Plastron: What is the handle/username you are most commonly known as?
RomaMarufixx: I used to have an old username that I don’t really remember, I didn’t have it for very long before I changed it to RomaMarufixx shortly after joining the TMNT fandom and have had that username since.
P: On which websites did you or do you post your work? Are there any active links new readers could follow to find your work?
RM: I first started on Fanfiction.net, then went to Deviantart and Inkbunny, these all have some of my works, but now I mostly use AO3 and that’s the only website which I regularly update.
RM: My introduction to TMNT was the 2003 series but it was always difficult to find any seasons other than Fast Forward/Back to the Sewer on tv in the UK so after a few years I would watch it on Youtube, over and over again because I loved it so much!
P: When did you begin participating in the fandom?
RM: In around 2013, I was in a completely different fandom when I stumbled across Deviantart and some tcest fics by Haking17 (I think that was their username, I don’t know what happened to them or their work but they were amazing!) and after a while I started to write my own fics and publish them. The fandom was so welcoming that I started writing more and more.
P: Do you have a personal favorite or “definitive” version of TMNT?
RM: My favourite version of TMNT is the 2k3 series, it was my introduction to the turtles and as I learnt more about TMNT I appreciated it even more because of well done a job they’d done with storylines from the comics as well as adding their own new things. I loved the voice acting and the characters, the darker episodes, I could be here forever listing what I love about the show…
P: How has your view of the franchise changed over the years?
RM: When I first joined the fandom, there were so many people, so much story and art and it was just amazing. Sadly, due to art thieves and even fic thieves and when Deviantart started removing people works, there was a decline of new art and work which was understandable, it killed my motivation to write for quite some time when some of my works got removed but I respect those that have left and I appreciate those who have stayed and everyone who was joined and given an input, whether through art or those who leave their comments and kudos. It’s nice to see the fandom keep going after years and everything that’s happened.
There is a lot of love and support in this fandom, but I’ve seen a lot of tcest hate other the past few years and it annoys me because no one is forcing you to look at tcest art or read anything, you can block out the word on websites or block people, there is no need to spread so much hate towards people who are doing nothing wrong.
I’d loved almost everything to do with TMNT over the years since the 2k3 series, the movies since and the 2k12 series, I only watched Rise at the end of the last year because I didn’t like the look of it from the trailers but went for it and liked it more than I thought I would. It’s nice to see variations of characters and storylines in different versions of the turtles but I guess I don’t like them changing too much from what I am used to XD I also don’t like (but understand) that they pander so much to kids, there are many older TMNT fans!
P: One of the unique and awesome things about your stories is that you paint such a vivid picture of a day in the life of the turtle or pairing you are writing about for readers...in stories that are both longer and multi-chapter ("Time for a Change"), AND some drabbles that are very short, like "Evidence"! In some ways, I think writing shorter stories/drabbles that are as engaging as yours are... is really difficult. Do you find it difficult to write shorter drabbles, or longer stories, and would you mind walking us through your thought process on whether a story or plot will be a longer multi-chapter story or a drabble?
RM: I used to find it much more difficult to write longer stories than drabbles, but as I have practiced and started to write more long/multi chapter stories through the years I have found it easier. When I first started writing I used to look up one word prompts that I could turn into a short drabble because that was easy for me and I was also paranoid about my writing, worried it was awful and that no one would want to read it so I was worried about doing anything longer until I gained the confidence through my drabbles and what kind words people had to say.
When an idea comes to me, I try to write it down as soon as I can so I don’t forget it (I have lost a lot of stories ideas by telling myself I would remember them and I didn’t) and sometimes I know that it’s only going to be a one shot or a drabble if I can’t expand the idea further or it’s just a small idea. I know a story will be longer than a one-shot or a few chapters, because I know I’m not going to be able to fit everything I want in something shorter, I try and write out a story plan with what to include and what to happen and how I want it to conclude etc. and then it’s just how many chapters that will fit into.
Sometimes I actively seek out prompts when I can’t think of anything to write or I don’t feel like working on the fics I have at the moment, which usually results in a drabble, but I don’t tend to post much of them anymore.
