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JOANN BACA

Writer

 

Links to JoAnnís stories online:

 

Tunnel Tales

BatB Reading Chamber

The Steam Tunnels

La Belle et la Bete

 

 

 

 

Who are you?

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests in general.

 

††††† A lot of my ďfree timeĒ in recent years has been spent helping to plan and run conventions, writing fan fiction, putting out zines, and other fandom-related things. In ďreal lifeĒ I like to read, go to plays, watch movies, visit with old friends, and travel. Beauty and the Beast remains a positive force in my life, though, through all I do. Someone mentioned to me recently that sheíd been told she should ďmove onĒ from BatB (I assume this was a non-fan friend who didnít understand her love of the show) and she asked me what I thought. I replied that when you find something which literally changes your life, thereís no reason to leave it behind. And I know that, no matter what the future holds, BatB will always be in my heart. Itís not something I ever want to let go.

 

What drew you to the Beauty and the Beast TV series, and why did you/do you feel the need to write about B&B? Was writing something you had done before being involved with Beauty and the Beast or something that developed out of it?

 

††††† The show was so different, so well written, so literate, so fascinating, with such incredibly beautiful characters - I was hooked from the beginning, and Friday nights at 8 p.m. quickly became ďno calls, no plansĒ nights. NOTHING interfered with my weekly ďfixĒ of BatB. It was like entering another world, and I felt privileged to be invited in. Nothing before or since has ever affected me like BatB or had such an impact on my life. Until BatB, if youíd asked me if Iíd ever join a fandom, Iíd have looked at you like you had two heads. No way would I ever be one of THOSE people! But BatB fandom doesnít feel like a fandom, it feels like a family. And with the emphasis on doing things for charity (whether in local clubs or at conventions or when publishing zines), we find ways to give to others while weíre having fun, which was an important element in helping me feel comfortable with becoming one of THOSE people!

††††† Although Iíve been a fan of BatB since the first airing of the first episode, I only found organized fandom in early 1997.I got access to the Internet and plugged ďBeauty and the BeastĒ into the search engine as a lark, and found Songs of the Blue Bird, CABB and BBTV - I was in heaven! I found scores of other people who didnít mind talking about BatB and didnít think I was strange for wanting to. [What a relief!] I went to my first convention the next year (Virginia Beach) and met my wonderful roomies and lots of other fascinating, warm, loving people.

††††† I had never really written for fun since high school (some terribly self-conscious poetry), and all the writing Iíd done since had been fairly dry government reports and memos.That kind of writing sucks the juice right out of you - any sense of style you might start out with gets edited out - and Iíd been doing that for years. I havenít got an artistic bone in my body - unless stick figures suddenly come into style! So I never imagined Iíd be able to contribute in any creative way to fandom, especially after having read some of the incredible fanfic we have in our fandom (Cynthia Hatch/Diane Davis, Teri, Pam Garrett, M. Sue Waugh and so many others). But one day I had an idea for a story and thought... what the heck, nobody will ever read it but me! So I took a stab at writing a piece of fanfic. I loved the process of writing it, surprising myself quite a bit when I found I actually could put my idea down onto paper with a discernable beginning, middle and end that ďsaidĒ something! I love the characters and the essential elements of our common story, and I really enjoy exploring within that ďsandbox.Ē Vincent and Catherine are endlessly fascinating to me, and their relationship is so complex that I donít tire of writing about it.

 

How long have you been writing? If you started when you were a child/teenager, do you still have some of your work from that time? Did you share it with your friends then?

 

††††† My brief attempt at being a teenage poet ended when a close friend Iíd shared a poem with mocked it (well, it WAS bad, but she could have been a bit more charitable!). So ďsharingĒ was a painful subject for me. Iím sure those poems still exist somewhere, probably buried in a drawer at my Motherís house in San Diego! [Trust me, itís no loss that I canít share them!] I started writing fanfic late in 1997, after immersing myself in reading fanfic and becoming familiar with its conventions. My first finished stories were published in the Virginia Beach conzine (and what a thrill it was to see my stories in print that first time!).

