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(April 13, 2009)
It has been nine years since Danae was interviewed here at Cascade Library (first interview). This classic author's stories remain a staple for TS readers with a listing of her stories on her CL page. “Soul Shadows” and “The End” are still receiving award nominations in recent LMFA ballots. We thought it was past time for us to check in with her and see if there are any plans for her return to active writing in the fandom.
It's great to see the continuing interest in your TS stories. Thank you for taking the time to give us an up-date on your real life endeavors and your fannish activities.
I. Who are you?
Do you use a pen name? If so, why, and how did you decide on the one you use? Do you have more than one pen name?
Yes. I started out with Danae, which is my middle name. More recently though, I've been using it in conjunction with the Cherokee word for kitten, which is wesv. I've even used Wesv by itself. It's pronounced Way-suh. I'm not Cherokee; I just like the language, and it's easier than the Muscogee Creek language, in my opinion, which is part of my heritage. So, I sort of have three. I have no idea what prompted me to use my middle name other than the fact that my email addresses have always included it.
Would you tell us a bit about your life and where you live?
I live in Georgia, with five cats and three dogs. I'm definitely an animal lover, with a particular affinity for cats. I'm divorced…happily divorced! I enjoy reading, traveling, and shopping. I also enjoy music…I sing. I've done a little theater, but not for a while. Too busy.
What work, volunteer or paid, do you do? Do you have any pro-fic writing experience or aspirations?
I'm a teacher. I've been teaching high school Social Science to students who are visually impaired for 16 years. I used to be the English teacher too, but they finally hired someone else for that, which means I now have time to in my schedule to teach my favorite of the Social Sciences, Psychology. I also work for a friend of mine running Karaoke, so I get to sing quite regularly now. I still sing at weddings and such as well. I'm also doing a small set with a band here in town in a few days. I have recently been doing some foster work with one of the local animal rescue groups, which is how I ended up with dog number 3, a beautiful little Aussie Shepard mix named Bonnybelle. She came home with me and never went back.
As far as pro-writing, I am a published poet. It was just an internet magazine, but I guess it counts. I would like one day to do something with my original stuff. The original characters in The Agency, Wages of Sin and Rewards of Virtue have their own "lives" to lead, and I have been working on quite a bit of stuff for them. They pre-date my fan fiction, in fact. Thing is, I'm not done with any of their original stories yet. Real life and writer's block keep getting in the way. I used them in fan fiction to try to jump-start the original stuff, and it worked. Finding time to write though has been a challenge. I do have one finished but badly in need of revision work that I wrote way back in 1992. I had packed it away and just rediscovered it. Maybe one day.
II. When and how did you become a TS fan?
When did you first see or hear about The Sentinel?
I discovered it by accident while channel surfing. I had what a friend of mine calls a "who he" moment when I saw Garett. I had to stop and check it out, and I was hooked.
Why did you decide to write fan fiction about these characters? Had you read other authors and stories that introduced you to the series and/or fan fiction?
Shelly challenged me. I had started corresponding with her after she wrote Counting in Fives and I decided why not. I discovered fan fiction by accident just like I did the show. I was looking for writing prompts and such to use with my creative writing class. I really loved Shelly's work and Laura Picken.
What do you think the readership finds most interesting in gen TS fiction?
I think it would have to be the friendship between these two very different men. Well, it started out as friendship but becomes more a familial bond. It was interesting to watch, and it was interesting to read and write about as well.
What do you appreciate most when you read TS fiction? Who are your favorite gen TS authors and why?
The exploration of that relationship is what I appreciate the most in the fiction. However, I also enjoy various authors take on the background of Jim and Blair, the things that created and shaped these men. Shelly, Lois, Laura, DawnC… I really could go on and on about favorite authors. There are really too many, and I'm sure to forget someone.
III. About being a writer ...?
Why do you write?
Because I have to. Probably a strange answer, but the truth is I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't write. I have always had the desire to create something. I draw and sculpt some as well. Writing, though, is freeing to me. I work through my issues through my writing quite often. Especially anger. Writing is excellent anger management! Seriously, if you're mad as hell, kill someone off on paper (or computer screen, whatever); it'll make you feel better.
What was the first story you wrote, and how did it feel to first place it into the public eye? Do you write in other fandoms besides TS?
Saviors was the first. I was nervous about posting it. I honestly only planned for Shelly to read it at first. I got brave though and put it out there. Or rather Laura Picken did. She was my web hostess for a while.
I have written in the Fastlane fandom and one lonely Highlander piece that I wrote for a friend. Lately though, it's been all my own original stuff.
What do you think/hope readers most appreciate in your stories?
That I explore the same relationship that they could see on the TV screen. I may stretch them a bit, but I don't think I have ever turned them into someone else. Which was one of my problems with the direction the show took at the end. Even in Wages and Rewards, Jim may have seemed like an ass, but he had his rather misguided reasons. I wrote about a man who made some mistakes, but, at the core, thought he was doing what was right at the time. That is Jim. The Jim in TsbyBS was not the man most of us "knew."
