Full disclosure: Sarah Kuhn’s book One Con Glory was one of the first books I reviewed for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I loved the book and I’ve been reviewing for SBTB for five years now, so it has a special place in my heart!
Can you tell us a little bit about Fresh Romance and how it is similar to and different from the romance comics of the 1950s – 1970s?
Fresh Romance is a monthly digital romance comics magazine from Rosy Press (rosypress.com) — the whole thing is the brainchild of brilliant editor Janelle Asselin, and since romance and comics are two of the things I love most in life, I was thrilled when she asked me to be part of it! Every issue has three ongoing stories and a bunch of other goodies, like advice columns and fashion reports. It’s similar to old school romance comics in that love stuff — blushing and kissing and feelings — is positioned front and center. I think it differs in that the stories span a wide range of sub-genres (historical, high school, supernatural) and star a diverse range of protagonists. As an Asian American lady, I don’t see myself a lot as a protagonist in the romances I enjoy, so featuring a diverse crew of characters was very important to me.
Tell us a little about your story! What’s the deal with Ruby’s “homeworld”?
My story, “The Ruby Equation” (with artist Sally Jane Thompson, colorist Savanna Ganucheau, and letterer Steve Wands — we call ourselves Team S), is a supernatural romantic comedy about Ruby, a grouchy barista matchmaker from another dimension. Her mission is to help humans find love…but she’s really, really bad at it. I was fascinated by that idea because I think whenever we try to describe what makes a romantic relationship successful…we sort of can’t. Like, it’s not math, you know? But Ruby thinks it is, like if she just lines up the right variables — boom! She’ll get immediately successful relationships. I love female characters who are forceful like that, who have a lot of attitude and are single-mindedly convinced they’re the best at everything — even if we sort of see that that’s not the case as the story unfolds. Oh, and we’re not visiting the homeworld — at least not for this installment of the story. I think it’s probably so epic, it’s best left to the imagination.
Right now Fresh Romance has three stories – a Regency romance, a high school romance, and your story. Will these stories run for a limited time and then be followed by new stories? What can we expect to see?
My story spans five issues, so we have two more to go! The others — “Ruined” by Sarah Vaughn and Sarah Winifred Searle and “School Spirit” by Kate Leth and Arielle Jovellanos — I’m reading as a highly enthusiastic fan, so I don’t know when they wrap up. But you will see new stories introduced as the others comes to an end.
What are some other projects you are working on?
My novel Heroine Complex comes out next summer from DAW Books! It’s the first in a trilogy starring Asian American superheroines and it’s all about the adventures of Evie Tanaka, the put-upon personal assistant to a glamorous superheroine. It has demonic cupcakes, supernatural karaoke battles, and a hefty helping of romance. You can read the first three chapters here: heroinecomplex.com/excerpt I’m currently working on the sequel! Additionally, I have some film projects in development and I’m helping produce an LA-based comedy festival at the end of August (comedycomedyfest.com).
OK, it’s summer, which means the beach (YAY). What book (comic or otherwise, and not written by yourself) should I put in my bag?
I absolutely loved Trade Me by Courtney Milan — a sexy, beautifully-written New Adult with truly endearing characters. (And an Asian American heroine!) I’m refreshing her website constantly in the hopes that the sequel might magically appear. Comics-wise, I highly recommend Thrillbent’s The Best Thing (thrillbent.com/comics/the-best-thing/) by writer Seanan McGuire and artist Erica Henderson, which offers a fun, spiky twist on the magical girls genre. And don’t we all need more magical girls in our lives?
Sarah Kuhn is the author of One Con Glory, the soon to be released novel The Heroine Complex, and a contributor to Fresh Romance. She’s a frequent panelist at San Diego Comic-Con. One Con Glory is in development as a feature film.