Tag Archives: Lucas North

Exploring the Creative Process-Part IX: Interview with Abby Vegas

Just in time to bid farewell to another month and celebrate the release of her Lucas North-inspired novel, Clean Break, here’s our interview with Abby Vegas. abby_vegas
What type of environment do you need to write?
Someplace comfortable! In the summer I write on my screen porch, and in cold weather I write inside by the fire. Background music is a must for getting words on the page, but when I’m editing I usually prefer to work in silence.
How do your ideas come to you? Do you always write them or do you let them disappear?
Clean Break was my first novel and I drew inspiration from so many different places — movies, books, fairy tales, Spooks, real-life experience, and pure imagination. It took some time for the whole thing to come together. In the process I’ve absolutely let some ideas come and go. You can’t pack everything into one novel.
Do you plan a story from the beginning to end or start with an idea and let the chapters come to you as they do?
Clean BreakA little of both, although I think I veer closer to flying by the seat of my pants. With Clean Break I had a definite idea of where I wanted to start and finish, but how I’d get there was still a mystery when I started writing. The characters didn’t really come to life in my head until I had them on the page, talking and moving and thinking, making mistakes and learning from them. And some directions I initially took the story didn’t work, so I had to rethink my approach and try again.
 
Do you prefer writing easy, quick stories or long, layered stories?
 
Both! Short stories are a lot of fun because they don’t take two years to write (and edit and publish.) But there’s something very satisfying about a long-form story, too, and that’s why I wanted to try my hand at writing a novel. There’s freedom to explore in all that space, and I loved bringing in the secondary characters and taking time with some of the thematic elements.
 
Which do you find easier to write: dialogue or description – or are they equally hard/easy?
 
Writing dialogue is definitely easier for me. Description and introspection are a hard nut to crack – but it’s immensely satisfying to nail it, which I hope I do on occasion.
 
Is there anything that you won’t write or feel uncomfortable writing?
 
I wouldn’t say I *won’t* write it, but explicit sex scenes and erotica are not my forte. Given a choice, I’ll leave that to the experts.
 
What do you do to cure writer’s block? What advice can you give to new writers who might be scared to post their stories?
 
The only cure for writer’s block is to write. I’ve learned to embrace the wretched first draft as a necessary part of the process.
 
My advice to a new writer would be: start small. Try writing a one-shot fanfiction, post it on an appropriate site of your choosing, and see what kind of feedback you get. Then repeat the process. Fanfiction is an amazing point of entry for new fiction writers (I call it my gateway drug) because you have this built-in community of voracious readers and fans who are already invested in the characters and their stories. And connect with other writers in your genre! The fanfiction sites are an excellent resource for that kind of networking.
 
What is your favorite book and why?
 
Shining Through by Susan Isaacs — I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this novel. It’s a historical romantic spy-thriller chick-lit masterpiece with a kick-ass heroine. It’s just so good.
 
Abby´s Official Website:
http://www.AbbyVegasAuthor.com (includes bonus material for Clean Break + four nonfiction RA fandom adventures)
Twitter:
You can get her “Clean Break” at Amazon.com and AmazonUK.
 Visit Abby’s site and read the first ten chapters of the novel for free: FREE SAMPLE
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Interview with the unsurpassable Kate Forrester

If you have spent pleasurable hours diving into Armitage-related fan fiction but haven’t yet run into Kate Forrester (alias Khandy), then you’re in for a wonderful treat! When it comes to Richard’s various roles, Kate is the queen of versatility and volume. She has written stories for at least 8 of his characters, including the good doctor, Alec Track.

Dr Track

Your interest in fan fiction need reviving? Dr Track is here to help.

However, it’s not versatility or volume alone that gives her claim to fan fiction fame. Kate is a gifted storyteller, whose work pulses with real emotions and drama. She’s also proved she can create compelling original work. The Armitage Authors Network is happy to showcase Kate and her talent.

