Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview with V Choice Graphic Artist fuzzyltlwingedthing

Hey, everyone. I recently got the chance to interview the winner for our Bedeviled Liaison Graphics Contestfuzzyltlwingedthing. Her graphic of Emily and Alice won both "Best Non-Canon Couple" and "Best Before and After" out all the entries.

So I went on and searched for any fics with this pairing, and low and behold ... there were none! *laughs* No surprise there; the pairing is obviously unique. Yet, the pairing and the graphic aren't the only ones. The artist herself is as well. She creates graphics, betas Twifics, and has a "Midnight Sun Preface"—along with a book cover for it!

Awesome, isn't it? Although no one can condone how some of Midnight Sun was leaked and distributed without the permission of Stephenie Meyer*, this book cover made by fuzzyltlwingedthing and the concept itself is pretty damn spectacular. It has the same feel as the other Twilight book covers and encompasses the idea of "fire and ice" spread throughout the series.

One of the things I love about contests and interviews is that you find new authors (or artists in this case) and learn something about them beyond writing—sometimes, even beyond the realm of Fan Fiction, like other favorite books or real life similarities. You meet other people that share your passion. Period.

So meet the Bedeviled Liaison contest winner, our V Choice Graphics Artist, and all around wonderful woman ... fuzzyltlwingedthing ...

RSoup: Is there a story behind your pen name?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: My penname came from the first 100 Monkey's concert I went to in the fall of'09. At each concert, they ask the audience for the name of a song and then they improv a song based on the random name. That night was "Flying Squirrel" and "Fuzzy Little Winged Thing" were prominent lyrics. Jackson and the gang are brilliant and hilarious in concert. You MUST go and see them.

RSoup: How did you discover Fan Fiction in the first place?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: After I read Twilight (the summer of '09), I was looking for more detail about their world. I first found Stephanie's website, then the letters from Stephanie on the Twilight Lexicon and... another site (I can't remember the name). I can't remember how, but I stumbled upon cannon FanFiction and fell in love. I had a story in my head and read to see if someone else had already written it. They hadn't.

RSoup: Do you remember the first fan fic you read?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Nope.

RSoup: Are you currently reading any fics?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Yes, I'm reading "MOTUII?",  "The Tongue Set Free" (sequel to "The Weight of Words") by Georgeygirl, "Stragoni Benefici" by Giselle-lx, "Vines" by FictionFReak95 (didn't she used to be FL95?), "Rubbish" by BellaDonnaCullen, "Fall to Ruin One Day" by sleepyvalentina (Although I admit a preference to her "Darkrooms and Safe Light" but she put it on hold for FTROD) and "For The Love Of My Obsession" by rmcrms5. I'm sure I have a TON more on alert.

RSoup: What are your favorite top three fics? *grins* No pressure. Oh, and why? *chuckles*
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Well, at the risk of giving too much away...
1. "The Dominant", "The Submissive" and "The Training" touched me in a profound way.
2. "Honeymoon Suite" by TwiliteAddict because she reached out to me after I started commenting on her stories and got me involved in the Fandom. In fact she's the one who found your contest and prodded me to join in!
3. "The Practice of Love" by BellaDonnaCullen was the first story I read from Chapter One and rode the ride all the way to the end! I ended up being second-string beta and pre-reader for her which was the first time I played that role.

RSoup: What’s your favorite non-canon pairing to read about?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Um, sorry. I don't read non-canon pairings. I did read a Jasper/Bella story once, but it creeped me out the entire time. Maybe fem-slash, but it would be best if Bella wasn't involved because she's a total drag.

RSoup: *laughs* Good one! Is there a pairing you’d like to see, yet is barely done or completely non-existent?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Not really.

RSoup: Okay, I know you love Edward, but pick between these sets for the leading man:
Carlisle or Emmett? — Emmett
Aro or Caius? — Aro
Demetri or Jasper? — Jasper
Eleazar or Alistair? — Eleazar
Carlisle or Aro? — Aro
Jake or Paul? — Ugh, do I have to pick??? No? Then I choose Seth... or Leah.

