Twenty-Seven Grilled Bards and One Reviewer: Quest

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Twenty-Seven Grilled Bards and One Reviewer: Quest
Interviewee: Quest
Date(s): August 12, 1998
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Xena: Warrior Princess
External Links: full interview is here; reference link
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Twenty-Seven Grilled Bards and One Reviewer: Quest is a 1998 Xena: Warrior Princess fan interview at Whoosh!.


For others in this series, see Whoosh! Interview Series.

Some Excerpts

When I started writing Xenafic, there was none on the web, anywhere. But then, I was on the first Xenaverse mailing list, back when it was run by a guy with a college account that would allow him to do a listserv. When I joined that list, there were only maybe twenty people on it, and we all knew each other pretty well. I remember clearly when Spikus and Ally started writing a sort of ongoing adventure. Pretty soon we were all sucked into what came to be termed "Fluff". But it wasn't Xena stories. It was stories where each of us had a character, and we did a sort of round robin role playing type adventure scenario.

Then the list changed hands, to the capable Spikus and Penth, and more and more people joined. Eventually, the tone of the list got rather homophobic, though truly Spikus and Penth did their best to keep the flames down. So, a group of Xenaverse women formed a writers group, with the intent of being lesbian and bi friendly. And I was one of those in that first writer's group. I wasn't the first to post a story there, that was Lisa Jain, but I was, I think, the second... and that was only cause mine was longer and therefore took longer to write. So, why I started? Because I was in a writer's group, and the echoing empty space where the stories should be bothered me. [wry grin] I already considered myself something of a writer, so it seemed natural. Also, I had up until that point had a very difficult time writing short fiction, and this was a forum where I would be forced to keep it short (or so I thought at the time! [g]). It seemed a legitimate form of writing practice, and that's, I think, why I allowed myself to do it.

As for why I've kept writing, that's something that's harder to define. I'm not one of the web's most popular authors. Nothing so world shaking as Batsky and Wordee, for instance. People don't write and pester me for stories. A lot of times, I'm not sure that people are reading. But the characters lend themselves so well to vignettes, and frankly, the ideas just keep coming. It's fun to have an heroic female to work with, and until I get that great American SF/Fantasy novel published, the Xena fans are my only real audience. I could publish original (non fanfic) stuff on the net, but that would negate the possibility of ever having it accepted for sale, and that's an important goal for me as an artist. Fanfic is a great outlet for little stories, because I know they could never be sold to a publishing house, so I'm free to put them on the net and let people read them right away.
Actually, I've read a lot of this in fanfiction, but for me, no. I never have Xena and Gabrielle running into severe homophobia, because it just wasn't that way in pre-Mycenean timelines. And my Uber works, so far, have been set in universes where I don't see that as a problem either. If I were writing a modern Uber piece, set in this world, then it would be. But I try to make sure that the obstacles the two have to surmount are congruent with what they would actually have to face in their worlds. It's an important point of continuity for me. Having Xena and Gabrielle run into a good old boy Redneck in Greek clothing jars me completely out of the story, you know?
For me, writing is the primal function of mythmaking and story telling. We must make our own myths in this day and age, myths that fit our culture, our time, and that fulfill the needs we have. We write fanfiction because all the myths we currently see (ie: movies & television) are sanitized for the masses, and therefore we as women, as people with alternate lifestyles, etc... do not see ourselves represented. Our needs for cultural heroes are not being met, and so we do what people have always done, and make our own. I think that the reason so many people have fastened onto Xena is that she is a step closer to being "Our Hero" than anyone else on television or in the movies. Why? Because she's a woman who doesn't take sh*t from anyone. She's a woman who doesn't need to be rescued by a man. She is all those things that women have been yearning for in our mythological structure. BUT, I believe that the reason so much of the fanfiction is alternative is that A) the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle is already so loving on screen, and B) that lesbians still need a mythological hero of their own, and Xena is the easiest to make fit the bill.