We got in touch with the lovely Ashlee Bree, aka Austennerdita2533, author of many awesome fics and drabbles including Daises Waltz with Black Roses, Put the Car in Drive and Half Agony, Half Hope. We talked about her stories, her writing style, what Klaroline’s individual dating profiles would look like and which characters from the TVD/TO universe she’d most like to party with.
I’m Ashlee Bree. I’m 27 (where does the time go, honestly?). I’m talkative, friendly, and optimistic. Laughter is my medicine of choice; coffee my eye-opening stimulant. Language gives me life. I write. I quote. I make ridiculous to-do list notes. I blab novels into Tumblr tags. And without much provocation, I spend way too much time obsessing over fictional characters.
KM: When was the exact moment that you knew Klaus and Caroline were meant for each other? Was there a particular scene or piece of dialogue that caught your attention?
Ashlee Bree: The blunt, unreserved nature of Klaus and Caroline’s dynamic hooked me right from the start because it was raw and revelatory for both characters, but the “we are the same” scene from 4×14 solidified their meant-to-be status in my mind. I love everything about it—the dialogue, the eye contact, the parallel positioning of their bodies, the camped vs. shadowed lighting, their joint toe-to-toe, face-the-truth demeanor. Everything in this scene culminates perfectly to illustrate how they reflect complementary similarities and differences back at one another. It’s an illumination of their “missing pieces,” so to speak. For Klaus, that means staring into the face of humanity; for Caroline, it means peering into the eyes of forever.
Moreover, for the first time in the series, a scene highlights in concrete words (and in implication) that Klaus and Caroline want the same things out of life. They both crave strength and power. Loyalty and love. Immortality. In all of the important ways, they are the same. And that, to me, screams OTP to me in sonic boom decibels.
KM: Endgame is a given, that much we know, so how would you like to see their eventual reunion play out?
Ashlee Bree: So far, it’s Klaus who has done all of the wooing and pursuing. He’s the one who’s laid out all those perhaps-one-day, show-up-at-my-door, let-me-show-you-the-world, friends-then, however-long-it-takes cards. His feelings are marked. Explicit. But what about Caroline?
Where Klaus is concerned, she’s so resistant. Hesitant about acknowledging the connection they share largely out of fear of what that means. (“I’m scared of YOU” she once admitted to Silas.) When it comes to Karoline’s eventual reunion, I’d love for Caroline to cast away some of that fear. For her to seek HIM out for once, whether it’s in NOLA or somewhere else, because she needs/wants something that she recognizes only Klaus can provide.
The impetus for what hastens her to him could be big or small. Perhaps she needs protection (a la s7)? Her/her friends are struggling with some kind of world-ending riddle? She hears of some Klaus/Original-damning plot and comes to help? She needs a distraction? A vacation? A witchy spell? A tour guide who knows all of the best places? I don’t particularly mind what it is so long as she has some kind of ah-ha, I-need-Klaus-for-this (and ONLY Klaus) moment.
KM: If you could write a dating profile for Klaus, what would it say? How about Caroline?
Ashlee Bree: Klaus’ profile would highlight his duality as well as some of his more refined tastes. Something along these lines: Klaus Mikaelson. Can’t wait to be King of NOLA (and the world!). Artistic. Well-travelled. Master of many moods, languages, and people. 1,000-year winner of Mr. Grumpy Cat angry-face contest. “I howl into the impenetrable darkness, hoping one day I’ll locate a star that will illuminate the night of my life.”
Caroline’s would depict her pep, zest, and overall optimism for life. Maybe something like this: Caroline “Be Positive!” Forbes. Forever perky and seventeen. Definite planner. Meticulous, forgiving, and witty. Loves karaoke. Has a “thing” for accents and champagne. The reigning Little Blonde Distraction. Just a small town girl who one day hopes to see the whole, big, wide world. Will YOU be my Rhett Butler? 😉 “[A girl] should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”
(I could totally craft a drabble/oneshot based off this premise. Shhh.)
KM: It’s no secret that you are a huge literature fan. I’m curious to find out which literary story and couple you think have the most similarities to Klaroline?
Ashlee Bree: I am! I absolutely adore literature and could sit here meta-ing Karoline/literary couple parallels forever. (I won’t, but I could.) Naturally, that means I have a difficult time picking only one story and/or couple. As a well-known Austen enthusiast (fangirl extraordinaire), I definitely make a lot of connections between Karoline and Pride and Prejudice. Likewise, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, though different in tone to Austen’s novel, portrays similar themes and boasts similar hero/heroine characterizations. My brain also connects Karoline to elements of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Mass as well.
As far as couples go, I think Klaus and Caroline parallel any/all of the pairings in these novels in some way? In my mind, Klaus is severe and arrogant like Darcy; brutal and internally anguished like Thornton; sardonic, cunning, and pining like Rhett Butler; and a patient, diabolical half-breed who aims to protect his family like Rhysand. All of them fight to subdue or hide their romantic passion in some way. Caroline, on the other hand, is animated and quick-tongued like Elizabeth; hostile (at times) yet caring and competent like Margaret; strong-willed and fierce like Scarlett; and transitioning toward embracing the power of forever like Feyre. It takes all of the ladies sufficient time to reciprocate the pursuing gentleman’s feelings. There are undercurrents of charm, challenge, banter, repulsion, attraction, and potential purring among all of these couples as well. It makes them excellent parallels to Klaroline and their dynamic, I think.
