Here at The Game of Nerds, being a fangirl (or boy) is basically a requirement. And as fangirls and fanboys we face issues like what to do with ourselves when our OTP breaks up — or worse, one half is killed off. We rant and theorize and have a general buildup of emotions towards our favorite characters that are difficult to deal with at times. Enter Kathleen Smith, author and creator of the Fangirl Therapy blog. Smith has now created the ultimate fangirl guide, which she titles The Fangirl Life: All the Feels and How to Deal. Smith spoke to TGON and offered us the inside scoop on the book, which comes out July 5th.
1. To my understanding, your blog was the inspiration for your book. Can you tell me a little bit about the blog and how you came up with this idea? Why did you feel the need to write this book?
The book and the blog sort of emerged simultaneously. I sat down and wrote a very rough draft of the book for National Novel Writing Month a few years ago, and I also created the site Fangirl Therapy around the same time. I kept up the blog, but I sat on the book for a while. Then one day decided that I would make a bold move and send it to a literary agent. Fortunately, someone thought it was a book that needed to exist in the world! The book was, in many ways, a letter to myself and my close fangirl friends. I wanted a guide that would honor my fangirl nature, but also help me live the kind of life I admired in fiction, one full of bold moves and self-compassion. Since one didn’t exist, I created it!
2. What are some of your top fandoms? OTPs? Which fandom will you be with for life?
I was a member of the Glee fandom in its early years, and later on I discovered the wonder that is Battlestar Galactica. I tend to fawn over older actresses, so while I wouldn’t call it a fandom, there is a wonderful community of fangirls online who keep admiring similar older women. Some of these women for me have been Mary McDonnell from Battlestar Galactica, Christine Baranski from The Good Wife, and Essie Davis from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. So my OTPs tend to consist of a badass middle-aged lady and the man or woman who falls for them. What I call the Unicorn and the Unicorn Worshipper. As far as fandom for life, I will always be a Star Wars fan. I saw the original trilogy when I was eleven, and I fell in love. It will always have a special place in my heart.
3. What was your favorite part of writing this book? What was the most challenging?
I think writing about the funny aspects of fangirling was my favorite part. I find that humor is a wonderful coping mechanism for dealing with life, so the more I can laugh at falling for a ship or getting absorbed in the plot of a TV show, the more equipped I am to deal with my emotions when fangirling becomes stressful or difficult. I think the most challenging part of writing a book is coming to terms with the reality that not everyone is going to love it or agree with everything you say. Everyone has an opinion on the Internet. So when you write something, you just have to let it go into the wild, and let people do what they want with it. Writing can’t be about the reception it gets. It has to be about feeding that creative urge you have.
4. What is your favorite social media platform?
Twitter! I have made so many wonderful writers via Twitter, and you always instantly know what’s going on in the pop culture world. I used to be a Tumblr girl, but eventually I began to feel like a dinosaur at 30. If I dove headfirst into a new fandom or starting writing more fic, I can’t say that I wouldn’t start using it more again. I met my best friends on Tumblr, so I am forever grateful for the platform.
5. What are your current fandom obsessions? Any movies/shows/books you’re particularly looking forward to?
When I really get into an actress and start watching all her filmography, I call it being in “the situation room.” Right now that honor belongs to Essie Davis. I’m hoping we’ll get a Miss Fisher movie and that she’ll go on to star in many other series. I’m looking forward to so many TV shows, but I like to highlight lesser known ones. I’m looking forward to season 2 of The Expanse on SyFy. One of my favorite actresses, Amy Ryan, is getting a show. I’m curious to see Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’ show about The Gilded Age. Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam Series and The Handmaid’s Tale are both being turned into shows. Basically, it’s a great time to be alive when it comes to television. As far as books, I’m looking forward to Justin Cronin’s The City of Mirrors and Daniel O’Malley’s sequel to The Rook, called Stiletto.