Interview with Author Karen Thrower

It is a pleasure to welcome Karen Thrower author of Curse of the Siren and the upcoming release Demons Within.


Welcome Karen to The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl and thanks so much for taking the time out your busy schedule to help us get to know you and your latest story better!

Do the names of the characters in your novel have some sort of significance or importance to you?

Demons Within was originally going to be part of an anthology where all the stories take place in Oklahoma, since all the writers that would have been contributing are from Oklahoma. The anthology never took off, but my story did. I wanted to write a western, and being from Oklahoma I had lots of things to inspire me, including real live people.

The three main characters are real people. James Masterson, is brother to famous lawman Bat Masterson (who had a TV series of his exploits!) Rose of the Cimarron and her boyfriend George ‘Bittercreak’ Newcomb were notorious robbers. So these were real people and it was a lot of fun researching them.

What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?

Being from Oklahoma I was inundated with western culture and history growing up. It’s something that comes naturally to me and I wanted to write a story that would re-introduce these lesser known characters of history.

What kind of research did you have to do for the novel, series or set of stories that was different from others?

I think what was different about the research for this story was it was mainly looking up the exploits of real people and places. Logan county Oklahoma was where the first capital of Oklahoma was (Guthrie) and where the story takes places. It was very interesting seeing how much the city has changed since 1890.

I knew about Bat Masterson, but he had two other brothers who were also Federal Marshalls, James and Ed. I read about James dying in Guthrie Ok, and I started wondering if I could give him a more glorious death than tuberculous at age 39. He was famous for the Battle of Ingalls, which George Newcomb participated in and its said his girlfriend Rose helped save his life afterwards. If they encountered each other once, it could happen again and this time, things would be much different.

What makes you laugh?

Almost anything makes me laugh but what always gets a giggle out of me is my four-year-old laughing. It’s so infectious it’s hard not to be happy while hearing it.

What makes you cry?

Seeing others in pain, especially pain that could have been avoided.

What are you a fan of and is this reflected in your writing?

I am a fan of demon lore and I always wanted to really dig in and find a demon to write about. I found two that seemed to work well with the story I wanted to convey, Basmu and Naberious. They’re real demons you can look up and read about!

When will this story be available?

Demons Within will be appearing in the January 2018 edition of Broadswords and Blasters and I would be tickled if you would order a copy! They will have four issues out by this time so don’t be afraid to get them all. They have exceptional cover art and wonderful stories! Find out more at https://broadswordsandblasters.com.

Where can we find out more about your other stories?

You can keep up with up me via my author pages on Amazon.com or Goodreads.

I have some books on Amazon, paperback or Kindle including a five-book romance/fantasy series and an urban fantasy one shot, Curse Siren Rekindled, but I might write more for those characters one day.

I also have a flash piece coming out December 8th for Lonesome October Lit, ‘A Demons Favor’. It’s a new, very nice little horror webzine for poetry and flash fiction. The editors are some real stand up people so give them a look! Learn more at https://lonesomeoctoberlit.wordpress.com/

Thanks again Karen for stopping by today, I really appreciate it!

Interview with a Fangirl: 2TimesMum

I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!

2TimesMum with members of The Ghost Crew at Star Wars Celebration Europe in 2016

2TimesMum with members of The Ghost Crew at Star Wars Celebration Europe in 2016


Today, it is my pleasure to interview Fangirl 2TimesMum, who is a 40 year old mother living in Belgium that happens to love Star Wars!

I became aware of 2TimesMum through the Fangirls Going Rogue Podcast Twitter Community and I had the honor of meeting her in person while attending Star Wars Celebration Europe in London in 2016! 

Welcome 2TimesMum to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.

When do you realize you were a Fangirl?

I love Star Wars from the very first time I saw it as a little girl. We rewatched the original trilogy again and again throughout my childhood. I also loved seeing the prequels on the big screen on every opening night and bought them when they got released. But it wasn’t until my children got interested about a new upcoming show in 2014, everything got so much more intense! Yes, I am talking about Star Wars Rebels.
It was the first Star Wars they saw and they were blown away by it! They wanted to know more about this galaxy and I was very happy to be able to introduce them to it. As their interest got bigger, I got more involved as well. Reading the books, keeping up to date with all the news, listening to podcasts, joining the Belgian Star Wars fanclub TeeKay-421, trying to make a Mandalorian armor, going to Celebration London, … it all started with Rebels for us. Watching that show together with my son and daughter, means the world to me!

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Even though I really dislike the enormous amount of negativity, the lack of empathy & respect, a whole new world opened up for me by joining twitter. I love seeing tweets from families that share Star Wars with one another, just like we do. I love seeing fanart of the characters we adore. I love reading people’s thoughts on past or future episodes. I love hearing podcasts that express a positive message to the Star Wars community and I love getting all excited together with the rest of the fans when we get new Star Wars! I love being able to interact with other Star Wars fans all around the world, something I’m not really good at in real life.

When did you first see Star Wars or other favorite fandom, such as Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

I remember my brothers rented the VHS tape of A New Hope in the mid eighties. We knew nothing about it before we started watching. We were so excited afterwards! It was the first time I saw a girl kicking ass! To say I loved that, would be a huge understatement.

What have you learned from the Star Wars fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?

Despite the negativity I mentioned earlier, there are a LOT more positive things in the fan community. It sometimes feels like a family sticking up for one another and brightening one’s day when someone’s feeling down. It is also so much fun to be able to show my appreciation to the people that help making new Star Wars. Those are little things but I believe they can make a big difference! I think we all should do that more often.

