?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Warning - many spoilers for stories in the "Adventure" series.


How did the idea for this series come about?

The original novella - "Adventure" - was published in my final fanzine, HEART AND SOUL 6.  That ended with them having bought a house with Hutch's trust fund money, and having the intention to start their own private detective agency.  From the time I finished that story, I'd felt an inclination to want to write about them in a life that away from their cop world, because I have never found the "cops and robbers" scenario to be an interesting one.  It feels stifling in a lot of ways, as well as exceedingly trite.  But since I was pretty much done with writing for SH fandom, I just never pursued the train of thought to write a sequel.  When I was in Sentinel fandom, and I would ponder ever writing a SH story again, the first thought would always be to do something with a sequel to "Adventure".  But I never seriously considered undertaking it.

When I did start writing SH again in 2011, I just intended to do a couple of short stories.  Then I did another.  After that, I finally decided to scratch the 12-year itch to see how the guys are doing, after moving into their new house together.


How did that first case plot come about for "The Sandman"?

It's based on reality, albeit a reality that took place some fifteen years later.  Once, in the 90s, when I was having new tires put on my car, I read a magazine article about a man, who went by "The Sandman", that had electrocuted top class show jumping horses for owners that wanted to collect insurance, since the horses were assumed to have died of colic when they were found dead in their stalls.  A lot of big names in the show jumping world ended up going to prison, after the FBI got involved and had convinced The Sandman to roll over on everyone.  (He rolled over because none of the people he'd killed horses for was willing to pay for his defense.)  So, I used a lot of actual details in my own story, though put my own particular spin on it, and greatly shortened the timeline.  If anyone is curious about more background, look up "The Horse Murders" on Wikipedia, and go from there.


How many sequels did you expect to do?

I had no idea.  When I wrote the first one, I was just focused on that.  But I enjoyed so much, being with the guys in their stable, happy life together, that I posted another novella less than three months later.  From there, I just kept going with it.  It seemed like there was always something more that I wanted to do with them.  When I got up to one of the longest stories, "Chaos", I felt it ended at a good spot for the series, if it turned out I didn't write anymore sequels. Though it was seven months before I posted another story, I've yet to seriously consider quitting with it.


How many stories are there?

With the one just posted, "Cycles", there's fourteen, including the original novella.  The total length is close to 3 megabytes.


That's a lot of text!

It is.  In retrospect, some of the stories, especially the earlier ones, probably could have been trimmed.  I think I ramble in a few spots.  I was enjoying being with the guys so much, and sometimes writing just to see what would happen next, that some of the scenes wander a bit.

Nevertheless, the "Adventure" series is my pride and joy.  I do love the life the guys have, and Iove writing about that life.


What do you particularly like about it?

I love their relationship, and that they put so much effort into it.  They're very heads-up about the fact that they have a healthy relationship, and that means everything to both of them.  Ironically, in their P.I. business, they deal with a lot of cheating spouse cases, which they hate doing, but that tends to continually reinforce to them how fortunate they are to be in a stable, happy situation.  They get huffy with each other at times, but they both genuinely want to work things out as quickly as possible.  The intimacy and trust is absolute.

I'm actually a very pragmatic person about relationships.  I question if human beings were ever meant to be monogamous, and I think most people are struggling for a dream that society planted in their heads that they should want and have.  I am an exceedingly self-centered person, and extremely independent, and I love my freedom from having to compromise in day to day life, or always be dealing with what somebody else wants. So, with living that reality, it's fun for me to play in a completely different situation where two people have managed to need each other in a very healthy way, because the love is so strong.  They want to share everything with each other, because they both want to always maintain the intimacy that they have.


What are the unique challenges to writing such a long serial?

The biggest overall challenge is balancing the passage of time, and the inevitable changes that brings, with wanting the guys to still be the canon characters that I and the readers fell in love with.  From the original novella, which took place after the TV series' conclusion, this fiction series nudges up against being AU.  But it isn't AU -- it's a continuation of canon, rather than a replacement for canon.  To me, that's a big difference, even though the experience of the reader might be the same for both.

So, as time moves along -- the guys are now approaching being 41yo -- I cherish anything I can do that harps back to the aired series, and reminds the reader that, yes, these are still those same characters that experienced all the events in the canon series.  In this latest story, "Cycles", I was able to do that to a small degree.


The book Starsky is writing did that in a big way.

Yes, I loved sharing chapters of the book, for the very reason of being able to tie back to canon, as well as getting Starsky's specific thoughts on some of those events.  But now Starsky is finished with the book, and pondering if and how he wants to publish it.  So, I'm not sure that I'm going to be detailing any more chapters. I'd like to think so, though I'm not sure how I would go about it.


What other challenges are there?

