Today we welcome Madeleine Holly-Rosing, the writer/creator of the steampunk supernatural webcomic BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY. Here’s the blurb for the upcoming issue:
PYN: Tell us about The Boston Metaphysical Society!
MHR: Boston Metaphysical Society is about an ex-Pinkerton detective, his spirit photographer partner and a genius scientist who battle supernatural forces in late 1800’s Boston. It’s a six-issue steampunk supernatural webcomic series that is online but also has the first two chapters in print and a third on the way!
The story and world was developed through an odd confluence of ideas and research. I had written a script called STARGAZER (A Sloan Fellowship Winner) while at the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. It was a true story based on the life of an astronomer by the name of Mina Fleming who came to Boston from Scotland in 1860 (or roundabouts). Obviously, I had done a ton of research on that time period to write the script, but I’m also a huge science fiction, steampunk and supernatural fan. At one point I realized there had to have been a team of paranormal investigators before Mulder and Scully. So I started to develop the characters of Samuel Hunter and Caitlin O’Sullivan. That’s when it hit me and I came up with the tag line for Boston Metaphysical Society…
“Before Mulder and Scully, there was Hunter and O”Sullivan.” [Tweet this!]
I also wanted to delve more deeply into the world and characters than I could with the comic so I’ve been writing companion short stories and novellas based on the Boston Metaphysical universe. They are prequels and do not contain any spoilers to the webcomic. (Available on Kindle, Nook, Smashwords and DriveThruFiction)
PYN: What prompted you to write a webcomic?
MHR: That’s a story. LOL. I had written the TV Pilot for Boston Metaphysical Society in a TV Development class while I was at UCLA and many people thought it would make a good comic. I agreed, but I didn’t know how to write comics. So I went back to school and was not only lucky to have Nunzio DeFilippis (The Avalon Chronicles, Bad Medicine and New X-Men:Academy X) as my instructor, but my classmates were amazing. I could list them and their accomplishments, but they might be embarrassed.
Anyway, after having my brain turned inside out I learned how to adapt a TV Pilot into a comic. I then developed the story into a six-issue arc.
PYN: Tell us about the magic or paranormal world of The Boston Metaphysical Society.
MHR: The paranormal elements in the story are based on the paranormal and spiritual beliefs of that time period (late 1800’s). Many people during that era were actively engaged in séances, employing mediums and psychics as well as believing spirit photography could actually photograph a ghost/spirit.
PYN: How did you go about building your steampunk world?
MHR: Research. Research. Research. And lots of imagination. I also read a lot of steampunk literature. Much of it is very gadget centric and that was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to develop a universe where the steampunk elements were so organic to their society that it was all taken for granted. I thought it should be seamless in the character’s lives, but I also wanted the technology to reflect science as accurately as the story would allow. However, since this is fiction rules and facts will be bent if not outright broken.
After figuring out the limitations of the technology for my universe, I wove in the cultural and social mores of the time period. Class distinctions are an integral part of steampunk and it is one of the themes I deal with in the comic. In the short stories and novellas, I use fashion to differentiate between the classes more so than I do in the comic.
PYN: Do you consider your comic character-driven or plot-driven?
MHR: Definitely character driven. Stories are about people and relationships. (Or in some steampunk stories automatons and relationships, but you get my meaning.) Character generates story. You might start out with a general idea, but once you develop the characters they will often take you places you never thought you’d go. It’s fun and infuriating all at the same time.
PYN: What’s next?
MHR: Oh, so much to do and so little time…
My plan is to launch a Kickstarter Campaign to finish off the last three issues of the mini-series. If that is successful then I hope to launch another Kickstarter to continue on with another series.
I also want to write more novellas and eventually a series of novels based in the Boston Metaphysical universe. And I’d love to map out another series arc. I have several ideas on the direction the next series will go. One of them is to focus on Granville Woods and explore the racial issues a little more. Or I could delve more into Caitlin’s world. Either way would make me happy.
PYN: Anything else you’d like to add?
MHR: Please come visit the webcomic at http://www.bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com
Like the Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/BostonMetaphysicalSocietyComic
Follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mhollyrosing
You can also follow on Goodreads.com
And please back the Kickstarter in October 2013!!!
Thank you for having me on your blog, Kirsten!
A TV, feature film and comic book writer, Ms. Holly-Rosing is the writer/creator of the steampunk supernatural webcomic BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY. The winner of the Sloan Fellowship for screenwriting and the Gold Aurora and Bronze Telly for a PSA produced by Women In Film, Ms. Holly-Rosing has also won numerous awards while completing the UCLA MFA Program in Screenwriting. Formerly a nationally ranked epee fencer, she has competed nationally and internationally and an is an avid reader of science fiction, steampunk, fantasy and historical military fiction. Ms. Holly-Rosing lives with her rocket scientist husband, David.