A Germ Under The Microscope - An Interview With

Interviewed by Lariel Oct 2002


Last year, I was minding my own business in England when I got this rather ominous email from Verrath. We'd known each other for several years, having first met on the old Ex-Guards list and we'd been sporadically writing each other ever since. She'd write highly insulting letters and I'd fire them back, and it was a beautiful acquaintance. Also having lots of friends in the same circle helped us to keep in touch - chats and phone calls helped even better. Anyway, like I said, I was munching on a piece of toast last year and opened her email - virus free, I'm happy to report - and there it was. She was coming to stay.

What to do with her? We took her sightseeing, made her drink and eat lots and co-wrote a story with her while she was here. And Verrath in person was exactly the same as Verrath online - and that's not something you can say about everyone.

So who is Verrath? An award winning writer (the Tell Me series won one of the coveted swollen bud awards in Dec 2000), a talented artist and painter who has quite a collection of portraits and book covers on her site, and someone who was web savvy before everyone else got into it... a keen sportswoman, with an interest in travelling and someone who has met loads of people through attending cons etc. Basically - one of the nicest people you could ever meet.

You can find Verrath's fiction and artwork on her site, The Book of Tales and you can contact her at Verrath

All artwork used throughout this interview is copyright to Verrath.

Tell us a little about Verrath - the real Verrath now! All the dirty secrets....<g>

What do you mean, dirty? I'm sweetness incarnate! <G> Seriously, my mother always complained that I never went out to a disco or anything. Complained, do you believe it?? (You don't, I can see it by that smirk you're wearing <G>) She even offered to pay for it, or to get my ears pierced, believe it or not. But, I'm proud to say, I was positively incorruptible. ;-)
See, I was way too nice. I still am sometimes... although maybe it doesn't look that way online (quiet, you!!), which is okay as far as I'm concerned.

Were you a fan of the show?

Of course. :-) I still am, FIN or no.

Who was your favourite character, and why?

Just look at the dark past on that...!

Xena. Why? Isn't that obvious? The woman's gorgeous! Oh, and I guess I have a thing for this dark past/redemption type thing... <dreamy sigh>

Which are your most AND least favourite episodes? Why??

My least favorite ep of all times is definitely Married With Fishsticks. Why? <shudders> I'm sure they had fun filming it, but it was just so... Ach! Vordz fail mee!
My favorite? There are several. For comedy, I'd list Been There, Done That, and Send In The Clones. For emotional impact, One Against An Army comes to mind and so does Friend in Need <ducks rotten tomatoes>. Hey! It prompted me to write again after a frustrating hiatus! Also, references to Altared States seem to pop up frequently in my writing for some reason.

So FIN prompted you to write again - 'The Sad One'. Why was that?

First of all, FIN was so emotional. It gripped me from the beginning and glued me to the TV till the end - it's been a VERY long time since a Xena episode did that to me. Of course, I jumped up and said "But that's just WRONG!!!!" when I suppose just about everybody else did, but it was still a very intense show. I think another influence for The Sad One was a German movie entitled Aimee & Jaguar, that deals with a lesbian couple during WW2. Some of the bitterness of that movie stayed with me and just wanted to shape itself into a dark story. FIN gave the final impulse - I got to wondering how Gabrielle would be able to go on. What would she be like years and years later? What could have happened to her? It didn't seem right to force her to only have a ghost for a companion (besides, I've done that one before <G>). So how would she deal with being alone? Not well, apparently. The rest is yet to be written so I won't give too much away :-)
In any case, FIN nagged at me and would not leave me alone. Can't leave it that way, no way, nohow. So I started writing. I'll leave it up to others to decide if my version of Gab's future is any nicer...

Which Xena character would you say is most like you, and why?

Gabrielle, probably. First-Season Gabrielle in most respects. Which is probably why I adore Xena so much. ;-)

A lot of bards identify with Gabrielle - why do you think that she has struck a chord with most bards? What is it about her character that we latch onto, do you think?