Armitage Authors: You’ve been a fan of Richard’s for a long time. Tell us how you discovered Mr. Armitage.

Kate: My daughter was given a box set of BBC dramas, North and South was one of them, for Christmas in 2006.  We sat down one Sunday afternoon to watch one episode and four hours later we finished having been unable to stop watching. My ovaries didn’t explode but there was a loud thud.

AA: You have written fan fiction for such a wide range of Richard’s characters. Do you have a favorite?

Kate: That’s tough. I like different ones for different reasons. A New Track because it I proved to myself I could write a story. Black Knight’s Redemption because I began to learn about how to construct a plot. The Gruinard Project because I set myself the task of writing a novel length story that would hold the readers interest. I suppose looking back on them all there were two where it all comes together in a way I was really pleased with. The characters, plot, story, the actual writing – all of it, just seemed to gel perfectly in Let Right Be Done and Absolution.  But my own favourite was Redemption of a Haunted Man. I loved writing about Peter MacDuff. Richard had very little screen time but he blew me away and I wanted to explore MacDuff further.

[All the above-mentioned stories can be found on her Wattpad page.]

I have to mention North and South because it so loved. Of all the things I have written A Nightingale Sang was the hardest I think because the characters were so loved I felt this enormous amount of responsibility to the original that I felt a little restricted.

AA: What is it about Richard’s work that is compelling to you?

Kate: It’s his attention to detail. He invests so much in each character and that makes them so compelling. Like Peter Jackson I’m drawn to his stillness. I find it absorbing. It makes his explosions all the more interesting. I also love the breadth of his work. He has played everything from posh boys, poor boys, soldiers, spies, teachers, doctors, real people, fantasy, drug dealers, philanders, murderers, pedophiles, comedy, drama, ancient, modern, lover, husband, and father. He has done all this on stage, small screen and big screen. I guess what I’m saying is I love his versatility

AA: Were you a writer before you discovered Mr Armitage? If not, did writing fanfiction encourage you to write your own original stories?

Kate: No, I wasn’t a writer but, I was a dreamer and so when I discovered fanfiction on C19 I decided to try my hand at it. I feel that fanfiction allowed me to develop the skills to be a writer. It provided not only an audience of readers but, also critics and editors as well. It gave me the courage to publish something of my own.

AA: What was your first published work?

Kate: My first published work is called: Weathering the Storm which I adapted from my fanfiction In the Bleak MidwinterIt tells the story of a lonely Yorkshire farmer and the women who literally crashes into his life. Like all my novels it is available at Amazon.

AA: Tell us about your most recent release.

Kate: My latest novel is called The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing. It is set around a celebrity dance show and tells how shy, gauche, red haired Molly Cole is paired with Oscar winning actor, Adam Elliot. As the couple dance through each chapter, a troubled past is exposed and secrets are laid bared before they find the courage to realise that the best things really do happen while you dance.

Kate's Book

AA: Is there a work of yours that is particularly close to your heart?

Kate: Obviously Degrees of Silence is very close to my heart, as a lot of Sabrina’s experiences as a deaf person are actually my experiences – for example, in the book, there is horrible incident in a shop which is based on something that happened to me.

AA:  What would you like Armitage fans to know about you or your work?

Kate: Most people know that I am deaf but not many know that I was twenty–two years old before it was picked up. I had been through school and nurse training and nobody realised not even my parents.

I’m also colour blind which is very unusual in girls. I never buy clothes on my own because I worry about what they will look like. So two of the hardest things I have to write about are sounds and colour. And my deafness means I cannot really hear Richards voice that well.

My dog Rufus is the hero of Redemption of a Haunted Man

I am a nurse but after A New Track I swore I would not write another medical romance but, my characters do suffer a lot and there is normally a hospital scene in my work somewhere.

I’m working on a new novel:  In the Shadow of the Games a re-working of The Gruinard Project set round the 2012 Olympics. I also have a new project in the planning stage about a detective in WW2 based in Cornwall.

