Whoosh! Issue 25 - October 1998

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

20. Paul Seely

Interview August 9, 1998

[689] Xena Fan Fiction Works were found at this URL: http://members.xoom.com/pjseely/

*If you decide to go to this site, please pay careful attention to the disclaimers that introduce each story regarding violence and/or sexual content:

  1. Surfacing [alt]
  2. Persistence of Memory [alt]

Question #01:
[690] What has been your inspiration for writing fan fiction?

Paul Seely:
[691] At first, it was an experiment in goofing off, but it has become much more than that. Writing can be a great deal of fun when you feel affection for your characters and your readers, and over time it has become both more challenging and more rewarding. The stakes have been raised because I want to do right by Diana, Charlie, and everyone who has come to give a damn what happens to them. Plus, I'm still having a marvelous time wreaking havoc on the fictitious femmes' lives.

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

Paul Seely:
[693] I do want to become a better writer, and that scares me to death. I wish it didn't matter so much, that I could just pound out something, post it, and not care whether it was rotten or not. I have enough stress in my life already, but even so, I can't seem to stop just yet. Trying to finish writing one of these stories is like embarking on a hazardous quest - the various pitfalls and traps may kill you, but the journey is certainly an adventure worth undertaking.

Question #03:
[694] Have you written other fiction?

Paul Seely:
[695] Nope. The two stories I've posted constitute my entire oeuvre.

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

Paul Seely:
[697] I've read a few by Jackie Collins and one by Judith Krantz - "Princess Daisy." Collins is hilarious and wicked, but I was bored by the Krantz book. That's the extent of my experience with the legit romance genre... unless you count A. N. Roquelaure. ;-)

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

Paul Seely:
[699] Although I wouldn't call it a romantic show, it does have those elements on occasion; but then, XWP is as fungible a tv show as I've ever seen. The creative folks behind the scenes seem to blur the borders between genres as easily as Robin Williams switches voices and topics. The episodes I truly relish are the ones which contain elements of each genre you mention - "Altared States" ran the gamut from slapstick to spiritual drama, and "A Necessary Evil" had me alternately giggling at Callisto, biting my nails for Gabby, and throwing air punches at Velasca. I damn near swooned over the combustion generated by Xena and Lao Ma in "The Debt." The show is all good fun, and it wouldn't be as entertaining if any of those components were lost or minimized... and that definitely includes the romantic bits.

Question #06:
[700] Lunacy describes your writing as wild and exciting (see review of "Persistence of Memory"). She says, "The relationship between Diana and Charlie is characterized by an easiness between them - a level of comfort that reveals their love even in the smallest of gestures." Do you believe that your stories fall under the genre of Romance?

Paul Seely:
[701] I tend to classify things (movies, books, etc.) based on the element which made the most significant impression on me. I saw the first "Alien" film as an ensemble character drama with a healthy dose of sci-fi/horror. I thought "Hollywood Wives" by Jackie Collins was the funniest book I've ever read, even though it was billed as a romance novel. If after reading "Surfacing," the thing foremost in the reader's mind is the relationship between Charlotte and Diana, then it's a romance. If they carry away thoughts of the agency, its personnel and machinations, then it's a thriller. Some folks liked the dream sequences, the actual process of Diana regaining her memories, and they called it a psychodrama. I absolutely love the fact that people see it so many different ways, and I would hate to affix just one label to the story myself. It's very freeing to let the reader decide where to focus, to let them glean they will from the text.

[702] The relationship between Xena and Gabrielle is the core of the TV show XWP, and I think that holds true in most Uber incarnations as well. It may not always be the sole focus of the story, but it's the keystone in a well-constructed saga of friendship, trust, growth, and love.

Question #07:
[703] Posted serially on the net last year, "Surfacing" is a contemporary novel many consider one of the best uber-Xena stories in the Xenaverse. Did reader response influence your decision to write the sequel?

Paul Seely:
[704] Heck, yeah. If nobody read and responded to the first story, there would be no reason to write another. It's like singing in the shower, you know? You never really know if you have a magnificent voice or a tin ear until you let someone else hear you hittin' the notes. The readers didn't throw rotten fruit or boo me off the stage, so I kept singing. I'm not booked at Carnegie Hall or anything, but the reader response was ecstatic enough to keep me making a joyful noise, so to speak.

Question #08:
[705] There is some controversy about what uber-Xena fiction is. What is your current definition of a completely uber story?

Paul Seely:
[706] Any story which carries the unmistakable imprint of the Xena and Gabrielle dynamic is Uber fiction. I see that imprint as mentoring with a profoundly distaff slant which eventually leads to egalitarian partnership. The characters might begin on unequal ground, with the elder leading the relationship at first, but they gradually redistribute responsibilities and trusts until they have attained a functional parity.

[707] The X & G archetypes don't have to be mentioned by name or even alluded to in order for the story in question to qualify. I think "Alien : Resurrection" was Uber fiction, with Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder's odd little relationship attracting my attention more than the slimy xenomorphs.

[708] In fan fiction, anyone who understands the shifting power dynamic between Xena and Gabrielle and makes an honest effort to portray it realistically in different incarnations has written a completely Uber story. And God bless'em.

Question #09:
[709] 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?

Paul Seely:
[710] I'm awake, and I agree wholeheartedly. [G] Well said, ma'am.

Previous Section
Table of Contents
Next Section

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

Return to Top Return to Index