18. Missy GoodInterview July 16, 1998
 Xena Fan Fiction Works were found at Missy Good's website
*If you decide to visit, please pay careful attention to the disclaimers that introduce each story regarding violence and/or sexual content:
- A Warrior By Any Other Name [alt]
- At A Distance [alt]
- Home Is Where The Heart Is [alt]
- Bound [alt]
- Winter's Ending [alt]
- The Longest Night [alt]
- Reflections From The Past [alt]
- Darkness Falls [alt]
- Leap Of Faith [alt]
- Promises Kept [alt]
 Melissa Good has been described as "one of the best things to happen to XWP fan fic" and after nearing the end of your tenth novel/novella in a sequential saga of Xena and Gabrielle during the past year and a half, many of us are in awe and truly wondering what has been your inspiration for writing fan fiction? [i. e., Catharsis; Pleasure/Fun/Self-indulgence or wish fulfillment - Creative compulsion - I just couldn't or can't stop myself/The show pushes against limits and inspires me to do the same; To try to express the inexpressible (perhaps the fantasy of Xena is opening up a deeply held need to be subsumed some female power. She's protector, partner, friend, mentor, everything men are supposed to be but she's a woman and not foreign so she has even more power.)] --
 OK...well, would you believe none of the above? I just get these pictures in my head, and I'm forced to write them down. It's fun, and relaxing, and it's interesting to post them on the internet and get responses to them.
 --In a "Bards of the Xenaverse" interview with MaryD you have said, "Why do I do this? I have no idea. It all started with a show I didn't much like, but then got used to, and decided to try my hand and writing little stories for."
 As the created once said to the creator, "Is there nothing more?"
 Hate to be anticlimactic about it, but... nope, not really... I think it's fun to write about two characters who are so multi faceted, and it's a good opportunity to tap into some pretty deep veins of response in the general internet public.
 Has your motivation changed over time? (i.e., writing to improve skill for peers; The rush of getting responses or a mixture or reasons.)
 Nope. I started writing for fun, I continue to write because it's fun.
 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?
 I wrote some short stories revolving around a fan club for Anne McCaffrey's Pern universe.. mostly five or ten pages, that kind of thing. It was based on original characters, and not like Xena at all. It was also fun. Definitely different response. (grin)
 Do you - or have you ever - like(d) reading Romantic fiction prior to Xena fan fiction?
 Never read any. I mostly am a science fiction/fantasy reader - currently my favorite authors are CJ Cherryh and Lois McMaster Bujold. I love CJ's Merchanter Universe, and Miles Vorkosigan (Bujold's latest protagonist) is one of my favorite characters ever.
 In your opinion, is XWP a romantic show? Why or why not? (i.e., It's action; adventure; drama; melodrama; costume drama...)
 Any show where you have one character inform another character that they would rather die than live without them must, by definition, be called a romantic show. (this happened in ONE AGAINST AN ARMY, in case you missed it)
 Lunacy has said "There is a warm, poignant beauty to Missy's writing that just dazzles the soul. I have no doubt that even people who have never seen XWP would be hooked if they read a Missy story." Indeed, your stories are sweet yet filled with passion and strength. L. N. James says that your model of the X and G relationship is the one she most admires. And Lunacy also says, "Suspense, action, humor - they're all in here but the romance is special and unforgettable." Do you believe that any of your stories fall under the genre of Romance?
 Not deliberately. I try to write stories that combine action, and relationship - where I can explore different questions as seen through Gabrielle's or Xena's eyes, and reveal new facets of their lives, and their relationship with each other. If that comes out as romantic, cool.. but I don't go into a story thinking "Ok, how can I arrange it so they end up in bed together?" That (ending up in bed together) was never a goal of any of the stories - not even Distance, which has, minor though it was, their first time sleeping together. It's just never been a focus - not that it doesn't happen, it does - but even when I was writing Distance, I never thought of it as a 'first time' story.
 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?
 All the stories are written with modern sensibilities - I try to have them deal with modern problems, just set in their time period. As for something specifically lesbian - no - in fact, when I'm writing, I don't think of them as a lesbian couple - I just think of them as a couple, and they deal with life as it comes, just like anyone else would. I deliberately did not make their same gender status an issue for them - and, in their time period, it probably would not have been an issue for them.