Through the Looking Glass

In Einstein’s equation, time is a river. It speeds up, meanders, and slows down. The new wrinkle is that it can have whirlpools and fork into two rivers. So, if time-travel-clockthe river of time can be bent into a pretzel, create whirlpools and fork into two rivers, then time travel cannot be ruled out.
Michio Kaku

A few weeks ago, wholly immersed in the heartbreaking and horrific journey of Richard’s latest creation for the small screen, I couldn’t help but wish I could conjure up H.G.Wells’ proverbial time machine to have grown-up Dolarhyde meet Reba before there was no turning back or to provide baby Francis with the loving and nurting family he was denied.

Let’s face it, how many times during our exploration of Mr. Armitage’s body of work have we asked ourselves “What if?” or yearned to rewrite painful, implausible, sloppy or out-of-character storylines?

Life might not give us a chance to rewrite the past, but if we let ourselves believe, we can pour ourselves a cuppa, sit back and enjoy a good story in which our favourite character gets the lady of his dreams, takes a different path and lives to see the final credits roll.

To get you started, I have put together a list of stories featuring some of Richard’s best-loved creations- and one that is seldom written about. There are both time-travelling journeys and plots where past and present juxtapose and characters from different shows cross paths.

Take your pick and  let yourself be led to the fourth dimension by some of our fandom’s most creative authors.

  • Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South

Kleindog’s “How Far the World Will Bend”

After having her fortune told by a gypsy, Meg Armstrong moves through a mirror from 1920s England to 1850 Milton–and finds out she has stepped into the shoes of Margaret Hale. She has been sent back in time with a mission to fulfill–to save John Thornton’s life. But will she be able to fulfill her mission without losing her heart?

Longhairedtoad’s “Once Upon a Time”

Based on the classic novel North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell, this modern story of John and Margaret takes them on a magical adventure filled with intrique, suspense, and romance.

John Thornton spends all his waking hours working in the family business. In his leisure time, he hunts for antique books. When one literally falls on him, he is shocked to find the ancient looking text is written about him.

Margaret Hale has no time for love. Having started a bakery with her best friend Tara, she needs to concentrate fully on that venture for now. But at her cousin’s wedding reception, a stranger approaches and explains he is the man she will marry in three months time.

Julia Daniels’ “Master of Her Heart: A Time-Twisted Tale of North & South”

Modern day Margaret Bryce is in a jam. Her graduate dissertation is due in mere weeks, and despite the enormous help her adviser, J. Whitman Bell has provided, there’s something missing from her paper. Dr. Bell decides the best option is for her to travel back in time to a Victorian mill town, so she can better understand the struggles–both economic and personal–people of that era faced. She agrees to his insane scheme, knowing it’s only a joke, a way for her to dig deeper within herself to find the answers. Only, when she wakes up in Milton, and finds the year to be 1851, she knows she’s in trouble…

  • Agatha Christie’s “Ordeal by Innocence”

theearth’s “What if? Philip Durrant”

Philip looked around. He found himself on the bed in the shabby guesthouse from yesterday’s dream. He could feel his body, he could feel his legs! The same old carpet he remembered from back then, faded and wrinkly. Even the stain from the glass of red whine he had knocked over a day before. No, not a day before. In truth he was sitting in his wheelchair in the library of his house a few years later, reading a book. He’d wake up later, but wake up from what? What was that?

  • Robin Hood

Therapne’s “The Tale of the Hologram”

A student takes a step too far when she plays with her friend’s ‘hologram’ and finds herself thrown into a strange medieval world. But that experience is nothing compared to the problems she encounters when she escapes the ‘hologram’s’ clutches and has to face the music with the authorities.

  • Robin Hood/Spooks

VelocityGirl1980’s “A Matter of Life and Death”

Lucas North’s life is unraveling fast and the walls are closing in. Alone and cornered, his flashbacks take on a new intensity, including new visions of a strange time gone by. But he has no time to work out what they mean. He plunges to his end from the Enver Tower, but ends up somewhere else. Full summary inside. Not entirely serious. Mostly RH fic.

