If you need a world where Mulder, Scully, and William have a long and happy life together, this week's author delivers. Malibu Sunset's first trip into Mulder and Scully fic is the novel-length "Terra Firma" and explores the family life Mulder and Scully could have had if Season 9 hadn't happened. With 6 parts to the series you'll definitely get an awesome family-fic fix that lives up to this disclaimer: "I really tried not to make it sappy and gooey, because I can't stand that and I can't imagine Mulder and Scully do either, but you know, there is a baby and all, so you might find yourself saying "awwww" here or there against your will. My apologies." If the IWTB era is more your thing, check out "Gravity", a fun and "adult" series of vignettes.
We talked with Malibu Sunset about The X-Files, writing, and what brought her to the series.
How long have you been a Phile?
While I occasionally watched the series during its run, I wouldn't have called myself a Phile back then. True Philedom struck with the second movie actually. I went to see I Want To Believe in the theater on a mom's night out by myself. Having not followed the series to its 9th season finale, my first thought while watching the movie was, "When did Mulder and Scully start shacking up together?" My second one was, "I really need to order all the episodes on DVD and start over at the beginning," which I promptly did. For about 4 years following that, The X-Files was ALL I watched. I had no interest in any other shows. I would watch the series through and then immediately start back at the beginning and do it all over again, often watching my favorite shippy episodes two or three times before moving to the next.
What was your first episode?
I honestly don't know what it was back when the series was on the air. After IWTB when I started watching from the beginning again, it would've been the pilot.
How long have you been writing fic?
I started in 2011 with "Terra Firma." I wanted to rewrite the William storyline and create an alternative universe where Mulder and Scully were allowed to be parents and have a normal life together. Once I started writing, I couldn't stop. I ended up writing all five parts of the "Terra Firma" series and the prequel, "Bite Size Love" in a year. Part VI was written later.
What inspired you to start writing?
Reading fic is really what made me try writing my own. I had favorite stories I kept coming back to and many of them were family fiction pieces. One of my absolute all-time faves, that inspired my own first attempt, was "By Falling In and In" by Aloysia Virgata.
For more questions read after the jump.
Who is your favorite XF character to write?
I would have to say Mulder, which is interesting because Scully is my favorite character. I find it easier to write from Mulder's POV though...easier to get inside his head. Perhaps this makes sense because if I'm writing from Mulder's POV, then I'm writing about how he sees Scully. There is a certain vulnerability about Mulder that I adore, especially when it comes to Scully.
Are there any XF characters you dislike or find too difficult to write?
I don't dislike him as a character, but I have a hard time writing the Cigarette Smoking Man. I think this is more related to the fact that I'm just not a mythology writer. I have only written one piece, "All That is Dark and Bright", that dabbles in mythology and it was by far my most difficult story to write. I am pleased with the result, but a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into finishing that story. It wouldn't have ever seen the light of day without my beta, a good friend who is far more than a beta. She is my ideas girl. She literally researched every bit of science and mythology in that story; I just cranked it out.
Is there a story you're most proud of or that's a favorite?
There are a couple that rise to the top for me. One is "Bite Size Love", I think because I've always had a thing for season 7 and I've always been slightly pissed off that we weren't rewarded with more shippiness by then. It was all there, but we had to read between the lines and imagine for ourselves what might've been going on between Mulder and Scully at that point. "Bite Size Love" was my creative attempt to fill in the gaps. My second favorite is "Gravity." It's written in somewhat of a snippet format and takes place during the IWTB time frame. Maybe I like it so much because it was IWTB where I first really fell in love with Mulder and Scully.
Where can people find your work, and what's the best way to send feedback?
Do you take fic prompts from fans?
I am always open to suggestions. "What Happens in Vegas" came out of a prompt from fans. I am the first to admit that I'm not the best at mapping plot. I'm really more of a character writer. Therefore, I appreciate it when others feed me ideas.
Have you written your own original characters outside of fandom?
I have, but not in any published material yet. I've been working on a YA novel for over a year now. My fifteen-year-old daughter is my critic and she's been begging me for more chapters, so I guess that's a good sign.
Anything you’d like to share about your writing process?
