New sci-fi thriller Flux caught my eye over on Twitter and after getting a look at what it was all about I just had to catch-up with one of the creators involved – cue the lamp shining in Pete Rogers face……
What sparked the idea for Flux?
Steve originally came up with the idea but he’d struggle to tell you where it came from. We both like science fiction, time travel stories and are old enough to remember a time before the internet and social media. The integration of technology with our lives is great but it can also have a very dark side and all of those things combined probably sparked the idea.
As soon as Steve explained Flux to me it piqued my interest, I love stories about shadowy organisations and their effect on society. People have assumed that the book came out as a reaction to recent events but we’ve been working on this since 2014. However, Flux does feel more relevant than ever today, with Trump’s potential impeachment, Brexit dominating British politics, corporations influencing elections and particularly all of us sacrificing our privacy to get more from technology.
How did the creative team come together?
Steve and I had known each other for years, we both attended comic conventions here in the UK with our self published titles and used to chat at those. After The Interactives came out from Markosia, Steve and I got chatting about doing something together. We pitched ideas to each other and agreed that Steve’s idea Flux was the strongest and most interesting.
We then worked together to break down the story and to flesh out the characters and the world further. I knew artist Maysam Barza from the Facebook group Small Press Commandoes and thought he’d be a great fit for the story and when he came on board things fell into place.
We know the story had been around for a while but did it change much once the team was put together?
Like any good collaboration, things change as you progress. Quite often Steve and I would find ourselves in a bit of a corner or struggling with the logic of something ( par for the course with a time travel book) so we’d need to deviate from our initial plan. And once you can see the characters visually you start to change your decisions a bit, and that happens even more as the character becomes more real in your head. Decisions that Sarah makes as the story progresses were down to what we thought she would do, not just what would serve our plot. Maysam’s art style gives the book a 70s/80s vibe which is ideal for a conspiracy thriller and that also helped shape some of the things we did.
Are the main characters based on anyone?
We didn’t base the characters on anyone specifically, but someone like Arthur Buchanan takes some cues from the cult of personality in modern tech and things like Steve Jobs’ Apple presentations and people doing Ted Talks were an influence. We did take some tropes from police procedural stories to develop Mike and Sarah, but didn’t want to get stuck with cliches. The most important thing for us was making Sarah a fully rounded independent character, someone who was willing to challenge authority when needed. Her relationships with Mike and her father became key to helping us know what drove her.
The Kickstarter seems to have been going well already but how has it been?
Neither of us has run a crowdfunding campaign before so it was very daunting going in. The response has been excellent and having some preview quotes from established creators certainly helped. It’s been a great feeling to get messages from people telling us how much they like the premise and the art, that helps make all the hard work worthwhile. We hit our target about halfway through the campaign which we didn’t expect, and that’s allowed us to introduce a stretch goal. I’ve backed a lot of Kickstarters and there is always the fear that what you back never gets delivered, that’s why we’re crowdfunding now with so much of Issue 2 and 3 already completed. This is about helping us get over the line, not starting a project from scratch which I think has become where crowdfunding now works best.
Do you have plans for Flux beyond this 4-issue run?
Steve and I tend to come up with ideas that could run and run and our instincts tend to veer us into ongoing series territory. That’s very hard to do as an indie creator, so with Flux we were keen to have a clear beginning, middle and end and for it to be a standalone story. Having said that, never say never, delving into the world with side stories or prequels (time travel makes that very interesting) is something we could do if Flux is well received.
What else are you working on just now?
Steve’s sixth fantasy novel, Magebane, was just published by Orbit books in August, and he’s just handed in his seventh fantasy novel to his agent. He’s also working on two other novels at the moment.
We have two new comic book projects together, a horror adventure called Hell and Back and a straight up thriller called The Promise. They are both shaping up to be pitched to publishers.
Individually I have a horror screenplay in the works and an urban fantasy comic series called Chalk shaping up too, along with some audio drama pitches. And I’ve just finished the script for the sixth issue of supernatural western series Seven Shades that comes out via Deadstar publishing.
As our current stretch goal, we are releasing a pilot season preview showcasing other stories Steve and I have in development too.
So we are definitely both keeping ourselves busy.
BIG thanks to Pete for taking the time to talk about Flux and I can’t wait to get a look at the first issue and then the whole series.
You can keep updated with all the creators involved through the following links:
Maysam – Instagram
Flux – Twitter
You can also jump on board their campaign at the link below too: