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In the Spotlight-July 25, 2019

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Welcome to another installment of the Prefects' In the Spotlight blog series! We're featuring interviews with the usual monthly award winners and common room spotlights as well. This is the final week of the House Cup Finale as well, so everyone has been extremely busy with that, and we are all anticipating the results! 

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The fantastic @Veritaserum27 was the recipient of the Order of Merlin for July! 

I N T E R V I E W

 If there was only one forum that you could post in on HPFT, which one would it be?

What?!  Why would anyone be so cruel?!  Haha - well I guess if I must choose, it would be the Ravenclaw Tower.  I've always felt the most at home with my fellow 'Claws.  

What [forum-appropriate] meme or GIF do you think best describes your role on the site?

I absolutely ADORE this gif, and I think that it sorta explains how I help protect the forums and other Hogwarts' students. 

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What is your favorite non-HP fandom? 

I'm a huge fan of Sherlock.  I actually read most of the original Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories back when I was a teenager.  I think the BBC version is utterly brilliant, with how they've brought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original ideas to present day.  I'm riveted with every episode.

What is one of your plunnies that you really want to write but haven’t found the time/inspiration for yet? 

I've had this fluffy Jilly Christmas story in my head for years. But I've told myself that I absolutely MUST finish my novel and some other WIP before I can add to the extensive list of unfinished stories to my AP...

What is your favorite thing to do on HPFT? 

Rebus puzzles!  I'm a Claw at heard and I love all kinds of puzzles.  I've really enjoyed both solving and creating them!

What do your hobbies look like outside of HPFT? 

Ultra-busy mom of three here.  So... my hobbies right now revolve around watching soccer games, swim meets, and tennis matches.  I used to sew quite a bit.  I would make quilts, aprons and market bags.  When I have a few moments to myself, I really like to play some iPad games.  My favorite right now is The Room series.  It's a mystery-puzzle game.

What’s your favorite joke? 

 This *might* qualify as a dad joke, but it makes me chuckle every single time.

What did one snowman say to the other snowman?

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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
| V E R I T A S E R U M 2 7 |

Beth is the author of 28 pieces published to the HPFT archives! With genres ranging from dark/horror to humor, action/adventure to romance, and fluff to angst, with stories ranging across varying lengths and covering a multitude of themes, she definitely has a well-rounded, diverse author’s page that covers several different HP-verse characters.

Here’s a quick look at one of her most recently updated works, Seven:

Seven is a completed microfiction of 779 that explores the character Sirius Black. The story is told through snapshots, depicting specific moments in Sirius’s life, weather beautiful or painful. The artistic style, being that the story is a composition of thirteen paragraphs, each containing 7 words each is what makes this especially unique. On top of the unique styling, Beth has done a phenomenal job of capturing these moments, revealing much to the reader in so few words. Her handling of the character was done exceptionally well, showcasing all of his heartbreaks and tragedy one by one.

 

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The students recognized as Head Students for July were @just.a.willow.tree and @you-make-me-wander. We have an interview with Eva and an advertisement for Susana this month for you to enjoy! 

J U S T . A . W I L L O W . T R E E

What is your favorite place to visit on HPFT?

Hmmm I would have to say the Hufflepuff Basement at the moment! It's such a warm and snuggly place (it always makes me think of the color yellow, which is the happiest color), and I really love my fellow Puffs so much. Another place would be the blogs sections! I read all the blogs that have been posted since I emerged from hibernation, and it would be really cool if more people wrote blog posts! Even if it's just filled with random thoughts about something totally obscure. 😊

If there’s one story of yours you would like to tell us about, what would it be and why?

This is slightly awkward because I had to look at my AP just to remember everything I've written, haha, but one that that I am really very fond of (that I haven't talked much about, I think) is "egg"! It's a How to Train Your Dragon story about Astrid, who is my absolute favorite character in the history of characters, and a little baby sister that her parents spring on her. It made me really happy to write because a lot of it was inspired by my youngest sister (who is, alas, no longer a baby).

