffusing a bomb, like they do often in Spooks. It was also important for me to integrate the other team members as I wanted it to be as much a Spooks story as a Lucas story.

S: What difficulties did you encounter in writing?

khandy: In TGP, very few, but it was the first story that I used a beta reader for. Until then I had resisted, I think because of my lack of confidence. I guess I thought she might tell me I was rubbish. How wrong can you be? Alicat, my beta was fabulous and she ironed out my appalling spelling and grammar. She was also a great sounding board for the plot, although I never told her in advance where I was going with the story. I now would advise any would-be writer to use a beta reader.

Dr. Alex Track (Richard Armitage), the hero of khandy’s first fanfiction, who let her “write what she knew,” in episode 3 of The Golden Hour. Source: Richard Armitage Net

S: You’ve relied heavily on OCs in your fanfic. Was this a decision you made for a specific reason? What techniques do you use to create these characters?

khandy: It wasn’t a conscious decision, really. I am writing for an audience that wants a love story so that element has to be there. With “A New Track” I was presenting an alternative to the show, and so I changed the hostage scenario. Strangely, though, one of the first comments I received told me it didn’t read like fanfiction. With my other characters, it was part necessity, part choice. In “Redemption of Haunted Man,” Peter’s family had been murdered, so I had to introduce a new character. With “Black Knight’s Deception,” the decision was based on my brain never accepting Guy of Gisborne and Marian as a couple. That was not the legend I knew or wanted, hence the new character.

The important thing about alternative characters is that they are interesting in their own right and serve a purpose in the plot other than that of love interest (the Spooks writers forgot this principle when they wrote Maya). I suppose that it is easy for an OC to become a Mary Sue, but I hope that my characters are more than that. I hope they are fully fleshed out and developed, even if one does share my name — a cardinal sin, actually.

S: What pleased you most about it when it was finished?

khandy: Several things. I was pleased that I had written this complex story without too many plot holes or inconsistencies, one that seemed to hold people’s interest throughout. With the help of Alicat, my writing had taken on a more complete feel by the end of it; that was very rewarding. I hadn’t alienated any Spooks fans and readers accepted and approved of my take on Lucas. But the biggest thrill was that my character, Kate, was liked so much better than Sarah in Spooks 8; that delighted me. When I read it back I had to pinch myself, as I couldn’t believe that I had written it. I still don’t.

I placed this cap here so that khandy’s fans can imagine Lucas North (Richard Armitage) looking in arousal at Kate Masters instead of Sarah Caulfield. From Spooks 8.4. Source: Richard Armitage Net

S: How do you feel about writing the sexy parts?

khandy: When I first started writing, I was really inhibited by the “p.m. scenes,” as I called them. They seemed so contrived. I joined DF around the time I started writing TGP and, as you know, over there a writer can be more daring. I suppose the demand was there and the kind of sex I wrote fit those particular characters. I’d never have written John Thornton and Margaret Hale that way. I think reading DF helped me develop as a writer of intimate scenes. I realized it was okay to use words and be descriptive. What I try never to do is put the sex there just for gratuitous reasons. It has to fit with the story and the characters. I can’t just write sex; I have to involve the emotions as well. It is strange that when I am writing those scenes, they don’t turn me on. They are just words like any others. When I read other writers’ sex scenes, though, they do get me hot and bothered. My fellow writers of naughtiness know who they are and ladies, may I say: Long may you continue!

I realize that this kind erotic writing is not for everybody, so all my stories — I hope — read just as well without the vivid descriptions. The most embarrassing thing was that my work colleagues wanted to read it, so I printed it and they shared it with their husbands and partners. Christmas parties will never be the same. I was known as the quiet one. Not any more. (If you were here interviewing me in person, you’d hear my wicked laugh.)

S: What did you learn by writing it?

khandy: That it is good to challenge myself and move out of my comfort zone. I think I developed my “show not tell” abilities with Lucas. I attempted to put the reader inside the story. I also realized that writing is a craft and as such it has to be nurtured and developed. As with any craft, the writer has to learn the skills to accomplish it. Raw talent is rarely enough on its own; the writer has to be dedicated and disciplined. I learned that constructive criticism is a valuable learning tool. By the end of the project I also thought that maybe, just maybe, I could write an original fiction.

S: Is there anything you’d change now?