Some of my recent multi-chapters are mainly just me exploring characters and trying to get better at writing them, which is easier to do with a large multi-chapter story like “Time for a Change”. I also find that my readers who comment their thoughts and ideas can change the direction a story will go or even expand it. It’s always great to get a fresh look at things.
P: Do you have any advice for any beginners who want to write fiction/draw?
RM: Write or draw whatever you want, even if you think it is no good, people will love it regardless and you will improve with time and practice! Look at others for inspiration and on how to improve but never compare yourself to others.
P: How do you stay motivated, or cope with writers’/artists’ block?
RM: I don’t suffer from writer’s block very often nowadays but I used to a lot when I first started writing and what got me out of it was reading a lot. But I was also stressing about publishing often which was no fun and I do not recommend it. I love writing and expressing myself through it so nowadays I write a lot more when I want, what I want and try and not focus on how many comments or kudos I get.
P: What character or characters do you enjoy writing or drawing the most?
RM: I enjoy writing Leo, Don and Raph but I find Mikey hard to write and I think that’s because he’s the one I relate the least to. I also really enjoy writing 2k12 April, Casey and Karai.
P: What character or characters do you identify with the most? Does that influence how you portray them?
RM: I can identify with Leo, Don and Raph if we take bits and pieces of their personalities and smush them you’ll have me! And I definitely think that it influences how I write them, I often find
P: Are there any of YOUR works you'd like to shine a spotlight on? Maybe some that you'd welcome more comments on?
RM: I guess my ‘Going To Bed With…’ series, I really enjoyed writing these (Mikey’s collection is incomplete at the moment, no surprise there!) and ‘Laughter Lines’ which is an old fic I started when I joined the fandom and have finally decided to try and finish it, which I am determined to do by next year!
P: If you were in full creative control, what's your idea of the ULTIMATE, perfect TMNT movie (and/or TV series)?
RM: I would take all my favourite parts from 2k3, 2k12 and the IDW comic series and make it more adult in dark themes/relationships/sex etc. And it would have so many of my headcanons (and headcanons I have picked up from other people throughout the years) including bisexual, asexual and trans characters and dealing with things like anxiety, depression and PTSD.
P: Okay, let’s have a little fun. What do you find most sexy about the turtles?
RM: As an asexual person, nothing. But I can appreciate the hard work they put into their bodies, but I much prefer their personalities.
P: Which turtle do you think would be the best leader, if not Leo?
RM: I think they would all step up to the position if they had to, but in order of who I think would suit leadership best: Mikey, Raph, Don.
RM: I like first times or love confessions, especially if there is some drama involved.
RM: This could be such a long list, but I will restrain myself…
• Obviously, Turtlecest • Transgender Donatello • Bisexual (2k12) or Asexual (2k3) Leo • Sociopath Leo • Genderfluid Mikey • Raph being the most physical of his brothers (in private only) • Donnie having PTSD after SAINW • The guys all all fluent in several languages
Just anything generally to do with exploring sexual orientation, gender, mental illness becomes a new headcanon.
P: Re: your headcanon for sociopathic Leo, I find that so fascinating. I've been working on a story which explores (some aspects of) that potential side of Leo, as well, but I think readers would find your thoughts on it interesting. Is there a particular canon TMNT iteration or episode/chapter that inspired you to explore that interpretation of Leo?
RM: I think the first time I thought about this particular headcanon was when I was re-watching some 2003 episodes, the City of War arc and mostly Season 4 where Leo is in his funk and gets quite dark. I thought wow, this is a different side of him, has he been like this under the surface all the time? I’d heard of masking before and thought this fit him perfectly and then it was just, what was he masking? And the headcanon was born.
I always thought sociopaths/people with ASP were ‘obvious’ but learnt it exists on a spectrum and instead of being on the side that is more extreme, I think Leo could easily be on the other end or somewhere in the middle. I did a lot of research into sociopaths because I was so interested in this concept and could see how some of the symptoms could match up to Leo, what I could see him being like, such as lack of empathy, something that can be easily faked, he grew up watching how his brothers and father reacted to things so was able to learn how to react to certain situations.
