Ashley (hiashleynine), the creator of the supernatural webcomic Sunflowers for Dragons, serves a platter of fantastical worldbuilding and memorable characters. A story about reconciling with the past, Ashley’s excellent storytelling shines through.
In the supernatural webcomic Sunflowers for Dragons, Lee and Angela’s lives start to change after they first meet. Lee, a demon hunter haunted by the past, encounters Angela during a mission. A cambion fleeing from her home in Hell, Angela wants to move on from the past. The webcomic includes hellhounds, its lore about Hell, and more, but the heart of the story beats loudly. Sunflowers for Dragons is a story about dealing with the past, and in this interview, Ashley elaborates on her process and inspiration.
The Geekiary: Thanks for taking the time to be here. So excited! Let’s start by introducing yourself.
Ashley: My name is Ashley. I’m just a girl who likes creating stories and getting lost in them. If I’m not drawing then I’m most definitely pouring a couple of hours into a good video game.
TG: Sunflowers for Dragons features a gorgeously created world with memorable characters and a gripping plot. I admire the lore and character dynamics. The tension just keeps climbing with each episode. I’m curious to know how the world and story have come about for you. What’s your creative process?
Ashley: I tell this story often, but Sunflowers for Dragons was actually born from a previous webcomic idea I had. It also included Angela and Lee (as well as the world they both inhabit) but they were secondary characters that wouldn’t have shown up until much later on. As I worked on that original comic idea I found that I honestly didn’t like it, and actually enjoyed writing Angela and Lee’s section a lot more so I decided to scrap it and completely focus on them instead. Just like the story, the world also came from this previous story idea, though it has significantly changed over time and so many different influences have helped with that. Even now, I’m continuously making changes and trying to flesh out this world so that it feels real and authentic.
If I have an actual creative process, it completely eludes me. I just find myself coming up with ideas and concepts randomly, and seeing how they work or if they make sense. Inspiration for me can come from literally anything.
TG: Personally, I enjoy reading stories involving angel and demon lore, but your complex characters truly make the story here. Lee and Angela remain vivid in my mind after reading each episode. I find the chemistry between them engaging and well-paced. Have their characterization and dynamics always been that way, or have there been changes?
Ashley: It always brings me a lot of joy to hear anyone say they like Angela and Lee as characters and their chemistry! The pacing of their relationship is honestly something I tend to second guess. Sometimes I feel like I’m going too slow, and other days I feel like I’m moving too fast with them. I recently reread the first script I wrote for Sunflowers for Dragons and while I wouldn’t say their dynamic has changed much, their characterizations certainly have (and I’m so happy about that because Lee was really annoying).
TG: What are your favorite media (movies, TV shows, books, etc.)? Anything that inspired Sunflowers for Dragons?
Ashley: I have to say my favorite media is caught between film and books. I enjoy seeing other people’s work and their creativity. How they can create these beautiful, vivid worlds and tell complex and engaging stories. It inspires me to continue to create and strive to be on the level of fellow creatives whose works I admire. I can’t pinpoint a specific thing that inspired Sunflowers for Dragons. I think I get an array of inspiration from having access to so many different mediums and stories. Seeing the creativity from industry professionals and hobbyists alike showed me that it’s possible for me to create stories too.
TG: Are you working or planning anything besides Sunflowers for Dragons?
Ashley: I have a few different ideas that originally started as other webcomics, but I’ve recently decided to turn Sunflower for Dragons into a novel (something I have yet to announce, but I hope will be received well when I do). As for another webcomic, it could happen but as of right now I don’t have any concrete plans of making one.
Webcomics that Ashley Recommends:
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives! You can find more about Black creators and their works on The Geekiary here.
Author: Brahidaliz Martinez
Brahidaliz (pronounced Bra-da-leez) is a 2019 graduate of American University’s MFA in creative writing program. Their cross-genre chapbook, Coquí’s Song, is forthcoming (2023) from Mason Jar Press.
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