She never stops talking, she's obnoxious, but she's faithful, steadfast and has a good heart... there have been a lot of characters like that in movies and TV shows - Donkey from Shrek and Sid the Sloth from Ice Age come to mind in recent animation. Not very complimentary, but they do have similar traits when you think about it. Of course, they all have a grouchy, big companion with a dark past who wants no friends - do we see a pattern here? I guess the Gabrielle types are endearing in an annoying sort of way... And they tell some nice stories ;-)

What was the first fanfic story you ever read?

I don't remember the first. I'd had no idea what I was getting into, and I had come across some XXX story that made me clear my throat several times and quickly hit the back button, face burning. The first story I remember reading that actually had a plot was Bound by Melissa Good. I loved it. That was when I told myself, "Hey, I think I can do that."

What do you think about the whole fanfic and online writing/publishing phenomenon?

Well, fanfic certainly isn't original to this show, so I assume you're talking about more and more bards going from classic Xena to uber to original and finally getting their works published. I have mixed feelings about that, mostly because there is never any true agreement to where an uber leaves off and an original story begins. I know that when and if I ever finish a story I plan to have published in book form, no-one will be able to mistake it for a well-disguised uber... <G>
Although if you really think about it, some stories labeled "uber" really don't have much in common with the stereotypes of Xena and Gabrielle, beyond involving two strong women being thrown together by circumstance, and bearing a certain resemblance to Bard and Warrior. That alone, for me at least, doesn't make it an uber - stories with these qualities have been written long before the show first aired. One series in particular, started in 1986, is so similar to the show's basic idea that it makes me wonder where TPTB got THEIR ideas...<G>
Ahem. Before I fly off on a tangent, let's move on, shall we? ;-)
In any case, if a bard/author manages to get their work published and marketed beyond the Xenaverse - more power to them!

So what's your definition of uber & original?

Basically, "uber" for me has a well-defined link to the show beyond mere resemblance of characters. I've tried to stick to my own definition in all of my ubers, for example - The Tell-Me Series has the kids re-enact Xena's and Gabrielle's adventures, so the original characters are there. Crazed Ramblings also has Xena as a character. With Heart Of A Leopard I went a different path and incorporated popular lines of dialogue from the show, as well as trying to mirror the basic plot of some first season eps.
Anyway, there is also the gray area, where the characters and their backgrounds have a very strong resemblance to X & G, but it's set in a completely different world and has no other ties to the show. I would not call this uber, but on the other hand, I have difficulty in some cases justifying the publishing of such stories as original, since obviously the writers as well as the readers admit that they do write/read those types of stories visualizing the characters, essentially, as versions of Xena and Gabrielle that are merely dressed according to the time and place they happen to be in. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, it's just <shrugging sheepishly> aww heck, I don't know...

Are you 'out' as a fanfic writer in your real life? Who knows about your shameful secret identity??

Most of the people around me know I write, and most of these also know I write fan fiction, and that I'm a Xena fan. They don't really know many details, and aren't too interested anyway. Which is just as well, I suppose. Of course, that will all change when I'm a famous, best-selling fantasy author.
Yeah, right! :o)

So how long have you been writing? Was fanfic your first stab at it, or are you a seasoned performer?

I think I started writing my first story somewhere in second grade, the moment my writing skills were good enough to write coherent sentences. Ever since, I've felt the need to put stories to paper - it's like painting, only less messy (and painting is another of my hobbies). My muse had been dormant for years at the time when I first came across the Xenaverse, however, and fan fiction. Needless to say, I jumped at this chance to stretch my creative legs once more! :-)

What was the first story you ever wrote?

Oh, this is embarrassing! ;-) It's about a baby grizzly bear who runs away from his mommy seeking adventure, and gets hopelessly lost, befriends a mouse, and some other hair-raisingly cute stuff <G> As I mentioned before, this was written when I was in second grade, in pencil, and I even did my own illustrations. Yes, I still have it. Thankfully my spelling and grammar have improved marginally since. At least I was consistent in mis-spelling "grizzli" <G>

What was the first story you ever posted? Why'd you choose that particular one?

Possibilities. The reason why I chose it is fairly straight-forward: it was the first fan fiction story I ever finished.

