Whoosh! Issue 68 - May 2002

INSIDE THE HEAD OF BAT MORDA
By Amy Murphy
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2002 held by Whoosh!
8547 words


Introduction (01)
Bat's Head (02-202)
Bat's Stories
Acknowledgments
Articles
Biography



INSIDE THE HEAD OF BAT MORDA



This uber stuff is hilarious!
The joy of writing was just as fun in the BCE times as the CE times.

Introduction

[01] Bat is another old-timer bard who has a lot of great fan fiction. She is a very outspoken person and fun to talk with.


Bat's Head

INTERVIEWER:
[02] What happened the last time you were sick?

BAT MORDA:
[03] Last time I was really sick, about a year ago, I had my adenoids removed. Had no idea those buggers grow back. I'd already had 'em out when I was six or so.

INTERVIEWER:
[04] Who inherits your vast estate?

BAT:
[05] Do you know something about my life expectancy I don't? Do I need to watch for your headlights in my rearview mirror? My vast estate will be inherited by my parents and girlfriend to hold in trust for my dog.

INTERVIEWER:
[06] Give us one line of description from one of your stories that you think is particularly good?

BAT:
[07] Sigh, there are just so many to choose from. "Then Janice cocked her head listening. It was the kind of sound so simple and every day that you don't really even think about it, ...until it's gone, that is. Then you miss is so much it aches-- the rolling thunder of big dog feet as they charge across an expanse of moist, tender grass."

[08] As for my favorite line of dialogue it's: "you being an *sshole doesn't convince me you're not Xena" or something like that.

INTERVIEWER:
[09] What novel would you like to find yourself a character in?

BAT:
[10] That's a toughie. I'd rather like to be Death in a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. He's a cool character. He speaks in all capitals, "LIKE THIS". How cool is that?

INTERVIEWER:
[11] What story are you working on now?

BAT:
[12] I'm working on five at the moment. I think. A sequel to Cooking With Fire; a Janice and Mel story; a Janice and Argo story; a Buffy story; and a Janeway/Seven of Nine story.

INTERVIEWER:
[13] Are you stuck on any particular problem?

BAT:
[14] Not other than finding the time to write. Life has changed a lot since I started writing fan fiction. I'm a much happier person now. I used to write initially to distract myself from being unhappy. Time I might have spent before writing, I'm spending doing other things now. I guess it's contentment- fostered semi-retirement.

INTERVIEWER:
[15] Who in your family would you want to show off to your friends and why?

BAT:
[16] Not sure. Everyone in my family is pretty cool. A group of very eclectic/artistic/eccentric type people. Lots of movie history. I come from an industry family.

INTERVIEWER:
[17] What figure in recent history sparks your imagination?

BAT:
[18] I've been fascinated with the Titanic for as long as I can remember. If I believed in new-agey past life stuff I might think there was a connection. But I don't, so I don't. It's just an amazingly compelling story. At so many moments something happened that could have averted the tragedy and at every turn, the little thing that could have possibly saved them didn't happen. It just makes my head spin. Is that recent enough?

INTERVIEWER:
[19] What is the nicest view, nearest to where you live?

BAT:
[20] I live in North Hollywood. We don't really have any nice views. But I'm close to Studio City and the Hollywood Hills. There are some gorgeous views there. Nothing quite like the lights of LA [Los Angeles] on a beautiful clear summer night driving around with the sun roof open. I'm the 4th generation of my family to be born in Southern California and I can't imagine living anywhere else.

INTERVIEWER:
[21] What is the worst story you've written and why?

BAT:
[22] For good or ill, I think my writing is fairly consistent. My least favorite might not be someone else's least favorite or necessarily the worse, craft-wise. I thought Search For Amphipolis, or the first two thirds of it pretty much sucked when I'd first finished it, but I guess it's aged okay. I'd have to say What If is my weakest. I wimped out on the sex scene because I was trying to get it done on a deadline and I remember having a terrible migraine the night before I promised someone I'd have it done. Having to write a sex scene with a migraine just doesn't work. Yuck.

INTERVIEWER:
[23] Did you write as a child, or is writing new to you?

BAT:
[24] Well, I did my writing assignments at school but nothing much beyond that. When I was younger I'd write songs but stopped when it dawned on me that I wasn't very good at it.

INTERVIEWER:
[25] What is the largest object you have hanging on your walls?

BAT:
[26] I have tons of stuff hanging on my walls. I *hate* blank wall space. It makes me nervous. I have a few movie posters on the ceiling of the office, because the walls are full. They're pretty big. I've got a large Star Trek: Deep Space 9 poster in the hallway, some more movie sheets, and a large Renee O'Connor blowup of a TV Guide picture in my bedroom. It's probably the biggest. It has a hefty 4-5 inches of matte all around. I do all my own matting and framing. That has to be at least two and a half feet by three and a half feet.

INTERVIEWER:
[27] What bodily functions do you most appreciate?

BAT:
[28] What bodily function doesn't deserve to be appreciated? Yes, even the messy ones. I mean, geez, we'd be a mess if our bodies couldn't do all the amazing things they do. But I'd have to rate breathing pretty high up on my list, although orgasm is also a pretty spiffy bodily function. But really, if you're not breathing, you're not doing much else, so I'll say that.

