Interview with @BillsBelles: a tribute to Bill Compton, @VampireBill, and Stephen Moyer

When I was a child, I sent fan mail to TV Guide (@TVGuide). This was long before the days of websites and blogging, let alone TiVo. I waited for “The Guide” to arrive in the mailbox with the same anticipation I now reserve for The New Yorker (@NewYorker), because, back in the day, you really didn’t know what was going to be on television until “The Guide” told you.

And, they had a mailing address. So, I figured, in my infinite and youthful wisdom, that if “The Guide” ran all of television, it should be easy enough for them to pass along my carefully crafted, albeit thinly veiled, attempts to reach the celebrity of my dreams.

Flash forward, let’s blast past blogs, forums, chat rooms, and comment threads straight to social media. Twitter, to be specific. What I would have given to interact with @insertfavouritecharacterhere, the very person I was trying to reach.

Shannon from Bill's BellesShannon (@smeykunz) took similar matters into her own hands, when she created the Twitter Bill’s Belles (@BillsBelles), which soon evolved into Billsbelles’s Blog where you can meet a number of the Belles, and catch up with news related to Bill Compton and Stephen Moyer.

I interviewed Shannon about the project, what she finds so hotsy totsy about our boy Bill, and her hopes for his character in Season 3 of True Blood.

Rebecca Wilcott: Tell me how Bill’s Belles came about, and how you all find one another?

Shannon: First, I’d like to clarify that I represent the Twitter Bill’s Belles, not to be confused with any other groups calling themselves Belles. We are made up of a group of women who travelled over from HBO’s True Blood Fan Wiki. Some of us still post on both sites. Along the way, we’ve gathered up ladies that love Bill as much as we do.

Our version of the Belles is slightly different as we concentrate a lot of our time on our good Twitter friend @VampireBill. At first, we chatted to him as the group of us. One day, I thought maybe we should make a Twitter page to post pictures and videos related to Bill and Stephen Moyer. It spiralled into the blog and our other sites.

RW: Which of Bill’s traits do the Belles find most attractive?

(Click “Read More” below to read the rest of this interview, and to watch a clip from Season 1 of True Blood.)

S: I think we’re all a bit different in the characteristics that trip our triggers. I, for one, love the geeky side of Bill. The computer-using, alien-movie-watching side. I can even accept his strange taste in music. As for the rest of the Belles, most enjoy the southern gentleman aspect of Bill, most likely because it is not something you see much of these days. That being said, we have also collectively come to the conclusion that Bill, underneath it all, is the true bad boy. He is trying so hard to mainstream into human society and fit in enough to make Bon Temps his home, yet he can’t deny that he is still very much a Vampire. Most of us enjoy seeing that dichotomy. Here is a man who will care for you and treat you like a lady, then in the next heartbeat throw you over the back of a couch and screw your brains out. (The after the football game sex on pages 228-9 of Living Dead in Dallas is a particular favorite of the Belles.)

“As I unlocked the front door, Bill came out of the darkness. Without a word, he grabbed my arm and turned me to him, and then kissed me. In a minute we were pressed against the door with his body moving rhythmically against mine. I reached one hand behind myself to fumble with the lock, and the key finally turned. We stumbled into the house, and he turned me to face the couch. I gripped it with my hands and, just as I’d imagined, he pulled down my pants, and then he was in me.” — Living Dead in Dallas, Charlaine Harris

RW: “That being said, we have also collectively come to the conclusion that Bill, underneath it all, is the true bad boy.” Rewatching the episodes for this book, I was struck at how much darker Bill was in the first few episodes. Do you think it was Eric’s appearance in the series led to “softening” of Bill? Others I’ve spoken with wondered if this was Alan Ball’s way of allowing Sookie to thrive as a heroine?