 In your first story, "A Warrior by Any Other Name", you introduce a humanoid race of which the character of Jessan is a member. With Jessan, you explore issues of prejudice, friendship and loyalty and his character returns in several stories. Did the character of Vincent in "The Beauty and The Beast" inspire the nature of Jessan?
 Actually, no. Jess evolved as a story idea which started with him being a normal man, but deformed in some way. I had no idea he was going to be furry, until Gabrielle described him in that first scene, and then I said, Ok... well... He's physically patterned after CJ Cherryh's hani, with a little Chewbacca thrown in, rather than Vincent. Vincent, who was certainly a favorite of mine, has a much more noble character. Jess resembles him only that he has fur, fangs, and a sense of humor.
 In "Bound", you gave Xena and Gabrielle a wolf and we have 'watched' him grow in subsequent stories. Were you surprised by the reader's response to Ares?
 I was surprised by Ares... never mind the response. He actually showed up in At A Distance... after I had Gab go off to the Amazons, and it was Xena's first night of being alone in a good, long while, I felt really bad for her. So, I was going to give her something to kind of perk her up a little... it was originally supposed to be note from Gabrielle, but as I was writing the scene, little Ares just sort of appeared. I had no idea it was going to happen... and then, he was supposed to stay in Amphipolis with Cyrene, but I just decided to take him on to Potadeia instead. He brings out Xena's softer side even more than Gabrielle does, in much the same way as Argo does.
 In "The Longest Night", there is a joining ceremony, an equivalent of marriage, between Xena and Gabrielle. Like the rest of your stories, there are no graphic sex scenes and it is rated PG13. Have you any reader's suggested that the rating should have been higher?
 I do get that request from time to time, but a lot more often, I would say 98 percent of the time, I get notes from folks thanking me for keeping the PG13 rating - for a lot of reasons. Many people like the closeness between them, but can't take the graphic scenes, many folks just get tired of reading graphic scenes, some folks give the stories to their kids to read, I get notes from military people on active duty who say they can read my stuff where more graphic stuff would be off limits... lots of reasons.
 In "Darkness Falls" you confront the third season rift. Considering the fierce tenderness in your depiction of the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, was this the most difficult story to write to date?
 Without question. I hated it. I hated writing the first two parts, especially - writing that first scene around the campfire where they're so awkward with each other was just a pain in the rump.
 Whenever Gabrielle rubs Xena's tummy, the warrior falls asleep. Did a pet lizard inspire the introduction of this dynamic? (Xena Jeopardy players want to know.)
 Actually, no - a Labrador Retriever I once had who could be put to sleep that way was the inspiration. I've been asked where that came from... and when I put it in, in At A Distance, the intent was to kind of open Xena up a little, to let her show a little more human side now that she's let Gabrielle all the way inside her defenses. I mean, for a warrior princess, that's a hell of a thing to have to admit, you know?
 To date, which of your stories inspired the most reader response?
 Hard to say... Distance still gets a lot. Home gets a lot from folks who have gone through abuse, and want to discuss that. Darkness Falls gets a ton, because it deals with the Rift. Promise has been getting a bunch, too.
 There is some controversy about what uber-Xena fiction is. In "Reflections From the Past", you play with the uber-Xena dynamic. What is your current definition of a completely uber story, and do you think that you will write such a story one day?
 Sure. In my spare time. (laugh) I think Uber is a story which takes the basic X and G dynamic, and just explores it in different times and places. I don't think you necessarily have to have a solid connection with X and G, but the likenesses have to be there, so they are recognizable to the reader. I have an contemporary uber I'm playing around with - we'll see.
 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 an whenever a reader communicates to us their thoughts and feelings about our expressed visions of idealized love. 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 may give up or amend our courting in some way. Do you have any thoughts about this? Are you still awake?
 I dunno... what was the question? Do we pander to the audience? Lots of folks have spoken out on that one... whether we write what we write because it gets good response, and maybe we avoid certain topics because they get bad response, and to that, I'd have to say... I dunno. Maybe - I don't know that there is anyone out there writing who does it specifically to get response, though maybe there are people who do that. I think people who get burned because they do touch on sensitive topics probably don't do it again. I know when I'm writing I don't ever think... gee, I'd better not do that because people might freak out, but I do have my own rules for writing Xena fanfic, and they start off with Rule number 1 - All stories must have a happy ending.
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