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Fanbase Press Interviews Paul Cornell and Rachael Smith on Launching a Zoop Crowdfunding Campaign for the Graphic Novel, ‘Who Killed Nessie?’

The following is an interview with Paul Cornell and Rachael Smith regarding the recent launch of a Zoop crowdfunding campaign for the graphic novel, Who Killed Nessie?. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Cornell and Smith about their shared creative process in bringing the mystery and its larger-than-life characters to life on the page, what readers can anticipate in terms of backer rewards, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the launch of your Zoop crowdfunding campaign for Who Killed Nessie?! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the premise of this new comedy / mystery?

Paul Cornell: So, there’s this annual convention of cryptids, from the Yeti to the Kraken, at an isolated hotel in the Great Lakes. And there’s this newbie hotel worker, Lindsay Grockle, who, not knowing what the attendees really are, has been left in charge. She’s woken in the middle of the night by a talking cat, the Beast of Bodmin Moor, who tells her that someone has killed the Loch Ness Monster, and that she has to solve the mystery!

BD: How would you describe your shared creative process in crafting this cryptid-laden mystery? It’s always thrilling to follow a mystery story as the reader, but I would imagine that crafting the story – narratively and visually – and staying 3 steps ahead of your reader is quite the challenge!

PC: While talking to a group of friends about ridiculous story concepts, I just suddenly got the title and an image of the front cover in my head. And I immediately knew that the artist for this venture had to be the great cartoonist Rachael Smith, who does cute to the power of a million, but who also can invest her characters with huge humanity. Or in this case, huge Cryptivity. We hope it’s a proper mystery, but it’s also a screwball comedy about someone who is very much out of her depth. She may not believe in them, but they believe in her!

Rachael Smith: Aw, thank you, Paul! It’s been a thrill to be involved in this story as it’s being put together. I’ve not put too many pages together yet, but I’m really looking forward to putting in as many Easter eggs into them as possible. Readers will have lots to discover!

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Lindsay’s story may connect with or impact readers?

PC: Well, it’s everyone’s story, isn’t it? Haven’t we all been left alone to solve a murder in a house full of monsters? I mean, figuratively if you want. Anyone? But I think what all of us can relate to is being the intern who’s dumped on with too much responsibility and has to reveal their hidden depths to triumph.

RS: Totally agree. Lindsay is a character very close to my heart. She’s just come out of a break-up and is having trouble finding her place in the world. And that was before she realised it was a world full of mythical, magical creatures. Quite the culture shock!

BD: Are there any specific backer rewards that you’re most excited about with the campaign and wish to share with readers?

PC: We’ll be offering original art, signed bookplates, and even Zoom sessions where everyone will be watching Rachael drawing live, so I can just wibble on with nobody listening.

RS: Yes, I’m rather terrified about the live drawing. I’m sure Paul’s wibbling will put me at ease though! I can also confirm that the bookplates are going to be Very Cute.

BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?

PC: I am doing, entirely to please my nephew, an issue of Commando, a supermarket-stocked digest comic, a great British institution. And the collected edition of Con and On, my satire about several decades of a huge comics convention, is out imminently from Ahoy.

RS: I have a autobiographical webcomic called NAP COMIX that you can read on Webtoons! It updates three times a week here.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Who Killed Nessie? and your other work?

PC: Search ‘Zoop Nessie’ and you’ll find out crowdfunding page, and you can find my blog, or me, on Instagram, Bluesky or LinkedIn.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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