S: I think Eric was part of it, definitely. Alan Ball has read all the books and knows Eric plays a huge part in the relationship between Bill and Sookie, not all of it good for Bill. In fact, most of it’s not good for Bill. The entrance of Lorena, Bill’s maker played a huge part in making him look less fierce as a Vampire. I think he was written a bit more saintly in those episodes, yet I still saw the Vamp shining through. For instance, when he hit her over the head with the TV he showed some darker aspects, but then turned around and let the fellowship member go. Bill, in the books, would have killed him and more humans. I am hoping we see a bit more of Bill’s dark side. He’s a Vampire; we all know he has one. As for Sookie thriving more as a heroine, I’m not sure. The story is really about her and the people who impact her life, so that is a very plausible belief. The jury, for me, is still out on that.

RW: So, you were already a fan of Bill’s from the novels. Does Stephen Moyer’s characterization of Bill add to that?

S: Most of the Belles have read the novels and, yes, we remain Bill fans. We all questioned Bill’s actions and motives at points, but we found ways to justify them. We are all aware he omits things he should have told Sookie, but he has also never had a chance to explain himself to her. Every time he wants to talk, she shuts him down. We would all like to see Bill get to speak his mind.

As for Stephen, we are head over heels in love with his portrayal of Bill. If we were on the fence at all about our William, we sure aren’t anymore. The man is a wonderful actor and I know I speak for all the Belles when I say he is quite possibly the sexiest man on God’s green Earth!

RW: Did you participate in other online communities before True Blood?

S: Not at all. I didn’t know anything like wikis or Twitter existed for such a new TV show, let alone the massive amount of fan sites. I surfed the net looking for things about Doctor Who, but I never got involved in anything.

RW: Did you know any of the other Belles prior to the HBO True Blood Fan Wiki and Twitter?

S: I did, sort of. This is a fun story. I started listening to @TrueBloodDallas‘s blog talk radio show in December of 2008. I heard an interview with @BillohBill. She and I are both from Chicago and she just seemed like good people to me. I listened to her talk about posting on the HBO True Blood Fan Wiki, so I went over there. I thought I would find her and post on her thread since she seemed like someone I would get along with. I began posting on the “Bill on the Brain Thread” in January. I met several of the Belles there and we all made our way over to Twitter in late January, early February. Three of us have met in person now, and I expect to meet many more as the years go by.

RW: What kind of interaction do the Belles have with @VampireBill? And, how has he responded to the attention: as a Southern Gent or the Bad Boy you hope/know him to be?

S: @VampireBill responds to all of his followers as much as he can and still keep up the RP (role play) he is working on. There are several thousand people following him at this point and probably several hundred consistently tweeting him. He knows who is loyal to him and truly makes an effort to chat with us as much as possible. I myself have been tweeting with Bill since February of 2009, and we tweet one and other quite often, almost daily. The two of us have long running jokes and conversations, which he has with most of the other Belles as well.

Bill responds to us in a gentlemanly fashion, for the most part. He has been known to “pop fang” once in a while if one of us says something he finds particularly intriguing. I have elicited the “Bad Boy” response on many occasions. Nice!

RW: O.K. Give it to me. Your fave Bill moment.

S: This is a no-brainer for me. My favorite Bill moment on True Blood was the moment he walked into Merlotte’s in Episode 1. When he sat down in that booth, clasped his hands and looked up, I was instantly glamoured, and have been so ever since.

RW: What are your hopes for Bill in Season 3? Do you have any predictions?

S: I know what happened in book three, and it is not good for Bill. I can hope what Alan Ball does is not as bad, but then the story really wouldn’t be that much fun, would it? Sadly, we need to see our hero suffer a bit. Yes, I do see Bill as the hero.

As for predictions, I am willing to bet my Belle card that Lorena, his maker, has taken him. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

RW: Last one. Do you believe in vampires?

S: If I answer this to the affirmative, people will think I am mad. I believe there are people out there who believe they are Vampires, but I do not believe there are any out there like William Compton.

RW: Nicely played!

Follow @BillsBelles on Twitter.
Check in on the Belles at Billsbelles’s Blog.

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