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Sheydin and Siz chat with Jess Cate about Heart of Millyera and other works by Jess. Once again South Australia gets all the love…. I’m sensing a pattern Sheydin 😛

TRANSCRIPTION (there will be errors in the following text)

Sizzle (00:10):
Welcome to the Olds Comic Show. I’m here with Shaden, tonight’s host.

Sheydin Dew (00:16):

Sizzle (00:16):
And tonight we’ll be talking to Jess Kate, or you’re freezing up a bit there. That’s a bash bash Shane and her book, see if I can remember it. The Heart of Mil. Was I close?

Sheydin Dew (00:30):
Okay, you’re perfect.

Sizzle (00:31):
I was. Okay, awesome. So let’s not muck around. Let’s get straight on to talking to Jess.

Sheydin Dew (00:58):
Hello everyone and welcome to the Oz Ex Show. Tonight we have got the wonderful Jess Kate joining us, the creator of Heart of. To start us off, Jess, can you tell us a little bit about yourself a little bit about your creative writing journey how long you’ve been writing for, give us a little bit of the nitty gritty stuff to start us off.

Jess Cate (01:21):
Okay, yeah. Yep. So I’ve been writing and creating things, including comics since I was a teenager. I found some of my old comics when I was from 16 through to now, so it’s been a long time of making these things creative writing since I was really little. So I always love just storytelling and building little fantasy worlds and daydreaming. Yeah, and I did literary studies and creative writing at university and editing and publishing at Postgrad. So I’ve basically been thinking about this stuff for a very long time. <laugh>

Sheydin Dew (02:14):
Fantastic. It’s always so nice to have someone from a little bit of a different background. Obviously as a lot above viewers know, we have quite a few artists on the show, so it’s really, really nice to have someone with a different background of writing to get a little bit of a different perspective on some of how some of the comics are made. Now you are, you’re an Adelaide girl just like myself. You also mentioned that you graduated from uni. Were you doing a writing related degree?

Jess Cate (02:47):
Yes. Yeah, so back when I did such a long time ago when I did my undergrad, yeah, it was creative writing was the main thing and literary studies, the lots of reading and then I did just in 2019 then I did a graduate certificate of editing and publishing. So to get Oh wow. Into editing with a view to working comics specifically rather than books though I do reading. Oh,

Sheydin Dew (03:23):
Cool. Fantastic. What uni was that with?

Jess Cate (03:27):
The editing course was with University of Southern Queensland. It’s a really good course

Sheydin Dew (03:33):
Up near Shane’s Neck of the woods.

Jess Cate (03:35):
Yeah, the Womba.

Sheydin Dew (03:38):
Oh my god, amazing. Oh, boom. So you specifically were kind of sorting after doing comics for the main purpose of you being on this show. Can you give us a little bit of a taste of what the heart of Mil has, tofa a little synopsis, if you will.

Jess Cate (03:56):
Yeah, yeah, sure. So Heart of Mil is a young adult steampunk adventure set in a Australia esque setting rather than your typical steam punky London esque setting. It’s about some, oh, that’s just something different. We figured it’s about a group of science university students. So we’ve got a geologist called Ida and a inventor, I guess you’d say, an engineering major called Gill and a young botanist called Celeste and they’re all friends and they’ve been at uni together for a while and they go on a field trip to deep to dive into a flooded lake town. So a town that’s been mysteriously flooded a hundred years ago and they want to go and see what they can find on there. So they test out a new invention underwater contraption, and what they uncover is Ida finds a interesting fossil and also encounters a ghost-like human kind of S person, <laugh> humanoid post like thing. What they don’t know is when they take the fossil back with them to the university to do some tests that it has great immense power as these things do that you find randomly at the bottom of Lake and also is pretty much essential to the sea spirit who follows them there to recover their heart. Hence the name <laugh>,

Sheydin Dew (05:55):
The heart of Mil. Fantastic actually, so when I was reading your prologue both Adelaide girls, I was reminded of a flooded town here in sa, which is now a reservoir near the chain of Ponds Road. If there’s any viewers tonight from Adelaide, you probably know what I’m talking about, but it reminded me of this letter town and when it’s really low sometimes you can even see the steeple of the church and I was reading it, I was just like, oh, this is so cool. This is exactly what I would’ve imagined if I was able to scuba dive in that reservoir, which I think is really cool and especially when you could see the steam punk kind of influence there. I thought that was such a cool style to it. I don’t see too many comics with steam punk, so it’s really, really cool to see those who don’t know. I actually have met Jess before at a Paper cuts festival back in 2019. She was a huge inspiration as well. So yeah, again, it’s really amazing to have you on the show and be able to talk to you about this amazing comic. Thank you very much for giving us a little bit of a synopsis. I would really like to delve in more to what is some of your future projects. Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment? Obviously you are still ongoing with Milli in milli mil, correct?

Jess Cate (07:28):
Yes, yes. Spot on <laugh>.