 

khandy: I have revisited the first six chapters and edited them as they were done without beta reading. Despite conversations I have had about Kate allegedly being a Mary Sue, about the unrealistic speed of Lucas and her falling in love, and the dislike of some readers of their frank first sexual encounter – nope, I don’t think I would change it. Not even her name; it was pointed out to me early on that I was using my name. It’s odd because that didn’t occur to me, she was a Katherine called Kate and I was a Karen who was nicknamed Kate. She isn’t me, so she remains unchanged.

Peter Macduff’s (Richard Armitage) first appearance in ShakespeaRE-Told: Macbeth. See below.

S:All of your Armitage-related fiction reveals a strong differentiation between the characters. Your Lucas in TGP is markedly different from your John Standring in “In the Bleak Mid Winter.” You’ve mentioned in passing that you achieve this by close observation of Armitage on screen in these roles. What kind of things do you observe? How do you translate your ideas into fiction?

khandy: As an actor, Richard is very detailed. I feel that as a writer paying homage to the character he has created, I owe it to him to get the character he created down on paper. Before beginning to write, I watch the show in a different way to how I view for pure entertainment. I watch key scenes and study how he plays off of others, how he fades into the background, or dominates a scene — his body language.

Take Peter Macduff. We meet him for the first time suited and booted, hair immaculate, and tie properly knotted. The façade he presents is as exclusive as the restaurant he works in. He is unobtrusive and unobserved. We hear only one sentence, but watch how he places the plate and turns it so that the food is served properly. Then he just blends away. In that scene he is almost invisible and that is right because, to me, it is the mark of a man doing his job correctly. The viewer notices him despite, or rather because of, his invisibility. If I hadn’t known how tall he was, I would never have guessed 6’2”, not because he was trying to look smaller, but because he blended in. I also loved the scene when he finds out his family are dead. I know others hated it, but I admired how he assimilates what he’s being told. He just staggers and sinks as if his spine has crumbled and cannot support him.

Peter Macduff (Richard Armitage) reacts to the news of the murder of his wife and children in ShakespeaRE-Told: Macbeth.

Regarding his posture, Richard uses it to such brilliant effect. Take John Standring. At the beginning of Sparkhouse, this bear of a man is so crippled by shyness that he barely stands straight. His head is down; his eyes are down; his shoulders are hunched. The change after the hair cut is remarkable. Although not ramrod straight, he is more upright; he’s been given a reason to develop some pride in himself. Carol needs him and for a character like John to be needed is as important as being loved. You can almost see his self-esteem has risen.

I love his face as well –who doesn’t?– or how he uses it: all those crinkles and slight movements change his characters. Richard’s use of his face is why Lucas and John Porter are miles apart. Finally, the eyes. They are for me his strongest asset, and boy how he uses them. With Lucas, especially, it is all there in those intense blue eyes: all the pain, intelligence, and longing. If all I saw was his eyes, I’d get that character.

The hardest thing for me is his voice. It is the one thing where I rely on the observations of others to help me. Here the comments on C19 are invaluable. The subtitles help, but it is not the same as hearing.

Finally, I mentioned Richard’s skill in playing off others. The best example of this has to be Guy. All the smirks, eye rolling, and strutting he does when Keith Allen is speaking are brilliant. Guy, unlike Peter, is never in the background.

(Sorry I rattled on.)

Posture of insecurity: John Standring (Richard Armitage) ducks his head before suggesting that Carol might join him for a drink “down t’Fleece” in Sparkhouse, episode 1. Source: Richard Armitage Net

S: Not at all! I’m not the only one, I’m sure, who was surprised to discover that you had never really heard Mr. Armitage speak. In the fall, you mentioned that you were getting an addition to your television that might allow you to hear Mr. Armitage. What have your experiences been?

khandy: My deafness. It is odd. I have been deaf all my life, and yet it is only as an adult that I have thought that I had a disability or disadvantage. That has to stem from not being diagnosed as deaf until I was twenty-two. I was a staff nurse at the time. Initially, it made little difference except I wore hearing aids and had slightly – but not much — better hearing. Things changed about five years ago when I was told I was being sacked because of it. I lost almost everything: my job, home, and husband, as a result, but I then did a lot of studying about what I was entitled to in law as deaf person and won my case to keep my job. I was given a catalog with all this wildly expensive stuff to adapt my home, but could never afford it. Later, I went to a resource center that offered me an assessment and adaption at a fraction of the cost. Due to moving house and work, the loop has yet to be fitted. I need to be home so that I can get the settings correctly programmed for my hearing aid. It works like the adaption on a phone.

