Join us for another in a series of interviews with winners of awards from our 2023 Awards Ceremony. Our goal is to give you insight into how our fleet’s best simmers write, and imagine their characters as well as their out of character contributions and achievements.
This month we’re interviewing the writer behind Ensign Haukea-Willow playing a Risian Female Security Officer assigned to the Ops. She won the Natasha Yar Pin which is “Awarded to Security personnel who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to safeguard and preserve their crewmates’ lives, even at the danger of their own. As an investigator, police officer, and soldier, the Security officer must be intimately familiar with all of Starfleet’s armaments as well as many other styles of hand-to-hand combat. To ensure adequate duty fulfillment, the Security officer must also be well-versed in Diplomacy and Legislation. Named after the USS Enterprise-Chief D’s of Security, who was killed in the line of duty.”:
Promontory: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where are you based and what are you up to when you’re not simming?
Willow: Hey, thanks for the invite. My name is Aly and I hail from either the north or south of Colorado depending on the time of year. When I’m not writing, I am typically teaching 12-13 year olds math as a middle school special education teacher. Likewise, I enjoy a variety of television shows, Trek, Marvel, Disney, and fanfiction and non-reading in my spare time. I have even delved into writing my own fanfiction in fandoms such as Avengers and Stranger Things.
I understand that this is a bit of a newer character for you. What have you been able to do with this character that you haven’t done before?
That is correct. Haukea-Willow is technically the third PC I’ve written for in my five years in the community. To quickly sum up, my first was a female joined Trill who was a nurse, then I wrote for Sheila Bailey, an Elaysian Doctor, before finally switching to Haukea-Willow, a female Risian security officer. To answer your question however, with Haukea-Willow, I have been able to, as funny as it sounds, explore her before the trauma. My previous characters came with a great deal of extra baggage in their backstory that I was attempting to explore, which made it extremely difficult for them to, in the end, operate effectively in Starfleet. With Haukea though, she has none of that; at least not yet. This unburdened perspective allows me to have a clean slate in which to interact with my fellow crew mates.
Why a Risian?
To put it simply, I was given an ultimatum by my Captain. I had to find a way to create a character unburdened by their struggles. In that exploration, as difficult as it was, paved the way for me to write for a Risian, since, according to the 118wiki, “For the most part they seem to be a very stable people. They tend to be relaxed, calm and take each day one at a time. As a result most of them never suffer from stress and mental illness is extremely rare among them.” According to that statement, a Risian was the perfect fit, as by design the species eliminated the pitfalls I had been subject to previously.
When nominated for the Natasha Yar Pin, your CO noted that you bring an interesting balance to the security role, particularly by having a “sweet” demeanor. How do you balance those sorts of character notes with the security role?
There’s no secret to it. The character’s upbeat, bright personality simply speaks through me as I write. ::Laughs:: No kidding. Seriously however, it comes back to that wiki statement. With the species being so relaxed, Haukea is relaxed, calm, developing a neutral mindset towards most situations in which she is able to hold two opinions or view points before making her own decision. She merely thinks of others before herself.
What advice do you have for newer simmers who are trying to engage multi-faceted characters within the SB118 narratives?
For newer simmers I would simply encourage them to not be afraid of failure. For myself, I joke that it took three times before I finally landed on a solid, likable character. For others, their first PC may be the one. Despite that, new players should take risks, ask questions and be willing to admit that something didn’t go right. In doing so they are sure to learn a lot, both about themselves and their character, where they can work to develop a PC that is true to themselves as a writer and the world of Trek as a whole.
What’s next for you and your character?
When it comes to next steps for me or my character, I can’t say I have many personally. I guess I do plan on surviving the rest of the school year with my students. As for my plans with Haukea, I am gearing up to have her in a relationship with another OPS character. Likewise, she may be adopting soon. Overall, just some fun, adorable, moments coming our way.
Thanks for your time, Ensign Willow!
You can read more about Ensign Haukea-Willow on the wiki.