Contact information: jamcheung[AT]hotmail.com
Online aliases: azn_desire, swtijam
Forums most frequented: soild07, mcr3ations, soompi
Completed fics: Bus 180, Ashes to Dust
Current fics: Unit 44
Additional information: —
fancracked: Hello Janice! It’s nice to meet you (: Can you tell me how you got into kpop and kpop fanfiction? ^^
janice: I first got into kpop when a boy I liked during Jr.high was sending me some songs and once I heard H.O.T’s outside castle I was in love. Around the same time Val’s What I Did For Love was being circulated around the net and I read it without even knowing that it was a kpop fanfic or who Sechkies was, I enjoyed the story nonetheless, and even more so once I made the connection between the JiWon in the story and the real life Sechkies leader haha
fancracked: Oh wow! What a past~~
janice: lol It was a long time ago, prolly about 10 years now haha
fancracked: lol time sure goes by so quickly! Maybe it’s just because the kpop world seems to have grown in the past five-ish years or so but it feels like everything raced by since then.
janice: Haha yes. Kpop has changed a lot since I first started listening to it. I find it difficult to keep up with all the idols debuting nowadays. Or maybe I’m just getting old lol
fancracked: haha I think a lot of people feel similar sentiments ^^; so since you’ve seen kpop grow over time what sorts of phases/changes do you think were important or influential? — Also, what sites did you go to as a writer and as a fan? ^^
janice: I think the disbandment of H.O.T was important (but that may just be a personal opinion since I was a big fan of them haha). There was a period where all the idol groups were disbanding (SES, FinkL, Sechkies, Click-B) and kpop had a lot more popular Ballad and R&B singers. Then the debut of DBSK came and they wowed the world, and it ultimately led to this explosion of idols. I use to go to Solid07, mcr3ations, soompi, ficaholics. For reading/writing fanfics I mostly visited Soompi.
fancracked: oo mcr3ations sounds so familiar.
janice: It was a smaller forum for kpop fans.
fancracked: I admit I always thought you were more of a wanderer who was more interested in just NG stuff since your fics have been mainly NG fics! o:
janice: Hahaha yeah I actually loved reading fics about H.O.T., Shinhwa, 1Tym. But when writing my own stories, I find it had to fit a gasoo into the character I’m portraying.
fancracked: ahhh I see! Have you ever tried experimenting/posting up a gasoo fic? I think I’ve only read Bus 180, a fic you posted on ficaholics, and then the one you posted last year about a nurse ^^;
janice: I wrote a fic using FTTS as characters; I think I posted it up at ficaholics. I also tried writing another fic with Brian Joo as one of the main characters but I only wrote a couple chapters in my head and dropped it.
fancracked: haha okay I knew I wasn’t going crazy–i kept associating you with ftts in my head but i wasn’t sure why ^^;;
janice: Ah you were reading Unit 44? [about the nurse] I want to finish that, I actually really enjoy the characters from that story but had a writer’s block and never got back to it
fancracked: Unit 44 is the one with the nurse student/her “crazy” neighbor from upstairs right? haha it was a charming read although you left us hanging!
janice: Hahahaha I wanted to fix up some parts for the plot. I think sometimes it’s difficult for me to write Unit 44 since it has aspects of nursing in it and that’s so similar to my everyday life But I find that’s when I’m really about to write something good, is when I’ve been able to experience little aspects of the characters life. Like in Bus 180, looking at strangers that you see everyday wondering what could be. It’s such an everyday thing, but when you write a story about it, it seems like so much more
fancracked: What else has acted as a source of inspiration for you aside from strangers/bus stops/nursing? ^^
janice: My English teachers in high school and university I think were pretty big inspirations. They pushed me to write better and opened me up to so much literature, which is always a great source of creative inspiration. I actually wrote Bus 180 when I was in high school. I think I was at the height of my writing then lol
fancracked: Feels like each phase of life turns a new leaf. When you look back at your writing through the years what sorts of qualities/traits stick out to you? ^^
janice: I’m a descriptive writer (feelings, settings, movement). Everything I write is painted out (however, I noticed this can turn some readers off as being overbearing). My stories usually have sad/dark tone to them and sad endings, with or without hope. I’ve acknowledged that I’m unable to write comedies/action stories haha
fancracked: Your writing style is at times soft/gentle but you sometimes cover more dramatic, gritty/not so pretty scenarios like what happened towards the end of Bus 180. What draws your interest or attention towards certain “dark” material or material that is less frilly?
janice: Hmm.. that’s a good question lol. I’m not so sure myself. But I find myself drawn to writing bittersweet stories. Now that you’ve mentioned it I don’t think I ever wrote a happy story. But I think it may be b/c my stories have an element of realism, and to me, real life is ironic and bittersweet. There are always good things that lead to bad and vice versa. I’ve never been the type to write those happy love stories (ie: nerdy girl meets kingka = love) b/c I find them so unrealistic and clichéd (although they may be enjoyable to read at times).
