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Secret Identities- Welshcat

 

 

I ask fwooshmembers questions.

 

They answer them.

 

Welshcat " 1) Apart from her beauty, she’s a true champion."


The name Welshcat..?

It’s actually the name of a purple toy cat from Wales, which was made for me by my sister. It’s kind of taken on a life of its own now though.


Where do you live?

I live in London. It’s not really foggy there, like the song, but more rainy and overcast. Sometimes it’s even been known to snow in April.

Where do you work?

I usually work from home.

Talk about the book you wrote, please? http://www.thegoldilocksgame.com/

It’s called “The Goldilocks Game” and it’s an action-adventure novel about a beautiful Russian tennis player, Tatiana Likamolova, who finds herself caught up in this James Bond spy world and working for a secret organisation named IRIS in order to combat these mysterious villains known as The Three Bears. Naturally, she has to rise to the challenge of juggling this secret agent lifestyle while still trying to compete as one of the world’s top tennis players. It’s a different spin on the classic story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with a few other traditional fairy tales thrown into the mix. It’s not really a tennis story though – it’s more like Maria Sharapova meets Sydney Bristow, but with more humour and fun than Alias. The closest comic franchise I can think of to compare it to is Danger Girl by J Scott Campbell. It’s kind of in the same vein as that, with a bit of the Russian intrigue of Black Widow mixed in, but with a slightly different premise and direction and with more emotional substance.

How did that come about?

I always wanted to write a novel, being someone who is generally very creative (my main creative outlets being writing, art, music). From a young age I’ve loved James Bond movies, Fairy Tales and of course, I’m a big fan of Maria Sharapova, so I decided to combine all three, but turned the idea on its head so that you’re reading it more from the Bond girl’s point of view than the agent’s. It’s more Hitchc0ckian though, in the sense that you get the innocent civilian thrown into a set of circumstances beyond her control and even though she keeps trying to wriggle her way out of it and go about with her normal life, these situations keep infringing upon her time and time again until she’s forced to become a heroine.

Of course, I remember a few years back how various James Bond or Sharapova fans used to say that Maria would make a great Bond girl, but I would always remain silent while I was busy working on this project in the background, as I wanted to create my own universe, entirely separate from that Bond. It’s highly rewarding to have your own world to play with, knowing you created it from scratch. If you go to the book’s website ( www.thegoldilocksgame.com ) you’ll see everything has been developed quite extensively. The Goldilocks Game combines different genres and current affairs. If you’re into economics, politics or world history, you’ll find a lot of that content in here, especially if you’ve followed some of the political goings on in Russia over the past few years. It should also appeal to comic fans with many larger-than-life characters (eg Snow White and Rose Red among others) who could easily look like they stepped out of the pages of a graphic novel. Beyond the initial appearance of the book with all its spy-action-adventure trappings, it’s really a very human, introspective, coming-of-age drama about growing up, taking responsibility, dealing with life’s difficulties and setbacks, and finding one’s place in the world. Although I am the writer, I do heartily recommend it. I know – shameless plug, but there you go. You can read the reviews on Amazon or Barnes and Noble and buy it either through there, Borders or through the book’s website itself.

Is Peter Strongbear your real name?

What, it sounds too super-heroic to be true? Well, in a sense, yes, it is. It’s a partial anagram of my real name and it fits in so well with the title and theme of the book so I had to use it. But it’s mostly a pen name.

What are your future plans?

I’m currently writing a couple of sequels to my book which are slightly more mystery-driven than the first book, although the spy element is still very much there. I’ll probably write something non-fiction in the near future as well, probably theology-related. I might also still wish to do something with law, having trained as a barrister, but for the moment that’s on the sidelines. Other than that, I would love to get into the film industry in some capacity, as well as do something more professionally with music. And of course, God willing, I would love to settle down one day and have a family.
 
Do you customize?

Yes, I’ve made a number of customs over the years (http://www.thefwoosh.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11356 ), mostly ranging from obscure Spider-Woman villains to Iron Man or Avengers villains we never seem to get in Marvel Legends. I try to make characters who have a very slim chance of finding their way into a line-up. So far, it’s been pretty successful. When I first got into customising way back in 2003, my search for various tips initially led me to the Fwoosh shortly after it first started.

I also made a Maria Sharapova action figure a few back which was probably my best custom to date (and my last). I know several other customisers have incorporated balloons into their work to substitute for fabric, but when I used it to make Maria’s tennis dress, I don’t think I had seen that method yet. Unfortunately, I don’t own that custom any longer as I gave it away to Maria herself at Wimbledon a couple of years ago. I plan on making another for myself and it’s currently in the WIP stage, but just haven’t gotten round to working on it very much so far.

What is most important in a figure? The size, or the accuracy?