 

Who most influenced and/or encouraged your talent? What training have you had for writing/literary techniques, and where, if it was formal training - or are you self-taught, working from instinct and lots of reading?

 

††††† When I mentioned Iíd been writing some stories, several B&B pals were very encouraging. They urged me to submit stories for a conzine (was my heart in my throat when I finally got up the courage to do that!). But mostly I guess you could say I was ďself-encouraged,Ē because I got so much joy from writing that I continued to do it, even if (as I thought at first) it would be only for my own satisfaction.

††††† I took a number of courses in both high school and college in creative writing, English composition, etc., so I had a fairly good grounding in the mechanics of writing when I started writing fanfic. For whatever my ďstyleĒ might be, that must be instinctual, since I like writing a certain way, and I know that in some ways (for good or bad) itís different than othersí writing.

 

 

When you write:

 

Describe the space in which you do most of your writing. Is it true that you don't have a computer at home?

 

††††† Until this summer, when we bought a laptop, we did not have a computer at home. Virtually all of my writing was (and is) done at my office, usually on weekends and holidays, or sometimes after hours on workdays when Larry, my husband, needs to stay late and I stay at my own office to write (we carpool together, so if he stays late, so do I). Iíve also done some writing in longhand. For instance, I wrote almost a complete first draft of a story while sitting in an airport for several hours due to flight delays while coming back from the last Los Angeles convention. I also keep a notebook by my bed in case I get an idea or think of a good line to use - otherwise Iíll lose the thought by morning.

††††† Iíve tried since we bought the laptop, and I find I actually donít like to write at home, since there are so many distractions (the phone, Larry coming into the room to ask how Iím doing, knowing I have chores to do, etc.). I prefer to write after hours at my desk in the office, where there are no other people, no phones ringing, nothing else to demand my time. It allows me to focus. I just pop a floppy in and start!

 

How do you work when you write - outline the story, start from an image, a word, an individual section... have an idea that tugs at your mind and practically writes itself...? Where do you start on a story... beginning, end or middle? Or does it just depend on the story?

 

††††† One thing I never do is outline. If Iíve worked out the story completely in my head or on paper beforehand (and I often ďwriteĒ stories, complete with dialogue, in my head - did I mention I like BatB a lot?!), then itís ďdoneĒ and I canít work up the enthusiasm to commit it to paper. So for me, outlines are creativity killers. Mostly, I start from a scene I imagine or a line of dialogue that pops into my head, and itís usually from the middle of what ends up being the completed story. On a few occasions Iíve had a general or specific plot idea that drove the story, but no clear idea how to get from A to Z. So... thereís nothing really ďorganizedĒ about how I write!

††††† Your question includes the phrase ďan idea that tugs at your mind and practically writes itself,Ē which is very interesting, because it exactly describes certain very rare, almost magical times. Out of the blue, suddenly a story just starts flowing from my fingers, almost without my conscious input, and I have to type fast to keep up with it. Itís almost like Iím channeling the story. I have no clue where the story is going - it just... comes. Hours go by and I have no realization of it, because Iím in this special zone where the story is everything. Often when this happens, the story ends up needing almost no editing. On the extremely rare occasions which this has happened to me, I believe I do my best writing. Itís a gift from the muse when that happens, and Iím so grateful when she perches on my shoulder and whispers in my ear.Iíve talked to other writers about this phenomenon and theyíve had the same experience with the same results, so I know Iím not completely crazy!

 

Do you have endings in mind for works in progress when you start them or do you just let the stories go where they take you? Do you always know what you want to achieve at the end?

