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We're lucky to have good connections with Official Tuomas Holopainen site and its manager Carol Walker, and she agreed to give us an interview where she kindly tells us her daydream story and reveals some things about highly anticipated NW album.

From the interview previously held by Poochie from AnetteOlzonCentral.tk, we got to know who’s there behind the most grandiose project of the year 2010 for all the Nightwish fans and Tuomas admirers, and she’s a lovely, kind and careful Carol.

NW:RU: But can you tell us more about yourself and that unique way the cookie [of your love to NW] crumbled into the whole idea of maintaining a site created to Tuomas?

Carol T-H.com: Well there is not a lot of interesting things to say about myself to be honest. I’m just a typical English woman who works hard to make a living, but I come home to such a wonderful second job of running Tuomas' website. The idea was a gradual one over a period of years, and only really made it online 2 years ago. Although I did not promote it a lot back then. The main turning point was discussing the competition plans with Ewo, that’s what opened the doors.

This may sound strange, but why have you decided to create particularly Tuomas site and not another NW UK fansite\UK fanclub since the previous one was disbanded, as far as I know?
One may think that since NW is almost of its full about Tuomas (lyrics, music, emotion, inspirations etc), making a NW site is pretty much equal to “let’s honour Holopainen”

To be honest, making a Nightwish fan site never came to mind. Which may sound a bit strange. I suppose it all goes back to when I first heard Nightwish, around 1998-1999. I was handed a cassette with 'Gethsemane' on it. It only said Tuomas Holopainen on it, nothing Nightwish was mentioned. And when I enquired about it I was given another cassette (turned out to be Oceanborn) again just someone wrote Tuomas Holopainen on it. So from the beginning I thought I was a fan of a solo artist with his own session musicians. Of course I was soon corrected but I think that always stuck with me.
At the time I got the internet, there were not many Tuomas websites around so that’s when the idea originally started forming. I don't think I deviated from that idea when I actually decided to take on the project. As for the fanclub route, the UK fanclub is currently being rebuilt and I’m involved in helping with it a little. It was formally known as Nightwish:UK but it’s having a revamp and will be known as The Islanders.

As a fan yourself, what does it feel like running the website for such a big star? But on the other hand it is also running a website for one of your favourite musicians; does that leave its mark one way or another?

It feels amazing and so incredibly lucky to have this opportunity. At first I was a bit star struck when we first started being in contact, I actually remember not being able to reply to the first email due to my hands shaking so much. Now of course I am much more composed, but it's still a wonderful feeling. I am incredibly lucky.

That's really awesome, indeed. Can you tell us what was Tuomas overall reaction to the fact there's a new and well-functioning site dedicated to him; we know he's very shy and always gets flattered by fans' attention, what did he have to say on this?

He loved it, he has commented a few times that it's very flattering and how nice it looks. He's really into it which was a huge surprise to me. You always hear how nice a person he is, but I never knew him at this point, and I never expected him to have been as supportive as he has been.

Can you share with us the experience you get from talking to Tuomas in person?

I mentioned my first reaction earlier and it seemed unreal, I actually thought someone was playing a joke on me to begin with. But the shock died down after a few messages.
It's nice to hear from him, but its different now than in the beginning of course. Now we are much more informal and it's a lot more relaxed and easier to talk.

It must be amazing and overwhelming to be able to contact Tuomas directly. Do you get a lot of fans asking you to pass out messages to him? Or maybe there are people asking you for sharing his e-mail and address etc?

At first it was very overwhelming, and of course I can get up to 30-40 messages/requests a day. It's lovely that he has so many dedicated fans, but we are yet to discuss how to handle these the correct way. For now I inform people that the best way to contact is to send a letter via King Foo Entertainment to be passed onto him. I'm unable to supply his contact details to fans and the majority have understood and been fine with my reasoning for this.

Nice to know that the majority of NW and Tuomas' fans are reasonable and understanding people, in spite of many people tend to think about them. You have seemed to have become the official “middleman” between the fans and Tuomas. What does that feel like, do you get any stress or is it all good vibes?

It's an honoured position to be in, but of course there are some stresses. I am organising so many different things for the website and members at the moment, all this with moderation of the forums and chatroom. I have staff members who help me which takes a big stress off me. But it's not unwanted stress, it's very rewarding.

As we see from contact with ourselves, you seem really keen on building and maintaining a good working relationship with other Nightwish related communities. Do you find this to be a benefit to the website, what are your main reasons for this?

Oh I'm very keen, Nightwish Russia are some of our best "friends" on the web. I believe it's important for official fansites/fanclubs etc to respect and cooperate together. I don't just do this for our website gain such as promotion, but so fans get the best management and all the opportunities from all the sites.

Thank you! On behalf of our site I may say You and The Escapist site have become our most "close" and best friend among all NW related sites and fan-pages. Feels so good to know our mutual help (and NW support, of course) and relationship isn't just some banner exchange, but something way more meaningful.

Thank you also.

You have the website translated into other languages. Why did you choose those particular languages and who stand behind them?

I used visitor statistics to choose which were the most popular of languages visiting to do. I have staff who emails me the relevant translations; we have Rebecca behind our Netherlands translation, Luis for Brazilian Portuguese, Sarah for German, Tarja for Finnish and not forgetting yourself for Russian.

I remember you were looking for people willing to help with moderation of the forum and etc on the Nightwish Official Forum. How many people took up the call?

Yes, at first when I re-launched the website. It took off faster than I expected so I had to find people willing to help moderate for a while. There was only 1 person who agreed at the time and that person has done such a good job she is still a moderator. I only have one more join our moderation ranks as I don’t want the "Too many cooks…" situation. So far we have had very little to actually do, people have been saying to us that we are one of the best Nightwish related communities on the net and a letter got to Tuomas about this too. I feel very proud that fans are saying this as we work so hard to make it a nice place to visit and spent time there.