What is your favorite genre to read? If it’s different, what’s your favorite genre to write? Why?

My favorite genre to read is fantasy! I love clever, fantastical worldbuilding, with towns and people and rules different from ours, and the more unique and creative, the better! On the rare occasions that I do write original fiction, I do generally lean towards the magical haha, though I'm not sure I could accomplish all these giant worlds that my favorite fantasy authors do.

If you could only read three books for the rest of eternity, which three would you choose?

I would probably read The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (the magic is beautiful omg), A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge (the magic is also incredibly gorgeous), and Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett (which is the funniest book I've read in a while). They're all amazing!

How long have you been writing? 

Officially, I think since December of 2018. But also, I wrote many, many random snippets of fanfiction and stories when I was a child, so if we're counting that, since I was literate enough to write stories? :P

If you had 100 km of laffy taffy, what would you make out of it? 

Hahaha omg 100km of laffy taffy? I would probably get stuck in it. Unless I'm seriously misunderstanding what laffy taffy is made of? In any case, I think I would I eat it. :P Perhaps build a castle with it first and then eat it?

 

Y O U - M A K E - M E - W A N D E R

                                                                                                                            Elysian 

This story instantly captures your attention and I can see it quickly becoming one of my favorites on the archives. 

While there is only one chapter posted so far, it is so full of information, action, family drama, and suspense that you are left wanting more and praying Susana updates soon. 

If you haven’t given this story a shot, you should. I promise you won’t regret it. (Even if Molly is currently regretting some of her choices.)

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@BookDinosaur's novel All The Waves Resounded (M) was awarded site-wide Story of the Month for July! We have a review column and Emily was lovely enough to interview with us! 

R E V I E W   C O L U M N

A good portion of Andromeda Black and Ted Tonks’ characterizations is up for interpretation canonically speaking, leaving room for numerous plot lines about their early lives and budding romance. If you’re seeking a particularly unique Andromeda/Ted story with a gripping plot line, intricate characters who are somehow a mottled delicacy of gritty and comely in their personalities, and a beguiling equilibrium of showcasing dark romance (or dark and romance), then @BookDinosaur's All the Waves Resounded is the piece you need to dip into straight away.

If you’ve ever wanted a Tedromeda that picks up fanon, shakes it, throws it down, steps on it, puts it in a rocket ship, sends it to outer space, and caresses it upon its return to orbit, this story is going to be the fodder that feeds your hunger. Here are some reasons why we love it, and why this story absolutely deserves to be featured a recipient of Sitewide Story of the Month:

Unusual love is found amid the métier of espionage, creating an idiosyncratic, scintillating plot arch that leaves the reading wanted to know what’s happening next. The characters, as mentioned above, maintain a dark and gritty feel to them at times, which is especially true for Andromeda, who made for a perfectly brazen female lead. Thematically, the concept of family and what that means, especially in particularly turbulent times and when the dichotomy of good and evil are brought into question, has been shown so well as to hit home on a number of occasions. The writing itself is easily readable, yet flourished just enough to maintain interest and Emily’s personalized flair.

Overall it’s a lovely piece, and we’re hoping for an update soon!

 

I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   T H E   A U T H O R
| B O O K D I N O S A U R |

What inspires you to write?

this is one of those questions that's just perennially impossible to answer! i think that for me it comes down to liking something a lot, which means thinking about it a lot, and that naturally sparks a lot of ideas for me to try and write about. 

What is a genre/trope that you’ve never written before, but want to try? 

I've been reading a lot of Arthurian romances lately and quite frankly I'd love to try my hand at one of those!

