Saturday, October 27, 2012

Possessing Freedom Blog Tour: Belinda interview

Today I'm talking with Belinda Dorio, contributor to the integrated ghost story Possessing Freedom.

Sharon: So what attracted the team to a ghost story?

Belinda: The team was drawn to a ghost story because we felt that we wanted to do something ‘paranormal’ but outside of the realm of vampires and werewolves. We knew we wanted to create panic in and around Melbourne through some sort of event or on-going issue. I believe that first we came up with the symptoms, the ‘seizure’ like episodes that plague Melbournians in Possessing Freedom. I remember we were sitting at the cafe, stroking our chins, when I imagined a ghost trying to jump into the body of a woman who was walking by. Surely such a thing wouldn’t be pleasant? Surely attempted possession would have adverse side effects on the living? – And so the ghost idea was born.
Sharon: What were some of the steps the team took to ensure consistency in characters?

Belinda: The team met fortnightly to plan/and or touch base with each other. In the meantime, we stayed in contact via a facebook group, so it was very communicative. That being said, it was very nerve wracking to create a character that you knew was going to occur in a story not written by you. Beau and I use each other’s characters a lot, so we wrote up character profiles that we could refer to. Other than that, we’d ask each other lots of questions; ‘Beau, would Jared do this?’ etc. We also read each other’s work, so that if I read one of the stories where Alice appears as a character but not as a narrator, and I felt that she was a little ‘off’ we could work on it together.

Sharon: Who was your favourite character to write and why?

Belinda: It’s very hard to decide who was my favourite character to write! My narrators were Alice and Faye, which turn out to be the ‘heroine’and ‘villain’ respectably. I enjoyed writing through Faye because I could add layers to her personal story, she isn’t just an evil ghost that likes to hurt others – she’s scared and alone like a lot of the other characters. However, Faye was originally created by Beau and I chose to narrate her. Alice was the first character that came to my mind when we began talking about ghosts, and I could see her immediately. A girl that could see ghosts but no one believed her, and then the possibility of weaving a love story appeared - I just couldn’t resist using her as a narrator.

Sharon: If you were a paranormal being, what would you want to be?

Belinda: If I were a paranormal being I’d definitely have more than one power. Perhaps the ability to fly coupled with control over an element, like fire – very cool!

Sharon: During this process did you ever break out into the Ghostbusters song?

Belinda: Hahahaha! No, I never broke out into the Ghostbusters song though that was probably because I was narrating our villain Faye, and a maternal part of me didn’t want to see her get hurt –despite her evil antics.

Sharon: Did you have an imaginary friend growing up (if so tell us about him/her):

Belinda: I grew up with two older brothers, so I didn’t really have the need for an imaginary friend. I was either with my brothers or playing in cherished silence alone. The idea of an imaginary friend intrigues me though, and is the basis behind Alice and Will’s (her ghost crush) relationship. What if you had an imaginary friend who made your stomach flip, but turns out to not be imaginary at all?
Sharon: I believe Maria V Snyder workshopped the opening story, what was that like?

Belinda: Yes, Maria V Snyder helped workshop my opening story ‘Reflection’ narrated by Alice.
When I heard Maria was coming to Melbourne, I was thrilled and had planned to go to one of her book signings to meet her – I’m a big fan! So you can imagine my elation when Steve tells me that I’ll get to workshop my story with her over breakfast. Of course, my happiness quickly turned to nerves and I worked furiously on the story to make it as good as it could be before it got to Maria.

I first contacted Maria when I was eighteen or so, asking for some piece of writing advice, and was touched by her quick and helpful response. She’s a lovely person, and I’m grateful she had the time to meet us. I found the ‘writing advice’ section on her webpage very helpful, especially if you’re just starting out.

Needless to say, having someone so highly experienced read and offer advice on my own work was awesome – I learnt a lot, and I hope my work reflects that.

Sharon: What is the biggest learnings you've taken away from the process?

Belinda: Being a part of the Melbourne writing team was an invaluable experience for me, it really helped me to get my head around planning and plot issues, and I find that I can outline and plot a lot better now. It’s really instilled in me what a great thing collaboration is, and I’d love to do something like this again.

Rapid fire questions:
Latte or cappuccino? Does chai latte count?
Note pad and pen or computer? I still can’t decide! I cycle between my iPad and a notebook.
Magic or fists? Fists!
Blue or green? Blue.
Sixth Sense or Ghostbusters? I’m a bit of a scaredy cat, so –Ghostbusters!

As part of the Possessing Freedom launch, Australian Literary Review editor, STEVE ROSSITER. is holding a Fan Fiction Competition where you could win$2,000! To enter you need to have read the book, so we're giving away three copies over three interviews. There's this interview, an interview with Rhiannon Hart on Down Under Wonderings and an interview with Steve here on October 20.

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