Whoosh! Issue 63 - December 2001

INSIDE THE HEAD OF KATHERINE FUGATE
By Amy Murphy
Content © 2001 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2001 held by Whoosh!
3876 words


Introduction (01-05)
Katherine's's Head (06-176)
Katherine's Résumé
Acknowledgments
Articles
Biography



INSIDE THE HEAD OF KATHERINE FUGATE



Introduction

[01] It is the last season of Xena. I, like everyone, am an obsessed fan. People who say they are not are liars. To tell the truth, it took me a while to like Xena. I began to watch it in the third season after a year of coaxing from my sister. One of the many things I loved about the show, other than the *ss-kicking female role model, was the bond between the characters Xena and Gabrielle.

[02] Like everyone else, I went through all the ups and downs of the show. After season five, my faith was truly tested. Season six came around and I had hopes things would turn around and we would get that old feeling back. I am not talking about subtext. I am talking about the bond the women shared, the friendship that more then half of us will never even get close to having, except in our dreams. Something that was severely missing in season five.

[03] Season six came around and to make a long story short, like every other Hardcore Nutball, I wanted a seventh season. The fans did get a few pot shots by the dear writers, but, well, no comment. The show finally gets back on track and then they cancelled it. Talk about ironic! I was impressed by all the episodes this season, but one stood out the most. This is the episode WHEN FATES COLLIDE.

[04] I taped WHEN FATES COLLIDE both times it aired. I even now re-watch it and feel the beauty of it as if I am watching it for the first time. It has an outstanding message as well: "Everything for love". WHEN FATES COLLIDE made my heart swell, beat, pound, break, and thud all in an hour's time. It grabbed me and held on. It was one great ride. This episode also inspired much fan fiction, one of which I especially enjoyed, by Xena's Little B*tch, called The Empress and the Playwright.

[05] As Xenites we need to thank Katherine Fugate for placing her heart and soul into writing this masterpiece. She captured the characters of Xena and Gabrielle. I was scared at first to contact her. I did not want to appear as merely another Nutball. I found my courage and she was nothing but a pleasant soul. She was very down to earth, intelligent, very wise, and a joy. I smiled while editing this article for print. I thought we would like to know a little about the person who gave us such a gifted episode. I will say this to all of you: keep an eye out for her future projects. I know I will. My sincerest thanks goes out to Katherine Fugate for doing this for us.



Katherine's Head

AMY MURPHY:
[06] Why did you start writing?

KATHERINE FUGATE:
[07] When I was ten, my aunt gave me a diary and said write down your thoughts and I did. I remember my first line was, "I'm a decade old now, a lot happens in a decade".

MURPHY:
[08] Why Xena?

FUGATE:
[09] I believe in the greater good and the themes of the show.

MURPHY:
[10] Tell me about WHEN FATES COLLIDE?

FUGATE:
[11] I can get you a copy of the tape if you need one. (smile)

MURPHY:
[12] Did you watch the show before?

FUGATE:
[13] I've seen all six seasons. I wouldn't write for anything I didn't love. I turn down jobs I don't feel a kinship to.

MURPHY:
[14] Did they cut scenes out of the episode?

FUGATE:
[15] We trimmed scenes for time, but all the scenes in the final draft were intact.

MURPHY:
[16] Where did the idea of the story come from?

FUGATE:
[17] I often play the "what if?" game myself. It's one of my favorite devices.

MURPHY:
[18] If you had to do it all over, would you have written that episode the same way? Would you have changed anything?

FUGATE:
[19] I wrote it the best way I could so I wouldn't change a thing.

MURPHY:
[20] Give us a brief day in the life of Katherine.

FUGATE:
[21] I eat breakfast at Farmer's Market, come home, turn on the computer, and write. I run up and down Runyon Canyon or Fryman Canyon. Go back home, write some more. I wait for my friends to get off work so I can beg them to eat dinner with me so I can talk to a live person.

MURPHY:
[22] How do you handle stress?

FUGATE:
[23] Long baths, driving, running.

MURPHY:
[24] Years from now, how would you want to be remembered?

FUGATE:
[25] That I spoke my peace. I seized the day.