Who are some published authors you look up to?

in terms of the finished writing product, i love Donna Tartt's elegant prose and Jasper Forde's extensive, witty worldbuilding! on a more personal note I have a few friends who have made it through the publishing world alive and others who have done the self-publishing thing, and it was, and still is, a privilege to see them work on their projects. i hold them in very high regard! and totally recommend everything by Jude Sierra, CL Polk's Witchmark, and Julianna Thorn's Farm of Fancy along with our own @crestwood's poetry collections for those of you interested in published work from authors with fannish backgrounds :D

If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be?

i guess it would be to take the time to find what works for you! everyone works differently, and i think it's a very worthy investment to figure out what's best for you. there are a lot of tips around and a lot of authors who talk about their methods, online and in communities like this one. giving everything a shot has helped me hone my writing process a lot -- even suggestions that don't work for me get me thinking about why, and what might work instead. it took me a long time and a whole lot of experimentation to get to my current process, but i truly do feel like the more i try the happier i am! it means, at the least, that i know more about myself, and at the most, that i'm not fighting myself or my process as much while writing -- i'm just fighting the words. and that's how it should be :P

What is your favorite part about writing Andromeda? What is your least favorite?

ooh, this is a good question! i very much enjoy writing Andromeda as a spy and all the attendant brain games that arise from her situation, and I like writing her star-crossed Romance a lot. star crossed romance in general!

i had to think a lot about least favourite :P but i think i have concluded that Feelings, which are complicated and difficult, are my least favourite part of writing Andromeda. that being said, they're so rewarding to get down!

Can we get a one-sentence teaser for what’s coming next? (Sans spoilers, of course! ^_^)

“If I know something,” she asks Ted, “but it would blow my cover to tell you – what should I do?” ^_^ 
 

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This section is almost back to full capacity this month, with only Hufflepuff not holding OTMs due to their Awards season going long and the House Cup Finale. We have a lot of fun interviews for you to enjoy this edition, so read on below! 

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July's Leading Lion was chosen as @Pixileanin, and Featured Fic was Warpaint (M) by @Crimson Quill

L E A D I N G   L I O N
| P I X I L E A N I N |

What’s your defining Gryffindor trait?

My defining Gryffindor trait has got to be tenacity. It mostly comes in the form of stubbornness, but whatever you want to call it, I don't like to quit something when I set my mind to finishing it.

What’s your favorite thing to do on the forums?

Ah, my favorite thing to do on the forums is connect with people and cheer them on.  l love hearing about everyone's writing accomplishments and goals.  They inspire me to keep up with my own writing goals.

Tell us about the most Gryffindor thing you’ve done lately.

The most Gryffindor thing I have done lately is host a sixteenth birthday party for my twins.  You never know as a parent what teens will get up to when they gather in large groups. 😝  Thankfully, my girls have delightful friends, and fun was had by all. 

Tell us about three books you'd read over and over again.

Okay, so for a very very long time, I would never re-read a book that I have already read.  I would keep the ones I loved, and they would sit on my bookshelf as reminders of the stories I just couldn't put down.  I don't generally read for detail. I'm more one of those board concept types that enjoys the feeling of the story as a whole.  Anyway, re-reading didn't really come into the picture until I began writing.  I was suddenly confronted with the "what does the author do here" questions, and started pulling books off the shelves to find out.  A book friend of mine turned me on to a romance author named Jennifer Crusie, and my favorite book by her is "Bet Me".  I think I've re-read that book at least five times from cover to cover (which is a lot for me), and sections of it, many times.  She tells an honest, funny story, and it's fun to revisit.  It's also a great book to pick up when I feel like the beats of my story feel weak.  I can always go back and as, "What did Jennifer do for this?" and I usually find an answer.    Another book a re-read a bit was Neil Gaiman's "American Gods".  When I decided to write my first fanfic novel, I wanted a dark tone and quickly realized that I had no idea how to achieve that.  Someone recommended "American Gods", and by golly, it was dark.  Not crazy dark, but there's this thing that Neil Gaiman does that eventually uncovers the truth inside his stories, and it is inevitably something that his characters want desperately to get away from.  It's that Grimm's Fairytales sort of dark.  Anytime I want to remember how that's done, I turn to that book.  The third book is sort of a duo. I don't even know if this counts or not, but since you asked about re-read books, I have to include Joel Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" and sneak in Angela Liddon's "Oh She Glows Every Day".  Yeah, one's a nutritatian handbook, and the other one is a vegan cookbook, but man, I've read both so many times, and they sit side by side next to my kitchen so I felt like I had to include them.  I'm not vegan, but I am making baby steps (with many crash-and-burn moments) towards a healthier eating lifestyle.  These books remind me that it can be done by everyday people. Also, Angel Liddon has the BEST TASTING vegan recipes on the planet, so if anyone's into that, check out her blog.

