23. sHaYcHInterview July 3, 1998
 This bard's Xena Fan Fiction can be found at http://members.aol.com/sHaYcH3/xenatoys.htm#fanfic
*If you visit this site, please pay careful attention to the disclaimers that introduce each story regarding violence and/or sexual content.
- Moral Dilemma [alt]
- Debt of Life [alt]
- Orphans [alt]
- Cat's Meow [alt]
- A Time of Vengeance [alt]
- The Bet [alt]
- Questions [alt]
- Answers [alt]
- Summer Rain [alt]
- A Warrior's Hands [alt]
- Journey's of Perspective [alt]
- Ephiny's Spong [alt]
- Cat Scratch Fever [alt]
- Tomorrows Passed [alt]
- Angles Dancing [alt]
- Luck Be A Lady [alt]
 What has been your inspiration for writing fan fiction?
 Well... y'see, there was this little idea... and it just wouldn't go away... At least, that's how it starts. And then I get into telling the story. I'll admit it here and now... I'm a big ol' mushball. I love happy endings. So everything I write has a happy ending : )... (or at least, it sort of does...;) When I start to tell a story, I want to write about the search, discovery and living of... happiness/true love/etc : ) I think I must also go thru a "compulsion" too... because almost all of my stories are "first time" stories... I guess it has to do with "wish fullfillment"... going where the TV show won't/can't go...
 Has your motivation changed over time?
 No, I'd say that my motivation has always been to shut Calliope up. Er, I mean, it's always been to tell a story. Feedback is lovely, and it just flabberghasts me when someone admits to reading one of my stories... but I really do write them because I can't not write them : ).
 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 started writing poetry in the 4th grade and short stories in 8th grade... most of my short stories (almost all of them) were never finished. I was famous for starting a story, but never finishing it. It wasn't until I wrote my first fan fic and finished it, and felt that satisfaction, that I started writing seriously. Now I spend time writing regular "original" fiction/nonfiction as well as "fan fiction". Generally, I don't get the volume of "response" for my regular fiction, but I think that's because not too many people are aware of it... those of my friends that read my original stuff love it as much as, or more than the fan fic tho... : )
 Do you - or have you ever - like(d) reading Romantic fiction prior to Xena fan fiction?
 I have actually never read a romance novel. I have however, read tons of fantasy and sci-fi, which can be just as "romantic" (esp. fantasy). I adore reading fantasy novels... but lately I've found myself more drawn to books whose characters reflect me more... I'm not as in to the "sword swinging male barbarian" books as I enjoy the "sword swinging female barbarian" books ;) Of course, most of my time is spend reading fan fiction ;)
 In your opinion, is XWP a romantic show? Why or why not? (i.e., It's action; adventure; drama; melodrama...)
 I believe that XWP encircles all of those themes. I think the show is whatever the viewer wants/needs it to be... everyone that I've ever sat and watched the show with has gotten something different out of it : )
 Do you believe that any of your stories fall under the genre of Romance?
 Oh certainly. They have every element of Romantic fiction. A hero, a heroine and a "problem". And they always end up "in love" ;) (it's that happy ending thing again ; )
 Are any of your stories as much of a reflection of what it's like to be a lesbian in modern times as it is about pre-Mycenaean (uber-Xena time if applicable here) times?
 I think so, sometimes. I'm not exceedingly active in my gay community where I live, so I don't really "know" what it's "like" for everyone, but I've seen the television shows, and I know how my family would feel if I were "outed"... so sometimes, yeah, I guess I'll incorporate that element into the fan fic... Most of the time, it's not really an issue, because as far as I know, back then, it wasn't a "problem".
 "Moral Dilemma" is a story that explores Gabrielle's turmoil about her feelings for Xena and also, to a lesser degree, Xena's turmoil about her feelings for Gabrielle. It's a "first time" story with a twist, as is "Warrior's Hands". Such stories are a perfect set-up for passionate angst. Your latest story, "Luck Be a Lady" also explores this theme with a charming blend of sobriety and humor. What kind of feedback have you received from readers for these particular stories?
 Well, MD didn't garner much "feedback" per se, because I wasn't a very viable web presence when I first released it... I didn't have internet access full time... but the response that I do remember was overwhelmingly positive... at that time there wasn't much in the way of "alt" fiction available, and I think that people were hungry for stories that portrayed Xena and Gabrielle in they way that they viewed them...
 A Warrior's Hands has probably brought in the most feedback I've ever gotten for a story. Which I find strange because it was almost effortless to write... kinda like Cat's Meow (which took three days from start to finish). With WH, many of my readers were curious as to why Gabrielle didn't tell Xena that she knew... and my answer was always, "would you, in that situation?"
 LBAL has brought in an overwhelming "I like your Joxer" response. :) Which was one of my goals with the story... to show that Joxer can be a decent character (I don't agree with the way he's used most of the time in the series...) and not a punching bag.
 Is there any truth to the rumor that "Warrior's Hands" was written in response to Bongo Bear's "The Alternative Fan Fiction Clich‚ List"?
 I won't tell if you won't ; ) Yes, and no. I saw a rerun of Lost Mariner and read BB's Cliche list at the same time... and the story was born... : )
 "Cats' Meow" is lovable. Was it reader-response that prompted you to write the sequel, "Cat Scratch Fever?"
 Well, I kinda wanted to do a series with a cat... I hadn't seen any other fan fic with a cat in it... and the talking thing is my tribute to Mercedes Lackey, my absolute, all time favorite fantasy writer... and when I wrote Cat's Meow... I had a nebulous idea for doing more stories... but reader response/encouragement certainly helped! :)
 Of your fan fiction to date, which have received the most response?
 "A Warrior's Hands" and "Tomorrows Passed" tie for first place : )
 There is some controversy about what uber-Xena fiction is. What is your current definition of a completely uber story?
 Gee, that's hard. I'd think that any story that contains archetypes that are Xena/Gabrielle-ish would qualify, but I'm not sure how far to stretch that definition, for obvious copyright reasons...
 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 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 will give up or amend our courting in some way. Do you have any thoughts about this? Are you still awake?
 I'm still awake : ) Actually, depending on the "negativity" of the feedback, I get energized by it. I can't say that a "you suck, your writing sucks, and you're a sicko queer" letter would make my day all that much brighter, but I think after the initial reactionary response (griping, groaning and cussing...) I'd feel the need to "prove them wrong" or whatever. ;) Of course, this is not to say that I don't adore positive feedback... I love that. Nothing makes me smile brighter, or gives me more surprised pleasure than to open an email from someone regarding a story I wrote, and see that they're telling me just how much they enjoyed it. As a matter of fact, I save every letter I get, to look at when I'm feeling low :). I also answer everything... sometimes I'm not the most verbose in my replies, but I like to let people know just how much I appreciate their appreciation :)
 I will have to say that if the feedback stopped, I'd still keep writing. And posting.
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