RSoup: *grins* Now, were those to read about or for you? *sniggers*
fuzzyltlwingedthing: I'd love to snigger along... but I don't get the question.

RSoup: *laughs* Sorry. I guess I should’ve worded that better or given an explanation before I asked. Hmm… let me see if I can word this correctly. While some people can separate the actors from the characters, some also meld the two together at the same time—because they can’t picture anyone else. Sometimes, when we read books turned movie, we fall in love with not only the characters, but the actors as well. Or, we like the actor but not the character. Does that make any sense? So I guess, were those to read about, to dream about or RL? *chuckles* Or maybe all of the above?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Hmmm... I see where you're going with this. I suppose I have kind of mixed the actors with the stories. It was easy to do since I didn't read the book until New Moon was almost in the theater and the book I borrowed from my mom had still shots from the movie placed in the book at the appropriate moments. For example, when I was reading and got to the first cafeteria scene there was the still shot of the Cullen's in the cafeteria from the movie. Now remember... at this point I hadn't seen the movie (except trailers on TV that didn't really interest me), but I immediately put the actors in the roles of the characters.
As for the above character preference... I'd have to say that I picked the character that interests me most... because let's be honest... the actor who plays Caius is WAY hotter than Aro, but the actor who plays Aro would probably be way more interesting to meet in real life.

RSoup: Tell us a little bit about your "Midnight Sun Preface" and the book cover you designed for it. I love the concept of fire and ice.
fuzzyltlwingedthing:Well, I set about to make a bootleg hard cover copy of Midnight Sun for my mom who introduced me to the book. In order to accomplish this I had to have a preface. I set about getting the manuscript in the right format, typesetting the thing in Word, getting all of the graphics just right, buying the supplies etc but didn't know quite what to do about the preface. Then one day it just hit me. Make it a "parody" of the Twilight preface. Maybe parody isn't the right word... just a twist on the original. I sat down and wrote it in one sitting and then used it as a "practice run" to figure out the publishing system.
The cover was basically an extension of that project. I've worked off and on in graphics for the last 20 years. Most of it was in AutoCAD and page layout and I only peripherally used Photoshop to do minor editing. I needed a cover for the book and basically knocked off the Twilight Saga covers. The lynch pin was the graphic. I researched and downloaded a lot of different graphics. The one concept I really liked was a snake wrapped around a set of hands. Since the apple represented the fruit, I thought the serpent would be the perfect counterpoint, but I had a really hard time finding the graphics to accomplish this feat. The closest I got was a white snake with red eyes slithering in from the side of the book.
The snake was okay, but since I couldn't get what I want I kept looking. Somehow, I got onto the idea of a melting ice cube. I was especially looking for a piece of ice shaped like a heart that was melting... like Edward's frozen heart was melting. I thought it would be especially apropos if it was being held in a set of hands. I actually have about 15 images of melting ice still in that folder and 37 images of hearts in various stages of melting.
I was probably on page 40 or so of Google Images looking up melting hearts when I ran into that picture of the ice cube on fire. It was like lightning struck and I knew that was the picture I wanted.

RSoup: Are you currently working on anything that isn’t posted yet?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Hmmm... I have actually started writing it and TwiliteAddict is my beta, but I'm really slow (I've been at it for a year and only have three chapters written) and have promised myself to at least write through Chapter 4 before I publish. At that point there is a natural break in the story and people won't be left too far out on a ledge if I don't go any farther.
I've been really reluctant to talk about the concept to anyone except my mother and my beta because I've never read anything like it and I don't want anyone else to run away with the idea before I have a chance to publish it. I will share that it is Pre-Twilight-Pseudo-Cannon which isn't very popular and yes I realize that no one is waiting with baited breath to steal such a story, but I'm still going to keep the details under wrap. Subscribe to me and you'll be the first to read it *giggle*.