Sheydin Dew (07:31):
Are there any other projects you got on the sidelines or is it just head down bu up for this particular one

Jess Cate (07:38):
In a way but also no, I do have some other things going. So at the moment I’m looking to, so we’ve published a fair chunk of Araria. We are looking to hopefully release a volume one which will be 36 pages. So that’s my, I’m planning that out at the moment. Hopefully get that out soon. On the non-familiar related, I’ve been working on a young adults science fiction concept which is a teen, like a queer teen, sort of non romance friend romance with sort of a body snatches stepford wives sort of vibe. So that’s my hope that I’m working on and hopefully I’ll get some pages. Yeah, I’m not quite there yet to start getting art done, but that’s what my current project is and I’ve got another comic that I have, it’s just sitting there waiting for to have something done to it. It’s a X-Files inspired story. It’s sort of autobiographical, but really tongue in cheek. That was drawn by one of my really good friends and the first person I ever did comics with when we were in high school together Jonathan Verney. so he did the art for it for me and I kind of see it as being part of a bigger project. So that’s why it hasn’t happened yet. <laugh> landed on its own. It’s a mini comic first. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (09:28):
Yeah. Fantastic. How long have you been having them in? How long have you had them in the pipeline so to speak?

Jess Cate (09:34):
Oh, the mini comic about a year and a bit. Okay. So yeah, no time. What is time? It’s sort of meaningless now. It could have been three years, it could have been one year. Who knows? <laugh> the Circles, which is my young adult story that I’m working on for a while. Yeah, so that’s been writing that alongside Hard Amelia, but it’s a little, it’s a bit of a project.

Sheydin Dew (10:11):
Yeah, fair. To give a little bit of comparison, how long have you been working on Milli for?

Jess Cate (10:19):
Oh, so we started in 2014, so that was when we started brainstorming and workshopping me and Yana Hoffman who’s the co-creator and artist. So we came up with all our ideas and characters and then slowly started publishing. So we publishing pre pretty consistently on and off for a fair few years. I think Camilla Duran, who is my current artist she took over that posting in 2020, no, yes, 2020.

Sheydin Dew (11:02):
Wow. What a year, A very big year for you. I can only imagine.

Jess Cate (11:08):
Yeah, no, so we’ve been working through getting her pages up slowly as well so we’re getting there. Yeah, we’re almost up to halfway through volume two, so if I get volume one up, I might follow that pretty quickly.

Sheydin Dew (11:27):
Yeah, for sure. No, that’s wonderful. That’s really cool to see that you’re really busy, especially on the comic scene. I kind of want to rewind a little bit back. You did mention that you had been making comics since you were 16, is that correct?

Jess Cate (11:42):
Before, yeah.

Sheydin Dew (11:43):
I kind of want to know what are some of your inspirations when you write?

Jess Cate (11:49):
Sorry. I really quite like spooky science fiction and my favorite things to read I guess are your sort of fun science fiction adventure. So I quite like a bit of a fan fig vibe. Yes. Yeah. It’s a sort of takes you out of the mundane, but it’s fun and easy to read and moves along at a good pace. So that’s the sort of stuff that I like to write as well. So lots of fun dialogue and characters that interact well with each other and

Sheydin Dew (12:33):

Jess Cate (12:33):
Definitely. Yeah.

Sheydin Dew (12:34):
Are there any particular

Jess Cate (12:35):
Young adult just felt, just felt like a world that I wanted to live in. I think we’ve steam punk as well. I don’t think there is that much out there that yes, that, I mean there’s a bit more now, but back when we started there wasn’t really that much. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (12:54):
Yeah. Which is super cool to see coming becoming more popular nowadays, that’s for sure. Are there any specific writers or comics that you really enjoyed when you were a kid or younger?

Jess Cate (13:10):
Yes, of course. I was a really big Sandman fan. Oh wow. Yeah, it was pretty much that was the be all and end all of everything for a moment. Yeah. So I think that ilk, there was a time, I mean, yeah, I’m old, so a lot of the comics that were coming out in around the mid to late nineties I think were what got me into comics now. I guess I’m very diverse in what I would actually read. Oh really? Yeah. I don’t really have anything that I would ever veto too much as long as it’s good and I think as long as it has moves along and has a good plot and is entertaining and yeah.

Sheydin Dew (14:09):
That’s really, really cool to hear. So what was it that really fascinated you about salmon? What was so good about it to you?

Jess Cate (14:20):
I think it’s because at the time I didn’t know that comics could be so I guess different <laugh>, just having read, I really liked Spider-Man and I really, really liked when I was younger. So this was the first time I’d read something that was a bit more complex storytelling and I was really interested in literature <laugh> and things that I was that age. So I think I kind of liked the way that it worked in different stories. Episode episodic all tied together, built this bigger, greater world. Yeah, a different sort of universe from

Sheydin Dew (15:14):
Your having a totally new the own world that you can create kind of thing.

Jess Cate (15:20):

Sheydin Dew (15:22):
I guess that leads into my next question is what made you want to create the heart of Milli?

Jess Cate (15:32):
I think I wanted to create something that I would want to read if I was the age that I’m aiming the comic at <laugh>. Yeah. So I think when I was a sort of a preteen to teens, I think I would’ve really enjoyed something that was a fun adventure that did something a little bit different with bringing in the Australian landscapes. I know that doesn’t sound like a big thing when you get the steam punk that is just constantly metropolitan, sort of London or New York, sort of Jack the Ripper. I feel like it’s so much you can do with that. So fun to mix in magic and science such a good cocktail. And so to then have it be in a more a oldie, worldy sort of outback, <laugh> sort of landscape is something that I can picture. Those sort of things. We don’t have that sort of vibe. I think it’s a bit different.