Talking about that letter to Tuomas you mean the petition to NW management fans were asked to sign if they would like Your Site to be considered official one? Why there was a need in that petition, how do you think? And how many people took part in it?

The letter I just mentioned was something else, basically fans telling Tuomas how happy they were with the website. The petition was some fans idea to do, but I put it in my name as I wanted to make sure it was worded correctly so I just searched the net for a free petition host. We had around 100 people take part, but in the end we didn't actually use it.
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It's great that petition wasn't that needed to finalise the decision about the site. Seems like Ewo and Tuomas trust you so much.
Meanwhile, we recently read Tuomas’ lovely message about the Birthday gift you organized and sent him, can you tell us more about it?

He was so happy with it, his message warmed my heart. Basically I organised the website to try and get together to get Tuomas a Birthday gift. It took an age of thinking and looking to finally decide on what to get him, although we were worried he may already have it. We decided to go for a Carl Barks biography and illustration book from 1981. To make it more special we got the 1st edition. Typically we were unlucky due to weather; the package left the UK late so was a few days late in Tuomas receiving it for his birthday. It was fantastic the way the members of the site pulled together to do it for him. He was amazed we did it for him.

Are you going to continue this tradition of giving Tuomas something extra special on behalf of all the fans?

Oh yes, I'm actually planning something very special for him now.
I'm sure Tuomas will be flattered and surprized even more then he was this time.

To date you have already held the first contest for Tuomas fans, and prizes were already sent to the respective winners. Are there any plans for the next competition?

Yes that competition was such a huge success, we have over 600 entries and that is not counting people multiple entries; far more than we ever expected with just being re-launched. It was fantastic. But the next one is in the planning stage and Tuomas is involved with this one. It's still all hush hush but Tuomas is bringing some special things to me in February to use in the next competition, which we should hopefully officially announce it at the end of February to beginning of March time.

Care to share any prize details?

I'm afraid even I do not know the prizes. Mr Holopainen has kept them a secret from me also.
But I think by the way he wrote 'special stuff' I think we are in for a treat.

Mr Holopainen is very keen on surprises, as we have witnessed already with his New Year greetings and promise to reveal something about the band's future plans soon. Carol, do you have at least a slightest piece of information about these upcoming plans?

Hehe I get asked this all the time. Anything I hear has to stay secret. With this one you just have to wait till back end of January to hear.

Okay, seems we have to be patient and bite our nails.

Anyway, you mentioned you are soon going to London and have an appointment with Tuomas. Will it be some kind of talk on business matters or just some sort of a fan meeting with him? Will you have the opportunity to visit Phoenix Sound Studio together with him etc?

Yes I'm meeting him down in London; I'll not have the opportunity to visit Phoenix Sound unfortunately. However we have a fair bit planned business wise such as some official photos for the site, which I plan to use some in the site rebuild in March time. Sending exclusive greeting to the website and a short interview, which is something we only recently discussed after requests from fans. Amongst other things.

You're going to get plenty of new material for the site, that's great! And here I need to mention that people having burning questions for Tuomas can visit the tuomas-holopainen.com forums and post them here, and who knows, maybe you'll be lucky to have your question answered.

Indeed, we are selecting the typical 'not the type of questions music interviewers will ask', also if your question is not chosen do not worry. This will not be the only time we put questions to him.

What your overall future plans for the site? How do you see it and the whole idea in let's say 10 years?

Wow 10 years? Well that depends on what Tuomas is doing then. But for future plans, we have coming up the meeting with Tuomas and a fan gathering in London in February. I am going to be playing with the site design a little and of course we have the fantastic competition announcement. We have some ideas to discuss in February so it's basically a case of keep in touch and keep watching.

Tuomas promised he will write a soundtrack for Don Rosa book “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” in 10 years, so I'm sure there will be something for The Escapist to report about too!

Heheh yeah I'm sure there will be

Seeing how much time you spend caring about the site and forum, doing designs, choosing presents, planning fan-meeting and working out all those mysterious plans for the future, I cannot but ask a simple question – where do you get the energy and time for it?
You’re a mother and (I guess) a pretty normal member of the society who has her own life and duties, but at times it seems you are the reborn Superwoman from comics able to do anything in anytime.

Hehe I used to actually get told off by staff members for refusing to sleep until I had finished what it was I was working on at the time. Ask me 6 months ago would I be able to do all this and juggle all my commitments and survive with a few hours’ sleep a night and I would have told you that you were crazy. But as soon as I got word we gained official status and started talking with Tuomas, I magically seemed to find a hidden reserve of energy and drive I didn't know actually existed. It's an absolute pleasure doing this, and I do it for no other reason than to make Tuomas and fans happy. Tuomas is a great man and he has done so much for me in this small space of time and we have so many wonderful plans for the future, working hard on this is a small thank you to him for everything.

Indeed, the pleasure you get from making all things roll and seeing people enjoying their time spent on your site must be the best source of inspiration, energy and powers to go on and on. On behalf of all Russian fans of the band and Tuomas I say big thanks to you for all the work you've done and keep doing, and wish you even more success and popularity for the site, loads of energy and, of course, the ever-lasting pleasure of listening to the band and never-fading will to maintain the site and support the band and Tuomas. Keep rocking the world!

Thanks for the interview and your time, Carol; it was so nice to talk to you [/i]

Thank you very much. I look forward to keep working with Nightwish Russia in the future. Take Care

Carol Walker
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