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This talented author discovered The Sentinel when she, a Man from U.N.C.L.E. fan, watched The Real Deal to catch Robert Vaughn in action. After joining the Sentinel Angst list, she began writing Sentinel fan fiction. She is most well-known for her Coming Up for Air series, an intriguing alternate universe in which Jim was diagnosed with autism because of his hypersenses. Delilah's Cascade Library listing currently lists seven stories which are located on her site, Delilah's Den.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Delilah!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Self-description isnít my best thing. Iím an ex-perennial social science student who ended up going into business; all for the love of an underpaid grad student who wanted to be a professor. (Hmmm, no wonder I like Blair.) Lesson life has so far taught me -- Love dies. Careers stay with you forever.
What else do you enjoy doing besides writing TS fan fiction?
Reading is way high on the list. When I figured out the internet was like a vast reading smorgasbord I was ecstatic. I also keep about 250 Dream Pets in my linen closet Ė people go in there to look for towels and find 500 little beady-eyes belonging to all these velvet hand-high stuffed animals from the 1960s staring at them. I get into vast nasty bidding wars on E-bay over them with bidders in Japan. We all gotta have our quirks. *g*
How did you become a Sentinel fan?
Robert Vaughn. It was a major Man from UNCLE phase. I was watching anything with RV or DM and happened to catch The Real Deal. That led to looking for TS/MUNCLE crossovers and it wasnít long Ďtil I figured out TS fanfic had some of the best writers and the finest archives out there. Of course by then the show was only on Sci-Fi and there's still eps I haven't seen.
What is your favorite episode and why?
Hurt/comfort junkie. Gotta go with Blind Manís Bluff.
How did you start writing Sentinel fan fiction?
While out trolling for H/C, I discovered Dawnís Sentinel Angst list. If I wanted to read (and boy, did I) then I had to write.
Specifically, what was your first story, when did you write it, and what was it like to post your first story?
The first TS story I posted to SA was a little snippet of a TS/Lone Gunman crossover and I was absolutely petrified. The first story I posted to Cascade Library was How Come Your Dog Donít Bark because someone was nice enough to strongly suggest it needed posting. That was also absolutely terrifying. I pretty much still think posting is scary.
If you could see any of your stories made into a real episode, which one would you choose?
The H/C junkie in me would I love to see the Coming Up for Air stuff done.
Which story are you most proud of?
Actually Iíve been pretty proud that I think I managed to pull off Jim getting Blair to understand what he was trying to tell him about the spirit guides in the last Coming Up for Air piece. I thought Iíd written myself into a corner Iíd never be able to escape from with any dignity.
Which character do you most enjoy writing? Which character is the easiest for you to write? Who is your least favorite?
Blair is fun to write because I think he has this James-Burke-Connections thing going on. His associations are less than linear and I get to spend a lot of time on Google coming up with the kind of weird, normally disassociated facts I figure heís got spilling out into consciousness all the time.
The one I worry about getting anywhere near right is Simon. I kind of got stuck writing first person Simon in the part of Coming Up for Air where Blair was knocked out. (I hadnít stopped to think that writing first person POV is a really bad move if at any time the narrator isnít conscious.) Simon was difficult to capture and I still donít think I got it quite right. Iím hoping Blair remains lucid through the rest of the series.
What genre(s) do you enjoy writing the most?
I love AUís Ė one, because a lot of what could be said about canon has already been said by great writers who got there first and, two, because AU is to fanfic what amnesia is to soap operas. It frees already-set characters to act in new ways.
Who are your beta readers and what do you appreciate most about them?
Iím pretty much non-monogamous when it comes to beta readers, so thereíve been several. But Lyn Townsend has been absolutely great from the start. And Dolimir is wonderful for bouncing ideas off of. The support from other writers in TS is absolutely amazing. You get very *gentle* dissuasion even if youíve written asking something like ďwhat if Blair grows an extra head in this scene?Ē or you go ďyou know those three pages I made you read where X happened Ė just forget it, I donít want to do X anymore.Ē I continue to be amazed at the generosity.
What inspired your hilarious first story, How Come My Dog Don't Bark When You Come Around?
Desperation. I distinctly lack the requisite plot-bunny-generator gene. So when SA dues time rolls around Iím usually panicked for an idea. I just got lucky that Dr. Johnís ďBack to New OrleansĒ CD happened to be on at the time. The narrator in ďHow Come My Dog Donít Bark (when you come around)Ē just seemed so much like Jim-in-protective-overdrive I couldnít resist.
Many of your stories are written in first person. What is it about this writing style that appeals to you?
Truthfully I think that first person or second person POV is hard to read a lot of the times. The flip side is that as a writer, itís a more natural way to go because itís the way you *think*, the way we all experience the world. I love Brook Hensonís first and second person POV stories. They were so good they gave me the courage (or the foolhardiness) to try it.
Coming Up for Air, your AU series about an autistic Jim, is a fascinating take on what might have happened if Jim had coped differently with his senses. What gave you the idea for this series? What is your favorite part about it? Do you see Jim ever recovering, and what kind of life would you see for him?
Thereís this psych degree that I never managed to put to any professional use, so I still have all these psych theories running uselessly about my brain. It just seemed a kind of given, since autism is currently thought to be, at least in part, a sensory integration disorder, that a child exhibiting hypersensitive senses might be mistaken for having autism. And once you label something itís very hard to ever step outside and see it as anything else. Once Jim was diagnosed, that would be it unless someone like Blair came along.
What I like about it is that (I hope) it turns some what seem to be usual conceptions on their heads. It starts out with Blair clearly being the strong one and Jim being weak. With Blair having a sense of being used and Jimís family clearly feeling that Blairís an opportunity for Jim to improve. But in some ways itís Blair whoís the most needy, even if neither he or the Ellisons realize it. In a way, the mystery is not really whether Jim will be okay, but whether Blair will.
Does Jim get better? If I tell you can I skip writing the rest? *grin*
Going Postal and Schroedinger's Blair are stories based on everyday life or concepts. Do you find these types of humorous stories easy to write?
Guess that comes from having a kind of Twain-ish view of humanity. Itís really hard to take us seriously. ďGoing PostalĒ really happened and is another great example of how you can use fanfic to keep you from yelling too loudly at the person annoying you. Itís hard to be too irate when thereís some part of your brain going ďyou can make dues out of this.Ē ďSchroedingerís BlairĒ comes from a lifelong fascination with certain theories in physics that make absolutely no everyday sense. Clear evidence to me that you canít completely trust any of us have a clue whatís actually going on.
How do you deal with writer's block?
I respond pretty well to deadlines and demands. If someone yells loud enough I can write.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
Writing is easy. Convincing yourself any particular piece is good enough for posting is hard.
What is the most satisfying part of writing for you?
Itís a combination. Most of all, I have to feel like I did okay. But then itís really great if you get feedback that agrees with that viewpoint.
What are your feelings on story feedback?
Iíve been very lucky. Everyoneís been more than kind. Although I do still blush when I read it. Honestly turn a vivid pink, even if Iím all alone with my laptop.
Do you have any advice for new TS fan fiction writers?
Thereís a lot of great authors in TS that will be more than happy to help you. Let them. I know from experience that itís definitely for your own good.
What was the first piece of fan fiction you ever read?
Would have had to have been something out of ďStar Trek LivesĒ which introduced me to the actual concept of fan fiction as a kid. Iíd claim the first full piece of fan fiction I read was actually a Star Trek pro-novel ďThe Price of the PhoenixĒ Ė I still keep wishing somebody would do a study of how many fanfic writers in their 30s and 40s got their first taste of fanfic emotive style from the Phoenix novels.
What was the first piece of fan fiction you ever wrote?
Um, that would be Ė as best I remember Ė a fortunately-forever-lost Mary Sue about a beautiful ensign who had Captain Kirk enthralled but was, so sadly, terminally ill. I was, maybe, twelve.
What was the first piece of Sentinel fan fiction you ever read?
Actually it was a Sentinel/MUNCLE crossover that I wish I could find again. Iím beginning to think I hallucinated it.
Are there particular kinds of Sentinel fanfic stories that you especially enjoy reading?
Like good dialogue and a strong-on-his-own Blair. And Iím particularly fond of AUís.
What is it about The Sentinel and Jim/Blair/Simon that inspires you to write?
Iím one of those women who craves male/male emotive bonding. These guys do some of the best.
What do you believe are The Sentinel's greatest strengths and weaknesses as a series?
Well, like everyone, Iíd have tailored it less toward the ad-base and more toward *me* who wants to watch men behave Ė well, like men rarely do in real life. I loved the chemistry between the actors, though. That always goes a long way to overcoming sucky plots.
Do you find yourself identifying more with Jim or Blair?
Twelve years in finance does not make a right-brained person any less right-brained. I definitely understand Blair more than Jim.
If you were given the opportunity to write an episode of The Sentinel, what story would you like to tell?
Iíd have liked to have seen Jim in Blairís world some Ė see Jim understand and respect what Blair did apart from knocking bad guys out with vending machines (which, admittedly, was pretty nifty).
What three specific things would you have liked to see on The Sentinel that we did not see? How about general changes?
*argh! Pant! Pant! Too hard! Pass!*
What one story do you think people will always remember you for?
Wow Ė what a concept. Uh, although Iím pretty sure if they remember me a few months Iíll be lucky and should considered myself honored, if there is something they remember me for itís that I havenít managed to finish the Coming Up for Air series yet.
Can you tell us what stories you have in the works right now?
There's more Coming Up for Air to come. And, who knows, if I get any madder at Home Depotís delivery system there may be a whole Jim-and-Blair-do-home- improvement series.
Last updated 11/17/02 clc