Hello, this is Shawn Michaels…or rather, Kora's version of Shawn Michaels better known as her ShawnMuse, because I inspire her to write Shawn 'HBK' Michaels stories! Here I have interviewed the lovely author, asking her pointed questions about her series, 'Drowning Slowly' and 'Floating Up'.
Most likely no one will read this interview, thinking, 'who cares?' But for those that do, what lies ahead is a fascinating Q&A that may answers many of your questions about the series-how Kora thought it up, motivations, reasons for certain things, etc. So, if you are one of the few individuals who do care, please read and enjoy…oh god, no one is going to read this, are they?
SM: So when did you think up this story?
K: I was walking to my car through my college campus parking lot and it was raining. It was incredibly cold and the idea just hit me. What if you found someone who'd been out in the rain-soaked, raped-what would you do? I immediately thought of Shawn/Stephanie because they are my premiere WWE unconventional couple (as my previous WWE stories 'Just This Once' and 'Costume Confusion' can attest) and started to piece it together.
SM: Any other inspirations?
K: Besides my love for Shawn Michaels? LOL. No, really, I was greatly motivated by Temptation Eyes' 'Do Unto Others' and Kittie Kittie Kittie's 'Somewhere Out There', as noted in the author's notes attached to 'Drowning'. Not to mention the Ben Folds Five's song 'Brick', which was also mentioned in the story.
SM: Speaking of, I bet you have a soundtrack you used to write these stories.
K: That I did, the following motivated me to write each series:
Ben Folds Five - Brick
Michelle Branch - Goodbye to You
Tori Amos - Sort of Fairytale
Avril Lavigne - Tomorrow
Meredith Brooks - What Would Happen If We Kissed
Dave Matthews - Where Are You Going
Our Lady Peace - Somewhere Out There
Maroon 5 - She Will Be Loved
Train - Mississippi
Coldplay - The Scientist
Evanescence - Immortal
SM: Why did Floating Up, take so long to come along?
K: I'd be lying if I said I actually hadn't thought up 'Floating Up' when writing 'Drowning Slowly'. I actually finished 'Drowning' and started 'Floating' but I wanted to wait and see people's reaction to 'Drowning' before I continued 'Floating', much less posted it. Response was good and I planned on posting Floating when I hit a block after writing Chapter 3, I had to wait before I continued.
SM: So you knew from the beginning who it was and what would happen.
K: Yes, I knew back when I wrote the first chapter to 'Drowning'. I envisioned the whole thing before sitting down to write it, beginning to end. At first I had it being a fan but then quickly switched to an ordinary staff member who shared a past with Steph.
The staff wanders around the set all the time and people pay them no mind, so I thought, 'what if they had a bigger role'. And as for linking him to Steph in the past, I just was intrigued by the idea of someone you never gave much thought to coming out of no where and tormenting you for no reason other than their own head trip-I found that idea freaky.
SM: But you hate Mary-Sues?
K: True, I honestly do not enjoy them. My first fan fiction featured one and since then I have had a distaste for them. However, I felt it more appropriate that Steph's attacker be a no one, I found that to be the point. I wanted it to be someone new. Frankly, I was shocked so many people accused well-known wrestlers or rather, their characters, of having committed the action. I was fully entertained though by their guesses! J
SM: Despite your distaste for MarySues, you also had Shane date two unknown girls, Isabel and Maria, was there a hint here?
K: For those who caught it, Isabel and Maria, are meant to be cameos of the characters from the WB/Sci-fi series 'Roswell'. I love that show! You may also notice my references in my Shawn/Lita story 'Pillow Talk'.
SM: So you mentioned earlier being entertained by people's guesses on 'whodunit'. Any in particular?
K: One person suggested the Dudleys and I thought that was neat. Nicole suggested it turn out to be Shawn and actually I did consider it once but dismissed it quickly-I love Shawn WAY too much to make him a bad guy.
SM: Let's discuss the dating chapter, what was your point there?