I am a very slow writer. I know a lot of writers say that, but I really am. One of the problems is that I edit as I go, which is supposedly a writing no-no because it holds up production, but I can't seem to stop myself. I struggle with every sentence and make frequent changes. The other thing about my writing process is that when I begin a story, I never know how it will end or oftentimes, where it will go. I let the stories develop themselves.
Do you have a favorite author? (fanfic or published!)
There's no way I could pick one. I've mentioned Aloysia Virgata. I also love Penumbra, Amal Nahurriyeh, Artemis X5, Buckingham, Khyber, Syntax6, Mustang Sally, JET, Sabine, Terma99, V. Salmone, Spooky247, and onpaperfirst. I know I'm leaving out a ton of great authors.
Non-Fic authors, some faves are Toni Morrison, Amy Tan, John Irving, and Pat Conroy. My two favorite novels are probably "Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger and "The Prince of Tides" by Pat Conroy.
Is there any advice you'd give to aspiring writers?
I guess just one thing and that is: write for yourself and savor the process. Fanfic writing is a rather lonely endeavor. It sucks up vast amounts of time and when you're finished with your story, there is something bittersweet about posting it. It sounds cliche, but if you make it more about the journey than the destination, then the 6 months you took to write something will feel worth it.
Oh, and one more little thing: I find it helpful to carry a small notebook in my purse to jot down thoughts, ideas, bits of dialogue as they come to me, wherever I am. Making notes on a phone or iPad works great too. You'll be surprised how the story you're working on gets under your skin. You end up daydreaming about it while in the car, at work, literally everywhere. Sometimes you'll be seized with the most perfect little snippet of dialogue, but when you sit down to your laptop days later, it's gone from memory. Having a convenient place to make notes as you go about life really helps.
Anything else you'd like to share that I missed?
Just that I have a long story that has been in progress for well over a year and unfortunately, life got complicated for me and I haven't been able to find the time to finish it. I want to thank everyone who keeps going back to read my older stories. I'm humbled, and I apologize for the drought. I'll get my act together and finish this one eventually. Love you guys.
Thank you so much to Malibu Sunset for talking with us!
Here's a taste of "Bite Size Love." Check it out then add it to your reading list!
New Year's Day, 2000
She had eaten two scrambled eggs and rye toast with real butter
this morning, without even stopping once to consider her
cholesterol, which was, let's face it, far below normal anyway.
Still, it was borderline living-on-the-edge for her. Then she had
stepped into the shower and left the dirty dishes in the sink,
unscraped and unrinsed, which seriously challenged her OCD in
some tantalizing ways. She could've even left the crusty egg plate
on the table instead of bothering to carry it to the sink, but that
might have been a little too much. She knew her limits and could
only embrace irresponsibility in increments.
"Good things come to those who wait, Dana," her mother had
always said. She pondered this while massaging shampoo into her
scalp. When she was eight-years-old, it had meant waiting for
Christmas or her birthday to get the things on her wish list - a pair
of metal rollerskates that clamped onto her sneakers or a new
bicycle with a flowered basket on the front and pink streamers on
the handlebars. When she was sweet sixteen, it had meant
waiting until she and David Markley had been dating at least a
month before she let him feel her up underneath her shirt, even
though he had already kissed her dozens of times, several with
tongue. As it turned out, David had been an especially worthy
opponent against bra clasps, something she found out before
When she was in her twenties, waiting meant putting her
personal goals on the back burner in order to pursue her career -
medicine, then the Bureau. She was a traditional girl at heart. The
American Dream held appeal for her. She wanted it all - a stable
and happy marriage, smart and talented kids, annual vacations to
exotic destinations, a house with curb appeal and a manicured
lawn. But good things come to those who wait, so she had waited.
And waited. And waited. And now she was tired of waiting and
was ready for her good things to come.
The problem was, she wasn't entirely sure if the good things she
wanted now were the same good things she used to want. After
all she had experienced, all she had seen in the last several years,
she was no longer the same person. At times, the desire for an
ordinary life was still there; other times, it seemed ridiculously
simplistic and meaningless.
And then there was Mulder. Somewhere along the way, her
existence had become intertwined with his and she no longer
really knew who she was apart from him. She was sensing,
especially lately, that the ground beneath them was shifting,
aligning, becoming. But what it was becoming was the real
question. There was love, of course. There had been for a long
time. And desire, despite years of trying to talk herself out of that