My primary inspiration was that I wanted to create a story that fit in the science fiction and horror category. I began drawing Tara and she came alive from the paper. She's influenced by my wife Shelley and her love of the X-Files. There's a lot of tributes in the story to that.
What is the current story line for Tara and how does this lead her to the new adventures?
After the events of Book 1, Tara faces a new enemy who has powers similar to her own. His name is Charlton and he's the new star of a show by the producers of Ghost Soldiers, the paranormal reality stars who met their demise. Charlton has his own secrets and a lust for fame. He wants Tara out of the picture. Plus, the new book Season of Evil features an anthology of awesome stories where Tara fights a Yeti, the Headless Horseman and she stays at the hotel that inspired the Shining.
With the new Kickstarter campaign, what rewards can we expect to see?
We have a ton of rewards at different pricing levels so that supporters can choose the one that's the best personal fit. Some of the biggest rewards we have are the YOU'RE AN EVIL STAR and the YOU'RE A HERO STAR levels. These rewards allow you to become a new character in the next volume of Tara Normal and you will be a central hero or villain. Charlton, the new bad guy in Tara Normal: Season of Evil is actually based on a Kickstarter backer from our first campaign, Joshua Note. I love giving Kickstarter backers the chance to be comic book stars. I'm a professional caricature artist so the likeness will be very close and it will be a true comic book version of yourself. I am also offering Skype drawing lessons for the first time and original inked artwork from the book. There are also a few cameo roles left in the book that are available as rewards.
Check out more on this project at Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hcnoel/tara-normal
What was your most profound paranormal experience while ghost hunting with your wife?
While ghost hunting at Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia, PA I experienced several things that really changed my view point on the paranormal. Something was actually following me around there. That place is truly special.
I understand you're planning a special ghost hunting excurision, what are the details of this?
We set up the first ever Tara Normal ghost hunt this May at Pennhurst Asylum. It's a super limited event and sold out within hours. I've never done an investigation in an asylum before so I am really psyched. Pennhurst was a big inspiration for the first Tara book. It'll be like stepping into my comic.
You've been known to gift commissions to some interesting characters, most recently Ric Flair. Tell us about his reaction and the experience.
Meeting Ric Flair was awesome. He was super nice and he really appreciated the drawing I created for him. He was a guest at MCW, my favorite local wrestling promotion here in Maryland. It was great to meet the Nature Boy.
I see you've been collaborating with other creators for new projects. What are some of these and when will they be available?
I will be collaborating with author Dirk Manning on a Tales of Mr. Rhee issue for Devil's Due. I'll be illustrating that this summer. Plus, he will be writing a story for the new Tara book Season of Evil that's currently on Kickstarter. Seth Damoose is illustrating that one.
What else do you have planned for the next year?
For next year, I'll be working on Book 3 of Tara Normal. That volume is going to change a lot of things with the character and I'm already looking forward to it. I have a lot of insanity planned for that.
What are some of your upcoming dates for appearances?
I'll be at Awesome Con in Washington, DC . Later this year on Halloween weekend I'll be at Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta, GA. I'll be adding more shows as the year continues.
You can find more on Howie at the following links:
If you'd like to hear more from Howie, take the time to listen to my podcast, "The Mistresses of Mayhem & Chaos," with my partner Michelle. We recorded an episode with Howie. It was insightful and entertaining, to say the least. You can find the episode here: http://www.digitalnerdage.com/?p=303