An interview with ‘Red Thorn’ writer David Baillie.
David Baillie: The book is about what happens when Thorn, a swaggering Demi God of the old Scottish pantheon, is freed into the modern world after 1600 years of being locked in a bone prison. We’ll see a lot of the story through the eyes of those around him, at least to begin with, and our viewpoint character for the first arc, Glasgow Kiss, is Isla – a young American with Scottish ancestry and incredible powers.
GWW: How did you come up with the idea that would become Red Thorn?
David Baillie: I was toying with a few different ideas when Vertigo first asked me to pitch, but it was when I proposed a story set in Glasgow that everyone started to get really excited. I really wanted to tell a story set in the modern day in my own country, and to explore the creepier end of Scottish mythology and folklore. With these aims in mind the story very quickly started to spiral into its current epic form.
GWW: How would you describe the two main characters; Thorn and Isla and how what their relationship is like?
David Baillie: Thorn is hot-headed and divine, Isla is hot-headed and human. They want very different things, but because of what they have in common they have little option but to work together at the start of our story.
Thorn is rightly furious about being imprisoned for so long, but I don’t think even he realises just how deep that anger runs. Isla is haunted by the loss of a sister she never even knew, and again – I think it’s a pain that she hasn’t really understood herself.
David Baillie: The Red Caps are a fascinating race of creatures that roam the borders, capturing anyone unfortunate to wander near one of their ruined castles. Then, after some horrible murdering, the resulting blood is used to dye their hats crimson. Without this ritual the Red Caps would die out – which of course doesn’t make it any less horrific!
In our first few issues we’ll also meet a Shellycoat – a disgusting river demon covered in rotten fish meat who wraps his naked body in a coat made from noisy, clacking shells. Soon after that you’ll be much happier to meet the kelpies – beautiful water spirits that shift effortlessly between human and equine forms.
There are, of course, plenty others – but I want to leave them as a surprise!
GWW: Now in all the covers we’ve seen, Thorn is perpetually shirtless. Will Thorn ever put on a shirt at all during the course of this book?
David Baillie: Nope. No shirt.
It’s in the contract.
Also – if you have a torso as good as Thorn’s why would you ever cover it up?
GWW: What is something that you want readers to come away with from reading Red Thorn?
David Baillie: I want them to feel the love and loss we, as a team, have felt in telling this story. I’m also kind of hoping that our readers will start speaking in a broad Glaswegian accent.
GWW: To wrap things up, can you please tell us where our readers can find you and your work online?
GWW: Thank you once again for speaking with GWW!
David Baillie: Not at all – thank YOU!
Red Thorn #1 hits shelves November 18th!