Royden Lepp's Rust is to be comprised of four books from Archaia Press over the next couple of years. The first volume just made its debut at Comic-Con, where I caught up with Lepp for a flick through its handsome pages and a chat about his approaches and inspirations.
Here's what he had to tell me.
1. On Creating
I kind of start with a thumbnail plus a script. Sometimes I sit down and write out the key plot points, but because I'm really visual in my storytelling what works for me best is to sit down and do the script and thumbnails at the same time, literally side by side on the same page.
There's lots of work on the remaining books that has been done already, but there's still a lot of work to do. I know what's going to happen in the story and I'm confident readers will be excited and satisfied.
2. On The Universe of Rust
I felt a lot of freedom in creating this other universe. I wanted the reader to dive into the book and find it familiar but quickly realise "Hey, I'm not in Kansas anymore." Having it set in another universe gives me freedom to tell stories about a war that didn't happen, and the freedom to mess with technology, have this kind of steampunk technology. But there's also deeper, higher-level technology. As a storyteller, this gives me license to go a lot of directions with the story.
3. On the Themes Of Rust
The story is about things that are fading away. The story of the Taylor family on the farm, and the idea of degradation. We see this in the robots coming onto the farm, that aren't working properly. Everybody is just trying to button things together and get them working. It's about them trying to keep the structure of the family together, trying to keep the farm running. I'm telling the story from my heart, my experiences in my life.
We have four books coming out. The second one comes out in March and we're already deep into book three, working it out. Please invest your emotions, you're definitely going to get all four books.
4. On Being Optioned For A Movie
Fox have optioned Rust to be a feature film and set Aline Brosh McKenna to write the script.
It's all incredibly exciting but the movie is way out of my realm, so my focus is on the books. My only responsibility is to the books and to make them as good as possible. We're on the cusp of finding out what is going to happen with the movie, but the books are up to me.
5. On the Book Making It Out Into the World
What's so exciting about selling the book at Comic-Con is that the book's not out yet. People are walking by and seeing the book, having it catch their eye and they haven't even heard of it. People say that they love the artwork, which is hugely flattering but, so far, I don't think anybody has read it yet.
The first volume of Rust, subtitled Visitor in the Field will be in stores this September.