If it's iced tea in that bag, it could be love. And you'll definitely love this week's author icedteainthebag. She's a longtime Phile and author who has shared many amazing works over the years that will alternately bring you to tears or have you wishing for a cold shower! One of my personal favorites is "Exit," a missing scene from Season 7's "Requiem" which is moving and may leave you throwing things over what could have been. A more recent work, "Contingency Plan" is a pre-Season 10 look at Mulder's quest and deepening depression that explores one reason why Scully may have left. It's raw and heartbreaking and you can feel the tension and anxiety as you read. Do yourself a favor and add anything by icedteainthebag to your reading list, you'll be glad you did.
We talked with icedteainthebag about how she found The X-Files, writing, and what inspires her to keep creating after so many years in the fandom.
How long have you been a Phile?
I watched “Pilot” on a Friday night in 1993. It was a little touch and go until I got through “Space,” but thereafter we had a pretty good relationship. Feels organic, in that it’s come and gone over the years like an irresistibly damaged lover.
What was your first episode?
“Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?”
How long have you been writing fic?
I started in 1999 by distributing my fic on e-mail lists.
For more questions, read after the jump.
What inspired you to start writing?
My friends began to give me explicit fic requests and I felt a profound need to deliver on those fantasies.
Who is your favorite XF character to write?
Mulder and Scully are both my favorites in entirely different ways. I like exploring their relationship dynamic from both angles. I believe both characters have their light and dark sides, and in a conflict, responsibility never solely lies on one person. It’s important to acknowledge that at a deeper level than was permitted on the show and that’s what fanfic allows us to do. So I try to dispel the idolatry, and alternately the blame, that sometimes tends to happen in fandom. These people are far from perfect. They represent me; they represent humanity.
Are there any XF characters you dislike or find too difficult to write?
Any I dislike? Loads. Agent Fowley and I have had a complicated relationship but we’ve come to terms. I’m not interested in writing other characters. I could, and I have a bit, but I don’t feel them enough to do it well.
Is there a story you're most proud of or that's a favorite?
This is a hard question. I prefer the fic I’ve written in the revival era because I’ve notably matured as a writer (as I should have over two decades). "Contingency Plan" is my favorite because I don’t usually write speculative fic that strays from canon, but before Season 10 aired, the rumored “estrangement” and Mulder and Scully’s unfinished business with William was begging for resolution. So I resolved it, albeit painfully, but in my mind, realistically.
"Blood & Chocolate" (and its predecessor "Vanilla and Skin") have special places in my heart because at the time of writing, I wanted to experiment with ideas people had barely touched on at all in fandom so I just went for it. In regard to sex, The X-Files fandom is puritanical in comparison to most others. To get a lot of positive feedback for these stories that explored more mature themes was validating and demonstrated that there are some needs still unmet in this fandom. Surprisingly, my favorites are not the most popular fics, per se.
Where can people find your work, and what's the best way to send feedback?
Everything’s on AO3. You might find a couple of treasures on Gossamer that I left there because I didn’t want to lay claim to them anymore or they wouldn’t make sense now. AO3 comments and my tumblr inbox are the best ways to talk to me.
Do you take fic prompts from fans?
I do, though the old muse isn’t what she used to be. But I always love hearing other people’s thoughts. People have astoundingly creative and beautiful ideas.
What inspires you to keep writing XF fic after so many years in the fandom?
Well, I took some much-needed breaks between Season 9 and IWTB and IWTB and the revival. With each regeneration I got pulled back in so easily and I think it has to do with this series being a formative experience in my youth and twenties. There’s a bit of nostalgia and the feeling that when I’m with these two, I’m home.
Have you written your own original characters outside of fandom?
I have! And I hope to in the future.
Anything you’d like to share about your writing process?
I can’t force it. And when it happens, it happens in an avalanche during which I’ll write thousands of words over several hours and then, suddenly, be done. And I don’t want to read it over again. I post it and sometimes leave it for weeks without rereading. It’s like an exorcism.
Do you have a favorite author? (fanfic or published!)
Anyone who engages in the vulnerable act of publicly sharing their writing has my respect. Except for E.L. James.
Is there any advice you'd give to aspiring writers?
Anything else you'd like to share that I missed?
Mulder and Scully had sex in “all things.”
Thank you to icedteainthebag for talking with us!
Check out this excerpt of "Contingency Plan" and then go read the rest here.
Scully wakes at 1:08 a.m. to an empty bed, her hand gliding over the cool sheets where Mulder should be sleeping. It’s lately a more common occurrence. She knows where he is. Sometimes he loses himself in blogs and message boards: a few nights here, a few nights there. This week it had been every night and she only realized it when he slept until noon and didn’t wake at the smell of strong coffee brewing. Her work had been allowing her a convenient absence to ignore such details, but the ignorance had now built up to concern.
Sitting up, she slips into her worn Isotoner slippers and pads her way down the creaky stairs to his ground-floor office. The door is slightly ajar and casting a stream of dim, dusty light into the darkened living room. Pushing it open, she sees him in the position she assumes he will die in—hunched over an old Dell computer monitor, focused intently on chunks of text accentuated in bold, red, and black.
She shivers at the draft in the room, her loneliness and worry for him the only valid reasons to abandon her warm burrow.
“Come to bed,” she says, running her hand through the back of his hair upward. “I’ll make it worth your while.”
“Hmm.” He doesn’t move and she leans in to tease his ear with her lips.
“Does ‘hmm’ mean yes or ‘go resolve the situation yourself?’”
“No, no. I will.” He pushes the power button on the screen, giving it much-needed rest, and blinks hard several times as he gets up and stretches near his chair, his muscled abdomen peeking out from under his thermal shirt. She hears a few joints pop. The stubble on his face has reached pre-beard crisis level again. “I got this.”
“You sure, old man?” She laces her fingers with his and leads him up the stairs, a retreat blissfully devoid of any access to the world outside. “What were you reading?”
“I’ll tell you later.”