What else do you Fangirl about?

Oh, I like other things but nothing comes close to what Star Wars makes me feel. There is no competition out there for me. That is because my love for Star Wars is intertwined with my life and my children.

Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?

I’ll tell you what I would say to little me back in the eigthies: don’t hold back on what you love. Always respect people who don’t love the same thing you do. Do not be scared of letting the world know what excites you. There are others like you out there. You are not alone and gender or anything else for that matter does not define the right to be a fan or not. Love what you love to the fullest!

Where can others interact with you?

You can find me on twitter: @2times_mum

Interview with Adam Bray about Ultimate Marvel

The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Adam Bray to talk about his latest project for DK Books, Ultimate Marvel.

Adam Bray at Motor City Comic Con in 2016

Adam Bray at Motor City Comic Con in 2016

  
Welcome Adam to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions about the recently released, Ultimate Marvel!

 
What interested you most about working on this project in comparison to working on other DK Projects?

It’s always fun to work on something new and different. This is my second Marvel book. It takes an exhaustive look at the entire library of Marvel comics and characters, so it was a chance to explore all of canon and learn a lot. It’s also nice to work on these big books because it means I’m guaranteed to have work for a good chunk of the year without having to hunt for new projects!

 
I was very surprised that this reference book was only references the comics and not the MCU Movies and TV shows. Was this always intended or did this come up during the process?

It was always planned to only cover comics in this book. I don’t think DK has published any books about the movies or TV shows yet, but hopefully they will some day. However, I did make sure we added characters from the Agents of Shield series to this book, since they have appeared in recent comics, and I am a big fan of the TV show!

 

Key Moment spread from Ultimate Marvel image via DK Books

Key Moment spread from Ultimate Marvel image via DK Books


 
What areas of this book did you work on?

With such a big book, I think all 4 of us contributing authors worked on a wide selection of characters, locations, weapons, technology and other items. I wrote sections about the Avengers and core characters like Ant-Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, all things Spider-Man (apart from his main character entry, which was written in-house at DK as the original sample spread) and Daredevil. And of course I’m a fan of the Netflix series and the Avengers movies, so it is fun and interesting to compare how the comics differ from the MCU. In total, I think I wrote around 42 spreads, which is 84 pages, if I remember correctly. There was so much material to write that I spent several months writing 7 days a week from the time I got up till the time I went to bed! And then another couple of months working on daily batches of image captions, diagrams and text revisions or additions.

 
What is your favorite entry within this book and why?

That’s hard to say because there are so many—and partly because I can’t remember everything I wrote! Captain America and Spider-Man are among my favorite characters so I really enjoyed working on all the spreads related to them. But I also like working on characters that I’m not familiar with so I can learn something new.

 

Example from Weapons And Technology section image from DK Books

Example from Weapons And Technology section image from DK Books


 
What approach did you take when researching this book? Did you need to reference original comics for this? If so which ones did you need to refer to the most?

Writing a book like this is really more like running a marathon. It’s all about staying on schedule and completing a substantial amount of work every day. Each day I had to write an average of 1500-2000 words, and all of it had to be researched that same day. I consulted a wide variety of things—particularly DK’s own Marvel reference books, as well as online Marvel Wikis and fan sites for cross-checking and tracking down sources. I used Marvel Unlimited’s online comics library and occasionally retail sites to check dates and issue numbers. Throughout the book we have Key Moments spreads that cover important stories in the timeline. This required me to sit down and read whole mini-series for particular Captain America and Spider-Man story arcs.

 
What is your favorite character or section to work on and why?

I like Spider-Man because he’s definitely Marvel’s most relatable, every-day human character, despite his amazing powers. Also Captain America is a good old-fashioned patriotic hero; an archetype that’s maybe even fallen out of fashion in our contemporary pop-culture.

 
Did you learn anything new by working on this project?

I learned so much! The thing about Marvel is we are approaching a century of comic book history. It’s impossible for any fan to know everything—maybe even impossible to know everything about some of the long-running characters themselves. So much of the material is actually new information to me too! And that’s one of the most rewarding thing about writing—is the ability to learn along the way—and something I strive to do no matter what the subject matter is.

 
Is there anything else you would like to share about Ultimate Marvel?

What sets this book apart is that it covers everything in chronological order, as the characters, locations, weapons and technology were introduced in publishing. And the book is full of timelines. So it gives fans a very good picture of how everything fits together and when events occurred.

 
Where can fans find you?

The best place to find me is on Twitter and Facebook: @AuthorAdamBray. I also have a website at www.AdamBray.com, though it’s a bit out-of-date at the moment.

 
Thanks again Adam for a wonderful interview! 

Ultimate Marvel is the definitive in-world guide to the Marvel Comics Universe featuring, in chronological order, every significant Marvel Comic character, location, vehicle, and weapon in the company’s history. This reference book is available through the following online retail sites: DK Books UK, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, BN.com, Books A Million, Indie Bound, Indigo, McNally Robinson, Waterstones.

Interview With A Fangirl: Alexina

I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!

Today, it is my pleasure to interview Fangirl Alexina Duncan, who is a freelance costumier and part-time space general based in London and working in the UK film industry England.

I became aware of Alexina through a recent Future of the Force interview about her costuming efforts, especially the Hera cosplay she did at Star Wars Celebration Orlando in April 2017.

Welcome Alexina to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.

When do you realize you were a Fangirl?