INTERVIEWER:
[29] Do you have to understand your characters completely to write about them?

BAT:
[30] The main ones? I think so. The supporting characters, not as much. Certainly understanding them makes the writing process easier and one would think your stories better. But at the same time, my characters can do all sorts of things I don't and still sound convincing. Part of writing is making junk up and having is sound good. I don't know about being a warlord, a hacker, or an archeologist. But that doesn't mean I can't write about it. Part of writing is being a good b*llsh*t artist.

INTERVIEWER:
[31] What is the loudest noise in your neighborhood?

BAT:
[32] Sirens. I did mention I live in North Hollywood, didn't I? The occasional helicopter hovering over the park a block away. Then, of course, if I'm practicing guitar and have the amplifiers cranked up -- then that's the loudest.

INTERVIEWER:
[33] What is poetry for?

BAT:
[34] I think poetry is to writing what sculpture is to painting. It's all art, but there is a cleanliness in the lines of poetry. There is a wonderful sparseness where every word means so much, each word has to be perfect. Nothing can be wasted. Unlike writing, where yes the language is important, but cleverness in dialogue and description and plot can make up for the language itself. I can spend five pages just saying the sky is blue (I babble way too much) but in poetry, you've got to convey that with a word.

[35] As for what it's *for*, like any art, that depends. Art can have a different function for the person who enjoys it than that of the artist who created it. Maybe the artist is exorcising their demons, but the person who enjoys it finds it comforting, or it fills them with hope, or just entertains them. It can have multiple uses.

INTERVIEWER:
[36] What is your idea of a perfect party?

BAT:
[37] One where everyone is enjoying themselves, I'm relaxed and enjoying myself too. The perfect party for me was the surprise party my girlfriend arranged for my 35th birthday in Las Vegas. That was amazing. Seventeen of my buddies from all over the country and Finland all sitting at a table in Quarks Bar when I opened my eyes. It was awesome.

INTERVIEWER:
[38] What has changed about your world since September 11?

BAT:
[39] In some ways everything has changed, but in some ways not much. I still get up same time and do the same things. I flew to Las Vegas for my 36th birthday the weekend of September 23rd. I suppose it reinforced for me to live each moment of every day like it really matters. My mom always said to me "when it's your time to go you'll go so don't worry about it". I suppose there is a heightened awareness now that anything can happen to us at any time and there isn't much we can do about it. Understanding that the best you can do, I suppose, is live the best life you can live with whatever time you have. Make sure the people you love know it and try to be as decent a person you can be.

[40] This is the only shot at life we've got, so it's good to do the best job we can with it. My own personal motto is "Living a good life is the best revenge." I also like Hard Rock Cafe's "Love all...serve all." Alex Tydings has a cool one too: "Rock hard & let love rule." All good stuff to live by. When stuff around you gets stressful and uncertain, it's important to remember the little things, the basics of what you believe.

INTERVIEWER:
[41] What are you happiest writing?

BAT:
[42] I like writing action and dialogue when stuff is really cooking, when I've got this idea in my head and I'm riding it out like a wave. That usually happens with the plotty stuff and dialogue. It doesn't really happen with sex. That's more of a chore, I suppose. Try to make it different, not like everything else I've written or read. I remember really enjoying the conscious parts of Is There A Doctor On The Dig. That was cool. The majority of Uber Madness was fun to write, too, especially the dream sequences. I thought those flowed pretty well.

INTERVIEWER:
[43] If you could add one room to where you are living now, what kind of room would it be?

BAT:
[44] I would add an arcade/music/game room with cool pinball machines, arcade games, and a place for my guitars, amps, and drums that opened onto a patio with a hot tub. A kick *ss place to hang out and relax. I asked my girlfriend about it and she suggested a second bathroom, which really would be more practical.

INTERVIEWER:
[45] What inspired you to start writing?

BAT:
[46] I just wanted to see if I could do it. My friend Patricia Ennis had written some Xena fiction and I thought, "hmm, I wonder if I could do that", so I gave it a go and The Broken Arrow popped out and I was off. I suppose it was a test for myself to see if I could hold a cohesive thought together to tell an entire story and finish the thing. After that, it was other sorts of challenges that inspired me to try new things. "Write a bondage story" my friend Pam said, so I cranked out The Binds That Tie. I wanted to tell the same story twice from two points of view so The Binds That Tie II came out. I wanted to be totally self indulgent and Uber Madness happened. I'm finding though that self indulgence is a recurring theme with me.

INTERVIEWER:
[47] What are the biggest problems in fan fiction: bad grasp of the characters, "Mary Sues," cliches, or something else?

BAT:
[48] I don't have an issue with "Mary Sues." I've found that I tend to write a "Mary Sue" story to get myself into the groove of a genre. My first Xena story was a "Mary Sue" and the Star Trek: Voyager one I'm working on is one, as well. I guess it's a way to get my feet wet.

[49] To be perfectly honest, I find the biggest problem in fan fiction is fan fiction writers taking themselves too seriously. I see the problems happening not in the stories but in the crap that seems to build up around the people that write the stories. It baffles me.