The same that any established relationship series has -- you don't have the first time scenario to focus a plot around.  That's all the more difficult, for this particular series, when the guys are so content together.  So, the main drama usually has to come from outside themselves.  I feel I have to keep introducing new characters, or bring back old characters, to keep them having some interesting things going on personally, as well as dealing with whatever case plot a particular story might have.  I try to plant all sorts of seeds along the way, so I have a choice of various things to deal with in a later story.  But sometimes that backfires.  I've read through some of the earlier stories, and I'll bring up some particular thing repeatedly -- like, hinting that there might be something dramatic in all the old journals kept by Hutch's relatives -- and then not ever end up doing anything with it.  In such a situation, those sterile seeds come off like bad writing.

Sometimes, by the end of a particular story, I'll realize that a seed I planted isn't going anywhere, so I can delete it before posting.  I've tried twice, in two different stories, to bring Kyeesha back -- the young college student that stayed with them for six weeks -- and both times I've deleted that scene, because I realized I didn't have anywhere to go with it.  At least, not yet.


You have been able to sustain a few long-term story arcs, that are brought up repeatedly in various stories:  Hutch's relationship with his father, the relationships with their siblings and between their siblings, and their racehorse.  Talk about them in chronological order.

I've always believed that, while Hutch probably didn't have a necessarily bad relationship with his family, I doubted it was a good relationship.  I mean, in the series, Starsky's mother is brought up a few times, by Hutch and Starsky both.  It hints that his mother was very important to him.  The only time Hutch's mother is ever mentioned is in the tag of "Murder on Stage 17", and it's a rather neutral reference.

From the time I first started writing fanfic, I've written about parents as always being the bad guys.  So, in "The Sandman", after mentioning Hutch's parents for the first time in over a dozen years since I'd written SH, I was ready to soften a bit about the subject.  Hutch has a lot of frank things to say to his father, but they do get through the heart-to-heart fairly well.  From there, in future stories, though I didn't really plan it out ahead of time, it was refreshing to write about them gradually having a closer relationship, while still not being a perfect relationship, by any means.  Of course, his dad having terminal cancer forced a timeline, but I feel good about how realistic I think it was, in terms of the progress they made, with everything still not being outright hunky dory.

As far as siblings, in the second sequel, "All Our Relations", I had Nick show up, just for them to have somebody to talk to about their relationship.  (I never tire of them telling others how great their relationship is, lol.)  I remember being into that story a certain degree, after Hutch's sister, Lanette, also visited, and thinking, "I need something to happen, rather than everybody sitting around talking."  So, in the quest for some kind drama, I had Nick and Lanette sleeping together, and Lanette overall not being the perfect sister that we see so often in fanfic.  It was refreshing to write her with a hard edge.


How has Lanette been received?

Some readers who have said anything find her a bit difficult to swallow.  I actually have a lot of compassion for her.  I see a lot of myself in her, though there's also a lot of ways where we aren't the least bit alike.  I sympathize with her having turned her anger from being dismissed (in her case, by her father), because she was a girl, and using that anger to fuel her success.  But once successful, she feels that nobody in her family really notices or cares.  Hutch is just as guilty of that.  When they see each other for the first time in many years, he's thinking in terms of her being my sister, rather than her being a successful, independent human being in her own right.  So, he (and Starsky) has quite a rude awakening when he discovers that she doesn't feel as warm and fuzzy toward him, as he wants to feel toward her.  But by the same token, she's made her own bed, so to speak, and her standoffishness tends to push others away, so she has to live with the consequences.

Nick wasn't pushed away.

No, he really does love her.  It's taken me some time to figure out what to do with those two.  I think I have a specific direction for them now, but it's always possible it could change.

Nick has become downright likeable.

I wouldn't invest so much text in him, unless he was going to be a dynamic character that changes.  I think the changes in him have been realistic, in how gradually they've come about, and the circumstances that have prompted them.

Their racehorse, Darla, was prominent for quite a few stories, but now appears to be put on the backburner.

Putting her on the backburner was deliberate.  She ended up being way more important than I ever intended. She was just supposed to be a tool to "cut away from the action" when I needed to fill time between dramatic events.  Granted, she did end up being a nice financial benefit for the guys, and I would have liked for her to race another year, but I was getting nervous about how important she had become, and Starsky was so eager when he talked about her having babies, that I was getting eager, too.  So, I wanted her to hurry-up and start having foals.

As proud as I am at the uniqueness of her story arc, I don't want the series overall to be remembered as "those stories where they have a racehorse".  I'd much prefer that it be remembered for the intense, loving relationship that the guys maintain.


Speaking of financial benefit, these guys have been well off from the start.

That was also deliberate, in the original novella.  Starsky needed time to recover from the Herpes B virus, on top of having recovered from Gunther.  While I didn't want to make the guys outright rich, I didn't want them worried about money.  Since canon dropped plenty of hints that Hutch came from "breeding", and the official novelizations stated it outright, then it follows that there's some wealth in Hutch's background.  So, I had him cashing in a trust fund that he'd initially rejected at adulthood, and that gave them enough money to be flexible about what they might do with their future.

I really do like writing them as being reasonably well off,  It's quite refreshing.  They do have financial concerns at times, but they won't ever have to worry about having a roof over their heads.


After all these stories, can you name a favorite scene or circumstance?

I can if I break them down by category.

For hurt/comfort, I don't think I've ever topped the original novella, "Adventure", when Starsky gives Hutch a bath, and then dries him and puts him to bed, when Hutch has an emotional breakdown after finding out that Starsky no longer has the virus in his system.  I love the freedom that Starsky gives Hutch to completely fall apart, because Starsky is strong enough for both of them.

For humor, I love in "All Our Relations" how exasperated Hutch is at the idea of Nick sleeping with his sister. Starsky tried to balance Hutch out by being calm about the situation, which emphasizes, all the more, how much trouble Hutch has with dealing with it.

For drama, I like in "Realignment" when Hutch is shot, while being accompanied by Nick.  I love how they're shouting at each other, because they're both traumatized.  At first, I thought that scene fell flat, and didn't turn out like I wanted.  But I've since re-read it quite a bit, and I think it works.

For warm fuzzies, I love the scene on the beach, at night, early in "Starlight".  I love the quiet conversation the guys have, and how close they feel.  I re-visited that scene in the recent story, "Cycles", and tried to recapture that feeling.

Also for warm fuzzies, in "Collage", I love when Hutch returns to the house at night, after driving off because his feelings were hurt.  He lies on the bed, next to Starsky, who is in the bed, and they have a lovely, warm conversation.  It's Hutch's way of showing that he's sticking to their agreement that they try to work out any problem between them, before bed.

For sex, I like, near the beginning of "Realignment", the scene that starts with, "Starsky knew that he was going to die."


How has the "Adventure" series been received by readers?

I think it's always had very few readers.  Not many fans are enamored of the idea of a long read, let alone a whole series of them.  There's two people that I regularly correspond with that really like the series, and another generous fan that always comments after most of the stories.  There's been two or three others in the past, but I suspect that I've lost them along the way.

The depressing thing is that, even if SH fandom was to have a big influx of new readers, this series is unlikely to see any of them.  It's quite daunting to think that one needs to read 3 megs of text, in order to catch up to where the series is currently at.

On the other hand, I heard in the past year that somebody was reading the series that I hadn't known about. Plus, when I announced the latest story, someone responded eagerly and said she really liked the series, and I'd never heard from her about it before.  In addition, an avid fan of my work, across multiple fandoms, recently told me that she re-read the whole series, while waiting for me to post something new, so that was rather uplifting.

Actually, when I stop and think about, it's kind of amazing that anybody reads it at all.  Between the length, the guys no longer being in their canon environment, and the established relationship situation... it pretty much goes against the favored criteria of most readers.


What are your plans for future stories?

For most of the series, after I'd finished one story, I was usually gungho to go right into another.  But with the last few, I've had to proactively think about what I want to happen next.  With the most recent story, I ended it on an abrupt sentence, so I would have somewhere to start for the next story.  But I have no idea what I'm going to do with the next story.  I do know of a couple of events I want to happen a year after "Cycles", but I'm not going to jump to a year later; plus, those events aren't dramatic enough to sustain an entire story. Most likely, there will be a story or two in between.

I do think if I add only one or two new stories a year, that would be a good thing.  Otherwise, the faster the years go by, the older the guys get, and, for that reason alone, the farther away they get from being the same canon characters that everyone wants to read about.

They do have a long-term goal in mind, and hope to retire in their early fifties, but while I like them having that long-term goal, I don't want them to ever actually reach it.  I don't want to be writing about them when they're fifty, because then they really would be somewhat different people, by then.  So, I hope I lose interest in writing the series, before the guys get a whole lot older.


Any other thoughts?

I just really appreciate the readers who have stuck with this series, through these fourteen installments.  And especially those who have let me know that they're out there.




This series can be found here.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 17th, 2016 10:06 pm (UTC)
Landslide
I just finished Landslide and loved it!! I have read all this series and can't stop reading ver again!! Beautifully done! I have every scene and place in my mind from one story to the next. And they remain the same to me. It's like watching a great movie in my mind. Thank you so much and. Can't wait for the saga to continue!! I've come to like Nck a lot more and love him as a dad so far. Keep up the brilliant work!! Hope it never ends!!
charlotte_frost
Apr. 18th, 2016 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: Landslide
Thank you so very much for commenting! I really appreciate it. It's so heartening to know that there's readers out there who are enjoying this series. I've certainly enjoyed writing it over the years.
riverotter1951
Apr. 26th, 2016 05:11 pm (UTC)
I enjoy this series showing what happened afterwards. You have developed a logical continuation and I look forward to each new story.
charlotte_frost
Apr. 26th, 2016 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for commenting!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )