I am so happy to be able to interview Tara Scheiber today. She is a mother, makeup artist, and fan fiction (fanfic) author, mainly focusing on Harry Potter characters. Her fan fiction We Were Infinite has over 90K reads on Archive of Our Own and she has a steady following on other social media accounts (such as Tumblr). I know there is some controversy in the writing community surrounding fanfic authors. I wanted to get Tara’s take on the issue, her work, and why she loves to write. Here’s what she had to say.
You Primarily Focus on Harry Potter Fan Fiction. What Drew You to the Series?
Harry Potter was always very important to me. It was the first thing I felt really connected to growing up. Harry Potter was like home to me. I remember finding the online fandom community back when I was around twelve (around 2002, which was really when online communities were just becoming a thing). I was so excited to see that I could keep reading about this world I loved even between new book releases. I was so engrossed in it. I wanted to explore it in every way I could. So, I did!
What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I’m not much of a process kind of person. I’m a “dive in and hope for the best” person, which sometimes works in my favor. But sometimes, I do wish I was better at planning and outlining.
I will say that these days, I need a lot more planning to be able to get things done. I need quiet and my own space to be able to write. No distractions…I’m so easily distracted.
There’s a Small Stigma with Fanfiction Writing. Some People View It as Lesser. What Do You Have to Say to Those People?
At this point in history, nearly everything is fanfiction, whether you realize it or not. Everything is inspired by something else. And either way, it’s still someone’s form of expression. At the end of the day, I’m creating content, aren’t I? My biggest project is over one hundred chapters and has a word count higher than the longest Harry Potter book. It’s taken me four years, and it isn’t finished yet. Why is my time, effort, and commitment considered less than someone else’s just because it is based on a preexisting series?
What is Your Favorite Fanfic Someone Else Wrote?
I am awful at picking favorites…currently, my favorite is an ongoing AU (alternate universe) series called Rock and Pole. It’s a collaborative series by Jennandblitz and Fivepips, where my OTP (one true pairing) are a rock climber and a pole dancer, who meet and fall in love. It’s such a good fic and has a lot of gender and sexuality representation that mainstream media doesn’t ever explore. I believe that is one of the biggest draws to fanfiction. The LGBTQ+ community has found a form of media where they feel seen, and that’s important.
That You Wrote?
My favorite piece that I’ve written is definitely We Were Infinite. It’s my baby. You don’t spend four years writing something and not become attached. I wanted a story about the Marauders through Hogwarts and the First Wizarding War, and I knew other people wanted it too (with all the popular tropes and headcanons and relationships). And I am glad people enjoy reading my interpretation as much as I love writing it.
What is Your Advice to People Who Want to Start Writing Fan Fic?
My best advice is to write what you want. Don’t worry about the opinions of other people. Write for yourself first. Haters gonna hate, but all that means is your story isn’t meant for them.
What Are You Working on Now?
I am currently continuing We Were Infinite. I’m determined to finish it by the end of 2020 (fingers crossed!). I have mixed feelings about finishing it. I’ll miss it, but damn am I ready for it to be done.
So, First, I Wanted to Say Congratulations as You’ve Just Become a New Mother. I Also Wanted to Ask if Becoming a Mom Has Impacted Your Writing and/or the Topics You Choose to Write About?
Thank you! Lucy is amazing, and I’m so blown away by her every single day. I can’t believe I made something so perfect. Being a mother really does change everything. It was difficult to keep writing while I was pregnant. Your brain does change, and it was harder to focus and become motivated. I thought once Lucy was born, it would be easy to dive back in, but DAMN I was wrong! It’s not that there are things I won’t write anymore, but it is generally harder to do it. As I said earlier, I find I need to plan a lot more to be able to get in the right headspace.
Lucy is six months old now, and she requires a lot of attention, so it’s hard to find the time. She just started daycare twice a week, so I take that time to make the house nice and quiet, get a glass of wine and hope for the best! Outlining and planning have become much more important than they used o be. There was a time that I was posting a new chapter (each chapter is roughly 5 to 7k words) a day. But lately, I’m lucky if I can update every month. I am fortunate though to have a lot of very supportive and patient readers who understand and have been following me since before I married Lucy’s dad (who, by the way, is an incredible and supportive partner) and they are just as thrilled to see me living my life as they are to see my story updates.
Thank You So Much For Your Time, Tara. Before We Go, Where Can We Find You?
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