K: Everyone has a match picked out for Steph, I wanted to pay homage to that and those people. I decided to write her with each one of them and, also, add in my reason as to why I wasn't a fan of that particular pairing. For those interested, here's how I rate Steph's loves, 7 being the lowest, 1 being the highest:
7) Heyman (Someone people consider the idea of them together cool)
1) Shawn (obviously)
I did not include Matt Hardy, Rhyno, Edge, Brian Kendrick, or Brock Lesnar, simply due to time. I did try to at least mention them though, did them all save Edge and Kendrick. The dating chapter did give me a taste for other ships though and I may write full stories of her with one of them in the future-Jericho and Hunter in particular and, surprisingly, I have a good idea for a Kendrick one.
SM: So all these love interests gave you ideas
K: Yeah, in fact, it was a point I made in 'Floating'. I had Mitch say it but it was truly my own thought-why is it all of Stephanie's storylines are always romantic in nature? She sure does get a lot of play! LOL!
SM: Anything you'd like to change?
K: So much but I'm lazy! If I could I would have actually liked to write Stephanie and Hunter dating for a while, then deciding it wouldn't work between them. If not just to torture Shawn more. Nothing better than angsty Shawn! I would have also liked to drag more time between chapters 16 and 17 but, ah well, maybe I'll go back later and do that.
Not to mention I would have liked to add creepier stalker stuff-horror/suspense is fun!
SM: On to your more…lighthearted moments. Why Rufus?
K: Dogs are cute and I like to write them as animated characters that move along the plot…what can I say? I'm a stickler for sap now and then.
SM: And Soap Operas…
K: Yes, yes many soap operaish moments abound here (Shawn in a coma, Shawn waking up to see Steph kiss Hunter, Shawn saving Steph a second time, etc). I didn't necessarily mean for it to go that way but it did.
Nicole, once again, my most vocal reviewer (but I LOVE it, Nicole, so don't stop!) pointed out that Hunter should have saved her that second time and honestly I seriously considered it, almost wrote it, but scratched it to make Shawn the hero again for no other reason than that was what I wanted-unrealistic, sure, but what I wanted none the less.
SM: You said a lot that you changed and added chapters, can you tell us about that?
K: I added the chapter where Hunter talked to Shawn while he was in his coma. I had never originally thought up that scene but as I wrote the story I realized it was becoming a triangle-Shawn/Hunter/Stephanie. And frankly, I had made Hunter more charming than I planned-even I fell for him! LOL.
I used to be a HUGE Triple H fan when I started watching but over time I have come to not like his character very much, apparently though, in writing, I always make him sympathetic and nice (even in 'Just This Once', he had his moments). I felt he deserved to get a chance to speak his piece. Not to mention I didn't want this to JUST be Hunter/Stephanie and Shawn/Stephanie, there had to be some Hunter/Shawn stuff too. These men were friends once and there was all this rich stuff between them that had to be dealt with-especially under the circumstances!
I also added Chapter 13 at the last minute. I ACTUALLY had the story completed but I noticed that I had never really had Stephanie and Shawn discuss the fact she wasn't with Hunter and he had caught them kissing. I stuck that in there at the last minute, also putting the first kiss there.
Originally, I had intended the first kiss for the last chapter, felt it would be more romantic and a bigger pay off, but I went ahead and gave in-after all, the real payoff was knowing who did it and why as well as Shawn and Stephanie finally getting together.
SM: Shawn was a pain in the ass a lot, scared to tell Stephanie his feelings…
K: Like all Romance novels/movies, there's a point where you want to strangle one of the lead characters and say 'get over yourself! Just talk about your problems and hook up!' I felt Shawn and Stephanie both equally did this, if not Shawn a little more.
I made him scared to admit his feelings though not just because he was afraid of commitment or some such thing, or even because he felt he didn't deserve her, I tied it in with his original, ever-growing-in-the-background, problem a.k.a. his Post Tramatic Stress.
Shawn never dealt with finding Stephanie. It was a tramatic experience and if you read 'Drowning', he took it just a little too well. He was upset but never-well-overwhelmed by it like most people would be.
I mean, come on; imagine yourself in that situation. It would be hard not to crack a little. So I started writing in how Shawn was exhibiting these signs of problems but never really dealing with it, just suppressing it or pushing it off. It took Mitch and his taunting to make him snap.
