THE BIG INTERVIEW: Grayhaven Comics Newest Published Irish Writer Sean Leonard

We are delighted to be joined by Ireland’s newest published Irish comics writer, Sean Leonard. A native of Bantry, County Cork Sean has been published in the historical anthology ‘The Archives’ published by stateside company Grayhaven Comics. ICN caught up with Sean to find out about this newest publication and to find out about the man himself.
David O’Leary: Hi Sean, thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
Sean Leonard: No problem, David. Thank you for the opportunity.
DO’L: You’ve recently landed a gig at Grayhaven Comics in their Phase Two book ‘The Archives #1’. Firstly, how did that job come about?
SL: I think originally Erica Heflin, the driving force behind The Archives issue, had asked her fellow Grayhaven editor James O’Callaghan to write a story for the issue, but due to other commitments he wasn’t able to. I had pitched a story to the first issue of the Dark anthology which James was editing and he put my name forward as a possible replacement. I pitched my story to Erica and she liked it.
DO’L: The book contains seven short stories told in the historical genre, what can you tell us about you contribution?
SL: Duty is the title of my story. It’s about an Irish soldier who fights for Britain during World War One and then joins the IRA during the Irish War of Independence and has to make a hard decision between loyalty to an old comrade and duty to the cause.
DO’L: Your writing has been received with enthusiasm at Grayhaven, what level experience in writing did you bring to the book?
SL: Not whole lot to be honest. I am very new to this.
DO’L: Was The Archives your first time in print in comics?
SL: Yes The Archives is my first time in print in comics or any other type of print for that matter, though funnily enough it’s the second story I’ve written for Grayhaven. It just came out first. I am very new to writing in general. In fact this is the first story I have written in over ten years.
DO’L: Grayhaven has now become an outlet to publication for several Irish creators. Will you have more work with them?
SL: Yes I’ll next be featured in Grayhavens first Dark anthology which is set for release at New York Comic Con in October this year and I’ll be in the second volume due next year. I’ll be in the first and fifth issues of the Tales from the Abyss, the War issue of The Gathering and a story in the scifi/horror OGN out late next year. I also have a number of other projects in the works but it is still early days with them.
DO’L: What literary or comic writing influences do you bring to your work?
SL: My literary influences would be mainly come from science fiction, fantasy and history. Writers like Eric Flint, David Weber, Robert A. Heinlein, Tim Pat Coogan to name a few . When it comes to comics I never really paid much attention to creative teams until recently. if I liked a comic I tended to stick with it whoever was writing it. Saying that though two of my favourite comics I have ever read are Preacher by Garth Ennis and Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. Also 2000 AD has been a huge favourite of mine since I was a kid. I’m slowly starting to pay attention to creators names, but there are so many these days that it’s slow going.
DO’L:Ireland has no shortage of writers but very few of them are working in the comic field. What was it about this line of writing that drew you to it?
SL: To be honest I never really gave much thought to being a comic book writer, mainly due to a lack of confidence on my part, but thanks to James O’Callaghan, who has been a good friend for over 10 years now, having faith in me, I found my way.
DO’L: What do you think at the moment of the scene in Ireland considering that there is a growing number of creators getting work produced here and overseas? Is there now a sense of acceptance of comics in this country?
SL: I think Irish creators have a lot to offer the comics book industry both at home and abroad. Being Irish we have our own unique perspective on the world and I think that’s a big asset. As for being more accepted, thankfully comics seem to be becoming much more accepted. Since the late 90s there have been so many movies and TV shows based on comics that it’s helped  increase the acceptance of comics in this country.
DO’L: Being a writer do you have a preferred genre to write in or are you looking to expand into as many as you can for experience?
SL: I have been very lucky in that regard. All my work has been for Grayhaven comics and each of their comics usually focuses on a specific theme. That helped me out a lot when it came to thinking up pitches and also got me to pitch to issues that I  wouldn’t have thought of pitching to otherwise. For an example I never had much interest in the horror genre but now I have written two stories for Grayhaven’s on going horror title Tales from the Abyss. It’s definitely gotten me to consider delving further into genres I would’ve avoided in the past.
DO’L: Thanks for your time Sean, take care.
SL: Thank you. It was a pleasure talking with you.
If you are interested in finding out more about Grayhaven Comics and their line of books, just follow this link over to their website here: http://www.grayhavencomics.com/ Our thanks go to Sean for his talking with us and we wish him the very best on his writing career.