What I really love about memes like this is coming back in a few months and seeing how my answers have changed. I've done things like this on my Doctor Who blog, and it's amazing how much my opinions about things have changed in just a few short months.
Without further ado... Sorry this one is so freakin long.
1. How did you first get into writing fanfic, and what was the first fandom you wrote for? What do you think it was about that fandom that pulled you in?
This story is inextricably entwined with how I got into my fandom, which is Doctor Who. It's a show that I saw in the listings on PBS when I was a kid but I never followed. The classic show's format was four to six episodes comprising one story, and I invariably caught only one episode (usually in the middle) and couldn't make heads or tails of it. As I look back, I know that back then I understood that the guy in the long scarf AND the handsome blond guy in the beige were both the Doctor, but I had no idea why. I knew it was science fiction and had time travel, but otherwise I had absolutely no idea what the show was about.
My husband of nearly 18 years now grew up with the show, and back then, he lived and breathed it. He was even a member of the local fan club, back when few Americans had any idea what the show was at all. By the time we met and got married, the show had been off the air for 7 years, and in fact, I remember watching the Doctor Who TV movie with him. (And it was terrible!) He did, however, tell me a lot about it, and it sounded really interesting, though way too expensive to get into, since they only sold DVDs - no, wait, VHS tapes - of the show in individual episodes, rather than seasons.
Fast forward to 2005, when the new Doctor Who series premiered. My husband refused to watch it, afraid that it would be bad and would ruin his memories of his favorite show; he'd already had that experience with the TV movie and he didn't want to repeat it. It seemed to do just fine, and still he didn't want to see it. Last year, we bought the first series DVD and it sat around the house ignored. Finally, one day in August, my husband was bored out of his skull and popped it in. I was doing something else (playing Guild Wars 2, maybe), and I looked over as it started. Within five minutes, I was sitting with my husband, completely entranced, and that was the end of everything else for me.
Doctor Who completely captured my imagination - the main premise, the characters, the stories, the universe, everything. I ate it all up, spending a huge amount of time on the wiki, Tardis Data Core, learning all I could about the classic show while watching the modern show. It was like no other media I'd ever encountered. I'm a fan of Star Trek, Firefly, Harry Potter, and others, but nothing has ever consumed me so. More on why later.
As we caught up on the modern show, the Ninth Doctor regenerated into the Tenth Doctor, and in series 2, we watched an episode called "The Girl in the Fireplace." In it, the Doctor jumps through time windows into different parts of Reinette's (Madame de Pompadour's) life, trying to save her from murderous robots from the future, and in the few minutes over her entire life that they have together, they fall in love. It was a gorgeous story, and that night, I found myself turning it over in my mind repeatedly, unable to sleep. I felt that there was a story that could be told about Reinette's growth into womanhood, where she comes to terms with the reappearance of her childhood imaginary friend. I got maybe three hours of sleep that night. The next night, I kept thinking about it, and when I found I was still awake at two o'clock in the morning, I pulled out my iPad and started typing. Two hours later, I had the first draft of the first piece of fictional writing I had ever created (outside of those silly things they make you write in high school English class).
It was cathartic. I had this story bottled up inside my brain and I splashed it all out on a page, and I honestly think that it wasn't too bad, for a first try. To give it a pre-revolutionary France feel, I wrote it in a style similar to Jane Austen (well, ok, she was British and wrote a half-century after Madame de Pompadour died, but it was close enough for me), and wove in a bit of a theme about choosing and walking paths. I also did a little research to add in details about the real Madame de Pompadour's life, such as the exile and return of her father influencing her need for a childhood protector and her discarding of that protector once he returned.
I never expected to write another thing, but a month later, I wrote again, this time influenced by "The Day of the Doctor," to fill in the regeneration of the War Doctor, which was not included in the episode, and to tell the story of the new Doctor's experiences up to the point of meeting Rose Tyler. I haven't looked back since. I've been writing big things and small things, all about Doctor Who, both classic and modern.
What is it about Doctor Who that pulled me in? I know exactly what it is, or really, what they are. First, the Doctor is exactly the hero that appeals to me. He is compassionate and courageous, and attacks every problem with intelligence and diplomacy, not violence. He has a certain amount of power, but not that much more than anyone else (or, he rarely chooses to use any power that he possesses). He sees the brilliance in everyone. And he's just himself, just a traveler: he doesn't consider himself better than anyone (though he does know that he's clever), and he doesn't want recognition or adulation. Second, the characters - both major and minor - are intricate and interesting, and so much of the show is devoted to their interaction and relationships. And third, the stories cover a wide range, from deep moral quandaries, to light adventures, to intricate convoluted time puzzles.
I love Doctor Who, and that's why I write stories in this fandom (and why I rarely, if ever, write anything that's AU or doesn't fit into canon). I'm not a writer, or a creator. I'm an explorer, and my writings are my explorations of the Doctor Who universe and my visits with the characters that I love.