INTERVIEWER:
[50] What place or piece of architecture would most upset you if it were destroyed?

BAT:
[51] The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Oh man, that would be such a tragedy. It's a beautiful museum with wonderful history inside. You might think I'd say a Hard Rock Cafe, which would suck, don't get me wrong, but their collection is spread around among so many restaurants, so loosing one wouldn't be as tragic of loosing the only Hall of Fame.

INTERVIEWER:
[52] If you could only have one of these items, to help you during the writing process, which would you choose: a dictionary or a thesaurus? Spell checkers aren't available.

BAT:
[53] I've never had a problem with the fact that I can't spell worth sh*t. I manage to make myself understood and a few people seem to like what I write, so I'd skip the dictionary and keep the thesaurus.

INTERVIEWER:
[54] Where or what is the place you feel most relaxed at?

BAT:
[55] Hmm, toughie. I'm a pretty relaxed person generally speaking. I guess Big Sur, Disneyland, and just about any Hard Rock Cafe. Big Sur is breathtakingly beautiful. Miles of ocean, rock, clean air, and salt spray. It's hard to take in that much beauty at once. It's really cool. You're away from everything up there you pretty much have to relax.

[56] Disneyland is relaxing because, well, it's the Happiest Place On Earth. For the most part you're there with thousands of other people to do one thing, have a good time. It doesn't matter what language you speak. Everyone can understand Mickey Mouse. Maybe it's the positive ions they pump into the air, but whatever may be bugging me, I go there, and it gets left at the door. I just unwind and relax.

[57] As for Hard Rock Cafes, for me it's like going to church. Music is the closest thing I have to a religion, and every cafe feels like home no matter where it is. The people are cool, the food is decent, and all around are wonderful artifacts from the pantheon of the wondrous thing that is rock music.

INTERVIEWER:
[58] What comic strip/comic book character do you most identify with? Why?

BAT:
[59] Sometimes I feel like Bat Morda is her own cartoon character. Technically, I guess I am, since Jeanette Atwood did a comic strip with Bat in it as well as doing some cartoon drawings of me as a bat. I've got them framed and hanging in my office. I think I most identify with Spider-Man. I was bitten by this writing bug that turned out to be radioactive and all this junk starts spilling out. And I've got this dual life going on, with Bat Morda wrecking havoc on one end and mild mannered me on the other.

INTERVIEWER:
[60] How conscious are you of cliches in your writing?

BAT:
[61] Are you saying there are cliches in my writing? Okay, but when I wrote that hot tub scene it was before every freekin' Xena story had one. And I've never had an uber-Xena named Alex.

INTERVIEWER:
[62] How do you envision your stories during the writing process?

BAT:
[63] I suppose I see it as a movie. I'm a pretty visual person. I see all this happening in my head and type as fast as I can to get it all down on the page.

INTERVIEWER:
[64] What do you do to get 'in the mood' to write?

BAT:
[65] Usually, it's when thoughts and ideas pile up in my head and I write 'em out to get some peace and quiet. I can sit down at any given time and write stuff, but the best stuff comes from when it's demanding to be put on the page.

INTERVIEWER:
[66] What can make you want to toss the computer through a nearby window?

BAT:
[67] I use a Mac, so I *never* want to toss my computer. Ever.

INTERVIEWER:
[68] What opportunity are you most happy that you seized?

BAT:
[69] When I was eleven, I had the chance to go to summer camp. I went for three weeks and continued to go for nine more years. I spent five years as a camper, two as a junior. Counselor, and three as a counselor/riflery instructor. I can't think of anything else in my life that has had as much a positive impact on who I am today as those ten years at camp. I met some of the most amazing and wonderful people there and learned a lot about myself and coping with life. Were it not for camp, I don't think the picture would be as pretty today.

INTERVIEWER:
[70] What pets do you have/have you ever had? Which of them do you remember the most fondly?

BAT:
[71] I have a Canine-American named Idgie who doubles as the dog, Argo, in my stories. She's a golden retriever/German shepherd and is the sweetest most wonderfully natured bursting with personality and the most wonderful 95 pounds of doggieness you'd ever hope to meet.

INTERVIEWER:
[72] Do you use people or incidents that are real in your fiction?

BAT:
[73] Yes, because it's cheaper than therapy. There are all sorts of "real life" stuff beneath the surface in my stories. I find that writing about stuff helps me exorcise my demons. I don't think it hurts the story, in fact I think it gives them some heart. Then looking back I read this stuff and remember what was going on when I wrote it, sort of like a written photograph.

INTERVIEWER:
[74] Do you cry at movies?

BAT:
[75] No. Never. I didn't cry at Titanic, Moulin Rouge, or even at Buffy's death. I did get a bit misty-eyed at the end of Monsters Inc. But that was just so touching. I do bawl at John Lennon documentaries/tributes, but that's about it. I certainly didn't cry at Xena's death. That was just too lame.

INTERVIEWER:
[76] What are your favorite reference books? Why are they your favorites?

BAT:
[77] I have an atlas of the ancient world that was helpful, especially in The Search for Amphipolis. I don't own any books on the craft of writing. One might find that self-evident from my work I suppose. Does a dictionary and thesaurus count? I have those, I think, somewhere.

INTERVIEWER:
[78] What is the most ridiculous website you've come across?

BAT:
[79] This may sound odd, but I couldn't say. I don't pay attention to lame websites. They instantly fade from memory. I'm sure there are a ton of ridiculous web sites out there. I just can't name any at the moment. I'm sure surfing Republican links to right-wing conservative websites would reveal a very high percentage.

INTERVIEWER:
[80] What is more precious to you: a teardrop, a snowflake, or a hummingbird?

BAT:
[81] Are those my only choices? Isn't that kind of a bizarre question? I live in Southern California, when would I see a snowflake? Tear drop? Whose? Mine or someone I care about? Hummingbird? Nah. How 'bout I just say the sound of Idgie sleeping contentedly. She's pretty precious.

INTERVIEWER:
[82] Do you think more writers should analyze their character motivations more?

BAT:
[83] Online? I think more fan fiction writers should proof-read their work more. This whole thing about writing and just sending it out there -- like self review somehow restricts the "art"! That's just lazy man. A story has to stick together. It needs to make sense, be consistent, and follow the rules of Earth Logic for the most part. If you don't want to pay attention to these things then there is probably a motivation to your writing other than storytelling.

INTERVIEWER:
[84] Describe what your life and writing would be like if you were totally successful in your goals as a writer.

BAT:
[85] To be honest I'm already totally successful in my goals as a writer. I set out to entertain myself and other people if they were so inclined and am pretty happy with that. I never saw fan fiction as a way to get myself published by a vanity press or use this hobby as a way to make money. I've been able to put a few coherent stories together, meet some wonderful people, do some good for charity, and enjoy a TV show that was at one time really great. That's more than I ever expected.

INTERVIEWER:
[86] In all seriousness, what do you think the purpose of your existence in this lifetime is? If you don't know, have you ever thought much about it?

BAT:
[87] In all seriousness? Like these other questions haven't been totally serious? Okay, that hummingbird question wasn't serious, that was just weird. Existence with a purpose, hmmm. In this lifetime -- as opposed to some other lifetime? Hmm. I guess my purpose in life is the same as any other animal's purpose in life. We're all just kinda here, ya know? I don't believe in god, which clashes with being an Atheist, so I'm not all into the higher power routine. I think we exist to live as good a life as we can in as much harmony as we can muster with the other lives going on all around us.

[88] I don't feel like I've got any particular mission other than that which I give myself, which is to be the best person I can possibly be. I don't always succeed, but I don't stop trying either. Being positive is better than being negative and humor is a pretty positive thing. If I live a good life, take care of the people I love, deal with difficulty with as much grace and aplomb as I can muster, provide some laughs along the way to relieve the tension, and am at peace with myself at the end of the day -- then I consider it mission accomplished.

INTERVIEWER:
[89] If you knew it was the end of the world in two weeks, what would you spend that time doing?

BAT:
[90] Not doing housework, I'll tell ya that. I think I'd take my dog and girlfriend and head out on a road trip, to try and spend a few moments with the people we care about and enjoy some natural beauty before we go. Unless, of course, I felt that there was some way I could help in the world not ending. Then I'd try to do that.

INTERVIEWER:
[91] What would you suggest as a writing-related discussion topic?

BAT:
[92] If Madonna is our new Elvis and U2 are the 2nd coming of The Beatles, then who are the Go-Gos the rock & roll descendents of? Please discuss.

INTERVIEWER:
[93] What is your favorite type/flavor iced dessert treat?

BAT:
[94] I love Baskin Robbins Capuccino Blasts. I also adore ice cream. Chocolate chip is a favorite of mine, as well as Cherry Garcia.

INTERVIEWER:
[95] When you hear the word "writer" what to you picture?

BAT:
[96] First thing I hear is "Paperback Writer" in my head, then, I suppose, I picture someone at a keyboard, typing.

INTERVIEWER:
[97] What do you think of Shakespeare's work?

BAT:
[98] He's alright, but I wouldn't curl up at night reading his work. I think Shakespeare is something you watch not read. I mean the guy was a playwright, after all. Well, and a poet. But not so much of a novel guy. I've enjoyed performances of his plays but as for curling up with poetry, I'm more of a Keats, Browning, and Tennyson gal myself. Mostly though, I'd read a novel.

INTERVIEWER:
[99] What is your footwear of choice?

BAT:
[100] Sneekers, hiking shoes, or boots. Mostly sneekers.

INTERVIEWER:
[101] When you write, have you ever written with a theme in mind?

BAT:
[102] Sure. The themes aren't always pleasant, but sometimes they're there. For the most part, though, I try to focus on telling the story, not necessarily focusing on how I'm telling the story. Does that make any sense?

INTERVIEWER:
[103] What TV shows/movies influenced you as a child? Do they still influence you today?

BAT:
[104] Twilight Zone, and yes. That is some incredibly awesome storytelling.

INTERVIEWER:
[105] In 50 words or less, why or how was the world created?