 

††††† I usually donít have endings in mind for my stories. Only on rare occasions are my stories plot driven, with a goal in mind ahead of time. [Iím not counting the Jo Fredericks stories Ė my pen name for steamy fic Ė which are basically written with the goal of getting Vincent and Catherine horizontal!] Nine times out of ten, I let a story take me where it wants to go. Itís really no use trying to force it to go in one direction when it decides to go in another, because stories can be very stubborn and so usually get their way. And usually Iím glad I let the story go along on its own, because most of the time IT has a better idea than I did! I donít mean to sound facetious, because Iím really serious - stories (at least for me) generally have a mind of their own, which is why itís not worthwhile for me to ďplanĒ one. If I try to force it, it shows in the writing, which gets worse and worse until I get sick of it and hit the delete key.

 

You write a wide range of stories, from G to very hot. Is one type of story easier to write than another? Do you find you have a favorite type of story? What induces you to write a ďmomentĒ or a more plot-oriented story?

 

††††† No, I donít find one type of story easier or more difficult than another. I find them all difficult (in a good way)! They force my mind into paths it usually doesnít travel in my workaday world; they require me to try to find just the right word or phrase to convey what I want to say without (hopefully) sounding like a dozen other pieces of fanfic, etc. And when I sit down to write on a given day, I donít know whether Iíll be writing short-and-sweet or hot-and-sweaty... it all depends on where the story takes me.

††††† My favorite type of story to read is a ďfirst timeĒ story. I donít really have a favorite type to write, though. I guess my favorite is whatever seems to be ďworkingĒ that day! I do tend to write a lot of hurt/comfort stories, so perhaps that shows where my mind goes a lot.

††††† I greatly admire people who can write zine-length, densely plotted stories. I donít have the ability to do that. I can write longish stories, but nowhere near zine length ones. And I donít think Iím very good at developing complex plots (or maybe itís that I donít have as much interest in writing that kind of story, although Iíve enjoyed writing the few Iíve written). I treasured the little ďmomentsĒ between Catherine and Vincent in the episodes, so perhaps I gravitate toward giving them more of those, exploring little pieces of their complexity, rather than creating ďepisodesĒ of my own.

 

Do you have a favorite B&B character tell us about Geoffrey!

 

††††† My very favorite BatB character is ďCatherine and Vincent.Ē To me, there really canít be one without the other. That said... yeah, I have a very soft spot in my heart for Geoffrey! His little scene with Catherine in ďOrphansĒ is one of my favorites. They seemed to have an immediate connection, and he was so good-hearted and thoughtful, with his shy smile, freckled face and kind eyes - just a terrific kid. He sparked my imagination for a series of stories which I compiled into a zine called ďI Am the Dream.Ē No other BatB character has inspired me like that, other than our two main characters. I canít really explain why, except that little actor really ďsoldĒ that character to me!

 

You're a die hard classic, yet (once) you explored the V/D relationship. Tell us about that.

 

††††† Yes, Iím a Classic fan - no ifs, ands or buts. The one time I wrote of a V/D relationship - and I doubt thereíll ever be a second - was for a very specific reason. I had read a 3S story which I had thought I might enjoy, since it was written by a writer I greatly admire, and the short plot description seemed to promise a ďhappyĒ ending to me. Well... I was so upset and angry after reading the story (which didnít end at all as Iíd imagined) that I vowed Iíd create an alternate story, at least for myself, just to calm myself down! It was my own fault for reading what was clearly a 3S story, so I only have myself to blame, but that didnít change how hurt I was by the ending. [And no, I wonít say which story it was, because it IS beautifully written and I WAS warned.] Anyway, to make MY story come out, Diana had to be in it, and she had to have a relationship with Vincent (in the beginning). So thatís the genesis of my not-strictly-Classic story.

 

How often do the characters take off on their own once you've started writing? Do you ever end up with a story entirely different from the one you started, or maybe two or three spin-offs?

 

††††† My characters have a mind of their own when it comes to story development. Iím just along for the ride. I can have an idea, but suddenly out of nowhere a character says something I hadnít ďintendedĒ and off we go, in an entirely different direction. Sometimes the story just peters out midway to an ending. I have dozens of stories half written, testimony to the fact that characters can desert you in the middle of something if they just donít want to play. Sometimes, years later, I can pick up one of those stories and get a spark of an idea and finish it. Sometimes the stories just languish.

