From The Editor's Desk: Karen Berger muses on DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD. Plus the Proposal!
I've been at this editing job for many years, and what keeps it so fresh and exciting are the different people that I've worked with and the wonderful story ideas that they create and illustrate.
While writers are often asked, "Where do you get your ideas?", editors are asked a variation on that, "How do new projects come about?" "Do you come up with the ideas, do the writers and artists, how much do you collaborate, if it all?" The answer to those questions can be varied, and are each project specific. But a great example of how a series came to be, is the story behind DOMINIQUE LAVEAU:VOODOO CHILD.
I was in New Orleans for the first time about 18 months ago, and was blown away by the city, its people, its music, its history, its food, its architecture and the overwhelmingly optimistic attitude of a town that has been through hell. I was particularly taken by the incredible history of the city and the unique blend of Spanish, French, African, Caribbean cultures that imbue it. There's a special magic in the air, a richness of myth, legend and music unlike any other place I'd ever been. After touring the French Quarter the first day I was there, I turned to my husband and said, why haven't we done a series about New Orleans at Vertigo all these years? I immediately started thinking about writers who I thought was right for the job, and the person who popped into my head first was Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, whom I had met only a few months earlier. Selwyn was part of another project that never came to be, but I could tell that he was extremely talented, and a true Vertigo soul. But before you hear more about Selwyn, which will be tomorrow and in depth, I want to show you the opening of the proposal for the series that became our VOODOO CHILD.
And after reading it, I'm sure you'll see why this was a keeper!
VOODOO CHILD is the story of the mundane and the majestic, the dark and the
light, of the intoxicating crescent city—New Orleans. Itʼs the tale of twenty-five-
year-old Dominique Laveau: half-breed, outcast, and heir to the Voodoo
Queenship of New Orleans...if she can live long enough to claim her birthright.
THE WORLD OF VOODOO CHILD
This is the New Orleans of Mardi Gras and the French Quarter. Second line jazz
and Bourbon Street. Lilʼ Wayne and Master P. Crime, poverty, and folks—good
and bad—on despair's edge. But itʼs also the New Orleans thatʼs known as the
most haunted city in America. A town of tragic ghosts and supernatural ether.
The long dead shades of slaves and confederate soldiers. The new dead
drowned by Katrina. Vampires. Loup Garous (werewolves). Enigmatic and
treacherous Voodoo spirits, known as loas. (In Voodoo mythology, Loas are the
intermediaries of Bondye, the Creator, who remains remote from man. They are
angelic beings who interact directly with man and can run the gamut from
beneficent, to fun-loving, to terror-inducing.) And all other manner of unnamed
things that lurk in the night. Over it all, the Voodoo Queens hold sway.
In the world of VOODOO CHILD, the eldest female descendant of Marie Laveau,
first Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, attains the title Voodoo Queen upon the
death of the preceding queen. To most of the mortal world, the Voodoo
Queens—particularly their progenitor, Marie Laveau—are objects of tourist
fascination or historical curiosity. But the Queens, along with their Courts,
actually maintain New Orleansʼ careful balance between the mortal and
supernatural worlds. Their powerful tentacles, felt but not seen, stretch into the
arenas of politics, business, even crime. And they police New Orleansʼ
supernatural side, keeping those beings placated, as best they can be, and
holding the darker things at bay. But that careful balance has been upset...
VOODOO CHILDʼs initial story arc opens shortly after the terrible days of
Hurricane Katrina. Foul water still floods the city. Drowned bodies float. And
Dominique Laveau runs for her life. The hurricane didnʼt just bring devastation to
the cityʼs mortal and supernatural denizens alike. It destroyed centuries of careful
warding, creating openings for dangerous and hostile forces. Now someone, or
something, has seized that vulnerability and murdered the current Voodoo Queen
and the majority of the Court. Cast off from her family since birth (her mother, the
Queenʼs sister, slept with a sworn enemy of the Laveaus, a dark Loa; in Christian
mythology that would make Dom a Nephilim), Dominique is the number one
suspect and marked for death.
With none to offer aid save her spirit familiar Black Benny (an old-time New
Orleans jazz drummer, bouncer, and prizefighter), Dominique must dodge
assassins mortal and supernatural and opportunists looking to curry favor, all
while trying to clear her name and uncover the truth behind the murders, a truth
with devastating consequences for all the denizens of New Orleans. In the end,
she must make a choice about a destiny she could never have imagined: Should
she don the mantle of Voodoo Queen of New Orleans?
More from me tomorrow, so I will see you then...