RSoup: Do you think vampire sperm sparkles? *laughs* Yep, I got that from your FanFiction profile.
fuzzyltlwingedthing: I go back and forth on this one. I think SM's vamps sparkle because the cells of their body crystallize during their transformation, but if the sperm crystallized, I'm not sure it would be viable (which it obviously is). On the other hand... was it sperm that impregnated Bella or did Edward's venom somehow react to the egg and alter it in some way we have yet to understand? It's a fascinating idea that I would love to sit and discuss with Stephenie over hot cocoa.
Do you think it sparkles?

RSoup: You know… that first argument is a good way of looking at it. I never gave it much thought. I would’ve said no, it doesn’t sparkle–well, because that would just weird and kind of gross. Now, I have logical answer–yours. *laughs* I actually always asked myself, “They have sperm?” Obviously, but how? I always just dismissed it because it is fantasy after all.
All right, you also beta for other fics, like Hawaiian Vacation, Shattered Perfection and A Rude Scotch. How did you become a beta for them?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Well, my mom wrote "Hawaiian Vacation" and she needed some help so I gave it a go. I will admit that I did not beta that one as strongly as I beta for other people because... well... it's my mom.
I then got involved pre-reading and pinch-hit-beta'ing for "The Practice of Love" because I would (and I don't recommend you do this) actually leave spelling corrections in the reviews of her chapters and I'm sure she got tired of it and just started sending me the file before it was posted.
When that was complete, there was an update for "A Rude Scotch" in which she said her beta was MIA so I volunteered. I didn't hear from her for a couple of weeks and when I got an update for "Shattered Perfection" and she also asked for a beta I volunteered for her as well thinking LaurieLou found someone else. Interestingly enough they both got back to me on the same day saying they needed help. At first I was going to turn one of them down, but since neither of them update on a regular schedule (like BellaDonnaCullen does) I decided I could probably handle them both.

RSoup: When did you start creating graphics?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: I've been using Photoshop off and on for 20+ years. Most of my work was minor (resizing, cropping etc), but the edits got progressively more complicated. My husband is an architect and is artistic and (I kid you not) he sometimes watches a Photoshop tutorial TV show. When my son was born (11 years ago) my husband created a picture of him rowing a rowboat. I thought he was insane, but we ended up using it for our baby announcement. When my daughter was 1 (9 years ago) I had a picture of her and her brother on a beach in hula gear. The problem was I only wanted her in it to use it for her birthday invitation so I maniped her brother right out of the picture . That really opened my eyes to the possibilities.
You can see those early works here.
Fast forward to my trip into Twilight FanFiction where I started seeing banners I thought it was a good idea so I made a banner for my mom's story and mine. I didn't even think of doing them for other people, but then TwiliteAddict saw my Midnight Sun work and mentioned that I'd probably be really good at making banners. I was like "oh yeah, I could do that... in fact I have done that.". I showed her my banners and she asked if I would make one for her. Since then I've made a lot of banners for her and even for some friends I've met from her Honeymoon Suite thread on Twilighted.
As for manips... usually I don't like them because they look fake. I prefer to do something more obscure and/or artistic if I can get away with it, but I've done it a few times (with varying degrees of success) for different banners.

RSoup: How did you learn?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: I'm basically self taught. Google is my friend.

RSoup: Any tips for those who would like to start making their own graphics?
fuzzyltlwingedthing:  Study graphics that you like and find a pattern as to what it is you like about them... and then copy that. I bought a small book called "Making a Good Layout" at a thrift store once that I refer to from time to time. I think every artist starts by copying what they like before they branch out on their own.
As for manips, sometimes you need to stop looking at your work for a while and then quickly look at it and see what your eye picks up as "wrong". It's usually either scale or color or lighting/shadow or a combination of the three.

