MD Marie Talks Vindication, Creativity, and Why She’s Like a Rubik’s Cube

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Science fiction and steampunk author MD Marie is best known for her series The Saints of Winter Valley, described as the Wild West meets Judge Dredd meets the Terminator, as  well as Cinders of Angels, a thriller about a woman who gains superpowers trying to save her sister, set against the backdrop of a battle between humans and angels.

Now, Marie moves into the more realistic realm of racism and police brutality with Vindication, a hard-hitting, four-part mini-series from Top Cow Productions, set for publication in 2019. Here’s the blurb for the series from the Top Cow website:

“In turbulent times, when cops are often portrayed as enemies of the people, Detective Chip Christopher walks the blurred blue line between racism and due diligence in order to do his job. And right now, it’s his job to investigate Turn, a young black man with a sketchy past—who was previously exonerated of a similar murder.”

This series could not be timelier. We caught up with Marie to talk about what readers can expect from Vindication, her creative process, and much more.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Once, during a team building exercise, I was asked to bring something that demonstrated how I see myself and explain it; I brought a Rubik’s Cube. The cube is multi-faceted with different colors that can be uniform or combined with other colors; and that’s how I see myself. Being a multi-faceted personality, I love all genres of writing (i.e., fiction, history, psychological, horror, technical, instructional, poetry, haiku, comedy, science fiction, romance, mystery, fantasy, etc.) and I write all of them.

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I’m not a big fan of school but I love to learn; I have an affinity for the macabre, I like the research part of writing most, and I like to make hypotheses about widely believed theories or beliefs (that’s my inner nerd flexing J).

I like to read biographies and technical stuff; I live for action-adventure and martial arts films, and I’m also a workout enthusiast.

Can you give us some insight into your creative process?

My creative process entails plotting a beat sheet, writing an outline, and then doing the research. My research consists of reading articles, interviewing people, discussing ideas with other creators, and rereading my drafts. After doing some edits, I like to have an objective reader take a look and give me feedback. If I have to do a lot of explaining, it usually means that I left some important information in my head and not on the page; so I go back and provide clarification or rewrite it better.

When I write novels, I like to hold reading parties when I’m happy with my final draft. I serve hor d’oeuvres and drinks and have my friends and family read the story aloud. If they read it in advance, we come together and they ask me questions that they believe may not have been answered in the story.

Vindication is a very relevant, political story for our times. How did you decide on the idea for this story?

[President/COO of Top Cow] Matt Hawkins had read several articles about wrongly convicted men and prisoners being exonerated due to inclusive evidence or evidence that proved innocence and he wanted to write a story along those lines. He also wanted to include an element of the incidents happening between the police and Black men in America; and then he approached me about writing it.Vindication #1 cover. Written by MD Marie. Drawn by Carlos Miko and Dema Jr. Published by Top Cow. January 16, 2019

What do you hope readers of Vindication will take from the story?

I hope that readers take away that there’s always more to the story and things aren’t always as they first appear.

Tell us a bit about the process of working with artists Carlos Miko, Yonami, and Dema Jr. on Vindication?

Working with Carlos, Yonami [editor’s note: Yonami provide translation and research support for Dema and Carlos], and Dema was an interesting collaboration. They were as excited about Vindication as I was and they really wanted to illustrate the story in a way that conveyed the excitement and drama of the words. Even though they are in Brazil, we found a lot of commonalities between us that allowed us to work in synchronicity.

You have written a lot of science fiction. Can we expect Vindication to include sci-fi elements?

There is no sci-fi in Vindication. This was more about telling the story about characters that are dealing with issues that are being played out across the country and how both sides may see it.

You have also written novels and comic books. How does the medium affect the writing process for you?

The amount of creativity, research, and truth required is contingent on the genre, medium and space (i.e., page count, panels, and book measurements) in which you have to create. The more fictitious a story, the more creative I can be. Vindication is based in modern time and is a story about regular humans with no extraterrestrial abilities; so I have to include more truth and reality while telling an interesting story. Also, Vindication required a lot of research and I really enjoyed that part the most. I gained a perspective that I would not have come to on my own about situations like this story line.

What other projects are you working on?

I have so many stories in my head right now, but being that it’s getting close to Vindication’s launch, this is where my focus lies at present.

Vindication #1 will be available January 16, 2019.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir