Fan showcase: Amanda Jane

Finally, number two in the series of interviews I’d planned for the summer. Special thanks to Amanda Jane for her patience in tolerating an interview that took months to complete.

[Note: Much of the fanfic linked in this interview involves explicit situations. I have linked in each case to every place where I’m aware a version of a fic exists — some have tamer versions in tamer venues, while others do not. Sexually explicit versions of these items are housed on a fanfic site, Dreamer Fiction, kept behind a password so it doesn’t fall into the hands of minors. If you don’t want to be confronted with sex, click on the “wattpad” or “C19” links — where available. 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 want to, leave a note in the comments below and we’ll try to help you out.]

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I’m not sure when I first ran across Amanda Jane’s fanfics, exactly; She’s a good friend of Angie‘s, and that may have provided the connection, or possibly I found some on her blog. I know that I found many on Dreamer Fiction, and eventually she put some of them on wattpad. Amanda Jane’s work lives out the generic convention of fanfic as wish fulfillment unabashedly and with relish, so on days when everything goes wrong, I’ve learned, there’s nothing better than a bit of one of her fairy-tale like stories. You’ll see throughout the interview that she’s not afraid to think and talk in fairy-tale tropes, using them to explain the deep, unconscious attractions of Richard Armitage’s work for many of us. I discuss two “iconic moments” in her writing the interview below, but there are many more. She diverges into the fanciful, for instance, in “Milton Belle” [DF] when she allows Margaret Hale to peruse a work of scholarship from India (one that wasn’t translated into English until 1885), but not only does this entail a pleasant wish fulfillment, it also brings an involuntary smile to the reader’s lips. Margaret and the Ananga Ranga? The mind pales. And the lips part in pleasure. And though, due to the length of our conversation, I saved the topic of the “John and Guy ficlets” [DF] which she co-writes, for another interview, they’ve also brightened many a dreary afternoon for me. If you struggle in dealing with family during the holiday season, “Make a Christmas Wish” [DF] is the best choice for you. I have this reaction a lot when I read Amanda Jane: an admiration for someone who lives out her fantasy pleasures through fanfic and invites us to do it right along with her. I hope you’ll enjoy this interview as much as I did.

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The beginning of more than one beautiful relationship: Harry Kennedy (Richard Armitage) opens the door of Sleepy Cottage in Vicar of Dibley: The Handsome Stranger, love at first sight for Geraldine and for Amanda Jane. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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Servetus: What was your first exposure to Richard Armitage’s work?

Amanda Jane: One of my and Mr. AJ’s favorite sitcoms, The Vicar Of Dibley, was airing its final episodes on Christmas Day, 2006, and New Years Day, 2007, and we were all set to watch. As soon as Sleepy Cottage’s door opened, my jaw hit the floor. The Handsome Stranger didn’t steal only Gerry’s heart that day. OK, I thought, it’s another crush. I set about finding out what else this Richard Armitage had been in. I found North & South on youtube and kicked myself for not watching it two years previously. I read some North & South fanfics and then discovered The Armitage Army. I realized then that this wasn’t my usual crush. I’d never been tempted to join a fan club before. I had to buy North & South on DVD; it was followed by Sparkhouse, Robin Hood, and then his other work, as and when I could obtain it.

S: Who had you crushed on before? How did those crushes end?

Amanda Jane: My other big crushes haven’t ended so much as taken a back seat. I do rather enjoy the feeling of having a crush. I think that as long as you keep grounded and treat it as the fantasy it is, a crush can be beneficial. My most enduring other crushes: Ioan Gruffudd is Welsh and is best known for playing Horatio Hornblower. He’s also adorable in 102 Dalmations and gorgeous as Sir Lancelot. Jamie Bamber may be best known as Lee Apollo in Battlestar Galactica, but for me he’ll always be Hornblower’s friend, Archie Kennedy. [“Dotsy Doheny” in Ultimate Force, to name something many Armitage fans have seen — Servetus.] Jack Davenport (Norrington in Pirates of the Caribbean) came to my notice in a cult British TV series of the 1990s about a group of young lawyers, This Life. He’s also wonderful in a small budget film, The Gypsy Woman.

