Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of The GoldTwinz! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the story’s premise and what was its inspiration?
Jardine Libaire: Thank you so much! The premise is a technicolor mashup for sure: 20-year-old twins Marc and Yvette, anarchistic souls who live in the Everglades, finally admit that she’s meant to be an outlaw mega-star and he’s the only one who can get her there. First, they have to destroy his childhood abuser and get her out of a sex-cam “lullaby” contract she made to support herself while Marc was in prison. The general inspiration was definitely the noir classics, but also a tropical, psychedelic mood. And then the very unlikely specific starting point for me was rereading The Holy Terrors by Jean Cocteau and wanting to recreate this taboo story of anarchistic teenaged orphans in Paris—but setting it somewhere just as vivid and yet fundamentally different. Florida, of course.
BD: Jardine, as this is your first collaboration with Neil, what can you tell us about your shared creative process in bringing the story to life?
JL: We had a great kickoff meeting, talking about the things that obsess us and give us chills, things that we dream of creating. And then we both worked simultaneously, showing pieces of the project to each other as we finished them. It was so genuinely thrilling to see what Neil was producing, and it certainly fed the text element, even jumpstarting new characters. It's invaluable for energy and imaginations to really intersect in a good collaboration, and we were so lucky. Neil’s vision imported so much into the story, as did the performance of the characters he was shooting. They also bring a new dimension to our common territory of the project.
BD: Neil, your incredible accomplishments in photography have allowed you to tell stories visually with your work. How would you describe your experience in transitioning to a text-based medium to tell Marc and Yvette’s story?
Neil Krug: The experience was lovely for a variety of reasons, but I enjoy nothing more than bringing a narrative to life in a collection of work. In other projects that I’ve made when a narrative isn’t available, I tend to imagine one to create a foundation for the work to live in.
The GoldTwinz was a unique project as the characters were living, breathing individuals in Jardine’s text that needed to be visualized via the world building that Jardine and I imagined. I’m incredibly proud of the performances that Kaiman Kazazian, Xuly Williams, and Catrina Chun gave. It required a lot of time and vulnerability on everyone’s part, and I think it shows in the work.
BD: What makes NeoText the perfect home for The GoldTwinz?
JL: NeoText is like a refuge almost, making a safe space for experiments in writing and illustration and photography and collaboration. They operate like modern-day patron saints. We felt like we could really follow our hearts in making the piece.
NK: What I appreciate about NeoText is at their core they’re a company that wants you to create the most uncompromising, uncensored, raw piece of work that you’re capable of providing. I find that approach incredibly invigorating, and it’s that attitude that probably pushed me to take the work further than I might’ve had that not been the case.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the novella into subsequent books or even into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
JL: Yes, absolutely! I love serialized pulp and zines and other modes of storytelling where what you get in round one is not the beginning middle and end. That sense of something unknown on the horizon, and having to wait to buy the next issue or see the next video, is exciting in a way that reminds me of being a teenager. That pure excitement. We definitely created this installment as the beginning of a much longer story, to be told in whatever medium ends up taking over.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
JL: I have a novel coming out from Hogarth in the next year tentatively titled You're an Animal about a deaf teenage girl and a drug dealer’s illegal pet cheetah.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The GoldTwinz?
JL: More info will be at NeoText.