Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your magical urban fantasy comic collection, Forgotten Home, through ComiXology Originals! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the series’ premise?
Erica Schultz: Thank you very much. We’re all very proud of the book and excited to share it for those who hadn’t picked up the single issues.
In terms of what Forgotten Home is about, I’m always terrible at loglines, but here goes: Lorraine abandons her otherworldly home to escape the never-ending war and travels to Earth. Years later, a rash of abductions she’s investigating lead her back to her homeworld where she must face the consequences of leaving all those years before.
BD: What inspired you to tell this story alongside artist Marika Cresta and cover artist Bill Sienkiewicz, and how would you describe your shared creative process?
ES: When working on the original concept for Forgotten Home, I was hoping to write the anti-Frozen story. Frozen was everywhere at the time, so I was feeling contrarian, I guess.
While working on that, the plot split into two. One story that hasn’t come out yet, and the second was what ended up morphing into Forgotten Home.
I had approached Marika to work on Forgotten Home when an editor friend of mine, James Emmett, gave me her name. James is a terrific editor, and I really trust his judgment, so I reached out to see Marika’s availability and interest. I was elated when she not only had an interest but the time to work on the story.
Marika’s background in architecture really shone through when working with all the different locations. I mentioned my love for Syd Meade and Ralph McQuarrie, and I think that’s where we really clicked. She designed the gorgeous Jannadan palace and really created a world around Jannada. Matt Emmons’ colors complement Marika’s line work, so this book really is something beautiful to look at.
The cover artist throughout the series was Natasha Alterici, and working with her is always a pleasure. Bill Sienkiewicz was brought in as the collection cover artist. Bill is a friend and mentor whom I adore working with. When speaking with him at NYCC 2019, he happily agreed to draw the collection cover, and he did a phenomenal job (as per usual).
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Forgotten Home’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
ES: I hope that people see Forgotten Home as a story that functions on multiple levels. At its core, it’s a story about three generations of women all trying to find meaning and agency in their lives. The way they each go about that is very different. Lorraine leaves Jannada as a teenager to try and take control over her own life. Joanna tries to find herself in context of a home she’s never known. And Queen Rani wants the status quo to be maintained by any means necessary.
Not focusing on the main characters, Forgotten Home also deals with themes of redemption, betrayal, and wars over natural resources. Despite being a different world, Jannada has many of the same problems we have on Earth.
BD: What makes ComiXology Originals the perfect home for this series?
ES: The crew at comiXology have been amazingly supportive of Forgotten Home. I know there’s some discourse between digital comics and print comics, but I believe there’s room for everyone. Forgotten Home coming out in digital form first really plays with the bold colors and designs that really pop on the comiXology app.
Another perk is that other publishers were pushing to compress Forgotten Home to a five or six-issue story. comiXology let us keep it at eight issues so we could tell the story in its entirety.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
ES: I have an upcoming miniseries with Alter Comics and Red 5 in association with King Features that will be announced in time for Comic-Con @ Home. I’m also working on some creator-owned projects before the school year starts again at The Kubert School (where I’m a writing instructor).
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Forgotten Home?
ES: If you’re looking for a moving story about finding your place in the world, then Forgotten Home is the story for you. It has magic, romance, adventure, otherworldly beings, and kick-ass art by Marika Cresta and Matt Emmons. The royal costumes are designed by Yissel Ayala, and Kevin Maher designed the logo. Interior covers are drawn by Natasha Alterici, and Cardinal Rae lettered the book. We hope you pick it up!