S: Although many of us worry that it’s something to be ashamed of, you say a crush can be beneficial. Why?

Amanda Jane: It’s widely believed that fantasy is good for mental health. I battle mental health problems, along with the emotional minefield that having a child with special needs places on motherhood. I need all the help I can get to stay in balance. Loving relationships in real life are without doubt the biggest help of all, and I’m lucky to have a strong family and understanding friends, as well as my partner, who loves me — foibles and all. Love in the real world means accepting all sides of people and allowing them their own free will. Love isn’t about controlling someone. Would I choose to have crushes and avoid real life love? Absolutely not. But I’d hate to be without crushes. Fantasy allows you to call all the shots and have the unknowing recipient of your devotion do what you want without harm to his free will. And there’s the hard to describe but pleasurable buzz that comes from watching your crush in action, listening to him, reading about him, or ogling pictures. Of course, getting stalker-ish isn’t beneficial in the least.

S: Your Armitage fascination is going on strong! What keeps you watching him?

Amanda Jane: Well, you don’t have to be around the fandom for long to spot that Mr. A. has a lot more to offer than his staggering good looks and “melt you from the inside out” voice. This man is not playing at being an actor; he’s the real deal. He works hard at using his God-given talents. Both on screen and in audio, he’s created characters that we want to get to know (even when they’re either morally dubious or downright nasty). We’re drawn into the characters’ worlds and either care or, at the very least, wonder about their lives beyond the confines of the story. For an actor to make me feel that way is quite some feat. In audio, he’s a master storyteller. It’s no small talent to be able to create a whole range of characters and the story they’re in with no other medium but your voice.

I can think of only Stephen Fry and Martin Jarvis who draw me in with the same power. In interviews, and for the lucky few who’ve met him, he comes across as intelligent, polite, modest, and charming. It’s a combination that I’ve found very easy to get addicted to. When real life can get hard to deal with, there are much worse and more harmful addictions than this one.

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When asked to provide a scene from Richard Armitage’s work that she finds particularly compelling, Amanda Jane had no problem:

Amanda Jane: John Mulligan is a fine example of the fact that one doesn’t have to like a particular character to fall in love with Armitage’s performance. In this scene, his body language blows me away. The Knight in Shining Armor who turned up on Ellie’s doorstep reveals The Big Bad wolf lurking under the surface. He’s clearly reveling in Ellie’s plight. His label of Little Miss Perfect drips with insincerity. You know that he’s delighted that she’s showing how imperfect she is. It was also pretty obvious that his full power charm offensive and seduction was going to pull her in, too.

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S: How did you start writing fanfic?

Amanda Jane: I’ve always had stories in my head. I think I got motivated to write fanfic by reading it. Before I started, I had read lots of North & South fics, Guy of Gisborne fics, and a wonderful Sparkhouse fic called Sparkhouse Revisited [at C19–logon required]. I’ve always had stories in my head. Very often the stories I’ve had in my head from before built the basis for fics I’ve written.

S: Do you experience self-empowerment through writing?

It’s definitely a good outlet for my imagination, which is very vivid. It’s good therapy for my depression. I always get a buzz when I’ve a story or poem ready to be put down.

S: Why did you start with Sparkhouse?

Amanda Jane: I’ve found John Standring and Guy of Gisborne to be very easy characters to write about. They’re so different as men, but they’re equals in the amount of baggage each carries. One could steer either of them in so many ways.

John Standring (Richard Armitage) and Carol Boulton (Sarah Smart) after consummating their marriage in episode 3 of Sparkhouse. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

S: The moment that sold me on “A Yorkshire Lady” [DF; wattpad] was chapter 5, when your OC heroine, Caroline, and John Standring finally get intimate: Caroline knows what to do to calm John down and make sex possible for him in a way that Carol Boulton couldn’t or didn’t. Can you talk about how you made that plot decision?