RSoup: I noticed that one of your favorite books happen to be my favorite—Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It has nothing to do with the supernatural at all. When did you read it and how did you come upon reading it?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Well, in my high school AP English literature class in 11th grade one of the books we had to read was The Fountainhead (by the same author). I loved that book so much I read it twice before the assignment was over and then read it at least once a year for a long time. The book even helped me to decide to become an Architect and I did an architecture project for my senior project. I then started taking drafting classes at the local Jr. College in anticipation of transferring to a design school. It was there that I was introduced to AutoCAD, got a job drafting and started working with architects. Then I realized I didn't want to be one (although I've since married one), but I did enjoy being around the creative mind and most of my closest friends are in the design field.
Okay, I know that wasn't about Atlas Shrugged specifically, but hang in there.
When I was about 25, I was at a breaking point with my then-long term boyfriend and I took a trip to Austin TX to visit a friend and just regroup. I went to a mall and wandered around and came upon a bookstore. I looked at Ayn Rand's shelf and saw Atlas Shrugged. I was surprised to see another long novel among all of her other books. I picked it up and started reading it and couldn't put it down until I finished it. I was amazed that I liked it better than The Fountainhead. I've since read it many, many times and have read/subscribed to various Atlas Shrugged blogs (my favorite being The Atlasphere).

RSoup: They've made it into a movie. Have you seen the trailer? What do you think about it? Maybe it's just me, but that book was so amazing and I just don't think the three part movie could do the book any justice—most movies based off of a book don't.
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Well, the movie isn't out yet, but as with any book the movie is going to suck compared to the book. Yes, this includes Twilight… sorry to those of you who are in love with the Twilight Movie(s), but I think they are best viewed with the Rifftrax voice over. I've pretty much come to terms with that and hope I can enjoy Atlas Shrugged for what it is.
Interestingly enough, I just read an article on this subject here.

RSoup: Wow! I think the columnist thoroughly explained how all of us Atlas Shrugged lovers feel about it made into a motion picture and will feel after seeing the movie. Although the size of the book can appear daunting, after having read it, I understood and can really appreciate the length. How do you capture Atlas Shrugged and all of the different aspects and put it into a movie, when a reader can’t after only having read it once? You just can’t. The book is too all encompassing.
So, do you agree with their choice for Dagny Taggert? I didn't see Fransisco in the trailer either, or maybe I missed him, but how can you not have him in the movie, you know!
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Well, I'm not sure if this makes sense, but Ayn's writing is so unique and has such grace and style that the place the book takes place inside of my head really couldn't become a movie or even be real. In my head the characters are a very stylized and it's difficult for me... seeing them played by real human beings.
Although the styles are not the same, I guess you might compare it to a Tim Burton film. I'm not saying that Ayn Rand's style is the same as Tim Burton's, but that Tim has created very stylized films that are not really part of reality, and in my mind, only someone with that kind of originality would be able to re-create that place inside of my head where the world of Atlas Shrugged lives.
Does that sound insane or what?
RSoup: No, that’s exactly how I feel. Maybe not the Tim Burton, *smiles* but there’s something so…time-otherworldly (O.O?) about that book.
fuzzyltlwingedthing: So back to Dagny... I think she will be great. I'm not sure if Francisco is in the trailer, but I follow the film on Facebook and they've put out many pictures of him and although he is frumpier than I'd like he'll be fine.
Actually, in one of the interviews (I think) on the Atlas Shrugged Film YouTube channel, the creator (or was it the director?) of the movies addressed casting actors for movies being made from novels. He said (something like) since it's impossible to please fans of the book, it's much more important for the actor to feel and act like the character and have chemistry with the other actors than to look like the character. That really struck a chord with me.
Interestingly enough I recently started reading Atlas Shrugged again in anticipation of the April 15 release of the movie... and I've found that I've started picturing the actors in my head. I'm not sure I'm happy with that. I've been living with my stylized version for 15 years now and I miss them.

