Taralynn January Q&A
 
Hey guys! I gave short notice for this Q&A so, as is to be expected, we're short on questions. Still, all three were sort of big questions so I think it might be fore the best. Let's get started, shall we?

Samuel asks "Who is your favorite celebrity, that would likely be the least popular one? Kind of like "Hidden gems" but with people."

You know, you ask this now and I'm having a hard time coming up with "Hidden" gems. I am a big fan of the Rock. He is a giant man but still has this little boy's grin that I just find insanely endearing. I just find him to be one of the most likeable people in show business. He seems to be very genuine to me. This post on his facebook page after his grandmother died sort of cemented it for me just how much I like the guy. https://www.facebook.com/DwayneJohnson/photos/a.448580834383.229946.406433779383/10153409901549384/

I guess a bigger hidden gem for me is Will Friedle. Some of you may not recognize the name but he has been in a lot. He was the older brother, Eric Matthews, in Boy Meets world, and the voice of Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond, and Ron Stoppable in Kim Possible.  But the reason I'm a big fan of his goes beyond him playing those roles I really loved.

He, like many actors, goes to a lot of conventions. A friend of mine was a huge fan of his and took the time to go and get his autograph. While he was signing her stuff she mentioned she went as Kim Possible for Halloween and he absolutely gushed about how awesome that was and asked if she was coming to the next day of the convention and that, if she was, she should totally show up in her costume and get her picture taken with him. She did exactly that and he remembered her the next day and took time out of his day to take a photo with her. It made her... well basically her year to have this guy she was such a big fan of acknowledge her fandom and reward it. He didn't have to go those extra steps but did anyway. To quote a different Batman, "Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded."

Shadowmaster asks, "Well, given the title of your new project, what are some of your favorite superhero/villain characters?"

For those of you in the dark (somehow) my newest project is called Villain-in-Distress and will be posted within the week. I'm a big nerd of the superhero genre so I obviously have a few favorites. 

Of heroes, I'm obviously biased towards the DCAU Batman and still hear Kevin Conroy's voice whenever I see Batman talking in comics. But of the DCAU crew my favorite was always their version of Flash. I loved his carefree attitude that was there just to be the good guy. He didn't have some tragic backstory or the burden of a fallen planet or sense of duty. He just helped because he wanted to help.

I also was a big fan of Blue Beetle until the New 52 ruined him. the Young Justice cartoon (WHICH IS GETTING SEASON THREE CAN YOU FREAKING BELIEVE IT!?) version of Blue Beetle was amazing too. The storyline was everything I look for in a Blue Beetle story. Seriously, if you haven't watched Young Justice yet, go to Netflix and freaking watch it, in order, without spoilers because... donut it's so good.

As for my favorite villains, I love the nuance of Magneto. He's one of those villains that, I feel, has gotten better over the years as writers have figured out how to make him much more sympathetic. I also loved David Xanatos from Gargoyles. He was like if Tony Stark were a bad guy and had a voice that just leaked oil. So much fun!

But of all the villains, I think my favorite might be Lex Luthor. There are so many cool takes you can get on him. I mean, in most stories HE would be the hero- the self-made human with no powers going up against the all-powerful alien invader? But his ego is so out of control he can't see the forest through the trees. Lex Luthor was one of the few things I liked about the New 52 in that he saved the world during the invasion of the Injustice Gang.  He has such potential for greatness... but has that fatal flaw that makes him a villain. Again, going to the Young Justice version of Lex Luthor, I loved their take on him as the ultimate chessmaster, always in control and always having a plan and the biggest sugar-eating grin I've seen in a cartoon for a while. There is an episode in season 2 that features him heavily where he chews the scenery the entire episode and it's GLORIOUS!

Oh, and I'm also partial to a little heroine I like to call Robynne ;)

Michael asks, "I'm curious why you decided to handle Rob's sexual orientation the way you did."

Kind of a vague question that I feel I covered a lot in my post Chapter 41 commentary but I think it deserves a bit of a reprise.

In other TG fiction I find sexuality to be a topic that is, surprisingly, glossed over becuase most TG fiction seems to have, as a goal, the TG part. While I write TG I don't want that to be the purpose of my fiction. That means dealing with some difficult concepts. And Robynne's sexuality is DEFINITELY difficult.

As I see it, there are four parts to a person sexuality and all of them have something to do with chemistry: biochemical reactions, mental chemistry, physical chemistry, and emotional chemistry (which I tend to feel is where romance and friendship reside).