Amanda Jane: Caroline is purposely a different woman from Carol. She’s shy and rather tame, while Carol was wild. What I wanted to bring in was the passion Carol has, but has never been allowed to express in a positive way. In the series, Andrew is mad keen for sex with her, but she couldn’t even trust him with her most painful secret without him cracking. In contrast, in my story, Caroline and John are soul mates. She’s found a man who loves her and wants her for the woman she is, unlike my version of Andrew, who married her for his own convenience.

As an author, I was haunted by that wedding night scene in Sparkhouse. There’s a man that Carol could tell her secrets to and who would want to help her, but after Andrew’s stunt, she’s once bitten, twice shy. So, in my story, we have a passionate woman who knows what she wants in bed, but has hitherto had a partner for whom her needs have not been a priority. Now she has a man who is as eager for her as she is for him, but who needs a guiding hand. Good sex is about trust and communication as much as desire. Caroline wants to have a good time with John and he with her.

S: Another really compelling piece of “A Yorkshire Lady” [DF; wattpad] for me was the unfolding of the terrible secrets in John’s family life (transposed from Carol’s story in Sparkhouse). I felt while reading this tale that you were relying on something you saw in Armitage’s portrayal of Standring that pointed at hidden depths / sorrows but also at hidden strengths. Can you tell us a bit about how that plot strand developed for you in this story?

Amanda Jane: In Sparkhouse, John is strong in more than just the physical sense.  He manages to keep the farm going when Carol’s gone and her father’s health is deteriorating. Carol tells Andrew that he’s a good farmer who “won’t cut corners.” Even though she doesn’t feel romantically inclined towards him, there’s no question that she has total confidence in him as a business partner. We see the first glint of Standring steel when Carol turns on her ailing father and John says he will be off if there’s any more. His vulnerability is still there, though, and is never more touching than when Carol comes to him at home and tries to smooth over Andrew’s childishly cruel taunt. He’s lonely and has been for a long time, and that’s a bad place for anyone to be.

We learn little of his past in Sparkhouse, so I wanted to give him one that could explain some of his shyness and nerves, but that could also show his strength as he come to deal with it — with Caroline’s love to support him.

Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) tells Meg (Holliday Grainger) that she reminds him of Marian, who made him a better man, in Robin Hood 3.9. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

S: Two themes run through much of your work. The first of these is redemption, and as an author, you’re quick to offer redemptive chances not only to characters we want to see redeemed, like Guy of Gisborne in “Faith, Hope and Charity” [DF], but also to some who might be a bit of a hard sell, like Hannah Thornton in “Milton Belle” [DF]. What are your thoughts on possibilities for second chances, both for characters in fiction and in real life?

Amanda Jane: Redemption does come into my fics a lot. I believe in it very strongly, both in fiction and real life. Morality, and therefore responsibility for our actions, begins and ends with us. There aren’t good people and bad people, just good or bad choices. Guy shows many times that he wants to be a better man, but his weaknesses allow him to listen to the wrong people and make the wrong choices. Look at the change in him when he encounters real affection from Meg, and even when Robin is ready to show faith in and work with him. We all want to be loved in one way or another, don’t we? It’s one of the necessities of life.

In the same vein, Hannah Thornton might be cold and forbidding, but she’s clearly a strong mother for John and Fanny and a powerful presence in the mill. She longs for John’s happiness and is furious with Margaret for rejecting him, but I can also sense that when she is no longer the first in John’s affections, she will feel the loss deeply.

S: What do you think attracts readers to redemptive stories?

Amanda Jane: I know that I’m not the only one who wants to see Guy redeemed. I think many of us look at RA’s bad boy characters and sense that if allowed to change their lives for the better, they might be a whole lot happier.

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Amanda Jane’s choice of a second scene that keeps her watching fell upon Spooks 8.2, when Lucas and Ros bug Lindemann’s flat.

Amanda Jane: The dialogue in this scene is Spooks’ writing at its best: Tension-breaking humor and more than a hint of flirtation. I also really love the dynamic between Lucas and Ros. He seems relaxed in her company, even when they’re not in agreement. It takes me back to that small but perfect scene in series 7, where they agree that being colleagues is the perfect relationship. You get the feeling of a lot of empathy between them just from Armitage’s voice in the darkened room.

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S: The second frequent theme in your work is the self-empowerment of the heroine through good relationships. A classic example that we see through your eyes in the fairytale prism: Ruby in “Make a Wish and Blow” [DF]. This was perfect wish fulfillment for me: Lucas North shows up on her doorstep, falls in love, decides to remain with her forever, and is totally into her body. As if all that were not enough, in chapter 2 of the sequel, “Make a Christmas Wish” [DF] he decides to make her sister, Fiona, crazy by making clear not only how physically into Ruby he is, but also how well he likes her: “[Fiona thought], He talks to her a lot and really listens to what she says; he has such a sweet twinkle in his eyes when he’s doing it. She’s found a friend as well as a lover in him; which is so not fair when you see what I’ve got to put up with.” I was sorry for Fiona, but I identified more with Ruby and loved that she got this gift for Christmas. I’m intrigued by this choice, though, because I have never read Lucas North as the most emotionally available of Armitage’s characterizations. What was it that you saw in Armitage’s Lucas North that made you go in this direction in this story?

Amanda Jane: Make A Wish And Blow” is very much fantasy and, as you say, “wish fulfillment.” I used Lucas to appear in Ruby’s home because he’s so often called upon to play different roles. He fit well into the image of a spirit who has spent centuries in different forms. (I have to admit that the vision of him in that blue suit helped, too.)

I think Lucas has had to learn his emotional coldness as a defense mechanism. Think of his response to seeing Elizaveta again in series 7, and his scenes with Sarah and even Oleg in series 8 of Spooks. The mask and the armor do slip at times and I reckon there’s a volcano of emotion under there. Also important for me was the idea of him as an MI-5 hero (series 9 didn’t end my love of redemptive stories). When “my” Lucas has to find work of benefit to humanity, the choice of MI-5 was perfect.

A favorite cape of Amanda Jane’s: Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) spars verbally with Henry Lennox in episode 3 of North & South. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

S: You also tend to prefer the inventive retelling of the story as opposed to the complete development of a new plot and other characters (as in “Milton Belle” [DF] and “Thoroughly Modern Milton” [DF]). What attracts you as an author to retellings?

Amanda Jane: I do love the process of retelling stories and making them my own. I’m not alone: the numerous variations of familiar folk and fairy tales are a good example of this tendency. “Milton Belle” really was just an attempt to tell the John and Margaret story in another way. “Thoroughly Modern Milton” came from a desire to see what might have happened to the twenty-first-century descendants of the original characters. I think the fact that so many writers have been inspired by it shows how timeless Mrs. Gaskell’s story is. Of course, the amazing performances of Mr. A. and his co-stars have something to do with it, too.

S: The “RA Selection Box” [DF] stories are indeed very much like a box of chocolates: although not everything there will appeal to every reader, there’s something there for everyone. What was the inspiration for that work, and will there be more “layers”?

Amanda Jane: The “RA Selection Box” came about because I had a lot of ideas in my mind that I couldn’t make coalesce into longer stories, but that I wanted to write down anyway. There will be more layers.  I want to cover as many characters as I can.

Richard Armitage, promo photo, Sunday Times, 2006. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

S: Can you tell us a little bit about the genesis of the “Tom and Emily” [DF] stories, an original series, and your plans to finish that sequence?

Amanda Jane: Tom and Emily began with a very short PG-13 ficlet on the Richard Armitage Central Forum. The photo of RA in a black suit, no tie, and a white shirt standing in a dark, paneled corridor inspired me when it was posted in a “favorite picture” thread. I imagined how wonderful it would be to be walking down that corridor and suddenly encounter him. Then I got the idea of a party, the heroine wanting to get out of the room for a while, and discovering the hero, who also wanted to escape. The sexier versions came later when I couldn’t stop thinking about them. The final chapter or two will cover their setting up their shared home and getting to their wedding.

S: Speaking of Richard Armitage Central, you’re a moderator there. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?

Amanda Jane: I was surprised and delighted to be asked to join the moderating team. Having been a member since early 2007, I now have a chance to give  something back. Definite highlights to the job are when members show their appreciation or when I’m able to help someone who’s having difficulties of some sort. I really enjoy hosting my share of the daily quizzes and I organise the weekly Poetry Challenge and fortnightly Poetry Discussion. I do get a great feeling of satisfaction from it. It’s good to know that I can help keep one corner of the RA fandom running smoothly. Each forum has its own character and ambiance.  I think if I’m going to name a difference about RA Central, it’s that it’s been going the longest. Apparently it opened for business in September 2006, after the Yahoo message board closed.

S: What’s next for you?

I’m currently posting an homage to Jilly Cooper, set in her fictional English county of Rutshire. It’s called “The Food Of Love” [wattpad]. I’ve got a John Porter fic set in the twelfth century and loosely inspired by the Rapunzel fairy tale to begin posting [AJ’s LJ; links via DF]. There’s also a John and Margaret fic in development that’s got “Georgette Heyer fan” written all over it. Mr .Thornton (or John Thornton, Earl of Milton, as he is there) is slightly different from Thornton the mill master. I have five chapters to post so far [wattpad], but am hoping for more when inspiration strikes.

Amanda Jane says of herself:

I live with my partner of twelve years in Preston, Lancashire, in the northwest of England. I’m a full-time mother of our two boys and a carer for our eldest son. Having a child with autism and severe learning difficulties has created quite a learning curve for all the family. I’m very proud of how well my younger son does with his brother. They can be quite a duo. I’ve met a lot of other children with severe disabilities and their families through school and we’ve got a good support network going. I’m doing a lot of work to deal with depression, which has been part of my life for years now. In addition to writing and reading fics and poetry, I’m a bookworm who’s recently fallen head over heels for Georgette Heyer. My other creative outlet is making art with GIMP (which can be downloaded for free). It’s scarily addictive. I’ve always had a very spiritual outlook on life and four years ago I discovered paganism, which felt like coming home. I’ve also discovered working with angels, which I find very comforting.

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[Fan showcases are an irregular feature on “me + richard armitage.” These segments seek to highlight the opinions and activities of a cross-segment of the very diverse group of people who have become fans of Richard Armitage. Previous showcases can be found here: bZirk, Eli, LadyKate63, fitzg, Angieklong, khandy, jazzbaby1. I plan to continue this feature intermittently, so if you are interested in being interviewed, please let me know. My email address is in the sidebar under “About.” — Servetus]

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It’s that time of year again: a point at which we think about the needs of others in the midst of gratitude for the gifts we have received. Here’s a link to Mr. Armitage’s recommended charities at JustGiving and a link to Act!onAid, a child sponsorship organization for which he recorded a voiceover in December 2010. In 2011, Mr. Armitage also participated in fundraising efforts for Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. You can also generate a donation by doing any amazon.co.uk or Book Depository shopping that you do for the holidays via RichardArmitageOnline.com, or amazon.com or amazon.co.uk shopping via RichardArmitageNet.com, as these fansites both donate earned commission to charities that Armitage has endorsed. Fans have also donated in honor of Armitage to Oxfam International.

~ by Servetus on December 3, 2011.

57 Responses to “Fan showcase: Amanda Jane”

  1. Wonderful interview with one of my very favorite people in the fandom (and I like so many, that is saying something). I met Amanda Jane at a now-defunct Guy and Marian fansite back in 2008 and we’ve been fast friends ever since. I have been truly blessed to have her not just as an online RA friend, but simply as a friend.

    She has a marvelous (and yes, sometimes quite wicked) imagination, mingled with warmth and empathy which shines through in her versions of fairy tales.
    Thanks for doing the interview, Servetus, marvelous as usual, and Amanda, thanks for your fanfic and for you just being YOU. 😀

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  2. I was delighted when Servetus asked me to do this interview with her. Thanks for that lovely opening Servetus. I’m so glad that my ‘ wish fullfilments ‘ are a
    place to go to in times of stress.
    And ahh dear Angie. I love you too cherie.

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  3. I think it is a great thing and requires some courage that a fanfic writer actually admits that what she writes is wish fulfilment and that a (rather intellectual) reader admits that as well. I personally think there is nothing wrong with fantasies and wish fulfillment (and I used to read and even write for that reason as well) but lots of readers and writers don’t dare to admit and/or are critizised by other because it is. I remember a rather nasty “all fanfic is rubbish” discussion on IMDb. If it makes people happy, why not?

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    • Amen, Jane. As a fanfic writer and reader, I know that our work often serves as escapist fantasy and wish fulfillment.
      As long as we know the difference between fantasy and Real Life (and I think the vast majority of us do) who, indeed, does it possibly harm? Actually, it can serve a valuable purpose.

      No one is forced to read any fanfic if they chose not to.
      If it’s not your cup of tea, don’t go there.

      Re IMDB, I visit it to get more information about various films, but I avoid its discussion boards. I have seen far too much mean-spiritedness and condemnation of anyone who has a differing opinion expressed by certain people who attempt to “control” fellow fans. Fanship should be fun, it should be enjoyable; discussions should be lively with varying opinions expressed without fear you are going to be attacked.

      I will get off my soap box now. 😉

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      • Total agreement with you as usual, Angie.

        Amanda, I love your stuff, especially the Selection Box. I often like to read a short story or bit of fluff on my lunch break. It makes an afternoon full of rowdy preschoolers much easier to tolerate!

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        • Great minds, Cindy, great minds. 😉

          Yes, reading a ficlet or watching RA vids can really be a pick-me-up during a busy, stressful day. Call it a mental health break. 😀 Our brain needs certain types of food just as our bodies do. And sometimes it craves–chocolate-dipped strawberries or peaches and whipped cream.

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        • Thanks Cindy. I’m giggling at the lovely image of some of the naughty antics in my Selection Box getting you through time with pre schoolers.I know the feeling well enough.

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      • I use imdb mostly as a reference work these days.

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        • That is basically all I use IMBD for now–looking up a movie or an actor that interests me in some way. It’s a good resource if you want additional info. I

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          • It is definetely wise not to visit the boards at all and it will surely get a lot worse once Richard becomes better known. However looking at other boards puts things into perspective. That is why I cancelled my account.

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            • Yes, I try not to go places online that I know are going to upset and/or anger me. Why go borrowing trouble? And yes, I fear the IMDB boards will only get worse as Richard’s fame increases. : ( It’s really a shame, as that is the first place some people new to Richard will visit.

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    • Thanks Jane. A lot of what I read is romantic and fanciful. I write what I’d love to read too. If writing gave the writer no pleasure what hope for the reader ?
      I know it won’t be to every reader’s taste but how boring it would be if everyone wrote the same.

      I get so fed up when people get ‘ anal ‘ about fanfic. It’s meant to be creative, it’s meant to be fun.
      My biggest thrill about the interview is that a fabulously intellectual lady like Servetus reads feather light stuff like mine and enjoys it .

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    • Thanks, Jane.

      One thing I’ve been trying to make clear in these fanfic author interviews is that from my perspective, even wish fulfillment is a topic worthy of intellectual inquiry. If our wishes help to build the boundaries of our identities, then they deserve examination. Loving examination, of course 🙂 It may help that in my own research (and in my field of study), scholars are now heavily examining “second tier” texts as evidence of what people really read at the time (as opposed to the ideals of the age). They’re often more entertaining than the “classics,” and this in itself is significant.

      The dirty secret of university departments: the sacks of romance novels that circulate between a lot of female professors during term, with a covert, “this one is really sexy” as a book is passed from hand to hand. And I think one of the North & South fic writers who became a romance novelist is an academic, too — would have to look that up. Not that we don’t also read other stuff. I read a lot of “real” literature and of course I have to read constantly to stay up in my subject area. It helps that I can read really fast.

