Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Suzan Lovett
|Interviews by Fans|
|Title:||Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Suzan Lovett|
|Date(s):||July 17, 2017|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Length is exactly two hours.
For more information about the origins of this interview, where it is housed, contact information, suggestions regarding future interviewee candidates, and how to become volunteer interviewer or transcriber, see the Media Fandom Oral History Project page.
- her fannish origins
- going to her first Star Trek convention, Star TreKon in 1980
- her submissions being turned down by zine editors because the illos weren't very good
- her first fiction was for Star Trek as was her first illos, her first illos appeared in R&R , her first color illos were for Starsky & Hutch
- her personal involvement with The Blake's 7 Wars
- fanart and profit
- dealing with negative comments
- fandom in the underground
- Textual Poachers and its cover by Jean Kluge, Enterprising Women which has a cover by Suzan
- fan troubles and Agent With Style
- Star Trek: TOS, Blake's 7, and The Professionals
Megan Genovese: So my first question is, I think one that you answered in other interviews just for me, indulge me if you will. How did you get into fandom?
Suzan Lovett: I got into fandom by reading about it in a rather old book that I've found in a used bookstore. Uh, about Star Trek conventions and found out that they're actually a fandom that existed.... The Making of Star Trek Conventions... Joan Winston's book... I found it in a used bookstore [in about 1975].
MG: But you had already been a fan of Star Trek before that?SL: I got into Star Trek. Uh, I'm not, I'm not American. I'm from Turkey. I'm Turkish and Turkish television got about, oh, I don't know, about half a dozen of Star Trek episodes. That's what I first got interested. And then I thought it was all over with, uh, until I got married and came to United States in '70. I got married to an American, came to the states in [inaudible] '73 and realized it was still on, uh, uh, on the air. Well, you know, syndicated. And, uh, so I already was a Star Trek fan. I'd already bought the James Blish books and, uh, the, uh, The New Voyages. Uh, and, uh, so yes, I was already a fan, but I did not know fandom existed.
SL: [When I went to Star TreKon, I didn't know anybody in the fandom before then. I left my daughter with my husband and I just got on the bus and went by myself. I even had my own room. I wasn't operating under the impressions people normally operate when they go off to things, you know, sharing rooms with other fans, all those things. They weren't on my radar at the time....Well it was very exciting just to have people to talk to that had the same interests and uh, people of all ages, colors, and even nationalities. It was a it was a melting pot. And I, and I absolutely loved it. In fact, be before the end of the convention. I, uh, I walked into the dealer's room absolutely shocked that there was so much stuff, professional stuff and fannish stuff. Until then I had read professional Star Trek books professionally published, and they weren't any good. So I looked at, in the amateur ones and I thought, well, if the professional ones were so bad, what do I want with the amateur was, but of course there was, you know, really pretty illos. So I bought a couple of them, read them in my room that night. I went, oh, wow. Now I want everything. I had , taken just enough money at the time, you know, there wasn't the kind of, you know, cards and things that we use today. So I had just taken some cash with me, just enough to go get through the convention. And, so I invited a lady I had met the day before and had gotten along with very nicely to share my room and let me put, and she would sign her meals to the room and I pay everything with my charge card so I can have the cash to go nuts in the dealer's room, which I did. And then I packed up my clothes and mailed them and put the zines in my bag so they wouldn't be hurt on the way back.
MG: I understand that you eventually both wrote and did your own illustrations, which came first?
SL: I used to draw when I was young, but I had to have done any of it for the longest time. At this convention and the one I attended later on. It was the next MediaWest*Con which was huge at the time. I walked into the art show and realized there was so many beautiful things and that reminded me that even though I used to draw at one time, so that was a spur to get me start drawing again. And then there were just more zines than I could afford. And of course you could get a freebie if you contributed an illo or too. So I started working on illos that would be acceptable to the editors of those days so I could get freebies. That's the reason. That's why I started... or quite a while I was only into Star Trek and that's all I was interested in. I was at the time a purist that went by the wayside real fast. But, yeah, it was only Star Trek's zines and and for a while editors kept returning my illos saying they weren't acceptable, so, so it took me a while.
MG: In what way?
SL: Well, they weren't any good.
MG: Oh yeah, I'm sure they were later kicking themselves.
SL: Well, there were a there couple of cases when later, you know, I met the editors and I said, Oh yeah, you, uh, uh, refused one of my illos and they go, well, refuse your illos? I said, yes, but I wasn't any good then. If you hadn't refused, I wouldn't have tried to get better. So it's fine....
Galactic Discourse and Contact. I was trying very hard to get those [zines] and I was refused by both of the editors who later became really close friends. In fact, the conversation I just talked about happened with them. The only thing that accepted me was R&R was specifically for new writers and artists. And Joanna Cantor was its editor. That's her fandom name. And her encouragement and her acceptance of my artwork into R&R is what got me working on it more and more. And at one point, the Contact zine editor got in touch with me because she had heard I was very fast in drawing and one of the artists dropped out a couple of days before they were due to go to print is she asked me if I could fill a couple of pages really fast, which I did. And then I suppose they felt beholden and then they accepted a few more things from me and it went on from there.
SL: Pen and ink has always been extremely difficult for me because it's so unforgiving. That was one of my problems when I first started trying to get accepted into the zines. I would do them in pencil and charcoal or a pencil and it was a lot more expensive to get that printed pen and ink could be just be xeroxed, which is one of the reasons they wouldn't accept my artwork because it was going to be so expensive. To get it produced and it wasn't worth putting that kind of money in it.... Connie Faddis you know, they could certainly do that kind of work [for her] and the editors would happily put the money in, but not what I was able to do then. So I had a few pen and ink pieces, but mostly, I worked in charcoal and pencil for the longest time.... It has always been my favorite medium. I wasn't even doing color pencils at the time. It wasn't until I got, years later, I got into Starsky and Hutch, that's when I did my first color pieces.
SL: [My illos] in Starsky and Hutch novels were gen. I did write a couple of slash stories [in Starsky & Hutch]. I did not write any slash in Star Trek.... But mostly I wrote gen. It wasn't until I got into Professionals that I really got into thinking about writing slash probably because there was hardly anything else in that fandom.... I was doing slash illustrations because illustrations as when you're doing not the things I want to draw myself, but when you're illustrating a story, you're simply giving form to somebody else's ideas. So I was doing slash, illustrations [in Pros]. Yeah. From very early on because it was their ideas. I couldn't quite get a Spock and Kirk into slash in my own head, but as long as it was somebody else's story I was reading or ideas, it was fine.
MG: I would have a very hard time drawing something was not my taste or anything that I was interested in because there's so much labor that goes into it.
SL: It wasn't taste. I liked it. I liked reading slash. I liked slash stories. I just couldn't get it as a starting idea in my own head. When you're writing your story, you have to put in all the emotions and all the justification for it. And I couldn't come up with them on my own, but if somebody else came up with them, I thought the pictures that went with them should be quite beautiful because I thought the stories were quite beautiful. I never had any problem reading slash or drawing. Slash the idea was just fine to me. I just couldn't build a slash universe in my head and when you're only writing it has, it has to come from you. When you were drawing somebody else's story, you're just giving form to their ideas. I liked their ideas, I just couldn't come up with them myself.
MG: were you ever asked to do an illustration for a story that you turned down because you were not interested in the story?
SL: Yeah, I can't remember any specific instances, but there were times that I kind of demurred and said, oh, I don't have the time. Because I did not think a specific writer was really writing anything....I do not like drawing S&M pictures. If the story went that way, I wasn't going to do it. That and also in later years there had been, there has been some brothers slash which I found a scruple and that's it.... There are a lot of fandoms and pairings that I'm simply not interested in. Even in the fandoms, I am very much interested in. I mean... I love Starsky and Hutch, but I don't want to draw a Huggy and Hutch, which I was asked once and politely turned that one down.
SL: I was selling artwork, and... just about every convention, every convention I attended to, apart from the first, I always had something up there to sell. And I also sent artwork to a lot of conventions I did not attend. I [accepted] just about every commission that came by that I was interested in, in a fandom... For the longest time I only did originals. I didn't start doing prints until a much later, like mid-nineties maybe.
MG: So all of your early work is in other people's hands now?
SL: Yes. Or in trash, one or the other.... you know, interests strayed. So, yeah, there are some early pictures because I did not do a prints then that every once in a while somebody will come up to me at a convention, say, "Hey, I got one of your very early pictures," and I look at it and I have absolutely no memory of having done it. I have even said at times that's not mine until they point a signature, I go, "Oh yeah, I guess that's mine." I mean, there's been thousands of pictures. I can't remember them all.
SL: The [Celtic] borders was [something I began] when I moved to St Louis.... [ Jean Kluge and I] lived close and we got to know each other. She was the one into a decorated borders and Celtic knot work. If it weren't for her, I probably would never have gone into it. Watching her work on that, those things is what got me into it. We were always influencing one another all over the place. I was in St Louis Area for about 10 years, so we did a lot of stuff together. The borders and things came directly from her, the illustrations more than portraits. I called them a survival value because when I got in, there were so many fantastic portrait artists, so many fantastic artists that drew portrait work, and my likenesses were never ever that good. So I thought if I could illustrate a scene and maybe get the emotion of an important scene, I can survive alongside these much better artists, which is why I got into drawing illustrations. In fact, I don't call myself an artist. I call myself an illustrator. I'm not a trained artist and, you know, I have never been taught art. I just fly by the seat of my pants.
MG: [Blake's 7] was a British show. And so it wasn't really. Very available for American audiences or people in America at the case maybe. So how when you were writing for that fandom how did you keep your characters. In character. What were you working from?
SL: From the show itself. I have never ever written anything for any show unless it was so still going on... unless I have seen every single episode more than a number of times. I have to really get into the characters before I start writing about them. On an on-going show sometimes I have written short stories that depict something that happens in the latest season or something. But mostly I like having watched the show a number of times and having a good idea of the show. Blake's 7: I never started writing in it until I had all the episodes.
MG: Now how do you get them.
SL: Oh they were available. See I had I'd already been the Professionals fandom which was also a British show, but some fans would send the tapes from England and we'd had them converted over here so we already had the facility to be able to get shows from England and have them converted.
MG: Was the quality good?
SL: No, the quality was not great. but it was possible to watch all the shows and hear mostly all the shows and ... but, no the quality wasn't good.
MG: Were you at the time aware of the conflicts in Blake's 7 fandom?
SL: God. Yes I was in the middle of it. And then it got to a point where we were dealing with..... I was friends with people on both sides of the conflict. And of course because I was drawing, and I knew some of the actors really well I got caught up as.... well, I got caught up in the incidents, as well as having to listen to all the friends either crying their eyes out or screaming about something on the phone for hours a day. And it finally got to a point that I said [when] anything that takes this much of time effort and money better be a cause, not a hobby. I'm out of here... I pretty much [left] the fandom. Yeah.
MG: You said you knew the [Blake's 7] actors?
SL: Yeah. Some of them not all of them
MG: You met at conventions?
SL: I met them. Well, I saw them at conventions and sometimes if you were the handler for the actor of course you got to know them quite well for the duration of a convention. But...uh I met Paul Darrow because a friend of mine and I went to England to watch him in a play that he was touring in, "Sting in the Tail" was the name of the play, and we had taken him just you know, small presents from United States. I had seen him at conventions, but I had never met him so I went backstage and my friend, and I just gave him the things and he said "Thank you." And we said "we appreciate you." And we were about to walk away. It was a matinee, and he had a lot of British fans there, and apparently they were taking him out for tea and he said "Do you mind if these American friends who came all the way from there joined us?" and they said "Actually, yes we do, Paul." He got so embarrassed that he made a luncheon date with us. Next day.... That's where it started. And then it became really friendly.
