Diana L. Paxson on Stars of Darkover

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Diana L. Paxson on Stars of Darkover
Interviewer: Deborah J. Ross
Interviewee: Diana L. Paxson
Date(s): June 5, 2014
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Darkover
External Links: Deborah J. Ross: INTERVIEW: Diana L. Paxson on Stars of Darkover, Archived version
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Diana L. Paxson on Stars of Darkover was an interview by Deborah J. Ross.

Ross is one of the ghostwriters for the Marion Zimmer Bradley empire today. Diana L. Paxson is Bradley's sister-in-law.

It was released on June 3, 2014, to celebrate Marion's 84th birthday. This is the very same day that Tor Books posted On This Day: Marion Zimmer Bradley Gave Us New Perspectives, the essay that was the starting point for the public allegations of sexual abuse against Bradley. See Allegations: MZB Sexually and Physically Abused Her Children.


Deborah J. Ross: How did Marion Zimmer Bradley influence your writing career?

Diana L. Paxson: I made the mistake of taking Creative Writing in college-- a mistake, because although it did teach me something about structure and style, the goal was to write literary fiction, which I found a dead bore, and my stories showed it. As a result, I gave up on the idea of writing for the next ten years. It was not until I had married Jon DeCles, who had been unofficially adopted into the Zimmer family, and gotten to know Marion herself, that it dawned on me that real people (i.e people who liked the same kind of books I did) could actually write them. When I finally managed to complete a novel, Marion was kind enough to read and critique it. I cried. Then I rewrote it. Several times, actually. But Marion continued to encourage me, and so I didn't give up. Since everyone else in the family was writing too (except for my sister-in-law Tracy Blackstone, who was our agent) we ended up with a sort of extended-family cum writers' colony, with some amazing discussions around the tea-table.

DJR: What inspired your story in Stars of Darkover?

DLP: One of Marion's great gifts was to tackle subjects that no one else was ready to deal with she was among the first to include homosexual characters as protagonists, and her portrayal of the Free Amazons in Thendara House and the later books was cutting-edge feminism. She was also always ready to go on to the next challenge. Today, the issue of whether trans-women should be accepted as "real women" is causing a lot of controversy. Those who disagree are offering the same arguments Marion wrote about in the Amazon "training session" scenes. But Marion never hesitated to change her mind. I think that if she were writing today this is exactly the kind of issue she would have tackled. So I decided to try and write about what would happen if a trans-woman tried to join the Free Amazons.