Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse Interview

Hello once again Readers!! I am straying from the norm today and doing another author interview for a friend of mine, Elizabeth Guizzetti. She also wrote Other Systems, which I reviewed and interviewed a while back. Click on the links to find more about the awesome Sci-Fi read.

But aside from being a novelist, Elizabeth is also an artist! She is extremely talented and versatile and I am proud to feature her on my blog. Faminelands was a project she started with her friend, Maria, before she wrote, Other Systems. I have read all three comics and was thoroughly impressed (and hooked). So without further adieu, let’s meet the duo who is responsible for this awesome story.

Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse was co-written, how does the team dynamic work?

Elizabeth: I write the main script; Maria looks at it and does some developmental editing at that point.

Maria: I tend to question every character move even when I don’t think anything should change. I always want Elizabeth to be certain her story is progressing the way it should and is as strong as it can be.

Elizabeth: Then I begin to draw. We discuss any part that I am having problems with during the storyboarding/penciling stage. I ink, color, do a first round of lettering. If she sees problems with the artwork, I redraw, ink and color a page. Maria and I go back and forth discussing each line of dialogue.  Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we get frustrated, but we always come to a decision.

How did Maria Masterson move from editor/accomplice in The Carp’s Eye and Living Stone to co-writer in Mareton’s Curse?

Elizabeth: It was an organic progression. With each project, she got more and more involved. We have now done 4 graphic novels and three of the six parts of Out for Souls&Cookies. The trouble has always been finding the correct and consistent title for her with each job.

Maria: We have always had trouble figuring out where exactly I fit in as I do a little bit of it all. Except the art. That is all Elizabeth. As we have published more titles I would try to help out more and more.

What are some of the reasons, the artwork changed with each graphic novel?

Elizabeth: It’s a mixture of me becoming more skilled as an artist and also having better tools. I taught myself how to draw a comic when I did The Carp’s Eye. My drawing skills become much more solid and I began to know how much detail to put in and how much not to put in. I used to use smaller tips on my inking pens. The Carp’s Eye was colored on a 17” Macbook Pro with a 8×10 tablet, Now I have a 24” IMac hooked up to a 21” Cintiq Tablet. (Any artist out there considering whether the hardware is worth the investment: it is! Not only do I have a nice big screen to look at, but I am able to work much faster.)

Maria: She works magic. And I gawk at her abilities.

How much input does Maria have in the artwork?

Elizabeth: Generally she sees the script, the storyboards and early drawings for the action scenes, she tells me things not to miss, but my storyboards are just a form of shorthand for me—half the time she doesn’t have a freaking clue what is in front of her.

Maria: So true! I have very little input other than maybe some colors changes if I can’t read the scene correctly or I get places confused because they look similar.

How does Elizabeth create the artwork? What tools do you use?

Elizabeth: I hand draw all the panels on 2 ply bristol with a .7mm mechanical pencil. My favorite is a PaperMate Titanium. I use a standard white eraser and Sakura pens in .8 mil, 1 mil, 3 mil to ink. Then we scan the artwork at 600 dpi. We do this at Kinkos because they have a large scanner and it’s an excuse to go out to lunch. Then I color digitally using Photoshop and a Wacom Cintiq Tablet. I letter using Illustrator.

Where does your inspiration stem from?

Elizabeth: I’m half embarrassed by it, but the original spark for the series came from the way my character and my friend John Gajdos’s character interacted in a DnD game. I wrote this little back story about the two characters sharing a room in an inn and hiding from someone very bad.

I began thinking why are they hiding? Who are these people? How did they meet? I began to write a story that is actually the basis for Mareton’s Curse.  (They saved a young prince from being a sacrifice.)

I found the process so interesting; I changed the names, personalities, their jobs, and made them siblings. Most importantly, I discovered Malak—who is evil, but has a soft spot for Lark— and Cairn the truly evil Enchanter. I began writing Carp’s Eye and Living Stone, moving back in time to get a complete story. Yet even then, I knew this was a graphic novel project (vs a written novel.) That’s when I started talking about it with Maria. As I said earlier, I had no clue what I was doing.

Do you plan on continuing the series? What is in store for us?

Elizabeth: I enjoy working on a variety of projects so after Mareton’s Curse, we will take a break from Faminelands for a while. Our next project will be the sequencilzation (not sure if that’s a word, but don’t really care either) of my short story: Unintentional Colonists. UC has been published by Perihelion SF on October 12, 2012. (http://www.perihelionsf.com/fiction_4.htm) The graphic novel will be coming out sometime in 2014.

I’ve also three novels in the works. Two science fiction novels in the Other Systems universe and another fantasy story with the working title: The Martlet so it might be a while before there is another Faminelands title. Of course, if the Kickstarter Campaign goes extremely well, it might be sooner than I just said. I will do anything for the love of my fans. ;)

Maria: Elizabeth will always have something in the works for you. But we both try to keep her focused on one project at a time from start to finish and note other ideas in a special Faminelands folder.

Elizabeth: One of Maria’s main responsibilities has always to keep me focused on the current project. Her presence is stabilizing. She is the one who thought up the Queue System to keep me on task.

How much time goes into the drawings? Is it hard or easy?

Elizabeth: Every page takes 12-18 hours and 9 to 15 hours of that is artwork related. The second part of the question is a bit more difficult to answer because the penciling and inking are actually my favorite parts of sequential storytelling. So while it is a challenge, I have lots of fun creating it. It is no less or more hard than writing a novel!

Roan tagged along in this story. How was it including him on Lark & Orin’s already entertaining duo? The bantering between Roan and Orin seemed effortless.

Elizabeth: Though I had a few lines that I thought of easily, not a page of dialogue was effortless. I went back in time and wrote out everything in detail that happened to Lark as a child. I basically made the decision since they both were Brogan’s wards, Roan loved Nonia the Healer and Lark as younger sisters. (Yes there was sibling rivalry between all of them.) Once that decision was made it was a little easier to decide that Roan might not agree with what she has done by bringing her elder brother back, he will do what he can for her. Some of their banter works, because while Orin and Roan are uneasy with each other, they both love their little sister.

Maria: I think it was easy deciding to include him. It was hard trying to fit him in perfectly. We talked a lot about his role and she worked really hard at not making him the super annoying goodie-two-shoes who thinks he can control his two younger siblings. Since Roan and Orin are complete opposites their dialogue brings out more of the moral ambiguity we like.

(SPOILER ALERT) How hard was it to marry Lark to Oakum knowing the age difference? Their relationship seems to have potential.

Elizabeth laughing manically: You should have seen who I first considered who was going to be her husband.

Maria: That was a fun discussion! We talked a lot about the whole idea and when/where it should be included in the grand scheme of Faminelands.

Elizabeth: Though Oakum is quite a bit older than Lark, he really doesn’t have so much life experience to that the relationship is doomed to be paternal or lack passion. Their lifespans are so long, in a century, the age difference will completely disappear. When I went back in time, Oakum came up time and again as someone who was nice to Lark and able to accept the low-born noblewoman.

Will we see more of Lark’s abilities in the next one?

Elizabeth: We have discussed what we might do with the series, but we have not made any decisions at this time. Since this is a two plot storyline. (action story and family dynamic) We need to see how the “Coming of Age” storyline, (Lark’s marriage, Orin’s kids) will be received. I do have plenty of ideas. We also have to see how the Kickstarter Campaign goes.

Maria: Since Elizabeth is ready to work on other projects for a while, we are not sure when Lark will reappear. Sometimes it’s hard to keep her muse on track! I think more importantly we are both happy with how much Lark has grown throughout the series.


Kickstarter campaign for Mareton’s Curse

ZB Publications


Thank you so much, Elizabeth and Maria. I wish you all the best!!

Six Sentence Sunday

Hello once again Readers! How has your weekend been so far? My weekend was great, but I am beat! My eyes are burning from sleep deprivation!

But enough about that.

So I finally managed to do this on the proper day. Six Sentence Sunday, I mean. I’m going to choose six sentences from Embracing the Flames again since it’s still my WIP. I think I’m going to stick with just picking six from the page that I’m currently working on so I don’t over think trying to pick out the perfect sentences. Otherwise I’ll be sitting here second guessing myself all day. That’s not very productive…

I digress.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Astral leaned forward, eyes darkening, and lowered his voice. “What I intend to teach you is something only for advanced Mages.”

I eagerly moved to the edge of the seat.

After a moment’s pause, he casually leaned back, his eyes mocking my assumption.

“But since you feel that going before the Counsel is unnecessary,” he mused lightly, “learning the ability to conserve your magical energy is in turn, pointless.”

I huffed and crossed my arms, sulking into the seat.

So for this scene, Astral (her mentor and caretaker), wants to teach her a technique Priests use to conserve their magical energy. This ability would keep her from depleting while casting.

Since being back in this realm, Aurora is supposed to go before the Counsel to earn her title as a lower ranking Mage. She doesn’t feel this is important because of what’s she’s been chosen by The Fates to do. She feels focusing on stopping her Arch Enemy, Zordon, should be where her attention is placed.

Aurora’s character is one that speaks her mind, sometimes without thinking, and is very passionate in her opinions. She has made it clear to Astral that she’d rather be going after Zordon, instead of being left behind to finish her training.

This way of thinking has finally come to bite her in the arse. Here Astral is, willing to share with her a trick that could make her life so much easier, but is denying her this knowledge due to her negative attitude towards the importance of her training. He is trying to teach her a small, but valuable lesson; when you’re focus is nearsighted, in the end, something so minute that you’ve missed, could be what saves you.

So what’d ya think?

I’m not sure if all of this is TMI as far as sharing goes, considering Born in Flames hasn’t even come out yet, but oh well. It’s mine and I may do as I please…:) And it ties into what I want to blog about next which I mentioned in my last blog, rebellion.

So to leave you with a question: If you’re a writer, does your character run into ruts where they believe they can do it all? And if you’re a reader, do the sentences and thoughts above intrigue you?

Now for a bit of silly:

This picture is a few months old. I was dressed for the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. In case you hadn”t guessed already, I was placed in District 7-the lumber district. My friend and I always dress up for midnight movies. I stuck branches in my hair and drew branches along the side of my eyes. Fun times…:)

Until tomorrow, Echelon out ♥

Everyone loves FREEBIES!!!

Hello once again Readers!!!

Just a quick and exciting post today. Everyone likes free things right? Free=happiness. What’s even better is when that something that is free, only takes a millisecond of your time and has amazing odds in your favor!

Get to the point already!

Okay, so my publisher is holding a contest on Facebook! Click that link and like their page. It’s as easy as that! You will be entered for a chance to win EVERY book they’ve EVER published. That’s right! A whole plethora of books! (It’s okay to jump with giddiness right now). Every 20th like receives the lucky bundle of books. That’s amazing odds! And they have everything from Sci-Fi to Chick-Lit, just check out their website. A genre for every taste bud.

And if you are so excited that you can barely contain yourself, why not take it a step further and earn some free KARMA!!!! Share their contest on your Facebook page so others can share in the joy of freebies!

Oh, and last but certainly not least, my latest update for Born in Flames is that we are looking at the beginning of August for my release date. Cross your fingers that the stars align in my favor!

That being said-Echelon out ♥