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A long-time fan of partner shows, it didn't take Sue Pokorny long to become a fan of The Sentinel after first watching it on TV. Her enjoyment of reading and writing fan fiction eventually led to quite a few stories, some published first in fanzines, others on the internet, and most recently four virtual season episodes for Faux Paws Productions. Sue's Cascade Library listing currently lists 14stories. Her stories are located at Starfox's Mansion.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Sue!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm thirty....something <g>, married and mother of an 11 year-old girl. I'm a graphic artist, but I have always loved writing. I started writing fanfic when I was in high school (Starsky and Hutch), but I didn't know so many other people did it! When I found TS fanfic on the web, I was so pumped! I read everything! Then, I wrote a story - just to prove to myself I could still do it.
What else do you enjoy doing besides writing TS fan fiction?
I'm a soccer mom. I tried to avoid it -- but it was inevitable. My daughter is on a tournament team, so we travel around the midwest a lot. I also run and I love to read. Since finding fanfic on the net, I don't think I've bought a real book for years!
How did you become a Sentinel fan?
I've always liked partner shows. I like the relationship between two people and how they deal with each other in fantastic situations. The first time I saw TS, I loved the differences between the two characters and how those differences complimented the other. And the blue eyes didn't hurt!
What is your favorite episode and why?
My favorite episode has always been Spare Parts. I love the interaction between the two guys and Naomi. I loved watching Blair watch Jim watch Naomi. He always had this expression that said "Cool, huh? That's my mom!" It seemed like the actors really enjoyed themselves during that one, and it reflects in their performance.
How did you start writing Sentinel fan fiction?
After reading everything in the Cascade Library (really!) I decided to give it a shot. I didn't know the characters all that well, so I think my first attempt was a bit off, but I finished it and progressed from there,
What was your first story, when did you write it, and what was it like to post your first story?
My first story was called No Deposit, No Return and it was published in Linda Hutcheson's Sentry Post #5 zine. I was a net neophyte and I had no idea how to post on the net, so this was an easier solution. Of course, I agonized over posting it for weeks!
If you could see any of your stories made into a real episode, which one would you choose?
I think Milk Run was probably the one most like an actual episode.
Which story are you most proud of?
Actually, the story I'm most proud of hasn't been published yet. It's entitled Soul Eaters and it's an idea I've been tossing around for a while. I met a new writer named Anne, and she persuaded me to actually do it. I, in turn. persuaded her to give me a hand, and I think we ended up with a fantastic story! It'll be in Skeeter Press' new Halloween zine this year.
Which character do you most enjoy writing? Which character is the easiest for you to write?
I find Jim easier to write. He's a guy. Just a basic fear guided guy who doesn't want to have to think too deep. I can relate to that. I love Blair's character, but find it so much easier to think like Jim. Of course, I've been accused of making Jim to hard, but that's how I see him. He's not a mushy guy. I like to keep my stories built around the two main characters, so I don't write a lot of support characters. They may show up from time to time, but they are never central to the plot. Like I said, I'm drawn to partner shows, so I keep it about the partners.
What genre(s) do you enjoy writing the most?
My stories are a mix of drama and case stories with a bit of humor thrown in. I'm better at writing action over prose, so I don;t get too deep into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Instead, I let the reader in on what is happening and their actions and responses and allow the readers to imagine their deeper thoughts. Maybe I'm just too Jim-like? <g>
Who are your beta readers and what do you appreciate most about them?
I have 2 main beta readers - Bonnie (Stargazer) and Brenda Bailey. They are fantastic! They both keep me honest and don't let me get away with anything! I would never dream of posting a story without their input. We've worked together for so long, they don;t pull any punches for which I'm eternally grateful. I have a think skin and they both realize this and tell me exactly what they think which is the best thing a beta can do!
Four of your stories aired as Faux Paws Productions episodes. What was it like to write as part of a virtual season team?
It was amazing to see all those creative minds at work. There were some fantastic writers involved with the virtual season. I'm still amazed they allowed me to handle the season cliffhanger and premier! Trust was a collaboration of ideas from a lot of people which coalesced into a wonderful, compelling action story.
Several of your stories were co-written with Shycat. What was your favorite thing about writing with another author?
