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The Foreign Papers by javamomma0921

Official Summary
AU - Bella Swan is an expert in antique documents. When the paper trail she is following leads overseas and she finds herself enamored with an enigmatic man named Edward Masen, will her training be enough to help her solve the mystery surrounding him?

I was swept up in The Foreign Papers immediately. The writing in this story is captivating and fluid and draws you into another world so completely that you forget the actual world around you.
Dr. Isabella Swan is a document verification expert. It is her life’s work and her passion. And she’s not only good at it, she’s confident in her skills. (It’s always refreshing to read a confident, self-assured Bella, rather than the insecure teenager of canon.) Edward Masen, though we don’t know it right from the start, is a 500+ year old vampire searching for his missing family. It’s Bella’s job to go through 300+ years of Cullen history to solve a mystery, but she doesn’t even know what the mystery is.

She gets hints of the mystery in the content of the letters she must authenticate, but with little guidance from Edward she’s left to put the story together herself. Bella quickly realizes that the mystery in the letters will help her to discover the mystery of Edward himself.

"What did you find?" Edward asked, coming up close behind her and making her shiver at the chill of his breath on her neck.

"I've never heard of this term before," she said, pointing to two words in the middle of the document. "Stregoni Benefici. Literally translated, I think it means 'Wizard's Benefit,' but that doesn't make any sense. And here it says that the words relate to ancient vampiro leggende."
Bella looked up at Edward expectantly.

"Vampire legends," he said softly.

"I know," she replied quietly, her eyes traveling over his features quickly and then darting back to the document. "It isn't – unusual for people of this time period to be – superstitious."
She was stuttering, tripping over her words as her mind raced through the information. Edward appeared cautious, unnaturally hesitant, as he relayed the translation. Vampire legends? she thought and shuddered involuntarily.Ridiculous, Isabella. You're simply letting the late hour addle your brain. Vampires aren't real.

"You consider it a silly superstition then?" Edward murmured.

"You don't?" she asked, her eyes meeting his, weighing his reaction.

"Clearly, the writer of these documents didn't think so," he answered.
The Foreign Papers is a really smart story. For example, I know absolutely nothing about antique documents or the process of verifying their authenticity, but javamomma weaves the details of the documents and Bella’s examination of them seamlessly into the story. You never feel like you’re being told the nuts and bolts of the process, but by the time the scene or the chapter is over, you understand exactly how the whole process happens.

The details provided enhance the story, rather than distract from it. The descriptions of the clean room and its setup, as well as the process for document verification help to guide us to what is important rather than force-feeding us the details. And the way she describes everything makes you feel as though you are physically in the room with them, a part of the process.

Another refreshing part of this story is that Bella and Edward actually act like adults. So often in AU fics, I find that we’re stuck with some of the worst canon characteristics - Bella’s insecurity, Edward’s controlling nature, a general lack of communication, etc. But in The Foreign Papers, even though Edward has to keep his vampire nature a secret, the pair still manages to have adult conversations about their feelings and their quick-progressing relationship. It is so easy to get swept up in the romance of it all and fall in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other.

"My feelings for you frighten me," she said, her voice thick with emotion. "When you held me last night, and again early this morning, I felt relief as though a part of me that had been missing was suddenly back in place. I've never felt anything like that before, and I'm afraid that if I give into that feeling, and you walk away … I might never be whole again."

She had closed her eyes as she spoke, unable to look him in the eye as she made such a bold declaration of her feelings. It was cowardly, perhaps, but she was afraid to see either fear or rejection in his face. When she opened her eyes, he was kneeling before her, his golden eyes bright with the smile that was on his face.

Edward raised his hands and held them around her face, barely touching her. She held her breath and couldn't tear her eyes away from his.

"Would you believe that I feel the same way?"
What I wouldn’t give for canon Edward and Bella to be so open with their feelings and actually have these conversations before they go through all their drama!

In all, I cannot recommend The Foreign Papers enough. We’re at a really pivotal point in the story now and I devour every chapter as soon as the alert appears in my inbox. It’s unique, so well written, and is genuinely interesting all the way through. It is well worth the read, and as soon as I finish this review, I plan on devouring the rest of javamomma0921’s posted stories!

Author’s Interview
What gave you the idea for this story?
I really enjoyed Elizabeth Kostova's book The Historian. In it, a woman follows documents, books, and other clues around Europe looking for the tomb of Dracula. I just really liked the concept of turning research into an adventure. When I was doing the Wit Fits for Fictionista workshop in September, I started this little mystery thread that the readers referred to as 'Pond.' It was popular, but in the rush of FGB obligations etc, I got away from writing it. Finally, my girl Swimom7 convinced me to go back to it and turn it into a real story. It's been SO fun to write, really being able to develop the mystery more fully and play with vampire legends a little bit more because this is AU. :)

Are their any FF authors that inspire you?
Anyone who is brave enough to write their own words and put them out there for others to read and critique has my admiration. There are some authors who have really amazed me. Most recently, I was blown away by the braveness that Katinki showed when she posted her one shot, A Voice in the Darkness. It took major gumption to put something so taboo out there, and I applaud her for having both the talent and the guts to do it. Swimom7 is an author who has consistently blown me away with her ability to capture the humanity of these characters and really bring readers into the world she creates. Her stories are always so richly layered.

What was your main inspiration for your lead characters?
Bella has a little bit of me in her -- that's her quirky inner voice that we sometimes hear. She also has a healthy dose of Dr. Temperance Brennan, or Bones, from the series Bones. She's insanely intelligent and analytical, which really factors into the way she handles all of Edward's secrets. Edward is really fairly canon, except he's older (both physically and immortally). He's less hindered by rules and expectations than canon Edward is though. In general, he's the Edward I often wished I saw when I was reading Twilight.

What do you think it takes to make a fic special and stand out to a reader?
It has to a strike a chord with readers. And there's really no formula for that. I mean, if there was a formula we could all stop writing fic and make millions writing best sellers, right? lol I think to write a good story you have to dig deep down into yourself and find something amazing that only you can tell others about. For me, it's turning centuries old documents into rare and sexy snippets of Edward's mysterious past. I think if you find that one thing that only you can tell, there will be readers out there who fall in love with your story.

What do you find the hardest about writing this story?
Plot holes. I'm writing a mystery, and the key to writing a good mystery is leaving little breadcrumbs throughout the story so that a careful reader will be able to follow along and possibly solve the problem before the end. It's exhausting trying to keep track of all of those tiny breadcrumbs and make sure I don't eff up in the end. lol

Why do you think people should read this story?
I actually think it's fairly different. In a fandom with well over 100,000 different stories, that's a ballsy claim. However, I think this story is unique in a couple of ways. First of all, both Bella and Edward are older, in their late 20s. They are both very well educated and are both pretty snarky people. They banter with each other and really compliment each other well. The other thing that really sets this story apart is both the setting and Bella's profession. Bella is an antique documents specialist. She dates documents, verifies their authenticity, and tries to extract details from them sort of like a crime scene investigator might extract clues from a crime scene. The fic is set in Oxford, England, which makes things interesting in a few surprising ways. ;)

What cliches do you feel authors should avoid while writing fanfic?
There are some cliches that have been done so often that they are tiresome. Bella's deep chocolately brown orbs or Edward's enormous ... hands *snort*. I think using those devices actually pulls your readers out of the story because it's kind of jarring to be reminded of the fifty other stories you read that used those same cliches. On the other hand, I think it's cool to weave some of canon into your writing in unique and interesting ways. I sometimes like to throw lines from the books or movies into my fics in odd or unexpected ways. It's a nod to something familiar in a different way.

Do your RL friends and family know about your love and obsession with all things Twilight?
They know I write fanfic; they have no idea how involved I am in this world. If they did, they might actually seek to commit me. ;)

Have you got any other projects going on? Any planned for the future?
I'm working on finishing up my other WIP, All That Jazz. I'm also contributing to three charities this Spring that are very near and dear to my heart. I'll be contributing an outtake of TFP to the Fandom for Tsunami Relief and another outtake to the Fandom Fights Mental Illness Fundraiser. I'll also be contributing a very special EPOV outtake of All That Jazz to the Fandom for Sexual Abuse Awareness.

Do you have anyone that you'd like to thank for helping and supporting you through this fic?
My betas are amazing: DeJean Smith, Swimom7, Shasta53, and SparklyBabs. Most especially, I need to thank Swimom7 for prodding me to write this story. Because I never thought anyone would read it outside of the wit fit forum and she convinced me. :)

When you aren't writing which fics are you reading right now?
I'm embarrassed to say that I'm not reading much right now. I'm desperately trying to finish all of my obligations right now. But I have a few that I'm saving up for a rainy day. DeJean Smith's Evermore Experience is such a new and different take on AU. Bella Flan is writing an amazing horror AU titled Shadow of my Heart. Also, I love everything by Cosmo and Marvar and I hear they have a new story out. So excited for MFEO. :)

How were you introduced to the fandom? Do you remember which FanFic was your first to read?
I found Fan Fic through SM's web page. I finished the Saga and was looking for more. A friend sent me to SM's website for Midnight Sun. While there, I looked through her links. Found FF, fell in and never came up for air. One of the first stories that I remember reading was Wide Awake. Cliche, I know, but it totally wowed me. One thing many people don't know about me is that I wrote Twilight FF before I read. I got inspired and started writing an EPOV of Breaking Dawn before I even knew there was a place to post it. So when I found it, the first thing I did was post a few chapter of my story. It was very canon, not much deviation at all. After reading Wide Awake, I realized that I could play with these characters a lot. I found a lot of freedom after that to do lots of fun things with Edward and Bella. :)

Is there any information that you would like to share that was not already covered?
I'm currently working on several original short stories and an original novel that I hope to publish some day. I don't believe in pulling and publishing FF, so you won't see any of my stories in print, but I do hope that you'll eventually see some of my original characters in a book someday. :)

Thank you for reading!
The TwiFicDataBase Staff


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