Oh my gosh! These are such fun questions. I am sooo excited!
1) When I was trying to find an era for WOVS, I explored several options. At first I was inclined to place it further back, maybe in the Founders Era, but I decided that I wanted to update the story, so I thought a more modern period would be better. I toyed with the turn of the century, but in the end I decided Next-Gen would be the most fun. As soon as I thought of Next-Gen, a whole cast of characters and interactions popped into my head, and that’s when I knew I was in the right place...er, time. I like strong ensemble casts--even though Traitorous Hearts revolves mainly around Draco and Astoria, there are more characters to come--but for this one, I wanted a collection of characters from the start. Viviene is going to need a lot of help learning to be human, and I couldn’t think of a better support group than the masses of Next-Gen Potter-Weasleys
2) My favorite Next-Gen character? Hmm...that’s hard to say. I’m horrible at picking favorites. I’ll always have a soft spot for Lily II, because she was the protagonist of my first (as yet un-posted) fanfic. But really, I have extra love for all of Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione’s kids. I like Scorpius, because he’s a second chance for the Malfoys. I like Bill and Fleur’s kids, because they grow up with different challenges, being famous, inhumanly gorgeous, and possibly a bit wolfish. Teddy, because how could you not love Remus and Tonks little Animagus child? Roxanne and Fred II, because they come from a family that knows loss on a different level, and because they’re mixed-race (it’s nice to have some diversity!). Even Molly II and and Lucy come from a unique position--did it ever get out that their dad was on the wrong side for awhile? Are they uptight, like their father, or rule-breakers? So many possibilities!
So, yeah, I’m obviously really bad at this whole “choosing” thing...but I’m going to say Lily II or Albus, because I think the experience of being the Harry Potter’s children must be an interesting one, and while we know James navigates it pretty comfortably (at least at age 12), those two are unknown, which gives you a lot to work with, as a writer.
3) Oh, this is a fun one! I mean, there are lots of writers that I love, but as far as who has influenced this writing most? I’d say, in terms of trying to set the scene, Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor, and Maggie Stiefvater. In terms of character, Sarah Rees Brennan. In terms of magic, J.K. Rowling (obviously), and C.S. Lewis. There are countless others, for sure, but those are authors I definitely strive to learn from.
4) Favorite Fanfictions. Okay, I’m gonna make myself pick 3 this time, and it’s going to be hard...I can do this. Right, in no particular order:
-And Capers Ensue by justonemorefic
-Clash by shenanigan
-Tangled Web by whisper_in_the_wind
I can do honorable mentions, though, right? That’s fair? Etc. Etc. and Life Goes On by justonemorefic was a big inspiration for Traitorous Hearts. I loved how her protagonist, Clemence, is a tough girl whose moral compass didn’t always point true north. Clemence is smart, practical, and focused on self-preservation. I wanted all those traits to be in my protagonist, and they are. Even though Astoria is very different from Clemence in other ways, she was a wonderful influence to draw from, as it’s hard to find likable female characters who are portrayed that way. Without Gina’s story, mine definitely wouldn’t be what it is.
5) I actually started out about a year ago, just by reading. I had an unusual amount of free time that semester, and I read really fast. I couldn’t actually afford to read any more books at the rate I was going, and the modern fiction section in the library was not particularly well-stocked. One of my friends suggested that I read an HP fanfiction story she had found. I was skeptical, but I trusted her judgement and tried it. So glad that I did! And then, after reading a few...pretty soon I was like, “Hey, I think I could do this.” And I started writing fanfic. Easily one of the best things that ever happened to me as a writer. Before, I was never able to work on the technical bits pf my writing because I always got caught in the world building and could never finish anything. Here, the world came ready-made, the bones of the characters were already there. I think fanfiction is the perfect way to practice thinking creatively and to improve your writing without getting bogged down in the details. As far as OF goes, I have a couple ideas stewing in my mind, a few scenes written, but I want to keep working on the basics here before I really dive into that. I want to finish these stories before I go gallivanting off into others. But hopefully, one day.
6) I do love Draco! Draco, to me, is a lost opportunity. Maybe it’s the Slytherin in me, but I like a good redemption story. Harry Potter is a fabulous series about a boy who was always good at his core (though of course he had flaws) going out to defeat evil. And J.K. wrote it so wonderfully, which is an enormous part of why we’re all here. But it sort of always bothered me that Voldemort never had a chance--he was born without the ability to love, so he was doomed. But okay. However, Draco had a chance. Draco could love--it was the Malfoys’ most redeeming quality that, at the expense of all the world, they loved their family. I think that J.K. did something important with Draco and the Malfoys: she showed that you don’t always have to be “good” or “heroic” to make the right choice, to change the tide of history for the better. She showed that even people you can’t stand have may have a good side (even if it’s a very small one) if you’re willing to look. That’s an important message. But I always really wanted to see someone who was “bad” choose good. I guess Wormtail, in the end, showed a bit of good, and Sirius was the opposite of Draco--he was born to that life and rejected it, though he always had a bit of a cruel streak (you love him despite that). But apart from those, I can’t think of anyone who really changed, and I think that people can. You can’t change people, but they can decide to change themselves. I think Draco is the perfect opportunity for that, and I like to imagine that he learned from his mistakes. (That said, I have a Next-Gen story coming out where Draco is a minor character and he comes across as pretty hateful. There’s nothing wrong with that depiction, either. I like to see a little bit of everything).
7) Oh, definitely a Thestral. I’d love to freak people out a bit that way. Just think of all the tricks you could play on people that couldn’t see it! Plus, I have a soft spot for them. They’re misunderstood!
8) If I could be an “Ariel" type of mermaid...maybe. Living with Viviene’s clan, though? I don’t think it would be for me. They’re pretty hardcore. And besides, there’s no paper underwater, which means no books! Or at least a lot less of them, even if you’re taking magic into account. That really wouldn’t work well for me.
Thank you so much for all the questions! They were really fun to think about! And Merry Christmas