Sheydin Dew (16:54):
Yes, definitely. And I think it’s really good to put your own stamp on it and be like, this is an Australian comic. You can see <laugh> an Australian comic. I think that’s really, really cool.

Jess Cate (17:05):

Sheydin Dew (17:06):
I really, really, really enjoyed it. I think it was a really good I keep saying it, every episode I always say it’s my go-to word. It’s really, really refreshing to know is there any comic related goal that you want to achieve in the near future? You said that you had a few projects in the pipeline. Are they possibly a near future goal that you want to kind of get

Jess Cate (17:33):
Circles, which is my body snatches, let’s just call it body snatches. It’s the easiest way to think. I’m actually not sure what’s going on there. So we’ll get there after both when I find out other people who know. So I feel like that’s a little bit in the still. Hopefully I’ll have at least I’m going to go for 20 pages of good script that has an endpoint before I get anything drawn up just to know that we’re not going to leave readers hanging. This’ll be a web comic as well. So all milli you can read for free. It’s online now don’t have to pay for it.

I think that my other little comic that I’ve got on hold, I actually envision it as part of a anthology. I dunno where I would start. So that’s why I’m kind of just holding it for a bit until I decide what I want to do with it. But yeah, I dreamed that we’d have an anthology about being abducted by aliens sort of voluntarily. Oh yeah. I mean things a bit, it’s a bit cynical, but things get a little bit sometimes and you sometimes think yourself, take me please. That’s the point of my comic. So I was thinking I want to leave would be the, instead of I want to believe. Yeah, so an X-files beam me up please sort of concept. So yeah, I guess you

Sheydin Dew (19:17):
Have. Yeah, definitely. You’ve got so many really cool genres to play with there. I think that’s really cool. So obviously would finishing be one of those goals as well?

Jess Cate (19:28):
Yes familiar has. We have had Janna’s run, we’ll call it and then now we’re on Camilla’s run Her excellent artwork is what we’re currently publishing. Then I’m not sure yet, but we might do a third to bring it up to the end of the story. So it’s a little while away still because it’s really quite long. So yeah, got a bit carried away,

Sheydin Dew (20:02):
But at least it keeps you busy

Jess Cate (20:03):
Always. That’s right. So

Sheydin Dew (20:05):
Sometimes I guess also it’s a bit of a loaded question, but I always like to ask this question to all the guests that come onto our show and that is where do you see yourself in five years time? Comic related.

Jess Cate (20:21):
Okay. Again, five years can pretty quickly. Yeah, so I mean I think I would like to have one of my projects happening if nothing else, then a mini comic. I will absolutely have a volume of heart of Milli era which will hope, well, I have no doubt it will probably be crowdfunded. Yeah, cool. Given that it’ll be a pretty chunky book for a self-published comic, but it’ll be really great. That would just be really heartwarming for me to have to see all of Janna’s artwork all in one volume.

Sheydin Dew (21:07):
Yeah, definitely.

Jess Cate (21:08):
And then also do that with Camillas as well, so I’m sure we can, we’ll absolutely be doing those things in within five years time.

Sheydin Dew (21:17):
That sounds like a very, very busy five years ahead. For sure. I kind of want to shift gears now into a really fun section of the show, I guess and these questions are rapid fire and really, really fun. Also, if anybody in watching tonight has any questions, please send them through anything, any questions you have about the heart of Milli or anything about Jess. Jess, Kate’s work please send them through. But to crack onto the really fun questions, the first one that I have off the cuff is if you could inherit any trait from any of your characters in heart, what would it be and why?

Jess Cate (21:58):
To have a scientific brain to be old. Yeah, absolutely. All of my characters are scientists because I only wish

Sheydin Dew (22:10):
You either have mathematics, scientific, you have the really scientific hemisphere of the brain. We had the really creative side side of your brain. I guess it would be kind of nice to harness both that sometimes true.

Jess Cate (22:21):

Sheydin Dew (22:22):
Well remind you not to spoil anything, but I think the character, Millie is really interesting. Some of her capabilities are pretty cool. So yeah,

Jess Cate (22:33):
She’s from out of space as well, so out of space. See spirit.

Sheydin Dew (22:40):
Yeah. Nice. Yeah, in the prologue that I read, it was just like, oh my god, she can do so many things already. She can do

Jess Cate (22:48):
Pretty much. Yeah, you name it, she can do it and she can change, she can shape shift into anything. Well, mostly anything. I haven’t tested that yet. I think organic things, <laugh>, organic things,

Sheydin Dew (23:03):
Just see how many different forms that she can take on. I think that would’ve been really cool for your illustrators to bring to life, I think.

Jess Cate (23:12):
That’s for sure. I hope so. Yeah, I think when we were thinking of the concept, I think we did go, or what do we want in the story? What fun things do we want? So we’re like, can we have dragons? Yeah, of course we got dragon. She can shape shift, she can be whatever.

