As an indie author, I try to be a bit of an advocate for indie novelists and indie creators in general. But while my reviews may entertain, and hopefully even point some of you in the direction of books which you will both love and cherish but would have escaped your notice otherwise, authors themselves fascinate me almost as much as the books they write, as indeed do artists of all kinds. As such, because its a way to get them to answer my own questions, I do the odd interview with indie writers here. Today, therefore, I’ve had the absolute treat of interviewing Nimue and Tom Brown, (which is to say they emailed me back the answers to a few questions, but it sounds way cooler if I pretend I actually went to interview them…) Which makes this The Hopeless interview. Which is apt because I am on occasion a hopeless interviewer…
Tom and Nimue are collectively responsible for art, stories and tentacles in the series of graphic novels set on the island of Hopeless, which lays somewhere of the coast of Maine, it’s not clear if Maine is aware of the island hidden behind a remarkably persistent fog bank, but if it is I suspect if Maine is aware then there are warning signs on buoys all around it with skull motives and ‘Warning Do Not Pass’ written in red paint all over them. At least, I would assume its paint… But I digress…
Tom takes the leads on the art and while Nimue takes the lead on the stories but they both do both, which just speaks as to how utterly talented they both are. Hopeless started out as a webcomic, before coming to print. The Hopeless Vendetta web site is run as a collaborative which encourages the Browns fans to get involved with the Island setting, which is now it’s in the process of becoming a roleplaying game, tarot deck, a cuddly spoonwalker and all manner of other things. I don’t know precisely what a cuddly spoonwalker is, but I know I want one…
But enough from me, on with the interview, and a lot of Tom and Nimues artwork as they sent me a boatload, and who doesn’t like eye candy, of course, if you eat too much candy it might rot your soul, but who needs a soul in this day and age anyway…
What do you feel drives you to create?
For both of us, it’s about a desire to put something good into the world. We’ve both lived
through difficult and challenging times when imaginative worlds have kept us going. We
hope to provide some of that same resilience and inspiration for other people.
How would you describe your next graphic novel to someone who has never read
anything you have written before?
We have been described as being like a dark Studio Ghibli, so that’s a flavour. But, we’re
some way into a story here, its as well to begin at the beginning. (The Gathering)
Where, when and how do you do the majority of your creating?
We have a living room studio writing shed, and these days pretty much everything
happens either at the table or on the sofa. Previously we’ve co-created in a narrowboat,
and for a while before that, we were working on opposite sides of the ocean and passing
things back and forth online.
What was the first book/author you really connected to, that made you want to write
For Tom this was Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Ways comes, and all of the
comic books in the world at all!
For Nimue, there wasn’t a time before books (she remembers back to being about two!)
Probably the consciousness that books are things made by people, and that people can
make, goes all the way back to Winnie the Pooh.
There is a strange phenomenon on the internet and Twitter in general of Authors cats.
Several authors have started putting up daily pictures of their cats, as a running
monologue of their lives, and more are doing every day it seems. It’s all become a bit
weird… Do you own a cat and can we have a picture of it?
We co-habit with a cat (own doesn’t seem quite the word) and provide assorted services,
including tin opening and tum rubbing. In return, we are treated to late night arias, usually performed in the bathtub. There are also cats who live in our heads, and we have sent examples of both.
What’s your favourite / worst, form of procrastination?
Tom’s preferred method of procrastination is to over-research, spending far too much time getting, for example, the exact right table for the period and location even though you can only see a corner of it in two panels.
Nimue procrastinates through the medium of housework, which may be as well because otherwise frankly she would never do anything in the least bit domesticated!
One of my favourite Hemmingway quotes is ‘write drunk, edit sober’ what’s your
favoured tipple if you’re writing?
We tend to imagine when drunk and work when sober. In terms of tipple, we like real ale – hoppy for preference. Tom likes whiskey, Nimue favours vodka, but we’ll both generally drink whatever is offered us, or happens to be cheap! When we’re working, its all about the coffee – black, strong, and with a steady supply of biscuits.
What do you love most about creating?
Each other. We got together as a consequence of working on the Hopeless Maine graphic
novel series. We’re both at our happiest as creators when passing things back and forth
between us, and jamming on each other’s ideas. What we make together is invariably
bigger than the sum of its parts, and it’s the energy of co-creating, and getting excited
about each other’s work, that keeps us going.
And on that heartwarming note of life, love and happiness we bid Nimue and Tom adieu for now. You can find out more about Hopeless Maine at The Hopeless Vendetta, or follow Tom and Nimue on twitter by clicking on their names, Hopeless is also on Facebook at hopelessmaine and if you’re a wise person of great taste in art and storytelling you can even buy the Hopeless Maine graphic novels published by Sloth Comics in a multiplicity of places; including Waterstones, Amazon, and if your lucky enough to attend on steampunk fairs and conventions all over the place.
To go read them yourself, because you know you want to, click on the links below :
Book 1 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hopeless-Maine-Gathering-Tom-Brown/dp/1908830123
Book 2 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hopeless-Maine-Sinners-Tom-Brown/dp/190883014X
and on pre-order Book 3 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hopeless-Maine-3-Tom-Brown/dp/1908830166/