1. If you could spend an hour talking with any character out of the HP series, who would you choose? And why?
Phineas Nigellus Black, because I love a good snarkfest.
2. What made you move to the Harry Potter fandom after spending such a long time in The Matrix fandom? Do you ever miss your old fandom/want to go back and finish old fic?
I didn't really move from The Matrix to HP -- my time in the Matrix fandom was already coming to an end by the time I began reading the HP books. The Matrix fandom turned stale after the sequels -- truth be told, I was disappointed in them. At first, I'd tried to seize onto every redeeming characteristic the sequels had, but in he end I had to face it: nothing would ever beat the first film for me, nothing would ever compare to falling in love, bone-deep, with a cast of characters and a premise and a storyline. Don't get me wrong, I love HP, but it's never going to come close to the starry-eyed, breathless feeling after I'd walked out of that theatre on March 31, 1999. Something else might, but I have not found it yet.
I miss the early days of the Matrix fandom an awful lot, because there were so many deeply enthralling discussions then, so many different opinions. I'd made friends for life in that fandom, and I do miss those days when we'd argued ourselves hoarse over the nature of reality and the proper positioning of toilet paper (UNDER!!!), when someone would start a comedic riff on the canon and others would pick it up, and eventually we'd have a thread full of side-splitting hilarity because everyone was just in it for the fun (You Know You're Obsessed with the Matrix If...). I miss the virtual food fights, the smiley parties, the mysterious dot threads and the supergrins. I miss taking fannishness to the point of absurdity, such as playing Agent Smith's monologues backwards and trying to decipher a meaning, or listening to a lecture on the Doppler effect and running breathless to the board to talk about possible new red/blue symbolism.
I do not miss the politics or the pointless bickering or the personal grudges. Though some of those flame wars were fucking spectacular. Sigh.
As for fic, my corner of the Matrix fandom was never all that ficcy. I, uh, still have to finish the one (now massively AU) fic that I ever wrote for that fandom. I think HP is a kind of reflection of my participation in the Matrix fandom, equal and opposite. In HP, I'm very much into the fic but not so much into the politics. Though I suppose I'll always be a loud-mouthed instigator of Things That Piss Some People Off. I'm not sure if that's a calling or an accident of circumstance. ;)
In other words, my Matrix fandom experience and my HP fandom experience could not have been more different, so for me the question of "moving to HP after Matrix" is not really answerable, because there's no common denominator between the two fandoms, and I didn't move from one to the other; I abandoned one after trying not to, for a long time, and took up a new one -- it wasn't a case of shifting interests or a "shiny and new" fandom. HP was new, but it was nothing compared to The Matrix when that had been new, for me. HP is engaging, entertaining, rich, and lends itself so wonderfully to imagination, but The Matrix made me think. Not about the significance of a magical shotgun on an enchanted mantle and what it might mean for the plot. The Matrix made me think about reality, about life, about people, about myself and my place in the world. HP doesn't do that. It entertains me and makes me want to know more about it, makes me want to talk to others about it... but it's insular, and my love for HP is focussed solely on the "canon world". There's no bridge to real life. Doesn't mean I have any less fun discussing the series, but HP doesn't hold any deeply personal meaning for me the way The Matrix did. Being in the Matrix fandom pushed me to reach outside of my comfort zones and learn about things I would never have considered wanting to know, before. Being in the HP fandom, so far, has pushed me to write more porn. And be strangely wary of hook-nosed men.
I don't mean this as a "Matrix Is Better than HP" proclamation, not at all. They're just two completely different kinds of fun, and that's okay; I'm happy with that. In other words, it wasn't a transition at all. That made no sense, did it, but at least I got to reminisce a little.
3. Were you a Harry/Draco shipper from the beginning? Was there ever a time when you thought you could go for a different ship instead and be just as passionate about it?
I was not a H/D shipper from the beginning. As goneril will gleefully tell you, I was rather o.O over Harry Potter slash when I'd first started reading the series -- I just did not understand the appeal in making thirteen-year-old boys have sex with one another on paper. I'd used to read wank reports on f_w before I was in HP and just skip over unfamiliar terms and dismiss everything that made me o.O as "those crazy HP folk". And then I became one of the HP folk, though of course I was not crazy, thank you very much, not crazy in the slightest. And then I found actual slash fic. I'm rather of the "try anything once" mentality (and no, I had NO IDEA slash existed, even though some friends whom I've met in HP who were in other corners of the Matrix fandom tell me that there is even Matrix slash out there and always has been). Before that happened, I actually used to wonder if Harry and Draco would reconcile at some point -- I mean, in children's books, the bullying boy from the other street is either taught a lesson and left in he dirt or is given a chance to reform and joins the heroes on the "good" side. I'm secretly a big softie and I would rather everyone got along by the end, so a part of me always cheered, inwardly, for a reconciliation between Harry and Draco.
I didn't have much use for Draco, though, not until I wrote my first fic -- a Neville-centric genfic, actually -- and started wondering just what motivated Draco, and what possible other dimensions his character might be hiding. But whenever I tried thinking about Draco, I could not avoid thinking about Harry, too, because Draco places himself opposite Harry, even if Harry thinks Draco is small potatoes. The boysex just sort of followed from that, though I would probably give you a different answer tomorrow if pressed. I'm not exactly sure what the defining moment was, but it was all a combination of my own feelings about stories, my interpretation of canon, reading some good old-fashioned PG-13 rated H/D fic, and a certain statue in East Berlin (don't ask; you had to be there).
As for other ships? I was almost a Harry/Hermione shipper, at one point. No, I'm serious. I had no idea where to find fic in the fandom and I was reading this one story at Portkey that was totally ripped off My Best Friend's Wedding. It wasn't a very good fic, and it wasn't very clever, but as many such fics, it had some pretty good ideas -- namely that Harry and Hermione are alike in many ways, and different in others, and they complement each other instead of being at each other's throats all the time. The fic was abandoned and never finished, which probably added to my not seeking out any more [subliminal message]finish WIPs[/subliminal]
The reason I'm not a Harry/Hermione shipper today can once again be laid at the, uh, full stops of my first fic, the Neville-centric one. It convinced me that the Ron/Hermione dynamic makes a lot more sense in the context of the series, resulting in a theory that Harry needs to be antagonised (a little at a time, but constantly) in order to feel in his element; everything going hunky-dory and smoothly will eventually unsettle him and make him uneasy rather than calm and peaceful. I have a long-winded essay on the subject somewhere, but I seem to have misplaced it. :"> I also posited the same about Hermione and Ron, and I thought the reason the trio meshed so well together was that they are all like that, which meant that the relative harmony (*snort*) between Harry and Hermione was actually counter to making them a pairing. Because all three of them need someone who will antagonise them once in a while. Which makes Ron/Hermione a done deal and leaves Harry a free agent (or makes Harry/Ron a done deal and leaves Hermione a free agent, of course. But me, I just cannot think of Ron as gay!). From there it was not a long road to "zomg Harry and Draco are so totally gay for each other OMG OTP!1".
I make no pretenses to H/D having any canon basis, but I can't love any Harry/HP!girl pairings, except maybe Harry/Tonks. I could have liked Harry/Ginny if only Ginny had started out in her OotP!self instead of being largely a shrinking violet for four books before bursting into the OotP forefront with Bat Bogeys a-flying. [tongue status="in cheek"]For all the blah-blah-blah about how she is obviously so strong and feisty because she survived being possessed by Voldemort -- big deal! Harry survived being murdered by Voldemort as a baby. Surviving possession by a creature that can't even kill a helpless baby is not really much to write home about.[/tongue] My ultimate dream het Harry pairing would probably be Harry/Arya Stark from ASOIAF. Never a dull moment! >_>
4. What is your favorite non-fandom thing to do in your free time? Do you make time for this even when you are incredibly busy?
Reading! I make time for reading, always. I read on my way from the office to the parking lot, on my smoke breaks. I think I must've spent close to one third of my life so far with my nose in a book. The only time I'm awake and not reading is when I'm working, driving, out with friends, or, uh, writing. :"> I've just recently finished re-reading the Wheel of Time series, and now I'm re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire. Which is probably why I'm all about the Harry/Arya, as HP is next on the list. XD
5. What would your perfect outing contain? If money was no issue and you could go anywhere in the world, if you so desired.
That's easy. Good friends, Berlin, anywhere where Berliner Weisse is served and outside seating is available.