I’m not sure when I would say I had that dawning realization – it’s always been a part of who I am. I was raised on a steady diet of science fiction from birth – books, films and tv mostly. Eventually I went on to discover videogames and comics on my own, which I then fed back and shared with my mum. We are in an endless, self-perpetuating nerd culture cycle!

I guess around 2000 or 2001 was when I became a fangirl. That was when I got online, discovered fangroups and fansites, message boards and mailing lists and – most of all – fanfic. I had always shared things with people in real life, written my own little stories, but that’s when I became aware that this was a wider, shared thing.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Fandom social media is just incredible. And awful! For me the positivies far outweight the negatives. I’m a naturally solitary person who works long, difficult hours whilst managing my chronic illness. Over the years, that’s led to a lot of lost friends and isolation, but social media allows me to maintain a sense of community, to meet like minded people from all over the world, and maintain frienships that would risk fading because of schedule or distance. Particularly over the last year where I have tried to push myself and have started interacting with the cosplay and costuming community I have really felt, for the first time in a long long time, like I am actually a part of something. I have been in fandom for a long time but now I am finally in a community and it overwhelms and delights me nearly every day.

When did you first see Star Wars or other favorite fandom, such as Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

My first or second memory is of me explaining the Empire Strikes Back to my dad when I was two or three, so it has always been a vital part of my life that has guided and influenced me. Star Trek was equally a crucial part of my childhood, and I’ve found it fascinating how my response to these films and shows has shifted, my perceptions of stories and characters hve evolved as I have developed and grown. Doctor Who was also a vital part of my childhood, though I have to live forever alone with my non-canon favourite Doctor (Peter Cushing in the two Doctor Who movies!) The list of fan favourites that have always been a core part of my life is long. I grew up in the ‘90’s which was such a wonderful golden age for these fan favourites, and I was so lucky to have a mother that shared them with me and still shares and loves them. Not only that, but to have so many wonderful women in genre to look up to and aspire to – Leia, Padme, Aeryn, Sam Carter, Janeway, B’Elanna…I’m always grateful for them.

What have you learned from the Star Wars fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?

It’s a gathering place, essentially. Somewhere were this community can meet and flourish and evolve. It’s a platform for those who would never otherwise have a voice; a way for people to meet and share and bond that would never otherwise meet. By being involved in online fandom I hear points of views that I would never have considered. It enriches and expands the fandom, and I’m educated every day.

The sheer amount of creativity on display everyday, whether in art, fic, cosplay, meta or just the beautiful rambling conversations that grow out of a tiny idle critique of comic art into what you could call an exploration of the female gaze that led to beautiful fanart. There is so much talent in fandom and there is a level of feedback and collaboration. Venturing into the cosplay side of fandom in the last year, I have had the warmest and most incredible welcome. The level of support and interest in my work is overwhelming, which I then get the opportunity to give back to the community by offering advice and techniques to others. Heras helping Heras. The work and resources that are available and shared is invaluable.

What else do you Fangirl about?

My biggest passion is costume – it’s my life, my work, my hobby. I have a degree in costume and have been working in the industry for seven years. 98% of the time I will be shouting about some minor costume detail (whether its right or wrong!) on screen and that will be my way into a story or character. Somehow, for some reason, I have only started cosplaying in this past year. I think because costume was this external tool that I applied to others and translated. Costume is the ultimate storytelling devise. Even if you don’t notice the costumes (for instance, consider George Lucas insisting that the costumes in the original Star Wars be ‘invisible’) they are working hard to tell you everything that you need to know. History, character and hints towards the narrative to unfold. They’re always there in the colours, the silhouette.

Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?

Being a fangirl isn’t about labels. It isn’t about doing things right, being a ‘one true fan’. It’s about loving what you loving and sharing that, letting that passion grow in whatever works for you. It’s about not blindly loving something but being open to critiquing your darlings, expect more more and allowing others to let their voices be heard. We deserve the very best stories. Fan communities gather out of a need to celebrate a story or a character and it is very easy to get bogged down in maudlin, self-defeating cynicism. We are all guilty of it – I am especially guilty of it! Sometimes we need to stop and just remember why we’re here and where fandom has led us.

What cool things are you doing?

I cosplay as a part of the Rebel Legion Elstree Base, primarly as the best pilot in the galaxy, Hera Syndulla. I also write essays critiquing and analysing costume on screen and will shortly be starting my Masters in Fashion Cultures.

Where can others interact with you?

You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr at @xenadd and @poetryincostume, on Instagram as @poetryincostume, or on my blog poetryincostume.com

Adventures During Force Friday II 

Today is Force Friday II and I spent most of my day looking and buying some of the new Star Wars merchandise.

A Quick Morning Stop!

A few of the new Star Wars Figures available at my local Meijer

A few of the new Star Wars Figures available at my local Meijer

Since I had to work today I was not able to go to any of the Force Friday II midnight opening events. However, I was able to stop by my local Meijer on the way to the office. This store was in the process of setting things up for Force Friday II. Fortunately, they did put out a few of the action figures so I was able to score a Black Series Thrawn, Jedi Traninee Rey and Hera Syndulla!

Morning spoils!

Morning spoils!


Afternoon Adventures: At The Mall

Fortunately, the office closed early for the holiday and I was able to do some looking and shopping at a mall near my office. My first stop was a quick stop at The Disney Store since this was the closest to my office. This had the appropriate atmosphere for buying Star Wars merchandise including a video screen playing Star Wars scenes and clips, tracks from the Star Wars soundtracks and demonstrations by the staff showing the new mechandise to younglings! It is here that I bought my first Porg, a very soft PLUSHIE, a Die Cast Rey figure and the Die Cast droid gift pack on clearance! I also received a bonus, a set of the new The Last Jedi posters!