How do you decide whether to write in a first person POV or third person as a narrator?
It is much easier for me to write in third person. I hate trying to write in first person.
Do you work with a beta? Why or why not? What is your process for determining when your story is ready for posting?
I have generally always tried to work with a beta. There have been a few things that I just proofread myself. It is always good to have a beta though. I tend to read things the way I meant to write them rather than catch those annoying little mistakes like a wrong word or word left out. Also, beta can catch plot holes and point out details that you might leave out. I have a tendency toward leaving out details sometimes, because I know in my head what the scene looks like and forget that the reader may not.
What genres of TS fiction are you most comfortable writing, choosing from canon, AU, case and action, drama, humor, horror, slice of life, hurt/comfort? Why?
Definitely canon, case stories and drama, a bit of H/C. I'm not particular good with AU. I don't really know why. As far as the case stories, drama and H/C, my own writing tends to be along those lines so it's what I know and have done with my own original characters.
If you were to write a completely new AU for these characters, what would it demand of them?
I have no idea! Well, I suppose I would remove them from Cascade and the police force and put them in the Devereux Agency! I guess I did that briefly in Wages and Rewards.
Which among your own works is your favorite and why?
Wages and Rewards because they helped me define my original characters even more than before and because they corrected what I saw as wrong about the way the series ended.
Which of your stories are you less positive about, why? Have you had the urge to revise any of your stories? Which ones?
Probably Puzzle and Pieces. They could use some work, I think. But then again, you ask if I've ever had the urge to revise any of my stories… how about all of them? I can always find something I wish I had done better, said better, explained better, etc. I am my own worst critic.
You spend a lot of time in your stories pursuing issues about self-realization and honesty. Your 'fix' for the trust issues raised in Sen Too seemed strongest in the duology, "Do What You Have to Do" and "Too Far From Home". These first person POVs revealed errors in judgment on the parts of all concerned. Which POV was easiest for you to assume?
I think I would have to say Blair's. I have always identified more with Blair than Jim, I suppose. After all, Blair and I are both social scientists. :-)
Is this review of individual POV's, a 'process' issue for you in more than just your writings? Your earlier interview, back in 2000, refers to your work as a teacher. Has your fiction writing influenced your work at all?
I think it would be closer to say that my work has influenced my writing more so than the other way around. I find my subject matter in the study of human interaction, I guess. To me the study of history is the study of motivations…the how and why. Writing is the same thing, I think. Government is always good fodder for fiction. Psychology, well, hello! The study of human behavior, enough said, right? The vast majority of my writing has had its start in one of the social sciences. I write what I teach and vice versa. I'm not sure I've answered the question, but there you go.
Are you more confident in your abilities to write Humor? You have some funny stories at your site (e.g. "Friends in Low Places") but issue a 'warning' to your readers usually reserved for more violent themes :-)
I don't know. I tend to do well with one liners and sarcasm, but a whole story where the main idea is comedy is harder for me. A few jokes, okay though. Hell, I could teach advanced classes in Smart-Ass, so that's easy. Occasionally, though, I get an idea that won't leave me alone, and I write a little comedy. I'm just as surprised as hell when it actually works!
Is there a genre you would like to write as a way of stretching your wings as a fanfic author? Is there a type of story or specific plot that you wish you could write, but feel is beyond you? Do you think more time and/or practice in writing would allow you to tackle your dream project?
I'd love to do something in Sci-Fi or fantasy, but every time I have tried, I have not liked the results. I trash it ultimately. I may try again some day. I have a story outline for a fantasy right now, but it's very rough. It's original, not fan fiction. Not sure time would fix the problem. Or more practice for that matter. I think as much as I like to read Sci-fi and fantasy, I may not be destined to write them. Who knows though? Maybe one day.
Do you create OCs and how do you use them? Do you find creating an OC challenging?
Definitely have OC's. I use them lots of ways. Using them in fan fiction for me means that they have to have a clear purpose in the story and have to drive the plot in some way. If I could do the story without an OC, I do. If not, then I have to have an OC. The trick is not to have the OC take over the story. As for creating them, not a problem for me. It's one of my favorite parts of the whole process. I use a variety of ways to build a "real person." I suppose you could still say it is a challenge though, because I do want a "real person" to be the end result, so that's the challenge. My OC's are some of my favorite people! :-) Especially the Devereux Agency.
How do you feel about feedback and concrit from your readers?
I welcome feedback and constructive criticism. They let me know when I'm on the right track or where I have missed the mark. Both help me improve, and that should be the ultimate goal: to get better.
It's great to see you are still penning in fandom and hope this interview whets your appetite for creating new TS stories. Thanks Danae!
Last updated 4/13/09 igr