Sheydin Dew (23:32):
No, I think that’s a super strong character design right there. I guess the next question that I really wanted to know is which one of the characters is most yourself? Which one did you write that embodies a little bit of your personality, so to speak?

Jess Cate (23:51):
Good question. I guess they’re all a little, nah, Gil definitely isn’t me. He’s a bit goofy, lovable, maybe, I don’t know maybe a little bit old. Pretty goofy. But I think Celeste is probably me real realistically.

Sheydin Dew (24:14):
Why is that?

Jess Cate (24:16):
She’s just, I think she’s a low-key poisoner. She’s a bit, she knows how to do a lot of things, but she’s a little bit I guess a little bit dopey and unsure of herself. She comes into her own when she realizes that she’s not just playing catch up to the others. I think she thinks that she doesn’t have anything to offer and the others away ahead of her with all of their skill sets, but

Sheydin Dew (24:47):
A little bit aloof maybe at times or,

Jess Cate (24:50):
Yeah, I think that she’s just down to business, which is not a bad characteristic to have. I think just being a focused on the task at hand and just not realizing that sometimes things are just going way over your head, which is really me.

Sheydin Dew (25:11):
I think the best people are kind of like that anyway, so Yeah,

Jess Cate (25:14):
True. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (25:15):
That’d be all

Jess Cate (25:16):
Three circles. Have a little bit of, yeah,

Sheydin Dew (25:19):
It that’s got to kind of close the circle with those kind of characters. I think that’s definitely it. Exactly. No, that’s awesome. That’s really, really cool. I really like asking that question to all of our guests because I kind of gives a different level of how they created their characters and what they draw upon personality-wise in themselves to make these characters. Cause I know I certainly do that for my own storytelling. So I think it’s a really, really important tool especially if you want to create a really authentic kind of character. Which character would you most likely become friends with? From Milli?

Jess Cate (25:57):
Yeah. Milli. Yeah. I would just is why wouldn’t you want to have her as a friend? Yeah there’s a couple of thugs Quinn and Ju, who they’re not as thuggish as you think without giving anything away. I think that they would be good friends. Henchman. Henchman are always good to have on your side. I think having your own henchman. I don’t know how these people get these tough guys to follow them around, but

Sheydin Dew (26:32):
I think that’s a very well rounded friend group you’ve got there. For sure. I think you

Jess Cate (26:38):
Shifting sea spirit from out of space and sort of henchman.

Sheydin Dew (26:45):
So which character did you enjoy writing the most?

Jess Cate (26:52):
I think Celeste. Yeah. Yeah. And it kind of shows as well. Everybody always tells me that they love her best, so that they think that she’s the cutest. I’m like, oh, I must have injected a little bit of myself into her cause she’s she’s got a lot of personality for the third wheel.

Sheydin Dew (27:09):
Yeah, interesting. So which character would you say took the longest to write?

Jess Cate (27:16):
Oh, I think Ida

Sheydin Dew (27:20):
Okay. That

Jess Cate (27:21):
She’s quite serious. So I think when you are the person that has to do all the problem solving and be the driving factor behind every decision that everybody else has to just follow you along it’s hard to make that character fun. And yeah, she’s a bit square, I suppose, but she’s the driving force behind everything that happens. So you got to try to work on her to make her likable and lovable and interesting.

Sheydin Dew (27:57):
Yeah, definitely. So besides Celeste having some characteristics from yourself, are there any other characters that were inspired by real people or people that you are surrounded by?

Jess Cate (28:11):
Not really, no. I think that they’re there. Yeah, they’re not really based on anybody in particular.

Sheydin Dew (28:21):
Yeah. So you kind of wanted to embody your own character, your own original character for the story, essentially. I

Jess Cate (28:28):
Think, yeah, they’re all, I think they work together, so I feel like they’ve all got their own aspects of their personality, which on their own they’d probably be hopeless for <laugh> as a trio. They can do things and achieve things.

Sheydin Dew (28:44):
Definitely. Yeah, I think you should really give yourself a big pat on the back for creating such original characters. It’s definitely no easy feat for sure. I know for myself, I sometimes really have to rely on thinking of people around me. I’m not sure if any other artists or anyone else watching tonight does the same thing being inspired by other people around you or whatnot. But I think I definitely look up to people who can just pull a character out from their own head. I think that’s really, really cool. So kudos to you. That’s something No easy feat, that’s for sure. And to create such credible and strong characters where they can really stand alone. Do you know what I mean? I think that’s really done a really, really wonderful job. For sure. That’s the end of my really fun, rapid questions. <laugh>, these next few questions that I’m going to ask you flying the next few questions delve into your process in how you created Milli. I think these ones a lot of viewers that watch that may have their own published works or are publishing their own works I think might get a lot of value out of these next few questions. I know I certainly do and things off can you walk us through how you created Millionaire what kind of process you went through, whether or not you did a Kickstarter or not? Can you give us step by step a guide through how you did it?

Jess Cate (30:17):
Yeah, so originally, okay, let’s go back <laugh>. So Yana and I were, Yana and I were part of a group of comic loving individuals in South Australia. So we used to get together and chat about comics and we were just talking and decided that we really wanted to make a comic of our own. And then I think the more we spoke about it we’re like, it could be this and it could be that. So it was a lot of brainstorming, but also just, we love this stuff. Yeah, let’s do it. Working in all of the different things that we’d ever thought that we wanted to have in a comic. So it became a little bit like a epic because of that.