††††† I donít usually have enough of an idea for a spin-off of a story. I usually manage to get one whole story done, but not with any leftover ideas for another one!

 

Do your stories ever include some of your own life experiences? Have any of the characters you have created in a story been a reflection of yourself or someone you know? If so, to what extent?

 

††††† No, I canít recall any stories that have any of my own experiences in them. The way I look at it, Iím in Ron Koslowís sandbox when Iím writing, completely and totally. He didnít write me into his sandbox, so neither do I. Neither have I written anyone I know into a story. Even names of characters come out of thin air. There was one story once in which I named a nasty character for a singer who I couldnít stand to listen to, on a whim, but thatís the only time I even used so much as a name from ďlife,Ē and that was years ago.

 

Do you adhere to any self-imposed set rules or boundaries?

 

††††† I try to keep within the spirit of what we saw on screen, and only extrapolate within that spirit. I try to make the characterizations true to the originals. I donít have Vincent guffawing, for instance, because I just donít see that as characteristic of him from what we know of the character from the episodes. Thatís about it in terms of boundaries.

 

If you introduced especially painful developments, were they a priority in order to make the story eventful, hook the reader...? How did you feel about making the characters suffer - it would make them or their determination stronger, eventually solve their problems...?

 

††††† Iíve only rarely introduced very painful developments in stories. Iíve learned that sometimes what I thought would be very dramatic in terms of tension will strike some fans as personally painful, so I try not to do that very much. [Several years ago, there was a discussion on BBTV about fanfic which included rape scenarios, and I realized that a story Iíd written might cause some fans to become upset. If I had it to do over again, perhaps I wouldnít have written the story that way... or perhaps Iíd have been sensitive enough to put a warning before the story.] But as far as making the characters suffer a little, I admit that I love angst... I eat it with a spoon! I love to make the characters suffer agonies of indecision, torments of the soul, feelings of loss, maybe even some minor physical pain - because then when the comfort comes, it feels twice as sweet. I realize that may be a bit strange, but I really like hurt/comfort stories, and I enjoy writing them.

 

What research, if any, do you do for your stories?

 

††††† Since my stories arenít plot-heavy, I rarely find that I need to do much research. On rare occasions I draw from what I know of how things work in the law or government, but itís only for general background.

 

Do you have one or several favorite happy endings and/or developments in the characters' lives? If so, have you written about them yourself? Are there similar stories from other authors that you enjoy as much as your own?

 

††††† I love to read stories in which Vincent finally breaks free of the doubts and fears which have plagued him all his life. So... I write stories like that. I also love ďfirst timeĒ stories... so I write those, too!

††††† As for stories from other authors on similar themes, I generally enjoy other writersí stories much more than my own! For me, Teri writes THE best ďfirst timeĒ stories, and I still turn to them when I want a good wallow in great fanfic. My very favorite (and itís a tough choice) is Teriís ďCheckmate,Ē perhaps because itís the first of her stories that I read, so it made a deep impression on me.

 

Do you ever have a case of writer's block? If so, do you have a technique to get past it?

 

††††† Yes, there are times when I sit down to write and nothing really happens for me, or I struggle so much to find the words that I know Iím just spinning my wheels and everything I write that day will be something Iíll read the next day and discard. When this happens, I just stop writing. These periods can last days or even months. I want writing to remain fun, so I donít force it. Then one day Iíll sit down to write and I find I can do it again. So thereís no special technique I use, I just wait for the block to pass.

 

Is there any particular part of a story or poem that you had an unusual amount of trouble getting the way you wanted it and how did you resolve that problem?

 

††††† How much time do you have?! Yes, Iíve had stories wait literally years for me to finish them. One story was ninety percent done for a long time and I couldnít get past a certain point in the plot - I just couldnít find my way past a thorny issue. I happened to be exchanging e-mails with Trish Kehoe one day and mentioned this problem. She said something - I donít recall now what it was - and that comment caused something to click in my head and suddenly I knew how to work around the problem and soon after I finished the story. Other times, after months it of lying around, Iíll pick up a partially completed story and just ďknowĒ how to fix it or finish it. As I mentioned before, I have dozens of partially completed stories, so I often need to let them sleep for awhile before finishing them. This is true more times than not - I very rarely, if ever, finish a story within a few days, even very short ones.

 

If you could change one thing about your writing, writing habits, style, etc, what would it be?

 

††††† I know there are things I cannot change about myself that I wish I could, such as being a better writer, and being able to easily overcome writerís block, but I have to face the facts that these things arenít possible. So if I could change one thing thatís within my power to change, Iíd find more time to write.

 

Tell us about the story/stories you are working on at present, if any.

 

††††† Iíve got dozens of stories in various stages of completion, from just paragraphs long to a few pages long to almost completed. As I mentioned before, Iím not entirely ďin charge ofĒ when or how stories get finished, so at any time I might pull out a particular story and get the inspiration to complete it... or get an idea for an entirely new one.I have a few stories that I know will never see the light of day (because the storyline is just too odd or I no longer recall what the inspiration was for it), and others that I hope to finish for a future conzine. But whatever stories I work on take me a great deal of time to complete. Iím not someone lucky enough to be able to dash off a story in a day or two - maybe if itís a one-page vignette... MAYBE I could do it that quickly, otherwise, my stories take me many hours from start to finish (usually over a span of months - for instance, ďBetween Two EternitiesĒ took me, at a conservative estimate, 100 hours to write/edit).

 

 

After youíve written:†††††††††††

 

Do you have your stories edited and proofread? Do you consider this important? Do you involve beta readers? Do you have favorite editors/proofreaders?

 

††††† Absolutely, I have my stories edited. I firmly believe that writers who donít use editors are making a big mistake - you may think a story is perfect, but another pair of eyes is always, always a good idea. But before I let my editors read my stories, Iíve already spent hours going over and over and over them. For me, the self-editing process is as satisfying creatively as the original writing. My self-editing process often takes more time than writing the original story, which is always done in a kind of rush, focusing mostly on dialogue. So when I edit my own work, Iím adding descriptive language, cleaning up typos and other mistakes, checking plot points to ensure thereís good flow, making certain I donít have Vincent picking up a cup and not setting it down before rushing off somewhere, considering more appropriate word choices (and noticing when Iíve used an unusual word too often and use another instead), and generally trying to polish the story.I go over a story from start to finish in this way many, many times. As a final check, I always read the story out loud to myself - itís amazing how many little errors you can pick up doing that (a trick I learned from my pal Roseann Buonadies, one of the truly great zine editors in our fandom).

††††† So... Iíve written the story, then Iíve worked on it on and off for several weeks, trying to make sure Iíve caught all errors and fixed the more gaping plot holes or miss-characterizations. Only then do I ask my editors to review the story for me. I have two good friends who proofread and edit my stories - Jackie Newman (who runs BBRC and the Online Q-fer) and Linda Barth, one of the Founding Mothers of CABB. Both of them are writers I greatly admire, and both have the wonderful ability to suggest and critique in positive ways. Iím always amazed by how much better my stories are after Iíve made the edits theyíve suggested. They are true gems as friends, fans and editors.

 

You, as well as the other guest authors we are interviewing, have allowed your work to be posted online for the enjoyment of all B&B fans. Why did you decide to do it? How did you/do you choose the sites to have your stories posted?

 

††††† I always try to contribute a new story when I know thereís a charity element involved, so thatís usually for a zine. Only when the zine has been out of print for a year (which has been a general standard in our fandom) and no further money will accrue for the charity involved do I consider posting it online. Iím happy to share them. Iíve never thought about NOT posting my stories online, although I know there are writers in our fandom who prefer not to, for various reasons. I fully support them and would do nothing to undermine their decision.

