Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of Liar! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of the story?
FK: Real-life human trafficking stories that will definitely inform the public, hidden within a story of a smart mouth alcoholic data analyst who is trying his best to dismantle the human trafficking system.
BD: Flip, how would you describe your creative process in bringing this story to life, and what can you tell us about your decision to donate all proceeds from the sale of the book to the SEPCA Foundation?
FK: It started a year ago when human traffickers left three dead men in my hometown graveyard next to our family church. They were discovered by a family visiting a loved ones grave, and authorities quickly identified who the poor men were, and why they were murdered. Then, shortly after that, while working as a homeless out reach provider, I came across a woman who was homeless because she ran away from her captors. Needless to say, I got angry and started working on the book by learning by becoming a journalist of sorts, so when I wrote the book, it would have real information on human trafficking to educate the public. How I got involved with Chris is through Instagram. I saw this amazing human being who works with nature and does amazing photos, and I noticed that he works hard in helping rebuild peoples lives with SEPCA. Chris and SEPCA are constantly going to people less fortunate and building them a better life. And one morning I was reading my Bible, I read a story where people sold possessions to feed the poor, and in that moment, I reached out to Chris with the idea and it clicked.
BD: Chris, as the co-founder of the SEPCA Foundation, what is your organization’s mission, and how did you come to connect with Flip regarding this project?
Chris Theobald: To answer your question in a nutshell, Sepca empowers the local and poor people of the DRC through education, communication, and employment. We are a grassroots foundation that was created one night in a bar in Goma with a Mexican, who was my mentor in my mountain guide beginnings in Patagonia, Chile, with Paul who is Congolese national who was the accountant for Virunga National park when I worked there in 2017. We decided to create a foundation to help the beautiful people who we fell in love with in the DR Congo who, even if they had 1 t-shirt & you needed it they would give you the shirt off your back!
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 Liar’s story will connect with and impact readers?
FK: I think this book is the beginning of a snowball avalanche of graphic novels coming from indie authors and artists that will challenge the public. Least, that’s what the vibe of LA comic con gave. Almost every publisher was talking about doing a book on human trafficking, because it’s sadly a billion-dollar industry. Liar is only one layer of this hard subject. It was written from the view point of ex-soldiers who were stationed in the Asian peninsula and learned from history of those countries what contributed to certain ethnic groups being trafficked due to war. A Lot of stuff that should be in our American history books, but aren’t. Plus, when they see that the money spent on this book being used to improve peoples lives from SEPCA, they’re gonna feel like they are helping make the world better, because they are.
BD: Chris, in addition to supporting SEPCA through the purchase of Liar, are there other ways to directly get involved with and support your organization?
CT: Yes! If you go to our website (www.sepcafoundation.com), you can see our latest projects at the top of the page. Also our socials on Facebook and Instagram (@sepcafoundation). In 2023 we will be opening the “Sepca School on English” in Goma where people from all over the world will be able to come and volunteer to help the community & to see how people in the DRC really live.
BD: Flip, are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
FK: For the most part, I’m just promoting this book help raise money for SEPCA foundation. That and I’ll be drawing some pictures for SEPCA based off Chris’ photos to help promote SEPCA. Chris and his team are doing amazing stuff, and I want to help them any way I can.