I think including a L, everything that you like in one story is a little lot maybe. But from there we went through and I just researched so much and so did Gianna for the Art. She looked at so many different open source old photographs and just anything that you could find in the national library, old pictures of locations and clothing and especially Australian centric stuff. And I did a lot of research into what I wanted the characters to be like and how I wanted them to look and put together a little scrapbook, a little digital scrapbook. So we used some online process management software to just flick each other back and forth. Oh, how about this? How about that? How about this? And then, yeah, slowly we came together with the characters and what they looked like. And then from there I wrote out a script.

So it was quite a while. It took me a, I want to say two years. I don’t dunno if that was longer than how long it took. Now look, thinking back I’m like, oh, it feels like longer than that. But yeah, I’m not sure. <laugh> so wrote it was a while ago wrote down the whole script and then from there basically Yana would work on it page at a time page a script at a time and send it to me and then I’d double check and go, oh yeah, oops, I accidentally have 10 spelling mistakes on this page and that that’s terrible, that bit of script, so please change that to this. So I’ve gotten better. Now I don’t do that as much. <laugh> amazing. I wanted to edit myself before I give it to an artist and say he draw this.

Sheydin Dew (33:14):
Yeah, definitely. So what was the process after that? Obviously was publishing it and getting it out there. What avenues did you explore in that field?

Jess Cate (33:25):
Well, I think from the get-go we were thinking we just wanted to do well. I think we both had different ideas of what we wanted to do, so I wanted to always do a web comic. That’s how I wanted, that’s how I saw it and that’s how I still see it. So I love that it’s up there for people to read and the idea that anybody could just jump on and be reading it at any point, <laugh> makes me so happy and I love it when I get replies to the newsletter or comments say, keeping Up. I’ve got a few people that email me quite regularly every time we have a page and go, yay, that’s a new page.

So shout out to those people who you are. Then we decided to do a print of the comics so that we could go to, basically we wanted to go and do a few of the various cons and get ourselves out there and part of the community and just be more involved and also get the comic into stores as well. So we decided to do Prelude, which is basically the first 18 pages of comic. So we kickstarted that, which was really good and it was super successful, so I couldn’t even believe how well we funded that. It was about, I think 400% of what we asked for. So we were able to do so much. We could do extra bonuses for people, bookmarks and posters and print extra copies, and it was great. So amazing. And I think the one thing that stopped me doing another Kickstarter for more so that we have little single issues is that I prefer personally to have a big chunky book. Yes, I think Kickstarting numerous little 20 pages. I’d rather save them up and do one volume.

Sheydin Dew (35:21):
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Awesome. That’s really, really interesting to hear your process, especially as a writer. I think it’s really, really refreshing to have on the show. I kind of want to move on to some really meaty questions, and that is what was the most challenging thing about creating Milli?

Jess Cate (35:43):
I think when you are part of a team, a creative team, there can be a lot of back and forth and sometimes what you have in your mind for, oh, sorry, going to see,

Sheydin Dew (36:00):
Oh no <laugh>

Jess Cate (36:02):
Air. Sometimes my vision for what I had doesn’t exactly come across. We did pretty good there. I don’t have any complaints but sometimes it’s a little bit of tweaking involved and it’s I think a little bit frustrating for the writer to be like, no, that’s not my brain shows me it’s a movie. You see what’s in my head. But no, it’s not like <laugh>, no. So yeah, I think sometimes it’s not possible to do what I want to do. What I put down on the pages in the script is you can’t do that. There’s no way that we can fit that in a page that’s five pages, Jess. So you’ve just extended your comic by Yeah. Yeah, so I think so.

Sheydin Dew (36:49):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So working within teams and whatnot. Yeah, I can definitely see how that is a big challenge in itself. Someone who’s worked on a comic solely by themselves. I definitely have a lot of admiration for people who work within teams. It’s definitely, again, no easy feat. So yeah, kudos to you for doing it, that’s for sure. And having two illustrators as well. That’s amazing.

Jess Cate (37:11):
Yeah, it’s really fun to see their different art styles. I actually love that they’re so different.

Sheydin Dew (37:18):

Jess Cate (37:18):
Definitely. When I saw how different they were going to be, I was like, this is amazing. I couldn’t have asked for it be being any better for them because you get different take on the character.

Sheydin Dew (37:29):
Exactly, yeah.

Jess Cate (37:31):
They’re still the character, but they’re suddenly got more emphasized, different features, and I just love that

Sheydin Dew (37:39):
Kind of seeing them through two different lenses, I guess, or two different perspectives. I think that’s really interesting and something that I don’t think I’ve actually heard much of. I mean besides your original or your traditional comic books that have the covers done from guest artists and stuff like that. But no, I think that’s really cool. For sure. I guess moving on I really want to know what was the most rewarding part of creating your comic book?

