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Exclusive Q&A with Caitlin Kittredge

Author Caitlin Kittredge (Nocturne City series) talks about her first entry into comics and the inspiration behind Coffin Hill. CoffinHill

Q1: What was the inspiration behind Coffin Hill and Eve Coffin? How did the series get started?

I've always wanted to write a story about witches, one that deconstructed the wicked vs. good dichotomy, and also sat firmly in the places I grew up, all over New England. COFFIN HILL really started with the simple question of what if the scary witch with dark powers and darker secrets was the only thing standing between her town and unimaginable evil? Mix in some murder and a lot of history (because I'm a history nerd to the max) and those were the seeds that grew COFFIN HILL.

Q2: This is your first foray into comics, can you talk a little about how you adapted to the new process?

I love comics, I really do. I'd written fourteen novels before I ever sat down and attempted a comic script, but the desire to work in comics has been with me since high school. The biggest change from the world of writing books is the pace--I turn in between one and three scripts a month to my editor and within 30 days, I usually have art to go with my words, which is a speed unheard of when you're working as a novelist. But I love the pace, love the collaboration with my artist, Inaki Miranda, love the whole experience. When I got the first issue of COFFIN HILL in my hands it felt like I was truly meant to be doing this all along. Corny, but true.

Q3: Speaking of which, what’s the collaboration process like with artist Inaki Miranda?

Inaki has been 100% fantastic since we started working on the book. He has this uncanny ability to take the stories as written and really push them artistically. I think we have a real symbiosis of ideas--the art always enhances the text, never detracts from it, and I'm incredibly fortunate Vertigo put us together to work on the project. I can't say enough good things about Inaki--I always tell people to keep an eye on him, because he's going to be a huge name in a few years and I'll be the lucky writer who snagged him back in the day.

Q4: COFFIN HILL takes place in New England, where you grew up. What is it about New England that led you to set the story there?

If you grow up here the sense of the supernatural is sort of ingrained--we're close to Salem, close to the places that Stephen King and HP Lovecraft chose as settings for their horror stories, and there's so many other true life things that give this place a sense of the otherworldly. It's a ready-made backdrop for horror and suspense and I feel really fortunate to have such a close bond to the place and be able to really breathe life into it. Plus, if you're going to write about witches, Massachusetts is the place to be. That's where a lot of the history is.

Q5: What was it about COFFIN HILL that drew you to writing it as a comic instead of a novel?

The whole process actually has part of an unfinished novel back along its timeline. COFFIN HILL is an incredibly visual story, I think is the short answer, and the atmosphere and the characters weren't something I could convey in a novel. It was made for comics, this story, and I'm just glad I got the opportunity to tell it this way. 

Q6: What can readers look forward to in the next story arc?

In the second story, which we're calling "Dark Endeavors", we go back to Eve Coffin's time with the Boston PD, and her pursuit of the Ice Fisher, the serial killer who both made and ended her career. We're not done with the residents of Coffin Hill either--police chief Nate Finn is wracked with guilt over his actions to protect Eve, and the one person he hoped never to see again has just rolled back into town...

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