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Vision posted her first Sentinel story in September 1999 under the encouragement of a veteran author, and she hasn't looked back since. She has become well-known for her penchant for Jim-angst and enjoys writing stories posted in parts, often with cliff-hanger endings to each section which keep her readers coming back for more. Vision's Cascade Library listing currently lists 25 stories, and Vision promises there are many more to come. Her stories are located at the Cascade Library and her web site, Vision's Fanfiction.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Vision!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm a 37 year-old married mother of two wonderful girls. I run a day care facility linked to a very popular fitness center near my home. I enjoy boating, most especially kayaking, writing, and water gardens. I'm fairly well versed in the ancient art of Feng Shui, and have tried to incorporate the basic elements of these beliefs into my home.
How did you become a Sentinel fan?
LOL! I knew you would ask me that... The truth is, I taped the wrong show, and ended up recognizing both Richard, and Richard's stunt double, John Sampson. Unfortunately, I only taped half the episode, and found myself cursing my own technical stupidity.
What is your favorite episode and why?
This is a tough question. I guess I'm one of those fans that enjoys something about each episode. I adore both Flight and Deep Water, and of course Remembrance. Being the Jim-centric fan that I am, I tend to lean towards episodes that put Jim in a softer, more human light. If I have to choose, I guess I'll choose Love Kills as my all time favorite TS ep. Lila is such a wonderful character, and the interaction between herself and Jim pulls at my heartstrings. I love stories that bring up people from Jim's past, and shed light on his life before he became a cop. I have a weak spot for Jim's sensory spikes as well <g>.
How did you start writing Sentinel fan fiction?
I started writing TS fan fic in kind of a round about way. I sent a short story called The Cleansing to Becky as a gift. I had no plans to share it with any one but her, and was quite shocked when she told me that I should post it on the web. I was terrified the day that it came out, and kept waiting for people to tell me that I had no talent as a writer, and to pack it in. The reception that I received by other fans was overwhelming, and I've never looked back. It's been almost two years now since my first posting, and I still get butterflies when I hit the "send button."
If you could see any of your stories made into a real episode, which one would you choose?
Do I only get to choose one? <g> I guess I would probably choose Misplaced as the story that would appeal to both the fans, and the actors. I really enjoyed writing the car chase in that one, and felt good about the premise of the story. Itís an action packed ride that really tested my abilities as an author.
Which story are you most proud of?
I think Iíd have to say that Synchronicity was the hardest story that Iíve ever written. I had never seen the movie Groundhog Day, and decided to write a fic based on a concept that I knew very little about. The actual idea was presented as a challenge on the Cascade Times list, and like many of my stories, I decided to write something based on someone elseís challenge.
Which character do you most enjoy writing?
For the most part, Jim is my favorite character to write for. Our personalities are very similar, and our reactions to any given situation are along the same lines. Iím a person of action, who is not particularly good with emotions, and I believe Jim to be the same way.
Naomi is by far the hardest character for me to write. I respect any author who can get her voice down on paper.
What genre do you enjoy writing the most?
Drama and case stories are the easiest for me to write. I love stories with intricate plots that portray both men as strong, yet human, individuals. I have been known to write a bit of smarm on occasion, but I donít particularly think I have a real knack for it. I never thought I was a hurt/comfort writer, but I guess thatís what I am <g>
Who are your beta readers, and what do you appreciate most about them?
BECKY! BECKY! BECKY! Did I say that loud enough? Becky is the foundation of every story that I have ever written. Sheís my inspiration, my advisor, and most of all my friend. I personally believe Iím a beta reader's nightmare, and yet she never makes me feel that way. My vision only allows me to work on the computer for small amounts of time, and I try to spend that time productively. Becky allows me to write without having to worry about corrections and posting. Becky is the hardest working beta in the fandom. Weíve been corresponding for two years now, and I owe her more than I will ever be able to repayÖ
You have written a number of stories by posting them in parts. Did you find it more challenging to post in parts?
Itís funny, this is probably my most frequently asked question as an author. To tell you the truth, I love posting in parts. I need the pressure of having to finish a story in order to keep me writing. I have a very busy RL schedule, and I honestly donít have time to complete an entire story in one sitting. Besides, I like keeping people in suspense <g>.
Most of your stories center around Jim and usually include a great deal ofangst for the character, either emotional or physical and usually both. What about this especially appeals to you?
Jim is such a strong character, and yet, buried beneath that tough guy exterior, you know thereís an emotional, loving man. I like to bring his insecurities and vulnerabilities to light.
Tell us a little about how you met John Sampson (Richard Burgi's stunt double) and your appreciation page for him. What things did John Sampson bring to the character of Jim Ellison?
Iíve been a fan of Johnís for a very long time now, and have a great deal of respect for him both as a man, and as an actor. I wrote to him last September, and told him how much I enjoyed his work. We met a month later at a TS Convention, and I got the opportunity to tell him in person just what an impact his career has had on my life. My appreciation page is just a small token of thanks for the gift of his talent. Television has a way of glorifying the main actors, and downplaying the behind the scenes work of the stunt people. I wanted John to know that his hours of dedication had not gone unnoticed. John showed us James Ellison the hero, the man that risked his life to save others at the price of his own.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall introduced a character with a stunning relationship to Jim, and set up a chain of events that nearly end in disaster. At the end of story, the solution paralleled Sentinel Too. What gave you the idea for this tale?