VelocityGirl1980’s “A Fate Worse than Death”

A life taken in violence is like a shout in the mountains: it leaves an echo. A life left un-lived cannot pass on in peace, especially when a destiny is as important as Marian Knighton’s. Murdered by a man who would rather see her dead than with the one she truly loves, something somewhere blocks her passage to the dead, and she wakes up somewhere far away.

Smithylass’ “Coming Home”

Set in the Charente valley in France right after the end of Series 8 of Spooks.

(Present Day) Marian Knighton sat bolt upright in her bed, panting for breath. Her emerald green eyes were wide with fear and exhilaration. She was soaked with sweat and shaking in reaction to the dream. It had happened again – he haunted her dreams and she had no idea who he was…

“Hello…” a deep husky voice broke the silence, making Marian jump. She turned at the sound and nearly dropped to the ground in shock. Standing in the doorway was the Domaine’s house guest – Marian stared into the stunningly beautiful face and piercing blue eyes of the black knight of her dream.

time-machine

A/N: The first two stories mentioned on this list are also published novels.

Nancy Klein’s “How Far the World will Bend”

M.Liza Marte’s “More than Words”

Please, feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

New Vitality for the Blog – Introducing Lillianschild!

Lorraine-Mar13-02

Hello! We’re Back!

Thought we’d vanished? No such thing. The Armitage Authors Network is back with a new assistant administrator and contributor: Lillianschild (also known as Lexie171170 in some venues).

Lillianschild has been active in the RA fandom for five years and has rather extensive knowledge of the fan fiction out there. She’s agreed to help Jazzbaby and me introduce our blog readers to stories and writers that make up this fantastically creative fan world.

We hope you’ll welcome Lillianschild to the blog.  If you don’t already know her, you’ll enjoy reading about her discovery of Richard and some of how her writing takes form. Links to her stories are found at the end of our interview. Enjoy getting to know our new assistant blog administrator!

 Tell us a little about how you discovered Mr. Armitage.

Although I’d seen his first jobs on the screen- including Cats- just like most of Richard’s earliest well-wishers, I truly “discovered” him and started following his career with interest when I saw his portrayal of Mr Thornton in North & South.

Living in South America means I didn’t get to see his breakthrough performance back in 2004 but some five years later. Actually, I stumbled upon it on a now defunct blog written by an anglophile and devoted to shows and films from the UK. It had a special section focusing on programmes inspired on literature and had a great directory of BBC costume dramas, amongst which was North & South.

I was already familiar with Gaskell, whose Milton tale I’d read as part of one of the four British Literature courses I attended to get my English teaching degree. Having a huge soft spot for Victorianism and the Industrial Age and being an incurable romantic, I was pleasantly surprised when I learnt the novel had been adapted by the BBC… and well, the brooding, tall, dark and handsome man on the DVD cover sealed the deal for me.

Mr Armitage grabbed my attention the minute he appeared on the screen for the first time and stood on that platform surveying his “kingdom”. I just knew I was about to witness something really special. And oh, he won my heart over with his “No one loves me – no one cares for me, but you, mother”!

Needless to say, I too am amongst the besotted well-wishers who devoured the show in one sitting and stayed up until the wee small hours of the morning to see John and Margaret’s love story unfold. And that was just the beginning, I binged on it several times in a row- once with my Mum, who insisted on my playing the second DVD when episode II finished even though I had to get up for work four hours later.

I’ve lost count of how many copies of North & South I’ve given away as presents to my friends and my parents’, all of whom have had nothing but words of praise for the production and the wonderful cast, including our lovely Mr Armitage. Of course, I’ve taken pity on the males from time to time and supplied them with copies of Spooks and Strike Back.:)

Oh, my, that was long-winded! I’ve just remembered the phrase ” a little” was part of the original question. 😀

What character was it that first impelled you to write fan fiction? 

That’d be Smallville’s Lex Luthor.

