ROSE is the new classic fantasy tale about a girl trying to restore balance to a broken world. Rose must connect with her Khat—Thorne—to become the Guardian the world needs. But things aren’t easy for Rose and Thorne, the powerful sorcerous Drucilla has many powerful and demonic allies—all of them focused on stopping one scared little girl who’s desperately trying to stay alive and do what’s right. Written by MEREDITH FINCH (Wonder Woman, Little Mermaid), and drawn by fan-favorite artist IG GUARA (Batman: Arkham Knight, Blue Beetle, The Ravagers)
Comic Frontline: Where did the idea or inspiration for Rose first begin?
Meredith Finch: Rose is the culmination of an idea that I have been nursing for years. I’m a huge fan of fantasy fiction and I’ve always loved writing. I think that some part of me has always known that I would write a story like this. But the way that it has evolved has definitely been shaped by my experience in comics, writing Wonder Woman.
CF: Rose is a Fantasy Fiction book, a genre that was seen a lot in the Golden Age, but then went away for a while. Now we are seeing comics returning to this genre more. Where does Rose fit in, or stand out within this genre?
MF: In addition to my passion for fantasy fiction I love history, and more specifically, English history. I’ve done a lot of reading about the Tudors and the War of the Roses. I think that you can definitely feel that influence as you read this book in a Marion Zimmer Bradley kind of way. But, at the same time, Rose is very much crafted with the idea of a traditional hero’s journey or quest in mind.
CF: Fantasy Fiction usually depicts a journey or odyssey of the main protagonist. What journey will we see Rose embark on?
MF: The obvious answer to this question is that she is on a quest or journey to restore the Khatz and their powers, in order to restore peace and harmony to her land. But on a deeper level this book is about the journey to find and balance your own personal strengths and weaknesses, and what our preconceptions about other people often say about ourselves. I reference the idea several times of finding “your truth” in ROSE, and I hope that Rose as a comic does that, both for the protagonist, as well as for the reader.
CF: I know from your previous works you have a passion for mythology, from Little Mermaid to Wonder Woman it has played a part in your writing. Will Rose be an original mythology or will you be borrowing from established mythology?
MF: Rosewill definitely be an original mythology, but while I’m not borrowing specifics from an established mythology, I can’t help but be influenced, and you will certainly see my versions of the expected archetypes.
CF: How much of your previous work has influenced how you write Rose?
MF: Rose has been a very liberating experience for me because she is the first character I have written that hasn’t come with a backstory or established expectations of who and what she should be. Because she belongs to me, no one can tell me that Rose wouldn’t or shouldn’t act in a certain way, or that the story has to be told in a specific format. I love that I am free to just express myself without limitations.
CF: What influence does your husband and children have on you as a writer?
MF: David and the boys could not be more supportive of me as a writer, and I consider myself incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such a loving support system. David is also always the first person to read a script or edit a dialogue pass. He is great about giving me feedback while at the same respecting what I am trying to accomplish with the character and the book.
With respect to the boys; I want Rose and her love for her world and the people in it to, in some way, reflect the very deep love and devotion I have for my children.
CF: Rose features a female protagonist and antagonist. How much of you, your inner thoughts etc can we expect from them?
MF: I honestly believe that to write well, that has to come from a place of authenticity. When I was writing Wonder Woman I was always asking myself how would I react or feel in a particular situation. With Rose, because I had the ability to craft both her and Drucilla into exactly who and what I wanted them to be, I feel like I have been able to take that to another level. These characters represent a range of emotion and experience, that I have either experienced in my own life or supported someone through. While I am not exactly my characters, you can definitely hear both my sense of innocence and wonder, as well as my cynicism, in them.
CF: Rose is the newest addition to Fantasy Fiction heroines like Red Sonja, Xena, and even She-Ra. What similarities and differences does Rose have to them?
MF: I would not compare Rose to either Red Sonja or Xena for one specific reason. This story is not about stepping on men or the masculine experience to order to project the idea or appearance of strength. Rose is a young woman and her strength and power comes from embracing the qualities and attributes that make women special and unique. I am the mother of three boys. I never want them to feel like it is not okay for them to embrace who and what they are. I wouldn’t use an orange to make an apple pie and I don’t think women should feel the need to compete with men on equal terms. We have confused equity with equality. We need to embrace the differences between the sexes instead of trying to minimize them.
CF: Thorne looks AWESOME! Usually when you see an animal companion for a woman in Fantasy Fiction it is usually a horse like Argo for Xena, or Spirit/Swift Wind for She-Ra. Big cats are usually seen as a male companion. What made you pair Rose and Thorne up and what role does he play?
MF: I think horses are a natural go-to for female characters because girls love horses. I certainly did. But when I was looking at pairing Rose with an animal companion (something I knew I was going to do from the beginning) I wanted something less dog-like or servile, more nuanced and layered. Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows they definitely meet that description.
CF: Where do you see Rose's journey taking her and the reader?
MF: Rose is, and always will be, a character that reflects an honestly and openness. As we go through this journey with her those qualities will be challenged. But I sincerely hope that a reader will be able to relate to Rose as she learns that her attitude and the ways in which she deals with her conflicts and struggles are perhaps almost as important, maybe more so, than the journey itself.
For more with MEREDITH FINCH and ROSE tune into our special E-Panel with MEREDITH FINCH on Tuesday April 11th at 9:30 PM ET right before we do out Top 5 on Frontline LIVE 147
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