Afternoon Spoils at The Disney Store!

Afternoon Spoils at The Disney Store!

Next I decided to make a quick stop by there was The Lego Store, since this was only a couple of doors down from The Disney Store. I personally did not see much in the way of new merchandise that I wanted to buy. However, I saw a few displays that interested me including a display of The Phantom II from Star Wars Rebels, The Arrowhead from The Freemaker Adventures and a huge Millennium Falcoln!

Some of the displays in The Lego Store

Some of the displays in The Lego Store


The last stop at the mall was at The Apple Store.  Here I saw the new app enabled droids including BB-9E and R2-D2.  There was also a STEM learning opportunity where they presented a class for kids on how to program these droids using coding techniques! 

Droids and Demos at The Apple Store

Droids and Demos at The Apple Store

Evening Stops

After dinner with my family, I made two additional stops to check out what other new Star Wars merchandise is available!  I first made my way to Target where I found lots of new merchandise available! There was so much I could not decide what to buy with my limited budget. I bought the new Forces of Destiny Sabine figure, a Rose figure and a few Star Wars items to give my hubby for his upcoming Birthday.  

So much Star Wars goodness can be found at Target

So much Star Wars goodness can be found at Target

My final stop of the day was at Walmart! Since I already spent my budget at the other stores, I did not buy anything here.  However, this did not prevent me from looking and adding new items to my list once I save a little. What I found while looking around was more new merchandise including some exclusives not found at other retailers.  

Lots of stuff available at Walmart

Lots of stuff available at Walmart

Well that was how I spent Force Friday II.  So how did you spend your Force Friday? Which retailers did you go to? What did you buy?

Interview with a Fangirl: Allyson 

I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!

Today, it is my pleasure to interview Fangirl Allyson Gronowitz, who is a freelance entertainment journalist living in Los Angeles.

Allyson as Ahsoka Tano with Captain Rex

Allyson as Ahsoka Tano with Captain Rex


I became aware of Allyson through her articles on websites, such as The Mary Sue and many others.

Welcome Allyson to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.

When do you realize you were a Fangirl?

Way before being a fangirl was considered in any way cool. When I was younger, I viewed my fandom as a sort of “guilty pleasure” – a place I would escape to when I didn’t feel like dealing with real people in the real world. It was like I had two lives: my creative, online, fandom life, and my real life. Later on, I realized how impactful my fandom life was on my development as a thinking, feeling, morally conscious and existentially-minded human. And I realized that I shouldn’t be embarrassed about my intensity and my enthusiasm. Nowadays, I embrace my identity as a fangirl with pride.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

I feel weird saying this, but I have had nothing but positive experiences with social media. Harry Potter fan forums were my jam in middle school, and I spent hours upon hours engaging in analyses, debates, discussions, and RPGs, while also reading and writing a ton of fanfic. These fansites challenged me intellectually and undoubtedly paved the way for my writing career – I was practicing pop culture criticism at a young age without even knowing it.

More importantly, fandom has allowed me to connect with people outside of my own personal bubble, and social media made it all possible. As an introvert, I love the way that social media allows me to make these connections in a space that feels safe to me. Thanks to earlier forms of social media, like fansites and web forums, and current ones like Twitter and Facebook, I’ve interacted with similarly passionate fans across countries, religions, and the political spectrum. Honestly, some of my most cherished friendships began on the internet through social media!

It’s funny how, for me, different forms of social media tend to reflect my different fandoms. My Harry Potter fandom was mostly confined to discussion boards and fan sites, as I mentioned before. I joined Tumblr for the Sherlock and Doctor Who fandoms. I originally joined Twitter to rant about hockey with fellow New York Rangers fans – and as my favorite players were traded away to different teams, I broadened my bubble to include fans of other NHL teams. Currently, my Twitter account is very, very Star Wars-centric, as you may have noticed…

When did you first see Star Wars or other favorite fandom, such as Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

Harry Potter was my first love and probably will always be my deepest. I like to tell people that Harry Potter didn’t change my life, it shaped my life. I’m a millennial, and a huge book nerd, so my life has essentially been defined by different Harry Potter milestones.

I have a slightly more meandering Star Wars history (herstory?). My father, the alpha nerd of the family, exposed me to Star Wars at a pretty early age, and I distinctly remember dressing up as Princess Leia for the Jewish holiday of Purim sometime in the late ‘90s. But it was the release of the prequels that served as my gateway to the Star Wars universe. The original trilogy felt too old-school to me… but the prequels finally gave me a Star Wars trilogy of my own. My Star Wars fandom peaked during this time – at one point I insisted on having a dress-up, ice skating birthday party, which I attended in full Queen Amidala regalia. I also tore my way through Jude Watson’s YA Jedi Apprentice book series. But after that, I became involved in other things, and I think I felt pushed away by what I perceived to be widespread antipathy towards the Star Wars prequels.

It was probably the excitement for a female-led, J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars movie that brought me back. Binge-watching The Clone Wars soon after that certainly helped as well. Finally, I felt that Star Wars was for me again.

What have you learned from the Star Wars fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?

First of all, I learned that I’m not the only one who appreciates the Star Wars prequels! I can’t tell you how much of a relief that was for me. I thought I was a culture deviant or something. And on that note, I learned that there are so many different types of fans out there, and everyone brings something unique to the table. I’ve made most of my friends in life through a fan community of some sort, so the positive impact on my life is almost incalculable. Also, I never would have had the guts to cosplay as Ahsoka Tano if I thought no one would recognize her. The reaction to that cosplay made me feel warm and fuzzy inside for a long, long time.

