One of my favorite things about Steampunk stories is how the genre lends itself to the use of real world people and places… but with a twist. Monster hunters set on their path by some of the leading scientists of the era (Tesla, Edison, Bell, and Harry Houdini!). An X-Files in a Steampunk world!
I can see why it started its life as a tv show pitch.
How long have you been creating/working in comics?
About five years.
At what point did you sit down to become a writer? Do you remember the first thing you wrote?
I was a child, so it’s tough to say when or what exactly. I was always inventing stories in my head then probably by the second grade, I was writing my own.
Who inspires you? Or do you have a favorite artist or creator?
Other indie creators inspire me, but right now Marjorie Liu’s Monstress and Lady Killer by Joelle Jones are my favorites.
How do you manage your daily/family life with your creative work? Is this your 9 to 5 or is this your 10 to 2?
What a question. Hahahaha. Time management is always hard. I work part-time for LA Fitness as an instructor, plus have a husband, two dogs, and house that gets cleaned (by me) on occasion. I usually write in the afternoons from 2-5 pm and do what I call administrative tasks (expense reports, signing up for cons, travel arrangements, inventory, etc.) for an hour after I get home from the gym. Obviously, laundry and dog walking get squeezed in there somewhere…. And my husband.
It’s often difficult to get word out about independent comics. What do you do to market and promote your books? Anything work really well or really poorly?
I do a blend of social media, exhibiting at cons, reaching out to blogs, reviewers, doing panels and interviews like this! I don’t think you should focus on just one aspect of marketing. However, I do like reaching out at Comic Cons or steampunk conventions because you can develop a relationship with a potential fan.
What’s your process look like when you’re writing? Do you go with the full outline? Or are you a fly by the seat of your pants type?
Most of my stories require some research, then I do character bios, a beat sheet, an outline, then a treatment where I break down the scenes and page count for comics. If I’m doing prose, I pretty much do the same except the treatment is broader in scope, but allows for me to go off in different directions if need be, or if I’m feeling inspired.
What inspired you to create Boston Metaphysical Society?
It was a combination of my love of history, science fiction, and The X-Files. However, the original story was a TV Pilot that I wrote at UCLA School of Theater, Film and TV when I was a graduate student in the MFA Program in Screenwriting. It was suggested I turn it into a six issue mini-series, which I did. And here we are.
Was this a case of coming up with the story first and then the setting or vice versa?
The story and setting came up simultaneously in this case. I thought it would be cool to have paranormal detectives set in an alternate history of Boston and the United States and have to deal with a different set of social mores and expectations than we deal with today.
Or at least not quite so blatant.
What’s been the reaction to the book?
Excellent. I have what I refer to as a small group of ardent fans. And I love them all.
Are there themes and/or subjects you find yourself drawn to again and again in your work?
Absolutely. I almost always deal with the theme of classism. In the case of Boston Metaphysical Society, I also dealt with racism and sexism.
After running 4 successful Kickstarters for Boston Metaphysical Society, what have you learned about the process of Kickstarter? What do you think has contributed to hitting your goals on Boston Metaphysical Society? Did you worry about “going to the well” too soon after each one?
Soooo many questions….LOL. Once upon a time, back before 2013, you could pretty much throw something up on Kickstarter and get it funded. Not anymore. You have to create a fanbase before you launch and post what is essentially a grant proposal as your Kickstarter page. There is much more professionalism in how projects are presented now.
Many of the reasons we make our goals so quickly is that I have a core email list of people who I’m 99% sure they will back the project. Not only because they like it, but I have delivered on all past rewards in a timely fashion. I don’t like to do more than one campaign a year as it is very time intensive and takes away from my productivity. I do think there is a risk of “going to the well” too much, but I have friends who have no problem with it and have been successful.
Do you view the platform as a testing ground for the concepts?
I don’t view the platform as a testing ground for concepts when it comes to comics. Most comics use Kickstarter as a pre-order mechanism. However, I can see how tech items might use it that way.
You currently have 6 issues (a full trade) of Boston Metaphysical Society. What’s the overall plan with Boston Metaphysical Society?