BAT:
[106] Two words. Big and Bang. I don't think there is a why.

INTERVIEWER:
[107] What is your favorite character you created?

BAT:
[108] Argo, cuz that's my doggie. I'm also fond of Xero. I'd say Janice Covington, but I didn't create her (I keep forgetting that).

INTERVIEWER:
[109] The least favorite? Why?

BAT:
[110] Least favorite character I've created, not just that I've written. That's hard since I use mostly characters created by someone else and frankly I can't think of one I actively dislike. I suppose this vile bit character in a story I'm working on now. He was a child molester and got a really hideous end. Mutilated himself with a knife then shot himself in the head. Served him right, the b*st*rd, then he got killed again as a ghost. Ripped in half by a demon. That was cool. I guess he's my least favorite character.

INTERVIEWER:
[111] Who do you envy?

BAT:
[112] My dog. She's got a pretty good life. I like to keep things interesting for her and take her on trips and stuff. She gets a walk every morning, relaxes all day long, not a care in the world. I think she's got it pretty good.

INTERVIEWER:
[113] What would you like put on your gravestone?

BAT:
[114] She saved the world. A lot.

INTERVIEWER:
[115] Big dogs or little dogs (breed)?

BAT:
[116] Big dogs. I'm not crazy about pure bred dogs. I think you have a better chance at getting a healthier, more mellow animal if you get a mix. I've always had mutts. I'm not fussy about what type. It's the personality of the animal and how well they mesh with you that really counts. And honestly dogs are reflections on their owners. I'm not just saying that because mine is perfect.

INTERVIEWER:
[117] What is the best movie you've seen this year? Why?

BAT:
[118] Hard to say. A Beautiful Mind, because it was an extraordinary story and had Jennifer Connolly in it. Monsters Inc., because it was just so awesome, and Moulin Rouge, because it was such a refreshing well made breath of fresh air movie-wise.

INTERVIEWER:
[119] Assuming you have one (and if you don't just pretend) if your mother-in-law needed to live with you, would she live in the same house, in the garage, a bungalow on the back edge of the property, or some other creative arrangement?

BAT:
[120] I totally dig my mother-in-law. She'd be welcome to live with us, but we'd need a bigger house or a guest house or something. If someone can handle living with me, I can pretty much handle living with them.

INTERVIEWER:
[121] What author(s) most influenced your writing?

BAT:
[122] Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett influenced my writing. These guys have awesome senses of humor and don't take themselves too seriously. It's just stories. It's not like anyone is curing cancer here. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy growing up. I also like David Eddings and Melissa Scott. John Lennon was also a big influence on me. He was a great writer and never had an issue with being funny or self-indulgent.

INTERVIEWER:
[123] What are some of the most frequently used bookmarks you have?

BAT:
[124] I have a Buffy bookmark I'm pretty fond of. I also use a Callisto bookmark and a spiffy one with a dragon. Or if they're not handy, I fold the corner of the page down or use a paperclip. Oh, did you mean website bookmark? I'd have to say hardrock.com. I'm a graphic designer, so I've got my favorite bookmarks for Planet Photoshop, Mac Addict, and Font Diner. I also enjoy camping so Reserve America is pretty handy for getting camp site reservations. For Xena stuff, Whoosh is where it's at and I've got to mention alextydings.com, since I do her fanclub newsletter.

INTERVIEWER:
[125] What would you consider is the most important characteristic in a perfect partner for you?

BAT:
[126] A sense of humor, a ton of patience, and a love for adventure. Oh yeah, and good fiscal management. I suck with money. I have my moments when I can be really difficult, fortunately they're fairly few and far between. I'm a pretty mellow person. I don't think I'm too hard to live with.

INTERVIEWER:
[127] What do you think makes a good boss?

BAT:
[128] Someone who is honest and up front with you, who takes an interest in the job you're doing. The best boss I've had was pretty free with positive feedback as well as negative. When there is a healthy balance, the negative stuff is easier to take.

INTERVIEWER:
[129] Is the glass half empty or half full?

BAT:
[130] Just drink it and don't worry about it.

INTERVIEWER:
[131] Tell us about the strangest inspiration you've had for a story.

BAT:
[132] Most of my ideas come to me while I'm in the shower. I've no clue why. Sometimes when I'm taking a bath too. Maybe it's a water thing. Anyway, the idea I came up with for Cooking With Fire 2: Iron Chef came to me while in the shower. Instead of taking a character *from* a TV show and putting her in other situations, I thought of taking a character and putting her *into* a TV show. I'm still working on it, but it should be fairly entertaining.

INTERVIEWER:
[133] Aside from the typical holidays like Christmas and New Year's, what is your favorite holiday and why?

BAT:
[134] Halloween. Tons of bat stuff. Nice and pagan. I love that about holidays, all the traditions that refuse to die, the holdovers from a time before Christianity became the bully religion on the block. That's why I love Christmas Trees. They have absolutely nothing to do with Christ but people won't let that tradition go. And Halloween. My favorite color is black. The imagery is nice and gothic. I just love it. I've even started putting up orange Halloween lights on the house and bats everywhere. Well, you can imagine.