Jess Cate (38:08):
I think going to Cons and getting it out there and meeting people in the community I think was fantastic. When back in, I can check the date, actually going to check the date, okay. Anywhere between 2016 and 2018 we did a mentorship with a comics creator, mentorship the Banksia project through Supernova. That was really good. It was really good because we got to meet a whole bunch of fellow creators and we got to work through some little projects. It was great to have the motivation to work. Everybody was going to get on Zoom and we’re all going to talk about what we did. So we actually developed a comic called Great Beasts which is a once off little one shot cute comic that’s so different to had Emil. And we worked on a little Foldy mini sort of fold out comment called Space and Time, which was really fun as well. Again, it was so different and gave me a chance to write something sort of autobiographical and put myself into it rather than just fantasies. Yeah, so I think that was real high point and doing panels and things around that. One of the panels that I got to be on was about diversity specifically.

So I mean I could talk about that all day. <laugh> diversity in comics and just in pop culture in general. It’s important to me. So yeah, I think doing those sort of things, panels, discussions, things like this are really rewarding and fun and

Sheydin Dew (40:09):
Kind of make meeting your readers essentially. I think. Yeah, I can definitely relate to that. I think when I first went to my own I went to Sno, I think the first time and that’s when it all kind of clicked in and I was like, oh, this is what I really love. And then obviously I met you in 2019 at a convention, the Paper Cuts Festival here in Adelaide. Shout out to Paper Cuts and no, I definitely agree. I think it’s a super rewarding part of creating comics and knowing that it’s being really well received and even getting some feedback. I know that’s what happened with my first experience at a convention. It was a really, really rewarding to get that kind of feedback and then go on and actually use it. Oh,

Jess Cate (40:56):
I absolutely agree. Getting to hear from people to come back as well. People that would come back to the stall and say, oh, when’s the next one coming out? Right? Yeah. I saw, are you last year? Where’s the <laugh>? Oh, I think it also lights a fire under you to be like, oh, people actually want to read

Sheydin Dew (41:16):
This. That’s it

Jess Cate (41:17):
Out there waiting.

Sheydin Dew (41:18):
Yeah. Can I create a little bit of a level of accountability, like, oh no, now I’ve got these readers. I’ve definitely got to bring something to the table. Yeah,

Jess Cate (41:27):

Sheydin Dew (41:28):
On a personal level but no, really, really good. And it’s nice to know that people are following you and kind of got you back. I think that’s really fair call to say that’s one of the biggest rewarding things of making comics, that’s for sure. So obviously Mil is on online and it is currently still in development. I kind of want to know. Yes, link. Have a peek my friends. I kind of want to know how long did it take for you to publish the physical copy? Exactly.

Jess Cate (42:06):
It was only within a year. Yeah, it wasn’t, once we got down to going with it, it’s all very exciting as well. Doing Kickstarter, you get very motivated to just, obviously you’re accountable again to the people that backed you, number one, you don’t want to leave people waiting, but having a plan ahead of time of how we’re going to actually manufacture this thing and it, it’s, yeah, I think it all falls into place a lot quicker if you go into it before doing something like that. That’s time sensitive. Yeah. So I don’t know about you, but I need that deadline to motivate me.

Sheydin Dew (42:49):
Yeah. Oh my God. Me too. Me too. This next question, I think it kind of comes out of left field. It kind of catches a few guests off guard, I think but it’s something that I think is sometimes a little bit important. However, I want to know, are there any Easter eggs or little fun facts that not many people know about or not many people realize when they first pick up or read Mil?

Jess Cate (43:16):
Oh yes. I think that about midway through page 19 and 20, there’s on online, you have to see it online a bit different, but there’s a big long page and there’s a little bit of a pre prehistoric flashback to crashing down. So if she’s not from here, from out of space. So I think that, oh, often people go, why are we in space now? So yeah, it’s just one of those things that I thought was why not? Hey? Yeah, from Under The Water, but she’s also from Out of Space, she’s very, very old, older than we can think that we could even imagine.

Sheydin Dew (44:13):
Yeah, definitely. Was there any other inspirations behind the name or the story, or obviously it kind of peaked my interest being related to the chain of Ponds Road, the town that was underwater,

Jess Cate (44:27):
Was it? Oh, you figured it out. Oh,

Sheydin Dew (44:31):
Fantastic. I’m glad that we cleared that up for sure. I think that’s a really, really cool little Easter egg especially if you’re at conventions here in Adelaide. I think that’s a really cool little point but especially for someone who drives that road. I’m definitely going to think of you now. Every time I’m driving down

Jess Cate (44:47):
<laugh>. Yay. Keep an eye out for us. It’s down there somewhere.

Sheydin Dew (44:53):
Oh my gosh. No, that’s awesome. I really, really enjoy those kind of questions because I think as someone who’s creating a book, there’s these little tiny things that you might insert and be like, oh, I’ve, someone picks it up, they pick it up kind of thing. But I think it’s really cool to shine a light on those things and maybe even pick more people to read the book itself just because of that fun fact. I guess we’ve also kind of touched on some of your conventions. Are there any conventions that you really want to attend in the future or any conventions that you’ve really, really enjoyed in the past?