What else do you Fangirl about?

Harry Potter (#always), Sherlock seasons 1 – 3, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, The Kingkiller Chronicle, and almost anything blessed by J. J. Abrams and/or Damon Lindelof. I’m also a big hockey fan. Go Rangers!

Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?

This has been emphasized before, but don’t let anyone tell you how to be a fan! Whether you re-watch the original Star Wars trilogy every weekend and stalk your favorite SW fanfic writers, or you’ve only seen a couple episodes of The Clone Wars (or you only read fanfic!) – do what makes you happy, and be proud. There is no special prize for being the “biggest fan,” because fandom is not a competition. If you think it is, you’re probably missing the point of fandom. I have to tell myself this every day, when I hear about some Star Wars comic I’ve never read or some collectible I don’t (yet) own and feel like I’m not doing enough to let my geek flag fly. In fact, this is precisely why I took on the Twitter handle “The Fake Fangirl” – like Batman, I embraced a title that exposes my fear (being called “a fake fan”), and in doing so, I’m making it my strength.

Where can readers find out more about you?

You can read some of clips of my articles over at my website, www.allysongronowitz.net or on my blog, The Fake Fangirl, where I overanalyze time travel stories. You can also hit me up on Twitter @TheFakeFangirl or on Tumblr at http://www.thefakefangirl.tumblr.com.

Interview with a Fangirl: Kelly from Team Ahsoka

I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!

Today, it is my pleasure to interview Fangirl Kelly McGuire, who is freelance translator by day and a hopeless nerd by night. Hailing from the tiny nation of Gibraltar, she now lives in the Netherlands and spends nearly every waking moment thinking about, tweeting about, or blogging about that galaxy far, far away. Or serving her feline overlords.


I became aware of Kelly through her Team Ahsoka Blog and of course her very active Twitter account, TeamAhsoka!

Welcome Kelly to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.

When do you realize you were a Fangirl?

I guess I’ve always been a fangirl at heart but it wasn’t until my late teens – when the Internet really took off – that I started following fandom news closely and started visiting websites and message boards to see what other fans had to say.

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Trolls and all-too-frequent fandom dramas aside, I’m extremely grateful for social media. I’ve met a lot of enthusiastic, kind, creative, and talented people from all around the world and have spent countless hours discussing the finer points of Force lore, promoting my Team Ahsoka articles, sharing fan art, chuckling at memes, admiring cosplayers’ handiwork, and conveying my thoughts through well-chosen GIFs.

Social media may not do much for my overall productivity but the people I’ve met through Twitter more than make up for it.

When did you first see Star Wars or other favorite fandom, such as Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

I can’t really pinpoint when I was first introduced to Star Wars. It must have been sometime in the 1980s, when the Original Trilogy was out on VHS. Admittedly, I don’t remember much about my first viewing of A New Hope, but I do remember being very taken by Darth Vader. I was hooked from the moment he walked onto the Tantive IV and while most female fans my age were drawn to Princess Leia or Han Solo, I was smitten with the Dark Lord of the Sith. I was an odd kid.

Since I never delved into the Expanded Universe (or Legends as it’s called today), my love for Star Wars didn’t really blossom until the release of the prequels. I’ll admit I wasn’t particularly impressed with The Phantom Menace when it first came out (I’ve changed my mind about it since then) but I was back on board the Star Wars hype train in time for Attack of the Clones… and have been a pretty devoted fan ever since.

What have you learned from the Star Wars fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?

One of the key things I’ve learnt – and one I wish I could tell my younger self about – is that there’s a community of like-minded fans out there who will support you and geek out with you when you’re feeling down. I’ve seen how people are always willing to lend a helping hand, whether it’s offering cosplay advice, helping them secure tickets for conventions, or simply supporting them through life’s ups and downs. And, thanks to the Internet, this community is even closer than you think.

As a female Star Wars fan from a tiny nation of only 30,000 people, there were times when I felt quite lonely, especially as a teenager at an all-female school. My peers were more interested in discussing boy bands than Max Rebo bands and very few of them played video games, so I didn’t really have anyone I could geek out with.

Nowadays, not a day goes by when I don’t chat with a friend I’ve met through social media and I often think back to that amazing weekend I had at Star Wars Celebration 2016 in London, where I was finally amongst “my people”.

What else do you Fangirl about?

Anyone who knows me well will know I’m somewhat obsessed with the Tomb Raider video game series (and its spin-off media), South Park, and Star Trek, particularly Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and the criminally underappreciated Enterprise.

I’m also a bit of an anime nerd and am always on the lookout for new series to watch. I used to watch series like Naruto and Bleach religiously a few years ago but I tend to favour the so-called “slice of life” series, such as Genshiken, Azumanga Daioh, and Himouto! Umaru-chan (its protagonist is my kindred spirit).

Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?

Never let anyone dictate what you’re allowed to enjoy. Beware the fandom gate-keepers and those who try to gauge if you’re a “true fan” (a term that really should be dumped in the nearest trash compactor).

And if you ever feel like you’re alone and don’t know anyone nearby who shares your hobbies and interests, jump onto Twitter. You’ll find plenty of other fangirls there who will happily nerd out with you. 😊

How can readers find and interact with you?

You can find me on Twitter (@TeamAhsoka), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TeamAhsoka), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/teamahsoka/), or over on my blog Team Ahsoka.

