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Lyn loves to share her fondness for the TS fandom and doesn't limit her participation to the writing of many popular stories (listed here at CL). She also interacts with other TS fans on numerous listserves, and provides an award-winning internet 'home' where the works of other talented authors are showcased. (archivist's note: author email found at author's page.)
Thank you for agreeing to share a little about yourself and your writing experiences with the TS community who visit the Cascade Library.
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?
Sadly, I was never inventive enough to come up with a catchy pen name, so I use my real name and write under it in all fandoms.
Would you tell us where you live?
I live in a little town called Willunga in South Australia. I have the best of all worlds as the area is well known for its wonderful wine, and I'm just ten minutes from the beach.
Would you tell us a little about your life?
I'm married and have three grown children and two beautiful granddaughters. I come from a very large family of ten children. My best friend is also my twin sister, Annie, who I 'coerced' into writing fan fiction several years ago.
What work, volunteer or paid, do you do? Do you have any pro-fic writing experience or aspirations?
I'm a jack of all trades and master of none. I started out as a pediatric nurse and my last job was as a school canteen manager. I volunteer at our local Lions Club auctions and also volunteered at my children's schools when they were younger. I would love to try my hand at pro-fic writing, but haven't taken the plunge yet.
II. When and how did you become a TS fan?
When did you first see or hear about The Sentinel?
My husband and son used to watch it when it aired here in Australia and one glimpse of a very cute, curly-haired anthropologist and a handsome cop and I was sucked in! Sadly, it was canceled here partway through the third season!
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?
When I first ventured online, I started searching for information on my favorite shows and quickly discovered fan fiction. I was hooked pretty quickly and thought that The Sentinel especially had such a wealth of ideas to draw upon, from Jim's sentinel abilities to the spiritual theme to the special friendship that Jim and Blair have. I read fan fiction voraciously – still do. Ysone's stories have always been a favorite, along with Kristine Williams, Tapu, Lois Balzer, DawnC, Beth Manz, Shiloh, Sharon – far too many to name.
What do you think the readership finds most interesting in gen TS fiction?
The very special friendship that Jim and Blair have.
They have a quid pro quo arrangement that is unique to the show. In TS fiction, you can believe that either man would lay down his life for the other. When I'm reading TS gen fiction, Blair's words always come to mind: "It's about friendship."
What do you appreciate most when you read TS fiction? Who are your favorite gen TS authors and why?
I love hurt/comfort stories and missing scenes. TS gen writers are wonderful at giving us the comfort we never really saw enough of on screen and filling in the gaps of episodes where we wanted just that little bit more. I have so many favorite authors. Lois Balzer, Annie, Ysone, Fidus Amicus, Delilah, Beth Manz and Shiloh, Danae, Sharon – I could go on forever!
III. About being a writer ...?
Why do you write?
I was writing fan fiction when I was a little girl – Star Trek, Mod Squad, Combat; I can't not write. It's what wakes me up in the morning and I love the camaraderie of fandom. It was a huge relief to discover there were so many other people out there who love writing fan fiction as much as I do.
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?
My first story was a Stargate story called "Cave In." My first TS story was "Hang On." I was terrified. I remember posting it to Sentinelangst and then wishing I could delete it somehow. Thankfully, I received some lovely, kind feedback, which encouraged me to continue.
I write in several other fandoms: Stargate, Stargate Atlantis, Criminal Minds, Without a Trace, Starsky and Hutch, The Professionals, Due South and I've just begun dabbling in NCIS.
What do you think/hope readers most appreciate in your stories?
I hope readers can 'see' Jim and Blair in my stories and appreciate the depth of friendship I try to convey. That regardless of any dire situation, there will always be a happy ending and their friendship will remain intact.
How do you decide whether to write in a first person POV or third person as a narrator?
Case stories I tend to write in third person because it's very difficult to get the whole picture if you're restricted to one PoV. I do like writing introspective or character pieces and I find writing those in first person gives me a greater depth to explore the character's thoughts and emotions.
Have you ever had a writing coach?
No. Although I find concrit from people to be very useful in that way. When I first started writing, a lot of Australianisms crept in and I was very grateful to readers who emailed me and pointed them out. Lois Balzer was especially generous of her time and talent when I first started writing TS and betaed several of my stories – no doubt banging her head on the desk every time she came across a jumper or torch! She taught me how to write PoVs effectively and I thank her so much for that.
Do you work with a beta? Why or why not? What is your process for determining when your story is ready for posting?