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  4. Hi, Servetus:

    I’ve been lurking here for a few months but never commented. Your blog is certainly unique and I enjoy it. Also enjoyed this interview, and I’d be interested in checking out DF–(I’m 41, I promise! 🙂 )

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    • Hello, SimpleGirl. Welcome to this wonderful and rather unique blog. We hope you will feel free to jump in any time. 😀

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    • Thanks for the kind words. Look for an email from me.

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      • If you’ve sent it already, I may have accidentally deleted it from junk mail before seeing your response–I have a bad habit of rather aggressively purging without carefully checking it. Sorry!

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  5. Wonderful interview, Amanda Jane and Servetus !!!
    I am sorry, I never read some of your fan-fiction so far, but I rarely read any fan-fiction. (As an excuse, at the moment I read very few things, as my mind is pre-occupied with work and can’t enjoy reading much. For me that is a very dangerous stress sign and I hope I can come back to reading my normal fill of books and fan-fiction again soon, as I very much enjoy the escape from life and the pause from all the problems surrounding us.)
    Amanda, you immediately had my full sympathy with admiring John Mulligan, my absolutely favourite bad guy and even choosing the most charming and brilliantly played sequence ;o)
    I also adore the Hornblower TV series, so you immediately had me at your side with your actors choices ;o)
    Keep up your wonderful escapism and wish fulfillment. I see it as a necessary holiday from problems and a recreation for the mind.
    I am looking forward to reading your fan-fiction!

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    • Fingers crossed you get your time to read for pleasure soon CDoart. There’s oodles of fantastic fan fic around.

      And if you’re a fellow Hornblower fan there’s plenty in that fandom too.

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      • Thank you very much, Amanda. I am still not brave enough to wander off to other fandoms, as I am still struggling with the fact that I am fan at all ;o)
        That is only due to the RA effect ;o)
        Hornblower is, because I read the books by C.S.Forester in my teens and was absolutely fascinated with his accurate depiction of maritime and historic facts. He was hobby sailor himself and did extensive research in the Naval Archives. For me Hornblower was a bit like the effect others describe having experienced through “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings”.

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    • hang in there, CDoart. It’s the same for me. Not reading=something’s overloaded / wrong.

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      • The periods in my life in which I didn’t get to read much always felt like they were missing something vital to me. I think reading is almost a compulsion. Writing is, too.

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        • Angie, I am very glad that I found the RA fandom and the blogs, especially Servetus’ which keep me sane in times like these, when I can’t read much or write myself. I lost years in the way you describe and I can hardly remember anything in them which was worthwile.

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      • Thank you, Servetus. Your assessment is very helpful for me and assures me, that I need to change things. At the moment events made it very hard for me to change anything and that is the really awful thing in seeing that the way things are is not right for me. Fortunately 2011 nearly lies behind me and a new year is coming up.

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  6. Hi Everyone this site is my first port of call everyday. Really love it but never had the confidence to comment before. Would really like to check DF out I’m 55 (Unfortunatley lol)

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  7. Hey, Amanda, I always have felt that John Mulligan and Paul Andrews were two characters that never got enough attention, fanfic wise. Any chance you will do longer stories featuring those characters?

    I’m not above shameless groveling.

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    • Well never say never Cindy. At the moment I’m not planning more because I
      have other stories that I’m working on; but in the future it’s quite possible.
      I’m glad you enjoy it my love.

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    • If anyone can redeem Paul Andrews, it’s Amanda Jane 🙂

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      • * Giggle * To be honest the only way I could really go with these characters was to remove them from their on screen stories and give them a new identity in my own Alternative Universe.

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        • Well, Sloth Fiction is a perfect example of creating your own alternative universe. If Angie has all these guys hanging around in her family room eating junk food, I think you can pretty much do whatever you want, Amanda

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          • I just adore Sloth Fiction. And that’s one of the joys of fan fic. You don’t have to stick with ‘ canon ‘ you can take these characters and fit them into a whole other world, change their personalities as it suits you. The sky’s the limit.

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        • I’ve got so much to say about Paul Andrews. The amount of time I spend in this alternative universe makes me wish I hadn’t gotten this job at the last minute — I feel like I’d have written more. Real life, stop getting the way of my fantasies!