I suppose what attracted me to this particular portrayal of Superman’s nemesis is what also won me over when I saw Sir Guy of Gisborne in Dominic Minghella’s Robin Hood. Both are survivors with a tragic childhood, constantly fighting to find their place in the world while struggling with the darkness within them. Both take morally questionable decisions that send them into a downward spiral from which they try to emerge when love unexpectedly comes knocking at their door; a love that becomes a destructive obsession when the only woman capable of seeing beyond their protective armour chooses their nemesis over them.

I loved Lex’s humanity as portrayed by Michael Rosenbaum on that show just as much as Richard’s incarnation of Sir Guy. They’re both very gifted actors, who managed to elevate a cartoonish character off the page and turn him into a fascinating multi-layered creation. Both Lex and Guy are so human in their flaws and therefore, so relatable- they’re perfect embodiments of humankind’s duality.

The reason why I decided to put pen to paper and write my first fanfic was pretty much the same that led me to create my first story for RA’s fandom, the need to set right what I felt the writers had messed up. It was also my way to honour the painstaking and loving labour of two actors whose creations were often maligned with capricious and unbelievable retcons or OoC storylines- a karma for many a character portrayed by Mr Armitage (Lucas North, anyone?).

I wrote fifty-four fanfics with Lex as an inpiration before activity in the fandom started to dwindle when the show went off the air and my Luthor Muse stopped whispering into my ear.

Were you a writer before you found Richard Armitage?

Yes. I’ve always been fond of telling stories- I remember having my mum put them on paper when I was too young to write on my own.

I began writing fanfic almost nine years ago. After having read fanfiction for two years, I told myself it was high time I gave it a try. 2006 was the breaking point for me; I realized I had spent too much time correcting other people’s essays and papers- an English teacher’s karma- and I asked myself: why not put pen to paper and do it for fun?

Although Richard wasn’t the first actor to ignite my creativity, he was the one responsible for reawakening my Muse after almost a year of inactivity.

Is fanfic just a hobby for you or do you hope to go further with your writing?

I consider writing the perfect means of escapism. Still, I won’t deny I’d love to go further with it. Starting a story from scratch with characters that you infuse life to and whose backgrounds you invent can be liberating, but I haven’t reached that point yet.

I’ve toyed with the idea of a Guy of Gisborne or North & South-novel. I love their historical periods and both leading men have a very special place in my heart; plus, they’re in the Public Domain.

However, publishing a book in paper or digital format – even independently- would be a venture I can’t afford right now. Writing in English means I’d have to commercialise the novel via the UK or America, and my country has no royalty or tax agrements with either of them. In short, I’d have to pay taxes everywhere and charge an astronomic price to my readers in order to make it worthwhile. And then there’s the nightmare of how to cash in my sales.

It’d take a whole book to explain to you all the intricacies of Argentina’s current economic and copyright/royalty policies, all of which violate rights protected by our Constitution. And I guarantee once finished you’d still be completely at a loss.

In short, I’d love to. But, unless things change dramatically here, it’ll remain just a dream.

What type of environment do you need to write?

I’ve been known to write in the oddest of places – from a bench in the park to the waiting room at my dentist’s. I don’t need to be anywhere in particular to be able to write. I’ve always been a multi-tasking kind of person and can work even with background noise. I’ve got the ability to create my own bubble at will even when I’m not alone, to the point that sometimes I don’t know what’s going on around me.

The best time for me to sit down with paper and pen are the summer holidays. As a teacher/tutor I get a forty-day summer holiday every year, and I try to take as much advantage of it as I can so as to have enough material to post throughout the year. Unfortunately, for my readers, that routine was disturbed the last couple of years when I travelled to the UK. There was just too much to see and absorb for me to be able to focus on my writing.

How do your ideas come to you? Do you always write them or do you let them disappear?

There isn’t a fixed pattern. The germ of a story may be triggered by a line of poetry, a few chords, a photo or a particular scene of either a show or film. More often than not ideas seem to come out of the blue; it’s as if someone were whispering them into my ear.