If you could live in one other decade besides the current one, which would it be and why?

Oh gosh, do I have to answer that?  I've lived in four different decades already, and each has their ups and downs.  I've been around long enough, and with my overactive imagination being as it is, I know enough not to want to go back.  The past scares me as much as it fascinates me, so even though the middle ages seem like fun, they really weren't.  It would be nice to peek into the future, as long as I have a way of getting back to where I am.  In space and time, there really is no place like home.

 

F E A T U R E D   F I C
| C R I M S O N   Q U I L L |

@Crimson Quill's novel Warpaint puts a twist on the classic high school romance between the popular hot shot and the bottom of the social ladder. Bee is well, Hogwarts' Queen Bee, surrounded by friends and everything she can imagine. Albus is the lovable chess dork you just want to wrap up in a hug and protect from everything around him. 

Written with dual narrators, readers watch Albus and Bee grow as they interact with their friends and each other. Abbi balances her two distinct narrators with amazing clarity, demonstrating her amazing ability to write both humor and angst, great dialogue and description, and create intriguing characters with multiple layers. 

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Hufflepuff House didn't hold OTMs this month, but their Spotlight on a Puff went to @sunshinedaisieswindmills!

S P O T L I G H T   O N    A    P U F F
| S U N S H I N E D A I S I E S W I N D M I L L S |

If you weren't a Hufflepuff, which House do you think would represent you best and why?

Honestly it's so hard for me to pick one because I relate so strongly to Hufflepuff, but all of the quizzes I've taken say Gryffindor. I think it fits to a point, I can certainly get a little heated about things I care about. 

What's your favourite kind of music?

Probably rock or pop, but mostly from the 70s and 80s. 

What's your favorite animal? If the zoo in your town let you name their new one, what would you name it?

SEA TURTLES. I think if I got to name one I would have to go with Allegro, because I'm lame and think ironic names are funny.

What's one fundamental ingredient for a great story, according to you?

Good, well-developed characters.

What would your ideal day be like?

I have no idea. I think it would involve the beach, people I love, a good book and some sort of crafting.

If you could go back in time and give advice to your former self, what would it be?

See a counselor and get your depression treated. Life sucks right now but doesn't have to.

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Ravenclaw's Claw of the Month was @crowsb4bros and Story of the Month was Saboteurs (M) by @Aphoride! We're lucky enough to have interviews with both of them!

C L A W    O F    T H E    M O N T H
| C R O W S B 4 B R O S |

What is a “stereotypical” Ravenclaw thing you do a lot?

I hoard planners, notebooks, and stationary supplies. I have four 2019 planners that I've purchased myself knowing full and well that I had others already. Full call out because I know I'm not the only Claw that does this! 😛 

Do you prefer writing on pen and paper or typing? Why?

Words flow more easily on paper, but I use my computer because it's easier to organize my thoughts and edit. I buy these $4 hardcover sketchbooks at walmart and fill them with character notes for easy access though! It really helps me nail my original fiction characters! 

If you could trade places with any character in the wizarding world, who would it be and why?

I think I'd want to be Viktor Krum. Internationally revered? check. Dated Hermione Granger? check. Briefly had a shark head? check. 

