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Interviewing Miranda of "Into the Swell"

damehelsing at 12:00AM, July 25, 2021

Hello ducklings! I’m back with another interview, and this time we’ve got our wonderful sea captain Miranda! So, Captain Miranda, please introduce yourself!!

Miranda: Hello ducklings! I'm Miranda! I'm a full time computer engineer and in my spare time I enjoy baking, doing puzzles, playing video games, and, of course, creating my webcomic Into the Swell and other art projects. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my dog Loki and enjoy rain, tea, and a good story. You can find me on social media under with the username Mirandascapes!

Wow, I didn't know you were a computer engineer, seems like you really know how to keep yourself busy and aw yes, I love Loki! Is he named after Marvel's Loki or Norse Mythology Loki? >.>

Miranda: Yup! Though sometimes I wish I didn't keep myself so busy!
He is named after Norse Mythology originally. Though most of us can agree that Tom Hiddleston does the character justice so it worked out.

Okay good, I won't be judging you (jk I wouldn't have judged you, or maybe I would have, we don't know now) but it's true, Tom Hiddleston does do the character justice!

In this interview, I really wanted to talk about you and your comic Into the Swell, so to start it off: how did you come up with Into the Swell?

Miranda: Well, I tried a few different comic ideas before, always tending to write the story for what I thought other people would like. When I lost interest in those again and again, I finally decided to write a story based on what I wanted.
I love pirates. I love stories with magic. I love demons and mysteries and humor. So I threw all those together and thus the plot of Into the Swell was born!

Ooooo, so you're quite familiar with pirates and that genre?
Because I know you read a ton of books, so I wouldn't be surprised if you've got your own pirate collection.

Miranda: Well I grew up with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and I love those. And yup. I read a ton of fantasy adventures (my favorite genre) and I have a whole stack of books that are filled with swashbuckling, treasure hunts, and scallywags.

I hope they're all beautifully stashed away in a treasure chest.

Miranda: Sadly no. But I do have several piratey decorations on the shelf with them.

Hey, that's good enough for me! Now that I know you have books on pirates, did those provide enough knowledge on pirates or did you have to do your own research along the way of creating Into the Swell?

Miranda: To be honest, I mainly used what I had from books and movies as inspiration. When I was developing characters I did do some research into the different roles on a ship as well as types of ships that were common in the era I was looking at. Since it's fantasy, I have a lot of leeway but still wanted it to make sense.

Ah yes, fantasy but also trying to still keep it somewhat realistic. It's always a tough struggle.
You actually did quite a bit of re-work on the start of Into the Swell. What were the reasons of the re-work and did any of it affect the future of the comic? If you’re willing to discuss the future of the comic that is.

Miranda: I think the main reason was my art style. Initially, I was going for a more realistic style, which made the time each page took take much longer than I was able to sustain. I also felt that the beginning didn't capture the readers as quickly as I would have liked. And as I had started to get Kelwyn involved in the story, I wanted to see more of them.
So I redid the whole beginning. What started as a plan to just edit a few panels turned into a complete rework. I brought Kelwyn in sooner and that sped up the entire relationship arc of Fletcher and Kelwyn and I found I loved drawing and writing their interactions, so the story took a turn towards a slow burn/relationship centric story instead of the original plot driven story I had in mind.
As for the future of it, the outline for the story hasn't changed very much, but I think having the character interactions at the forefront from the beginning will hopefully raise the stakes even higher as it continues.

Ooo, yes! I will say having Kelwyn involved much sooner does seem more appealing, I did read both versions and they're both nice, definitely wouldn't say one put me off more than the other, but it's true that the rework has a faster pace.

Miranda: Exactly what I was hoping for!

But since we've started talking about Kelwyn, my next question or point of interest, was going to be about the relationship between the two! I think one of my favorite things so far about your comic is the character dynamic between Fletcher and Kelwyn, they’re both different but they also seem like they have plenty of similarities that we just haven’t seen yet and they themselves aren’t aware of either. Can you tell us more about them and their relationship or even the process of creating them as characters?