The give and take of writing with a partner can lead you down a road you never even considered before. Just having someone else's point of view and ideas to play off can spark your imagination. Shy and I actually have two or three other stories either started or plotted out that we just never got around to.
Dreamscape is a story set at Rainier University. What inspired this story, and did you enjoy writing Blair's character in the university setting?
I liked writing in the university setting mainly because it was a visual setting most TS fans are familiar with. I didn't have to do much scene set up, because the visual basics were already established. That made it easier to just lay out the story for the reader and keep it moving along.
In Milk Run, Jim and Blair are on the run from a mob hitman. Did you find this story difficult or easy to write?
This was one of the few stories that basically wrote itself. The whole thing was a running visual in my head, so I simply typed it in. I tried not to let it get too bogged down in details, I just wanted a sort of "hunted" quality - with a TS twist, of course.
What was your reaction to The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg, and how do you feel about Blair as a cop?
I think TSbyBS was in keeping with the characters. But I didn't like the nice happy resolution. Now I understand that it's an hour show and had to be wrapped up, but I doubt if Blair could have become a cop after all the media attention he received. I do believe Jim would have done everything he could, short of admitting his powers, to help Blair out after he realized there was no betrayal. But he wouldn't have admitted the diss was real, since that would have negated Blair's sacrifice and made them no better off. I always thought they could have just had Blair tell the press it wasn't his real diss, it was a work of fiction. He never told anyone he'd found his Sentinel, so he could have made everyone believe he was writing about his dream. That would have probably still lost him his academic career, but it would have saved face with the PD and made it easier for them to hire him on for real.
What do you do when your muse takes a vacation?
I read. I've found a lot of inspiration from books about myths and cults. Since Blair is an anthropologist, these are things that he would find fascinating.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
Making sure a plot doesn't fall apart. I write a lot of action, but it all has to make sense.
What is the most satisfying part of writing for you?
Finishing! <g> No, really. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I finish a story and can look back and say "That's pretty good." Of course, my opinion is generally biased, but...
What are your feelings on story feedback?
I'm all for it! <g> I'm guilty of not sending feedback, tho. I tend to read then forget to tell the author how much I enjoyed it which is something I'm really trying to work on. Feedback is the only payment an author gets, so we should all make an effort to let them know how much we appreciate their work. It takes a lot of time and energy to create a story -- much longer than it takes to read it. So we should all let the authors know how we enjoyed it. Feedback is a great motivator.
Do you have any advice for new TS fan fiction writers?
Post! I've had a few wonderful writers send their stuff to me, but be afraid to post it. Some are fantastic writers, but they lack the confidence they need. I understand, but you'll never know until you post it and get the opinions of the readers. TS fans are great! They know what they like and they love to get new insights into their fandom.
What do you believe are The Sentinel's greatest strengths and weaknesses as a series?
The relationship of Jim and Blair. The fact that two very different men with two very different lifestyles and points of view could come together and learn from each other and be accepted as a part of the others world is a great story. The action was the backdrop to the story of the relationship. It allowed the characters to be put into extraordinary situations so they could react.
Do you find yourself identifying more with Jim or Blair?
Jim. He's the doer. Blair's the thinker. Blair wants to know how and why, Jim just wants to take care of it. I can relate to that. I try not to think about things too much. Take action and learn from that.
If you were given the opportunity to write an episode of The Sentinel, what story would you like to tell?
We saw, basically, how Blair managed to work himself into Jim's world. I would like to see the opposite. Jim working his way into Blair's world. Not necessarily the academic one, but more along the lines of his upbringing. Blair obviously had an interesting childhood. I would like to see Jim get a taste of just what made Blair the free spirit he is. Maybe it would loosen up those jaw muscles, huh?
Can you tell us what stories you have in the works right now?
Like I said above, Soul Eaters will be in the Halloween zine Cascade Beyond the Veil along with another short story called Forest For the Trees. I'm currently working on a Starsky and Hutch story and Stargate (branching out!). And I'm confident Anne will have another idea for us to collaborate on. And, maybe I can persuade Shycat to come out of her semiretirement to finish one of our others.
Last updated 1/4/02 clc