As for not hearing RA when I read the subtitles he speaks, I imagine a deep smooth voice, and that is ok. It is when I have no subtitles that I have major problems. The audio books and adverts I can’t hear at all. They are just distorted babble.

I am very excited, but know that I will have to learn to hear what is being spoken when I get the loop installed on the TV. Hearing, like writing, has to be practiced.

 

 

S: You’ve recently started publishing a story of your own on the web with original characters. How did you make that decision? How’s it going?

khandy: Slowly. What has been published was written a while ago. I lost my dad very suddenly last Easter. He collapsed and died while shopping with my mum on Good Friday. He was the most important person in my life, so alive and vital, and his loss rocked my center for a long time. I had been to stay with them about ten days before he died and had discussed my novel. I had to change my life as well, and went from being a single mum with two teenagers to caring for my mum, who is blind. She has moved in with me and we have been adjusting to huge changes. I had found it difficult to write because of that, but now I am ready to continue. I got stuck, hence my publishing on the boards.

The decision to write an original piece of worked stemmed from TGP. I had several ideas milling around but went with “Degrees of Silence” because, in a way, it is my story. I have to write it. There are huge parallels with my life in the story. Sabrina, the female character is deaf, and Tom, the male character, is divorced with a teenager who has had problems with the divorce. It is as if I needed to write this for me, whereas before I was mainly writing for others.

It is very scary because it is so personal, like laying oneself bare.

S: This has been the most astounding interview, khandy. Thanks for your time and your openness.

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khandy reports of herself: I’m a working mum who has finally learned to say no to pets that have to be cleaned out. It’s taken twenty years to realize that I will be stuck cleaning out the guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, fish … well, you get the idea. My greatest luxury is a pyjama day when somebody else walks the dog, cooks the tea, and washes the pots while I lounge in my pyjamas reading a book or watching a movie. I describe myself as Shirley Valentine. Throughout my childhood and teenage years I was known as Kate (a nickname), but when I went to nurse training I was known as Karen (my given name). I stayed Karen all my adult life and in the past few years I didn’t like Karen. When my OH forgot we were married, I decided to find Kate, the girl I had been, and with the help of my writing, she is back.

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[Fan showcases from last year are here: bZirk, Eli, LadyKate63. I plan to continue this feature irregularly while I continue to blog Mr. Armitage. If you are interested in being interviewed, please let me know. My email address is in the sidebar under “About.” — Servetus]

~ by Servetus on March 19, 2011.

49 Responses to “fanstRAvaganza two, Day 6!”

  1. What a wonderful interview Khandy. What a pleasure to read. Thank you Khandy and Servetus.

    I am continually amazed, and more so this week, about the creativity and often untapped talent that Richard Armitage has made blossom by his work and by his person.

  2. One thing I learned from doing this interview that I continue to find fascinating as I think about it is that khandy “discovered” him as an actor through his body language. Confirms what a lot of us have thought for some time, but from a very unique perspective.

  3. Are you sure I didn’t rattle on LOL

    • Ommmm, yes. I am sure you didn’t rattle on. I actually thought of other stuff I could have asked while I was editing this. Perhaps we’ll save that for your next interview 🙂

  4. It is a magnificent interview. So much food for thought.

  5. How very much I enjoyed reading the interview with Khandy. Her hearing impairment certainly enabled her to gain much non-verbal information from Richard Armitage’s performances that others might not perceive.

  6. Congratulations on your upcoming story with original characters, khandy! Truly inspiring.

  7. Oh wow two of my top favourite fic writers interviewed this week.

    As with Angie’s reading Khandy’s work is an event I actively make time for. I lose myself in the plot and characters which is always a pleasure to do.

    I’ve yet to read Degrees of Silence but I certainly will at some point.

    Thanks for asking all those fascinating questions Servetus and Khandy for those inspiring answers.

  8. Lovely, lovely interview. I’ve always been an admirer of khandy’s work – she has amazing writing skills – and I am completely absorbed by her current John Porter fanfic, Absolution. Her characters are very real and are perfect fits with the TV creations. I’ve also noticed and like the way she carefully introduces her medical knowledge into scenes which helps them to ring true. I agree with her own self-assessment: a real story-teller.