MURPHY:
[26] What is your pet peeve?

FUGATE:
[27] Discrimination, judgment, nonacceptance, intolerance.

MURPHY:
[28] Who is Katherine?

FUGATE:
[29] I'm an emotional, sensitive girl who likes to shake and shimmy. I'm overly serious and overly goofy.

MURPHY:
[30] What is the most sensitive part on your body?

FUGATE:
[31] My heart. It's easily stolen, easily broken, easily touched, easily joyful, easily amazed.

MURPHY:
[32] What do you see yourself doing in the future? Any future projects?

FUGATE:
[33] Films, TV. The themes matter, not the project.

MURPHY:
[34] How do you handle depression?

FUGATE:
[35] Double lattes, telling myself to "lighten up!"

MURPHY:
[36] What advice can you give to future writers?

FUGATE:
[37] Stop procrastinating and write.

MURPHY:
[38] How do you feel about Xena's end?

FUGATE:
[39] I actually had a moment of sadness. A stopped moment in time when it hit me. I guess I just assumed I'd keep showing up at the Renaissance offices, turn in new drafts of new episodes and they would naturally make them.

MURPHY:
[40] What are your dreams? Hopes? Wishes?

FUGATE:
[41] My dream is to keep dreaming, growing, learning. When that stops, I think we die inside.

MURPHY:
[42] Who do you trust?

FUGATE:
[43] I trust my sister P. I trust a handful of close friends that I can speak my truth to, knowing only then will I get helpful answers. I trust in the greater good and that the universe works on my behalf.

MURPHY:
[44] What is the greatest wish you have for your child?

FUGATE:
[45] A more tolerant world where it's easier for a child to grow up and see all the good they have to offer rather than being told what is "wrong" with them, that they don't fit into a false ideal. Such obstacles to hurtle just to be who you are.

MURPHY:
[46] What would you say every writer needs?

FUGATE:
[47] Tenacity. Completing a project is the difference between those who do and those who do not. We're all fear-based, insecure to various degrees. Working writers just accept that and work through it to get their art done.

MURPHY:
[48] Do you believe in prayer?

FUGATE:
[49] I meditate, concentrate, contemplate. I believe in change your mind, change your life. Our perceptions, our beliefs are reality. I watch my dreams, monitor my words. Life is a prayer that way.

MURPHY:
[50] How do you feel about subtext?

FUGATE:
[51] Subtext has a new meaning in the Xena world, doesn't it? From where I come from, all good writing has subtext.

MURPHY:
[52] What makes your best friend your best friend?

FUGATE:
[53] Not judging me, but helping me see why I am acting a certain way so I can grow. Being open with his/her feelings and freely giving me glimpses into their soul, who they are. And of course, buying me presents.

MURPHY:
[54] How did it feel to see your episode?

FUGATE:
[55] I saw it alone, a few days before it aired on TV. I was able to process my own feelings without answering questions or listening to others' commentary. It was a great gift. How did it feel? Surreal, unreal, almost ethereal.

MURPHY:
[56] What were the actors like?

FUGATE:
[57] Everyone involved was open, welcoming, and warm. Mutual exchanges of ideas. Mutual respect. It was very hot chocolate and crackling fireplace. I never felt like I was in the way.

MURPHY:
[58] What's the most romantic thing anyone has done for you?

FUGATE:
[59] An ex-boyfriend took pictures of me while I slept and framed them. It was odd at first, seeing myself so exposed yet it was so loving. That and being held in a towel after a bath. Just being held.

MURPHY:
[60] What theme would you like to tackle in your next work?

FUGATE:
[61] It's always the same theme for me: carpe diem, conquer your fears.

MURPHY:
[62] What was the last thing that made you smile recently?

FUGATE:
[63] Gosh, I smile all the time. I'm nutty that way. This question made me smile.

MURPHY:
[64] What made you angry?

FUGATE:
[65] Hearing evil words said that are deliberately meant to hurt someone. That happens a lot, too, unfortunately. It always baffles me.

MURPHY:
[66] You now have absolute authority over the world. Omnipotent in all areas. What's your first move?

FUGATE:
[67] Set up a whole new system of beliefs.

