16. LyssaInterview July 12, 1998
 *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:
- Alternatives Of The Heart
- Bathing With Xena
- A Warrior's Honor
 What has been your inspiration for writing fan fiction?
 What has been my inspiration for writing fan fiction? Hmm... Why Xena of course. I think the show pushes against our male dominated society's preconceived notions about what a woman is and is capable of doing in this world. I think women who are in powerful positions; who are beautiful and smart can intimidate men easily. It's still a taboo for women to seek out and climb the corporate ladder, to break through the glass ceiling as it were, to claim the reins and run the business, the country.
 Xena is the first show to break through these blatantly sexist roles men force on women. Xena also shows women that there is something to say about our own self worth that we can achieve our goals. Xena does not necessarily take on a man's role. She is simply a high achiever with the intelligence and confidence to tackle any battles she chooses to take on. The operative word here is "chooses". But underlying her strong capable image there is also a caring friend, who sometimes thinks she is unworthy of a certain bards friendship. That makes her one of us.
 It's all locked up in that somewhat overly independent Xena, who still exemplifies all her feminine qualities in her ability to care and love Gabrielle. It is this quality of intimate and abiding friendship/love that draws me to writing about it. I am consumed by the idea of how a strong independent woman, a warrior/warlord in her world, can be so totally devoted to her companion. I study the warrior aspect of Xena that dark quality that gives her a raw edge in the show. I am drawn to explore that dark edge endlessly in my stories. I don't know if I will ever solve the enigma that is Xena.
 Has your motivation changed over time?
 Yes and no. I still love the ongoing search for the essence of the Warlord as I call it. But I am writing to improve my skill at story telling. I want to be the best that I can be at this art form. The responses I receive to my writing have been the fuel that keeps me writing. I find I want to fill the hunger for more that people want to see from me. It's very hard to resist and it becomes self motivating too.
 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?
 Yes I have written other fiction, but none of it is on the net. I like SF/Fantasy genre and hope to be published one day. I have three unpublished stories in progress.
 Do you - or have you ever - like(d) reading Romantic fiction prior to Xena fan fiction?
 Of course I have read romantic fiction. I think most women have at sometime in their life. The Xena fan fiction is new love for me. Reading Romance genre was at one time exciting and I had a voracious appetite for it. Eventually, I found I preferred deeply thought out period romance novels over the pure fluff Harlequin Romances.
 In your opinion, is XWP a romantic show?
 To me, Xena: Warrior Princess, is first and foremost an action/adventure story.
 Do you believe that any of your stories fall under the genre of Romance?
 Yes I do believe my stories fall under the Romance category. The stories are based completely on the love I feel truly exists between Gabrielle and Xena. I am fascinated with it. No matter what happens around them the one thing they care about the most is each other. I find their love is constant inspiration to me. Yes my stories are passion filled, but they are predicated on Xena and Gabrielle's eternal love for each other. I don't like maudlin love stories, so I know I range a little different on how I see them together.
 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 times?
 I never gave much thought about my stories being a reflection of lesbians in modern times. I am more consumed with the idea of two women so totally in love that the rest of the world does not matter to them. In their world there is no judgment or ridicule. They live their life completely unaffected by the thoughts of others. I think they are so natural with their partnership that the people around them just accept them without question.
 There is a lyrical quality in your stories. In "Alternatives of the Heart" we are drawn into the intimacy that develops by identifying with Gabrielle's audience while she tells a story and knowing the bard's thoughts, while we alternately get in on the action of Xena's current battle at another location. The tension builds steadily. Was it difficult to go back and forth between the two settings or did you find that it flowed easily?
 Thank you for noticing the poetic feel in "Alternatives". It actually flowed easily for me. You see, I like to write heroic epic poetry. So naturally a poem I had written became the basis for the battle of Troy in "Alternatives". I changed the poem format into prose, adjustment to the lines to fit more closely to the Trojan wars and Xena's perceived role in it. Somehow managing to keep much of the poem intact in the process. My whole focus was to have Gabrielle tell a song/story, in the great tradition of a Bard from the Academy in Athens.
 I have another story in the works that again borrows from my poetic storehouses. BIRTH OF A LEGEND will have a poetic style called quatrains included. As a side note, I also have a prose romance story about Xena and Gabrielle on a web site. It is called "The Day the World Changed." Not too many people know about it because it is listed in the poetry section. But vignette it is true prose story not a poem.
 "A Warrior's Honor" is a story of raw passion and the warrior code of honor. When was this story written and did the "dark Xena" of the HTLJ Xena Trilogy inspire this tale?
 Oh yes, I loved the Hercules Trilogy that first introduced us to the zealous Warlord Xena and later the reformed Warrior Princess. Whose ultimate destiny was to become a hero in her own time. It's the dark brooding remorseful warrior that is intriguing to me, along with the bright ray of sunshine she allowed into her life named Gabrielle.
 There is some controversy about what uber-Xena fiction is. What is your current definition of a completely uber story and do you think you will ever write such a story?
 Well to me a completely uber story would a life after life story for Xena and Gabrielle. I think that a good story would ultimately have to be based on the new personas meeting again, remembering who they are and they would fall in love again as deeply as ever. For me a true uber story would always reaffirm the bonds of love that bind the two souls forever as one. The text would weave a tale of those reborn souls living out some form of their former lives, in such a way as to give a reader the instant recognition or deja vu about who the characters are. If it is done well the reader would fall in love with them all over again.
 Would I ever write such a story. No. I really doubt it. I am totally devoted to the warrior/bard/era story line. I don't need or want to go beyond that space.
 The title of the article, "Romancing The Fan: Romance and Xena Fan Fiction", at least in part suggests that we fan fiction authors, inspired by XWP, write for more than ourselves alone. We are drawn to Xena's power and her envelopment/acceptance/love for us (vicariously experienced) is empowering. We expand on the theme and share our idealized visions of love or emotional bonding with the hope of forming a type of relationship with readers. Life is all about relationships and we - like actors who would woo their audience - we seek not only artistic expression but acceptance as well. There is no monetary profit in this endeavor. Our profit is of a spiritual nature during the writing of it and whenever a reader communicates to us their thoughts and feelings about our expressed visions. If it's positive, our efforts to woo were successful and we are spiritually energized. If we get little response or too many negatives, we will give up or amend our courting in some way. Do you have any thoughts about this? Are you still awake?
 :-D I am awake, oh yes. This has been interesting, enlightening, and fun. I think you summed up my feelings pretty well in what you have just said. I agree that Life is all about relationships, all kinds of relationships. Xena it seems gives us this feeling of caring in a myriad of ways. Each viewer sees in the show the things he/she needs to feel, know and observe. Because of her universal appeal Xena has become immensely popular with all ages and races across the planet.
 In closing I would like to say that I was given some very good advice once about writing In essence I was told; "Write with your heart. Write the story the way it needs to be written and don't worry about pleasing everyone. You never will. But remember this there is a reader for every story ever written." I have found this to be true and I have kept these wise words close to my heart ever since. When I write now I write for the sake of the story. The readers will be there when the tale is done.
Table of Contents
Lunacy | Baermer | Bat Morda | B.L. Miller | Bongo Bear | C.N. Winters | Della Street | DJWP | Ella Quince | Hobbes | Jenbob | Joanna | Katrina | L Graham | L.N. James | Lyssa | Marie E. Costa | Missy Good | PB | Paul Seely | Puckster | Quest | sHaYcH | S.L. Bowers | Tim Wellman | J.C. Wilder | Wishes | WordWarior