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Pets and the Boys
Suzie's been writing Sentinel fanfic since March 1997 when she posted her first story, A Life for a Life. Since then, an impressive 43 stories have come from this author's pen. A look at Suzie's Cascade Library story listing reveals that although her first piece was more of a police case story, she has subsequently written many warm-fuzzy stories about Jim and Blair's personal lives outside of work. This author's love of animals has inspired several delightful stories in which Jim and Blair get something they haven't been allowed on the show yet -- a pet. Her readers also benefit from the way Suzie deals with writer's block -- by writing short stories which she categorizes in one of her Writer's Block series. This author particularly enjoys writing and reading hurt/comfort and smarm stories.
Suzie's stories were originally located at her website which also served as the website for 1998's Sentinel gen fan fiction auction, an ambitious project Suzie and her friend Jen (Eagle Eye) organized in the wake of the show's cancellation following third season. The successful auction generated over 2,600 written letters to TPTB on behalf of The Sentinel which readers bid for stories promised by volunteer TS gen fanfic authors. Suzie keeps track of the auction stories as authors post them.
Thanks for taking time to chat with us, Suzie!
Tell us about yourself.
Well, I'm 40 years old, married, no kids, two dogs. <G> I have my own small business here at home that keeps me occupied (computer graphics, newsletters, etc.). I'm involved with the City of Tacoma on the NE Tacoma Neighborhood Council and am a volunteer with Pierce County Search & Rescue.
What else do you enjoy doing besides writing TS fan fiction?
I enjoy riding my motorcycle, camping, writing, reading, swing & ballroom dancing. I like to make people happy.
How did you become a Sentinel fan?
I happened to stumble across the show while channel surfing one time late in the first season. It was Vow of Silence. I was hooked at the moment. <G>
What is your favorite episode and why?
Oh my ... it's always changing. <G> Blind Man's Bluff because of the emotion and the scene in Simon's office where Jim and Blair are trying to hide Jim's blindness. Murder 101 because it showed us a different part of Blair.
How did you start writing Sentinel fan fiction?
I was on the Internet one night looking for information on TS and discovered FanFic for the first time. I read several stories by Kristine Williams. I thought, 'I can do that!' So ... I did! <G>
What was your first story and what was it like to post it?
My first story was A Life For A Life, which I wrote in March of 1997. Posting it was terrifying! Not knowing if people would like it or even bother to read it! But, man, when the feedback started coming in I was on cloud 9! <VBG>
Which story are you most proud of?
I must say that I am most proud of A Life For A Life simply because it was my first.
If you could see any of your stories made into a real episode, which one would you choose?
As far as making an episode, I can see It Shouldn't Be Like This or the Wild Ride/Explanations/Healing series.
Which character do you most enjoy writing?
I like to write Blair because he's so open with his emotions, and he's really the easiest for me to write too for the same reason. I do like to write Jim as well, but he can be more of a challenge. <G>
What genres do you enjoy writing the most?
I like to write hurt/comfort, smarm, drama, and I try to throw in a bit of humor occasionally. I do seem to write most of my stories around cases that the guys are involved in.
Who are your beta readers and what do you appreciate most about them?
My Great and Powerful Beta Beast is Jen (a.k.a. Eagle Eye). I like the way Jen beta's because she's so incredibly patient with me. She's taught me an awful lot about grammar and punctuation. Jen doesn't just tell me that something isn't right, she explains what the problem is and gives suggestions as to how to fix it.
You have written a few stories that have Jim with the ability to communicate with animals, such as Destiny and Napanee. What inspired this idea, and do you feel it relates to Jim's sentinel abilities?
Oh geez ... how do I explain this? I wanted to do *something* with Jim's senses that would, maybe, be a little different. I thought a lot about it. About how his senses came about in the wild. How he survived in the jungle. I decided that if Jim were going to be able to *communicate* with any other creatures it would make the most sense to have them be animals. Specifically, cats, dogs, and wolves.
Stories about pets are one of your specialties. Tell us about Figaro from the I Want a Pet series, the cat you created to live with Jim and Blair. Do you have personal experiences that allow you to write animal stories so well?
Actually, I don't really know where the pet thing came from. <G> It started out totally different with Blair bringing home a stray dog. The story was going to center around Blair talking Jim into letting him keep the animal. But, I started thinking that a cat would make more sense, because they're more independent and can be left to themselves easier than a dog.
Figaro is the feisty little cat in the Disney movie Pinocchio. I always liked that little cat. <G> For some reason when I thought of a cat for Jim and Blair, I thought of Figaro.
