Whoosh! Issue 25 - October 1998

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

26. J. C. Wilder

Interview August 15, 1998

[873] Xena Fan Fiction Works were found at MaryD's Xena Information Page.

*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. Christmas in Costa Rica [alt]
  2. Dancing in the Dark [alt]
  3. DAO on a Solstice Eve
  4. Goddess of Desire [alt]
  5. Mad Dog's Sacred Treasure [alt]
  6. My Protector [alt]
  7. Sleepless in Amphipolis [alt]
  8. Tender Abandon [alt]
  9. Woman Most Loved
Question #01:
[874] How do you feel about doing this self-interview?

J.C. Wilder:
[875] I understand most of the questions and I have conversations with myself pretty often so I'm okay with it.

Question #02:
[876] What has been your inspiration for writing fan fiction?

J.C. Wilder:
[877] The love portrayed between the characters of Xena and Gabrielle on the show and in fan fiction written by others has been my inspiration. I never actually fell in love with a television show until XWP. The power and fantasy of Xena and Gabrielle got my undivided attention.

[878] The first episode that really touched my heart was RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205). The heartbreak I could identify with and I certainly wanted to identify with the victory. Xena always wins a fight in the end. At the moment, I cannot imagine more striking figures than Xena in leather and bronze with the handle of her sword showing above her shoulder and Gabrielle by her side with her scrolls and her Amazon staff. Despite Gabrielle's brief marriage, it was clearly an unprecedented show about an intense relationship between two women. I can easily see subtext in most episodes.

[879] After seeing the TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208) and THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) episodes and reading Bat Morda's award winning fan fiction story "Is There A Doctor on The Dig", I could not stop myself from writing fictional scenes related to the show. I fell into a compulsive, daily writing/posting ritual after work. The exchange of feedback on the Xena NetForum encouraged me to continue. Months later when I did some editing on those first stories I realized writing had been cathartic in a big way. I was going to make "Goddess of Desire" and "Mad Dog's Sacred Treasure" part of a trilogy but I realized I had exorcised some ghosts by writing the two together and lost the motivation to follow up. But I needed another hobby and I'd found fan fiction and that was it for me.

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

J.C. Wilder:
[881] Improving my writing has become an added motivation- at least one that I'm now consciously aware of. I stubbornly resisted the idea but I received a lot of reader response to a story and I realized I really did want them to be better. I think the characters deserved more than I had given them. But I don't want to lose the fun of writing for the pure pleasure of it either. I'm struggling a bit right now. I'm learning that writing excellent stories probably requires a lot of discipline.

Question #03:
[882] 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?

J.C. Wilder:
[883] I had not written stories before adopting the Xena fanfic hobby. I did work with Bongo Bear on an exploratory piece she shared with me around March. Different than the Xena fanfic I had written, there was little response to it, probably because it was a very short story and not within the Xenaverse boundary (well, maybe that's not exactly true since the few who did respond were Xenites and fellow writers). There was little emotional investment on the part of the readers because the characters were relatively unknown in a vignette-like story. I enjoyed working with BB, even if she ain't no mushballer.

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

J.C. Wilder:
[885] Flashback: I picked up a Romance novel. I was minding my own business, lingering next to a wall of books in a drug store engrossed in the teaser on the back of the paperback when a curious feminine voice pulled me away. "Do you like Romance novels?" There I was, being confronted in public about a habit many believe to be frivolous at best. I looked down at a smartly dressed, petite woman. I felt regret that I had put on my worn-out, unsophisticated pair of blue jeans that morning. An air of command surrounded the woman and she expected an answer. "Uh huh" I replied, and my hands carried the book to rest against my back. The woman smiled. "Wonderful." She reached and grabbed another book from among the dozens on the wall. "Try this one. It's very good." I was not expecting a recommendation and I did not want one- being choosy about the type of romance I read- but somehow the book ended up in one of my hands. "I wrote it", she said and her smile grew larger for a moment. Then she walked away. There was a picture of her on the back of the book. The novel was good but not gripping. I bought two novels by Kat Martin that year.