KM: Your writing style is so poetic and lyrical. Does this just come naturally to you or is it a difficult style to master?
Ashlee Bree: I think I’m just an old, poetic soul? Lyricism and figurative language seep from me without much provocation most of the time, even in moments when I’d prefer to keep them at bay. Words and language and nuance have always mesmerized me; they hooked me around the imagination the moment I first learned to read to and write. I think it’s just how I relate to the world? Poetry writes inside of me in calligraphy as I pass through and experience life and I often feel compelled to describe what I think or perceive—what I feel. There’s this strange image-detailed cadence that splash-hums in my mind all the time, always encouraging me to “find the right words,” and before I know it…they tumble out. It’s been that way always and probably will remain so forever.
KM: Your story Daisies Waltz with Black Roses is a visually spectacular adventure that is inspired by Hades/Persephone. How did this story come about? Is this one of your favourite tropes to write? Do you have any other favourites?
Ashlee Bree: This story sprang from a KC AU Week prompt that I received last summer. At that point, I was a newbie to fandom life and fanfiction writing (I’d only shared a stray drabble/chapter or two) but I wanted to participate. I had no idea what the hell I was supposed to do (or write), so the lovely Jay sent me a “Klaus shows Caroline his first act of compassion in the Underworld” drabble prompt. Since I’m obsessed with Hades and Persephone, I couldn’t stop playing with the universe and it spiraled into a multi-chapter fic. I love drawing inspiration from Greek mythology, then infusing some supernatural/modern twists with the added bonus of Klaroline. It’s a plot headache, but fun!
When it comes to tropes, I love them all. I like to mix it up. I’ll write supernatural or human AUs, canon AH/AUs or fix-its, angst, hurt/comfort, fluff, crossovers/fusions, royalty, crack scenarios, etc. I love experimentation, so I’m always open to writing new tropes. There are quite a few I still want to try.
KM: One of my favourite stories of yours is Put the Car in Drive mainly because you wrote something that I desperately wanted to see play out in canon. Is this why you wrote the interaction between Klaus and a humanity-less Caroline after her mother’s death? Did you think it was a story that needed to be told because it had been ignored in canon?
Ashlee Bree: Thank you, that story has a special place in my heart because it’s the first Karoline drabble I found courage enough to post. I just remember feeling so disheartened and irritated as I watched Caroline’s my-mom-died storyline play out on TVD. I hated it. I felt like the writers took the emphasis off her personal grief and suffering by tethering her and Stefan in that no-humanity bow TOGETHER, you know? It should have been more about her, and less about them.
Above all, I thought Caroline needed a harsh nudge of perspective from someone who would understand yet push back. And if anyone would/did understand that intoxicating “allure to darkness”—particularly after some kind of tragic event—it’s Klaus Mikaelson. I always imagined that if someday Caroline did want to turn off her humanity, she’d hasten straight to him. She’d have no hostility defense left to shield against him. I absolutely felt like canon missed a huge opportunity to develop both Klaus and Caroline here, so my brain wouldn’t rest until I concocted a different scenario.
KM: Your drabbles are always a lot of fun to read, especially those crack ones you seem to have an absolute knack for. Are they a reflection of your sense of humour?
Ashlee Bree: Crack drabbles are heaven to write, because don’t we all need to laugh sometimes? It makes us feel good. Happy. But yes, I love to smile and giggle and tell jokes. I approach life—the good, the bad, and the ugly—with positivity and a sense of humor, so I think that definitely influences my writing. Sarcasm and wit are constant fixtures in my daily life. I think Gilmore Girls and Elizabeth Bennet are much to blame for that. They taught me well. ;)\
KM: One of my recent favourites is your hilarious text exchange between Klaus and Caroline, complete with emojis, called Errand Complaints and Champagne. I would definitely love to see a few of these exchanges as a series (just saying). What’s your favourite drabble you’ve written?
Ashlee Bree: That makes me incredibly happy that you liked it so much, because I derive such satisfaction from crafting texting ridiculousness. And no worries. I absolutely have more emoji-filled Karoline phone banter on the writing menu. 😉 One of my favorite drabbles is Make Them Spell Last Love. It’s so different in structure than anything else I’ve written so far because it chronicles Klaus and Caroline’s relationship from their first hostile (spark) of a meeting to this final moment of equal acceptance and reciprocation. There’s a snapshot Karoline scene/description for each letter of the two words “last love,” and they unfold like chapters to show the progression of how they inevitably end up together. It’s definitely an outside-the-box kind of story but I think that’s why I’m so fond of it? I love surprising myself and developing something new or different.