We’ve seen Leo act irrationally, impulsively and not giving a damn about his own safety several times, especially during these episodes and more so than his brothers, although he is able to cover up some of his actions as ‘pulling a Raph’ since Raph’s general attitude and temper make Leo look much more ‘normal’ in comparison.
I’ve wanted to tackle this into an actual story for a while but I don’t think I would be able to do a good job of it but maybe one day!
P: Mikey's interest in crossdressing and being a little more open to exploring feminine interests or gender expressions seems to be fairly canon throughout different shows. Do you think some of that might be due to the turtles existing without some of the societal pressures humans face?
RM: I think, without so much outside influence, the turtles would have grown up being able to express themselves however they wanted and not think twice about it, they didn’t need to fit into certain boxes and even Master Splinter wouldn’t try and make them, he would just want his sons to be as happy as they could be and if that meant that Mikey liked more stereotypical ‘girl’ things than so be it.
They would eventually see how some humans get treated for expressing themselves but they would also see the positive side and I can see Mikey hyping himself up watching people on social media, which his brothers are grateful for because as supportive as they are, it’s not something that they experience, so it’s nice for Mikey to connect with people like him, even if it’s just online.
P: I'm gonna be really self-indulgent here and tell you that your Raph and Don characterizations and headcanons are among my favorites, and your work has inspired and influenced me as a writer both thematically and format-wise with your drabble series. Your stories mention sometimes that Raph drinks beer, that Don likes coffee, etc. These seem to be so ubiquitous in tmnt content that I sometimes forget which things are fanon and which are canon, lol!
What are some of your favorite fanons, and what are some of your influences?
RM: A lot of the fanons I use in my stories are influenced by the first writers I came across, some deleted their accounts now and I don’t remember their names sadly but the ones that have stuck in my head through the years are orangebarmy, babygirl127, Hummerhouse and cndrow. Their stories included parts of the turtle’s everyday lives and what they would do outside of what we’d see on the shows such as Raph’s drinking and Donnie’s coffee obsession and it just feels natural for me to write them into my own stories (they have become very much canon in my mind!) as well as things that take things that are canon into more detail, like Mikey and Klunk, you don’t get to see much of Mikey being a pet owner in the series but people explore that more even in little ways like needing to go out and buy cat food.
I love absolutely all fanons, anything that rounds out the guys more, gives more insights into their personalities and sees them as more than just teenage mutant ninja turtles. I really don’t think I can single out any that are my favourites because I haven’t come across one I didn’t like or didn’t think would fit!
P: How often do you re-watch the show(s), read the comics, etc.? It looks like you've recently been writing about the IDW run. What is your favorite thing about the IDW run?
RM: I don’t re-watch the shows as often as I like but sometimes if I need some influence or want to remind myself of something I will watch specific episodes. I think I have re-watched the 2012 series most recently because I have them on DVD but for 2003 I have to watch on Youtube so it’s been a bit longer since I’ve last watched it all the way through.
I became interested in the IDW comics after seeing a few pages on tumblr and decided to buy the first volume and became hooked very quickly. To me, the IDW characters are a good mix of the 2003 and 2012 characterizations with their own uniqueness and the whole series having their own things such as the change to their origin story. I re-read the whole series as soon as I get the next volume because I love it and my favourite thing about it? It’s hard to pick just one but I do love the change in the origin story and the re-incarnation, it’s a good take, I’m not usually good with changes so I was surprised that I liked that so much.
P: Wrapping up- What would you like to say to the fandom in general?
RM: Thank you to everyone who encourages us writers and artists to keep going and thank you to the writers and artists who give so much to the fandom! Don’t let negative people bring you down!
I’m initially reaching out to those whose work I was familiar with as a reader/viewer before I started participating/posting my own. In the near future, I’ll interview some contemporaries, too!
The opinions stated by the interviewees are solely their own, and YOU WILL RESPECT THEM, even if you do not share the same opinions/preferences, etc. If you harass the interviewee, expect to be reported. Please note that many if not all of the people I choose to interview are, like me, pro-ship and pro-tcest. If you don’t like that, please do not read it.