Happy timezones! I welcome you to another interview conducted with an outstanding storyteller, Amy Queen! She is the creator and writer of AQ Stories!
Amy’s current ongoing story is called “Sight“ and it is a terrific read!“Sight” is about Aislyn, a unique character with a very detailed backstory. Her life is really unusual and exciting. I can’t say too much because it would spoil it if you haven’t read this story yet. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend this one.
Shall we begin, then?
1. How long have you been playing The Sims and what got you into it?
I had purchased The Sims3 shortly after it came out after my friend had introduced me to Sims2 a few years prior, so it has been nearly a decade now (though I’ve taken an extended break from playing for a while during that time.) I love games in general, but I was particularly drawn to Sims when I saw just how many things you could do; from designing characters to building homes, it became a sort of creative outlet for me and I just loved the attention to details the creators put into the game.
2. Why did you begin blogging your sims story?
When I first started publishing my stories – on the sims3 stories/movies&more section back in 2010 – a lot of my fellow writers had begun creating blogs as a backup location for their stories in order to preserve them or post additional content they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. I followed suit, primarily because I wanted to share the photos I took in higher resolution, and so I created my blog. The one I’m currently using is actually my second; I deleted the initial one because I wasn’t satisfied with how limited I was in formatting and layout. The story section of the Sims3 site was still up and running at the time so I didn’t feel obligated to make another one… Then eventually that page went away, taking all traces of my work with it and I needed to create another blog just to let them see the light of day. I didn’t think anyone still wrote or read sim stories anymore so seeing a thriving community still around inspired me to get back into writing after I had finished re-posting.
3. How do you come up with your story ideas?
At the start I, d just come up with stories based on things I would like to read about, and depending on my mood that could range from murder mystery to lovey-dovey romance. I saw many other stories following certain legacy and challenge rules, but those never appealed to me personally though I enjoyed reading them.
Once expansions started coming out, the new locations, actions, and tasks that came with the games would inspire me to develop new storylines and go in a different direction with my writing. Typically after a few days of free playing with the new packs, fresh ideas would naturally come about, which is why I tended to scrap stories and start new ones before managing to finish them, haha. For example, I wrote about a globe-trotter supermodel when World Adventures was released; a rock-star and a college student having music bring them together when I got Late Night and Showtime… I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist; with each additional expansion came an additional story.
4. Do your sims actions help create new ideas or make the story go in a different direction then you had intended?
The answer is a resounding no to that, haha. I play my story game files with little to no free will on solely because in the instances in which I let my characters have high free will, there are almost always disastrous outcomes. And when I say disastrous I really mean it; fires, robbers, random deaths via electrocution due to fixing a leaking sink next to a TV… It’s sad really. There was no way I’d be able to incorporate those many tragedies into my stories, so I decided I’d save those delightful adventures for when I play leisurely, and stuck to shaping my story the way I want to without much sim influence instead.
5. Which character is your favorite and why?
If I had to select just one from all of my stories, I’d pick Irene from The Elite. When you look at my roster of protagonists, all of them with the exception of Irene have had some sort of hardship in their upbringing that helped shape them into who they are; whether it be growing up an orphan, having abusive parents, being an only child, etc… Irene, on the other hand, grew up adored in a normal family with several siblings and a middle class lifestyle. So while my other characters tend to be more thoughtful and reserved because of how they grew up, she is quite the opposite: very straightforward and filter-free. Some of my favorite dialogues to write are hers because she’s more emotional and not afraid to speak her mind. Because she’s so ordinary amongst the others who aren’t, her simplicity is what I like most about her. Her lovely golden locks may or may not have also had an influence on my choice, haha.
6. How do you select the names of your characters?
As I’m planning out a story, prior to and whilst making sims, the names just pop into my head. I find it to be the more simple and enjoyable part of crafting a story since it doesn’t involve any additional research. I have a small notepad of character names and relationship/family trees to help me keep everything sorted as I’ve written a lot over the years. I often refer to it to make sure I haven’t already used a name because I’m weirdly obsessive like that and don’t like any overlap in my stories.
7. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?
I have to amend my answer to the previous question a bit and say that whilst names normally come to mind without any work on my part, the only character I ever put an effort into naming is my current protagonist, Aislyn. As her story is my first venture into the supernatural, what’s special about her is her ability to see ghosts. I sort of drew on that and thought it would be cool to have her name hold some meaning because of it.
Her full name is Aislyn Clarissa Persefoni, with Aislyn coming from the Irish for dream/vision, Clarissa from Latin for bright/clear and Persefoni from a derivation of the Greek word Persephone for death/bringer of death. As she is someone who can clearly see those who are dead, her name came about from searching for words with those meanings that also doubled as names. Why she has this ability is one of the several mysteries I shall delve into as the story progresses, but until then I’ve been enjoying showing how her personality has changed 180 because of it, and how it gets her into troublesome situations.
8. What is the hardest thing about writing?
I’d have to say the hardest thing for me is knowing when the explanations I provide are enough. I tend to have complicated settings and worlds thought out in my mind, and before I just throw out some characters and begin delving into the plot, I like to provide some details in the form of narration or flashbacks to help set the scene so that the story is better understood. I feel like I tend to go the extra mile when trying to get my thoughts across and I struggle a bit with knowing the balance between over and under-explaining, because even with a lengthy word count, occasionally my readers will still have questions. Even as I answer these questions now I’m wondering if I’ve said just enough or gone overboard, haha. I hope the latter isn’t the case.
9. What’s more important: characters or plot?
I’m going to take the easy road and say both, because I really am 50:50 on this. In my opinion, you can have excellently fleshed out characters but a directionless story will let them go to waste, and you can have an excellent plot but without a sense of attachment to the characters from the reader, that is another kind of waste. I think for an engaging and captivating story, the two must be equally important.
10. Would you like to share an excerpt from your story or a summary of your story? Or both?
I’d love to do both~ Here is a summary of my current story Sight:
“Aislyn Persefoni is not like other girls, not like other people to be exact. Dubbed ‘Loose-screw Lyn’ by the townsfolk of Oldmerrow who are aware of her frequent visits to graveyards and tendency to talk to herself, she prefers to be left alone. If only the things only she can see would give her the same treatment.”
And with that tidbit of background info, here’s an excerpt from Chapter 11 pt. 2 titled Who I Have Become:
“…Everywhere I walked, kids whispered, people laughed. I could’ve called them out on it, made them feel shame. Remind them who exactly I was and all I’ve done for this school. Have them recall how they’d laugh at my house, ask me for favors, and almost grovel at my feet because of the person I was, despite me often protesting to that kind of behavior…
But I was too shocked at how eager everyone was to accept the word of one person. Too astonished to see how happy they were to watch me fall… and then I had a thought; if one person wouldn’t even ask me what happened or how I was, they weren’t even worth trying to win back. The problem was, word had spread well beyond just the school. People told their family and friends from other neighborhoods; apparently Bayville didn’t have anything better to discuss than the spiraling sanity of Aislyn Persefoni.”
That was amazing! Thank you so much, Amy Queen, for such an insightful interview!
If you would like to read our featured author’s Sims stories, they can be found here:
Author’s Note: If you are a blog author (it does not have to be The Sims related) and would like to be featured in an interview, please send me an email using my contact form! I would love to interview you, too!