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Having made her name in the periphery of the comic book world thus far, Kelly Sue DeConnick steps more into the forefront with the next installment in the 30 Days of Night series, Eben & Stella. With the first issue of the mini series out since last Wednesday, DeConnick stopped by to chat about the book and other things that interest her.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Firstly, while you aren't new to comics at all, you are probably not very well known to most mainstream comic readers. Care to give a quick intro of yourself for the world to read?

KELLY SUE DECONNICK: Five feet tall, hazel eyes, enjoys backgammon and long walks on the beach at sunset.

BF: Careful with the descriptions. I don’t want Fraction coming after me when he has to beat the fanboys away from you with a stick.

KSD: Oh my. Well then, I also wrote the English adaptations of Blue Spring, Sexy Voice and Robo, Sensual Phrase, Kare First Love, Black Cat and the Slayers prose novels (among others; I could list my whole CV for you here, but really -- how dull. If anybody's dying for the whole list they can write me and I'll send it along with my sympathy). I have some short sequential art pieces in Kitchen Sink Magazine and both Image 24seven anthologies. I've published a lot of prose -- short stories and personal essays for the most part -- in everything from IDW's Bloodsucker Tales to Nerve.com to (I kid you not) Swank: Confidential.

I think if you search for my name on Amazon.com you'll still pull up more mentions of me in other's people's books than you will find my name attached to my own projects, but I prefer to think this adds to my air of mystery. Let's pretend it makes me exotic -- like Kiki in Paris or the Marchesa Casati. Minus the nude servants. Because, well... ew.

BF: Going on from that, how did you become involved with this new 30 Days of Night story? Was it a situation when you had been discussing the idea with Steve Niles to help him out or did he contact you about assisting him?

KSD: He contacted me. Basically, he wanted to do the project, but had too much going on at the time. We got on well and had spoken about the possibility of me doing some work one of his projects before and this just seemed like a good fit.

BF: While this isn't your first foray into the 30 Days of Night world, having written a backup to Bloodsucker Tales (as well as being an in-law to the property by your husband writing one of the Bloodsucker Tales), how does it feel to be working in a more prominent role on someone else's baby?

KSD: I feel incredibly flattered that Steve would trust me with his darling, honestly.

BF: 30 Days of Night could be credited with kickstarting (or at least shifting into higher gear) the careers of both Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith. Was there any added pressure there on your part? Did you feel the need to clear any and everything with them on the book and does having Steve as a co-writer help out in that regard?

KSD: Steve and I talked through the outline together and he gave me some insight into the characters, and, you know, I read and re-read the books to make sure I had a feel for the "world."

(It also helps that I'm not the first outsider to play in this particular sandbox -- I think that takes some of the heat off. Jeff Marriotte, Dan Wickline and Matt Fraction had already cleared the way, you know?)

BF: This story goes back in the timeline to tell the story of what happened to Eben and Stella between the end of Dark Days and the beginning of Return to Barrow. Why go backwards in the timeline to tell this tale rather than head forward? What made this time period so ripe for another story? And how mad at Eben is Stella considering she brought him back and he immediately turned her?

KSD: Hell hath no fury, right? I mean, I think of myself as pretty even-tempered but if I'd risked life and limb to bring Fraction back from the dead and he immediately went and infected me... we'll there'd be no Tiffany box big enough to get him out of that particular doghouse. I'd chop him up in little pieces, mix them with lye and scatter the whole stew off the Charles Bridge like a rain of putrid confetti.

BF: I guess a stake through the heart just isn’t enough sometimes. [laughs]

KSD: Yes, well… Happily for you, Stella's a more reasonable gal than I am.

As to why go back to the spot between Dark Days and Return to Barrow -- Steve wanted to tell this particular story, the story of Eben and Stella's new life, and this story takes place between Dark Days and Return to Barrow. Does that make sense? I feel like that's sort of a smart ass answer, but it's not meant to be.

This is the story we're telling because this is the story we wanted to tell.

BF: How did you and Steve split up the writing duties on the book? Were there set responsibilities for each of you as to whom and what scenes you would write or was it more organic than that?

KSD: We went over the outline and chart together, then I've drafted and he's revised or plugged in bits that really needed to be in his particular voice.

