Okay everyone. I am seriously fangirling about All the Feels! Squee!
I was able to interview the hilarious Danika Stone after reading an advanced copy of her ultimate fangirl book (and loving it). She put in so much background work into this book I was just blown away. And much to my delighted surprise, she’s a local author! What more do you need?
Here’s what she had to say:
Let’s get to know you before we dive in. Tell us about yourself!
I’m a multi-genre writer with a passion for unique stories. Although writing ‘odd’ novels can make it tricky to get them into the right hands (ie: the right publishers and right stores), something must have clicked this year because I have TWO books coming out: All the Feels (Macmillan, June 2016), a YA novel about an uber-fan who decides to bring her favorite character back from (movie) death, and Edge of Wild (Stonehouse, May 2016), a thriller based in 1990’s Waterton Park, AB.
I’m an extraverted introvert, meaning I spend almost all my ‘socializing’ time online, and I’m fixated on keeping my Clark Kent life (as a technology teacher) and my Superman life (as a writer) separate. If you live in Lethbridge, you’ve probably seen me drinking coffee at Tim Hortons (while I plot my next novel), or hiking around the coulees with my husband and three sons.
What is your book about?
When people ask this I want to yell “Fandom-awesomeness and SQUEE!” but I think the back cover does a better job, so here’s the official All the Feels summary:
College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life…and her last tangible connection to her deceased father, so when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.
Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a call that ignites the Starveil fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life, and her disapproving mother’s new boyfriend. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to get away from it all.
Why should we read it?
All the Feels is a fun, fandom-focused book for anyone who has felt pushed to the outside of popular culture. It’s a battle cry for all those readers who threw a book across a room because their favorite character died or, (as I did), sobbed in a movie theater. *cough* Serenity. *cough* Much like Fangirl, it embraces fandom’s love of fictional characters. You will laugh and cringe and have a few swoon-worthy moments, too!
Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?
I remember being two or three and learning to make the letters of the alphabet. I wrote a bunch of random letters on the back of an envelope and asked my father to read it for me. I recall him saying “but it doesn’t actually say anything.” I was SO disappointed, because in my mind, there was an entire story caught up in those scribbles.
What was your first nerdy obsession?
I loved the Harry Potter series and waited avidly for each new book. I remember my sister read the last book before I did and she was absolutely stunned by that death. I knew something awful was coming, but couldn’t stop myself from reading. I still get emotional just thinking about it.
What’s your favourite ship?
Hmm… Old school ship? Definitely Han / Leia. Current ship? Probably Peggy / Steve. This was hard to narrow down. I have SO many!
In your acknowledgments you mention the @CoulsonLives phenomenon. Was that the basis for your book?
My friend, E, is @CoulsonLives and her experience of galvanizing The Avengers fandom, (ultimately resulting in the television show Agents of Shield), was a big part of the inspiration for All the Feels. Another part of the inspiration was the original Sherlock fandom which, back in the 1890’s, essentially bullied Arthur Conan Doyle into bringing Sherlock back after he’d been killed off.
All the Feels doesn’t tell the @CoulsonLives story per se, but it does revolve around the idea of a fan deciding to change the outcome of a movie. Liv inspires an online revolution. I love the notion of the power of the online audience!
I loved that each chapter heading was a quote from a famous movie or show. How did you pick the ones you used?
I have to give credit to Swoon Reads on this one. As we were working on the first round of edits, Holly West, my editor, came up with the idea of chapter by chapter headings, and as soon as she said it, I realized it was the perfect way to bring the fandom focus of the story to a new level. We all brainstormed our favorite fandoms and lines that connected to events in the chapter. They came together from there.
Liv seems to suffer from social anxiety. What made you decide to give her this challenge?
Social anxiety is a silent but crippling issue, and I know many people who suffer because of it. Often the effects are simply ignored. Teens with anxiety need to know that what they’re experiencing is normal and that they aren’t alone. In writing Liv’s anxiety, I tried to show that she’d found a ‘safe space’ online where she could interact in a healthy and positive way. She doesn’t allow her anxiety to stop her from socializing, but it certainly impacts her face-to-face interactions.
Xander is obsessed with steampunk. Do you love steampunk as well?
OMG yes! I’m in the middle of sewing a Steampunk costume to wear at Dragon Con this year. (If you’re in Atlanta September 1 – 4, 2016, I’ll be there promoting All the Feels. Come say hello!)
What was your favourite part of writing this book?
I absolutely loved giving a real fans-eye-view of attending a convention for the first time, especially one as massive as Dragon Con. There’s an overwhelming aspect to it, but there’s also such camaraderie with all the other fans who attend. That connectedness breaks down boundaries.
If you’ve never attended a con, reading All the Feels will make you want to!
How long was your journey from first idea to holding a copy in your hands?
I’m bad at sitting on ideas for years at a time, so four years sounds worse than it is. Here’s the actual breakdown:
2012: Attended Dragon Con and talked to my friend, E, (@CoulsonLives) about writing a novel.
2013: Started thinking about characters and plotting. Got distracted by the internet (a lot).
2014: WROTE THE BOOK.
2015: Signed with Macmillan and edited All the Feels. Got to see the advance copies. Things started feeling REAL.
Friday, May 20, 2016: I got to hold the finished, polished book in my hands.
If people only take one thing from your book, what would you want it to be?
Be yourself. Don’t hide your weirdness, because in the end, those passions are what make life worth living.
What’s a question you’ve never been asked about your book, but have been dying to answer?
I’ve always wanted people to ask if I made online accounts for the characters. (BECAUSE YES I TOTALLY HAVE!!!) You can find ALL your favorite All the Feels characters living online:
Here are the Tumblrs for each:
- Liv: http://livoutloud.tumblr.com/
- Xander: http://steampunkxander.tumblr.com/
- Brian: http://starveilbrian1981.tumblr.com/
- Joe: http://joeswoesstarveil.tumblr.com/
- Kelly: http://spartangrrl.tumblr.com/
And here are their fanfic accounts:
- @JoesWoes – AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/joeswoes
- @Spartangrrl – AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/spartangrrl
- @StarveilBrian1981 – AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/users/starveilbrian1981 (Brian has posted no stories, but he can be found in the comments.)
- @LivOutLoud – AO3: (Same with Liv, as she’s a vidder.) http://archiveofourown.org/users/LivOutLoud/
Yes, I really am that much of a nerd. (But it let me write some fun Starveil fic and make lots of manips, too!)
Where can we find you?
I’m online ALL the time! If you want to chat, pop by any of these places. I’d love to hear what your fannish passions are!
Fandom-focused Tumblr: http://cylonqueen.tumblr.com/ *cheers*
Grownup writer-focused Tumblr: http://danikastone.tumblr.com/ *yawns*
Quillable’s tagline is “For all things noteworthy.” Could you share something noteworthy you have come across recently?
I was so excited when I ran across this article about the potential of faster than light travel that I forwarded it to my entire list:
NASA May Have Accidentally Discovered Faster-Than-Light Travel: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/49360/20150428/nasa-may-have-accidentally-discovered-faster-than-light-travel.htm#sthash.NBbJSusT.dpuf
There you have it! One bonafide nerdy interview. How fun does this book sound? Remember to check in on Friday for my (glowing) review of All the Feels! Squeeee!