Whoosh! Issue 25 - October 1998

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

17. Marie E. Costa

(No e-mail address was listed with her stories)
Interview July 20, 1998

[600] Much of this writer's Xena Fan Fiction was found at MaryD's Xena Information Page/The Bard's Corner.

Fanfic based on the episodes:

  1. A Lesson Learned (Sins of The Past)
  2. First Steps (Sins of the Past)
  3. Solitude Hurts (Chariots of War)
  4. Campfire Thoughts (Dreamworker)
  5. Fugitives (Cradle of Hope)
  6. Friends Sticks by Friends (The Reckoning)
  7. Heart to Heart (Death in Chains)
  8. Childhood Remembered (The Black Wolf)
  9. The Taste of Loss (Athens City Academy of Performing Bards)
  10. Gabrielle's Shock (Altared States)
  11. When You Care Enough (Ties That Bind)
  12. Life Happens (The Greater Good)
  13. Xena's Fears (an exception)
  14. When Darkness Falls (Just before The Gauntlet)
And these stories were also found:

  1. Blood Money
  2. Fever Dreams
  3. If Memory Serves
  4. Musings
  5. Musings II
  6. Period of Adjustment (10 Little Warlords)
  7. Powers That Bind
  8. Sacrifices For Love and Life
  9. Star-Crossed Lovers (Path Not Taken)
  10. Xena's Fears Realized
  11. In Confusion (The Debt I)
Question #01:
[601] What has been your inspiration for writing fan fiction?

Maria E. Costa:
[602] Both Xena, and Gabrielle and their ever changing drives have been the major inspiration in my writing Xena fan fiction. Both women have evolved quite a bit in the last three years and I enjoy the opportunity to explore the changes as they have been presented, and the chance to delve into their psyche in a way the television show can never do. I enjoy writing about relationships and what it tales to maintain a relationship. Many of today's unresolved issues stem from the inability of people to maintain comfortable relationships...whether at work, or in the home. Xena and Gabrielle provide the opportunity to explore this problem and to show that working through your changes and problems is worth it.

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

Maria E. Costa:
[604] No. My main motivation for writing has always been for my own pleasure. The day I stop enjoying writing will be the day I stop writing. One of the main reasons that kept me from actively pursuing a career in the writing field was my main fears that it would become a chore instead of an enjoyment. For me writing, especially Xena fan fiction has been a great outlet.

Question #03:
[605] 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?

Maria E. Costa:
[606] Yes. I have written all my life, which means long before becoming a Xena fan. I wrote Star Trek (original only) Fan Fiction, way before Xena was ever thought of. Although I have written some romance and mystery stories, most of my works have been in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre, and were written for my enjoyment and that of my family and friends. Xena fiction is the only wide read fiction I have ever done, and therefore can't determine what the response to my other writings would be. My family and friends always seemed to like my writings.

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

Maria E. Costa:
[608] Growing up I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on, which included many a dimestore romance novel.

Question #05:
[609] In your opinion, is XWP a romantic show? Why or why not? (i.e., It's action; adventure; drama; melodrama...)

Maria E. Costa:
[610] My opinion is that XWP is a combination of all the above. XWP is a show about life and living. And life is a combination of all types of shows. Accepting responsibilities for your actions and evolving beyond your present self is I believe a main underlying theme to Xena.

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

Maria E. Costa:
[612] Oh yeah...because a few were written with no thoughts other than expressing the depth of love a person can be inspired to.

Question #07:
[613] 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?

Maria E. Costa:
[614] No.

Question #08:
[615] You have written more than twenty-two vignettes and short stories, most taking place immediately after or during specific episodes. Your stories elaborate on themes of friendship and love. A particularly touching one is "Solitude Hurts", which takes place after the Chariots of War episode. In it, Gabrielle is still blood innocent and this is very important to Xena. Reading this story after Gabrielle's loss of this innocence in the third season makes it even more poignant. Have you written any stories recently that are based upon the first or second season? If not, do you think you ever will?

Maria E. Costa:
[616] Yes, I will continue to write stories based on the first and second seasons. On May 9th of this year I wrote a vignette that took place just before THE GAUNTLET. I will more than likely be inspired to write even more of these vignettes as I watch and re-watch the episodes and start to wonder just what did happen when we cut to commercial... or after the lights went out... or what did so and so think or... what was meant by that comment...what didn't we see... because the show doesn't have time for every minute of their lives, only the more exciting bits. I mean there is twenty-four hours to a day... the show only gives us glimpses into their lives.

[617] If you watch the show in sequential order you can see the changes and growth both characters have gone through, but without believing in the off screen conversations or events it is difficult to believe in the changes.

Question #09:
[618] Have you ever written a story at the request of someone else in the Xenaverse?

Maria E. Costa:
[619] To this I must answer a sound yes. More than a few... because friends requested it, or challenged me to write something and I'm not very good at backing down from a challenge

Question #10:
[620] To date, which of your stories have received the most reader response?

Maria E. Costa:
[621] I really can't answer this question... I don't keep a tally.

Question #11:
[622] 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?

Maria E. Costa:
[623] My definition of an Uber-Xena story is a story that uses two female characters with many of the same physical, mental, and spiritual characteristics as Xena and Gabrielle. The characters need to be bonded to one another or become bonded through the events that unfold in the story.

[624] And I have already written one and am currently working on my second one.

Question #12:
[625] 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?

Maria E. Costa:
[626] Well I like all other authors enjoy learning that others like my work it is not the main reason I write. I write because I need to express my inner thoughts... Xena is an excellent modem for this, because in her you have all aspects of humanity... anything goes... meaning one is free to explore any aspect and to grow from it. As to being spiritually energized by my readers... if I were counting on that I'd be rather depleted. [G] Life is about relationships... that is true... and we must all be willing to step out into the light and take credit and blame for our own life, like Xena has.

[627] And yes I am still awake. [G]

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