Gossamer Interview with an Author: Mary Beth Clark (Kipler)

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Gossamer Interview with an Author: Mary Beth Clark (Kipler)
Interviewer: Summer
Interviewee: Mary Beth Clark (Kipler)
Date(s): March 17, 1996
Medium: online
Fandom(s): The X-Files
External Links: Gossamer Interview with an Author: Mary Beth Clark (Kipler), Archived version
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The Gossamer Interview with an Author: Mary Beth Clark (Kipler) was conducted in 1996.

It was posted in the non-fiction section of Gossamer's Specialty Archive.

Excerpts

<< What, if anything, did you write before you started writing X-Files fan fiction? >>

Really nothing worth mentioning! I wrote a terrible young adult novel when I was a teenager; the hero's name was Kipler. And I was constantly writing parodies of "The Iliad" and such during class, when I was supposed to be paying attention. (In fact, there's a lot more silly stuff out there by me than there is serious stuff!) I last wrote some required stories for classes in college. Then I didn't write anything for ten years, until I got a new computer last Christmas.

<< Is there anything in your background that you can point to that may have presaged your interest in The X-Files? >>

"Presaged" is a fine word! I guess I've always been interested in sci-fi and fantasy, particularly in how strange events affect people involved in them. That is what fascinated me about "The X-Files."

<< What aspects of the show appeal to you the most? >>

The relationship! No question! I've always been a sucker for UST, and I got home late one Friday night just at the end of the second

showing of "Erlenmeyer Flask." I saw Mulder thrown from the car - and Scully's look of concern - and was immediately hooked!

<< So you talk about X-Files with your [eighth-grade] students? Do they like the show? What do they think of the teenagers in X-Files, like `Lightning Boy' in DPO? >>

To tell the truth, a lot of them come to me to ask me to explain the episodes. This really is a show that's written for adults - the plots are often hard for my students to follow. I get the feeling that a lot of them watch for the "gross" and "spooky" parts of the episodes - they're certainly not as plot-obsessive as most of us are! I keep trying to make them aware of Scully's tender facial gestures towards Mulder, but they seem oblivious.

And, despite the observances of several adults on the boards, I don't ever hear them complaining about the portrayal of teens on the show. (Heaven knows that they have a RIGHT to complain, in light of the fact that all New Hampshire teens on the show have been murdering evil-doers!)

<< Your stories tend to be written often from Scully's point of view, showing her insights into Mulder's character. Is this a conscious choice when you write? Do you just identify more with Scully as she tries to understand Mulder? >>

I don't know that it was a conscious choice at first. But then, after I did my first "Scully" story, it seemed like a real chore to go back and write from Mulder's point-of-view. I'm not sure why. Maybe I have more in common with Scully. Maybe it's just that I'm a woman, too. (I've had long, drawn-out correspondence with my friend Alison about women attempting to write as men, and vice-versa, and how difficult it can be. We're still trying to work out why it's so hard for us to imagine ourselves as men!) At any rate, when I write Scully the work just seems to "flow," whereas writing Mulder is, for me, very laborious!

<< How many of your RL friends know about your XF stories? What do they think of your `hobby'? >>

None of them know! This is my secret life!

(I do have a brother who actually scanned the net for my name, and came across my stories. He mentioned it at Christmas dinner. Can you imagine!?!? But I made it clear that I did NOT want to discuss it!)

<< Why is that? >>

Well, being obsessed with a TV show is one thing, but actually writing *fiction* about it puts you into a completely different realm of obsession!

And writing in general tends to be looked upon as suspect by the population at large; it's kind of a fluffy, frivolous, self-indulgent thing to do, in many people's eyes. It seems to cause some sort of a "blank stare" reaction in a lot of people. My motto is, "When I actually publish something, then I'll tell people about it."

<< In your stories, particularly "Knowing" and "Genius", the underlying idea centers around a `weird science' mystery that the characters have to understand. How did you conceive of those concepts? >>

In "Knowing," I was writing a story because it had become clear that Chris Carter wasn't going to give us resolution to the "Scully's abduction" storyline - at least not anytime soon. I wanted Scully to know how broken Mulder had been by her absence. Then I started thinking about whether she really *would* want to know his thoughts. That led into ESP.

In "Genius," I was just out walking one night, and looked up at the trees, and thought, "What if they had an intelligence, but one vastly different from our own?"

I wrote a story this fall called "Risings," again because I wanted to delve into the Mulder/Scully relationship. This time I wanted to explore how the deaths of their family members had affected them. A ghost story seemed suitable, and that's what "Risings" became. (It also became rather dark!)

<< What's the most memorable feedback you've received about a story after putting it on a.t.x.c.? >>

The best feedback has been the establishment of several lovely cyberfriendships. Can I mention names? I first heard from Anne Milliken and Karen Nathan in response to a story, and they have become wonderful e-mail friends. Sometimes a simple comment on a story reveals a common bond, and it's really great to find friends this way.

The most *flattering* feedback was a review of "Genius" by Sarah Stegall, because it made me feel like a "real" writer!

Other Interviews in This Series

References