Guest Post: Why Representation, Diversity, and Inclusion Matter To Me

The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes fellow Fangirl Connie Shih as a guest blogger to talk about why representation, diversity and inclusion matters!

Take it away Connie!

Patty, thank you so much for the opportunity to write a guest today!

Why Representation, Diversity, and Inclusion Matter To Me: Having a Seat at the Table an editorial by Connie Shih

Representation, diversity, and inclusion have come to the forefront in recent years as hot topics in pop culture, fandom and society at large. They are multi-faceted, complex topics influenced by a number of factors including background, race and ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Depending on one’s perspective, representation and diversity are either championed or derided as being too political.

In the pop culture realm, discussion and debate surrounding representation and diversity have intensified this summer with the record-breaking box office success of Wonder Woman, the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th (and first female) Doctor in Doctor Who, the diverse cast of Star Trek: Discovery, and the debut of the new Star Wars: Forces of Destiny animated shorts (with accompanying Hasbro adventure figure merchandise). Although welcomed and embraced by many, there has also been vocal and considerable pushback by some who believe that the spotlight on representation and diversity has detracted from the love of THEIR TV show or film franchise. These detractors perceive that inclusion is used to gate keep entry into fandom and franchise, and believe that representation and diversity do not matter.

In this guest editorial, I would like to provide a counterpoint to the belief that representation and diversity do not matter by sharing my story and perspective as a 42-year-old Asian-American woman with cerebral palsy who has loved the science-fiction / fantasy genre for 34 years. My intent is not to change minds, but rather invite readers to step out their own perspectives for a moment and consider things from a different point of view.

Having a Seat at the Table
Growing up in the 1980s, my two primary science-fiction / fantasy staples were Star Trek and Star Wars. I was first introduced to Star Wars as an 8-year-old with Return of the Jedi and to Star Trek as an 11-year-old with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Those two films were my entry points into both these long running franchises and in both cases I became an instant fan. The United Federation of Planets and A Galaxy Far, Far, Away captivated me and I wanted to absorb everything about them. My favorite characters from each of these franchises, at the time, were Nyota Uhura and Hikaru Sulu from Star Trek, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. I was drawn to them all because I saw a bit of myself in all four characters: Uhura (female linguist and communications officer), Sulu (Asian helmsman), Princess Leia (empowering, take charge princess), and Luke (hero with unwavering belief in his father). In each of these characters, I saw a trait that I could relate to, or someone who I aspired to be.

As the Star Trek franchise continued with TV series The Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine, my favorite characters were Dr. Beverly Crusher, Geordi La Forge, Keiko O’Brien, and Harry Kim. Once again, I saw a bit of myself represented in each of them, especially with Geordi. I think it was the first time I saw a character with a disability (blindness) in Star Trek. It was incredibly inspiring for me to watch his progress from helmsman to chief engineer of the Enterprise. All of these characters represented my seat the table.

Does that mean I didn’t like or identify with other characters within these franchises? No, of course not. In the Star Trek franchise, I liked many different characters based on their traits and story. For example, I liked Dr. McCoy for his southern gentility, wit, and sarcasm just as much as I liked Guinan for her wisdom. Seeing representation on screen added additional layers of relatability and personal investment to the story and franchise. When I do not see myself represented, I feel like an outsider looking in to a certain extent. Recently, I was struck by a quote from Dr. Mae Jemison (lifelong Star Trek fan and NASA astronaut) to Nichelle Nichols at the recent Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. Jemison thanked Nichols for being an inspiration and went on to say “You gave me and others permission to be in the room.” Think about that for a moment. Seeing Uhura on TV gave Jemison permission to be in the room. I was incredibly moved by her comment because I felt the same seeing my aforementioned favorite characters on TV and on the big screen.

Dr. Mae Jemison and Nichelle Nichols Credit: Star Trek.com

Dr. Mae Jemison and Nichelle Nichols Credit: Star Trek.com

Bullied for Being a Fan
As much I loved Star Wars and Star Trek growing up, I mostly kept my love for Star Wars hidden from others until my mid-teens and early twenties. Why? Because I was bullied as a child (both verbally and physically) on more than one than occasion when attempting to share my love of this franchise with other kids. “You like Star Wars? You cripple. Don’t you know that Star Wars is for boys?” “Oh, you like Star Wars? Prove it. *proceeds with a litany of questions*” “Star Wars is for boys, not girls. You’re Chinese! Star Wars isn’t for you anyways. Go away!”

As a young girl, these questions stung like being swarmed by wasps. I cried myself to sleep several times. I just wanted to connect with other kids and didn’t understand why they were being so mean. My parents, bless them, tried to soothe me the best they could. They told me that I still had my imagination and the ability write and draw, so I should keep Star Wars to myself and have fun. I didn’t have Star Wars toys at the time, so I acted out scenes from Return the Jedi with my Barbie and Ken dolls, pretending they were Leia and Luke, respectively.

I also hid my love for Star Trek because there weren’t kids my age who liked it and I was already bullied for Star Wars, so why even ask? It was pointless and I did not want to be subjected to another round of heartbreak. It was not until several years later that I came out of hiding with Star Trek and Star Wars. One of my father’s work colleagues had a daughter ten years older than I. Despite our age difference, we had so many life circumstances in common including a love of Star Wars and Star Trek. I can’t tell you how genuinely happy I was to discover another girl who loved both of these franchises much as I did. The floodgates opened and we chatted for hours, talking nonstop about Luke, Leia, and Han and Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov. That was 30 years ago. We remain close friends to this day and still go to see Star Wars and Star Trek movies together. I consider her a science fiction / fantasy kindred spirit and I have her to thank for introducing me to other awesome franchises, such as Doctor Who, Babylon 5, and Stargate SG-1.