I always start writing when an idea comes to me. I don’t keep a notebook with notes, though, I begin the story right away. 

Do you plan a story from the beginning to end or start with an idea and let the chapters come to you as they do?

I only planned a fic in detail once, and I have to say it was the least satisfying of my works. Considering a large number of the stories I’ve written have an element of mystery in them, I prefer not to know what will happen beforehand. It’s the best approach to surprise readers when the enigma is solved since, in all certainly, I’ll have been the first one to be suprised when writing the twists and turns and the ultimate ending my Muse has come up with.

Do you prefer writing easy, quick stories or long, layered stories?

Long stories used to come easier to me than one-shots when I began writing fanfic. I imagine this is only natural; one can’t expect to run before crawling. The ability to create a scene with a few strokes of the brush comes to a painter after having spent hundreds of hours in front of an easel, and so it is for an amateur or professional writer when writing a brief piece. You can’t paint or write in abstracts without mastering the art of painting or writing with great attention to detail. It’s only after you’ve been through such a descriptive phase that you’ll be able to tell a whole story with a few simple strokes of a brush or a pen.

Writing vignettes or one-shots has been my safe haven during my tutoring months, particularly when the second semester arrives and my workload increases exponentially. Brief pieces allow me to keep my creative juices flowing and my Muse satisfied without keeping my readers hanging. As a matter of fact, that’s how one of my best-received RA-inspired series was born- Guy & Marian’s Acrostic Series.

Guy and Marian

Quick stories are also the perfect vehicle to delve into the mind and heart of a character. I also find this format the most appropriate to deviate from the typical third person omniscient narrator, and it’s the one I’ve chosen for most of my Guy or Guy & Marian fics, the POV being that of the Black Knight. These works have often been described as my most powerful and lyrical, which I suppose is due to the extra care one has to take when choosing the right words and imagery to convey so much in such a small package.

I love writing long, layered stories as well. However, my very busy teaching and tutoring schedule- my working day sometimes lasts twelve hours- leaves me very little time to work on them. So far, I’ve only completed one multi-chaptered fic for RA’s fandom, an Alternate Series 7 Lucas North story called “A Voice in the Dark”.

At present, I’m writing and posting two long fics, “To be Worthy” (a what-if story which explores what impact an earlier acquaintance with Marian and another mentor might have had on Gisborne’s life and ultimate fate) and “From Russia with Love” (another alternate Season 7 fic; this time focusing on Lucas and Vyeta’s marriage).

You can find Lillianschild’s stories at Wattpad and at an Archive of Our Own

 

 

 

 

A Very Merry Christmas – with Armitage Characters!

red sweater

The Armitage Author Network wishes you a peaceful and happy holiday season. And to help you settle into a chair and relax a little, we’ve collected a smattering of seasonal stories based on Armitage characters from Thorin to Harry Kennedy.

Above all, don’t miss Nat’s brilliant and now classic Armitage-ized rendition of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  (Link at the bottom)

John Thornton

A Milton Christmas by Angelfish69 (c19) — A short piece about the Thorntons’ first Christmas as newlyweds.

Seasons: Winter by ch215 (C19) — A short, poetic piece that envisions John and Margaret as happily married in   the winter time.

The Christmas Gift by Lillianschild — Another sweet vision of John and Margaret’s first Christmas.

New Year’s Resolution by Chocolateismydrug — A 13-chapter modern story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale’s rather difficult relationship

Harry Kennedy

When Father Christmas Met Geraldine  by Fedoralady60

A Christmas Gift  by Khandy

Lucas North

The Christmas Eve Shift  by KathrynRuthD

Thorin

The Foe that is Mistletoe  by Heyerette (AO3)

Thorin Discovers Xmas  by Jaydee09 (C19)

For Laughs

Bilbo’s Christmas List  by Pattygee (C19)

How the Giz Stole Christmas by Nat