About Dixie Ann & Everard
Dixie Ann: I was born and grew up in Trinidad and Tobago. In the coastal town of Mayaro. My childhood was not easy, but I had a strong mother who took good care of and my two sisters and I. I’ve always been in the field of accounting. I taught accounting at a secondary school for thirteen years, and I currently work as an accountant at a financial institution. At GemGfx I’m what you can call the financial director. I’m in charge of the accounts. In 2013 my husband and I started working on Celflux and it’s at that time that I began exploring my writing abilities. I’ve always loved reading novels. That’s something I got from my mother. But it’s only in 2013 after I met my husband, that he convinced me that I should explore telling stories. I’ve enjoyed it a lot, and ever since I told one story, I’ve realized how many more stories I have to tell. When Everard and I aren’t watching movies or anime, I also love to bake and crochet. When I am on social media you can find me on Twitter @dixeebet and on instagram @dixiebain.
Everard: Like Dixie Ann I’m Trini to the bone. Born and grown in Trinidad and Tobago. As long as I can remember, I have always been infatuated with drawing. I always tell the story of how I was often scolded in school — and by my father and my teachers — for drawing cartoon characters in my school exercise books. Super Friends, Space Ghost, The Hurculoids were some of my favorites. They saw it as idleness and time wasting. My mother was the one, in her wisdom, who for my birthday gave me a gift of a sketch pad and a Flintstone’s coloring book, and instructed me to exercise my creativity in those rather than my school books. Thus began my Graphic Design Career. (True story). I’ve always been involved in different aspects of the creative industry. As a young boy, I had dreams and aspirations of drawing comics. However, they were just that dreams. I had to put those dreams on the back burner and focus on a more realistic goal of becoming a graphic designer. In 2013 however, Dixie Ann and I started working on Celflux. This was for me the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Folks can find me on Twitter @GemGfx and @Celflux, on Facebook @GemGfxcom and @Celflux and on Instagram at @gemgfx. I’m also on DeviantArt at gemgfx.deviantart.com.
DixieAnn: Everard had the concept of Celflux, and the main character Okira, with him since the 90s. It’s always been with him somewhere in the back of his mind. I remember when we met I saw some of his artwork. I remember seeing a concept painting of Okira that struck me as so personal. He had the idea for the characters and story. In 2013 when we decided to work on it, we did quite a bit of brainstorming and research over a couple of weeks. We both sat down and fleshed out the concept and came up with the name Celflux. It was a very exciting experience. It was just as though we were present to witness the birth of something fantastic. Not just to witness it, but to actually be the ones through whom Celflux was birthed. It was a powerful experience.
Everard: Celflux is a sci-fi, action-adventure, about OKIRA. A young, benevolent, kind-hearted priestess who becomes the involuntary leader of a disjointed group of strangers. They wake up one day in a remote lab without any memory of how they got there, or what happened to them. They must begin a journey of trying to find the answers to those questions, and this task is made difficult not only because of the fact that they have conflicting personalities and prejudices but also because they are relentlessly pursued by a powerful group with a global agenda. To get the answers they seek, they must endure great loss, and when they do get the answers, they realize that they have to make a choice. A choice that will cost them everything, and whose outcome will determine the fate of their planet. The book examines themes that range from the possible link between science and spirituality and the next stage of man’s evolution.
Against the backdrop of a widespread call for greater diversity in comic books, comes a new ebony, lead, female character. Okira is presented as a character that anyone who has ever felt like their life has meaning and purpose can identify with. Her experiences mirror the reality that it is a difficult journey to realize and achieve your purpose in life. The comic follows her journey of discovery and personal growth as she seeks to find out why she has been given her abilities and how she can use them to help others. For many the focus will not be Okira’s abilities, but her personality, struggles, and successes.
The Main Protagonists are
Okira: A warm-hearted and benevolent priestess who lives an ordinary and mundane life with the feeling that she is meant for something special. She is driven by a desire to find and fulfill her destiny.
Ahoteh: A hardened village chief who has developed a healthy distrust of foreigners. He is driven by a desire to protect and preserve his tribe.
Stephen: A technological genius and intellectual. Deals solely with logic and makes no room for emotion or anything else that can not be logically explained. Is driven by a thirst for knowledge.
Raymond: A hot-headed, anger filled former gang member turned enforcement officer. He is reckless and does not care much about anything.