MG: That was very gentlemanly of him.
SL: Yes, yes, it was. But from then on I knew him quite well for the duration of this whole thing this....this whole brouhaha in Blake's 7 fandom. The actor, Gareth Thomas, he actually called me the first time he was at a convention, and a very good friend of mine was handling.... was his handler at the convention, and he was carrying on and on about a couple of illos I had done of him and my friend said, "Well you know the person who did that is a friend of mine," [and he] said, "Oh call her I want to talk to her." So suddenly there's this phone call and my friend says "Gird your loins, somebody wants to talk to you."
MG: He didn't give you any warning other than?
SL: No, he didn't. It was that very familiar face on the phone, and I'm like "Oh God, don't make me make a fool of myself." So that was our first thing, and then I met him at a convention and we were ....we really got to know each other. I mean I went to England and stayed at his home...
MG: So, I imagine since you became such good friends that he appreciated your illustrations of him.
SL: That he did. I have also done some private illustrations for him. You know just just for him just for his home just because he wanted them.
MG: That must be very flattering.
SL: Yes. Yes, dear, dear, dear man.
MG: That's a shame.SL: Yeah.
SL: No, because the actors were so much into it.
MG: The actors were into the slash?
SL: No, no, no. The actors were so much into the fandom.
MG: Yes, [the actors] handled everything in the dealer's room.
SL: They wrote stories. They are the ones who went on the stage at conventions to sell the artwork, and I did not necessarily want to embarrass them. That's why I didn't actually.
MG: Even before you knew them?
SL: Even before I knew them from the first time they showed up at conventions, they were extremely personable and involved, and they didn't stay apart from the fannish activities. They were always into them, so I actually do have a couple of fresh stories in Blake's 7 that I never put out.
MG: For respecting their tender feelings. Do you know did they ever do you know if they ever came across any slash content?
SL: Oh, yes of course. That was one of Paul's points when he was throwing the fandom into a tizzy that ....it was a bad thing. Which I know he didn't think so because we had talked about [slash] before. He had often treated it as something funny at that time, but when he decided it was going to take exception to things, it was one of the things he dug up and took exception to.
MG: Did you think that he was looking for things to be upset about?
SL: Yes, he was yeah. At that time he was.
MG: Do you have any idea why?
SL: Yeah, I know very well the part of the controversy that I was involved in. I certainly do know that part. He... It's a really long story.
MG: [Could you] give me the brief version or as much as you're willing to tell me?
SL: At a convention in St. Louis, Paul took me out to lunch. And [he] wanted to pass an idea by me. I wasn't attending the convention as it was my daughter's birthday, so I had just showed up because he wanted to take me out to lunch. [He knew] there were a lot of Blake's 7 conventions, and because the actors were always on stage selling the artwork and selling scripts for charity for various things, he knew there was a lot of money in the fandom that was going around. And his idea was the idea he wanted to pass by me was ......what if [he] controlled the conventions? What if [TPTB] gave the conventions? That way the actors can guarantee being there instead of the fan conventions that they may or may not be able to show up because they might have professional jobs that are there getting paid for. And so... he wanted to turn it into a profit making venture and he said, "If I ask you to only sell your artwork at my conventions would you do it?" And I said not unless you buy all of them first, and then I said this is not a good idea. I said, "You're seeing a lot of money run around in these conventions." His idea was taking six weeks, and doing one commission after another each weekend, and I said, "But that's only because people go home, [and] they work for the next three months [and] they put aside all the money they can, and then they show up at the conventions. You must realize that there's only like 500 people at these conventions. It's the same 500 people. [Even if] you had six conventions one after another, you're not going to have all the people showing up all the time with all the money you seem to think they have. This is a very bad idea and a lot of the people who are running the conventions are doing it for the love of it. If you turn it into a professional venture you need to pay them." And his idea probably was they'll do it for the love of me. And because there was a lot of jealousy as to how much time actors spent with which fan, I didn't think that was going to go down terribly well either, [not] without it becoming a problem in short order. But anyway, I left the lunch, went home, and I said I wouldn't say anything about it. It will spark a problem. I came back home. I did my daughter's birthday. The next morning, suddenly my phone wouldn't stop ringing. Apparently he threw this [idea] out at the convention. And next morning everybody was mad. That's when the whole controversy sparked, and after that in order to justify himself, [Paul Darrow] kept finding all kinds of things that fans were doing wrong that they should not have been doing. So anyway, after a short time, I was out of there because, I mean, people were literally losing their jobs over because they were too depressed to go to work. Or people were trying to see if they can raise that kind of money and losing their homes. It was it was becoming a huge thing. And so I just left.
MG: Was it within the fandom. Were there people who supported the idea?
SL: Yes. Yeah. [Some] supported the idea and some people went against it.
MG:] And you say had friends on both sides?
SL: Yeah. Yeah. So as the fandom cracked into two and started fighting, and I had friends on both sides so it became unbearable.
MG: I know that you ended up not being in contact with Paul anymore after this or maybe because of this. Did that happen with any of your fandom friends?SL: Oh, some of them pulled away. Certainly I didn't necessarily pull away from everybody. I don't think I remember now, but some of them certainly pulled away. But that's pretty much [how it is] usually in all fandoms. All fandoms you get into some people you are you're friendly with, and you realize they're friends for life no matter where you go from then on, they are forever going to be your friends. And some people are close and sincere and very nice to have within that fandom, but without that tie that's holding you together, it's certainly going to unravel later on. So, it's normal. I mean once you leave the fandom you leave quite a number of people behind. If that's the only thing that was holding you together. And then there are those that you keep for life. But you would not have met if it weren't for the fandom.
MG: You left the [Blake's 7] fandom because so obviously you were not too impressed with it. I understand that you were at the time writing a novel length work?
SL: Oh yeah. The Killing Ground?... I never finished it.
SL: Yeah. Yeah. Also once you are in a controversy like that and you know the actors, their voices kind of interfere with the voices of the characters. Their attitudes get in the way of seeing the characters clearly. It was already getting very difficult to write on that novel. The actors were overlaying the characters.
MG: So you had the whole plot planned out. Do you remember what happened? Or was going to happen?SL: Oh God. Not all that much I still got the notes all over the place somewhere but no not really.
MG: You've been using your legal name Suzan Lovett your whole fandom career.... What.... What made you make that decision? That's really unusual.
SL: Because I never had any hostages to fortune. Because my husband was in the military... we were moving all around. So I did not have a career that could be endangered by this. I have a daughter who was born into this.....was born seeing, you know, me drawing slash pictures. And you know, my husband has always seen it around the house. It was just taken for granted that this is just something mommy does, and probably because of that my daughter turned out to have a pretty open mind about just about everything. So nothing was ever endangered. I do understand people who have to use a pseudonym but I never really had to. My parents, my grandparents, my - you know the older generation who made my life looked askance at these things.
MG: I'm sure you were aware of the controversies and discussions around profit in fandom. Did you ever have conversations with other people about that or, what was your take on that discussion?
SL: Certainly, , as far as I'm concerned [fanfic] should be sold at cost, whatever it costs. I do realize that, and I also understand the fact that a lot of time goes into it, and the editor doesn't get paid for that time. But to me, that's part of fandom. You love it, you do it for the love of it. So as far as these are concerned, to me that should be at cost. Artwork on the other hand is different. For one thing by it, if you [don't want], don't buy it. ... as long as the choice is the buyers. It's my work and yes, it's derivative, but it is still original. I put it up at auction, and I put something on it that I can live with. From then on, it's the buyer's choice, so I don't see a problem.
MG: And what about when your illustrations get featured, got featured in [zines]? I understand that people or editors sought out your work because they knew that they could have charged a higher price?