What is currently in your TBR book pile?

There's a book coming out called The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen that will be amazing. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is up there! I'm downloading The Field Guide to North American Monsters: Everything You Need to Know About Encountering Over 100 Terrifying Creatures in the Wild by W. Haden Blackman for some research for my OF! 

What kind of progress are you looking to make on your OF A Spectral Affair this Camp JulNo? 

I have this ongoing issue where I can't write first chapters. I don't mind starting at the middle (sometimes the end) of stories I write and working myself backwards. I need to write the first like 5 chapters of my story! 

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what is one you've loved recently and why?

I love all the podcasts! I'm really enjoying Let's Talk about Myths, Baby! It's a podcast centered specifically on Greek and Roman mythology by Liv, a true mythology geek, who really breaks down the stories into both modern and historical context and make them really entertaining. It feels like if Lizzie Bennet (from LBD) hosted a mythology podcast. 

S T O R Y    O F    T H E    M O N T H 
| A P H O R I D E |

What made you decide to write a story about Percy Weasley?

I'd been reading a couple of stories on the archives about resistance during the Second Wizarding War - Nim's Out of the Shadows was one - and that had got me thinking about what people other than the Trio were doing in that time. And I started wondering about the Ministry: what was happening there? What were people doing there? Was there any kind of internal resistance? That sort of in turn led me to Percy - because we knew he worked there and pretty high up, so what was he doing? What was he thinking about everything? So it sort of came hand in hand with the general concept of it 😉 

How did you go about choosing the characters he interacts with both on the Dark side and the Order side?

The characters on the dark side were a lot more kinda random - Yaxley made sense to me because he was a Death Eater and I figured someone needed to be maintaining the Imperius curse on Pius Thicknesse, so he was a bit obvious as a major nemesis. The other resisters, though, were all pretty deliberate. I wanted to take characters who, like Percy, had perhaps been a bit badly treated - or who were typically portrayed as a bit rubbish or bad - and kinda develop them and show different sides to them. I really wanted them all to be minor characters or OCs as well, because I wanted space to do what I wanted with them, really, without having to worry about adjusting canon deaths or anything 😉 

What’s your favorite genre of novel to read and why?

It really depends on my mood? I really like reading a lot of classics, but I'm a big fan of fantasy - I'm just very picky about it 😛 Mostly, I like reading things which either make me think or feel a bit original - I hate being bored with books or feeling like I'm reading a story I've already read before. 

Got any special headcanons about Percy you’d like to talk about?

So it sort of came into being in Saboteurs (well, not yet, but it will be) and it's kinda become headcanon now for me that Percy's poly 😉 So the endgame pairing is really an endgame arrowhead with Oliver/Percy/Audrey. 

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Slytherin's Snake of the Month was @Oregonian and their story of the month was Red Flowers, Burning Winds (M) by @teh tarik!

S N A K E   O F   T H E    M O N T H 
| O R E G O N I A N |

What does story planning look like for you?

Like JKR on her famous train trip, I always have a pretty complete idea of the plot of the story before I begin to write, so I might write different sections of the story out of order because I already know the overall scheme.  It might be a story I have always wanted to tell (The Baby In The Closet; Dark Enough To See The Stars), or it may be something written to a challenge prompt.  If the latter, ("Someone dies a seemingly natural death, but a letter written by them before they die casts a different light on things") I will fill a sheet of paper with various ideas of who this person was and what might have really happened, until out of all of these random possibilities I pick out the best, most workable scenario and plot (Unexploded Bombs).   

In a multi-chapter story each chapter has its unique focus and specific function for carrying the plot forward, usually in unique settings, to be various and memorable (that is, not all the chapters take place in the Gryffindor common room or the Great Hall).  I like to have a tight story arc, so I don't make it up as I go along, to avoid seeming rambling, and I like to have a character arc (Harry is not the same at the end as he was in the beginning).  Above all, I try to write things and topics that I have not seen other people write.