MURPHY:
[68] Do you have stalkers? If so, how have you handled them?

FUGATE:
[69] I do not have stalkers, not that I know of anyway. Unless you count bill collectors.

MURPHY:
[70] What stupid thing did you do as a teen?

FUGATE:
[71] I dyed my hair black to dress up like Siouxsie Sioux for Halloween, but I didn't think it was "stupid" until it turned green. I am a natural blonde.

MURPHY:
[72] What, if anything, can stop you writing, if only for a while?

FUGATE:
[73] Fear. Fear. Fear.

MURPHY:
[74] In your opinion, do you fit your astrological sign?

FUGATE:
[75] I am a cancer. I like the creative, emotional aspects associated with the sign, but I am not a cook. I go to places where I pay people to cook for me. Or I pay people to bring food to my house in brown paper bags. Otherwise, I don't know much about astrology. I don't know my rising sign or any of that.

MURPHY:
[76] What to you is the worst feeling in the world?

FUGATE:
[77] When I know I didn't speak my truth, that I hid.

MURPHY:
[78] The best feeling in the world?

FUGATE:
[79] When I do speak my truth.

MURPHY:
[80] Favorite song of the moment?

FUGATE:
[81] "Porcelain" by Moby, "Thank you" by Dido.

MURPHY:
[82] What is the first thing you think of in the morning?

FUGATE:
[83] Beautiful day. Get to work. Where's my coffee?

MURPHY:
[84] Is there one part of the writing process where you usually get stuck? What have you tried to change that, successful or not?

FUGATE:
[85] Starting the new script is always the hurdle. Once I am into it, it flows and I'm caught up, wanting to know what comes next.

MURPHY:
[86] Does the best writing flow for you, or does it come from rewrites?

FUGATE:
[87] Rewriting is the most thrilling, the best way to look for nuance. I find it the most gratifying. Some things flow out of me quite easily. WHEN FATES COLLIDE did.

MURPHY:
[88] How often do you think about a piece when you're working on it and when do you think about it?

FUGATE:
[89] All the time. It becomes consuming. An obsession.

MURPHY:
[90] When someone walks into your bedroom, what are the first five things that they're likely to notice?

FUGATE:
[91] The color red. Velvet. The darkest room in the house. Hardwood floors. Mood.

MURPHY:
[92] Do you feel in control of your writing, or do you get carried away by your inspiration or characters?

FUGATE:
[93] Both. I allow myself to feel out of control and just free flow when the characters start speaking faster than I can type.

MURPHY:
[94] If you consider yourself to have a muse, what exactly do you mean?

FUGATE:
[95] One muse is within me when I tap into a place where the words just flow. Other muses come from people who have touched me with their art.

MURPHY:
[96] Tell the truth, are you your favorite writer, or in your own top five? Why or why not?

FUGATE:
[97] I can't judge myself clearly, it's so much about being understood. I feel I am a good writer when I've touched someone or they felt moved by the themes I wrote and how I expressed them and they took that and acted on it in their own life. It's the message not the messenger, take what you need and apply it to your life. That is the greatest gift anyone can give me.

MURPHY:
[98] Would the world be a better place if women ran it or would it be basically the same?

FUGATE:
[99] Women are emotionally directed and use more intellectual reasoning, so it would be a different world, certainly. It's already changing. What if we tried nurturing instead of war?

MURPHY:
[100] What is your favorite spot where you live now?

FUGATE:
[101] The magic green bench on top of Runyon Canyon.

MURPHY:
[102] What books are you reading now? What about it/them is holding your attention?

FUGATE:
[103] I just finished The Red Tent. The last page really moved me. Also, one section where a raped and brutalized woman left for dead in a foreign country is saved by another woman, a stranger, who tends to her wounds, without ever asking for anything in return. She simply aids another soul from the goodness of heart, then puts her on a ship back to her homeland. That pure kindness seems to be in contrast to the "what can you do for me" mentality at times seen in the modern-day world.

MURPHY:
[104] What would your friends say is your worst trait?

FUGATE:
[105] I called my friend Audrey. She said, "Your worst trait is also your best trait. Your blind trust and accessibility."