You'd think I was very pro psychologist as both Stephanie and Shawn end up needing one-LOL! But honestly, I think, everything considered, therapy would be the way to go for both of them, 'cause frankly, Shawn was just as much a victim as Stephanie, maybe not as severely, but still, a victim.
SM: You took a more in-depth look at characters you never normally wrote, is that true?
K: Yes, I have never written Angle, Vince, Shane, or even Nash as fully as I did here. Most of them only had short cameos or a few scant lines in my last couple of stories, so this was a challenge. I'd have to say, thorough writing this, I have grown a particular love for Shane and Nash. Both were fun to write with Shawn.
SM: Any chapters in particular that you love?
K: In 'Drowning', I enjoyed writing almost every chapter but I'd have to say Chapters 1, 2, and 6 stand out as my favorites. In 'Floating', I'd say I enjoyed writing Chapters 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, and of course, the finale, Chapter 17. For 'Drowning' I enjoyed writing descriptions in said chapters and in 'Floating' I enjoyed writing the interactions between characters-I love talking and self analyzation!
SM: What's your deal with the rain?
K: To me, it's all atmospheric (it's eerie how much I sound like Mitch of all people!) rain represented the dark part of Stephanie's experience, which was why I entitled the opening chapter of the story that and obviously, the opposite to rain is sun, which was why the closing title was entitled that! Yea for the obvious!
SM: Why one word Chapter titles?
K: Honestly didn't intended it that way, it started in 'Drowning' and I just decided to keep it. Harder to keep them one word than you'd think.
SM: You enjoy unconventional pairings…
K: A great deal, Shawn/Stephanie are a favorite and occasionally I'll pair them with others, but I'd have to say after them, one of my favorites is Jericho/Molly Holly, which was why when it came to the dating section, Jericho was easy to write as I've done him before but all I kept thinking was, 'Shouldn't you be with Molly right now?' LOL.
SM: Any plans for a sequel?
K: Not really. I think everything was wrapped up nice and tight in the end. Heck, I had even thought about leaving 'Drowning' as is and NEVER posting 'Floating' just because I thought people might be sick of (and not accept) my continued Shawn/Stephanie pairing but I did it anyway because I couldn't resist and I felt the ideas were too good to pass up.
If anything, I'd do a spin-off and give Hunter a love interest, since I think after his hard work he deserves one. I have to admit, after a recent episode of RAW, I saw a certain red-headed damsel in distress that may just be right up Hunter's alley to save! And it'd be, oh joy of joys, unconventional as always!
SM: So the series had a happy ending?
K: I felt 'Floating' did indeed have a happy ending, much to Nicole's dismay I'm sure (LOL). But for her sake I did try to interject that they faced some problems in the future, still, you got the idea that they would most likely overcome them so, yes, I'm sorry those who are not fans of sap but, it was indeed a happy ending.
SM: Now the most obvious question, why do you continue to do Shawn/Steph?
K: Best explained at my wrestling fan fiction web page 'Intensity' () and in particular, my section of the page devoted to Shawn/Stephanie (), I just like the idea of them together. I think they make a good looking couple (as my manipulated pictures at the web page can attest) and I love both the characters enough to write them together-they're my favorites and I want my favorites together.
SM: My own personal question as your ShawnMuse, I noticed that Shawn takes off his shirt a LOT in the stories, why is this?
K: I like to imagine him with his shirt off (drooling…inserts 'Summerslam 2002' tape into VCR to watch Shirtless match)
SM::shifts uncomfortably:: So you REALLY like Shawn Michaels, huh?
K: Let's just say when he comes on screen, as my friends can attest, I go into personal eplict fits-man is smoking hot and if he wasn't married…mmm…but at least I have you ShawnMuse
SM:: shifts even MORE uncomfortably:: Okay, we've entered that scary point. I think it's time we conclude this interview, thanks for your time and keep writing.
K: Oh I will, as long as you, and all my sweet reviewers keep inspiring and supporting me!
Before I close though, I would like to thank the following for reviewing! Thanks guys, I couldn't have done it without you and your kind words! Like I said, keep on reading and writing!