I’ve been a fan of coloredink’s for years. When I first came crashing into the Sherlock fandom, falling hard, as so many of us did from that rooftop in “The Reichenbach Fall”, I landed in the motherlode of brilliant fiction. I was new to fanfiction and had no idea that the good stuff in this space could push hard against the boundaries and explore themes and emotions and experiences in a way that I hadn’t seen before. coloredink was one of the first Sherlock writers I read, and her stories knocked me over.
Initially, I was drawn to her darker works, caught up in the beautiful prose and emotional weight of her sometimes uncomfortable stories. She explored the nuances of pain and betrayal in my heart pumps yet the poison, and love and cannibalism in The Cinnamon Peeler series. I loved that she never shied away from the taboo or painful, or endings that left you melancholy. The emotional weight of her stories stayed with me long after I reached the ends of them.
Though as not to leave you thinking that all of her works will leave you gutted, she also has a playful and light, and romantic side, which can be found in stories like The Only Emperor, her ice cream parlour reimagining of Season 1, and the Cyrano DeBergerac inspired and stand there at the edge of my affection. Both of which I have returned to many times.
In conversation, coloredink is hilarious. We spent most of the hour laughing about food, writing and fandom. She walked me through her colorful fandom history, from her Sailor Moon fandom origins at ten, to the start of her fan writing in the “vaguely medieval, anthropomorphic animal world” of Redwall when she was a tween. She moved onto flash fiction and “choose your own adventure” works in the Smallville fandom, and then after being inspired by her college writing classes went through a “David Lynch/Radiohead” phase of “in some cases unreadable” Final Fantasy XII fiction. A few years on she landed in the fledgeling BBC Sherlock fandom, and went on to create an impressive 54 works, or as she corrects me when I misquote the number:
“I think that number is a little bit inflated because I write the occasional DVD commentary. Like the same fic, but with my comments in it. The real number is probably closer to 45, which is still ridiculous.”
History lesson over, we dug into talk about food, theology and writing priest AUs for her current fandom, Hannibal. – curious
…part of the appeal for me is that he’s a cannibal and a serial killer. If he’s not a cannibal and a serial killer then he’s basically just Frasier Crane.
I’m always interested in how people choose their fandom handles. How did you come up with coloredink?
Believe it or not, it just kind of popped into my head when I was 13 years old. I was signing up for my first blog and at the time I was really into anime, so I was going to sign up with a sort of Japanese kind of handle that I’m sure would’ve embarrassed me five years later. But when I sat down and was all set to type it in, this phrase popped into my head, coloredink. And I was like, “I’ll use that instead of this fake Japanese thing I made up,” and so I did. I’m really happy about that because when anyone asks about my handle, I tell them this story and they’re like, “Wow, when I was thirteen, my internet handle was daisy butterfly or something…”
I’ve been very lucky to have a handle that I’ve been able to use at all stages. I imagine when I’m 60 years old, I’ll still be fine with being coloredink. There’s nothing offensive, or embarrassing, or weird about it.
Exactly, you were smart!
Way to go 13-year-old me! I know that’s probably like one of two things that I can say that is positive about my 13-year old self.
You went from writing exclusively for Sherlock for four years to exclusively writing in the Hannibal space. How did you discover Hannibal fandom?
I’m pretty monogamous when it comes to fandoms. When I’m writing for a fandom, it takes up all the real estate in my head. I can’t even really write original fiction at the same time because it just comes out a mess. So when I’m really into a show, I’m not even necessarily watching a lot of other shows. I’ll watch sitcoms and stuff, but nothing that I know will suck me in deep.
One of my friends had been trying to get me to watch Hannibal, but the thing is that I’m really relentlessly contrarian. If you call me up and tell me, “You have to watch this thing!” I’m immediately like, “Nope, I’m never watching it now.” This friend knows me really well though–this is an old, old friend of mine–so she would just be like, “Hey, I’m watching this Hannibal thing and there’s a lot of dogs…”
I really like dogs, so she’d show me pictures of Will Graham’s dogs, and I thought they were so cute. I asked her first, “The dogs don’t die, do they?” No, they’re fine…so far. So she’d just mention it every now and then, and it stayed on my radar. It used to air on Friday nights so she’d watch it on Saturday mornings. She’d tell me, “I need to watch Hannibal and then we can hang out.” So it was always on my radar.
Season 3 of Sherlock aired and really didn’t do it for me. It didn’t give me any fic ideas, and actually it closed a lot of doors. This is going to sound weird given what I’ve been writing for Hannibal, but I’m not super into writing AUs actually, and I didn’t want to go in the AU direction in order to keep ficcing for the show. Basically I didn’t like the show’s new dynamic. I wrote a couple of missing scenes, you can see them on my AO3, they’re like short, 500 words, little scenelets, and after that I was kind of done.
“His Last Vow” really pissed me off in a lot of ways, when it came to the ending I was like, “What is this? Oh man, this show has jumped the shark!” I could see the teeth as we went over it. I’m going to abandon ship here. I’ll still watch Season 4 when it comes out. It’s not like I hate the show now. I’m just not that excited about it. I’m not going to hang around twiddling my thumbs for another year-and-a-half hiatus, that’s not going to happen.
So I figured I’d give this Hannibal thing a try. I had a long plane flight ahead of me so I took a bunch of the episodes and put them on my iPod and watched all of them on the airplane. I only had Season 1 so when I touched down, and was in Malaysia visiting family, I was like “OMG, Season 2 I need to watch it!” I had Amazon Prime but it didn’t work in Malaysia, because they didn’t have the rights. I was like, “What! I’m an American! Why can’t I watch them!?”
I ended up watching Season 2 on a streaming website and it was so slow and terrible. The video quality was awful, but I was really hooked. I tried to space them out because there weren’t that many episodes. I mean, more than Sherlock, but. I had to draw this out, but I just couldn’t. So I mainlined two seasons in two weeks while this huge family reunion was going on in the background. Awkward!
Season 2 had just finished airing about a week or so before I started watching it. And after, of course, I did what you do, I read a bunch of fanfiction. But it was just this huge culture shock because the Hannibal fandom was so much smaller than the Sherlock fandom. What do you mean, there’s like 2000 fics? What is this? And the fandom was strangely unaware of a lot of tropes. Sherlock had all the tropes.