I always work with a beta. My twin sister, Annie, is now my beta and I wouldn't think of posting a story without asking her to beta it first. It's so easy for missing words or typos to be overlooked when you're reading your own story. Annie is wonderful at brainstorming with me if I can't think of the right word, or if I feel a sentence is awkwardly worded but can't figure out how to change it.
I still get nervous posting every story I write, so once it's back from Annie and corrected, I post it straight away. Once it's done, it's done.
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?
I love writing hurt/comfort and case stories – though I hate writing action scenes! I've dabbled in a little humor and a few slice of life stories. I love writing missing scenes and epilogues. I was once dubbed the 'Missing Scene Queen' on Sentinelangst and I wear that crown proudly! I've never written a horror story.
If you were to write a completely new AU for these characters, what would it demand of them?
Annie and I are actually co-writing a TS AU at the moment. I don't want to give too much away but it begins with a damaged Jim and a brave Blair, who has to challenge the morals and ethics he has believed in for some time.
Which among your own works is your favorite and why?
Probably my "A Merging of Souls" series. I'd read and loved Lois Balzer's stories, No Center Line and And Dream That I Am Home Again, and wanted to expand on the idea of the bond created between Jim and Blair. I wrote to Lois and asked her permission to create my own story leading off from that and she very graciously agreed. I liked the idea of Blair having his own gifts that stem from his working with Jim.
Which of your stories are you less positive about, why? Have you had the urge to revise any of your stories? Which ones?
Any of my early stories. Writing fan fiction is a learning curve; I think I still have much to learn but my early stories were full of fanon clichés and epithets – the detective, the anthropologist. I did think at one point of revising some but decided that, as embarrassing as it can be to go back and read some of those early stories, it's also good to be able to see that I've grown and developed better skills.
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 think I've written pretty much every genre but I do have a great admiration for AU stories where I can still 'see' Jim and Blair. I am writing an AU story at the moment that I'm struggling with a little because it's an AU first meeting for the guys and I'm trying really hard not to bring in any broad hints from the first episode so that it will be unique. I need 48 hours in my day! If I could, I'd write pretty much all day but I don't think the family would be too impressed.
Do you create OCs and how do you use them? Do you find creating an OC challenging?
I do create OCs. I think they add an extra layer to a story and it's often fun to use them to see Jim and Blair from an outsider's PoV. With an OC, you have a blank slate and it's fun and challenging to create a background, description and motivation for them.
You have a lot of stories like "In Adversity" (a 2006 LMFA winner) which relate specifically to TS episodes. Your "Family Tree" series" was an interesting combination of epilogues and missing scenes along with an AU exploration of Blair's familial roots. Do you think it is easier or more difficult to write stories based upon scripts or ones in which no restrictions exist regarding a new storyline?
As I said earlier, I love to write missing scenes and epilogues because, luckily for us, the writers were constrained in exploring what happened after in episodes but a new storyline can be just as enjoyable to write. I think new storylines are more difficult to write, for me at least, because you have to create the entire plot yourself and the muse is not always cooperative.
You have made TS stories readily available to a wide audience through your participation in Yahoo groups and also by hosting an award-winning website (Brothers-in-Arms) which includes gen stories by some 20 different authors. How much time do you spend on these projects apart from writing new stories for this fandom?
I love hosting authors on Brothers In Arms and there are more coming soon! We also now have several artists and vidders there too. I also host and handle the TS Storyfinders Archive there and I probably spend at least a couple of hours per week coding and uploading stories or adding monthly archives to Storyfinders. The greatest benefit is that I often get to read all the wonderful TS stories from the Brothers In Arms authors before the rest of the fandom does!
Your 'Fun with Fanon' story highlights many of the favorite 'not facts' which appear in many stories and that fans learn from one another. What advice would you give an aspiring author who is introduced to TS solely through fan-fic?
I had great fun writing that. The only thing I missed, I think, were the spirit animals! Firstly, find a beta and there are several groups and LJs where you can ask for help. Secondly, beg or borrow the episodes from someone so you can learn about Jim and Blair and the other characters. My good friend, Jean, came to my rescue with tapes of The Sentinel when I first came into the fandom. What a laugh it was to discover that she lives only an hour or so drive from me and I'd been searching world-wide! Join TS fiction mailing lists and ask questions about the show. Research the show, if you can't get the episodes. There are a few very good websites where you can find canon facts.
Great advice for those still deciding whether to take the plunge into writing for this still active fandom. Thanks for visiting, Lyn!
Last updated 4/27/09 igr