SL: No, no. Uh, I have never, ever charged anything for any illo in a zine except a copy of the zine because that was the conditions I came in I came into the fandom, and the thing was you contribute to a zine and you get a copy of the zine. And that was that. I have never charged anything for illo for a zine....Just as the editor puts her time, the writers put their time because they love it. I put my time into illustrations because I love it.
MG: you had a piece sell in auction in 2003 for several thousand dollars, which is pretty incredible. Were you, were you there for that sale?
SL: Which piece was that? I wonder. Oh, I think I know. Uh, at least I think, I know there's been a couple of pieces that went.... The what?
MG: It was an illustration for Timeless.
SL: Oh, yes. Yes. I was shocked. I was shocked. And one of the bidders was my friend who puts the Starsky and Hutch con on, and I was telling her to stop. Please stop. But she finally did. Thank you. Yeah. Yes. That was quite embarrassing, but as I was there.
MG: You found it embarrassing.
SL: Oh God, yes. I really do not like sitting at art auctions when my stuff is selling, but I usually have things I want to buy, so I'm stuck there. If there's nothing I want to buy, I'm not going. Because it, it really is embarrassing when they sell for reasonable amounts. I have no problem. Like when they go over the top like that. Oh, that's embarrassing.
MG: You know the, the person who bought that piece?
SL: Yeah. She's no longer in the fandom.
MG: Oh really? Wow. She spent quite a lot of money on a fandom that...SL: Yeah, I know. I know.
MG: I know you said that you, um, get rid of your work because you can't, after it's done the, have you kept a list of the work that you've done?
SL: God, no, no, no. They come and they go.
MG: So I guess you've never thought about getting them together into a collection.
SL: No, no. For one thing it would be too expensive. It's quite expensive to get artwork printed properly and no, I've had a couple of times people suggest it, but it was always prohibitively expensive, and I saw no reason why anybody should be paying that kind of money so...
MG: Well, clearly people are willing to do it.
SL: Well, a few people [for the] highest pieces. Apart from that one piece, the highest pieces I ever sold, were at Blake's 7 convention. In fact, selling artwork at Blake's 7 conventions, put my daughter through college, and sent me to a number of England trips. They were incredibly lucrative, but this had nothing to do with me. It was the actors. They were [with my illos] on the stage, and if they liked the piece, they kept at it. And I know Paul kept at my pieces a lot, and people were literally paying Paul, not me, because they liked him so much. So Blake's 7 convention's art shows were incredibly lucrative, sometimes ridiculously lucrative.
MG: Were you there for most of those?
Suzan: Oh, only a few of them. And yes it was embarrassing.
MG: I know, especially if you, if you know the auctioneer, did you ever ask him to stop doing that?
SL: Uh, yeah. I would be like, Paul, stop enough. Come on. Yeah, I have, but nobody listened.
MG: Paul, apparently does not listen.
SL: Uh Huh. Not then he liked me then.
MG: You had an illustration that appeared on the cover of the book Enterprising Women. Do you remember that book?
SL: Yeah. It wasn't all that good illustration either.
MG: Oh, that's one you're not proud of it anymore?
SL: Well, it was okay. It was all right. Nothing to shout about.
MG: Yes. How did Camille Bacon-Smith, the author? How did she ask you?
SL: She was in the fandom at the time, so she just said, "May I?" I said, "Yes."
MG: Oh, so she had that illustration in mind when she contacted you?
MG: And you didn't hesitate at all?
SL: No. I mean, she was going to put my work on the cover of a book. What's to hesitate?
MG: So did you read Enterprising Women?
SL: Sure, of course I did.
MG: Ah, what did you think of it?
SL: Uh, it was OK, a little patronizing... and I don't blame her for that. It was a, I think, it was like a PhD dissertation work. If I remember correctly, I may be wrong about this, but she was trying to do a scholarly work, which is very different from the way we looked at things in fandom. That's why it came across that way. It is what she had to do. It was her style, a work that she was trying to accomplish. So I don't blame her for that, but as just a fan, I found it a little bit patronizing to the fandom here and there.
