Question #1: How long have you been writing?
Answer: Ive been writing ever since 8th grade. Ive known since the age of nine that I wanted to write a science-fiction novel. I began seriously writing in 1993. I set a goal for myself to write 40 poems in six months. I accomplished that goal and have the poems in a poetry collection. Actually, one of the poems from that collection, I used to enter a poetry contest. The poem was accepted, and I won my first poetry award with that poem. Since then, Ive had several other poems published. I had an idea six years ago to do a black female crime fighter (for a comic book). However, I didnt actually put pen to paper on that story until 1996. Once I started, all my other writing just fell into place. Along with poetry and comic books, I write humorous canine short stories, song lyrics and my science-fiction novel.
Question #2: Why science fiction?
Answer: When I was nine, my uncle showed me a paper bag full of books that he had received from someone at his workplace. Being the bookworm that I am, my uncle asked me if I wanted them. I said, "Yes!" There were 10 books inside the bag. They were part of the Star Trek TV series book collection. I had been watching Star Trek reruns but had no idea that the TV stories were available in book form. So, thanks to my uncle, those books pretty much solidified my love for science fiction.
Question #3: Who are some of your influences?
Answer: I read a variety of topics, so my writing influences are quite varied. I like Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and Martin Luther King, Jr. King was a remarkable orator as well and reading/hearing some of his speeches made me think, "I want to be able to write and express myself as eloquently as he did. The various writers for the Star Trek and Star Wars series I like, too. I love how the writers are able to weave so much intricacy into the stories. My place is full of books, but I do read more than just books. Id have to say, though, that the greatest influence for me has been Kevin J. Anderson. I absolutely love his work for Star Wars, and I dream of one day writing a novel for Star Wars. I wrote Mr. Anderson once and received a letter back. That was a great spark for me to continue writing.
Question #4: Whats the state of Hoodratz in Space now?
Answer: Currently, Im finishing up Issue 3. I have more work to do on the character bios. I need to work on future story arcs; and then, anything else Erik (Reeves) may require from me.
Question #5: Can you tell me what Hoodratz in Space is basically about?
Answer: Its about five girls, who are trying to become music artists, and they happen to be in the right place at the wrong time. Earth is being attacked from space, and the girls happen to wind up at a scientific doctors residence. The doctor has a ship that our girls end up using to escape the planet bombardment and takeover by an alien race. The girls must use the ship to locate the control nexus of the alien race and destroy it in order to save Earth. And, of course, there are other encounters and adventures, before and after, that will keep the girls busy and in space for awhile.
Question #6: How did you get involved with this project?
Answer: Erik had responded to my ad for an illustrator that I had put up on a comic web site message board. I was looking for someone to draw my comic-book character. What I liked was that Erik was in Texas and close enough to my location that we could meet and discuss things face-to-face if need be. Nothing came of that initial contact because Erik began working on other jobs, mainly jobs that could pay him. After some months, I went to a comic-book convention in Richardson and met him in person. Erik remembered me, and I asked if hed review my comic book and give me some feedback. He liked my writing and then presented Hoodratz in Space to me. We talked about some things regarding the story, and I agreed to do it.
Question #7: What attracted you to the project?
Answer: Eriks drawings are awesome. I reviewed his work on Moonrush. The fact that Moonrush is science fiction really got me interested in seeing more of Eriks work. The fact that Hoodratz in Space is an ethnically diverse group of characters; that the artist, Erik, is African American; and, the writer, myself, an African American, really pulled me into the project. I believe its a good, solid concept, and I wanted to be a part of it. Also, it gives me the writing experience I need for comic books and allows Erik to concentrate solely on the drawing, which is what he loves.
Question #8: How is this book different from other comics in your opinion?
Answer: Hoodratz in Space is different just in its character make-up and story line alone-- all females (more than one lone star of the story) and science fiction. Incredible! The characters and concept are Eriks, and he deserves all the credit for that. The main reason I thought of my own comic-book character was because I couldnt find any characters and stories that focused on non-White individuals. There were a few Black characters--individuals, not teams of individuals--and they were typically always male. This kind of story, Hoodratz in Space, is long overdue. And, if its a hit (which I know it will be!), that opens the door for more stories, more new characters and other writers and artists to join us. I have other story ideas and Im sure Erik does, too.
Question #9: What inspires you the most while youre working?
Answer: Everything. Everything from television to a message on a billboard, products in a catalog to the activities of daily life. I get inspiration from everything around me. Also, I dream a lot. Im one of those individuals that can plan what I dream about. Its weird, but its also very cool, too.
Question #10: How did you get into reading comics?
Answer: I had some comics as a kid. I still have some of those old comics. But I really got hooked on comics when the Star Wars novels got going full speed. I had read every novel. Then, as I was reading one in particular, it referred to an event that I know was not mentioned in any of the previous novels. I did some research and discovered that the event was in a comic book story arc. I went to my local comic shop and discovered that I had been missing several Star Wars story arcs because they were done only in comic-book format. I also discovered the trade paperback. That was it! I was hooked.
Question #11: So, can you describe the process of your work?
Answer: Typically, I think about an idea for a story arc that would be good as a comic-book story--quick-paced and action-packed. Once I feel that I have a good beginning and an idea of the path I want the story to take, I just start writing. I write either on paper or in the computer. I guess Im old-fashioned because when I first begin a story, I usually start writing on paper. Theres still something magical about putting pen to paper, literally. Once Im done, I print out a copy, edit it (I edit with gel pens; I love them because you can edit different ways in different colors and easily keep track of your edits!), make corrections and print out a final copy.
Be sure to check out Jackie Cannon on her blog
Follow Jackie Cannon on twitter @JRCannon1