Now, you're a bit of an old timer with regards to the Xenaverse, aren't you? How long have you been active now? <you wrinkly old germ, you!>

<Ahem> That's Germ, With A Capital G, s'il vous plait! :-P
Where were we? Oh. Yes. How long I've been active. Now don't you think that's a rather personal que- ah, you mean my writing! Sheesh, why didn't you say so? And don't call me old!
What was the question again? ;-) <cheeky grin>
Okay, then, if you have to know... Possibilities was posted in late 1998, which I guess was the start of Verrath's online existence.

Now, you must've seen quite a few changes in your time online. How is the community now compared to when you first got into it?

Yes, there have been quite a few changes! When I first started out, there weren't nearly as many stories out there as there are today, and a lot of sites would not post anything without first looking over it - which, even if it represented the tastes of the webmasters, made for better quality stories overall. I remember how big a deal it was for me to get accepted by MaryD - and I shamelessly admit I had some help from a good friend who asked her for me. Also, Lunacy's Reviews were still a daily source of reading material. Again, this was just one person's opinion being published, but it made finding some good reading much easier, and it made having your story posted a truly special thing. Today, of course, I have my own site and can post whatever I wish. I still like seeing my stories go up elsewhere, but it's not nearly as thrilling as it used to be. But maybe I'm just spoiled rotten and arrogant... ;-)
The stories. As I said before, there are now so many it's hard to find something that you like, and I've nearly given up on reading fan fic, unless some friend recommends a piece, or it's by an author I know and like. It seems that it's gotten so much easier to have stuff posted that's not even roughly edited or spell-checked, and however good the story idea and plot might be, this is an instant turn-off for me. When I started out, there were about 100 bards and 700 stories represented on MaryD's, for example. Today, she has 320 bards and possibly thousands of stories - that's a LOT of reading material.

Verrath gets ready to check her email..
As for the online community, it's been a constant up and down. I can't say there has been a specific dark period. It does seem that people get more aggressive, more sensitive, quicker to lash out and more paranoid online these days, even as the overall number of posts on mailing list is going down. Fan fiction seems to merge more and more into lesbian romance. There are, as far as I'm aware, fewer new classic stories out there. But then that may just be my impression, because I rely on a few review sites to see what's new...

It seems like the XV is - on the face of it - on the decline a little. Fan mail is dropping, review sites are updating less frequently and the XV awards are almost gone. Has this had any affect on your writing at all?

<scratching head> I honestly can't say. I have written more - and more frequently - in the past, but I am not sure at all that it has to do with any decline of the Xenaverse. It's just phases I go through. These last few days I've written a whole chapter on a story I had thought dead. Around the end of last year, I had a session of mad portrait-drawing that bordered on obsession - it lasted for a month or three. I haven't touched a pencil in a long time. It's just the way my creative juices work - there are deluges, and then there are droughts <G>. Such is life.

What gave you the idea for the Tell Me series?

Tell Me cover artwork
I was chatting with a friend, and for some reason we got onto the subject of horses, which he said he didn't like. I, of course, being a girl and all, was indignant and told him I loved horses so much I even named my first bicycle after one. That was when something in my brain went *click*, and on the same day I wrote "Tell Me, Gabrielle". I showed it to another friend, who assured me I had a winner :-) I guess she wasn't completely wrong...

You've got quite a following in the online community. Have you been at all surprised by the fan's reactions to your stories?

I do? Well, I'm not really aware of a big following, even if I do get the occasional mail thanking me for this story or that, or asking where the rest of one is <cough, cough>. It does feel good to hear that a story worked for someone, especially when people tell me they are giving Tell Me to their children to read! :-)

How did you end up writing Xena and Gabrielle as a panther and leopard?

Buggered if I know. I love cats, and I adore leopards. (A clarification, just in case: a panther can be a black jaguar, or a black leopard, or any other black version of any normally spotted type of cat. Sometimes cougars are called panthers, but that is another matter. So in truth, they are both of the same species - a fact which I would like to stress. <G>)
As to how on earth I came up with the persona of two talking felines, I honestly don't remember. I do remember scouring the web after someone had told me something like this had been done before. I drew a breath of relief when I found the story in question - The Kind by L. Graham (no longer available) is a story about two wolves. However, they aren't anthropomorphized in the way that Xandra, Ginelle, Herac and all the others in Heart Of A Leopard are, so I figured I was okay :-).