Miranda: I love them both so much happy crying
Kelwyn is probably my favorite. Maybe because I, for some unknown reason, find them easier to draw. I mean. I don't have favorites. Nope. Not at all.
When I first came up with the characters, I wanted Fletcher to be the loud, obnoxious, talks before thinking free spirit character. Underneath his outgoing exterior, he is a bit broken. He's just lost his crew, his family, and was saved at the last instance from his own death only to be forced into service for a man who he blames for his family's deaths. Fletcher has lost everything that defined him so I think he's looking for someone to be his anchor and help him find himself again.
Kelwyn, on the other hand, is stoic, practical, always overthinking and finding a reason for every action. Basically the opposite of Fletcher.
And yet, Kelwyn wants adventure. They crave it, even if they're loathe to admit it. They want a reason to live because they're bored and fed up with how they're treated in the life they're living. On top of it all, they have this incredible magical power that they've been forced to use to serve someone else. Someone who used to be their friend that now only sees them as a tool. They are looking for someone to see them for who they are and bring the excitement back to their life.

So yes. I think they are very opposite, but I created them to essentially be looking for what the other can provide without even trying so I think it made it easy to write them together, even though that wasn't initially the plan. I worry that sometimes they don't show enough depth, but I think there will be moments in the future that reveal their internal struggles quite a bit more than I've shown.

I feel like we've seen quite a bit depth for being introduced so soon into the story, from the start, that's exactly how I really got a vibe of those two. I truly think they're perfect for each other!

Miranda: That's a relief to hear!! And I'm glad you think so! Because I think so too

I did want to go into the world building and the lore you've created, but I kind of still want to talk about Kelwyn because something you mentioned about them that kind of struck me “They're the only one so far like this” - it's safe to say Kelwyn is truly unique! They've got magic and they look rather different from anyone else. Are there any others like them?

Miranda: Well, magic exists in this world, obviously, but few have the extent of power that Kelwyn does. Where Kelwyn is from, and where our story starts, magic is frowned upon because of the royal family. (There is a reason for this, but it would be a big spoiler so you'll have to wait). Kelwyn is actually the skin color they are because they chose it. They came to hate the way people treated them once people found out they were a magic user. People would instantly want to stop talking to them or would tend to back away. So they turned themselves blue/green so people would just stay away and save all of them a hassle. They could change themselves back, but it takes a lot of energy and they'd end up sleeping for a week. And let's be honest, I love their color so it probably won't change anytime soon.
As for their ears, they are elvish of sorts, which is uncommon at home, but fairly common everywhere else (so now that they're on a new island, Kelwyn's in for some surprises). Though “elves” don't really have many differences from humans in this world. Besides maintaining a youthful appearance. Kelwyn is about the king's age.

And now I'm rambling, but long story short, pointed ears aren't uncommon, neither is magic, but Kelwyn's level of power is extremely rare in the elf/human races. And typically the skin color variations are similar to the human race in our world. Their skin color was a choice.
And all that originally stemmed from wanting a character that would be memorable and different from Fletcher. And fun to draw.

What I really got from all of this is that Kelwyn is clearly robbing the cradle ;) jkjk - I mean, YES BUT NO, I think normally elves can always live for SO LONG that being in your 50s/60s is very much similar to being in your 20s/30s for elves.

Miranda: Exactly! And Fletcher is at least 18 so it's all a-okay anyway! I swear XD

Is he though? Is he really? JK :’D

Miranda: Yes! Definitely. I swear! :’D

So, now onto the world building! Clearly you've got a lot planned for this world of Into the Swell based off of concept art and even maps you've made yourself! Would you mind telling us what the process was like? Did this come naturally to you or were there points where you felt like you were writing yourself into a corner? Basically, I love world building, I think it's VERY fun, but I would definitely love to know how it worked out for you.

