Monday, October 29, 2012

Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits Interview

Welcome to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I’m joined by Vera Greentea from the new, and successful,  Kickstarter Comic Project, “Nentl of the Forgotten Spirits.” Thank you Vera for joining us today.

Okay my first question has to be, is your last name really Greentea? 

Haha, if only you knew how many people ask me this question! Nope, as you might have guessed, it isn’t. My real last name is something unpronounceable and Russian.

Nothing wrong with unpronounceable names. What brings your project to Kickstarter?  

I’ve been a huge fan of the idea of Kickstarter since its conception. To be able to bring my projects straight to people who might like them, without waiting 20 years for someone to notice my work and publish me... it’s amazing. It gave me the chance to gauge the interest for my kind of work and find out really quickly if comics is something I can do successfully. 

Would you care to give us a brief overview of the story of Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits?

Nenetl, of the Forgotten Spirits is my autumn-inspired 4-part story set in Mexico during the Day of the Dead festival. Nena, the ghost girl and title character, has been forgotten by all living beings, and she has a single day to find someone who’d care to remember her. In the meantime, she is chased by four exorcist apprentices (one per issue!) - each for a different reason. It’s a story about hope and family (and skulls!), but it’s full of creepy moments and humor.

What was your inspiration for this story? 

I love researching different cultures as a hobby. The culture of Mexico, especially their traditions about death has always been of deep interest to me. Our (American) culture can be so somber about death, it’s refreshing to see people who treat it as a lively part of their lives - their traditions are joyful and celebratory. Every year, they welcome back their dead friends and family members with food, dance and high cheer. The Day of the Dead Festival was always a magical idea to me, and I wanted to write about it in the spirit that it embodies - with joy and spookiness, and I believe that’s how Nenetl reads.

How much experience do you have in creating comics?

Well, since I was a kid, I was always writing something or other, but it was only in high school/college when I really discovered comics - that’s when I discovered Bone (Jeff Smith) and Sandman (Neil Gaiman). Suddenly (to me), comics became a real format that in which a writer can write something cool, an artist can really express him/herself. That’s when I knew I wanted to write my own. But of course, with life being what it is, I didn’t actually write my first comic until a few years later, and that became To Stop Dreaming of Goddesses, which appeared in a gorgeous anthology called Siren in 2009. I’ve been smitten ever since.

Since you’ve done comics before what made you bring Laura Müller on board to do the art for this particular book?  Have you worked with her before? 

It’s kind of hard to describe what goes through my head when I meet an artist I like. It’s kind of similar to love at first sight. When I saw Laura’s work for the first time, I just knew that I wanted her on board for Nenetl. Her dynamic, slightly organic and gorgeously colorful style perfectly lends itself to the strange and effervescent story of Nena. Then, I discovered that she is also a fan of Halloween and creepy little monsters, well, I knew that she was my Nenetl soulmate.  

So what is the long term goal with this project?  Just the four parts of the miniseries?
So far, I’ve planned out a full story that can be told from beginning to end in those four parts. It’s a very tight little script, but it’s full of twists and turns and enchantment. I do truly love this world Laura and I’ve been creating, so I can be persuaded to write more...

You have a very clean video with your project but it is essentially a slideshow with some nice music.  Was there any thought to pitching the comic more in the video?  
Ha, yes, actually! Originally, I did a video in which I describe the story and rewards face-to-camera. Then, last minute, I decided that I’ve done 3 videos exactly like that already for my previous Kickstarter projects, and maybe I should change that and be a little more original (as much as I can with the resources I have, at least). I didn't think anyone would actually miss me chatting up my project... with my Russian accent... and nervousness... but perhaps I was wrong, because I've gotten quite a few messages where people asked exactly that, haha.

Now that you've passed the goal and almost at the finish line how are you preparing for the aftermath of the Kickstarter campaign?  

Just simply working on the project, making sure we finish on time, then production and printing. I tend to keep my backers very informed throughout the process, updating with art, anecdotes, polls, and exactly what’s going on at every step.

One of the keys of a successful Kickstarter project is backer participation.  How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates?  Interviews?  Interesting excerpts from the book? Artwork?
Oops, I guess I already answered that!

What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to help things along?

I’m pretty terrible at self-promotion, though I've been trying. I have been tweeting (@ladygreentea) and I have a Facebook fanpage. CBR Robot 6 wrote a piece about Nenetl, which was wonderful. I also did a couple interviews at New York Comic Con, which should be popping up on the interwebs soon. I have been looking at Kicktraq and it’s been very encouraging. 

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?  

My advice is simple; Do it, don't be afraid of failure, and pay attention to your backers/fans. They want to help you!

Thank you for spending your time with us Vera!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Thanks so much for chatting with me! I hope that your readers will give Nenetl, of the Forgotten Spirits a chance! Thanks, everyone, and Happy October!

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!  

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