MG: I see. Ah, are you also familiar with the, it came out around the same time, Textual Poachers?
SL: Sure. And that had Jean Kluge's beautiful artwork on it. Yes. In a paradox to mine. Yes. I actually liked Textual Poachers quite a bit.
MG: Oh, you liked that one. You didn't find that one patronizing?
SL: I had, I think I had a piece inside it. I think, I think I had a Professional's piece inside of that.
MG: Did he, I hope he also asked permission.
SL: Oh yeah. He got in touch with me, certainly asked and in fact there were a couple of pieces he asked for, and I think I gave him permission for only one of them because one of them was a very explicit slash piece and uh, that was also supposed to be, uh, given to some colleges and I could just see the daughter or son of an actor opening the page and seeing her, his father. And I said, I really don't think that should be there.
I understand that you had some interaction with Agent With Style, the publisher.
SL: Yeah. Misty.
MG: I understand that there was some contention about her business practices or her, um, reliability. What were your interactions with her like?
SL: I knew Misty. I visited Misty at home when she had get togethers because we live in the same area. Awhile back, not recently. And, as a person, Misty was just fine. Her business practices were, uh, as I have learned as time went on, quite deplorable and, they are even more deplorable now since she has disappeared off the face of the earth. And with owing people a lot of things. I personally never had a single problem with her. I didn't, so I don't have anything against her personally, but I certainly had friends have problems.
MG: Okay. Do you have any... that was kind of a tangent about Misty, but getting back to what you were saying about allowing your slash illustrations to be made public? is that something you're still concerned about at all?
SL: Oh, I dread it. I really liked my fandom when it was underground. I did. It was a lot easier than I didn't have to worry about other people's sensibilities. If you are in the fandom, and if you know what you're buying, you had bargained for what you were getting. I do have a problem with it being out there with no warning. I did put all my of my artwork up online at one point on a website, but the website had a warning. This is what you're going to see when you look into this. So, stop right now. If you don't want to. Then I didn't mind so much. I also put, for quite a few years on my, prints a notation that if you're going to resell it, please resell it through fannish venues, not on Ebay and such. But that I figure is all I can do with today's social media. You can't control everything. So do the best I can and leave it at that.
MG: Have you ever had a problem with one of your works appearing somewhere you didn't want it to be?
SL: Oh, no. Not big problems. No. There's been a couple of cases when nobody asked and put something up, and I thought I should have been asked, but no, nothing, nothing major. No.
MG: That's good. And when you did have those minor problems were they quickly resolved.
MG: In terms of online fandom and sort of what it brings with it in terms of visibility, are there practices or habits that you wish that people would adopt in fandom?
SL: No fandom polices itself, and if there is an aspect of it I don't like, I just don't go into it. You know, free choices. Everybody's got their own choice. I have never been into a Real Person Fandom. I don't like it, so I just don't go into it.
MG: it seems like a good policy. What, are there things that you enjoy in particular about online fandom that are maybe better then?
SL: Online fandom. Yeah. Not waiting for the mail. Yes. Cause, I remember you were sending your money, and you always have to send in your money before the zines were printed because yeah, the editors had to pay the printer ended. Of course, it had to be put together, bound, mailed out. So you are haunting the mailbox, you're looking for in the mail man every single day. Is my fix in yet? So yes, I do like that.
MG: Is there anything that you miss from the pre Internet days of fandom?
SL: Yeah, I do miss that it was ah...stories went through editors, some better than others of course. And they were rewritten. They were worked on instead of anybody who thought they were great writers, hit the send button, and that was it. And you have no idea what you're getting. When you start reading something, which is fine, you haven't paid for it. And, and then you stop if you're disappointed, but in the zine days, you knew the editors, you knew which editors put good product out. Hmm. So you'd know what to buy and what you preferred. And, and that's pretty much it, I think.
MG: I've read some older pieces of fanfiction and I think the style today is quite different.