††††† Soapbox moment: I know some writersí works are so beloved; itís devastating when they say no to posting their stories. But sometimes we have to learn to do without, to accept ďnoĒ as an answer, and not do anything ethically or morally questionable just because we ďwantĒ something. People are entitled to decide where and how their ďchildrenĒ (stories, art, or whatever) are exposed to the world. OK, Iím down from the soapbox now!

††††† A couple of times site owners have asked if they could post a specific story on their sites, and Iím thrilled that theyíve wanted to. Usually, though, you only find my stories on BBRC or on CABBís sites (Tunnel Tales or The Steam Tunnels). I admire the ladies running those sites very much and want to support their magnificent efforts to keep The Dream alive in any way I can.

 

What do you like to hear from someone reading your story? What do you find most helpful or rewarding when reading reviews of your writing?

 

††††† I donít get feedback very often, and I donít think anyone has ever reviewed my writing. On occasion someone has come up to me at a con to tell me they liked a particular story, or e-mailed me to say something kind about one, and I treasure those moments because it always amazes me that someone else might like my stories! But itís rare that I get specific feedback, so I donít have a lot of experience with it. Once, years ago, I had a very interesting three-way e-mail discussion with two fans who had some issues with aspects of one of my stories - we respectfully disagreed about how Catherine would have handled a certain situation, but what was so nice was that it was a genuine and thoughtful discussion, and I learned a lot by having it, even though we didnít all agree.

 

What was the most interesting response you've had to your work? What do you consider the greatest compliment you've received? Did you ever get a review that really touched you? Something a reader wrote that really inspired you?

 

††††† Being asked to do this interview is probably the most interesting response Iíve had to my work! The greatest compliment Iíve gotten is each time someone says something to me about a story Iíve written - I cherish every comment. I havenít ever been reviewed (that I know of), so I canít respond to that question. As far as being inspired by something a reader wrote, Iíll confess that the greatest thrill is to get a positive comment from a writer whose work I greatly admire - thatís inspirational to the point that it gives me a boost, almost a fresh energy to continue to write.

 

Which of your B&B writings do you like best, and why? If you were forced to pick one passage, scene or line from one of your stories as a favorite, what would it be?

 

††††† I have ďfavoritesĒ for a number of reasons - the story might be one of the first I ever wrote that I think turned out well, it might have been a terrible struggle to write and to finish and after all the work Iím especially pleased with the results, or it might be from a rare ďchanneling the museĒ experience. They may not be what other people might like the best, but because of those personal experiences/reasons, theyíre ones I like the best. So, in category 1 (first stories), I think ďLet It Be MeĒ came out well; in category 2 (struggle), I am proud of ďBetween Two Eternities;Ē in category 3 (muse-y), ďFantasiesĒ was a mood piece which came out exactly the way I hoped it would. I havenít mentioned any of the Jo Fredericks stories yet - ďWhen My World Divides and ShattersĒ is one I donít cringe with embarrassment TOO much when I re-read!

††††† I donít believe Iíve written any spectacular lines, scenes or passages. I think the feeling of dreamy moodiness came through well in ďFantasies,Ē so Iíd pick that as my ďforced pickĒ!

 

Who are some other B&B authors who might inspire you or whose work you particularly enjoy? Is there a story of another writerís you especially like?

 

††††† The list is long. I mentioned a few writers earlier, but itís by no means an exhaustive list. Frankly, it would be easier to single out just a few zines or stories that particularly inspire or move me, that I return to again and again because they take my breath away.My single most favorite zine is ďSleepless in ProvidenceĒ by Ann Brown. Itís perfection. I am blown away by Verity Mathewís story ďThe Dance Wears Thin.Ē I already mentioned Teriís ďCheckmate,Ē which is one of my all-time favorite stories. The zine ďWhen the Phoenix SingsĒ is also a very special favorite.There are others, but those really stand out in my mind as sources of constant inspiration.