INTERVIEWER:
[135] Do you really consider yourself to be a writer?

BAT:
[136] Shouldn't I? Kind of an antagonistic question, don't you think? Do you really consider yourself an interviewer? What's your criteria? As for me, I write junk, I enjoy it, people can read it, and they enjoy it (near as I can tell from feedback), so I suppose I'm as much of a writer as any other fan fiction writer out there. Am I a professional writer? No, it's a hobby, not how I make my living. But am I a good writer? Yes.

[137] Art is a weird place, anyone can do it. Everyone thinks they can do it and it's pretty subjective as to how well they're doing it. No one goes around saying, "I'm a brain surgeon" or if they do and aren't qualified there is a big *ss lawsuit waiting to happen. But there isn't any test you have to pass to be an artist, a musician, a poet, a writer, a dancer, or an actor-- you just do it. If you suck you probably won't get sued.

[138] Chances are if you've studied it you'll have a leg up on doing it better, but not always. John Lennon never went to music school and the guy wrote "In My Life" which is a breath taking piece of work. If you've got a passion for it and do it a ton and have the patience with yourself to make mistakes and really enjoy it, chances are you'll improve and get better. I totally don't go for the line "Well I just don't have any talent in that so I haven't tried." Well, if you haven't tried, then how do you know? If you enjoy it then you'll probably take the time to stick with it and you'll be what ever you want to be.

INTERVIEWER:
[139] What housework chore do you most detest?

BAT:
[140] Dusting. I've got lots of stuff to dust. I'm not fond of any housework, to be honest. But I do it. I love relaxing in a freshly cleaned house.

INTERVIEWER:
[141] What's a good question to start a fight in your neighborhood?

BAT:
[142] I would guess it'd be about gang turf, but those are questions I refrain from asking. I mentioned that I live in North Hollywood, yes?

INTERVIEWER:
[143] What country makes the best beer and what's it called?

BAT:
[144] I don't drink alcohol. Wouldn't know. Germany seems to have a reputation for chewy beer, don't they?

INTERVIEWER:
[145] What job have you left undone the longest?

BAT:
[146] Hmm, I have no idea. I try to get stuff done. Maybe it's the Star Trek: DS9 story I started like five years ago and still haven't finished. I lost touch with a friend I had in college and have been trying to find her ever since, that's been like ten years. I've had three people now that I was once close to that I've lost. I hate it when that happens.

INTERVIEWER:
[147] How high is the sky?

BAT:
[148] That depends on your point of view, doesn't it? If you're an ant, the sky is like at my knee level. If you're Mt. Everest, you're looking down on the sky. I'd say the sky starts under your feet and continues on, well, for a long ways up there. See, this is why I don't have a kid, explaining this sort of thing to them. Idgie never asks me this stuff. All of our weather happens in the Troposphere that goes from sea level to 14km high. After that is the Stratosphere and Mesosphere and finally the Ionosphere, but I don't think we think about that stuff when we think "sky". I think we think weather.

INTERVIEWER:
[149] Someone has left a bag of angry spiders on your doorstep. Who do you think it was?

BAT:
[150] God, there are so many suspects. Someone from Creation? A Merpup? A disgruntled member of a super secret mailing list that rhymes with soft-core porn? Someone I annoyed on Xenaverse? I'd have to be an online person though, I'm loved and adored everywhere else. Just for the record, I don't have a problem with spiders.

INTERVIEWER:
[151] Of all the characters you have created which one was the biggest b*tch/b*st*rd, and why?

BAT:
[152] Xero, no question. Why was she a b*tch? Because I wrote her that way. To write her, I got in touch with my inner *ssh*le. She's an *ss because her personality is her first line of defense. Underneath it, she's not so bad, but she doesn't like people getting close because she's been through the ringer a few times. Raven, a villain I created, was also pretty f*ck*d up, but her meanness didn't come from a place of purposefully pushing people's buttons to keep them at arm's length. Where Xero is damaged, Raven is broken.

INTERVIEWER:
[153] What did you not want to inherit from your parents, genetically or otherwise?

BAT:
[154] My enormous b*tt. That's from mom. She's apologized many times.

INTERVIEWER:
[155] Are you superstitious?

BAT:
[156] Not really. I don't have a problem walking under ladders or the number 13 or black cats. I do however have one exception to this. I read a long time ago that fate travels in the guise of a spider, so any time you kill a spider it may be fate trying to get from point a to b and if you squash her she'll be understandably p*ss*d off. So unless it's a black widow, I don't like to kill spiders. I'll catch them in something and let them go outside. You never know when the spider you squash will be fate.

INTERVIEWER:
[157] If the color blue was a flavor what would it be?

BAT:
[158] Blueberry seems too easy doesn't it?

INTERVIEWER:
[159] How can another person best help you with your writing?

BAT:
[160] By giving me honest feedback. Telling me what they think works, as well as what they think doesn't. That doesn't mean I'll change it, but I do consider well thought out honest critique. That's something that's baffled me about some mailing lists I've been on. People ask for feedback, but what they mean is "feed my ego" because they can't handle anything critical. If a person can come up with something specific, not just "you suck", I don't see the problem hearing it.