I remember reading 'Tired' and thinking "what the hell...????" How on earth did you even think of writing with cars as your main characters??

That was a bad day. I was driving over to the Czech Republic to visit with my good friend, normally an eight-hour drive, and I got stuck in traffic two hours into the journey. I was tired, I was cranky, I was horribly sleep-deprived, and then this BMW appeared next to my car, along with the silliest flash of inspiration I have ever had. But, to my defense: someone - I forget who - wrote a story entitled I Have Many Help Files, featuring two computers, and Joanna wrote A Tree Grows In Mesopotamia. I would say I'm in good company! ;-)

Some people might say - with that in mind - that as a writer, you're a bit unconventional and downright weird <g> How would you describe your writing?

I'll take that as a compliment! I hesitate to describe my writing. I tend to try different things occasionally, although I guess I like to go for humor and I'm fascinated with all things fantasy-related.

And is that typical of how you are in real life at all?

I'm a trained professional. Computer geek. 'Nuff said.

Any dreams of being published?

Absolutely. There are a slew and a half of ideas for original stories on my hard disk, two of which have actually been developed beyond the first spark. Some day, maybe... I would love to publish either a children's fantasy, or a large-scale grown-up fantasy epic (I'm avoiding the word "adult" here on purpose <G>)

So what's the appeal of the fantasy genre then?

Well, you get to make your own rules, and things can happen that aren't possible in real life - what's not to like?

You're on a few lists - any views on internet list life?

I think I've covered most of that earlier. I have to say that the internet is, overall, a very good thing for me. I've met so many people through it, and have actually found some very good friends, it's hard to be truly cynical. Sometimes, though, I do wonder at some of the posts people throw into each other's faces. I can see where people can get truly hurt if they take these things too seriously. And then there are of course those who take THEMSELVES way too seriously... I've stopped letting these things get to me, although I have gotten involved in what I thought were stupid conflicts to begin with. At times, they have cost me a night's sleep or two. I'm glad I've been around long enough to see it this way; I've certainly taken my own nasty hits in the past <G> Don't get me wrong; I am not saying I do not respect the people behind all those email addies. It's just that it's very easy to a) misunderstand somebody's post because you can't see their face or hear any undertones in their voices when you read a post on the screen, and b) to say something hurtful on line because you are not seeing those you speak to, and can't gauge their reactions to your words.

Which of your stories would you recommend to anyone wanting to get a taste for a typical Verrath story, and why?

Hmmm.... Well, the Tell-Me Series definitely comes to mind, although I don't know that it would be typical. I guess I can't help having my own style, but I like to think I'm trying something new with each story or series. Delusions of grandeur, surely. As for classic Xena, there aren't too many choices, so I'd go with the longest I've written so far - The Warrior, The Witch And The Nightmare.
Warrior, Witch & Nightmare cover artwork

Which authors do you most admire, and why?

Piers Anthony. I love his wordplay, and I picked up most of my vocabulary from his books. Besides, he's a sweetie :-)
Robert Jordan, I simply adore his Wheel Of Time series, best and closest-to-life characterization I have seen so far. Okay, so he wrote a Conan or two, but nobody's perfect, right? ;-)
I would also like to mention Madeleine L'Engle. She has written some of the most unusual and intriguing fantasy novels I can think of.
Oh, and James Herriot, for his wonderful and hilarious portrayal of Yorkshire country life.

You met Piers Anthony at a convention this year, didn't you? What was it like, meeting the man behind the words?

It was a wonderful experience! He is a very open-minded, intelligent man who loves to talk! I even got treated to the telling of a story bit that's as yet unpublished, and found that he is a storyteller in the true sense of the word. Definitely a high point for me. Hey, and he loved the Tarot Deck I made for him, so what's not to like??

You're a notoriously slow writer <g> Why is that?

Oh shush <G>.

So what stops you from writing?

Life. Computer games. Work. Volleyball. Family. Happiness. Did I leave anything out? Basically, I only write when the mood takes me. I guess I suffer from writer's block in a way, but it's not something that frustrates me horribly. I have enough other things I enjoy doing. So if a story stalls, I let it sit for a while, and when I have an idea on how to continue it, I do.

