Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your graphic novel, The Junction! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the graphic novel’s premise?
Norm Konyu: When Lucas Jones, reappears on his uncle’s doorstep after an absence of 12 years, the brief moment of joy is clouded by mystery. Where has he been? Where is his father who disappeared with him? And how can it be that Lucas is still 11 years old?
As Lucas is uncommunicative, it is left to a police detective and a child psychologist to find answers from his few belongings, belongings which include a journal which speaks of his time in a place called "The Junction." The story unravels through interviews, medical and police reports, and ultimately, through visits to The Junction via the pages of Lucas’ journal in a mystery that keeps the reader guessing right up until the end.
BD: How would you describe your creative process in bringing this story to life, and what (or who) were some of your creative influences in terms of the characters and tone?
NK: Lucas’ story is told out of sequence, and this is a way of telling a tale I have never played with before, in any medium. In the end, I wrote it chronologically before chopping it up into separate sequences and reordering.
As I’m an animator by trade, the next part, the visuals, should have been simple, right? Nope. I have spent most of my professional career working in other people’s styles – and along the way, I lost my own. It took a year to discover a visual style that was all mine before applying it to The Junction.
As for the overall tone, I think my love of the works of Ray Bradbury seeped in – a mixture of nostalgia and the fantastical.
BD: Given your successful crowdfunding campaign for this project via Kickstarter, why do you feel that this and other crowdfunding platforms provide such a valuable resource to independent creators?
NK: Crowdfunding is an absolute lifeline for independent creators, especially those like myself who are embarking on their first project. We may have little to no following at this point in our "career," and sites like Kickstarter connect us with possible followers and funding that might be otherwise unreachable. Printing is an expensive proposition, and speaking personally, I would not have been able to bring The Junction to print without the financial support crowdfunding affords.
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 The Junction's story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
NK: The story of The Junction seems to impact readers in two distinctly different ways, depending on their particular experience. Most get wrapped up in the mystery of it, pure and simple, trying to guess the final outcome. Those readers who have experienced a recent or deep loss in their life seem to react it in a different way. Yes, there is still the mystery at the heart of the story, but there is an added therapeutic level, where they understand and relate to Lucas. It was something I thought was an important driving force for the narrative, but I was surprised by how fully many readers relate to it.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
NK: I am working on another graphic novel project, but it’s early days, and I don’t want to say too much about it… yet.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about The Junction and your other work?
NK: Due to my dreadful timing of releasing a book during a global pandemic, my carefully planned series of cons has evaporated, leaving just the internet for the moment! Check out my dedicated graphic novel page for more info and a link to ordering a copy, or follow me on Twitter @JunctionNovel or Instagram @junctiongraphicnovel.