RSoup: Last, do you have any "non-fanfiction" suggestions for the TwiFandom?
fuzzyltlwingedthing: I assume you're talking books here, right?
RSoup: *laughs and nods*
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Of course... Atlas Shrugged.
Want something a little lighter? After Twilight, I decided to see what all of the vampire fuss was about so other series I've read in the last year are the Sookie Stackhouse books (pretty good), The Vampire Diaries books (only read if you want a flashback to what a teen book was back in the 80's) and the Vampire Academy (better teen books than VD, but... was it just my book 6 that ended in a cliffy? That was the last book, right?).
RSoup: *winces* I actually haven’t read the last Vampire Academy book. Haven’t found the time.
fuzzyltlwingedthing: Oops, sorry about that. (I will admit that I "found" my copy online so it might just be cut off prematurely.) So, that along with all of the FanFiction I read is enough to keep anyone busy.
Want to get away from Vampires? I read The Clan of the Cave Bear for 10th grade biology extra credit  (which was 1985 for those of you following along at home) and fell in love with it. I later found out that she had written two additional books. A couple of years later (1990) the fourth book came out. She promised six total. It took her 12 years to come out with the fifth book. Since the fifth book came out in 2002, I've occasionally gone online to see if the last book came out. Now that I think of it, might've been the first fan website I ever signed up for and they even have a FanFiction section. Anyway... the long awaited sixth book is coming out in the next month, so I would HIGHLY recommend reading the first five books and then go straight for the sixth. Lucky bitches. I had to wait 25 years to read the series all the way through.
For you young'ens out there, this book was the Twilight of it's day. It was the talk of the town and each book was highly anticipated with record breaking opening sales. (Side note: I also give big props to Ms. Auel because of the amount of research needed to write a book like this.)
Young (at the time) hottie Daryl Hannah even starred in the movie. I think the biggest reason the movie flopped where Twilight succeeded is that there is no verbal talking in the first book since they talk in sign language. There is no way this is the actor's fault because Daryl Hannah was a brilliant bit of casting. And also... they're cavemen and live in a cave. Not visually sexy like a hot sparkly vampire in tight jeans driving a Volvo. The movie franchise never even made it to the second book where... well... let's just say the plot thickens. In any case it doesn't matter if the others weren't made into movies because movies made from books suck anyway, right?
As a side note, can you imagine if it took Stephenie Meyer 30 years to finish her series?

RSoup: *laughs* No! Thank you so much for entering our contest and for taking the time to do an interview with me. It’s been awesome. *grins*
fuzzyltlwingedthing: I had fun. Wish I could do it more often! Maybe I'll have to start entering more contests!!! And thanks for hosting this contest. It was a fun idea!

fuzzyltlwingedthing was nominated in November 2010 for an artist award in "The Fandom People Awards" for her manip banner for Honeymoon Suite. She also has her blog site here, ranging from numerous topics such as "How to Paint flames on a wall" to things about technology, like reading FanFiction on your Kindle or securing your laptop, even topics about Adam Lambert.  You can learn more about her design for the Midnight Sun book cover here. If you'd like for her to do a banner for your story, please read her banner making terms before you message her.

*Midnight Sun was leaked and distributed on the internet before August 2008. Though now, Stephenie Meyer does have some of the manuscript posted on her website.


  1. I too have pondered over the semen vs. venom theories. If it was venom, wouldn't the venom cause some type of scaring effect as it did on Bella's wrist and also all over Jasper's flesh? Or would that only happen in cases of a cut or bad abrasion that breaks the skin or membranes? I happen to believe that it must be vampire mutated semen. After all it must carry DNA, Bella's DNA isn't duplicated in Renesmee. She shares characteristics from both parents.
    I wonder is SM sits up at night and thinks about these things too?

  2. LOL. Yeah, that's true too! I wonder if it...burns. *laughs and immediately winces* I'd rather not about it. Remember the picture I have on the VBoard? If anyone's interested, you can see that here ->

    Though it's probably not worth thinking over since it is fantasy, it's still interesting to see what other think ;D

  3. And Lila...thanks for doing an interview with me. It was so great to talk with you, and I had so much fun! :D

  4. I had a lot of fun! Thanks for the great contest and interview!

  5. Lila -- you are so interesting!! Loved the interview! We make a beautiful team (LOL). Glad your work is getting the attention it deserves. Once I saw the mock cover, I know I was hooked.

  6. Fabulous interview, Lila! Loved it!!

    I still have to stop and admire the "view" whenever I see the Honeymoon Suite banner (and to drool over tatted Swimmerward as well)! ;D

    Makes me even more excited to get my backside in gear and start toting around my new banner you so kindly made me!! :D xxx

    Thanks for hosting, RSoup!!

  7. I loved the interview, Lila! So glad you nitpicked about my spelling. M