Today's friend is Stephen Hines. In his own words (stolen shamelessly off his website): "So far I've written one novel, Hocus Focus, published in 2008, and one graphic novel, Valedictorian USA, which is being published issue by issue. There are samples of Valedictorian on the book's section of my site (click the title on the main menu). Also, I recently finished a web comic strip series called Clyde the Redneck. What am I working on now? Well, for now: a memoir mini-comic series called Crackerstacker, and a few assorted comic book series and one-shots. Stay tuned!"
Are you as exhausted reading all that as I am? Busy guy, am I right?
Let's get to know comic-author-Friday Friend, Stephen Hines.
SME - Welcome to INFF.
Stephen Hines - Thanks! How are you this evening?
SME - I am actively attempting to get excited about having my kids home all summer. *sigh*
Stephen Hines - Hahahaha! As a teacher, I see our outlooks are reversed.
SME - My kids are firmly on your side with this one. They are ecstatic.
Stephen Hines - I believe it. How old are they?
SME - Old enough to insist they should be allowed to spend the summer eating junk food and watching cartoons.
Of course, if that is what *you* do all summer, I can totally support that. Teachers deserve the vacation.
Stephen Hines - I try to cram in as much writing and sleeping as I can. Other than that, I try to do comic cons and I do some volunteer work.
SME - What do you teach, Stephen?
Stephen Hines - I teach 11th and 12th grade English.
SME - HS English? I loved my 12th grade English teacher. "Hi, Mr. Smith!" *waves*
Stephen Hines - "Hi, Mr. Smith! You must rule."
SME - A teacher, a comic-conner, and a volunteer? You're very busy.
Stephen Hines - Not to mention, I'm going to be playing bass on a friend's CD, then writing songs with my multi-instrumentalist dentist.
SME - Dude. DUDE. Awesome.
Stephen Hines - Maybe we'll call that second project: the Choppers...We BITE!
SME - I approve. I can see that screen-printed on t-shirts. Nice.
Stephen Hines - The comic I just released at the end of April came with a soundtrack EP of tunes by the fictional band. It's about a band called The Icons, by the way, in case that last statement made no sense.
SME - Have you always wanted to write/draw comics?
Stephen Hines - I desperately wanted to draw comics for a living when I was a kid. It didn't take long to see that I was painfully slow and inconsistent, though. I switched to wanting to write for a while, then just music for a long time. When I went back to college to be a teacher, I started writing again.
SME - Your tendency to multi-task is beginning to make a lot of sense.
One of our more crucial questions here at INFF: What is your favorite continent?
Stephen Hines - My favorite continent? I've only ever been on North America, but I'm an unapologetic Anglophile (I think that's the right word for worshipping the U.K.).
SME - That is absolutely the right word, and my unofficial middle name. Huzzah!
Stephen Hines - Sweet!
SME - Totally sweet.
Stephen Hines - Most of my favorite bands are either from there or more popular there, so I desperately want to move there. Plus, their beer is WAY better, except for American microbrews of course.
SME - I notice you didn't argue that the *food* is WAY better in the UK. Just sayin'.
Stephen Hines - Haha! Fish n' chips rule! Bangers and mash!
SME - We had bangers and mash for dinner on Monday--a fave at our house!
Stephen Hines - As well it should be!
SME - You make me want to go to the UK even more than usual--and that is saying something.
Stephen Hines - Have you been there before?
SME - I haven't! See how much I suffer?
Stephen Hines - Yeah, well, try living in Ohio!
SME - I'll confess I don't know much about Ohio, beyond the fact that it is one of the easier states to spell.
Stephen Hines - There isn't much to know. Apparently we have a unique accent, but I can't hear it.
Where do you live?
SME - I moved to Utah a few years ago, and no one here seems to realize how much of an accent they all have. In fact, they say *I* have an accent. I forgive them, though, because the mountains are so beautiful.
Stephen Hines - Where are you originally from?
SME - From the great state of Arizona, home of a whole lot of desert. I'm pretty sure that's on the state seal. "Whole lot of desert"
Stephen Hines - Cool! My nephew went to college there. It's a school for motorcross mechanics.
SME - Wow. I had no idea. See how cool Arizona is?
Stephen Hines - The artist for my main comic book series, Valedictorian USA, is originally from Arizona, too.
SME - Arizona rocks.
Stephen Hines - Pun intended? Red rocks?
SME - Wow. We are rolling in the puns today. First the dental joke, now the rocks.
Stephen Hines - I LOVE horrible puns. Ask my students.
BTW: I'm excited to see my stick figure portrait!
SME - That was actually next! I must say, though, sharing my questionable artistic abilities with an actual artist is a little intimidating.
Stephen Hines - Actual artist? Did you look at my art for Crackerstacker? And, if you did, how many adult beverages had you consumed?
SME - Hey. I draw stick figures. My definition of "artist" is very broad.
Stephen Hines - Trust me, I won't critique your art. There's an amazing comic book artist who puts out all stick figure comics called Cynical Man. They're hilarious!
SME - I trolled your website for inspiration before drawing your portrait. I think my attention to detail will amaze you.
Stephen Hines - Hopefully I look like a stick figure Neil Gaiman.
SME - Yours was my first mohawk. I thought I did a good job.
Stephen Hines - I agree! Can I get a high-res scan of that?
SME - You bet. I'll get my techguy, ie my husband, right on that.
Stephen Hines - I'm my wife's tech guy, which my students think is HILARIOUS!
SME - Hilarious as in "ironic"??
Stephen Hines - They think I'm about as computer literate as a caveman.
SME - Well, we've covered your career(s), summer plans and tendency toward puns. That leaves us with the traditional final question of INFF. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.
Stephen Hines - 1. The continent question.
SME - Always a favorite.
Stephen Hines - 2. My portrait (should be #1)
3. I didn't have to babble nonstop trying to sell my wares.
4. You have a sense of humor and randomness that is refreshing.
5. You're a fellow Anglophile.
SME - An excellent top 5. I especially appreciate your lack of nonstop babbling.
Stephen Hines - I save that for cons.
SME - Thanks for joining us for INFF. And a thanks to the fantastic Terry Ervin for sending you over!
Stephen Hines - Terry's more fair to middlin than fantastic. :) He'll get me for that.
SME - Have at him, Tery! Well, that's INFF for today. *cue exit music* Join us next week when I'll make a new friend!
If you'd like to be interviewed for I Need Friends Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!