Robynne has issues with physical chemistry with people due to her issues with not touching people. It caused her problems when she was with Brook back in Deepwater. Biochemically, the reactions were there. Robynne has admitted to having a thing for cheerleaders as Robert and specifically loved the long-sock look on Brook. And, at least early on, Robert felt they had emotional chemistry. He liked being with her and having conversations with her. He felt like they connected. But eventually the fact that Robert wasn't satisfying Brook's physical needs in a relationship, combined with Evelyn's interference, the emotional bonds were broken. No more chemistry.

Now, have you ever had surgery or a medical procedure that changed something on your body? Maybe something small. Last year when I was having all my dental issues I got two crowns put on my teeth in the span of two months. I had, over the course of years, gotten used to how it felt to chew with my worn down teeth, suddenly, new teeth. Chewing was different. Food wasn't sticking between gaps  like they used to. I found it completely disorienting.

Now imagine that on the scale of the human brain and endocrine system.  Robynne used to look at cute cheerleaders and his brain would produce dopamine and create a rush of exhilaration. Now, he's constantly surrounded by them and... nothing, like a piece of gum that lost its flavor. Now something that makes most guys uncomfortable, guys bigger than you with bigger muscles, are producing that same rush of dopamine the cute cheerleaders used to give you. You have your learned reactions from 18 years of being a guy, particularly a guy who dealt with bullies in high school, telling you that's wrong but your hormones are telling you, "no, check out that guy's pecs! They're awesome!"

What does that do to you mentally? Well, for one, a lot of confusion. Now, add on top of it that Robynne still has issues with physical contact and girls, especially cheerleaders, tend to be more into casually making physical contact. This is causing Robynne to have even more conflict with her instincts, further complicating her decisions.

Now, you have Robynne involved in Cheer Squad social dymanics. Robynne is causing quite a stir by simply existing with the body she has. People are interested in what she's doing. Had she not taken up the task of infiltrating Cammy's operation she could have pushed off a lot of these decisions but now there are PR needs. So, after discussing it with the team, they come up with the answer that is easiest to deal with: that she's a normal, heterosexual female who isn't looking to get into any relationships right now... because, as far as she can tell at the moment, that's the quickest, truest answer she has.

Everyone, in my opinion, is looking for a relationship that can satisfy those four types of chemistry: Biochemical, mental, physical, and emotional. Right now Robynne has the help of her friends to satisfy her mental and emotional needs. So, with those needs currently met, she only has the biochemical and physical needs and, as we've demonstrated with her touching issues, she has a rather low threshhold for physical needs. So all that's left are the biochemical reactions that she's still trying ot make sense of... but she can clearly see the direction those are pointing her in for now.

Thus stating to those who are curious that she's a heterosexual female with no interest right now in a relationship is the practical answer. She has demonstrated several times in conversations with Dale, Fretribution, and Lilly that her eyes tend to wander around attractive men. That's what her body does when she's "idling" and it's hard to hide those types of things. It's why guys get caught staring at women so often. It's a natural, instinctual reaction to your hormones. She couldn't very well claim to be a lesbian if she was never eyeballing other girls. She'd be spotted as a fake eventually.

This brings me to my biggest point about Robynne going with this explanation: Robynne didn't hate being accused of being gay when she was Robert because it was an assault on his masculinity. He hated being called gay because they were essentially calling him a liar. Robynne prizes being genuine with people. For someone who enjoys the rush of being a crafty, stealthy fighter, she really isn't that comfortable with deception. It's why, if I was advising Robynne, I would have told her to not infiltrate the Cheer team. Is it weird that the author would tell her heroine not to do something she clearly made her do? Well... yeah, but it's also what I think Robynne, who DOES have a problem with chronic heroics, would try to do. She's a bit too confident and righteous for her own good. THe same thing that drove her to stand up to Evelyn , Polygal, and Day LaMode is the same thing that makes Robynne want to beat Cammy.

So, the long and short of it is, Robynne chose that answer to her sexuality because she thinks it may be true. Now, does that mean Robynne will pursue relationships with boys in the future? We'll have to wait and see. Robynne is smart enough to realize that this rush of hormones may be a temporary response to the sudden shift in gender and things might normalize. Unlike most magical girl protagonists, she's not pining for a romantic relationship. Despite the desires of readers, she doesn't feel the need to be shipped with anyone XD That's not a hole in her life she's currently waiting to fill. So she'll give the best, most honest answer she can up until she collects new data that changes her perspective.

Thanks so much for your time and I'll see you guys soon!
taralynn