MURPHY:
[106] Do you type with your fingers on the 'right' keys?

FUGATE:
[107] Huh? I type with my fingers on keys. I look at the keys when I type.

MURPHY:
[108] What is the longest any plant in your home has been with you?

FUGATE:
[109] My plants live on my balcony. I have a rose garden, lilies, jasmine, strawberries, and tomatoes. Thus, they go through cycles.

MURPHY:
[110] Do you have any particular bedtime rituals (glass of warm milk, etc.) that you follow every night?

FUGATE:
[111] I read to go to sleep. I light the candle next to my bed. It's supposed to give me calm dreams. Does it? Sometimes. But I do dream quite vividly.

MURPHY:
[112] If you find a spider in the bathtub, do you help it out or squish it?

FUGATE:
[113] This actually happens quite frequently. I get a newspaper, pick it up and take it to my balcony where it lives with many other spiders.

MURPHY:
[114] What was the last thing you bought that you really didn't need?

FUGATE:
[115] An entire new wardrobe in Rome when my luggage was lost. I could've bought a days worth of clothes, but I thought, what the heck. And I just kept buying.

MURPHY:
[115] Have you ever smoked cigarettes--explain

FUGATE:
[116] I have never smoked a cigarette or done any drugs, for that matter. This is a trivia question amongst my friends. They love to stump people with it. A game we play called, "Which is the lie?" You name three things. Katherine has never 1 2 or 3.... and everyone just assumes I've at least smoked a cigarette and pick that. They choose, they lose.

MURPHY:
[117] Who is your favorite Greek God?

FUGATE:
[118] Venus, though that's Roman.

MURPHY:
[119] Why do fools fall in love?

FUGATE:
[120] It's in our nature. It's what we do.

MURPHY:
[121] Do you keep a diary and if so what do you call it? What effect has it had on your writing?

FUGATE:
[122] I keep notebooks everywhere in which I write down thoughts, things I overhear, ideas, things I see. My notebooks do not have names.

MURPHY:
[123] How does it feel to have so many fans?

FUGATE:
[124] How many is so many? It's all relative, I guess. I'm a fan of many things and many people. So it's nice to have a few fans in the balance.

MURPHY:
[125] What is the strangest thing you've been asked?

FUGATE:
[126] "Why aren't you taller?"

MURPHY:
[127] What was New Zealand like?

FUGATE:
[128] Amazing. Green and blue. I wish I had been able to leave Auckland and see more of the wild. It only means I will return. The people truly accept themselves more than Americans. They are less encumbered by appearance, how they are perceived. It's very refreshing to be taken at face value.

MURPHY:
[129] What skill would you like to have that you don't have now?

FUGATE:
[130] I wish I could play the violin. And speak many languages.

MURPHY:
[131] Who is your real life hero and why?

FUGATE:
[132] My mother. She chose to have me when she was 18, even though she was advised not to. Her belief in my life being necessary to her and to this world motivates me.

MURPHY:
[133] What movie touched you so much that you still remember it vividly?

FUGATE:
[134] Defending Your Life, Fearless, and What Dreams May Come. You know, it's funny, all those movies are flawed, but they made me think.

MURPHY:
[135] If you could only choose a single climate with no variation would you prefer it to be sweltering hot or freezing cold?

FUGATE:
[136] Hot. I've never been in the snow. I've seen it on TV though.

MURPHY:
[137] What is the first thing you notice about someone when you meet them?

FUGATE:
[138] Do they make eye contact? Are they open or closed?

MURPHY:
[139] How is $25 well spent?

FUGATE:
[140] Writing letters and mailing them to loved ones. Anything that takes time spent to show you cared.

MURPHY:
[141] Would you rather live in a sociable suburb, or alone in the deep woods?

FUGATE:
[142] Suburb. I get enough alone time writing. Sometimes I fear I'll be that old lady telling long stories to the bored teenage checker at the grocery store. I am a social creature.

MURPHY:
[143] What literary character did you most identify with as a child?

FUGATE:
[144] Not necessary literary, but I was very focused on Queen Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc.

MURPHY:
[145] What is the source of your inspiration?

FUGATE:
[146] Life itself.

