1/ What is so special to you about that Star Wars galaxy far, far away?

I can imagine anything I want to, and it fits. Somewhere in that galaxy, there is a place for everything and everyone.

2/ How would you describe yourself?

Not exactly model thin, not exactly model pretty. Shy, slow of speech around strangers, but can be hilariously funny around friends. Intolerant and impatient, though I try not to show it too much.

3/ How did you get into fan fic writing?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t creating stories based on the books I read or the television shows that I watched. Before I started writing, I would talk quietly to myself while playing with my action figures (I never had dolls, I had action figures). I always wanted to be on board the Enterprise with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, or running along side the Six Million Dollar Man. I think I actually wrote my first fanfic at the age of 8, in third grade, when I was given a piece of paper with a picture of a girl on it, and three lines in which I was supposed to describe what she was doing. Well, she was watching Star Trek, of course, and the three lines turned into three pages of what that particular episode was about.

But as for specifically Star Wars, after I had seen The Phantom Menace twice, I began to feel that old, familiar urge to be part of that universe and write something that included a version of myself coming into contact with Obi-Wan Kenobi. The result was “What’s in a Name?“ I was working on it when I came across a small article in a German news magazine, which happened to mention that a certain site (which I’ve since forgotten) had the entire script of The Phantom Menace up for anyone to read. Wanting to be as true to the film as possible, I naturally clicked on the site and did a little research for my story there. Then I discovered the fan fic section, and I was completely blown away. Other people had taken the characters and put them into new stories! Just like me! A link from that site led me to TheForce.net, and then it really was the will of the Force that I clicked on the Jedi Council, because I was aiming the mouse pointer at something else and slipped. The new page came up, the words Fan Fiction jumped out at me, and I’ve been in heaven ever since.

4/ Have there been/are there any influences on your writing?

I suppose everything that I have ever read has influenced my writing in one way or another. For several years, I pored over the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey and tried to write my own stories set in her world, so I’m sure her style has influenced me quite a bit. Once, I translated an Agatha Christie novel into German, page for page (over the course of a year ) and learned not to overuse certain phrases such as “she cried“ or “she said sharply.“

5/ Has your writing style changed in any way?

I’m always improving my style, at least I hope so. I can’t think of any radical change that I’ve gone through, though, such as making a conscious switch from flowery descriptions to a few choice adjectives. I’ve always striven to make every word count and not to bore the reader by dwelling too much on unimportant details. I’d rather say that my style has evolved slowly but surely as I’ve learned to improve certain techniques.

6/ Who are your favourite characters from the old and the new trilogy?

From the OT, my favourite is Han Solo, definitely. The way he charges at the stormtroopers, then turns around and gets chased by them because his heart’s in the right place, but he wasn’t exactly thinking ahead. The way he gets annoyed with Princess Leia, then wonders if she and he have a future together. The way he claims he’s only in it for the money, but then he comes back to help out against the Death Star. I was too young to appreciate him when I first saw Star Wars, but that torture scene from The Empire Strikes Back sent a thrill through me that I will never forget. I guess I just love that mixture of scoundrel and soft-heartedness, the touch of vulnerability under the bravado.

Who else could be my favourite character from the new trilogy than Obi-Wan Kenobi? Young, handsome, great light saber moves, and a sense of humour that sneaks out when you’re least expecting it. He captured my heart forever with that barely suppressed smile and the crack about Qui-Gon being right, the negotiations -were- short. Of course, referring to Anakin as a pathetic life form also raised this particular padawan quite a bit in my estimation, too. I also like Qui-Gon Jinn, of course. In him I see experience, fatherly-type love and protection, and a dry sense of humour. “The ability to speak does not make one intelligent.“

7/ How did the character An-Paj come about?

I was involved in a round robin where Obi-Wan was kidnapped by Xanatos and subjected to all kinds of torment, and I needed a healer. At first, An-Paj wasn’t much more than a name, and then I made him a non-human as a plot device, and added the six wives as another plot device. He evolved from there. One of the other authors from the round robin, the Jedi Princess, began using him in her other stories, and suddenly, everybody else wanted to, as well. I think Jemmiah actually gave him most of his character when she included him in “Lions, Tigers, and Padawans, oh my!“

8/ How do you feel about An-Paj being the nearest thing to a “canon” fiction character?

I’m proud. I can’t help it, I just grin crazily every time it comes up. I never expected it, I know it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time, and I’m very aware that a lot of other people have contributed to An-Paj’s fame simply by mentioning his name, but I’m still proud.

9/ You’re known as “The Queen of Obi torture”...how did this come about and why “Poor Obi“?

I suppose it came about when I was new to the Jedi Council. I’d already posted one story and had got one single reply, thank you Mouse2. I wanted to make a name for myself and get attention, so I came up with a story and titled it “Obi-Torture First Class.“ In comparison to my later works, the story itself was, well, okay but not great. I’m almost embarrassed about it now, but it certainly secured my reputation. Why poor Obi? Because I care about him, I guess. Other people have explained it better than I ever could, but it has something to do with this ‘hurt/comfort’ thing. We want to see our favourite characters get bashed so that we can comfort them later. I’m still working on the comfort part, though.

10/ What do you like about the “Jemmiah Chronicles“?

The clever writing. The way something that was mentioned as an aside right at the beginning of a post or story comes back with a vengeance! The way situations start out innocent, then go downhill in a burst of hilarity.

11/ Do you have any favourite characters, and why?

Do you mean only in the „Jemmiah Chronicles?“ Well, Jemmiah herself, I think, the combination of smart-mouthed girl and yet vulnerability on the inside.

And outside--hmm. I have a list of characters whom I find fascinating, and where I wait for every post that gives me more of them, but I can’t decide which one is my favourite.

12/ If you weren’t living in Germany, where would you want to live?

That’s a hard one. I’d certainly like to visit Australia, but I won’t know if I’d like to live there until I actually see it and experience it. I suppose I’d have to say England, then. Cadbury’s chocolate at every supermarket, and something historical to visit around every corner, and those wonderful indoor playgrounds for the kids where it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or not.

13/ What’s your favourite film and why?

Just at the moment, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. It has everything! The best action scenes I’ve ever seen, two different kinds of romance, mystery and suspense, sly humour, everything!

14/ Do you have any pets?

No. When I was a teenager, we had a cat, but later, I found out I was allergic. My husband likes dogs in general, and my oldest son wants a goldfish, but since we travel once a year, it’s best if we don’t have anything.

15/ What’s your least favourite thing?

So many things are vying for that spot on my list of dislikes, so here’s one at random: People who talk too much without saying anything.

16/ What are you most looking forward to happening in the next year or so?

Funny that this should be another hard question to answer. I must be turning into a Grinch because I am certainly not looking forward to Christmas. More Legos? Oh, joy.

In July, we’re going on holiday to the south of England. That should be fun, assuming one or both of the boys don’t fall over the side of the ferry and drown on the way.

No, wait, I know. I am looking forward to a day that might never come, when all my favourite fanfics have been updated at the same time, both boys are out of the house, and I have a long morning to myself with no interruptions at all, where I can read and read and read!
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Interview with Jane Jinn
April 2001