Generally speaking, I would have to say accuracy comes first, followed by size. Of course, with something like Modular Iron Man, that is pretty accurate but it’s just too small for my collection. Usually though, I like figures to be as accurate as possible. They don’t have to be 100% accurate – if there’s a minor detail I’m not going to really nitpick, but they have to be recognisable as the character.

What is in your collection?

My first ever Marvel Legend was ML1 Iron Man. That started me on the downward spiral of toy collecting and giving away my money to the charity known as Toybiz. Prior to that, I wouldn’t have actually considered owning a collection of any sort. I own about 70-80% of the figures released so far, but I’m not a completist by any means. I usually tend to stay away from characters I know nothing about or who have come from the modern era. That said, I do own the likes of Yelena Belova Black Widow, but that’s because she’s Russian and I love spies, plus she was a fascinating concept when she was first introduced as a rival and would-be usurper to the Black Widow mantle. I’m not a big X-Men fan either, so I’ll usually stay away from the plethora of characters out of their stable, but I’ll gladly take some of the more classic ones from the 70s as the Bronze Age is my favourite period. Other than Marvel, I only have the classic Star Trek figures from Art Asylum, and that’s it. I don’t have room for any other toys.

Where do you vacation? Where would you like to vacation?

I’m usually in Chicago at least once a year to visit family, and I’ve been known to go to Canada on occasion too where I also have family. Two countries I would love to visit are Russia (for obvious reasons) and Brazil. The latter I’ve always had a fascination with and it seems to be such a warm and friendly country with potentially lots of hot girls. I’m open to visiting many other cities such as Italy and other parts of Europe, and Asia too, but it’s all a matter of finding the time and people to go with.

What other sites do you visit?

Fwoosh is my only toy forum, while I get my latest comic movie news from Comics2Film. Of course, I co-administrate a Maria Sharapova forum (Siberian Siren) so I’m there every day, and I also have my own website for my book ( www.thegoldilocksgame.com ). I also belong to a James Bond forum as well. Other than that, most of the other sites consist of either things I’m researching for my writing, or just email-related.

Why so much love for Maria Sharapova?

Well there are really two answers to this:

1) Apart from her beauty, she’s a true champion. She’s not the greatest tennis player in the world, but she’s definitely up there, and she’s a determined fighter with a never-say-die attitude. She’s certainly earned my respect because she’s such an inspiration to me as someone who works extremely hard to be where she’s at, and yet seems to live on the edge when it comes to tennis. While tennis fans might not fully appreciate this, she’s the kind of player who might have a great season where she’s at the top of the game, followed by a dismal one where she can easily under perform against players she should easily be able to beat. That tells me that one can never take things for granted and rest on one’s laurels. So she’s exciting to watch in that sense, because you can never be quite 100% sure she’s going to win. It could easily go either way. Also, on a personal level, she never seems to be involved in any sordid tabloid gossip that you might associate with other celebrities. I like that she keeps her private life private and tries to maintain that sense of integrity and dignity.

2) It also looks like I have more love for her than there actually is. Don’t get me wrong – I am definitely a an enthusiastic fan, but you have to remember that I’ve also written a book over the past few years where the main protagonist, Tatiana Likamolova, is very similar, and therefore a large part of that love actually derives from all the time and effort I’ve invested in bringing the character to life. I am also an administrator of a Maria Sharapova forum where fans will track Maria’s progress during tournaments and talk about the latest gossip. Of course, that means that I will know all the most recent news about her, just as a member of Fwoosh will usually know all the latest headlines and inside scoop from the toy industry. Compared to the regular Fwoosher, it looks like I’m a Sharapova-fanatic because I know more about her, but I’m sure the average Fwoosher would look like they’re toy mad on another non-comic/ toy-based forum.


What were you thinking when you met Maria S?

Well I was really determined to give her that custom figure I made but wasn’t sure whether I would be able to get close to her. She’s usually signing so many autographs at the end after her match that it’s easy to get overlooked. Sometimes though, you just have to be more assertive and persistent to get what you want – after all, you know the saying "faint heart never won fair lady"? Well there were lots of people competing for her attention that day at Wimbledon. I just had to keep calling her name until she finally came up to me. I was spellbound because she has this aura of beauty about her. I complimented her and said something, but since it was all in the heat of the moment, I don’t quite remember what I said – it’s all a blur. I do remember she thought that I wanted her to sign the figure, but I told her it was a present for her. She blushed and smiled her million dollar wattage smile and that really made my day. The other members of the crowd around me were going "awwww" because of that sweet gesture, probably slightly jealous inwardly for not having thought of it themselves

How many members are on Siberian Siren?