MURPHY:
[147] What were your favorite book, TV show, and movie when you were a teenager and what do you think of them now?

FUGATE:
[148] I loved the movie Brainstorm. When I think of it now I am amused. I wanted that thing on my head to understand another and be understood, to see memories intact rather than augmented by my or their perception. My favorite book was The Little Prince. "Only with the heart can one see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." It still works for me.

MURPHY:
[149] What's your idea of a perfect world?

FUGATE:
[150] One in which everyone is free to be themselves without recrimination or fear.

MURPHY:
[151] How real is your fiction to you?

FUGATE:
[152] Very real.

MURPHY:
[153] What are the limits in sacrifices for true love?

FUGATE:
[154] Anything you do for attention rather than for love.

MURPHY:
[155] If you could interview your favorite author, what questions would you ask? And, why?

FUGATE:
[156] Alive: Richard Matheson, Anne Rice, and Tom Robbins. Dead: Anais Nin, Kahlil Gibran, and Dorothy Parker. I think I'd rather just have a meal with them all and listen to them speak to each other. I'd keep pouring the wine and smiling.

MURPHY:
[157] What makes a great kisser?

FUGATE:
[158] Focus, intent, deliberation. Wanting the person to feel kissed by you.

MURPHY:
[159] What have you learned from your animals?

FUGATE:
[160] Love is easy.

MURPHY:
[161] Does our society glorify violence to the point we have become desensitized to it and the consequences?

FUGATE:
[162] I believe so, yes. At times it's necessary, like in the films Boys Don't Cry or Dancing In the Dark, two movies where the violence made a visceral statement and provoked a necessary gut reaction. But it's become more and more gratuitous. It's rather confounding, but it does seem to be some sort of exorcism of our demons since mankind began. I just wonder when it won't be so thrilling to us anymore.

MURPHY:
[163] What is your motto?

FUGATE:
[164] Carpe Diem, baby.

MURPHY:
[165] Would you like to direct?

FUGATE:
[166] I'm getting there. I am. That's an uncrystalized future dream.

MURPHY:
[167] Would you like to do a major movie?

FUGATE:
[168] Yes.

MURPHY:
[169] If so, what kind and who would you pick as the stars?

FUGATE:
[170] Epic romance, grand scale themes. I would want actors who love the material, who connect with it. Who work with my words to make them even greater.

MURPHY:
[171] Would you like to act?

FUGATE:
[172] I did growing up. Now only for fun, never a career.

MURPHY:
[173] What do you think we take too seriously as writers?

FUGATE:
[174] Criticism as personal attacks. Everyone would do something differently than you did. So I try to listen to the emotions they missed or wanted to feel. I always get something out of that.

MURPHY:
[175] What questions should I have asked?

FUGATE:
[176] I don't know. What questions should you have asked?



Katherine's Résumé

Katherine's site is: www.katherinefugate.com

Katherine's list is: K. Fugate Update

Katherine's address: webmaster@katherinefugate.com

Television Work

"Max Steel" (2000) TV Series (writer) (episodes "Sharks", "When Lightning Strikes Twice")

"Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995) TV Series (writer) (episode "When Fates Collide")

 


Features Work

Carolina (2002) (writer).

Constance & Carlotta (2000) (writer).

Kounterfeit (1996) (writer).
... aka Money Crush (1996) (Japan: English title)

 


Acknowledgments

Thanks to the Bardic Circle for a few of the questions. Thanks to Kamouraskan for the beta.



Articles

L. J. Maas and Murphy Wilson [Amy Murphy]. One Step Beyond ... Uber, That Is. WHOOSH #49 (October 2000)

The "Inside the Head of…" series in Whoosh issues #58, 61-


Biography

a woman of mystery Amy Murphy
Twenty-nine-year-old Amy Murphy resides in Indiana, and is an avid reader of Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction. If it exists in the Xenaverse, chances are she's read it! Murphy has also tried her hand at writing FF, turning out two very nice pieces that reside on a couple of web sites throughout the Xenaverse.


Favorite episode: IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE
Favorite line: "I have many skills" (various episodes)
First episode seen: THE TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510)

 

 

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