We had the chance to talk to the mind behind Solarion Sun! Check it out to learn more about this project, inspirations, advice to new creators, and their Kickstarter!
1. Tell us about Solarion Sun
Sure thing! Forgive me if this is a long-winded answer, but there is so much to cover to get to the base of what this story is and means to me, but I will do my best to sum it all up without going too, too overboard.
To start off, Solarion Sun was a project originally inspired by my love of animation, Thundercats, Tolkien themes, music, Dungeon and Dragons, etc. However, I won’t just write solely based on other things, it was missing a central theme for the audience to grasp on to for me to begin my initial writing. Most of my characters in the story are based on characters that I’ve played in different Dungeons and Dragons campaigns or inspired by other players or NPCs that came along in those same adventures. I also wrote my own campaign that I translated for the base of the adventure all the characters would be going on… yet it was still missing a moral hook that I would bring to the readers. In the middle of 2017, I experienced a real loss when cancer took my Dad after an aggressive, quick battle that went by in the matter of months. I was heart-broken as he was the most important person in my life, but between me, my family and our faith we were able to overcome the devastation. That right there is what this story would be about!
This story became a part of my own personal grieving process, filtering my feelings through the story and its characters practically experiencing the same thing while facing an absolute evil that is bent on uprooting reality as they know it. On top of that being the setup for a wild and fun adventure where good faces off against evil, I also wanted to write a story that might be able to help out its readers possibly process different difficult aspects of life as the characters also experience them. Yes, this stuff can be heavy, but I also want to assure that readers will have a good time! Calling back my inspirations through Thundercats and the group-play of DnD, I want this to be a book that people won’t feel down in the end, but excited for more!
The short pitch I use to hook people is “what if Tolkien wrote ThunderCats and set it in the wild west?” before giving them a wider perspective on the overall story.
Solarion Sun is about Thunder and Rain, twins that had an incredible bond as young kids, but after mysterious disease washes over the continent and their parents are taken from them, the two have a bit of an emotional separation as they process their loss. As they grow into adulthood, Rain becomes a town guard and stays at home, while Thunder becomes a traveling mercenary, taking jobs for hire. On one of his trips from home, Thunder is hired by a new crew, working for the Church, and then they come face to face with a death cult! Learning of the cult’s plans to uproot reality and change the landscape as they know it, Thunder can no longer go back to his former way of thinking, but he can protect the only family he has left, his sister Rain. He returns home only to inadvertently drag her into the death cult’s plans as well, but this will be the adventure that will bring their relationship back to what it once was.
It’s a story about family, friendship and grieving death mixed with cowboys, mercenaries and demon slayers!
Throughout the story’s adventure, readers will get to meet a medley of other cast members from all different walks of life that will both challenge and bless Thunder and Rain as they grow as individuals, but also reunite as family.
2. What are your goals for your project?
With this project being so personal to me, I’ve always said that I would write this project to the end whether people were reading it or not. I’ve gone in with the mentality that I want to write what I want to read, nobody else was doing it, so I just decided to do it myself! I’ve been blessed by the fact that people are, in fact, reading along and also telling me that they love and relate to what I am putting out.
Whether it takes me five years or maybe even another ten, I’ll be happy to see the end of the adventure. That being said, if this story is able to help people, even just one person, then I would feel like I’ve done my duty! But, I would love for people to just enjoy the journey even if they don’t pick up anything extra from it as I’ve always wanted to make entertaining stories.
On a bit of a side note though, I come from the world of animation, have a degree and worked in the industry for a little while so animation has always been on my mind! I see this more of a pipedream than a “goal” per say, but I never expected to have a printed version of the book either so you never know where things can end up, right?
3. Tell us about your Kickstarter and why folks should consider supporting?
That is the challenge for us artists, right? Ultimately, we are selling a luxury and we have to sell our idea to show people that this is something that they would want to read in their lifetime. I wish I could share the moments and feelings I’ve shared with the folks I’ve met at conventions after they told me they read it because it would be far more impactful than anything I could tell you about why it would be worth supporting! I will do my best to give it the best impression I can as to why my story is worth your time.