KM: What is your favourite part about writing fan fiction? Are you an avid planner or completely unpredictable?
Ashlee Bree: My favorite part of writing fan fiction is stumbling across personal inspiration and/or encouragement from others to explore new genres, tropes, themes, etc. of writing. Not only is it a blast to imagine different Karoline scenarios, but support and suggestions help me to grow as a writer.
Like Klaus, I’m kind of a hybrid in my writing process. Details outline themselves in a kind of skeletal framework in my mind before I sit down to write a story so that I have an idea of where I’m headed. That being said, I also often strap myself into tangents and ride them in different directions, too. I don’t adhere strictly to an outline, but I don’t do entirely without one either.
KM: Do you prefer writing Klaus or Caroline?
Ashlee Bree: I don’t have a preference, actually. I enjoy flitting back and forth between Klaus and Caroline both to explore different emotions, reactions, experiences, epiphanies, etc. I love concocting witty banter, but I also enjoy unraveling more raw universal sensibilities that I (and others) may be able to relate to in some capacity. My muse dictates who/what I want to write that day. It just depends.
KM: Do you have any favourite Klaroline stories or writers that inspire you?
Ashlee Bree: There are so many wonderful Klaroline fics and writers in this fandom that I hate the idea of limiting myself to listing only a few names or titles. I can’t do it. To be frank, I’m impressed by any and all of you who muster up the creativity, time, and courage to share your writing with me because it’s not an easy thing to do. I’m jointly inspired and intimidated by all of you on a daily basis.
I learn from you all. I respect and admire you. When I hoard my own work, too overwrought with anxiety and doubt to post, I look to you. I gain perspective and practice by reading work by you. I cry and laugh and complain about writing right along with you. I listen when you say, “I have a story to tell.” I dive into new writing waters after you. And above all, I fangirl because of you. A big thanks to every single one of you for teaching, encouraging, and entertaining me—you’re amazing!
KM: If you were stuck on a desert island and could summon two of the characters from TVD/TO to rescue you, who would they be and why?
Ashlee Bree: Katherine and Klaus. Katherine because she’s a “survivor” above all else; Klaus because he’s diabolical and thinks outside of the box. He’s a warrior and a hunter and he would battle his way out of isolation for all those that matter to him, if need be. Also, you damn-well better believe that Katherine would find a way off a deserted island—even if it meant head-slamming sharks, scaling coconut trees for fluids and vantage points, or cliff-diving into the vast seas to battle the riptides to do it. Best to grab hold of one of her stilettos and never let go, though. She may be tempted to leave me behind to save herself first. Which is when Klaus’ “I will kill you and everyone you’ve ever met” expertise comes in handy. And his not-to-be-disparaged certainty of death if his wishes are thwarted. Also, I think perhaps Caroline needs to supervise this rescue mission in order to prevent Klaus and Katherine from manipulating (or worse, murdering) one another.
KM: It’s Saturday night and you’re going out. Which three TVD/TO characters would be your drinking buddies and why?
Ashlee Bree: Caroline, Kol, Enzo, and Katherine (because I am a rule-breaker and need more than 3 drinking buddies). Caroline would be my bubbly and enthusiastic friend who would be more than happy to belt out some feel-good karaoke all night long. Katherine would accost any handsy a*** who bothered us by flashing them a seductive smile before burying her fingernails in their throats. “Dare to touch one of us like that again,” she’d purr, “and I’ll skin you alive. Like an apple, I’ll peel and peel until you cry so hard you DIE.” Then, she’d dance and drink and demand let’s-make-our-own-fun statements with us well into dawn. Kol and Enzo would plaster us all with shots, shots, shots, and horrible pick-up lines full of “Kolenzo Kills” puns, then would absolutely, one hundred percent, take turns singing Grease duets with Caroline and I—because they’re T-Bird studs not in voice, but in spirit! …Or perhaps just in drunken heart?
KM: Klaus and Caroline are finally getting married. Is Caroline a bridezilla? Does Kol throw a wild Bachelor Party? Who is in the bridal party? How do you see their wedding unfold?
The possibilities are endless! I could craft 10 oneshots just based off these questions…Caroline wouldn’t necessarily be a bridezilla, but I definitely think she’d stress out over all of the “perfect” details. Neurotic-control-freak-on-crack definitely translates into wedding prep. I actually envision Klaus having a mini-panic attack, worrying over the “extremely real” possibility (at least in his paranoid, forever-doubting mind) of her ditching him at the altar last minute. As a result, he determines not to breathe or blink until she saunters all the way down the aisle and binds her hands (and her heart) to his…forever.
Kol would totally throw a complete rager—whereby he’d invade Caroline’s bachelorette party with unbelievable pomp and flair so they could all celebrate together. His party-crashing slogan would read as follows: “Mikaelsons live together, fight together, and party together…or they desiccate.” Bridesmaids: Bonnie, Elena, Rebekah, Katherine. Groomsmen: Elijah, Kol, Enzo, and Marcel.
You can read and enjoy all of Ashlee Bree’s stories HERE