Comics Features

INTERVIEW: Rachael Smith, Creator of House Party

Written by Grace Davis

House Party is a brilliant new graphic novel from Rachael Smith – perhaps best known for Flimsy the Kitten. She writes funny, relatable comics about a very wide range of things. We at A Place To Hang Your Cape recently had a chance to chat with her…

A Place To Hang Your Cape: Can you give us a quick summary of what House Party is all about?

Rachael Smith: House Party will be a 92 page graphic novel where three lost 20-somethings are feeling disillusioned after being shoved into the real world since feeling like superstars at university. In an attempt to get their happiness back they throw a massive house party, just like they used to. Instead of reconnecting them with their younger selves, however, things go a little differently and the three of them must decide how to move forward in lives that none of them really asked for.

AP2HYC: What’s been the best part of working on this project so far?

Rachael: Ooooh well, I’m very proud and humbled by how excited people seem to be about it! I raised the funds to get it printed on Kickstarter (here) and it was funded in 4 days. It’s still going strong now – at the time of writing we’re on £2992 – so it looks like we’re gonna make the second stretchgoal which is amazing! It’s also been brilliant to have Great Beast behind the project. Making comics is sometimes a bit of a lonely endeavour – so it’s been lovely to have Adam (Cadwell)  and Marc (Ellerby) on hand to answer my (many, many, many) questions about comic publishing.

AP2HYC: As a twenty-something myself, the characters of ‘House Party’ seem very relatable. How much (if any) of the project is based on your own life and experiences?

Rachael: Quite a bit! I started writing House Party when I was still at my full time admin job and was feeling pretty despondent and unappreciated, so a story about a group of ex-students feeling like they had nothing to put their creative energy into anymore was probably inevitable. I did Fine Art at uni and then worked at a coffee place for a while – like Siobhan, so there’s quite a bit of me in her.

AP2HYC: How did you get into creating comics/graphic novels?

Rachael: I’ve been an illustrator since 2008 and began playing around with silly little one-page comics (ummmm there’s one here). Leigh Walton from Top Shelf Productions noticed my stuff and asked if I’d be interested in doing an 8-page story for their website. So I made a story called ‘Ruby and Moon’ which was about magic fish. I decided to print it, along with another short story called ‘Flew’ and so that was my first foray into comics creating/publishing.

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AP2HYC:  And who are your personal comic heroes (either creators or characters!)?

Rachael: Kate Beaton will always be up there for me. She was the first comic book artist that I found whose work actually made me want to give comics a go myself. Her stuff was just so hilarious and different from anything I’d seen before.

AP2HYC: I really liked ‘Flimsy the Kitten’ – do you plan on doing more with Flimsy? And do you have any plans for launch events or appearances for ‘House Party’ like you had for ‘Flimsy’?

Rachael: Aww good ole’ Flimsy. I do want to do more with her but for the time being it’s just ‘Flimsy’s Guide to Modern Living’ – which is on its second print run, and her Q&A website: http://askflimsy.tumblr.com/. There WILL be a launch party for House Party (of course!), I don’t know the details of it yet but I do know it will be at Orbital Comics in London on the 13th June – then the day after is ELCAF which will be the first con that I’ll be taking House Party to. Hopefully I won’t be too hungover…

AP2HYC: Can you tell us what’s going to be next for you?

Rachael: I’m working with a couple of writers on two comic projects, one with Will Brooker called ‘Towards the Moon’ – which is a beautiful coming-of-age story about a girl moving away to university, and the other with Andrew Waterfield called ‘ÚBERBLAZE’ which is going to be HILARIOUS.

AP2HYC:  Last of all, what’s one reason we should all just go and buy ‘House Party’?

Rachael: There’s a bit with a set square which is making everyone who’s read it do a genuine ‘lol’. What are you waiting for??? 😀 Clicky clicky!

We couldn’t put it better ourselves. To support Rachael click the link to her Kickstater here. Alternatively you can check out her blog here.

About the author

Grace Davis