AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Damn Pene day 1
Otherwise known as: hey that’s me! @damnpene
DAY 1: Meet the author
I’ve fandommed on and off since 1999. Although romance is my thing, I was never a big shipper. I could always imagine my favourite character (Willow, Buffy Scully, CJ, Aeryn) in a happilyeverafter with someone else. But Klaine was different. They’re definitely the couple I have invested the most in, the most words and the most thought and the most heart and the most hope that after next week’s episode I would still be able to imagine them happy..
There are broad reasons I fell for Klaine: queer canon couples work well for me. They get to actually be queer on screen in all the ways that makes a person who they are. By which I mean they suffer and are brave and are silly and mess with gender expectations in ways that are visible and true to queer experience. I get to watch them be wary of love and learn to trust in ways that are particular to queer experience. Also I don’t get teased by the showrunners and am not taking away a precious friendship from the story. I am shown the imperfections and perfections in their romance so clearly when it’s acted for me.
There’s the personal reasons. At the time I first watched Glee (way way after the beginning) I was pretty miserable, my second kid was amazing but tough work for me emotionally, was often sick and I was always exhausted. So I went back to fic.
Also the actors are fine fine actors and that is essential.
But Klaine specifically.
I turned on the tv and Glease was playing. A re-run. I’d never seen Blaine, I’d seen Kurt for a moment years before. But their tiny faces when they looked across that busy room, the way they held their bodies and their stillness told the story. The actors were doing something amazing and I believed every second of their heartbreak and love. I wanted to read reunion fic but didn’t find the story I wanted, not exactly, though there were amazing things. So I had to write it. I knew no one in the fandom. But everything magically appeared - their future, the way I wanted them to reconnect and I couldn’t stop writing it.
What’s in a typical damnpene story?
Oh I like to set a scene. Boy do the scenes start with something scene-y. I tend to want to place the reader right in the story with the characters so you’ll always see and hear the tiny things around them. With Kurt that’s often detailed, outfit based quickness and wit alongside sensitivity, carefulness, quirkiness with a bit of drama. With Blaine that’s sincerity, a warm way of looking at things, looking to others, big drama, and sweeping heartfelt emotional responses.
I always ensure there are levels of friendship and work and play and building something beyond a romance. For Kurt that tends to be some combination of Mercedes (LOVE HER) and sometimes Rachel or Adam or Elliot, with clothing and design and pioneering work as an actor or musician and for Blaine it’s Sam and sometimes any number of the newer characters and big group fun and popular work in music and being an adored star. I mean, I’m simplifying…
Um there are bad things I do but I won’t point them out. I change the rhythm of sentences a lot. I break up dialogue. I make them look at the view a lot. I have them kiss the closest part of one another or link pinkies or smile while they kiss or all sorts of things that repeat (I love that stuff)
Also they are both as in love as the other.
What kind of stories do you write?
Fluff? Not really, no. I avoid children and mostly have avoided pets save a cranky cat I think. I write domesticity as partly an irritation as two people work out how to grow and fit together. I mean I write happy romances but not fluff.
Angst? Only… well people say there’s angst and I do write longing sometimes, and Finn died so I’ve written parts that were hard. I wouldn’t call it angst but it might be… a bit. But I used to write real angst, you know, the long term heartbreaking hurtful relationships that will never get better and are always poetically heading for an ending. My Klaine is about healthy change and growth and real life struggles that never drown the love.
Sex? I do. I’m not a natural sex writer but honestly it’s clear to me that Kurt and Blaine are seriously enjoying their sex lives and it’s important to most of my stories that they connect on every level that’s important to them.
Have you ever written anything way outside your usual wheelhouse?
Oh gosh yes the little D/s AU series I wrote! It’s called Imperfections and. Oh my. That is so far from anything I usually write. It’s intense and basically all sex and toys and interpersonal power play. Man is that not my wheelhouse.
Do you write AUs or fic that’s consistent with canon? BOTH! Most of my stories are things that I think could be future canon. And there are a bunch of post-ep shorter fics that definitely fall in canon. But there’s also at least one serious AU in there, where Kurt is a young widowed hermit in a snowbound cabin (There’s No Such Place) and Blaine is a younger guy in a not great relationship. Oh and another where they’re neighbours (Five Ways to Survive a BreakUp) and one more where they meet at the Tonys (Who we Want to Be) and one tiny thing where they’re spies in a boat (Princess Grace)
What do you like about your writing?
Okay. Tough. Who wrote these questions.
I like that I write Klaine as friends who like one another and are kind to one another. And they long for one another and balance one another and make the world better for one another too.
I like that it’s usually all about the love but they have so much outside that romance. I feel like they get to be healthy grown-ups with jobs and worries and great big joys.
They don’t need to have everything perfect. They can be oblivious or needy or weak or not meet one another’s needs. But the love is enough, or even if it’s not enough it’s…. An important part of their lives.
I like that I put little thoughtful moments in amongst the actions, to recognise how Finn is part of their relationship or how Kurt needs to be wary or how Blaine needs to be sure of everyone’s love.
I like that I can say a lot in not too many words. Which I’m disproving here ;)