INTERVIEWER:
[161] When the phone rings, do you assume good news, bad news, or indifferent?

BAT:
[162] Odds are it's a telemarketer, so indifferent I guess.

INTERVIEWER:
[163] How much responsibility does a creative artist have to his or her audience? To his or her society?

BAT:
[164] Every person has a responsibility to themselves to be as decent a person as they can be. We all know right from wrong, for the most part those distinctions are pretty clear. Artists need to be true to their artistic vision. The audience needs to be responsible for their end, too. I've gotten a couple of angry letters from people who read the warnings on a story of mine, read the story anyway, then got p*ss*d off they were offended.

[165] Do I feel bad about it? No. I feel like I fulfilled my responsibility by including a warning as to the nature of the story. I've also gotten email from people who read something I've written and said it made them feel less alone being gay or less like a freak. Was that my intent? No. It's not my job either to further the cause of any social agenda.

[166] My responsibility as a fan fiction writer is to write stories that I enjoy and feel good about and to give a reader an opportunity to take that journey too. That's why I put warning there to make it clear that the story isn't for everyone and to give someone who may be upset or offended a reasonable "heads up" as to what's in store for them.

[167] I also think if someone starts posting parts of a story on the Internet, they owe it to the readers to finish it. As for society, my responsibility is to be a decent human being regardless if I'm producing art or not or what kind of art that may be. Generally speaking artists make people think, often they p*ss people off, but I don't think they "owe" it to society to do that, it's just a benefit of having artists around.

INTERVIEWER:
[168] LPs, cassettes or CDs?

BAT:
[169] Cassettes suck, they wear out and distort music. CDs are the easiest, most durable but there isn't anything quite like the warm analog tones of a well cared for LP. I've got some half-speed mastered LPs that sound amazing through headphones.

INTERVIEWER:
[170] Would you tell an intelligent child to be optimistic about the future of this planet?

BAT:
[171] Sure. This planet isn't going anywhere. It's got another five billion years left. As for the human race? That's a closer call. Like the dinosaurs, I think we'll have our time on this planet and either evolve into something else or eventually get wiped out. Whether that happens from our own hand or a comet or something is anyone's guess. But after we're gone something else will take our place. John Lennon used to say that you can't leave an empty space in the universe without something else coming in to fill it. Still, I don't know if I'd say this all to a kid, it might really depress them, ya know?

INTERVIEWER:
[172] What kind of alarm clock do you have?

BAT:
[173] One that plays music and gets me up in the morning. If I forget to set it though I usually wake up automatically.

INTERVIEWER:
[174] When you write, do you prefer to put it on paper or PC?

BAT:
[175] I have to write while typing. I can type faster than I write with a pen, so I have to do it on the computer. Words spill out, a pen can't keep up, and in a matter of pages I can't read any of it anyways. So, I write everything on the Mac. But whenever I sit down to it, I re-read and go over stuff previously written before starting in.

INTERVIEWER:
[176] Why did you start writing?

BAT:
[177] Because I wanted to see if I could. Then I decided that I had some things to say and wanted to say them.

INTERVIEWER:
[178] Give us a brief day in the life of Bat.

BAT:
[179] I wake up and take Idgie for a walk in the park around 6:30am. Come back and get ready for work, see the gf off to her job, check the email. Go to work, do my job until lunch time. Head home and hang out with Idgie, check the email if I feel like it. Go back to work until 5:30 or 6pm. Go home and enjoy my evening. Maybe I write or watch TV or do whatever. Sometimes I cook dinner, sometimes she cooks, or we both cook together. Bedtime is usually around 10pm. You don't get any more details than that.

INTERVIEWER:
[180] How do you handle stress?

BAT:
[181] Depends on what I'm stressed about. Writing usually helps, sometimes playing guitar, bass, or drums does the trick. Once in a while only a bubble bath will do. Ultimately, I've got to do what I can to alleviate what ever it is that's stressing me. Talking to friends is also a good thing to do.

INTERVIEWER:
[182] Years from now, how would you want to be remembered?

BAT:
[183] She saved the world. A lot. Either that or as someone who didn't take herself too seriously and was cool to have as a friend. There is an expression "if your dog loves you, don't look for a second opinion". I want to be remembered as someone who was good to her dog.

INTERVIEWER:
[184] What is your pet peeve?

BAT:
[185] People saying "the proof is in the pudding" that drives me nuts. The *real* expression is "the proof of the pudding is in the TASTING". There isn't any proof in the pudding. The pudding just has pudding in it.

INTERVIEWER:
[186] Who is Bat?

BAT:
[187] An online construct. Like in The Matrix.

INTERVIEWER:
[188] What is your favorite lighting?

BAT:
[189] Candlelight.

INTERVIEWER:
[190] What is the last joke you were told that made you laugh?

BAT:
[191] What did Bill Clinton say when he heard about the Bush girls' problems in Texas bars? "H*ll, I'll buy 'em a drink". Well, what can I say, it made me laugh. Sigh, I wish he were still president.

INTERVIEWER:
[192] What is your favorite meal to prepare for someone else?