Do you have story in particular that you'd like to share with everyone?

I've seen this question before -- which of my stories is the most important -- and the answer is always the same: The Baby In The Closet.  It is my longest (44,000 words, 11 chapters), covering just a couple of weeks but encompassing life-changing events.  The tone is serious throughout, involving a whole lot of research, but it is a story that I felt needed to be told.  It is a crucial turning point for Harry, a real-life process that helps to make him psychologically whole.

What's your favorite time of day to read/write?

I'm a morning person, but not one of those get-up-at-5:00-a.m.-to-write people (don't think I could do that).  Late morning and early afternoon are best.  After 5 p.m. the brain goes dead, even though the arms and legs still function.  Even with a deadline looming imminently, I just have to push the daytime chores aside to finish the story during the day -- burning the midnight oil is simply not one of the choices.

What's your favorite thing to do in the Slytherin common room?

Oh, that's hard to say -- there are so many things.  Sharing things, like life events, trials, and triumphs is so gratifying; we give each other so much support.  And the scheming and conniving when we are in competition with other Houses -- that always seemed particularly Slytherin-ish to me, though I suppose that the other Houses do it too.  And the recognition that we give to one another in the process of deciding on our House monthly and yearly awards, and in the encouragement of showering one another's stories with reviews.  So that's three things, not just one, that I like to do in the common room.  (Not to mention counting to 20 before the prefects notice 😁.)

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 Welcome to the July edition of In the Spotlight's Monthly Dilemma, where we ask a question for you to answer! Anyone who answers the question in the comments below before the 15th of next month will be entered into a drawing to win a free review!

Monthly Dilemma Winner: @just.a.willow.tree! Please PM a Prefect with where you'd like your review to be left. ^_^ 

This year, we’ve seen the release of several remakes of classic children’s films and as well as some long awaited sequels, so we want to know:

Dilemma Question: What is your favorite movie from childhood and is it still your favorite today?

 

| credits |

graphics: rumpels
draft compilation: madi
review column: rumpels
monthly dilemma: tasha
interviewers and couriers: madi, joey, rumpels, tasha

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Veritaserum27

Posted

Wow.  This blog is simply beautiful!  Great job, prefects.  The graphics in this are so original and colorful.  I adore them.

Thanks again for the Order of Merlin award.  I'm reeling from this. :wub:

Dilemma Question: What is your favorite movie from childhood and is it still your favorite today?

My answer:  The Parent Trap.  When I was a liiiiiiitle kid, I loved the original version of this, with Haley Mills.  Like, loved LOVED it.  I had every line memorized.  When I was a little older, the version with Lindsey Lohan came out, and I loved it even more!  So, I think Disney started their re-make-a-thon waaaaaay back then.  I probably wouldn't even be upset if they remade it AGAIN!

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just.a.willow.tree

Posted

I loved reading this blog post! I’m reallyy looking forward to reading ‘And All the Waves Resounded’ so I enjoyed the interview here. ❤️ And thank you for featuring me!!! I appreciate it so much. ❤️

Monthly Dilemma: I was suuuch a huge fan of animated movies when I was a kid, like one of my favorites ever was Bambi (this started when I was like five haha, but it went on for a few years). I also loved loved loved How to Train Your Dragon (when it came out) and Mulan, which are still a couple of my absolute most favorite movies today. 🥰 Clearly my tastes in movies have not grown beyond what I had in childhood hahaha.

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crowsb4bros

Posted

Another great one!

Kiki's Delivery Service was it for me! I got it when I was a kid at a garage sale of all places, rebought it on dvd when that was a thing, and I bought it again a few years ago when I lost my copy in college. It's a true comfort fic for me and reminds me of indulgent afternoons camped out in the den (hiding from chores). It's definitely still one of my favorites and I play it about once a month! 😜 

(I'm trying to talk my husband into letting me get a black cat before we move into our new house and name it Jiji. 

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