Miranda: Hmm. Well, a lot of the world building I did was mainly for fun, without too much intention to stick to it within the story. Little did I know that they would come in handy and actually be used!
I think the best part of a fantasy world, is that you can basically fit in everything somehow if you want to fit it.
And it came down to “I want this in my story.” and then figuring out how to fit it. For example, I want my own version of Tortuga (from Pirates of the Caribbean) because it's one of my favorite environments in those movies and so lively. Ok, well, they will need to find clues from somewhere so let's take them to Langosta!
I think that's how most of my world building came together. See a need, fill a need kind of thing.
Which does make it really enjoyable.

Oooo, okay, I never thought about it just for fun, but I like that and I love that it really did come in handy! I promise myself that next story I do will be 100% fantasy, no real world involved or countries because I don't have time to figure out how the laws work where in which country or what's ok and what isn't :D;

Miranda: Exactly!! It's so much easier with fantasy that is for certain!

What has been your favorite part to work on Into the Swell? And why? I want to put money on the relationship between Kelwyn and Fletcher but I could be wrong. Also, while we're on this topic of favorite! Bonus question: What has been your most favorite page to work on so far??

Miranda: Well, content wise, for sure Kelwyn and Fletcher interacting. It brings me joy. And I love playing out their banter in my head.
On the technical side, anything after line art is my favorite. Besides backgrounds. Lineart and Backgrounds are hard (unless they're oceanscapes. I like those).
I think one of my favorite pages so far was the page where Kelwyn goes to wake up Fletcher and is just standing in the doorway being exasperated that Fletcher is still sleeping. I think it turned out really well and is one of those “Well this these characters in a nutshell” pages.

I knew it, I feel like developing the relationship between two or more people (if you're into that) is one of the best parts, you imagine what their day to day scenarios would be like, the banters, etc.

Moving into a more serious topic, you and I met during the pandemic and I know you were working on Into the Swell during that time, did the pandemic hurt your ability to work on the comic at all? Whether it was a drastic life change or an emotional burnout, etc. Have you managed to overcome it? And if so, how? And what's your advice for others?

Miranda: I feel like I was lucky in that the pandemic didn't really change my life in a huge way. I was moved to working from home, which I think gave me more time to work on my comic which was really nice. The hardest part I struggled with was the motivation. After a while, life got so monotonous that it was hard to get the motivation to work on anything at all.
But I think changing the story to what it is now helped motivate me again. Because I love the story and the characters.
I think the most important thing to remember is that it's okay to take breaks. It's okay to not be productive sometimes. But if you love what you're working on, it makes it easier to find your desire to work again. So make your story for you! Because you'll be spending the most time on it.

That's such a nice message and honestly such a true one too!

Now onto the last question, being as vague as you want because I know you don't want to give up spoilers, but what will the future of Into the Swell hold for us, your dear readers? Adventures? Romance? What can we hope to see soon and what is something you can't wait to show us?

Miranda: Well, I will say that there are some new characters coming up! And the plot will thicken as more clues evolve about the mysterious disappearance of the queen. And if I play my cards right, there will be an awesome twist at the end that should come with a nice “Ah ha” moment.

And, if I can get my skills up to par, maybe even a kiss or two ;)

I really just have a promise that there is an actual plot and they are actually solving a mystery and not just falling in love!

It's okay, we're all just a bunch of pervs here and don't mind the romance!!
Jkjk, kind of, not really. I mean, I'm a thirsty gal, not afraid to admit it lol but I'm so excited to get more of Into the Swell!
Thank you so much for willing to do the interview! I had such a joy talking about your story and getting the juicy details!

Miranda: Thank YOU for interviewing me! And letting me share all the details that I don't get to talk about very often!

Oh, you know you can totally message me on the side and spill the tea.

Anyway, I hope you ducklings enjoyed the interview and PLEASE check out Into the Swell! It is so worth the read!!

P.S. there's a bathtub scene inspired by Henry Cavill's role as Geralt of Rivia in the Witcher series, so uh, go look for it????

Thank you all for reading! Have a nice Sunday!!



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