BAT:
[193] Dinner and dessert. I've been told I'm a pretty decent cook. I make a mean Bananas Foster.

INTERVIEWER:
[194] What makes you a good or bad person for someone to collaborate with on a story?

BAT:
[195] I don't know that I'm a good person to collaborate with. The only person I've ever collaborated with was Word Warrior on a series of funny memos that we did. That went well because she did her thing and I did mine. We both respect each other's work and were happy with what the other was doing. I'm opening to listening to other people's ideas, but I don't like having anyone tell me how to write my stuff, unless it's my editor who I respect tremendously. She wrote a story once and I went off and wrote a sex scene for it because she wouldn't. That wasn't exactly like collaborating since I just did it uninvited, but I think she was happy with the results.

INTERVIEWER:
[196] Why do you absolutely refuse to take these things seriously?

BAT:
[197] Who says I don't take things seriously? I take serious things seriously. I just don't see a fandom about a TV show as very serious. In the Xenaverse, there are more than enough people that take things way too seriously. So that may be the reason. But honestly life isn't something you're ever going to get out of alive, so lighten up.

INTERVIEWER:
[198] If you could say just one thing, what would it be?

BAT:
[199] Yes Jeri, Sunday would be fine since Jennifer's on Saturday.

INTERVIEWER:
[200] What question should I have asked, then answer it please.

BAT:
[201] So, what about that Xena show, anyways? I suppose I could go off on a rant about how great Xena was and how sucky it ended, but I'll spare you the details. I hope Xena's legacy will be a good one. She yelled and kicked in the door for a generation of *ss-kicking chicks to follow, even if she did end up headless and naked in a tree. Regardless of what TPTB [the powers that be] want you to believe about the power of love not being stronger than one's dark past, the ultimate legacy of Xena: Warrior Princess was about two women who loved each other and their adventures together. Xena as a show may have fallen on the dismount, but in time, another show will come along do the job right and stick the landing. I'm really looking forward to that.


Bat's Stories

The Broken Arrow
My first bit of Xena fiction about our dynamic duo who get together with a little help from a chick with a zebra. I'd set it around late season 1 or season 2. It's a Mary Sue with a hot tub.

Minor Adjustments
Shortest story I've ever written at 8 pages or so. Takes up at the end of INTIMATE STRANGER.

Assassin...Oracle...Bard
Identical look-alikes, only this time it's Gabrielle who's got doubles, and one of them is really f*ck*d up. Callisto makes an appearance but I didn't write her very well in this story. My bad.

Is There A Doctor On The Dig?
The most popular of my stories. My first Janice & Mel jaunt and it has the distinction of being the first "uber" to hit the Internet. Although I think Kym [Taborn] reclassified it as a proto-uber, so there you go. Takes place after Xena Scrolls and has a reincarnated Callisto. Not bad if I do say so myself.

The Search For Amphipolis
Kinda long, kinda drags, but the last third kicks *ss. Takes up after Is There a Doctor on the Dig. More adventures with our girls Janice & Mel. They're searching for Xena's hometown and all sorts of other junk happens.

The Binds That Tie
My friend Pam said "write me a bondage story with a strap-on in it". At that time, I'd never even seen one, but I gave it my best shot and I think it came out okay. Told in first person from Gabrielle's point of view. Xena goes undercover as the big bad warlord she used to be, with kinky results.

What If?
A rewriting of a COMEDY OF EROS where Gabrielle gets hit with the arrow as she should have been in the d*mn episode.

The Binds That Tie II (The Tacky Sequel)
Same story as the first only told from Xena's point of view this time. That was fun to do.

Uber Madness
Not my most popular, but I think my best work. More Janice & Mel with two new "true ubers", Xero & Rielle. Sort of a cyber-punkish tale. I'm really proud of the dream sequences in this. It's about the future and hackers and this nasty plot involving Ares and the big fight scene at the end takes place at Disneyland. It's also about a person who's an -ssh-le coming to terms with who she is, with help from a bunch of dead people.

The Party
This story isn't exactly a rip-off of LN James' The Gala but the idea was borrowed there. I loved that story. Anyway Janice & Mel have to go to a costume party and, well, they have a good time. I was also inspired by Sharon Stone's costume from the movie The Quick And The Dead. Go rent it today!

Fast Forward
This is a Buffy/Xena crossover taking up where the episode BETWEEN THE LINES ends. Xena wakes up in Buffy's body and wacky hijinks ensue as Sunnydale is overrun with Xena characters wearing much younger bodies. This was a hoot and painful to write at the same time.

Cooking With Fire
An uber, a threesome, some sex toys, and some fun -- yet iss-eew ridden writing. I'm all into cooking and it was fun to write about that. A sequel is in the works involving the Food Network show Iron Chef.

A Friend In Need, Indeed
My response to the wimpy lame-*ss*d final episode thrust upon us by Tapert & Company. This skit was performed by Alexandra Tydings and Claire Stansfield at a couple of their XXX Revues. They asked me to write it, and how do you say "no" to those two? I think they were pretty happy with the results.


Acknowledgments

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
Thirty-one-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 fan fiction, 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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