Jess Cate (45:31):
All of the local conventions that we have done oh, I’m drawing a blank <laugh> at the moment. For some reason the Canberra, oh, what’s it called? The Comic Arts festival. I need to Google it. It was really good. Anyway, it was amazing. They hosted the Ledger awards there and it was just really fun and really insightful, great little workshops and panels and yeah, that was amazing. I would love to go to some east Coast. Camilla my artist, she was living in Brisbane, but she’s no longer there now, but I was always planning to go up and do Brisbane or Supernova at the time. But yeah, I think I’ll still go up there and maybe do the Wollongong. Yeah, all up the coast would be great and up north. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (46:44):
Definitely. Yeah, no, that’s awesome.

Jess Cate (46:47):
And we’ve got so many independent fest festivals here now.

Sheydin Dew (46:52):
Yeah, and I think Adelaide’s really good for that. I think personally, I really enjoy the smaller kind of conventions. I think they’re kind of on a more intimate level with all your breeders and followers, I think compared to the big ones where you maybe sometimes get a bit drowned out or whatever, but I think the small ones, they really amplify creators.

Jess Cate (47:15):
Exactly. Yeah.

Sheydin Dew (47:18):
So you have sold Mil at some conventions and we have peaked the website. Is there anywhere else that people can find the heart of Milli?

Jess Cate (47:29):
At the moment, the website’s the best place. If you would like to buy a download you can head to owner Indie where you can actually purchase a pdf. At the moment. I won’t be selling physical copies for the time being anyway, so it’s possible that I might refresh that down the track.

Sheydin Dew (47:53):
Yeah, nice. Well, now that people know that we have reached the third quarter Mark these are a bit of the conclusion questions to wrap up the show. I think for me, these are some of the most important questions that I ask because they really kind of delve into the comic industry as such, and I think they’re a really kind of well-rounded list of questions. So in your comic career, which achievement are you most proud of and why?

Jess Cate (48:24):
<laugh>? I think just getting heart of Milli up on online, that in itself is an achievement for me. Having a physical cop comic is great, but I love that it’s up there for people to read and anywhere in the world to get their hands on.

Sheydin Dew (48:44):
Definitely to touch base and really get your message across essentially, especially as in creators. I think that’s, yeah, definitely. That’s fair to say. That’s for sure. For all of our watches watching tonight some people who may have already created their own comic or are about to create their own comic, what is your best tip for them?

Jess Cate (49:10):
Be kind to yourself with the process. Honestly, there’s a million reasons why you might not feel like writing today or life gets in the way. And I think the same with artists. I believe you do this because you want to do it because it’s fun and it makes you happy. So if it’s not making you happy, if it’s stressful just be kind to yourself. It’ll come together.

Sheydin Dew (49:40):
Yeah, nice. I think that’s a really, really nice tip to give. Were there any major lessons that you learned while you were writing The Heart of Mil?

Jess Cate (49:49):
I think shooting for the Stars really <laugh> coming up with such a big concept and also just really expecting everything to be in this book from the get-go as such a big project for me to do as my first big attempts. But that’s fine.

Sheydin Dew (50:14):
Yeah, that’s

Jess Cate (50:15):
In itself. I’ve done it now, so I feel like I can, smaller projects are great though. I think that’s another tip is even if you’re working on something huge, if you’d like to do sort of little bits and pieces on the side just take a moment, take some time out and do a small project, finish something small so you can have that sense of achievement and feel that euphoria that comes with getting a small job done.

Sheydin Dew (50:43):
Definitely. Definitely. I think that’s a really great piece of advice, and I think it really kind of goes to show that you really went above and beyond for heart of familiar, and you still continue to do so. I think go hard or go home, and I think you’ve done that really, really well. So kudos to you. Are there any other skills or techniques that you kind of learned along the way or that you may perhaps want to learn in the future? Are there anything that you kind of want to delve into?

Jess Cate (51:12):
Yeah, I think that I find a little bit of the dealing with all of the intricacies, the ins and outs of actually getting the physical Prince Princeton and the logistics. Yeah, yeah. It takes a little bit of, you have to fortify yourself to do that stuff. Yes. It’s not the fun things picking out the paper stock, and some people love that. I don’t particularly, I just want it to be good and I want it now as well. Yeah, I think a lot of that stuff comes with practice. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (51:52):
Definitely. I think it’s fair to also say sometimes the devil is in the detail and it really does come down to those small nitty gritty things. Does create a comic. Yeah, that’s great. And then you realize, oh my God, there’s all these really detailed things that you’ve really got to consider first or later down the track that kind of catch up to you. Yeah,

Jess Cate (52:11):
Luckily we’ve got a good support network of comic creators, especially in essay, but just across Australia once you are in with a few people who know what they’re doing, you have people to ask advice for from and who will gladly give you their advice and you can also help. And I just think that that’s really great. It’s invaluable because yeah, nobody knows everything. Everybody needs to ask a question from time to time.

Sheydin Dew (52:39):
That’s definitely so true, especially going back to how we first crossed paths just everyone watching. I first met Jess at 3 90, 20 19 Paper Cuts Festival, and at that festival I had my parents along with me. I was very new to the scene and my parents pointed out your stall as a grand example of how I should present No Man’s Land and all my other stuff. So I think it’s really definitely valuable to turn and look around in the community that you have for inspiration and even some advice really, which is why I ask these questions at the end of the show. So I think that’s a very good point definitely to push on and really wrap up the tail end of the show. I want to know, what is your favorite thing about the Australian indie comic community slash industry?