You've been to how many conventions and bards' brunches now? What's it like, going to those things?

It's always fun. I enjoy meeting people, not to mention getting a chance to talk with the stars of the show. Add to that the fact that I love to travel, and you can see it's the perfect vacation for me!

When you go to cons and people recognise you as Verrath - what's it like? Do you get carried away by your own fame?

LOL! Ummm... most really don't know who I am unless I wave my name tag in front of their faces<G> I admit, though, that it's flattering when someone does recognize me. :-)

And how have you found it, meeting online friends in real life at conventions etc?

That's a very interesting experience. No matter how intimate the online conversations might have been - it's the first "real life" meeting that decides if it's going to be a real friendship, or just an online acquaintance. It's exciting! :-)

Have you found that your online impressions of people have been accurate, when you've actually met them at cons etc?

Yes and no. I've found that, for the most part, people are straightforward and honest. But seeing someone in person always adds a new dimension or three to who they are - sometimes that confirms the image you've had of them, and sometimes it gives you a whole new picture. I've had both happen to me.

It's strange really, that one can forge quite intense relationships (friendships and romances) over the net. What do you think it is about the internet that encourages people to get so close, so quickly without having met in real life first?

Heck, it's a lot easier to be completely open with someone who can't see you, and whom you don't see in turn. There is always the anonymity factor that makes you tell your darkest secrets, which you keep well hidden among your friends. And sometimes things just add up - you get along, you share the same humor, you make each other laugh... and sometimes, there is someone you seem to be talking to a whole lot more often than others. With this semblance of knowing that someone intimately (just because you know their most terrible sins doesn't mean you know THEM), you do get to feel extremely close. Sometimes, luckily, that translates to real life. :-)

You're a volleyball player - what's the appeal about that particular sport?

It's the only ball game I know how to play. <G>
Actually, when I was younger, my dad used to take me along for games - he's a coach, and I guess, even though I'm not an athletic type by birth, there was never a question in my mind about wanting to play volleyball as soon as I was old enough.
What I really like about the game is that it's not as brutal as most other ball games, the players being separated by a net. And I guess there's summer-time and beach volleyball, with all that bare skin.... ;-)

How seriously do you take your sport?

Very. I try not to forget that it's only a hobby, and that I don't make a cent from it, but I have been known to put it before work, when I could get away with it! :-)
While volleyball is the only team sport I do, I also enjoy some other sports - namely skiing and horse riding, when I get the chance. I know of the basic importance of exercise. Not only does it keep you in shape, but it's also a great outlet for frustration.

Now, I know you've collaborated with me and Kam <G> - have you co-written with anyone else?

Yup. There is an unfinished piece I have been writing with Katia (archaeobard). We haven't really worked on it recently, though. It can be found on my site, or on hers.

What's it like, working with other writers?

<throws hands in the air> Ah, it's horrible, HORRIBLE I tell you! The others keep losing sight of what's really important - ME! ;-)
No, I enjoy it, although it's very easy to get stuck over some plot point or character. Working with others gives you new perspectives, and can make a story more life-like if done properly, since you've got different people having a different outlook on life - that can greatly enrich a story. I guess it depends on who you're working with, and how well you work with them.

What works best for you when collaborating - face to face, or online?

I can't really say, I suppose face to face is more fun, though it gets complicated when you're living in different countries. Katia and I have been working off a chat window with a mail or two thrown in, which seemed to work quite nicely, too.

Anyone else you'd like to work with in the future?

Well, I've worked with some illustrous folk already, right? <BG> I would dearly love to work on something with Temora some day - I love her style, and her stories have gripped me like no others. Her sense of humor is right up my alley, too. Alas, that is not to be, it seems, since she has completely withdrawn from online life and writing.

What's your favourite kind of story to write?

One that comes to me in a flash of inspiration, and just flows from the keyboard until I write "The End". Gosh, it's been soooo long since that happened... <G>

You seem to have a bit of a flair for Children's fiction, judging from your award winning Tell Me series. Any particular genre you prefer writing?

