My given name is Theodore John May, III. It's quite a mouthful, so you can see why I go by T.J... Plus, Senior and Junior are still kicking, and it makes life less confusing at family gatherings.
Q: Tell Buried.com a bit about your background…
I studied creative writing in college, but received the best education while traveling the country in a van. I stockpiled all sorts of events and characters during that trip that continue to sprinkle themselves among my stories.
The second most important event that influenced my writing career was the discovery of the book, via comics writer Buddy Scalera, STORY by Robert McKee. I read it and subsequently took his three-day course, which was eye opening to say the least.
After I got back I acquired some freelance journalism work from Wizard Entertainment and Brainstorm Multi-Media. Feeling like we made enough connections and learned enough about the business, my brother and I set out to create our own comics in 2000.
Our first project Deviant Society hit the wall. But we have regrouped and are looking to put it back out there with a new art team. ILL CONCEIVED is our first published product and it has been doing very well. In fact it has recently been picked up for worldwide distribution and will be in stores this fall.
Q: How did the idea for Ill Conceived come about?
I was watching a TV show called Sightings on the Sci-Fi Channel and they had a segment about two sisters that had been abducted. One of the sisters had an emergency hysterectomy at the age of 28. A very rare situation.
But what puzzled the doctors most was that they found evidence of 28 miscarried or aborted pregnancies. To her knowledge the woman had never been pregnant.
So that planted the seed and got the ball rolling. I started thinking about what if the situation happened to a woman just after she was married? Initially I went with a younger couple. But then I wanted to make some personal statements about relationships, and started with a relationship that already had some conflict in it.
After sitting down with a writer/ friend, Steven Withrow, I came to the decision it would be a May/December romance. An older husband doing the marriage thing a second time just for fun and no kids. A younger woman whom was initially on the same page but softened as those mother hormones kick in.
Then I threw in a dose of alien abduction and it created this perverse love triangle, and helped me take a fresh look at the alien abduction/ impregnation scenario.
Q: What else is Summ Publications going to be putting out?
The best part about ILL CONCEIVED is that it attracted a lot of attention to us. We met several young artists that are intrigued by our stories and business philosophy.
We are taking advantage of that now and developing our second story. We have tentatively named it THE OPAL OF CALMET. It is a horror/who-dun-it that takes place among circus freaks. It's in the very early stages of development so I don't want to say too much about it, but it will be a one-shot or graphic novel.
Q: Were you ever abducted by aliens?
(Laughs) My wife thinks so. As do many of my friends. They are a little freaked out by my imagination, and often cannot comprehend where I come up with this stuff.
Q: Why did you decide to do a one-shot comic as opposed to a continuing story line?
It's our business philosophy. And it's where we see the comic industry surviving. In our opinion Graphic Novels is the future of sequential art in print. It is the most successful practice in Europe and Asia, and it is the fastest growing genre in American bookstores.
We don't have a lot of money and time to pump out 22-pages a month, nor do most Indies. So we leave that to the big boys.
For us a complete story is more important. That has been a big selling point. People are more apt to take a chance on you if they are guaranteed a complete story. There are millions of independent issue #1's out there, less than a quarter of them are followed by issue #2 and the higher the issue # the lower the percentage of their existence.
It also takes a lot of the pressure off and keeps the fun involved with creation. Because we don't have to be out every month or two, we can set-up loose deadlines. The focus becomes the product not the production cycle. We take a book-trade approach in that way. Until the book is ready to be lettered, we do not even start marketing it. So you don't have these situations where we say "SUCHandSUCH" will be on shelves in November and then it doesn't show up until the next spring, if at all.
Q: Are you working on any new projects?
In addition to THE OPAL OF CALMET, we are trying to develop our first full-color graphic novel. It's in pre-production and we have targeted a professional artist we would like to work with. He has shown great interest, but nothing has been decided. We won't really get started on that one until the fall or winter, depending on the artist's schedule.
Q: Anything else you wish to talk about?
We are always looking for advertisers and sponsors. Now that we have been picked up for distribution we also have a new printer and need to add four-pages. Which means we need advertisers and space is still available in ILL CONCEIVED. Anybody can help whether you have something to sell or just want to be a part of the fun.
We have created a FRIENDS OF SUMM page in each book. For $25 dollars you will have your name listed on the page in print and on our website. You will also receive a copy of the book signed by myself when it hits store shelves this fall.
We also have business card, 1/4-page, 1/2-page and full-page sized ads available. For information about any of these opportunities please contact me at www.SUMM.net.