fancracked: It’s funny how that works — our tastes/”flavors” as writers and readers can be different/filter through differently than expected.
fancracked: We already touched on your different fics earlier but I wanted to spend some time on them (: Can you give us a brief summary about each of them and their leading characters? ^^
janice: Bus 180… I’ve often described it as “simplicity redefined”. To me, it’s the simple story of a boy and a girl who see each other on the same bus going to school every day. This every day interaction leads to a wonderful familiarity between the two and a comfortable relationship between strangers. The story looks at the interactions between the two and how these everyday actions have ultimately impacted their lives. Bus 180 was actually the bus I took to school every day, and from there inspiration spread and the story grew to life. The girl in Bus 180… Through her character I want to show resiliency and the breakdown of a life through bullying. I know her story almost seems cliché, but bullying is real, and has real consequences including suicide. Also, I wanted to show that suicide is not selfish (unlike what most people think), and the torment that people suffer through leading towards suicide. The boy in Bus 180… He is really the everyday school boy. Pressured by his parents to do well, yet striving to show his individuality though simple methods such as dying his hair.
Unit 44… A love story between a stressed out nurse and her eccentric yet endearing next door neighbour. Ruby works as a Registered Nurse on a palliative unit, where patients are slowly dying, along with her zest for life. Along comes Aiden, who leaps onto her balcony and begins to “dance with butterflies”. And so begins their whimsical and bittersweet love story. Ruby… Inspiration for her character came from all the nurses around me, including myself, and all the situations we are privy to as a nurses. Our patients, their losses, gains, lives, and deaths. Aiden… He’s the breath of life that we all need every once in awhile. I wanted to create a whimsical character who would be able to put a smile on Ruby’s face as well as the reader. He’s mysterious, playful, and totally loveable. I won’t discuss any of my other works as they are all pretty short and can prolly be read in the time of reading a summary and character descriptions lol
fancracked: The way you describe Aiden is so nicely put. I guess it’s expected because you are his creator ^^;; but it’s so true because he really is like a breath of life for her. I was crossing my fingers in hopes that the butterflies would just be a saying but since you introduced pills to us in the last chapter you posted (or I think it was). I guess we won’t know >_<
janice: hahaha I’m planning to finish Unit 44. I just have to find the time to stop procrastinating. It’s actually quite motivating to talk about it now. As well as realize that there were actually people reading it! haha
fancracked: I must admit I thought you disappeared from the world after Bus 180 and after you stopped posting on ficaholics ^^; but then I found you posting Unit 44. You have no idea how happy I was haha
janice: Hahaha yea I tried writing shortly after Bus 180 but nothing that I wrote could even compare to Bus 180, and then I got frustrated a stopped writing for awhile. I guess I just had to find some new inspiration.
fancracked: This is going off on a tangent about Bus 180… I remember listening to a song you featured in it (Gymnopédie) over and over again afterwards. Was there a reason why you chose it? Also, what do you think about fic OST’s? ^^
janice: I use to play Gymnopédie on the piano, and found that the melody matched very well with the tone of Bus 180. Hmm I guess fanfic OSTs are good if they add to the stories’ moods/tones. Similar to how music in a drama/movie serves to highlight the current situation. On a random note one of my friends actually set Gymnopédie as her ring tone for awhile, so every time her phone rang I would secretly smile to myself haha
fancracked: That’s so cute!! Did you ever run into any other situations that were similar to that? Or something that gave you a shot of serendipity or inspiration?
janice: Lol well I drive now so no random meetings with bus strangers haha.
I did have a patient who was dying, and I was at his bedside along with his wife when he decided that he no longer wanted medical treatment. He said he already had a wonderful and fulfilling life as he was married to his wife for over 30 years. They loved each other so much and were so accepting of his death. This was a huge inspiration for Unit 44… I was really awestruck by that situation. Even let out a few tears when comforting the wife. Tried my hardest not to cry, but it was one of those real life bittersweet moments.
fancracked: My two questions kind of come together ^^; One – when you look back at your journey as a writer, what sorts of things have you learned and taken away as a person and as a writer? What sorts of lessons or advice could you share with the fic community and aspiring writers based on your experiences? Two – is there any message you’d like to send out to anyone?
janice: Personally, I’ve learned that the best writing comes from my personal inspirations, experiences, feelings… although some writers are amazing and able to create stories out of pure fiction (ie: Harry Potter). Also, it’s important to figure out why you are writing your story. I find that some people write for the readers, or in other words the number of replies. I find that if you write for other people, the story becomes a mess as you are trying to please everybody, which is impossible.
My message will be to my readers. A big THANK YOU for giving my unconventional non-gasoo stories a chance! I hope you look forward to the continuation of Unit 44 and hopefully more stories in the future.
fancracked: Thank you so much for doing this interview with me! Hope to see you continue to write and post ^^
janice: Thank you! =D