Being a Fan in the Present Day
Much has changed for the better over the past 30 years, especially for the Star Wars franchise. There are now also so many more entry points for fans of all ages to experience Star Wars across multiple mediums (film, animated series, books, comics, video games, virtual reality, and theme parks). Along those lines, I have to say it has been fantastic to witness the number of diverse characters grow exponentially, particularly with female characters. Star Wars now includes Padmé Amidala, Shmi Skywalker Lars, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Maz Kanata, Satine Kryze, Bo Katan, Steela Gerrera, Korr Sella, Greer Sonnel, Hera Syndulla, Asajj Ventress, Sabine Wren, Ursa Wren, Norra Wexley, Shara Bey, Jyn Erso, Lyra Erso, the Nightsisters, Captain Phasma, Mother Talzin, Dr. Aphra, Ciena Ree, Rae Slone, Arihnda Pryce, Iden Versio, Rose Tico, Amilyn Holdo, and Kordi Freemaker. While their stories have been told (or will be told) in varying degrees, each of these female characters have been introduced in a medium. To say that I am thrilled is an understatement. In addition to female characters, there have been recent attempts to ethnically diversify with Finn, Poe Dameron, Saw Gerrera, Bodhi Rook, Cassian Andor, Baze Malbus, and Chirrut Îmwe. Of these characters, as a disabled Asian American, I connected to Chirrut Îmwe the most because it was refreshing to see an Asian character who wasn’t stereotypically portrayed as a villain and also overcame his blindness. There are now so many more seats at the table and I hope the trend continues because the galaxy is vast with infinite possibilities to tell stories from different perspectives.

As geekdom has become mainstream, it is easier for female fans to openly embrace their love of the science fiction / fantasy genre. While bullying and discrimination still exist, we no longer have to hide in shadows. I’m delighted there are companies and online communities such as Ashley Eckstein’s Her Universe (geek fashion) and Jamie Broadnax’s Black Girls Nerds that are thriving because they create spaces where all female fans can connect, step into the spotlight and be proud of their inner geek / nerd. There is also much more merchandise available for fans of all ages to purchase and enjoy. Collectibles, toys and games, action and adventure figures, kitchenware, bedding – all come branded with one’s favorite franchise. While the merchandise was prevalent when I was a kid, it is everywhere now. It’s a wonderful time to be a fan!

Into the Future
The futures of both Star Trek and Star Wars are bright with exciting, each with new projects on the horizon. In addition, both recently celebrated milestone anniversaries with Star Trek turning 50 last year, and Star Wars turning 40 this year. I consider both to be legacy franchises as the love for them has been generational. At the same time, we have started to see both (particularly Star Wars) evolve to reflect the society and times they reside in. As author John Knowles said, “Everything has to evolve or else it perishes.” I view representation, diversity, and inclusion (both on screen and off screen) as integral to this evolution, and believe that these three will help both Star Trek and Star Wars continue to stand the test of time. They have the potential to the present new stories to keep things fresh while still retaining the core characteristics of what makes the respective franchises appealing. Potential is the keyword because I acknowledge that representation, diversity, and inclusion alone cannot exist in a vacuum. Ideally, they should be coupled with quality storytelling that resonate with the audience and fans. This is something that the entertainment industry as a whole is currently struggling with, and is subject that is worth exploring in a separate article. Overall, representation, diversity, and inclusion DO matter to me because I believe that everyone has a voice, has the right to be in the room, and has a seat at the table.

If you have read this far, I want thank EACH of you for allowing me to share my personal perspective of why representation, diversity, and inclusion matter. I welcome all perspectives and the chance to dialogue with fellow fans. If you would like to reach out, please feel free to reach me at my twitter handle @connieshih. Live Long and Prosper and May the Force Be With You!

Some items of interest for further reading, listening, and viewing:
• Listen: Beltway Banthas podcast: Episode #36: Race, Representation, and Reconciliation
• Watch: Dave Filoni Speaks at the National Center for Women & Information Technology
• Read: Netflix Talks Diversity and Representation With #FirstTimeISawMe
• Read: Are We as Inclusive As We Believe We Are in Fan Culture?
• Read: Dear Hollywood: Five lessons we hope you learned from the success of ‘Wonder Woman’
• Read: Diversity in Movies Largely Unchanged Despite Increased Awareness, Study Finds

Connie Shih is a graduate student and teacher who loves astronomy and music, is an avid reader, and is a science fiction / fantasy nerd who loves Star Wars and Star Trek. She can be reached at her twitter handle @connieshih.

Interview with a Fangirl: Sophie

I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!

Today, it is my pleasure to interview fellow fangirl, Sophie Lawrence, who writes and podcasts about Star Wars, especially the Legends stories, for a variety of outlets.


I became aware of Sophie through Far Far Away Radio and of course through her posts on twitter account, @shlawrence12.

Welcome Sophie to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.

When did you realise that you were a fangirl?

I think I have been a geek all my life, but it developed into something much more defining when I decided to set up my blog Outer Rim Reviews last year. I realised that I had so much to say about Star Wars and the books that I loved, that I needed a platform to express that love and wasn’t just content with reading the books by myself! From there, I have started a podcast Bright Tree Radio with my husband, and I write blog posts for Far Far Away Radio – I basically just can’t stop talking about Star Wars!

How has social media helped or hindered you?

