Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your illustrated novel, Elementis: The Awesome Foursome! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Steve Eyre: Imbued with the powers of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water by Gaia, Mother Earth, and trained by ancient Elementals, four green, teen eco warriors battle to protect and save the planet that spawned them.
I was inspired to write Elementis by a desire to educate my grandchildren in an accessible and entertaining way about the perilous state we have brought our planet to and what needs to be done to save it. Some of the characters and the mythical pagan themes were inspired by a sculptor friend of mine called Stoneface who created many of the creatures from Stone in his beautiful woodland, Storrs Wood, which features in the book.
BD: How would you describe your shared creative process with artist Kiera Sampson in bringing the story to life, and what have been some of your creative influences?
SE: I met the wonderful young artist Keira Sampson quite by accident when she was only 15. I was in a digital marketing agency chatting to the owner about finding an artist to illustrate the book, and Keira, who was there doing work experience, overheard us and asked if she could take a look. I gave her a couple of chapters and by the time I was ready to leave 30 minutes later, she had sketched the first illustration that appears in the first chapter. I immediately asked her to work with me which she did with the blessing of her parents for the next year.
All I had to do was send her one chapter at a time, and she would create the illustrations which grace the book. I hope you will agree that her triumph is the color illustration which perfectly encapsulates what the book is about. The collaboration was more rewarding as we both took our inspiration from a shared love of superhero comics and films.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Elementis’ story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
SE: I feel and sincerely hope that the story will connect with the new generation of eco-savvy teens, spearheaded by the fabulous Greta Thunberg. Many of the themes and scenes in the book - three years in the making - have come to pass and are so relevant to our current predicament. The underlying message in the book is that if we, as a species, do not urgently address the problems facing our world, nature will do it for us, whether we like it or not. Consider this: The Coronavirus has, in a few short weeks, reduced carbon emissions and air travel more than we have in the last twenty years.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the graphic novel into subsequent books or even into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
SE: The outline for Elementis 2 is in my head now, and just last week I met with Rob Speranza, the American film director, to discuss getting the novel on the big screen. There is also a BAFTA Award-winning digital filmmaker interested in turning it into a manga cartoon, a medium that I know inspired Kiera's art.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
SE: I am working with Stoneface, whose Storrs Wood is the spiritual home of Elementis, to actually recreate scenes from the book in the Wood, for example the mine shaft and the memorial stone.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Elementis: The Awesome Foursome?
SE: The best way to discover Elementis and to understand what we are trying to do is to read it and share it with other people who care. It’s available on Kindle and in paperback through Amazon. Thanks so much for your time. Help us save our world!