Kate Ashwin is the creative force behind Widdershins, a hugely popular webcomic filled with supernatural mayhem and adventure. Her latest book, Widdershins: Green-Eyed Monster, has successfully been crowd-funded on Kickstarter and is running until September 2nd. STARBURST got in touch with Kate to find out more.
STARBURST: How would you describe Widdershins?
Kate: Ashwin: A series of light-hearted adventure stories, set in a magical version of Victorian-era Yorkshire!
There's just so many potential stories you can spin from the basic concept of magic being a common practice, and just thinking through how it would fit into British society leads to so many ideas. Also, it's always interesting to take something familiar and add a little of the unfamiliar.
Why the seven deadly sins?
When I came up with that, it was very much tied into the way I wanted magic to work in Widdershins. All of it is based on summoning spirits made of human emotions, and making deals with them – say, if you wanted a train to go fast, you summon Impatience – and the deadly sins are always an interesting set of traits to use. There's an awful lot of story potential with them, as they make for some fabulous villains, not to mentions they're just plain fun to design the art for!
Where do you get the inspiration for your characters?
Quite a lot of the time, I'm just writing the sorts of characters I'd like to read about. Harriet Barber, the main character of a few of the books, came from wanting to see a female version of an Indiana Jones-style adventurer, and from there I added strengths and flaws to make her more interesting; she has a strong resolve but also a grumpy attitude, she's smart and fast but she's a pretty terrible chain-smoker. My favourite thing to do is set up a pair of characters who are complete polar opposites of each other, since that tends to make for the most interesting situations and journeys.
I've been putting comics on the internet for something like 13 years now. I originally did it that way because it was just a fun hobby, and it was so simple to make a thing and upload it. I found I really enjoyed the fact that people were reading things I'd written and drawn, and were interacting with me and the story. There's something really gratifying about the instant feedback you can get on a page-by-page basis when you do a webcomic. Nowadays, there's an absolute wealth of amazing webcomics out there, some massively unique stories and beautiful art that I genuinely don't think would have seen the light of day anywhere else but via online self-publishing. I adore the freedom of webcomics, honestly, I couldn't imagine working any other way, long term.
Is the future of comics in Kickstarter?
Hard to say, but it's certainly a very beneficial resource to have right now. It's been such a boon to be able to make print copies of Widdershins without having to traditionally pitch it to publishers. Not only is it a massive financial help, their site is very well set up to handle the fiddly parts of shipping, and it's also great promo. I definitely wouldn't be in the same position without it.
What’s next after Widdershins?
I hope to do Widdershins for a few more years yet, since there's still a lot of stories I want to tell with that setting and those characters, but after that, who knows? Won't be stopping making comics any time soon though, that's for sure!
How can we help?
SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW OR ON TWITTER @STARBURST_MAG
Find your local STARBURST stockist HERE, or buy direct from us HERE. For our digital edition (available to read on your iOS, Android, Amazon, Windows 8, Samsung and/or Huawei device - all for just £1.99), visit MAGZTER DIGITAL NEWSSTAND.
CLICK TO BUY!
MORE FROM AROUND THE WEB: