1) How did Hopeless, Maine and your collaboration with Nimue come about?
Quite a few years ago, when I was trying to break into illustration, a publisher took me on board to do a book cover for Nimue. We began corresponding and I signed onto her e-group. She was serialising one of her novels there (Breathing in a Stone House) and I fell in love with her writing (first). I knew this was the writer I wanted for Hopeless, Maine (then called New England Gothic). I asked her to write a short origin story for Sal. She did and it was plain that Nimue understood Salamandra better even than I did. It took me some time to convince her, but she did eventually agree to write the tale. (She says she was daunted, and not sure she was up to it. I thought she was hesitant because it was a comic book story!)
The whole storyline is written now as well as two prose books set in Hopeless. All absolutely stunning, haunting quirky and wild (as you would expect!). We have been collaborating ever since, and are also very happily married!
Both, honestly. I love sequential storytelling. It stretches me like nothing else and I have to be a director, camera man, set dresser, etc. However, you don't always have time to dwell on details and rendering in sequential work (and too much detail in the wrong places will effect pacing), so it's good to get a chance to do some lavish rendering and detail in the illustration work. They are complimentary but different disciplines.
3) Which artists inspired you in the past, and which artists working today inspire you now?
Gustave Dore, Hieronymus Bosch, Sir John Tenniel, Edward Gorey, and Jack Kirby were my male early influences. I discovered Dulac and Rackham a bit late (in art school).
Current artist influences include Hayao Miyazaki, Eric Orchard, Vincent Shaw-Morton, Chandra Free, Jeremy Bastion, Mike Mignola, Walter Sickert and many many many others. Whenever I have the time, I cruise DeviantArt. There is just a huge amount of talent and vision out there. Sometimes a bit daunting but always inspiring.
4) Can you tell us about what you're working on at the moment?
Working on quite a few things actually. I am starting to have work find me (which is a nice change!), so I am doing comic cover art and illustrations for some emerging authors. (I hope this continues!) Mostly done now with the art for Tea Dragons (a project Nimue and I are doing). We also have another sequential project in the works called (at the moment) The Unreal Estate. There are quite a few exciting projects in the pipeline too, including more work with the good Professor (Elemental).
5) And lastly, why should people pledge their support to Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath?
Because I think this is going to be an absolutely brilliant book mostly, and it will not happen otherwise. Also this is a chance to make a collaboration happen that I think is splendid literary chemistry. If we rely on big publishers to decide what sort of books we will have, we will never have anything but the sort of thing that has proven to sell in the past. In short, we will not have Clemency Slaughter! Also, for selfish reasons. I love this tale and am fairly rabid to illustrate it. You should pledge because Jonathan Green wrote it and he does indeed do dark very well! Finally, this is an opportunity to pre-order a book, get original art, signed books, spin off items, and/or attend what I think is going to be one hell of a launch party. This is a book you can participate in fully!