Alex Giles is a Scottish comic book writer and letterer, which means he adds the letter U to a lot of words. His other work includes Betty 'The Slayer' Mitchell and GodMyth. Ella is his first Kickstarter project.
Tim Midura: Ella follows a young girl who gains the ability of anthropomorphism. Can you expand on that?
Alex Giles: Hello, sure I can. Ella gets the powers from Amulet of Sharzim which is more than just a piece of jewelry left for her but the problem comes from the fact she has gotten it WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY earlier than she was meant to and this is a problem for a lot in the book because of the responsibility involved in having it.
TM:You're upfront with your influences on this book (Brave, Totoro, Goonies). Which parts of these inspired you?
AG: Well, I LOVE the Goonies (who doesn't right?) and the adventure aspect of this with the group out on a mission but being so young in many cases for the adventure, Brave comes from the strong, underestimated, powerful young girl taking things into her own hands and with. With My Neighbour Totoro, the correlation comes from the relationships she builds in this other world she never knew even existed but to what she now belongs in.
TM: Ella inherits the Amulet of Sharzim from her Great Grandma. How much does family factor into the story?
AG: A lot, not to give too much away but it has a very central part of the story and plot.
TM: Ella is going to released by a publisher in the future, so why go to Kickstarter first?
AG: Myself and Ammar are very busy right now with other books and paid work where this is a labor of love for us both and we haven't been able to spend anywhere near as much time on it as we would have liked, the Kickstarter is so we can take a little time and focus our full attention to get it over the finish line and out to people as soon as possible.
TM: Once the Kickstarter is successful, do you have more stories to tell with Ella?
AG: If the Kickstarter is successful and the sales when released are good then we would love to do another story or two, I personally have ideas for two more that would be like a trilogy to finish everything but we really are just looking at getting this book done and out at the moment.
TM: How did you partner up with artist Ammar Al-Chalabi?
AG: A couple of years ago we were both working on an anthology together but on different stories, I messaged to say how much I loved his art and that I was a huge fan of the story and the book Wart he also does and was looking forward to seeing more stories from him, we got chatting and had a lot in common and got on really well. It came about we both wanted to work on an all-ages story and I said about this 4 page short I had written that I had done nothing with yet but loved and wanted to expand and that was Ella, I sent him an updated 9 page which was the first 9 pages of the story along with what I wanted to do over the book and that was it, we went from there.
TM: Your reward tiers include getting you to letter a backer's comics. I think this is the first time I've seen this reward offered. How did that come about?
AG: I am not going to lie, I stole the idea from my good friend and great writer/letterer Ken Reynolds, if you get a chance to then I recommend checking out his fantastic story Cognition along with In Trouble and Sliced Quarterly which he also does.
TM: If I got you to letter my comic would you spell "color" the right way?
AG: Thank you so much for the interview and I will spell it any way you want me too, being from Scotland though I have to argue about the color v colour debate.
Ella is on Kickstarter now.