    • Thanks for the comment and welcome. I agree about Absolution — I was really excited when I saw it go up.

  9. Such a wonderful interview, Khandy, thanks for sharing!

  10. This was a wonderful interview, full of fascinating insights into the writing process as well as great commentary on RA’s performances. I would like to be able to read khandy’s fiction on Dreamer Fiction. I am definitely way older than 18, so could someone provide me with a reference. Thanks so much for this blog in general and the FanstRAvaganza in particular!

  11. Thanks to all for the positive comments.

  12. What a wonderful interview with khandhy! Her revelations about the craft of writing and the challenges she has faced in her personal life make her a true inspiration. Her fanfic is lovely and I look forward to reading her when she branches out into her own fictional territory!

  13. From a writer to a writer, what wonderful isights to the craft, Kate. Your observations about Richard’s subtle face and body movements are representative of a writer’s credo:
    ‘Show not tell.’

    Without being gratuitous in anyway, I’d also venture to say that your deafness created an observation that many of us with hearing had dulled. You consciously sought every nuance beyond the voice. It’s made me want to go back and observe Gisborne and switch the sound down.

    I’d also venture to say one other thing… I think when a writer is pushed emotionally for whatever reason, it’s when their best wordage emerges. Emotion that is ‘felt’ creates the dimension that is needed to make a character’s experiences real in print.

    Thank you so much Kate and Servetus!

  14. I am completely overwhelmed by these comments. Thank you seems inadquate.

    If I may beg your indulgence I have beening thinking how to show you what I hear.

    Like the vast majority of deaf people I don’t hear consonants as they are high frequency sounds. So I have to work out words from vowels. This is hard.

    The following sentance has the consonants missing

    –e -o- -a- -ou– a– -a—o-e

    it is much easier if you can hear the consonants

    th- b-y w-s y–ng a-d h-nds-me

    I only hear the vowels sounds which is why I can hear sound but not understand what is being said the moment I read the subtitles Richards voice comes through for instance I know that Lucas and JT sound different. I don’t hear what you all hear but I know he speaks differently for each of his roles.

    The sentance says

    The boy was young and handsome.

    • Khandy, That was a wonderful interview. Thanks for sharing so much of your world. I’m looking forward to reading your work.

      (I also have a hearing impairment, although not quite as profound as yours. It really struck me when you said “hearing must be learned.”)

    • Khandy,

      There are people who have perfectly adequate hearing who do not “hear” as well as you do, just as my legally blind sister “sees” better than many people with 20/20 vision. You’ve learned to make the best of your situation, just as my beloved Sara has, not only through physical adaptations and keen effort but with your heart and soul. You are a gifted writer and I wish you the very, very best with your latest work. You deserve it!
      Wonderful interview and I feel privileged to have been a fellow interviewee with you this week at Servetus’ blog. And my deepest sympathies on the loss of your father. Having lost both my parents now whom I miss everyday, I can completely understand. Doesn’t matter how old we are, we still need our parents.

      Since I started making the slideshow vids, I have been studying Mr. A’s expressions most keenly. I am always amazed at what emotion he can express with very little facial movement. As you said, he can telegraph so much to the discerning viewer with just those marvelous eyes. And his mastery of body language is simply unparalleled, I think.

  15. I’m inspired to watch RH3 without sound, to experience Armitage from khandy’s visual perspective. New horizens to explore!

  16. What khandy does in the end is translate her observations back into speech. I really hear Lucas *speaking* when I read her stuff. So there’s some cross-fertilization there.

  17. To use a somewhat British word I have to say I was gobsmacked, Khandy,to read that you are unable to hear Richard properly. I can’t possibly call your hearing problem a disability as I think that possibly BECAUSE of it you are an especially gifted writer. While most of us are drawn to him by his voice as well his other “attributes” your observations are much more acute. The fact that you can understand and differentiate between his characters by their facial expressions and body language is absolutely incredible and far more impressive than the observations of someone who can not only see what he does but can also hear his voice.

    So thank you Khandy and Servetus for this wonderful interview. An inspiration! I hope and pray that one day you will be able to hear his characters, Khandy, and not just observe them. I wish this for your pleasure only because his voice is so worth hearing and NOT because I think you need to hear it in order to craft your wonderful fiction.

  18. Firstly, a HUGE thank you to Servetus and khandy for the interview. I love khandy’s stories, so it’s fascinating to get the background to how she is inspired and how she works. Thank you also, khandy, for showing us what you hear.

    Secondly, could I trouble someone for a reference over at Dreamer Fiction? I am definitely over the age of 18. Thank you very much in advance.

  19. Hi all, it’s been a while. Just popped over to say thanks to Servetus and all the bloggers for the wonderful FanstRavaganza this year. I’ve had a great time reading (and in some cases listening to) your blogs and comments and discovering the hidden talents of so many of the Armitage fans. And thanks to Khandy for participating in this interview. I was so intrigued about your writing after reading it that I found The Gruinard Project and have not stopped reading it (for the last three hours now!) You are truly gifted. You’ve captured our favorite spooks so well that it feels like a lost Spooks episode. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate our dear Lucas (before the terrible S.9 character assassination).
    And also, just wanted to say that I’m very excited for RA as tomorrow (NZ time) he starts filming The Hobbit. I wish him and the whole cast and crew a wonderful, fulfilling and exciting adventure. This week’s celebration of all things RA sure feels like his dedicated fans have collectively sent him a big hug as he starts this new chapter in his life, one that will no doubt be life-changing. Happy FanstRAvaganza all!

  20. Undoubtably, what are classified as “disabilities”, result in heightened levels of other senses, and a fresh perspective of the world. In old age, Monet was treated for cataracts. Apart from surgery, treatment included the use of various Zeiss lenses in succession. With each, he lost vision of one or another colour. Initially red and blue were sacrificed to yellow, and so it went. (ref. Daniel Wildenstein, Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism). The canvases throughout this process reflect the altered colour perception and provide that fresh perspective.

  21. Servetus, I forgot to thank you for this excellent interview. Excellent questions and very insightful.

  22. Khandy – I haven’t had tome to read the comments here so I hope I’m not being repetitive. I love the way you write and have read all your fics. Thank you so much and I hope you continue to write for a long time to come!

    (PS: Glad you won the case against your workplace – discrimination is still evident in our workplaces unfortunately.)

  23. Good morning everybody. Reading back my last post was a little garbled and didn’t perhaps make sense.It was very late.

    I was truely humbled by all the comments that have been left here. Firstly I would like to say that through the support of so many wonderful fansites I have discovered a wonderful creative outlet,made friends the world over and have slowly healed my battered emotions from what was four years of hell. To be honoured by both Servetus here and Sarah P on From the Quil Tip along with so many other creative fans has been amazing I am pinching myself it is like winning the Man Booker prize. So thank you very much.

    Anyway about my hearing what I was trying to say was that understanding speech means you have to be able to hear all the different phonetic sounds made in spoken English. Consonets are hugely important in understanding what word is being said. Unfortunately almost all consonants are in the high frequency range of souns and that is what most people with hearing impairment have lost.

    Vowel sounds are a lower frequency and so become dominant. This is why accents are hard for deaf people because accents are formed by vowel sounds.

    What it adds up to is this I can hear this distorted babble and can tell that different people have different accents but I cannot without my hearing aids understand them. Even with my hearing aids it is not easy because hearing aids cannot just pick out certain sounds. All the sound is amplified which sometimes makes it worse. I would say my hearing aids give me about 40% of my hearing.

    So by reading a sentance with no consonants in it you have an idea of what I hear.

    -I–A– I- A- A-A-I– A– -O–E–U- A–O-.

    I then lip read as well.

    The sentance says

    RICHARD IS AN AMAZING AND WONDERFUL ACTOR.

    Once I read the subtitles I can’hear’ him speak in a fashion

    I hope that makes more sense than my first effort to explain

  24. Another brilliant interview …between the interviewee & interviewer and very inspirational to the writer and readers as well!

    Hoping I’ve done something worthwhile today, introduced a bunch of young kids from 4-6 to hear & see RA CBeebies bedtime stories. They love the Dinosaur cafe, Acorn with the squirrel and the rest.

    Now, I’ve got to do some Khandy reading myself.

    • good for you — more fans, and one hopes, perhaps an incentive for him to do an encore someday.