I have a real fascination for Sentinel Too, and find myself constantly reverting back to the themes surrounding that particular episode. Jimís fear of deep water is also another one of my recurring themes. The idea of Jim having a brother just occurred to me one day out of the blue. I saw a picture of Richard and John Sampson, and I thought how neat it would be to have them both on screen at the same time. It was a fun story to write that I wrote solely for my own enjoyment.
Crimson Moon is a long horror story about an "evil Guide" wanting to turn Jim into some kind of vampire. Did you have an interest in vampire stories before this?
I never really thought about it, but I guess I do. I enjoy the historical allure of vampires more so than the garlic, stakes, and sunshine scenario. Many of my evening hours are spent with my eye glued to my telescope. This story was born from a passion for the moon, and lunar eclipses.
How did you decide on the villain in the story Misplaced, where Blair is kidnapped?
I needed a villain that had a great deal of computer knowledge, and hated our Sentinel. I had never written a car chase before, and I was determined to add more action into my stories. Freeman seemed like the perfect choice.
Synchronicity is an interesting tale about Jim being stuck in a "Groundhog Day" version of events where things keep repeating, all ending with Blair dying. How did you come up with the solution?
The concept of time was a huge factor in the writing of this piece. For both Misplaced and Synchronicity I put a watch beside my computer. I wanted to feel what it must have been like for the characters to feel the pressure of having to change events, or save the day within a specific time frame. Every chapter of this story was slightly different from the last, and I did my best to make the reader feel part of Jimís world. I figured the only way for Jim to actually save Blairís life was to give him a second, one moment in time when he could change the sequence of events forever. The solution was really just my way of wanting to hold onto precious moments in my life that have dramatically changed my own way of thinking.
Rafe shows up in a "starring" role in two of your stories (Misplaced, The Eldest Son). Is Rafe a favorite character of yours?
Oh, yes! I adore Rafeís character. After reading the script that Ryf and Lois wrote together, I saw the incredible possibilities that his character had in the series. Itís too bad that he didnít have more of an opportunity to shine during the series.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
Time. The hardest part about writing, is definitely finding the time to actually sit down at the computer. My muse rarely takes vacations, but I find that many of my ideas never make it past my brain. Iím sure that I would be a much better author if I didnít have to stay up until four in the morning trying to get some time to myself <g>
What is the most satisfying part of writing for you?
I write entirely for my own personal pleasure. I love to get feedback just as much as the next guy, but on the whole, itís not nearly as important to me as personal satisfaction. Many of my own insecurities and fears are present in my work. Anyone who reads my fic will have a much better window into my soul than a person who actually knows me.
Do you have any advice for new TS fan fiction writers?
Write for yourself. Find a good beta reader that can keep you on track, but doesnít change your story perspective. Above all, have fun!
What was the first piece of Sentinel fan fiction that you ever read?
The first story I read was one of Beckyís, but Iím not sure which one. I know I got hooked on the story Beach by Kitty and Martha very early on, and my passion for reading grew from there.
Are there particular kinds of Sentinel fanfic stories that you especially enjoy reading?
I enjoy reading stories that portray Blair as a strong character. Although Iím noted for my Jim centric writing, all of my stories focus on the strength and help of the Guide. Many of my friends would classify me as a reader who loves "broken dials," and "save the day" Sentinels I guess that pretty much says it all <g>. Oh yeah, donít forget to add a Jim owie or two to get my attention. Among my favorite authors are Becky and Robyn, Brook Henson, Lois Balzer, BJKira, EJKatz, Shar-Lee, and of course D.L. and the Kims (Heggen and Workman).
What do you believe are The Sentinel's greatest strengths and weaknesses as a series?
The cast and crew of the show seemed to actually care for one another, and it shone through in much of their work. The plots were varied and interesting, and the villains for the most part believable. I enjoyed the earlier seasons more than the last ones mainly because of the seemingly roller coaster friendship between Jim and Blair in the last season. Continuity was always a bit shaky, but I tend to overlook those things. The strength of the show stemmed from both RB and GMís magic on screen. I would have liked to have seen more character development for minor characters as well. I think that many of the weaknesses stemmed from too many writers trying to write about the same show. Itís hard to have the same vision (excuse the pun) when there are so many different authors.
If you were given the opportunity to write an episode of The Sentinel, what story would you like to tell?
Oh boy! Iíd probably blow the entire yearís budget in one swoop <g>. Iíd love a real action-packed episode involving Jimís father and brother. Lots of explosions, angst and owies all in one. Quinn is by far my favorite bad guy, and I would love to see him kidnap the Ellison men and hold them for ransom. I think my Canadian heritage must be showing. The idea of Jim and Blair battling a snowstorm in order to rescue the Ellisons sounds great to me. I can just picture those gorgeous Vancouver mountains in the background as the boys rush to save the victims. You did say that I have an unlimited budget, right?
What one story do you think people will always remember you for?
I havenít a clue! I donít consider myself a particularly memorable author, just a fan that enjoys puttering in the TS fandom. I hope that people come away from my work with a smile on their face, and a lighter heart.
Can you tell us what stories you have in the works right now?
Iím working on an episode for Novation with CJ, that is due to air in the next week or two. Iíve never written a virtual ep before, and Iím a bit nervous. I also have a WIP entitled If The Walls Could Talk that is taking up space on my hard drive. The Special Edition Project is my latest venture that is proving to be an exciting and innovative endeavor. I will be re-writing a number of episodes incorporating fan input into the story line. Itís a unique, idea that really tests my writing ability.
At this time I would like to thank the CL Staff for their support over the past two years, and for making me feel so at home in the TS fandom. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication.
Last updated 10/3/01 clc