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          • Amen, Sistah!! The way that I work in RL, I’ve been asked by incredulous co-workers if I wake up thinking about work and dreaming about work. Ha! Oh, if they only knew.. 😉 All inspiration comes from sources well removed from the relentless production machine they see of me @ the office. I can only describe this alternate universe as the fuel that allows me to function so efficiently in RL. A daily visit to the Grail Castle of feeling one might even say, before heading out to do battle in the daily nonsense of RL (please refer to Servetus’s faculty seminar blog for sample of said nonsense) 🙂

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  8. Fantastic interview. Thank you AJ for sharing – it’s lovely to know more about you.
    Reading the comments above has been very reassuring. I have always been an avid reader but over the past year or so have hardly read anything. I have been quite distressed at times wondering what is the matter. I have this ever growing pile of “must reads” that keep glaring at me.
    One thing I have been able to read is fanfic. Now I’m feeling okay about it. Thank you everyone.
    “Big hugs”
    BB

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    • BB, I think a lot of people are currently experiencing a sort of “shock” as they are starting to do a lot more online reading. I’ve seen a few articles about this in various publications — whether the shift from books to online reading is helpful / harmful and how to get back to reading books. I, like you, see it as almost entirely an emotional thing. If I need a sweet story to soothe my troubles, fanfic is the way to go and that usually just doesn’t come in books (and I don’t need it to — when the moment is gone, I don’t need ot keep a book as a memento of it). So I wouldn’t worry if I were you — if you’re still living your real life, you’re doing just fine.

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  9. Excellent interview! Actually, I wonder if fantasy/fanfic writing/crushes are more a may of expressing vital aspects of ourselves than of escapism? It certainly brings with it amazing creativity in the RA blog community. Splendid, Amanda, to have found these ways of expressing your creativity!

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    • I like this point a lot, fitzg — I need to think about it some more. Obviously I’m grateful for anyone saying that it’s not just escapism — the self-expression here is vital to me or I wouldn’t be writing nor would, I suspect, Amanda Jane be either.

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      • I find they feed off each other a lot. As I think I said above I’ve had stories running in my head for years.
        It was getting into the RA fandom that allowed me to free the creative side of myself though.
        That’s probably because that was how I discovered that fanfic exists;
        and because RA’s performances draw you in so deeply.

        Freeing your own powers of self expression is a great thing in all areas
        of life though. So thank G*d for it.

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  10. Servetus and Amanda Jane, thankyou for an enjoyable and interesting interview. Having now registered on DF (thanks servetus) I look forward to reading your fanfic Amanda.

    I love the idea of wish fulfillment! There isn’t enough of the “gets the girl/doesn’t die” in the chaRActer scenarios. 😦

    Angie, I also look forward to your work on DF, as well as the other fanfic writers I’ve yet to discover.

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  11. Hi Servetus,Amanda and Everyone!
    You have no idea how you all helped me lately!
    I’m greateful to every creative person in RA fandom:)
    I adore fanfic writers,bloggers,”computer magicsian”;)
    Everyone are so frienly and polite ,only on IMDB I’ve met two unplesant people so I don’t go there anymore.
    P.S: I’m 41(sware on my ti.s!)..oh….well…o.k…43:D

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    • * Giggle * I’m at the stage of only admitting to my age in whispers too Joanna.
      It’s always lovely to hear that blogs, fanfic and art work help the readers and/or viewers as well as the creators.

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  12. Oh, lovely AJ!!! Great writer and even greater person. Love your picks of videos. You know I love your work both writing and Gimp works. I remember my first siggie and an icon at the RAC was yours and gladly my actual ones are also from your own creation. Love you.

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  13. […] Previous showcases can be found here: bZirk, Eli, LadyKate63, fitzg, Angieklong, khandy, jazzbaby1, Amanda Jane. I plan to continue this feature intermittently, so if you are interested in being interviewed, […]

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  14. I am trying to get an acoount at Dreamer Fiction. Any ideas? Thanks! PS I am 47.

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  15. […] Jane (whom I interviewed an age ago for a fan showcase — so glad she saw […]

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