      • Those stories are such a delight. I love his different voices as he reads them and his physical expressiveness. And the way he says “cuddly monsters.” *squee*

  25. Thank you for brilliant interview.
    Khandy thank you for showing your writing process, it is amazing. I begin to read your fanfic. I am very impressed with your talent. I get the impression that you are painting with words. (Unfortunately, despite the fact that, as RA I’m in middle age, I can not read fanfic for Dreamer Fiction)
    Thank you for sharing about your disability. My father lost his hearing in one ear and partially in the second. Of course he has a hearing aid, but often has trouble tuning of it to the sounds (such as tune it into the speech and when he takes to the streets, he has the impression that the sound of blows on his head.) And I realize that it must be hard for him.
    Reading this interview I was surprised how Khandy sees RA’s acting as she draws attention to the details that elude me. I have to think about it.

  26. […] Zealand it’s the 21st, so, one assumes, the big adventure is already kicking into high gear. Thanks to Calexora for the reminder. Here’s a relevant article that doesn’t mention Mr. Armitage. I had forgotten that the […]

  27. […] which eyes you’d like John Porter to wear to your first encounter with him; or read about khandy’s journey as a writer of fanfic and now, original fiction. Also, do make sure to visit the participating […]

  28. Interesting interview. I’ve read some of Khandy’s work which I enjoyed. My last read was In The Bleak Midwinter, which was excellent – I’m always glad to find Sparkhouse FF as it’s quite rare.

  29. Khandy, I’m currently reading, and loving, In The Bleak Midwinter (wattpad edition). You have such a gift. I’m thoroughly enjoying discovering in more depth the lovely John Standring. He didn’t have enough screentime in my opinion. I’m bowled over at how you are able to convey his shyness, gentleness, and his sweet and loving personality. And I can’t help but picture RA in that role when I’m reading it. (Although I’m trying to block out the Meg images of Lisa from my mind – I’m a bit miffed that the same actress was used in RH as it was hard to reconcile her as a love interest for Guy when she was JS step-daughter in Sparkhouse, but oh well). I saw your comment as I was reading Part III that you have a more ‘adult’ (ah-hem) version on Dreamerfiction. I’ve registered but I’m not sure what I need to get approved by the admins. Can you let you me know? Cheers! Now back to finishing the PG version… 🙂 Many thanks again!

  30. BTW thank you for such a lovely comment

    • Your story made me fall in love in John. I’d take hypothermia any day if it meant meeting this lovely, sweet farmer!

  31. Thanks again to everyone here for all the great comments.

  32. Wow, cool interview and insight on the writer’s process. I wonder, Khandy, if your deafness makes your appreciation of other elements even more heightened? Like facial expression, postures, gestures, etc

    I am just discovering the world of fanfiction and have been really impressed with much of what I’ve read. Also a recent North and South, and thus Richard Armitage, fan. He is of course enormously attractive but plenty of actors are handsome and buff but don’t inspire the fascination that he does. I think it is the high quality of his craft that creates characters that are so in-depth and authentic that his audience is completely enthralled. Often fans think they’re infatuated with the actor but it is the characters they really fall in love with. Just like it’s been for centuries with a well-written novel. I’d like also to read the work referenced here if someone could send me the password for the Dreamer Fiction website. Thanks! (and yes, I’m well over 18!)

  33. […] Richard Armitage. Previous showcases can be found here: bZirk, Eli, LadyKate63, fitzg, Angieklong, khandy. I plan to continue this feature intermittently, so if you are interested in being interviewed, […]

  34. […] khandy has resumed updates on her original story. […]

  35. […] response, and a scene that interviewees cite consistently as a most memorable moment in Armitage’s oeuvre: Peter Macduff (Richard Armitage) reacts to […]

  36. […] Kate Forrester / “Khandy” (author of one of our favorite Lucas North fanfics, “The Gruinard Project” and the much-beloved Sparkhouse fanfic to original novel, “In the Bleak Midwinter”); now has her first completely original novel out on Kindle and in paper: Degrees of Silence (2013). [Buy on amazon.com or buy on amazon.co.uk.] I have not read this one yet, but I know everyone who’s followed khandy’s other projects will be interested. Khandy was interviewed on “me + richard armitage” here. […]

  37. […] Writers just seem to spring out of our ranks. I’ve done interviews with Prue Batten and Kate Forrester; in the ranks of the legacy fans are Rosy Thornton and Philippa Ashley, and no doubt I’ve […]

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