 

You are very active in the online fandom, both with the B&B Reading Chamber and working to find authors and get permissions from writers of out of print zines to have their works posted for the enjoyment of the ďnewĒ online fans. Tell us something about this.

 

††††† I believe the Crystal Rose Lending Library provides an enormous service in lending zines to fans who cannot otherwise find or afford them. But I have heard from fans outside of the U.S. regarding how hard it is for them to find zines, and borrowing them from the lending library is an expensive proposition due to mail costs. So, while I believe there is absolutely nothing like the experience of holding a zine in your hand and savoring it slowly, appreciating not just the stories but the poems, the artwork and the craftsmanship that the editor lovingly put into her zine, I realize that not all fans are able to have this experience. Even though the experience of reading a story online is so antiseptic and cold to me (kind of like the difference between sitting at home and chatting online compared to attending a convention with scores of others with whom you can chat and hug and share), the Internet provides an option for reading fanfic. So I want to help expand the number of out-of-print stories and zines which are posted online.

††††† Iíve tried to track down fans who are no longer active in fandom to ask respectful permission (in writing) to post stories. It can be a frustrating process, as many addresses turn out to be no longer valid, and often the writers, when found, do not wish their stories posted online. But itís nice when you do actually find someone and that person does agree! I havenít been as active in doing this recently as I have been in the past (helping with the last few cons and working on producing a new zine have taken precedence), but I hope to get back to it soon. [I understand that the Winterfest committee has tracked down some formerly active fans and received permission for some special postings, and I applaud you for doing that! Bravi!]

 

You are also very active in paper zines production, and the acclaimed The First Time I Loved Forever you edited is among the most beloved zines ever. Can you tell us something about this, too? Do you find the editing work and the writing equally appealing, or do you enjoy one more than the other?

 

††††† Our fandom is one which got started well before the Internet was a viable source of contact between fans, so our historical association with zines is a rich one. Since I love the look and feel of hard copy zines so much, keeping that part of our fandomís history alive is dear to my heart. Iíve been lucky enough to work with some tremendously talented people to put together several zines. The side benefit of zine production is raising funds for worthwhile charities, something our fandom has always done, and something I see dying out in other arenas in our fandom.

Another soapbox moment: Iím disappointed that our online mailing lists have done so little to promote and raise money for charities. The local clubs have always done this, and our conventions and zine productions have helped to do this, as well. I realize that not every list can put on a convention as the BBTV list did in New York City a few years ago, but I sincerely hope that online fandom begins to do more in this area. There have to be innovative ways of contributing positively to our society while enjoying ourselves. OK, Iím down from the soapbox again!

††††† Putting a zine together takes time and patience. I try to ask for art and story submissions from people Iíve worked with on projects before, people who Iím confident will deliver what they promise. The actual editing usually is split between me and Cathy Moran, who is a superb zine editor. In this case, ďeditingĒ takes on several forms. I do the story editing - checking over the stories and making suggestions to the writers on fixing the occasional typo, plot burp, or other small things (but the writer always has the last word, no pun intended!). Cathy formats the zine; meaning sheís the craftsman, designing the special touches, selecting the font, typeface, deciding on the placement of art, etc. Then she provides me with a clean copy, and I arrange for printing, binding, and handle sales. We trust each other totally, which makes it easy to produce a zine together. Plus, since the writers and artists whose products we organize into a zine are so magnificent, all weíre really doing is gilding the lily a little!

