The following is an interview with The Woman and the Woods and Other North American Stories guest editor and cover artist Alina Pete regarding the recent launch of the project’s Kickstarter campaign (with Iron Circus Comics). In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Pete about the creative process of bringing these stories to life, their contributions as both guest editor and cover artist for the collection, the great backer rewards available to campaign supporters, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of the Kickstarter campaign! In bringing together so many talented creators for the project, what can you tell us about the shared creative process of working with the creators to shepherd their stories to completion?
Alina Pete: It was amazing to work with our creative teams to bring this collection together, but working with Indigenous stories meant that we had to do things a little differently than in past anthologies. All Indigenous stories belong to the nations who tell them, not to any individual storyteller, so part of the work we asked our writers to do was to practice proper protocol and to ask for permission to tell these stories in this anthology. This protocol is different from nation to nation, so it was important that our writers work with their own nations to “do things the right way!”
BD: In addition to your work as editor, you will be contributing your illustrative talents for the collection’s cover. How did you approach your design for the cover?
AP: Because this is the North American edition of Cautionary Fables, I immediately thought of the legend of Turtle Island, which is another name for North America. In this legend, Sky Woman falls to the world, which was entirely water before Muskrat dove deep enough to find mud, which Sky Woman spreads on Turtles back to make the land. This cover features that legend and is inspired by Woodland Cree art, as well as the work of Jerry Whitehead and Ted Harrison.
BD: As this will be the fifth volume of the Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales series, what do you feel makes this collection truly unique and its stories stand out?
AP: I think the cultural richness of all of the Cautionary Fables books is what really makes them special, and this book is a stellar example of it. We have such a breadth of stories as Indigenous people, and that is really featured in this anthology; from the humor of “Chokfi,” to the historical drama of “White Horse Plains,” to the creeping horror of “Into the Darkness.” Plus, the artwork for all of these stories is simply gorgeous!
BD: In light of the Kickstarter campaign, are there any particular backer rewards that you would like to highlight for our readers?
AP: I believe we’ll be offering a print of an absolutely beautiful page from Elijah Forbes’ “As It Was Told to Me,” and I’m already making space on my walls for it!