[886] I grew up reading my dad's western novels and I especially liked Zane Grey because his stories were filled with angst-ridden romance. The first novels I ever read were Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" and "Rose in Bloom", all heavily laced with romance. Loved those. I also like science fiction and I can't leave out Edgar Rice Burroughs, but Romance is the genre I have read the most. One of my favorite authors was Jude Deveraux. Now my favorites are the bards of the Xenaverse. I have not purchased another Romance novel since discovering Xena fan fiction because they seem pale in comparison.

Question #04:
[887] In your opinion, is XWP a romantic show?

J.C. Wilder:
[888] In my opinion it is. It is multi-genre, but the thread that holds it all together is the intense, primarily loving relationship between the two heroines, Xena and Gabrielle. Not in every show, but in the majority of them. The theme of brooding, jaded darkness attracted to and needing innocent light and vice versa is very romantic and we saw a lot of that in the first two seasons. Subtext involves sexual innuendo certainly, but more romantic is the passion in the relationship that compliments the physical attraction and that includes spiritual and emotional chemistry which I still see, although less in the third season. Xena and Gabrielle care for each other and struggle together and ultimately would die for each other- and come back to life because they need each other so much that even death can not keep them apart.

[889] I like the variety in the show- even the comedy and I believe most of my writings reflects this- but XWP is primarily an irresistibly romantic show.

Question #04:
[890] Do you believe that any of your stories fall under the genre of Romance?

J.C. Wilder:
[891] My stories are romantic adventures except for "Sleepless in Amphipolis" which is simply a goofy romance inspired by the Comedy of Eros ep and k.d. lang's "all you can eat" CD. And "Dancing in the Dark" is a goofy parody of a weird conglomeration of things one might find in a dream. "Goddess of Desire" is more of a romantic comedy/drama. Or perhaps it is melodrama. Hey, this is hard, isn't it? Now I'm wondering why I wanted to go here. Nevertheless, it is the theme of Romance that underlies all of my writings so far. Two people discovering their love for each other as they travel together.

Question #07:
[892] 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?

J.C. Wilder:
[893] A friend got me thinking about this when she commented that some altfic is as much about lesbians in modern times as it is about lifestyles of the ancient Greeks, i.e. the difficulties of getting a date in the 90's when you are a woman wanting to date another woman. The "does she/doesn't she" internal dialogue that goes on and on, story after story. Sounds Woody Allenish. Hmmm. That debate can go on and on in Romance novels no matter what the sexual preference of the characters are. Yes, my stories reflect bits and pieces of lesbian relations in some modern neurotic and stereotypically superficial ways. Especially my first two, but they aren't very reflective of ancient times at all. And "My Protector" is set far into the future. Frankly, reading about the angst of characters who don't know if their feeling are requited is one of the things I love most about romantic fiction.

[894] Really, lesbians are an oppressed segment within society so I have touched on how such oppression influences the romantic process. It can increase the tension and suspense. It can create an "us against the world" environment while creating misunderstandings and that cause the suppression of feelings at the same time. But again, these are also common themes in mainstream Romance novels.

[895] And what's wrong with the "is she/isn't she" debate? How many TV shows have fizzled after the lead characters marry each other or just get married period, ending the do they/don't they suspense? Finding a soul mate is an ideal and reality has many more gray and mundane areas than is found in most fan fiction.

Question #08:
[896] Are you ever going to finish "My Protector"?

J.C. Wilder:
[897] My plan is to finish that uber story, I just don't know when. I've worked and reworked part II and it's still not right. I'm not going to post it until it's right. I am now convinced that it's a bad idea for me to post another unfinished story.

Question #09:
[898] To date, which of your stories have received the most reader response?

J.C. Wilder:
[899] The unfinished "My Protector". Not surprising, it's the most erotic piece to date and it begs for resolution and so I've received requests from readers not to leave them hanging. I really apologize and as I said already, I plan to finish it. The next is "Christmas in Costa Rica", a little Mel and Janice romantic adventure.

Question #10:
[900] There is some controversy about what uber-Xena fiction is. What is your current definition of a completely uber story?

J.C. Wilder:
[901] A completely uber story makes no reference to events in the television show or other works of Xena Fan Fiction but uses the characters of Xena and Gabrielle as archetypes for the introduction of new female characters in fiction. Typical themes that these new female characters play out are redemption (helping to redeem each other because of complimentary/needed traits the other possesses) while they are challenged by difficult situations, and discovering they are soulmates by the end of the tale.

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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

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