††††† Itís getting harder to produce hard copy zines, as fewer fans are willing or able to pay the cost of one... and printing and binding are getting more expensive, so zines cost more to produce, leaving less money for the charity... Itís a vicious circle. I doubt weíll see many more zines produced in our fandom, except for conzines, which is sad but, I guess, inevitable. With the Internet, itís so much quicker and easier to just post a story, even if no benefit accrues to a charity as a result, and even if we lose the visceral pleasure of holding a zine in our hands.††

††††† The act of editing is an interesting one, and I do enjoy it, although itís not as creative as writing. If a writer thinks I might be useful to them and asks me to edit a story, Iím very honored by that trust, and I try not to abuse it. I donít ever try to change someoneís style, only find the little problems (typos, etc.) and sometimes suggest alternate word choices, point out potential plot problems, etc.I also try only to work with writers who understand that editing isnít criticism, itís just trying to polish the apple to make it more beautiful. Iíve had good experiences editing othersí work, but then Iíve been lucky to work with such wonderful writers that (shhh!) my editing is hardly needed!

 

Speaking of The First Time I Loved Forever, its eagerly awaited sequel, Once More With Feeling, is due soon Ė can you tell us about it, and give us sources for ordering?

 

††††† As I respond to these questions (in early December), itís in the final stages of development. Since I donít want to be running to the printer and binding zines during the Christmas holidays, the zine will be coming out in January. We have some returning contributors and some new contributors: Pat King and Jo Fredericks (me!) are returning contributors, and we have incredibly beautiful stories by ďLea,Ē Karen Mason-Richardson and JíEcris in the zine, plus art by returning artists Sandy Tew and Sandy Chandler Shelton as well as Gamin Davis and Rosemarie Hauer. Ordering information will be posted online, but anyone interested in the zine before then can contact me at an e-mail address set up especially for ordering the zine: omwf2004@yahoo.com

 

Any advice you would give to beginners?

 

††††† Write what you feel. Take the leap of faith and share your creativity. Have someone you trust to be fair and truthful review your writing before you post it or submit it to a conzine - taking the time to edit shows respect for your work and for your readers. Donít be just a consumer of the talents of our fandom; find a way to be a contributor, in whatever way you can. We keep The Dream alive for one another.

 

 

Being a B&B fan:††††††††††††

 

In RL are you a closet "beastie" or do all your friends and family members know you're a fan? How do they feel about your Beauty and the Beast involvement? Do they worry about your sanity?

 

††††† Iím half in/half out of the closet, I suppose! Some friends/relatives/co-workers know Iím a fan, but very few know I write fanfic. I donít try to hide my involvement in fandom, but neither do I make a point of announcing it. If people ask me where Iíve been during July, Iíll tell them a little about the last convention, and a little is usually all anyone wants to hear!

††††† How people feel about me being in fandom runs the gamut. Larryís very supportive of my involvement in this fandom - as those whoíve met him at conventions know. At the other end of the spectrum, my Mom feels BatB fandom might be a cult and Iíll disappear at any moment! Some friends are smugly disdainful, which I guess I can understand, because I felt that way myself about people who joined fandoms until I found this one. I canít blame them for not understanding, but since I donít need their approval, they can understand or not! Frankly, as long as Iím happy, Iím not going to worry about how other people think I should be spending my time.

 

How did B&B affect your life?

 

††††† Deeply, indelibly, viscerally. I carry it in my heart always.

 

Are you or have you been involved with any other fandoms in the same way?

 

††††† No, never, and I canít ever see myself involved in another fandom. Iím not a fandom person, Iím a BatB person. Iíve enjoyed a few other shows and characters immensely (Spike comes to mind!), but none have affected me or taught me or inspired me like our show.

 

Do you write in any other fandoms besides B&B?

 

††††† No. I have no desire or inspiration to write in any other fandoms.

 

Do you want to say anything else to the readers of this interview about yourself, B&B, the writing art, or the fandom?

 

Jackie Newman maintains the Online Q-fer. Any additional information about zines or zine contents will be gratefully accepted. With everyoneís help we can make the site as comprehensive as possible.

 

 

In the first pic at the beginning of the interview, JoAnn and husband Larry at the New York City convention in 2001. In the above pic, JoAnn at her first convention (Virginia Beach in 1998).

 

 

Winterfest Online, January 2005