An Interview with Meredith Finch
With Rose #6 hitting the shelves, the story of Rose’s journey to becoming a Guardian is in full swing and the trade paperback collection of the first six issues is due in November. A beautiful fantasy tale set in a far off land, the story centers around Rose who is an inexperienced magic user looking to avenge the death of her mother and free her land from the evil gripe of its current queen. It’s an engaging story featuring a strong female lead, one who starts from the bottom and slowly works her way up in the world and into reader’s hearts.
Having read the first six issues, and opening my own eyes to who Rose is and where the story could lead, I became a fan. It was an honor and true pleasure to have the chance to interview Meredith Finch, the writer and creator of this story. She is a veteran of the comic world and a wealth of insightful information; graciously she has taken the time to share her thoughts and perspective with Outright Geekery.
Outright Geekery: Hello Mrs. Finch, first thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Before we get to the nitty gritty, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Meredith Finch: My name is Meredith Finch. I am the 44 year-old mother of three amazing boys, married to comic book phenom David Finch. I have been working as a writer in the comic book industry for three years now on characters that include Wonder Woman, Catwoman and The Little Mermaid.
OG: You gained a lot of attention and praise for you work on Wonder Woman, how did it feel writing for such an iconic character?
MF: When I was offered the job of writing the single most iconic female super hero I was still a novice in the industry and my first instinct was definitely to say no, especially following on the heels of a critically acclaimed run by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Cheung. At the same time, I really believed that I could still bring a fresh perspective to a character that has been around for more than 75 years. I wanted to approach her as a woman first and a super hero second. Ultimately, I think that resonated with a lot of people who struggle in their own lives to find balance in many of the same ways we challenged Diana. I also recognized that if I turned down such an amazing opportunity it might never come my way again. I would always rather fall flat on my face and fail than never even try.
OG: Many fans were sad when you left Wonder Woman, what thought process went into such a decision and to switching gears and creating Rose?
MF: I left Wonder Woman at the end of the new 52 and the beginning of Rebirth. At that time DC had made the decision to change out the creative teams on their big three, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman for the launch of Rebirth. It was a very bittersweet moment when we wrapped issue 52 and I knew that I was leaving. It is very challenging being a writer in an industry with so much incredible literary talent. Eventually I decided that I was too old to be asking or waiting for permission to tell my stories and I started working on Rose. Rose is herself is a character that Dave and I developed back in 2006 or 2007 that I just never found the right angle for. I learned a lot from Diana and I really believe her spirit was with me as I started fleshing the book out. Their hearts are very much the same.
OG: What are some struggles you faced when changing from writing a superhero driven stories to a now fantasy adventure tale?
MF: The shift from superhero to fantasy heroine wasn’t nearly as challenging as it might have been if I had been writing any character other than Wonder Woman. Because so much of our WW run centered around Greek mythology and gods and monsters it was a relatively easy shift. The bigger challenge was in the world building. When you write an already established character you generally have a very specific set of parameters to work within. Some of that I’m still working out with Rose as the story evolves, but at the same time it’s the world building and character creation that I find the most fun and enjoyable.
OG: Rose isn’t a skilled fighter or warrior princess, her heart seems to be her strongest weapon. Did your work on Wonder Woman help shape this aspect of Rose?
MF: Absolutely, as I said earlier their hearts are very much the same. I also think that comes from what is most important to me – family.
OG: The main characters, and some of the strongest, are all women. Given some of the current arguments about female characters in comics, what did you want yours to represent?
MF: There has been a lot of focus on female representation in comics. While I agree with the idea of broadening readership, I don’t agree with forcing it the way some of the major publishers are trying to do. I don’t want you to change a character that people love into a woman, I want you to write female characters that people will love. That is what I am always trying to do with Rose. I think in a really great story you aren’t worried about the gender of your character because you are just enjoying their journey.
I also feel like there is an idea in comics right now that women need to be faster, stronger, smarter and just better in every way than their male counterparts. That’s also not what I’m doing here. Rose isn’t a book about a woman being anything other than what she is. She’s not suddenly the best swordsman, she’s not physically stronger than the men around her and she doesn’t get her power from putting down or trying to be better than the people around her. As we get further into our story we are going to discover that her power comes simply from who she is and encouraging the people around her to be their best selves. I really wanted to explore the idea that being a strong woman is not a one size fits all model as is sometimes pushed today and that softness and femininity are their own strength. I think it’s fair to say that I have a lot of things that I want to say about the nature of femininity and female relationships in this book.
OG: In Rose #5, our heroine finally met with Throne and despite being strangers it was a touching moment. Any hints on how you plan to shape their bond as their journey continues?
MF: Thorne is definitely the ying to Rose’s yang. Thorne brings the edge and ruthlessness that is needed to balance the softness and vulnerability of Rose. He only has two goals – protect his Guardian and heal his land. He’s not about to let feelings for anyone other than Rose, get in the way of doing what needs to be done. But, to quote Dr. Phil, he’s also her soft place to fall. I very much envision them as the perfect soulmates. I do see some friction going forward because Rose is so inclined toward loving and caring for everyone she meets and Thorne’s pragmatism might occasionally be a tough pill to swallow for a soft-hearted nurturer.
OG: Despite the title being named after Rose herself, she’s gaining an interesting cast of characters. Who are some stand out ones that you enjoy writing about and can we expect new additions to her adventuring party?
MF: I really feel like I have so many stories to tell about each and every one of them. Ila is a particular favorite of mine, but so too are the rebel pair of Will and Fel and I have an extra soft spot in my heart for the mute giant Bjarke. There is a scene coming up in issue nine where we finally see him speak using sign language that I know will be very powerful for me, as the mother of a deaf child, when I see it on the page.
OG: Out of the many stories you’ve worked on, which ones stand out the most in your memories and why?
MF: Tales from Oz: The Cowardly Lion story will always have a special place in my heart because it was my first published work. Like-wise the publisher Zenescope will always have a special place in my heart because they were willing to take a chance on me. Wonder Woman changed me in so many ways and I learned so much working about what a good editor can bring to the table from working with Dan Didio on Catwoman: Election Night. I put so much of myself into each story that ultimately it is much like I tell my son when he asks me who my favorite it… I love each of them equally and differently.
OG: Do you have any funny stories from working in the comic industry or perhaps a convention experience that you’d like to share?
MF: This is just between you me and thousands of readers. I recently attended a convention that had accommodations that were, shall we say, lacking in the level of quality that I might desire (dark, no exterior window, no proper latch on the door). It also happens that we had invited friends to join us at this particular convention (they had a bucket in their original room to catch a steady stream of dripping water from the faucet). Desperate to see the light of day we found ourselves sitting at a restaurant that night trying to convince ourselves that we were still going to have a great time while David searched my phone for what we thought was the closest Starbucks. It turns out he was looking for hotels. Long story short, we checked ourselves into a Hilton Garden Inn and, not wanting to offend the convention organizers, snuck our bags out of the other hotel giggling the entire time like guilty teenagers afraid of being caught. Best time ever.
OG: Can you share some insight on breaking into the comic book industry and some hurdles we the readers don’t see as well as advice for those trying to get their foot in the door?
MF: It is incredibly difficult if not impossible to break into comics these days as a writer if you have not self-published. Write what you love, not what you think other people want to see and just keep trying. I believe with all of my heart that hard work and perseverance will be rewarded.
OG: Lastly, I want to again thank you for taking the time to share your personal point of view with us. Do you have any parting words for our readers?
MF: I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who is reading Rose right now. I have gotten such incredible feedback and I promise that I will continue to try to give you and Rose my very best effort.