Sebastien Robichaud author of The University of Edward Masen
I was interested to hear you say that Dante came after plot bunnies (isn’t that what they call them around here?) Your lit refs mirror one another in such a beautiful way. How did Dante, Lewis, Vanauken, Eliot, etc. come to you and how did you fit them in structurally. Or was it more of an organic process?
Well, I’m limited by the volumes in my library and what I know of them. But really much of these references are canonical (in the sense of the western canon) and Christian. So they fit together because they explore similar themes.
How many hours go into a typical chapter? Do you still sweat when you post? Which character will you miss writing when UoEM is wrapped?
Truthfully, these chapters take hours. There were some days when I’d be at my computer for eight hours a day. I couldn’t do this all the time, of course, but I spent a lot of evenings writing and a lot of my weekends.
Yes, I absolutely sweat when I post. (I also drink on occasion)
I’ll miss Edward. I like Bella but I’m proud of Edward as a character.
And I was always a supporter of Peter.
Any tips for writing smut?
I can’t do it.
Except to say that I don’t think someone has to be vulgar in order to be sexy.
And sometimes a badly written lemon (IMHO) comes off as reading like a teenager wrote it – unrealistic and gratuitous.
Sex is about anticipation and it’s about all of the senses including the mind. If you can’t stimulate the mind, it’s not going to work. IMHO
Do you have a favorite passage? What was most challenging about telling this story?
Favourite passage? When Bella argues that Edward has had his redemption by saving her life. The “eye for an eye” symmetry, which I don’t believe, mind you. I think grace is more generous than that kind of justice. But I liked the way she argued for it on Edward’s terms.
The challenging part is to let go of a chapter once its been posted. I’m so uptight about things being perfect. I constantly wanted to go back and tinker with things but once it was up there I couldn’t.
What made you pick twilight fan fic world to write your story?
It was free. It was anonymous. And (present company excluded of course) there were a lot of gosh-awful stories (in multiple fandoms, not just Twilight) written by who knows who (children, mostly).
I thought I could sort of slide in under the radar and see if I could write fiction.
You stated you are more Edward than Peter, does UoEM parallel with you?
Yes. And for this answer, I won’t joke.
We lost a child in July 2009 to a miscarriage. We called her Maia.
I began writing UOEM in September as a catharsis, amongst other things.
Neither of us were sleeping well and I’d be up all night on the computer looking for amusement… that’s when I found FF.
What are your thoughts on the deeply personal feelings people have about UoEM?
I chose themes that are universal – love, loss, life, death, abuse, redemption. healing etc.
I was overwhelmed by the reactions to the story because as I said, I never expected anyone to read it. So I’ve been surprised by the reactions.
Squally asked about what I’d like to communicate to my readers and I guess I’d say hope – no matter what your mistakes are or what’s been done to you, there is always hope. The trick is finding it. And believing it when you find it.
I’m curious about how you feel regarding your online fame and the enormous popularity of uoem. I’ve read somewhere that you didn’t expect anyone to read your story, so I’m guessing you didn’t know what you had when you started. how is it for you now? What has been the hardest part of writing uoem? The easiest?
My online fame scares me.
(there. I said it. Out loud)
Only one person in my RL knows about UOEM. I’d kind of like to keep it that way. It gives me more freedom.
I wasn’t prepared to have so many readers so it overwhelmed me. But I tried to conduct myself with politeness in the fandom.
The hardest part of writing UOEM was that truthfully, some scenes were painful to write. The scene where Edward tells Bella about Maia. That almost killed me.
But in the end, it was very healing.