Whoosh! Issue 25 - October 1998

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

25. Tim Wellman

Interview July 23, 1998

[844] *Xena Fan Fiction Works were found as indicated and If you decide to visit these websites, please pay careful attention to the disclaimers that introduce some stories regarding violence and/or sexual content:

Located at http://ram.ramlink.net/~kg8rj/fanfic/

  1. The Hidden Room
  2. The Penitent
  3. Callisto Calling
  4. The Question
  5. The Dress
  6. Killing Time
  7. X&G Do NY [alt]
  8. A Long Path
  9. As Long As Someone Remembers [alt]
  10. Myth-Ery Loves Company [alt]
  11. Death
  12. Cycle of Love
  13. Who Is Responsible?
  14. Dr. Seuss Writes a Xena Episode
  15. The Secret [alt]
  16. Fire And Water [alt]
Question #01:
[845] What has been your inspiration for writing fan fiction?

Tim Wellman:
[846] I'm not sure what first started me writing Xena fanfic... I had never written fan fiction before, but there was something about the show... unexplainable... something that seemed to make me want to be a part of it, in whatever small way I could. So, the first couple of stories were shaky, but I was so much in love with the show... and so inspired by all the people commenting on my stories, that I kept falling further and further in love. By the time 'The Question' came along, I was writing on pure emotion, mostly with tears in my eyes. And I followed that story with 'The Dress'... and I realized then, on that emotional level, that this story was as high as I could get. I think I got scared at this point and tried to back off. I continued to write stories, and I believe the best story I wrote was one of the last, written a year after my initial fall; 'As Long As Someone Remembers'.

[847] I guess this question is too hard to answer... and it brings back memories of cold winter nights, staring at my monitor, hanging on every word all my friends at the Netforum would write... you see, it started out as a small community... and a couple of us were 'bards', even before that word came into the general Xena parlance... we were story-tellers, relating feelings we all shared, enjoying the moment and somehow hoping against all hope, that the moment would last forever. I think this is the slight tinge of sorrow you find in all of us who started out on the netforum so long ago... the very idea of creation carries with it the idea of an end... and perhaps this is why most fan-fiction never had a proper ending... the stories always lead to the next adventure. I guess we were fools... but for a brief moment in time we were a part of something incredible and wonderful.

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

Tim Wellman:
[849] As stated above, yea, I think my 'reason' for writing was modified along the way... the desire to please, and still keep my sanity, replaced the pure emotional rush that produced my early stories.

Question #03:
[850] 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?

Tim Wellman:
[851] Well, I'm a college trained writer... Marshall University, Creative Writing Major, 1983-1988. So yea, I had written a lot of things before Xena, things much different, though, for the most part... published poetry, and published short stories. And there is no real response when writing 'real' stories... sometimes someone may mention something, but it's rare... you measure success differently in the real world... my poetry and stories won college and state awards... and the money was great! But all that wasn't worth a single response by a fan on the netforum... I guess it's the community/family idea again... it's a completely different feeling to get a response from someone you love.

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

Tim Wellman:
[853] Well, frankly, I hate 'romantic' novels... at least the newer badly written junk... however, if you include as romantic (and I do), novels like Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, etc... then I could spend all the time I could find reading an re-reading those... and have. I guess I don't connect 'romance' with sex... romance to me is a good adventure, a riveting tale that makes you dream. I'm a true romantic, though... and a tender moment draws me in much more than I want to admit.

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

Tim Wellman:
[855] XWP is pure romance... or at least the first 2 seasons were (I haven't seen the 3rd season shows). As stated above, I regard adventure as the highest form of romance... the show had that adventure... and it also had an undeniable attraction between the two main characters. I guess I've never made a distinction between sexes... love is love... and when one person looks at another and their eyes melt into one shared vision... well, watch Xena and Gabrielle's eyes as they look at each other. You'll see love. So, you had a kick-ass adventure, love, beauty, exotic locales, and well-written storylines... Hawthorne should have been so lucky!

Question #06:
[856] Do you believe that any of your stories fall under the genre of Romance?

Tim Wellman:
[857] Well, all of my fan fiction is romance... it can't be helped... just as Romeo and Juliet can't be a war story... there's something, like a spirit, that surrounds the characters of Xena and Gabrielle... and regardless of attempts to do otherwise, any story involving those characters is a romance.

Question #07:
[858] 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 (uber-Xena time if applicable here) times?

Tim Wellman:
[859] Well, hum... interesting question. And a good one. I think we can't help project modern sensibilities into our stories... of course, XWP is a modern story, too... I don't believe my lesbian portrayals are ancient, or modern, though... my lesbian scenes are so 'close'... so personal, that they could really be placed in any time period... surely, there is an intimate, quiet attraction between lesbians (better, 'between lovers'), regardless of the age. Is there really a difference between foreplay in togas and foreplay in jeans? Not really in my stories... you must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is still a sigh.... :-)

Question #08:
[860] Aside from the parodies, your stories tend to depict a tender, loving relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. Has the third season rift changed this?

Tim Wellman:
[861] Well, as stated above, I haven't seen the third season. I stopped being a fan of the show. And it wasn't just because of the info we had before the 3rd season started about the rift. I left, as most know, because there was a rumor that Gabrielle would be raped. Rape is not something that should be used in any way to sell more Pepsi and Doritoes... after all, TV shows exist to make money... it was a disgrace to leak these bits and pieces about a 'rape'.. knowing full well that it would attract a certain audience... and it shocked and sickened me. And at that point, I told everyone I knew that I was leaving the show behind. And I did. Now, was Gabrielle raped? Most think so, though I understand it was left open... however, the slimy way the 'story' was leaked by TPTB before the third season started was enough to alienate me forever.

Question #09:
[862] Some of your stories are collaborative and full of humor. What led to your working with Rinah to produce "X & G Do New York" and with Bardwynna on "Myth-Ery Loves Company"?

Tim Wellman:
[863] Well, Rinah was and is one of my dearest friends in the world... and in our hours-long talks every night, one of us just came up with the idea of X&G doing the big apple... and since Rinah lives there, she provided all the facts needed. She's really a funny person... I don't care what anyone says :-)

[864] As for Bardwynna, she was a dear friend as well... and she had written several of the 'Myth' stories which I really liked. We used to talk for hours every night, and our conversations were much funnier than the final story we ended up with :-) But, she had said she wasn't going to do another myth story, so I pulled her hair really hard and made her write one with me :-) It was rough going... we actually quit the story once, after the first couple of chapters... it took over a month to write the story.

Question #10:
[865] You wrote a marvelously sweet Mel and Janice story called "As Long As Someone Remembers". Was the Xena Scrolls episode your sole source of ideas for this episode or were there other influences at work with this one?

Tim Wellman:
[866] Oh, thanks :-) This is my favorite story that I've written. Well, let's see... the answer is no! :-) Actually, though I watched that ep about a hundred times, my main inspiration for writing that story was reading and editing Rachel2's Mel and Jan story... don't even remember the title, now, but the story about the haunted house ["House on Redmen's Hill"]. I loved that, and working so intimately with it, I realized that a Mel and Jan story was really fertile ground... there hadn't been many written at that point... you had written at least one, and Snoopmeff had set up a site for Mel and Jan stories, and I believe Wishes had written one... can't remember if Bat's stories were written yet, or not. Anyway, it was great fun writing Mel and Jan, and I had another story half finished when the '3rd season leak' first came out. I loved blending in Indiana Jones with those stories... I think I could have written many of them if things had been different.

Question #11:
[867] To date, which of your stories have received the most reader response?

Tim Wellman:
[868] Well, I'd say, "The Question" and "The Dress" are the stories most closely associated with me. I think they were a shock at the time they were written, and they are as much poetry as fiction. Written I guess around two years ago, I still get mail from people who are just discovering them.

Question #12:
[869] There is some controversy about what uber-Xena fiction is. What is your current definition of a completely uber story?

Tim Wellman:
[870] Well, I believe there must be some element... personality, looks, etc, if not an actual appearance, of Xena and/or Gabrielle. Some of the uber-stories (BTW, our Mel and Jan stories were written before this word was coined) seem to be nothing more than modern stories written by Xenites. I don't think these are really uber-xena stories... I think they are 'real' stories with some passing nod to the show included just to get people to read them. I could be wrong, and I don't mean to sound this harsh... it's just that, d*mm*t, if it's a Xena story, then it should have Xena/Gab/Mel/Jan in it, or at least their spirits. :-)

Question #13:
[871] 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?

Tim Wellman:
[872] Zzzzzzzzz.... :-) Well said. And yes, we feed on the remarks we receive. Of course, this is a normal human response... we all seek positive feedback and acceptance. The Xena community is more like a small village on the net.. and everything we do takes on a larger-than-life aspect. A pat on the back is seen by all the other villagers... so, it means more. Gee, I'm talked out... your remarks are good... wish I could say more :-)

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