Samantha: The princess of Cergaron and heir to the throne. Totally stuck-up and self-absorbed. Shows little care for anyone else especially those who she considers beneath her. Hates to lose and will do anything to win.
Shandrita: An outcast from her society. She is rebellious and hot-tempered. She is driven by a desire to find somewhere where she can belong.
The Antagonists are
A neutral group of overseers called The Keepers. They are given charge of keeping the peace on New Genesia but have plans to bring the planet and all its realms under their totalitarian rule.
The High Counselor: A shadowy, stoic, stern figure who rules the Keepers with an iron fist. His subordinates fear him.
Genocyde: The female, bio-enhanced commander of the elite guard of the Keepers. She is driven by a desire to please her commanders and to be respected by everyone she considers her lesser.
Indigo: A deadly, trained, bio-enhanced killer who is a man of few words.
The story is set on the planet of New Genesia. A fictional planet not unlike Earth. It is the home of six noble realms which are Erqua, Tandra, Rilon, Yoro, Cegaron and Uomi. The planet raged in a war for one hundred years and was almost completely devastated by a culminating battle called the Battle of Omicion. To end the war and to ensure lasting stability, a fragile peace is brokered. The six realms now enjoy a planet, that is relatively safe and calm.
To watch over and maintain this peace, the Keepers are appointed. They are a neutral group of counselors. Their function is to ensure that no threat will come against a united Genesia and thus ensure its continued growth and prosperity. Each realm, though, remains mainly self-ruled.
Erqua: The home of our main character Okira is made up a tribal, spiritual people. They have great respect for the spiritual traditions and aspects of life and respect for the earth and nature.
Tandra: The home of Ahoteh is made up of a crop growing community who live a simple and secluded life. They remain separated from the other tribes in efforts to preserve their culture.
Rilon: The home of Stephen is a society built solely on technology. Their realm has no vegetation and their people are cyborgs.
Yoro: Is a slum realm. Made up of large industrial complexes. Crime is rampant and the people are poor.
Cegaron: Is a realm made up of a wealthy oligarchy. Their wealth comes from a large resource of precious jewels and minerals.
Uomi: Is a realm made up of a strict, religious, nomadic people. They are traders and merchants.
The Dissidents. A militant group whose only goal is to liberate New Genesia from what they see as the tyranny of the keepers.
The Future of Celflux
Dixie Ann: For Celflux, we are hoping to have the book widely distributed. We are working to increase our fan base and get the book into comic shops. We’re independent creators and one of the hardest things for us is to get the word out about Celflux. This is why we are so grateful to all the individuals, blogs, and websites that have shown us love. This sort of exposure is priceless to indie creators because without people telling others about Celflux, no one will ever know. So we’re hoping to get the word out as much as we can.
Everard: Without fans talking about Celflux, nobody will ever even hear about this husband and wife team from Trinidad and Tobago making comics. As we mentioned before with GemGfx, we have plans to publish more comics and graphic novels. We have several stories in the pipeline that we’re working on that will follow Celflux. We’ll still be doing our graphic design and branding work, but we’ll be really diving into publishing in a real way.
Dixie Ann: The advice I give all the time to people who want to create comics is, don’t get into making comics unless it’s something you love. Don’t do it for money. Don’t do it for fame. Do it because you love it. Do it because you love comics and you want to tell stories. If you do it for the money, you’ll be seriously disappointed. There are many other talented creators out there doing exactly what you are doing and who are also trying to make it big. The reality is, unless you are lucky and become and an overnight sensation, you more than likely will be at it for years before anyone even knows your name. So let your motivation be your love for what you are doing. That will sustain you.
Everard: My advice for any creator wanting to get into the industry is practice, practice, practice. Develop your skill. Work hard at it. Most of the work will be done where the public doesn’t see it. You’ll be up late at night doing lots and lots of illustrations. You just have to put in the work. There’s a lot of great talent out there in the industry and for you to even get noticed, you have to be doing good work. So work on developing your work. Then put your work online. Utilize social media and other art sites like DeviantArt. Keep at it. Eventually, folks will start to notice you. If you have a book idea, my advice would be to self-publish. Sure you can do a pitch and try to get published by a major publisher, but many creators have found success after they’ve self-published and got noticed by that very same large publisher. So basically it’s develop your skills, and get your work out.