The Best of Trek Fanfic Interview with Kelly Chambliss

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Interviews by Fans
Title: The Best of Trek Fanfic Interview with Kelly Chambliss
Interviewer: The Best of Trek Fanfic
Interviewee: Kelly Chambliss
Date(s): August 2002
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Star Trek: VOY
External Links: An Interview with Kelly Chambliss; reference link
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The Best of Trek Fanfic Interview with Kelly Chambliss was conducted in 2002.

It is part of a series of nineteen interviews, see The Best of Trek Fanfic.


[How long have you been a Trek fan?]: I watched TOS reruns in the 1970s, but I didn't think much of them -- or more specifically, I didn't think much of Kirk; he bugged me so much that eventually I couldn't watch. But in 1980, when the first Trek movie came out, I got talked in to going to see it. I found that it was possible to ignore Kirk and concentrate on the more interesting aspects of Trek. When TNG started, I gave it a try and got hooked, and I've been a Trekkie ever since. (Kirk still annoys the hell out of me, though.)
[What type of fanfic do you like to write?]: My goal is to write stories that are adult. I don't mean "adult" in the sense of "sexually explicit," although many of my stories are. I mean "adult" in the sense of "grown up." In attempting to appeal to its ideal demographic of teenaged boys, the canon Trek writers too often produce characters and situations that are adolescent, facile, simplistic, even downright stupid. The worst sort of fanfic can be the same -- some stories read like Trek versions of Harlequin romances or mindless macho-action flicks. It's not that I mind escapist fiction or movies, but I find them ultimately unsatisfying as a steady diet. I prefer stories and films that challenge me, make me think, even disturb me a bit. Those effects are the ones I'd like my own fiction to have. I like to explore the darker sides of characters (and of institutions such as Star Fleet) that canon Trek usually leaves untouched. Thus most of my stories range from slightly to very angsty. I don't mean that I'm opposed to happy endings or a little touch of sappiness now and then (although you can't always tell it from my stories <g>). But even in my more light-hearted works such as "Swing Time," I try to write about grown-ups.
[How did you get started writing fanfic?]: A few summers ago, in an attempt to avoid some work I had to do, I did a search for "Captain Janeway" on the Internet. I'm not sure what I was looking for -- just some information about Kate Mulgrew, I suppose. At the time, I had vaguely heard of Kirk/Spock fic, but I'd never read any, and it never occurred to me that there would be any Voyager fiction. I'd never heard terms such as J/C or slash or PWP, etc. I didn't even know what newsgroups were.

But my web search took me to something called "The J/C Index," and I read my first piece of fanfic. I had no idea what I was in for. I don't remember the first story I read, but I vividly remember reading my first NC-17 fic. My initial reaction was, "I can't read *this*!" It was like spying on my best friends in bed or something. Of course, that feeling didn't last long, and soon I was reading all the J/C I could find. First-time stories, sappy Talent-Night stories, stuck-in-the-turbolift fics -- I read them all. Then one lucky day, I found some J/P and J/7 stories, too, which I liked better than J/C.

After about a month of solid reading, I just felt driven to try my hand at a fanfic of my own. I had no website then, and I still hadn't found the newsgroups. So, with some nervousness, I wrote a J/P story and submitted it to the JuPiter Station. It's very much a practice piece, sort of a literary apprenticeship, so I haven't put it on my website. But I had such fun writing it that I wanted to continue.

Yet I found the conventions of J/C fic to be too constraining, and I wasn't very comfortable writing smut. So I wasn't sure what direction to take. Then, one historic night, in a fanfic chatroom, someone recommended a site that contained Janeway/Kashyk fiction. I'd loved the Kashyk TV episode, "Counterpoint," so I tried the site. To say that I was impressed is an understatement: I was left breathless by the power of some of the stories. I felt compelled to write a J/Ka of my own, and the first two parts of my story "Needs" practically wrote themselves.

Other stories followed, and I've been a committed fanfic writer ever since. (Oh, and I've also become quite comfortable writing sex scenes. It's like murder [or so I've heard <g>] -- once you do the first one, the rest come much more easily. And no, that's not a pun.)
[Your stories focus a lot on Janeway. What draws you to this character?]: I've always been attracted to powerful women, and the character of Kathryn Janeway is one of the few on television that was well-created (at least initially). I like that she is not a conventional Hollywood beauty, that she's not 20-something, that she can be strong without being hard or cold, that she seems comfortable with her power, that she can use it without apology. Too often, television portrays strong, professionally-successful women as unnatural or unhappy or unsexed, but in the case of Janeway (at least the early Janeway), we finally had an older female character who was presented as sexy and desirable, not *despite* her power and strength, but *because* of them.