Children's stories <G> Also, I'm more at home in the fantasy genre than anywhere else.

You're German, writing in a foreign language about for a US dominated audience. Any observations you'd make about that?

Basically, I began reading English books two years after first starting English classes in high school. It's done a lot for my skills, so much that I actually feel more comfortable writing fiction in English than in German. I don't know if my writing appears different or weird to English-speaking readers, and whether that's good or bad. I try to stick with US English, mostly, although I do slip when inteviewed by a Brit. ;-)

You have stories on your site that are in both German and English. Do you tend to write in German first, and then translate? Or vice versa? And does it make much difference to the story do you think?

As strange as it sounds, although German is my native language and I didn't start learning English until I was 10, writing comes easier to me in English. This may have to do with the fact that I started reading mostly English books in 8th grade. I started doing so because I was told if I got an A in English by the end of 9th grade, I would be allowed a high school year in California. Talk about incentive! Today, I have over 200 English books on my shelf, mostly fantasy. And about a handful of German ones. I have written stories in German, too; in fact, my first few offerings were of course German, because I wasn't very firm in English when I wrote them.
I don't know if it makes a difference which language you write a story in originally - the translated version will always have shortcomings, because some things don't translate very well. Of course, when translating my own stories, I have a little more freedom, because I know what mood I was trying for, and what the essence of a scene should be, but sometimes I still struggle to keep the feel of a story when I translate.
So anyway, as far as writing goes, I guess English has become my native language. Although I sometimes get made fun of by people because there are words that I know how to spell and know how to use, but can't pronounce properly <G>.

What are you working on at the moment? Can you give us a little teaser?

I'm currently working (NOT working, more like it <G>) on several pieces, but the one I most recently started is a post-FIN piece, rather dark and dreary for now, and it's for me to know if it gets better - <EG>
Anyway, here we go, this is from near the start...

Ginelle from the Xandra: Warrior Panther series

BEWARE! The following contains spoilers for the series ender! Please skip the text between the horizontal lines if you haven't seen FIN yet and do not wish to be spoiled!

The weary traveler stopped and inclined his head in polite greeting. "Please, is this the home of the one they call the Sad One?"

The boy looked up, blinking against the glaring sun. "It is. But she doesn't see people. Not today."

Alone in her small hut, the woman they called the Sad One sat cross-legged on a mottled sheep skin, staring into emptiness.

Fifteen years today.

Fifteen years of hollow existence, and she still lived. It seemed impossible and cruel. Her past was fuzzy, and each new day a bad dream she knew she would not wake up from.

Her hands played with a circular weapon that was shining as if fresh from the forge. Closer scrutiny, though, uncovered countless traces of use on the inlaid metal, each tiny scratch more than likely telling its own morbid story.

Feeling the smooth coldness of the Chakram under her fingers, she thought about how many times this thing had saved her life. She chuckled bitterly. Her wish had been granted - she had indeed been taught everything Xena knew - right down to the pain of loss and the terrible emptiness, and what they can lead you to become. Ironically, now that she fully understood all her partner's dark motivations, that partner - that soulmate - was long gone.

Everything happens precisely as it should. The phrase held no comfort.

Her back itched, but she ignored it. She wanted no part of the dragon tattoo etched into her skin. Too many memories. Once, many years ago, close to insanity, she had put fire to her back and removed the torched and tattered skin with the blade of a sword, just to be rid of it. After a fever that raged for weeks and brought her near death more than once, the skin had gradually grown back - and so had the tattoo, in all its detail. Akemi had been as thorough with this as she had been with her other ploys... but what was done was done.

With an effort, she wrestled down the rising anger, but was unable to achieve once more the empty Calm that was her precarious hold on sanity. It was only then that the bottomless pit that was her soul drifted on the edge of awareness, rather than governing her very existence.

Back to the interview...

It's Saturday night, you've just been paid and you're out on the town. What do you do?

Get a BK value meal, go home and play computer games :o). Or, if I'm in the mood, sit down in a cafe or bar and write.

To what extent do your stories reflect you - the real you? Would people get to know you by reading your stories? Why is that, do you think?

Well, I always say I was a little like Sina and a lot like Gabby when I was a kid. Other than that, I said I identify with Gabrielle, so... <shrugs, grinning>

You're a fantasy fan - what super/magical powers do you wish you had, and what would you do with them?

Teleportation is at the top of my list - and I've said this to people. Especially at times when there is a special someone halfway across the world... I would travel, of course. Also, I've always thought it would be cool to be able to shape-change, or turn invisible/insubstantial. Ooooh, the juicy gossip you could pick up that way! God, I am so pathetic, aren't I? <g>

You've travelled around a fair bit, haven't you? Germany, Czech Republic, England, Australia, USA... any other places? Does travel enrich, do you think?

Absolutely. I love to travel, and haven't nearly seen all I'd like to see. I find it absolutely fascinating to see how daily life works in other countries. I'm not much of a sight-seer, but I do get pulled into history at times when visiting an ancient building or site.

Tell us a bit about your artwork... what's your preferred medium?

I like a soft pencil best, mostly because it's not as big a mess as paints, charcoal, or pastels. I've tried my hand at pastels, and it's fun working in color, but I'm generally way too impatient. So, pencil on paper, with some exceptions.

And what sort of stuff do you like to paint/draw the most?

Oy! Where's my horn gone??
Portraits are fun, but when I'm just doodling, chances are the result will be of the equine persuasion :-). I've drawn horses, donkeys, unicorns and whatnot from the moment I could hold a pencil. I like sketching animals. Complete scenes are usually more than I have patience for, so I stay away from them. I do have a few of those too, though. Once, I even sat down and drew up a complete deck of Tarot cards based on one of Piers Anthony's books. It took a few weeks, not something I'm likely to repeat, but who knows... deluges and droughts....
Don't look at me - i haven't got it!

You managed to get some of your sketches signed by Xena cast members - Claire Stansfield, Hudson Leick, Alex Tydings... even Renee O'Connor...

I met Claire, Hudson and Alex at the Orlando Charity Breakfast. They were all very nice, and seemed to like the sketches :-) I don't know about Renee, she was a little pressed for time so did not comment at all...

You want my autograph, little Germ...??

How much do you charge for an everso flattering portrait of... say, a British bard, blonde, blue eyed.... I said flattering, right?

I don't know if it's a price you would pay... rather steep, but I'm sure it's worth it... Wait, you said flattering? Oh my, now THAT... <rubbing hands together> Room and board for my next England trip *hehehehe* Of course, I would have to have a picture of the subject that is slightly more ... er... detailed than a spot on the wall a MILE DISTANT!!!! ;-) <note from the editor - this rather cheeky comment is based on a photo I sent to Verrath which was perfectly fine and didn't at all have me as a distant dot on the horizon...>

Any last words for people out there?

You'll forgive me if I hold on to my LAST words for a few more decades! <G> <note from the editor - pffftt!!!>


Verrath's Story listing from her website The Book of Tales

The Bet
A Musing Bard
Old Warriors Never Die, They Just... (with Kamouraskan & Lariel)
The Door -- Verrath's Tür

The Dumbbell Is Mightier... -- Die Hantel Ist Mächtiger...
The Warrior, The Witch And The Nightmare
Mission Report
Possibilities -- Perspektiven
Opening Up
The Crazed Ramblings Of A Madwoman

Tired -- Gerädert
Worlds Apart, Book 1: Below (with archaeobard)
The Heart Of A Leopard
The Eyes Of A Cat
Tell Me, Gabrielle -- Erzähl's Mir, Gabrielle
I'm Bored, Gabrielle -- Mir Ist Langweilig, Gabrielle
What's With The Sun? -- Was Ist Denn Mit Der Sonne Los?
Pillow Talk -- Bettgeflüster
We Got Him, Gabrielle! -- Wir Haben Ihn, Gabrielle!
Summer Slave Camp -- Sommer-Sklavenlager
Summer Slave Camp 2 - Slave Hunt

Flukes, Fauns & Griffins
Battle Kicks
The New Kid
Run, Alice, Run
A Hard-Headed Hound
Wardrobe Warrior
A Bowl Of Tsunami
As The Dragon Flies
Remember When, Gabrielle?
Always, Gabrielle


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