We’re kicking off a monthly cast/crew interview series with Aubrey Hansen, our intrepid story supervisor. We’ve already kind of stolen her first answer, so let’s get to her answers!
Month of the Novel:: What’s your role in Month of the Novel?
Aubrey Hansen: I’m the story supervisor, which is the person the producer pays to yell at the writers. No, seriously—when I signed on, Jordan and I explicitly agreed that I was hired because I am more critical and demanding than he is. It’s my job to make sure the scripts are well-written and flow together as a complete season, which means I don’t spare when I give feedback to the writers. But in return I also make Jordan’s feedback pleasant and coherent before I send it to the writers, so everybody’s happy (as far as I know).
Additionally, this year Jordan also cajoled me into writing an episode (not that it took that much effort on his part).
MotN: From what you’ve seen of the scripts, what do you like about Season 2?
AH: I’ve always been fond of sci-fi, so I’m excited that we’re exploring/mocking/mutilating that genre this season. Even more so, however, I’m in love with our characters. The Captain and the Computer are both riots, and their interactions are delightful. The underlying story and drama we have going in the book-world is fascinating to me as an author, to the point that I’m tempted to write the novel myself…
MotN: Do you have a favorite episode from Season 1? If you had to pick based on the scripts, which episode of Season 2 do you think will be your new favorite? (You can pick your own.)
AH: “The Talent Show” will forever be my favorite from Season 1, if for no other reason than the punchline “You can’t even wear socks!” did me in. Although, it’s worth noting that the line “Do not let your eyes grow dark!” from the finale has become a household meme in my family. There are a lot of gems in Season 2, but Sarah is killing me all over again with the dialogue in her episode (#8).
MotN: How about a favorite character from Season 1? Is your favorite the same this season, or have your loyalties changed?
AH: Truth be told, I’ve never paused to consider who my favorite character would be from Season 1, but the Captain definitely steals the show for me in this season. Although, to be fair, the Captain wouldn’t be nearly as glorious without all of the banter he exchanges with the Computer.
MotN: Now, of course, Month of the Novel isn’t the only thing you do. What else are you up to?
AH: I write novels and screenplays, although I don’t do the former nearly as often as Jordan would like. I just published Peter’s Angel, the first installment in my alternate history trilogy. I’m working on various projects before the second installment, Peter’s Ally, kicks into high-gear. I’m also co-writing a sequel to my first novel Red Rain. (FYI, a paperback copy of said novel made a cameo in Season 1. I’m still geeking out.)
MotN: Season 2 is going to be sci-fi themed. What do you like about the science fiction genre? Do you have a favorite sci-fi book or movie?
AH: I have been fond of sci-fi since I started writing, and my fascination centers around the settings that form the backdrop in sci-fi worlds. I love glistening metal space bases, self-sufficient ships, the wide expanse of open stars… I am also fond of androids and intelligent computers, such as the one featured in Season 2. I have a special interest in the subgenres of steampunk and dystopia, so my favorite sci-fi movies are City of Ember (steampunk!) and The Hunger Games (dystopian!).
MotN: What’s your process for writing an episode of Month of the Novel? Does it differ from your process for writing other things?
AH: My process for writing an episode of Month of the Novel is similar to my methodology for writing everything else; I take a premise or central idea and stew on it until I get a “live” scene running through my head. If I get that scene written down, I can build around it and finish the script, usually in one sitting. Because it’s a short script, I don’t usually need to outline it first.
MotN: What’s the hardest part about writing for Month of the Novel?
AH: This year, the hardest part was getting the initial idea. I knew what premise my script was based off of, but I had trouble coming up with a plot, scene, or gag to get me started.
MotN: How about the best part?
AH: Watching the other writers’ scripts develop into something hilariously amazing through the process of critiquing and revising—it never fails to delight me.
MotN: Where do you draw your inspiration?
AH: With my episode for this season, I launched off of the idea of mocking arranged marriage. One of my pet peeves is how overdone the “I’m in an arranged marriage and my life is HORRIBLE!” premise is in fiction. It drives me crazy, and one day I’d like to write a story that turns that trope on its head. But for the purposes of my episode, I settled for simply making fun of the whole ordeal. Besides that, I was able to incorporate some of the experiences and running jokes I (and my other fantasy-writing friends) have encountered while world-building our fictional planets.
MotN: Have you ever done NaNoWriMo yourself? What was your experience with it?
AH: I did NaNoWriMo in 2010 and 2011, and I may or may not do it this year. (Yes, I realize it’s the middle of November and I still haven’t decided.) In both of my previous years I won with 50k, but neither of my novels were complete, and they still aren’t. I enjoy the challenge of pushing out a wordcount on a deadline, but now that I’m an established author, that’s less essential for me. Nowadays I see NaNo more as an excuse to write something new, fresh, and random, which can be a great exercise for people like me who tend to get stuck in a rut.
MotN: Just for fun, do you have a favorite food? Why is it your favorite?
AH: Does Pepsi count? That’s my drug of choice, and it’s a nice thing to have on hand while I’m trying to focus on writing in the afternoon.
MotN: Is there something positively unique about you that you could tell us?
AH: Probably not, because pretty much everything worth sharing about my life ends up on Twitter. Most people probably don’t know I have dimensional butterfly stickers stuck on my desk lamp, though. (And that’s only because I haven’t taken a picture of my desk yet, like I’m supposed to.)