Festival of Words to feature graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks

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Lisa Goudy
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If Hollywood action heroes like Indiana Jones were female, Faith Erin Hicks would be over the moon.

“I’m a nerd … I really like Star Trek. I really like action movies. I like Indiana Jones. I really like science fiction and I looked at a lot of that stuff and I thought it would be so much better if Indiana Jones were a girl," she said.

“It would be so much better if there was a genre of stories with female characters in them. So, a lot of the stories that I write and draw now kind of come from that and comes from my desire to see myself reflected in the genre that I enjoy.”

Hicks, a 35-year-old graphic novelist who lives in Halifax, will be one of the guests at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words this summer.

“I’m really excited to come. I have never been to Saskatchewan before,” she said. “I’m excited to see what it’s like.”

She added she couldn’t wait to meet readers and other authors at the festival. She will hold a workshop called Creating Comics.

“Whenever I get the chance to do a workshop, you get varying levels of interest, but it’s always really fun to see what people can come up with,” said Hicks.

The author of long-running webcomicDemonology 101and its spinoff,A Distant Faith, she has been writing and drawing comics since she was 20 years old in university.

“At first it was a hobby. It was something that I did for fun and I never really thought that it would be my job. It was something that I guess fulfilled me creatively,” said Hicks. “Then I went to school for animation and I thought that animation would be my career.”

All of that changed in 2008 with the United States’ financial crash. The Canadian animation industry is closely linked to the American animation industry and a lot of work opportunities went away.

“It’s slowly recovering here in Canada, which is fantastic, but by 2008 I was getting contracts to write and draw graphic novels,” said Hicks. “So I decided to stick with that until the money ran out.”

Since then, Hicks has been doing full-time freelance comic work. She usually writes and draws her own stories, but she did do a prequel to a video came for Dark Horse Comics.

“That was fun because I got the chance to go into someone else’s world and write and draw based on other people’s stories, but at the end of the day, I tend to prefer to draw my own stories,” said Hicks. “I like having the freedom to tell the kind of stories that I want to tell.”

She is currently working on her a three-book series with the first book due out in 2016. Her fantasy trilogy,The Nameless City, is based on 13th Century historical China. It is about two kids in a city with different social standings.

“One is the privileged son of the ruling elite and the other is a street kid who’s had a lot of tragedy in her life and they end up meeting and developing a friendship,” said Hicks. “The trilogy is about their relationship and also a conspiracy and other interesting things that they get caught up in.”

The Saskatchewan Festival of Words runs from July 17 to 20. Passes are $200. Flex passes, which are applicable to individual sessions, are $100.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Geographic location: Halifax, Saskatchewan, United States Canada Nameless China

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