Social media has been a massive help to me. Without it, there would be no way people would read my blog or listen to the podcast. There is something really special about knowing that people are reading what you have written and that you aren’t simply throwing words out into ‘the void’ so to speak! Not only that, I have met some wonderful people online and developed some great friendships. For so long I had been geeking out by myself so it’s been absolutely wonderful to talk to people who are just as passionate about Star Wars as me!

When did you first see Star Wars or other favourite fandom such as Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, etc and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

I actually don’t remember the first time I saw Star Wars, I was introduced to it so young it’s always been part of my life I can however clearly remember having pretend lightsaber fights with my brother in the garden (I was always Luke!). I also grew up watching Star Trek Voyager, and with hindsight I suspect Captain Janeway was a key factor in my love of strong ladies bossing it in space!

What have you learned from the Star Wars fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?

I’m still relatively new to the community as I’ve only really been ‘active’ since the beginning of the year, so I think I am learning every day! I think I’ve learned that there is not only a fantastic community of fans out there, but particularly fangirls. The Star Wars fangirls are some of the most passionate and driven women I’ve had the pleasure to interact with and I find them all so inspirational. Not only that, but these fangirls are so encouraging and supportive of each other it’s amazing!

What else do you fangirl about?

I fangirl about a lot of things! I often think that Star Wars is part of my soul, and if that’s the case then I would say that my heart belongs to Harry Potter! I am a Ravenclaw who is one with the force! I basically grew up with both and they have had a huge impact on my life. Other than that, I can also be found obsessing over Firefly, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Battlestar Galactica, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura and Final Fantasy (not necessarily in that order!)

Anything else you want to say to others about being a fangirl?

Don’t ever be ashamed of who you are! Be proud of your fandom and grab it with both hands. Life is too short to pretend to be something you’re not. And, most importantly, just have fun with it!

Where can others find and interact with you?

You can catch me on Twitter @shlawrence12. My blog where I am reviewing all the Legends novels is outerrimreviews.wordpress.com and you can find my podcast Bright Tree Radio on podbean where every few weeks we run a special ‘Ladies Night’ episode to celebrate some of the awesome ladies of Star Wars! Finally I also blog for www.farfarawayradio.com!

Interview with a Fangirl: Amy Richau

I am continuing with my series of interviews with Fangirls that I have met through social media!

Today, it is my pleasure to interview fellow fangirl, Amy Richau, who writes about her geeky obsessions, like Star Wars, for a variety of websites. I became aware of Amy through her articles at FANgirl Blog and of course through her posts on twitter account, @amyrichau.


Welcome Amy to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time to answer these questions about being a Fangirl.

When do you realize you were a Fangirl?

I think I really knew in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when I was collecting anything Star Wars related in thrift shops and antique malls. Even though there had barely been anything new Star Wars related for so long I still enjoyed having a connection to the films. I had a photo of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola in my high school locker around this time. That was a sure sign I think!

How has social media helped or hindered you?

I have mixed feelings about fandom and social media. I love to see images of artwork, get links to new articles, and get recommendations on new books, movies, and TV shows – but it’s hard to get that and also block out all the negativity. If someone writes thoughtfully about a subject I’m interested to read it, even if I might not agree with them. But so much of what I see, on twitter especially, is just trashing on things – and then people complaining about people trashing something. That kind of negativity cycle is a total turn off to me. I’m always looking for more analytical discussions of films and TV shows and less of the “hot take” type of content. I just recently started to listen to a few podcasts which I think are great opportunities to have deeper discussions and conversations.

My friends aren’t huge Star Wars fans and I have only met one person in real life that I “met” through Star Wars social media so I think it would be very fun to go to a convention that had a lot of Star Wars content to meet some of the people I have chatted with or followed online.

When did you first see Star Wars or other favorite fandom, such as Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, etc. and did you love it right away or did this grow on you over time?

I have a vague memory of seeing Star Wars in the theater in 1977, and I remember being terrified Yoda was going to hurt Luke when I first saw The Empire Strikes Back. When I saw Return of the Jedi in 1983 that was the first Star Wars film that I truly fell in love with – and it was the first film where I wanted to jump into the movie and hang out with the characters. I’ve loved Star Wars ever since.

What have you learned from the Star Wars fan community or other fan communities that has had a positive impact on your life?

I think it’s always great to hear what has inspired others in their lives. And it’s important to know that even though you might feel like you’re the only person who loves something in your small town or school that you are not alone. And that being different or loving things that are different than what your peers love is not only ok – it’s fantastic.

I felt for many years that I should hide my Star Wars fandom, in part because it wasn’t cool and in part because I was female. Even when I had the chance to work at Skywalker Ranch in their film archive for a few months right before Revenge of the Sith came out I felt like I couldn’t be honest about how much I loved the films – which seems crazy to me now. But I only interacted with a few people and some of them, believe it or not, weren’t Star Wars fans. So now pretty much nothing makes me happier than seeing women in their twenties embracing Star Wars and seeing fans of Star Wars get jobs working on Star Wars related projects.

What else do you Fangirl about?

Twin Peaks, Disney, Marvel & DC more and more. I’m also a huge classic movie fan. Oh, and I love the Denver Broncos – I can’t leave them out of any fan conversation!

Anything else you want to say to others about being a Fangirl?

It’s nice to know there are people who share my sometimes crazy obessions with geeky things!

What cool Fangirl related project or projects are you working on that you would like to share?

I am starting up a blog about classic films called See Classic Films (seeclassicfilms.com).

Where can others find and inteact with you?

You can follow me on twitter @amyrichau

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