Whoosh! Issue 25 - October 1998

Twenty-Seven Grilled Bards And One Reviewer: Rare, Medium And Supertoasty

11. Jenbob

Interview August 15, 1998

[373] *Xena Fan Fiction Works were found as indicated and if you decide to go to these websites, please pay careful attention to the disclaimers that introduce each story regarding violence and/or sexual content:

  1. A Fine Line [alt]
  2. The Third Wheel [alt]
Question #01:
[374] What has been your inspiration for writing fan fiction?

[375] I think at least part of my inspiration for writing fanfiction has been as a way for me to "fix" what I saw in the episodes that drove me nuts. I wrote my first story, "The Third Wheel", after I saw the episode RETURN OF CALLISTO. Gabrielle's willingness to abandon Xena and the traveling way of life to go back to Poteidaia with the "dull and stupid" man she had originally run away from just seemed so wrong to me. I kept trying to "justify" that behavior in my mind and, before I knew it, I had written a story.

[376] "A Fine Line" came about a little differently, mainly when I started wondering about how Xena would react to the loss of Gabrielle and because I wanted to explore her dark side, something that hadn't been looked into as much at the time I wrote that story. The piece I'm currently working on, though, is another example of writing so that I can "get what I want" from the characters. Although I basically liked the Rift Arc, I thought they tried to do too much too quickly and I feel that in some ways we've been cheated out of getting to see the "healing" that would have to have occurred between Xena and Gabrielle. By writing my story, I can get them to say out loud all the things that we're apparently supposed to believe were said "during the commercials".

Question #02:
[377] Has your motivation changed over time?

[378] My writing has changed some, mainly in that I'm trying to improve from being just someone who throws a few words down for her own enjoyment to one whose stories have better flow, sentence structure, and all those other little things that elevate it to something really worthwhile. I definitely take my writing more seriously than I used to, but when I started out, I never intended for anyone to ever see any of the stuff that I'd written.

Question #03:
[379] Have you written other fiction? If so, was it before or after becoming a Xena fan? What genre are your other works? Generally, was/is the response from readers of these stories similar or different than the response to your Xena fan fiction?

[380] I used to write stuff all the time, before I convinced myself that I wasn't a writer. Since I started writing Xena fiction, I've started writing other things as well including a pirate novel. I've only shown the novel to a few people and the response has generally been favorable, probably because it features strong female characters who meet the world on their own terms, something I believe that most people who read Xena fiction particularly enjoy.

Question #04:
[381] Do you - or have you ever - like(d) reading Romantic fiction prior to Xena fan fiction?

[382] I used to read it when I was younger, but I stopped a long time ago because it all seemed basically the same and the "stories" weren't particularly interesting. I could never really understand what the women saw in the generally arrogant men in those stories anyway, so that also tended to lessen my interest.

Question #05:
[383] In your opinion, is XWP a romantic show?

[384] I think it's best when it's a romantic show, although that's not what it always is. I was actually attracted to the show not because I thought that Xena and Gabrielle were lovers, but because I thought it was fantastic to see these two women who obviously cared deeply about the other. Although I enjoy the drama and the adventure, what ultimately draws me to the show is the relationship between the leads. For me, the most amazing moments of the show have always been when Xena and/or Gabrielle open up part of themselves and we can see the incredible love that they each have for the other.

Question #06:
[385] Do you believe that any of your stories fall under the genre of Romance?

[386] Oh definitely. I write about two women who are in love, and that love of theirs will be the underlying basis of most if not all of what I write. A Fine Line might not seem like a traditional romance, but it is ultimately Xena's love for Gabrielle that drives nearly everything that she does during that story.

Question #07:
[387] Are any of your stories as much of a reflection of what it's like to be lesbian in modern times as it is about pre-Mycenaean (uber-Xena time if applicable here) times?

[388] Neither "The Third Wheel" nor "A Fine Line" reflect much of what it's like to be a lesbian in modern times. However, the story I'm currently working on most definitely does. Xena and Gabrielle will have to deal with some definite problems from people who not only find their love "wrong" because they are both women, but they will also have to deal with people simply not recognizing that it could be a possibility that two women could be in love.

Question #08:
[389] Your first story, "The Third Wheel", is a novella described by Lunacy as

Exceedingly well-written and edited, featuring rich characterizations, and a well-conceived plot full of action, humor, and emotion, this story marks the beginning of one of the most tender, passionate and romantic depictions of the Xena/Gabrielle relationship you will ever encounter in fan fiction.

[390] The sequel, "A Fine Line" is a novel that contains considerable violence. Was it received by readers any differently than your first work?

[391] Yes and No :)

[392] The first third of "A Fine Line" is also incredibly passionate. It's essentially a honeymoon for the two of them and people loved that. Despite the warnings, however, many people plunged headlong into reading "Fine Line" and then were shocked at the violence it contained. I received some very angry emails from people who felt that I had gone too far and that I had no right to do what I had done. The majority of those who have read it, though, considered it well written and agreed that the violence was warranted for the sake of the story.

Question #09:
[393] There is some controversy about what uber-Xena fiction is. What is your current definition of a completely uber story?

[394] For me, Uber-fiction is fiction that clearly "borrows" from XWP. It is not necessary for us to know what the exact relationship the characters have to Xena and Gabrielle (reincarnation or descendents for example) and it's not necessary to ever mention Xena. However, I think if these "conditions" aren't met, then the story needs to include similar issues and problems to what Xena and Gabrielle have faced in the show because otherwise, it's just a story about a woman who kicks butt. I would be extremely hard pressed to consider a story about a man and a woman to be Uber no matter how close the match because I think that the idea of two woman as partners is one of the most important cornerstones to XWP that there is.

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