Tuesday, June 10, 2014

John McGuire -- Following the Dark with John McGuire

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

My debut novel, The Dark That Follows, came out in December of 2013. It tells the story of a fortune teller (who can actually see the future). Jason Mills has a college kid come in to get a reading and sees nothing for the kid. Realizing that probably means the kid is going to die, Jason sets out to try and help this guy and finds himself drawing into a web of strange magical beings and demon summonings.

My creator-owned comic, The Gilded Age, is about a carnival troupe in a Steampunk style world. Each issue focuses on different people from the troupe allowing me to tell any and all kinds of stories. The first issue focuses on Hannah, a new actress in the group, and Elias, the stage magician, and the retrieval of an item he needs for his show.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I tend to jump around from genre to genre with my works, but mostly the common thread is that I want to tell stories about people. And many times I come back to the singular idea of “Who am I?” or “Who do I want to be?” I believe these are core principles for everyone. Things we all wrestle with, so it makes sense that these characters would deal with as well.

What would be your dream project?

Novel wise I have a Western that I would love to write. It has been in my brain for a few years now, but I also know that I’m not quite ready to start in on that one.

Comics wise I would love to write either The Flash or The Avengers. I liked both before they were “cool” (I’m assuming the Flash’s new show will make him cool), and much of my comic collection is really centered around those 2 titles.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

I’m not sure how to answer this one. I know that everything I have written or will write could use one more pass to make the dialogue on page 87 shine or add to that panel’s description to ensure the artist 100 percent understands my vision. That said, I also believe that at some point we all have to “put our pencils down” and release the thing into the world. That’s the only way you can truly move on to the next project.

And worse case I take the Ed Wood attitude (rephrased slightly) “Worst thing you’ve ever read… well, my next one will be even better!”

What inspires you to write?

Inspiration comes from reading books or comics or articles, watching tv and movies, talking to people, and everything else. Then you put all of that into a big pot (my brain) and let it percolate. On my most recent road trip (4+ hours in the car alone) it was the name of a subdivision that spurred the name of a character which led to a plot which… so there is no telling where it is going to come from, you just have to be open to what the universe is going to present you.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Steven King, Aaron Sorkin, Mark Waid, Jack London, and probably whatever book I’m currently reading. I try to learn from the greats. Glean anything I can from a technique they used or maybe a choice they didn’t pursue. And every day I learn a little bit more.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

Writing is both and it is neither. It is anything we want it to be from classics of another age to the popcorn movies we all line up to see. The truest thing is whether or not it sticks with you. Would you read/watch that piece again or not? Even the most mindless of things have inherent value if they brought you some form of pleasure or knowledge (even if it happens to be “don’t do it this way!”).

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?  

I have a Dark Fantasy Serial that takes the idea of medieval fantasy and looks at it through a post-apocalyptic lens. And if that sounds weird and strange, well it is. So much so that I co-wrote it with another author (my Tessera Guildmate, J Edward Neill). It is called Hollow Empire and should be out sometime this summer (fingers crossed) in 6 bi-weekly installments.

On the comics side, issue #2 of The Gilded Age should be finished up by Dragon Con, so I’m excited to see that one come to life. This issue spotlights the carnival’s gunfighter with the steam-powered arm, and the young man who comes to challenge him.