Winterfest Interview with Cynthia Hatch
|Interviews by Fans|
|Title:||Winterfest Interview with Cynthia Hatch|
|Fandom(s):||Beauty and the Beast|
|External Links:||interview is here; reference link|
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To me, getting hooked on B&B was a little bit like falling in love with all the attendant emotions – roller-coaster highs and lows, seeing everything through a new, intense perspective. The writing came from a desire to hold onto that feeling, to expand on what we were given, which was, of course, never enough. The first Kaleidoscope story (they were all written in the same order they were printed) was just a little exercise to entertain myself. It skewed naturally to the PG side, as I wanted to stick as closely as possible to the actual parameters of the series, imagining where I would take it if I were actually writing for the show. Aside from some poetry written when I was younger, it was my first foray into writing, and because I didn’t expect anyone else to see it, I was totally oblivious to any of the rules or procedures that probably should inform a would-be author. Like most fans, I’ve always been a voracious reader, but I didn’t have any illusions that reading qualifies you to be a writer. If that were true, then listening to Beethoven ought to be sufficient training for playing a decent Moonlight Sonata, and I’m pretty sure it’s not.
By this time, I’d connected with some other local fans who’d also felt the urge to put fantasies to paper and in the ensuing I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours game of Truth or Dare, I was amazed to find that the others enjoyed what I’d written. Before I knew it, their encouragement was compelling me to continue what I’d started, and as we all know, a group of B&B fans on a mission is a formidable force to resist. When the first three stories were done, they literally picked me up and took me to a printing place in San Francisco that could handle the art reproduction, etc. (In 1989, such logistics were not the “piece of cake” they are today.)I was extremely shy about putting out there what were essentially my own little fantasies, so a pseudonym was a must. Catherine had used “Cynthia Hatch” as an alias, and if it was good enough for her . . . For a long time after Kaleidoscope I, some of my best friends, people I was working with to try to save the show, had no idea that Cynthia and I were acquainted. The first time I came upon a group of fans discussing “my” stories, I got so flustered I turned around and knocked over a hotel convention sign in my haste to get away. But then Cynthia was lucky enough to win some awards and somebody had to go accept them, so after that everyone pretty much knew.
Of course, the heart of B&B was the relationship between Catherine and Vincent. Theirs was such a unique story – not just for the obvious, mythic reasons, but because of the pacing, the gentle way their feelings unfolded. Their romance stood in stark contrast to the glib, sexually-driven couplings we were used to seeing in the media. It allowed a closer examination of the elements of love. What happens when you find someone who holds all the missing pieces of yourself? Can you ignore that and go on with the life you’ve planned? How do the dynamics change when you find the other person’s happiness is more important to you than your own? And then there’s those pesky obstacles. So many interesting avenues to explore!
The show was certainly the most visually compelling I’d ever come across on television, but as a reader, there’s a natural urge to fill in those non-visual elements we’re used to in books – what the characters might be thinking and feeling, as well as doing. Then too I’ve always loved the rhythm of language. What I’m writing needs to “sound” right, particularly, of course, the dialogue. The repetition of words – even simple pronouns – can jar the reader out of the mood you’re trying to set. The exception I made was for Catherine and Vincent to continually use each other’s names. They did it in the show, and I always felt they would take great pleasure in just saying the words.
I’ve never been involved with another fandom. My family was great, contributing artwork and putting up with me visiting drainage tunnels and other peculiar behavior. B&B definitely affected my life in a very positive way. It reawakened my love for Shakespeare and poetry, affirmed that even commercial television could be a source of great inspiration and brought me into contact with wonderful people I otherwise wouldn’t have known. As a result of finding such enjoyment in writing, I took a job at a major Bay Area newspaper, where I worked my way up to writing and editing.
The fastest and easiest piece I ever wrote was “The Bridge.”... The psychological approach has always appealed to me, because it offers another way to view a situation, one that provides an interesting contrast to my own tendencies as a die-hard romantic. I’ve always enjoyed stories told from different characters’ viewpoints. How much of truth is factual and how much is distilled through the filter of our own experiences and beliefs – that’s fascinating to me. A perfect illustration came as a result of the story mentioned above. I received more passionate mail about “The Bridge” than anything else I wrote; I could open two letters in a row whose readers were totally convinced I had absolutely opposite motives in writing it. One would hate it for the same reasons the other loved it. Some would read it almost exactly the way I “meant” it, and others saw things that had never entered my head. It taught me a very interesting lesson – that a story belongs as much to the reader as to the writer; what they take from it may not be what you meant to give, but it’s valid all the same. Realizing that you really have no “control” over a piece of writing, once it’s left your pen, is actually liberating. It reaffirmed my desire to write for myself – and not to a market, which is a great advantage that zines have over professional publishing. You write what you want to read and if someone else enjoys it, that’s great. If someone else is troubled by it, well, that’s interesting too – at least they felt something and didn’t just doze off.
The Bridge” was the one story that sort of sprang into my head fully formed; I just had to fill in the details, and it was a direct response to a statement by Ron Koslow. Up till then, I’d hoped that the creator of our story that began “once upon a time” would see that it had a “happily ever after” ending. Then Koslow announced that Vincent was more beast than human, and the romance was doomed because such a union would always be “impossible.” Still attempting to stick to the network’s parameters, I tried to salvage a “happy” ending within their rules. That was the purpose of “The Bridge,” and then I happily went back to Vincent’s world as we’d come to know and love it. No, I never guessed how controversial the story would be. As I’ve said, the response was tremendous. Many found it “disturbing,” which seemed appropriate; I was disturbed by the necessity of accepting Koslow’s vision of doom. I did feel bad about the fans who said I’d “destroyed the dream” for them. That certainly wasn’t my intention, but again the truth comes as much from the reader as the writer. The most gratifying thing was that it did seem to stir emotions and generate a dialogue about where the show would or should be headed. Perhaps because it sparked such diverse reactions, “The Bridge” remains my beloved step-child and my favorite of all the stories.