I grew up around cats. My Gramma always had cats. She was always taking in strays. Later, in Junior High, my parents let me get a cat, which we had for many years. Then, just before I got married, I got Munchkin. I picked her up 'cause I felt sorry for her ... she was soooo scrawny! Then, when we bought the house where we live now, the guy that sold us the house left behind his dog, cat, and horse. I had to threaten him with calling the Humane Society before he finally found a home for the dog and horse. We ended up keeping the cat. <G> Unfortunately, we've lost both the cats in the last year. Twenty years is a good long life for a cat and I'm glad to have had them both. So, yeah ... I guess I've had a few personal cat experiences to help me out with the I Want A Pet series. <giggle>
You and Eagle Eye have a fanfic challenge page on your website. Tell us about that and what you hope to accomplish.
Personally, I just want to generate more fiction. <VBG> You have one group of people out there that are always looking for a good plot, and another group that have great plot ideas, but are not willing to write the stories. So why not bring the two together.
Last year you and Eagle Eye organized a very successful Sentinel gen fan fiction auction. Tell us about that.
It was Jen's idea really. It started at that awful time when TS was cancelled the first time. The letter writing campaign was going strong and Jen suggested that we do the auction by having people bid how many letters they would write.
I must admit, it was quite an experience. Setting it all up and trying to keep track of everything. With Jen in Florida and me in Washington, it was interesting. <G> Would I do another one? I think I would consider it.
What influenced you to have Blair join a Search and Rescue group in your story Independence?
Independence was an outlet for me. A lot of things had happened, a lot of them involving children, and I needed a way to get it out of my system. The story is based on different things that had happened.
What are your sources of inspiration for writing?
My imagination. Sometimes I'll just be out walking or driving and I'll see something that will just trigger my imagination and a scene forms. The news and newspapers are a big resource too.
Do you think living in Washington State (where Cascade would be located) helps your writing?
Oh yeah, definitely. It helps with the visual aspect of writing for me, though sometimes I exagerate a bit. <G>
How do you deal with writer's block?
Nasty thing that writer's block. Usually, I just put aside whatever I'm stuck on and leave it alone for a while. I'll start another story, or a series of short ones, that have absolutely nothing to do with the one that I'm blocked on.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
The hardest part is coming up with an ending that satisfies the Beta Beast <VBEG>
What is the most satisfying part of writing for you?
Finishing the story. When the entire process is finished (writing, rewriting, betaing, fixing, rebetaing, posting) that's when I really feel I've accomplished something.
What are your feelings on story feedback?
Feedback is great! It makes me feel good and proud when I can make people glad they read something that I wrote. And it gives me a desire to continue writing.
Do you have any advice for new TS fan fiction writers?
Never be afraid to write what you feel. The only bad story is the one not written.
What was the first piece of fan fiction you ever read?
A Test by Kristine Williams.
Are there particular kinds of Sentinel fanfic stories that you especially enjoy reading?
It depends on my mood, but I mostly like hurt/comfort and smarmy stories. <G>
What is it about The Sentinel that inspires you to write?
It's the friendship and relationship. It seems very real to me.
Who is your favorite Sentinel character to write?
Well, I most enjoy writing Blair's emotions, Jim's hardheadedness, and Simon's patient acceptance as he works to understand it all.
Who is your least favorite?
I don't seem to do well when I try to write Brown, Rafe, Taggert, or Megan into a story.
What do you believe are The Sentinel's greatest strengths, and greatest weaknesses, as a series?
The best thing the show has is the whole Sentinel idea. Then it's the relationship between Jim, Blair, and Simon that hold it together.
I think a weakness might be that they spent too much time on working on police cases. There's not enough personal life in the characters lives.
Do you find yourself identifying more with Jim or Blair?
I would have to say I see a bit of me in both.
If you were given the opportunity to write an episode of The Sentinel, what story would you like to tell?
I'd like to know a little more about Blair's background. The way he grew up and such.
What three specific things would you like to see on The Sentinel that we haven't seen yet?
1) Stable female relationships for Jim, Blair, and Simon. 2) I'd like to see Jim teach Blair some self-defence techniques. 3) I'd like to see the guys spend a day together without someone trying to kill them.
How about general changes?
General changes? Geez, I don't know. Ask me when the SciFi Channel starts doing TS first run episodes. Right now I'm just not that picky. <G>
What one story do you think people will always remember you for?
Ohmygosh! Ummm ... The I Want A Pet series.
Can you tell us what stories you have in the works right now?
Let's see. The one that the Beta Beast has right now deals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I also have one started for the I Want A Pet series, and one where Blair gets sunburned really bad. Then there's the one about an inheritance, and there's the one where ...... <G>
Last updated 7/5/99 clc