House Party – Interview

Posted March 28, 2014 by Oscar Russell in Nerdy Bits

We The Nerdy, was lucky enough to get the chance to interview Rachel Smith who is currently working on her new Kickstarter project House Party, which you can find here

We The Nerdy: There are going to be a lot of our readers who may not know about your upcoming project, in a nutshell what is the elevator pitch for House Party.

Rachel Smith: Dunno if it counts as an ‘elevator pitch’…but this is pretty much the gist of it:

The story follows three 20-somethings Michelle, Siobhan, and Neil, who are having trouble adapting to life in the real world since feeling like superstars at university. In an attempt to get their happiness back they throw a house party, just like they used to. Instead of reconnecting them with their younger selves, however, things go a little differently.

In a story that will resonate with the ‘lost’ generation, we watch them try to move forward in lives that none of them really asked for.

WTN: Where did the inspiration come from for the book?

RS: It’s pretty autobiographical. I studied Fine Art at uni and did really well, then ended up having to take a job in a coffee place as there was just nothing out there – so that’s very like Siobhan, one of the main characters. Last year, when I started writing ‘House Party’, I had been feeling pretty despondent and unappreciated at my full time admin job (which I was actually able to quit in December – yaaay!) and so a story about a group of ex-students feeling like they had nothing to put their creative energy into anymore was probably inevitable.


WTN: From the preview pages the book has a very Scott Pilgrim feel to it, even down to the size the book is going to be printed in, were you inspired by this or any other books?

RS: Kate Beaton was the first comic book artist I found online that actually made me want to give it a go myself. Her stuff was just so hilarious and different from anything I’d seen before. So she’s a massive influence. After that it was Bryan Lee O’Malley (so you were spot on), Marc Ellerby, and John Allison who I looked up simply because people kept comparing me to them. And they’re all rad so that was awesome.

WTN: How has the whole Kickstarter experience been so far?

RS: It has been amazing, surreal, and humbling. ‘House Party’ was funded yesterday (Sunday, 23rd March) – four days into our 33 day project. I was at Birmingham MCM comic con when it happened, so couldn’t really shout about it online until this morning. I did have a hurried phone conversation with Adam Cadwell yesterday though where we discussed some very exciting stretch goals – so please watch the Kickstarter because it’s going to get AWESOME.

WTN: Any tips for aspiring artists and writers?

RS: I spent ages agonising over whether I was good enough to make a comic or not when I should have just been making comics and getting better at doing them. So just start as soon as you can! Make a drawing every hour for a day about what you’ve done in that hour – then print them and make them into a mini book you can sell for £1 each or whatever. Put them in an etsy shop. Start small – but start soon!!

WTN: What is it like both drawing and writing your own book, and which do you prefer?

RS: I’ve only ever written and drawn my own comics, so I don’t really know. I’m working with Will Brooker on a comic called ‘Towards the Moon’ which he’s written for me – but I’m only two pages in. I’ve enjoyed working on his script so far though!04-2

WTN: This isn’t your first self published book, how has this one differed, and what things have you learnt from past projects?

RS: Well, with my first comic I screwed up loads of my page turns because I didn’t plan enough – but it was my first one so of course I was going to get things wrong. I was super proud of it when it was finished and printed though – that’s an amazing feeling. My process didn’t really change that much from when I was writing the shorter stories…but obviously it did take a lot longer, and I had to work a bit harder to make sure to keep the characters consistent throughout.

WTN: Are you involved in the British Indie Comic Scene, the Cons in London (and the rest of the UK) are packed with new talent selling their creations

RS: Yes I am! I do as many cons as I’m able. Some of the ones I’m doing this year include ELCAF, Manchester MCM, and International Comics Expo.

WTN: Are you attending cons to try and promote, or what other methods of spreading the word about House Party?

RS: Other than cons, I’ve done a little PR, sent leaflets round comic shops, and worked hard on the kickstarter itself – we spent ages making the video, but I think it’s really helped!

You can check out Rachel Smith’s other works on her website and you can also follow her on Twitter @rachael_……..and of course check out the Kickstarter page and get backing on that, we will of course be reviewing the book on We The Nerdy as soon as we can!


About the Author

Oscar Russell

Comics Editor for WTN, and co-host of the All New Comics Dash Podcast. I like comics and tabletop gaming!