All stories after the timeline of the original six issue series will be in 32-34 page one shots. I’ve just completed a draft of the first story which will feature Granville Woods and Tesla. These will be complete standalone stories focusing on two or three of the main characters. Anything that occurs before the beginning of the six issue series will be in prose. In fact, I’ve got a first draft of the first novel which begins five years before the start of the comic. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to go back and rewrite it yet.
Comics is an amazing collaborative medium. Tell me a little about working with artist Emily Hu.
Emily has been a joy to work with. We set up a schedule where she would deliver three pages a week. I would review them, then give her notes while she continued on to the next three. We worked together for almost four years and she completed the entire series. We hope to work together again in the future if her schedule permits it.
If you could go back in time ten years, what advice might you have for your younger self? Something you wish you knew?
Start reading comics sooner. Let me explain… My brother has probably the largest graded collection of Daredevil comics in the U.S., but I was never interested in superhero comics because I thought that was all that was available. It wasn’t until I decided to adapt the TV Pilot that I took a sequential art class and started reading indie comics. That was such a revelation. I loved them and wondered where they had been all my life.
Do you have any upcoming projects? Anything you’d like to promote? Anything else that you’d like people to know about you (Hobbies? Passions? Favorite TV Show)?
Yes! I’m very excited to announce a couple of things. The first is that I was hired to write a four issue mini-series for SFC Comics/Evoluzione Publishing called, Kasai: The Homecoming. It will be my first time writing a superhero and I loved doing it. It’s set in a world where many superheroes are pro-wrestlers. My series will focus on a young female pro-wrestler from Japan who is half-human and half-fire demon. It will be on Kickstarter in early 2018.
The other project is a short story called, The Scout, which will be in the anthology, The Fourth Monkey. It is an anthology which deals with social and environmental issues and will launch on Kickstarter on Sept. 12, 2017.
I also wrote a short story for The Enyes Anthology called Saturday Night Fever. It contains various stories from indie creators about the Enyes family; a family where each of its members are either monsters or have some sort of relationship with monsters. It will be on Kickstarter in 2018.
And definitely look for us on Kickstarter for the Granville and Tesla standalone story in early 2018. Right now the working title is Boston Metaphysical Society: The Scourge of the Mechanical Men.
Where’s the best place to find out more about Boston Metaphysical Society and the rest of your works?
A TV, feature film, and comic book writer, Madeleine is the winner of the Sloan Fellowship for screenwriting, and the Gold Aurora and Bronze Telly for a PSA produced by Women In Film. She also won numerous awards while completing the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. Having run a number of successful crowdfunding campaigns for her comic, Boston Metaphysical Society, Madeleine now teaches a crowdfunding class for independent creators at Pulp Fiction Books in Culver City as well as guest lecturing at UCLA Professional Program in Theater, Film and TV, Scriptwriters Network, and Dreamworks Animation. She has also published the book, Kickstarter for the Independent Creator.
Boston Metaphysical Society webcomic is the recipient of an HONORABLE MENTION at the 2013 GEEKIE AWARDS and was nominated for BEST COMIC/GRAPHIC NOVEL at the 2014 GEEKIE AWARDS. The comic has also been nominated for a 2012 Airship Award as well as a 2013, 2014 and a 2015 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award. Her novella, Steampunk Rat, was also nominated for a 2013 Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award.
She also has an anthology of short stories and novellas called Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude (in print as well as eBook) based on the Boston Metaphysical Society universe available at all major online retailers. The Boston Metaphysical Society short story, Here Abide Monsters, is part of the Some Time Later anthology from Thinking Ink Press. She is currently writing the first novel based on the series and was hired by SFC Comics/Evoluzione Publishing to write a four issue mini-series based on the SFC character, Kasai.
Formerly a nationally ranked epee fencer, she has competed nationally and internationally. She is an avid reader of comics, steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, and historical military fiction.
Madeleine lives with her rocket scientist husband, David and two rescue dogs: Ripley and Bishop.
I want to thank Madeleine Holly-Rosing for being so gracious with her time!
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He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.