The Kickstarter will offer all three current volumes for supporters, so if you missed out on the earlier Kickstarters, you will still have the opportunity to add-on the whole series at a discounted rate. Each Volume is over 200 pages of content including exclusive chapter inserts that are filled with extra world lore and information to immerse the reader even further into the story of our heroes. On top of being able to read over 600 pages, I have exclusive art prints, stickers and hand-drawn art that can be customized with every order of your Volume 3 purchase. Stretch goals have been prepared so that supporters can feel like they are part of the action, unlocking special guest art prints from my colleagues around the art spaces and many other surprises!
If you love adventure stories, fantasy, role-playing games, animation (especially Thundercats!) or even just independent creators, I guarantee to provide something really special for you, worth your time. I’ve taken years of my life to sit down and think about how I wanted to execute my vision and how I wanted to represent personal experiences in my own life to make this fantasy story feel relatable in some way to each person that picks it up. There is plenty of action and drama as well for people that like that kind of thing too!
The more support I get and the more eyes that get put on my work will help broaden my reach to more people as I grow from a small time creator to… whatever I can make it in the end of it all!
4. Goals for 2024?
2024 is looking to be pretty bright for this project, even as I balance a part-time job and this full-time project, I am still able to hit all my quotas for Patreon subscribers and keep my head above water. I am finally becoming more active on Twitter X as Instagram seems to be slowly working artists like myself out of the algorithm, but I’ll still remain on there as well. So far, I’ve been able to keep up with a yearly release schedule for each volume, but Volume 4 and the rest may take some extra time to produce, therefore I’m thinking I’ll be putting out a small artbook for next year’s Kickstarter, be it a Solarion Sun related book or some of my other illustrative work. Other than that, I’m going to keep pushing out pages and making content for subscribers and the free website!
5. Advice for new writers and artists?
Of course! I think it’s quite funny actually, because I never really considered myself a writer until other people were telling me “well, yes, of course you’re a writer, you write books!” and I’ve started growing into that fact more and more as I continue to publish more. My big advice for new writers is always write what you know. People will be able to pick out your stories if you aren’t being genuine or writing on a topic that you aren’t personally invested in. Now this is something that will bleed over into both the writing and art side, but know who your favorite artist is! Find someone you love, who will inspire you to keep going. This also goes for properties you may love, as you know, for me it has a ton to do with Thundercats (as a quick example)
Now, I know that I will never be the best artist in the world and I have so much more to learn in my lifetime before I can even consider being up there with my own personal favorite artists, but I definitely have wisdom for newer people to share from my experience. For the new artists, I want you to draw every day! Practice takes time, but if you are passionate and dedicated, it is well worth spending those hours into your craft. Now with the age of Youtube, there is so much free information out there to learn how to begin properly and skip the self-taught bad habits.
Speaking of online information, be sure to learn from the masters, they are ready and available with free tutorials everywhere and you should most definitely take advantage of it! Always learn to do art properly first so that you can learn to break the rules later. My final bit of art advice for new artists is to learn a bit of animation! Am I biased because I have a degree in animation? I suppose it’s possible, but it only helped my illustrations become even more fluid. You can break out of the box of having stiff characters and blank facial expressions by turning them into the best bendable action figures you can imagine!
I hope this helps anyone out there start strong on their art journey!
6. Where can folks support your work?
Yes, I’d love to share!
For anyone interested in checking out Solarion Sun, you can start reading it right now for free right on SolarionSun.com! It’s a great way to get a taste of my work before you jump on to the Kickstarter campaign. You may notice that the art is older and the dialogue isn’t as polished as the book, but you will still get the same story to check out.
Next up, if you want to read everything available with Solarion Sun at this very moment, you can head to Patreon.com/aflm and for as little as $5 a month, you can read up to the current pages Volume 4! That’s almost 700 pages and nearly 400 pages past the free website. You can also get some behind the scenes information, extra goodies along the way and 3 new pages (on average) every week!
As I mentioned before, I’m becoming more active on Twitter X where you can find me @aflm_art which is the same handle I use on Instagram and @AFLMart on Facebook.
Finally, I really hope that you consider my book when it launches. As of this interview, the Kickstarter page is in pre-launch and you can sign up for the official launch notification when it goes live on Friday, January 12th. The project link can be found here:
I think that’s everything I have for you, this has been fun. I don’t get a whole lot of opportunities to talk about my work, nor myself, all that often so I really appreciate the chance to introduce you to something new! Until next time.