Technically there are over 6,200 and growing every day, but I’m pretty sure a fair percentage of those are spammers. We do have a large and healthy number of actual fans though (probably as many as there are Fwoosh members) from places such as the US, UK, Australia, Europe and the Asia-Pacific, some of whom know far more about the tennis world and Maria Sharapova than I do. Some only come to look at the pretty pictures of Maria and never post whereas others contribute all the time. It’s probably about as active as the Fwoosh although it’s only been going for less than half the time, since 2006.

How does it compare to Fwoosh?

It’s quite different in some respects, because unlike Fwoosh which is more-or-less full of red-blooded male fan boys, the gender mix over on Siberian Siren is pretty much equal. I think there are more females on SS than on any other forum I’ve been a member of, some of whom are actually very attractive. Where it’s similar to Fwoosh is that there’s a definite community spirit that exists there and a real sense of fun, plus people seem to form genuine friendships there (I’ve met one of the girls from there in real life). There’s probably also a lot more flirting going on there than the Fwoosh.

It’s not all about Maria there either – we have other sections dedicated to other players as well as to other sports, films, games general etc. We have a chat room there where people meet daily to catch up with one another. Usually people will talk about anything and everything, not simply limited to tennis. In fact, tennis is rarely discussed in there, although when there is a tournament going on, fans will gather there in the chat room to cheer Maria on. There’s nothing like the shared experience of watching a tennis match together with people all over the world at exactly the same time. So yeah, the forum seems to shift between a sports forum during the tennis season to a kind of social-networking site in the off-season, where people simply hang out. Of course, we’ll get the occasional oddballs or troublemakers, but they tend to be few and far between, with most people being very cordial and respectful towards one another. Fwooshers should come and check it out some time if they want to meet more girls.

How much of the day is dedicated to reading?

This is really difficult to measure, since reading is almost part and parcel of being a writer. I’ll definitely read other books to hone my craft and simply to see what’s out there. However, a fair amount of reading is devoted to the research aspect of my work. So to answer the question, at least 40% of the working day is set aside for that, with the rest devoted to writing.

What musical instruments do you play?

Piano, clarinet and saxophone. I actually write my own songs and own my own recording studio. I’ve recorded a few pieces with other musicians and singers but I don’t get that much time to devote to this, as I would like.

What does Systematic Theology mean?

Good question. It’s really just a branch of theology that attempts to arrange or formulate the various theological and Christian doctrines or beliefs into a coherent whole or a system, if you will, using different methods such as biblical interpretation, history, philosophy etc. My masters degree was in this, and really what it meant is that I specialized in such subjects as Revelation and Reason (i.e. the contrasting systems of faith and science), Creation, the doctrine of God and Jesus Christ, and biblical interpretation. It’s all very interesting once you get into it and definitely helps you to think about different aspects of the world and life in general. I’m not just a theologian though. I have a legal background too, so both of those probably help with the writing.


What does "Systematic Theology" mean? I need more info.

Well the word “theology” comes from two Greek words, “theos”, meaning “God” and “logos” meaning “word” or “words”, so literally, theology really just means talk about God, but more specifically it’s the study of God and all things related (i.e. his nature, his characteristics, Christian beliefs etc). So Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that tries to arrange all the talk about God into a coherent system (hence systematic theology – a systematic way of talking about God). This is done using various methods such as biblical interpretation, church history, philosophy, ethics etc. My master’s degree was in Systematic Theology and I specialized in such subjects as Revelation and Reason (i.e. whether you can know God through faith or through other means such as science, intellectual knowledge etc), Creation, the doctrine of God and Jesus Christ, and biblical interpretation. It’s all very interesting once you get into it and definitely helps you to think about different aspects of the world in general.
 
Does it make you feel better or worse about things?

Well I wouldn’t say that theology in itself would make me feel better or worse about things. When studied purely as a an academic subject, it’s mostly an intellectual exercise, so perhaps on an intellectual level it can help you to understand the world around you and provide you with the necessary tools to reason through arguments, assess historical documents or interpret texts. However, if you have a belief already there (which in my case there is) then naturally, theology supplements that belief and enables you to gain a greater knowledge and appreciation of God and Jesus Christ, and to have a deeper understanding and insight into different aspects of the Christian faith. In that sense, theology has been of great benefit to me, but whether I feel better or worse about things is more dependent on my faith and my relationship with God than the academic study itself. I hope that makes sense.

What do you spend your money on?

Most of it goes towards living expenses or books. Then there’s other things like going out, socializing, a few Marvel Legends here and there. I haven’t bought any for a while though. I don’t really collect comics anymore – maybe just the odd one here and there that strikes my interest. I try not to spend too much though, as London is extremely expensive to live in. I tend to do a lot of my shopping in bulk when I go to the States.

Thanks Welshcat!

 


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