SL: Oh yeah.
MG: What do you think of style changes in fandom?
SL: They're fine. Everything changes. And if you like it, you go that way. If you don't, you don't. I mean, everything changes certainly.
MG: And other than the move toward digital art, have you noticed any other trends? Art taste in fandoms?
SL: Ah, more and more anime style is coming in.
MG: That's nice. Have you ever?
SL: No, no. I really like looking at them. I really like consuming them, but it's nothing I can get into and do it.
MG: You're, you like realism or... detailed.SL: Yeah.
SL: I don't get negative criticism all that often. I mean, you know, not too many people bother, which is fine. I think about the one main criticism that came up was in Blake's 7, because I used to do quite a number of take offs from the Arthurian legends using the Blake's 7 characters. And there was a group of fans who kept thinking, why are you doing this? It's like, well, I am because they appeal to me. It doesn't have to appeal to everybody.
So, and I haven't time since I've started putting fiction online. I have at times gotten some really rotten emails because my email is never a secret either. Just like my name, because I figure I've got ah delete button. I've gotten a few, "You're doing something perverted" kind of comments. And as I said, I've got a delete button, which is how I deal with it.
MG: Probably a good policy as well. You have used a sort of fantasy elements or fantasy setting quite a lot in your work. Is that, like you said, just you, you like it?
SL: Uh, yes. I like myths. I like old tales. I like, yeah, I like it.
MG: It sounds like Arthurian legends was a big part of your Blake's 7?
SL: Yeah. It seemed work for me and I have done a Kirk as Bellerophon. You know, riding the Icarus.... sometimes it just fits okay.
MG: Did you ever see any indications of your style or satires of your work?
SL: Satires? Oh God, yes. And I love it. I adored it. I'm not going to be able to remember her name. Karen. She was a beautiful cartoonist. She took, I had a couple of novels that I illustrated in Professionals fandom. She took just about every illo that I have done and put them in caricature framing as satire. And she bound them all together and put it out as a zine. And I thought it was wonderful. Karen Eaton, that's her name. She was fabulous. Yes. Yes. It was so much fun.
MG: Did she let you know when she was going to be doing a satire or did other people let you know if she had done them?
SL: I don't remember. I don't remember if she asked or not, but, I mean, why should she? I don't ask the creators of the shows, if I can draw from their creation, I may have just run into it. When she came up to me and handed it to me at a convention, I think that's how it went. I'm not sure, but I think that's how it went and I thought it was wonderful.
MG: Are there any [illustrations] that you wish you could disown or forget that you ever did?
SL: Oh God. Yeah. Yes. Yes. Yeah, certainly some of the earlier work, however they are useful because, and artists sometimes come up to me and, you know, she's enthusiastic and she's flattering, and it's very nice. And, kind of sometimes go, I wish I could do that. I like pulling out some of the old stuff now. They only exist in zines. Pulling them out is saying this is where I started, so go on. So they're very useful for that.
MG: Good tools for education.
MG: And I imagine it's probably nice to look back and maybe it's a little embarrassing to see how far you've come.
SL: Yes. Exactly. And how far I still have to go, however.
MG: Yes! always looking ....
MG: Are there anything that you're particularly grateful, for your time, are grateful about in your time in fandom?
SL: My friends, of course , my friends, uh, first and foremost and uh, and also I probably would have never drawn or written, so it gave me a creative outlet, which I would have never discovered. So yes, those two things are very, very important. I mean, my friends and that creative outlet is a huge portion of my life or why I enjoy life. So, so yes, it's very important to me.
MG: You have any regrets about from your time in fandom?
SL: No. Like any family, there has been, you know, problems here and there but you know, in Blake's 7, and everything, but no, no, I wouldn't change it for anything.
MG: That's good to hear. , I know that you said that your friends and your artwork was what you had, you were grateful for in fandom, but I know that fandom is very grateful to have had you.
SL: Well, it would be really sad if I loved it so much and it didn't love me back. At least a little.