TrekGirl Interview with J Winter

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Interviews by Fans
Title: TrekGirl Interview with J Winter
Interviewer: Annie M.
Interviewee: J Winter
Date(s): November 2000
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Star Trek
External Links: interview is here; reference link
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J Winter was interviewed for the website TrekGirl.

"Author of the Alliance series, which includes such work as Yesterday's Heroes, Burden of Conscience, Pretzel Logic, All Lit Up Again, Excessive Force among others."

Interview Series


I've been taking stabs at it since childhood. I attempted to write a novel when I was nine, and, even with my meager knowledge of literature - dime store or classic - I knew I wasn't ready after chapter one. The dog enjoyed it, though. I almost gave it up until a teacher in high school, named Murphy, kept encouraging me in some of my more irreverent efforts. It was a complete turnaround from my sophomore year, when my English teacher then proclaimed that science fiction was not true literature, rock and roll will cause heart disease, and we kids were too naive to understand anything beyond the latest Madonna tune. After high school, I toyed with fanfic for awhile, then tried to go pro; but realized I wasn't quite ready. After I met the future Mrs. J, I got back into writing fanfic, and the rest is history. Well, a footnote anyway.
Well, the TOS crew are my favorites, particularly Kirk and Scotty. And Alliance sort of grew from that. When I was a kid, I was that one guy who always got picked last for teams. On the playground, I never got to be Kirk or Spock or McCoy. I was always the red shirt who got killed by the time the recess bell rang. I got sick of it and made up my own crew. A friend of mine and I took over a room in my parents' basement that became the bridge of a starship (whose name I forget). I played the captain character, who, several name changes in 15 years, became Durant. My friend invented a boisterous chief engineer named Duffy. The name and personality of Duffy are all that really remains of those early shenanigans. As I got older and became more interested in writing, I started working on making the characters we'd invented into a viable universe. It'd work on and off. I tried writing them as another crew in the Trek universe, tying Kirk's crew into them to make them more acceptable, then gave up after high school. I concentrated more on becoming a detective novelist, which also sputtered. By the time my fiancee got me interested in fan writing, I started to seriously look at making this more of its own incarnation, something I felt more comfortable with after TNG became successful, and rumblings about Deep Space 9 began. I wrote some background stories about Durant, some of which became "Yesterday's Heroes" and, once I stumbled onto (ASC) alt.startrek.creative, got the gumption to finally write "Alliance." It just took off from there.
Well, as I said before, Durant evolved from me playing captain as a kid in my basement. As I got more skilled and much more serious about my writing, though, I realized that this wasn't going to make a viable character unless I divorced his identity from my own. Hence, the alien bloodline, the radically different upbringing, and interest in certain things. I have given him some of my own traits - He loves the blues and early space exploration - but he has, I think, different faults than I do. I may not have completely separated him from myself, but he's definitely his own character. So, yes, he was originally a Marty Stu, right up through those early drafts of "Yesterday's Heroes." I find that lately, though, I have a much easier time getting into Ripley's head. I've been having a terrific time exploring her character and fleshing out her background. She really has taken on a distinctive voice, which I like, because she's really a transplant from an aborted police story I tried to write. She's found herself a home here.