Jess Cate (53:31):
The community <laugh> the community and the support and just the openness and people willing to embrace. We’ve got so many great creators out there doing amazing things and so diverse and so many different genres. It’s just fantastic. And I think it’s great to be able to connect with people, not just to have this be some big undertaking that other people are doing in other countries, <laugh> very professionally, and it’s so out of reach because as you know, it’s not out of reach. You can do it and you can be part of it and yeah, we’re so lucky in that regard.

Sheydin Dew (54:15):
Definitely. Definitely. I think it’s really nice that you touched on diversity. Diversity really in the community especially when you briefly touched on some of your future projects. I think you talked about having one that kind of touched on the L G B community. Was that correct or

Jess Cate (54:35):

Sheydin Dew (54:35):
Yeah. And I think that was really fantastic to hear that there are some pipeline projects in the works surrounding that kind of community. And again, having it’s really wonderful that Shane and I brought you on this show. I think it’s really lovely to have female and female presenting kind of people on the show as well in the community doing really wonderful things. But yeah, I also really want to know, what do you hope to see in the Aussie comic community or see more of, I guess?

Jess Cate (55:07):
I think more of our little local festivals and elsewhere would be amazing. I think that it’s great for just the local communities that they’re in as well to have similar to what we’ve got and what Perth has just to have that place where they can go and be like, oh, I love this young people. Especially to see the creators and to hear from local people that are doing these things and clubs that they can become part of drawing groups, that sort of stuff. I think that those things are amazing. That’s how I started doing Millionaire. And I would say that any of that sort of community is, yeah, it’s daunting for a lot of people. I know that I find it hard to go to lots of events anxiety and other things sometimes become a little bit overwhelming to get out there. But yeah, if you have that as an option at least that you can get on there and do the things that you want to do, it’s not insurmountable.

Sheydin Dew (56:15):
Definitely. Definitely. I think that’s really, really wonderful and I really like that answer as well, having some smaller events and focusing more on smaller communities wherever you may be watching this show I think that’s really, really nice to hear. But yeah, again, I just really want to thank you so much for being on the show tonight. It’s really wonderful having a credit like yourself, someone who I have admired for so many years. I guess I really want you to shout out a little bit more to the viewers at home where we can find Mil just to round out the show.

Jess Cate (56:49):
Yeah, well please head to heart of Spelling is here because I know <laugh> that it is hard to say and spell so you can bookmark it sign up for the mailing list too. And I’ll send you a heads up to when we’ve got a new page which is getting better, I promise there’ll be a new page. There was a new one up today and I’ll do another new page in two weeks and hopefully fortnightly from there.

Sheydin Dew (57:22):
Amazing. Well, that kind of concludes the show for tonight. Again we have got four shows during the week. We have got the Chin Chinwag with Lee Chaka on the Tuesdays. Tuesday Tunes Wags. We’ve got this show who I also co-host with Morgan Quaid fortnightly. And then we’ve also got the Friday drink and draws, which is super fun. And we’ve also got the Sunday spot spotlights as well. So be sure to check out the upcoming shows this week. But with all that, I think that’s pretty much all from me, unless you’ve got anything else to add, Shane?

Sizzle (58:00):
I was going to say, and subscribe is always an important one like the video, subscribe to the channel. That helps us out a lot. Thank you very much. So you won’t miss all the future shows, the ones that were just mentioned. And also we’ve got some comments coming in

Sheydin Dew (58:17):
Last minute clap comments. It’s lovely.

Sizzle (58:19):
And they’re, they’re the thank yous.

Sheydin Dew (58:21):
Aw, thank you so much for watching guys. Amazing. Amazing. I just want to say thank you again for being on the show, Jess. I

Jess Cate (58:29):
We really, oh, thanks for having me.

Sheydin Dew (58:32):
Definitely, definitely. No, thank you very much. Was there anything else, Shane, or is that

Sizzle (58:36):
Pretty Well, I was just going to say as a credit to you, Jess, when I was reading Heart of Mil, I got so involved in the story. I was about five pages into the second story before I realized the art had changed.

Jess Cate (58:50):

Sizzle (58:51):
I was just so involved and then I’ve sort of gone hang on, the art’s different, what’s going on? And then I look down at the bottom. Oh, that’s a new name. Oh, okay.

Jess Cate (58:59):
<laugh>. Yay, I’m glad.

Sizzle (59:01):
So yes, it was a lot of fun. I just wanted go out on that. But

Sheydin Dew (59:05):
That’s not a testimonial to your work, Jess. I don’t know what is So <laugh>. There you go guys. You should definitely check it out.

Jess Cate (59:12):

Sizzle (59:13):
Go check it out. It’s a great book. Thank you very much Jess. Thank you very much and goodnight to all.

Sheydin Dew (59:18):
Thank you. Thank you so much guys.

Jess Cate (59:20):
Take care. Bye.

Voice Over (59:22):
Check out for all things coms and find out what comics is all about. We hope you enjoyed the show.