BF: What type of story are you telling here? Is it a straight horror in line with the other main stories of the series? Is it a love story, a road trip, or something else entirely?

KSD: Uh... let's see. It's horror. It's love story. It's also got a bit of cyberpunk action to it.

And I think it's hilarious, but I could be twisted. Who knows? Actually, that's probably a safe bet.

BF: I don’t know how twisted someone can be if they’re against nude servants.

Talk a little bit about the choice of artist. Justin Randall is the artist on this book. How was he chosen and what made his style so perfect of a fit?

KSD: Ben Templesmith picked him out! Doesn't get better than that, does it? I think Justin was Ben's lecturer at university or something. Don't hold me to that, but I'm sure I'm not far off. It's a Perth thing.

JUSTIN RANDALL: It’s true that I lectured in Ben's course but he only took 1 of my units and I taught him @#$% all; he was already Ben Templesmith by that point.

BF: Gotta love those Aussies!

KSD: I know, right? It’s cute though.

BF: I’m not sure that’s the word I would use. But it is rather funny.

KSD: Justin's style melds nicely with Ben's -- it's enough his own that it doesn't feel like he's aping Ben, but they're naturally similar enough that neither does it leap out as Not Belonging to the rest of the oeuvre. Have you seen any of it yet? It's great stuff.

BF: Since his style is so similar to Ben’s, I have to ask you this. When I interviewed Matt about some of his other books (Cassanova, 5 Fists of Science) we spoke for a little about his work on 30 Days of Night with Templesmith, and I made him promise that next time he worked with him he could have him draw bigger images instead of a 9 panel grid.

Since this is the closest I’ve gotten to a Fraction/Templesmith reunion since, any chance you can promise that Justin will draw some nice splashes?

KSD: Oh my, yes. I can promise you some pin-up quality slash pages, in fact. I'll send you one to run with the interview.

BF: Beyond this book, what else can fans expect to see from you? Having mostly worked with translations of manga books, did this open you up to doing more standard American comics? Anything else on the horizon from you to tease fans with?

KSD: I've got a country noir/hillbilly horror story at Oni called NORMAL JEAN about sixteen year old hillbilly girl who thinks she's Marilyn Monroe reincarnated and what happens when the grifter who fathered her comes back to town to play his last con on the locals.

Hell hath no fury again, I guess. Only with cabins and sticks.

And sixteen year old Marilyn lookalikes.

And stabbing.

BF: I take it back. You are twisted. But in a good way.

KSD: Oh, pish. Other than that, more anthology work, two new adaptation projects for Viz that I'm really excited about and, if I'm lucky, a prose novel opportunity I haven't had the time to pursue. I'll keep you posted.

BF: And finally, I read that you and Matt Fraction are expecting your first child in September. A hearty congrats from myself, Broken Frontier, and all the other fans out there.

KSD: Thank you kindly.

BF: Although I hope that being parents doesn't temper you or your husband's writing style to make it more all ages!

KSD: I think Fraction's going to make an exceptional dad. I know he loved reading comics as a kid and I'm sure he's going to want to write some comics his kid can read. And you know what else? They'll rule. Have you read his Sensational Spider-Man Annual? My boy gots talent to spare. Whatever he wants to write, it's going to be damned fine, whether it features titties and the f-word or spandex and one to grow on. It'll be smart, too. He'll never talk down to kids. Frankly, he doesn't know how.

That said, there aren't enough onesies and good head smells in the world to get the sex robots and orgone out of Casanova Quinn. They're in his DNA.

Rest easy, Casanovanauts! Your beautifully perverse fantasy life is safe in the hands of my beloved. I promise.

BF: And we know you will hold him to that.

Thanks again for your time Kelly Sue! Having now interviewed yourself, Niles, and Matt twice I'm almost starting to feel like part of the family. Or at least that's what I'm going to start telling people. [Laughs]

KSD: Great! Get you ass over here and empty the dishwasher will you? Sheesh. Kids today....

BF: I’ll get right on that as soon as you raise my allowance.

KSD: D'oh!

Kelly Sue DeConnick's bio photos are both credit to Doug Hesse www.kdog.com.

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