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Jocelyn C. DiDomenick On "Rain" [Interview]

Author photo of Jocelyn C. DiDomenick.
The lady whose comic you're going to read.
For my second interview, I'm please to introduce a webcomic artist!

Jocelyn C. DiDomenick (also known as JocelynCD or LittleLynn84), is the creator of Rain, a slice-of-life/comedy/drama that follows the journey of a male-to-female transsexual going through high school as a woman. Hijinks and awkwardness ensues. Lots of it.

If LGBT stories are for you, you should check it out! Story-wise, it's packed with comedy and tense moments, along with a faithful (if larger-than-life) account on having a different orientation or gender. Jocelyn definitely got me anticipating each update--along with hundreds, if not a thousand, of other fans.

I chose now to approach her because she has recently released a print collection of the first six chapters of Rain, which I'm buying the moment I have money.

Read on!

NOTE: There are minor spoilers on Rain, although nothing overly revealing.


Interview with Jocelyn C. DiDomenick

ME: First of all, how do you feel about launching Rain - Volume 1?
Jocelyn: Well, I feel pretty good, of course. It’s been pretty much my goal in life to become a published author since I was fifteen. So to call this incredibly exciting would be something of an understatement.

Have you celebrated the launch in any way? Did you throw a party, or did you do something more modest--like play some video games?
I guess it was more modest. I don't have a lot of people I can “party” with in person right now, so it’s mostly just my wife and I chilling as usual. I may yet get a party, but none of my friends live anywhere near me, so it'll take a few weeks (until the inevitable Halloween party, probably) before I get to really celebrate.

It’s times like this, I wish I knew my online friends personally; those folks would totally party with me! ^_^

How familiar are you with young adult literature (Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, City of Bones, etc)? What are your favorites?
I've heard of them, but I haven't read many of them. I've only read the first Harry Potter which is something I get chastised for a lot, especially by my wife (I mean to eventually; those books are just kind of a huge commitment). I've also read the first Hunger Games and started Catching Fire but I just haven't had much time to sit down with it yet in a while. Most other young adult fiction, I haven't read much of.


About Rain

What's your most favorite moment in Rain so far?
That’s a tough one. In terms of humor, I'm still very fond of some of the earlier pages like when Rain is asked for a pad, or when Rudy suggests the different outfits Maria can “imagine Rain wearing”. Of course, there’s a special place in my heart for the memetic “Dude, she’s a lesbian” scene as well.

[Editor's Note: I'm responsible for that mini-meme.]


NOT the original dialogue.

On the other hand, the more dramatic scenes, like when Gavin asks Rain about the hypothetical “wonder drug” or when Brother Arthur calls Rain and Rudy into his office always stick with me too.

What writing/art tip helped you the most with Rain?
The most helpful tips I’ve acquired for writing Rain has come largely from reading lots of webcomics over the years. I've learned a lot especially about the importance of punctuality. If you're going to promise a page every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then people are going expect to see a new page every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Admittedly, Rain seems to have a more understanding fanbase than many other webcomics. But the way I've seen people swear off comics and curse at the author over something like being a day or two late (not to mention some authors flat out give up and quit if they fall too behind) has made punctuality a VERY high priority for me. Possibly the highest. I plan chapters long in advance (I already know exactly what’s happening for the next three chapters following the current one). I try to make sure the art is done in advance too (I didn't even post the very first page until I was already drawing Chapter 2).

This allows me the freedom to continue posting even if I’m sick or incapable of drawing (for one reason or another) or just plain lazy for a couple days.

To this day, I've only been late on a page once (over a year ago), and it was due to a medical emergency. I stated this openly, and no one made a fuss. I imagine if I were late all the time, there'd be a lot less sympathy for that situation. As is though, I occasionally get people saying how surprised that Rain updates so often, because “the other webcomics I read are late all the time.”

So, aspiring webcomic authors, take heed of this: Punctuality is essential! [Ed: Emphasis added. You can tweet that. It applies to any artist.]

The love web has become tangled over the chapters. Did it start off that way, or is it a result of adding complications as you go along?
Gavin, Maria and Rudy’s interests were actually planned from the beginning, but how they ultimately played out (and continue to play out) changes a lot. I just roll with things and see where they take me though. To this day, I still don't know who Rain (or anyone else) will end up with by the last page… and I prefer it that way.

You see, I’ve seen so many harem anime and manga (like Ranma ½, Tenchi Muyo, Love Hina, etc.), that no matter how many potential partners they tack on, the end result never stopped being utterly predictable (in my opinion, ruining a part of the potential fun that can come from a story like this). So, not even knowing myself means it’s impossible for anyone to guess the true outcome with any real certainty. I’ll just see where the story takes me.

Maybe it will end up being one of the main three friends. Maybe it'll be another character. Maybe Rain’s soul mate hasn't even been introduced to the story yet. Ideally, I'll keep people guessing until the very end. ^_^


The Non-Writing Side of Rain

Off the top of your head, what's the most heart-warming response to Rain have you read? Have you helped anyone on a deep level through your work?
By my memory, at least five people have told me that they began transition, claiming Rain was a major contributing factor that helped them reach that point (in particular, a few pages in Chapter 4 are frequently mentioned). I've been told it helped put things into perspective, or even just gave them the courage to make that first step. There are no words to describe the level of joy this brings me. This webcomic has changed lives, and I can't even begin to articulate how that feels.

Why do you think DeviantArt has worked out for you as a platform for your art?
It’s worth noting that I post Rain on two other sites, SmackJeeves and Comic Fury (both dedicated to webcomics), but it doesn’t get even a fraction of the attention on them that it does on DeviantArt. To be honest, I think DeviantArt’s biggest contribution to Rain has been that it’s NOT a webcomic site. This means people not necessarily looking for a webcomic can still find it. If the theme alone caters to their interests, someone who doesn't typically even READ comics can find themselves following it.

Do you see yourself as a full-time artist one day? Do you have the desire to?
I more or less am going down that route, as is. In recent months, I've stopped job hunting to focus a bit more on writing. I’m not necessarily stellar at managing my time, but I’m working at that. In the future, I'd love to be able to draw a comic on one side, and write a novel on the other. When I can balance that, I think I'll officially be full time writer/artist.


Closing

Anything else?
Just a thank you to all of my readers. To those laugh and cry with the characters. To those who comment or favorite each page. To those who continue to bear with my utter lack of backgrounds. To those who constantly offer the support I need to keep at this. Thank you. I really couldn't do this without you.

And as a closing question...Choose one: Aliens, time travelers, or psychics?
Time-travelers. It’s a goal of mine to write a (good) story about time travel someday. I’m not so much into aliens though, and I already have a couple psychics in other stories. Time travel though, that’s different. I can play with that. ^_^


Conclusion

I hope you find this interview useful or entertaining--or at least interesting! The more demand there are for interviews like this, the more I will seek out writers and artists from all over the Internet.

Once again, you can buy Rain - Volume One on Lulu! Soon, it'll be on Amazon. Here's a summary:

In public, Rain appears to be your average teenage girl. She enjoys shopping and dressing pretty and whatnot, but the fact is that she's hardly average. Some would debate she's even a girl! In truth, Rain is a male-to-female transsexual.
Join Rain as she attempts to survive her senior year in high school passing solely as a woman in this slice-of-life comedy.

Volume 1 includes the first six chapters of the story as they are seen online at DeviantArt, SmackJeeves and Comic Fury. Also included are the many "Rain Delay" gag segments and an exclusive bonus chapter that won't be seen online.

You can also read it on DeviantART. Check it out!

YOUR TURN: What do you think of this interview? Did you find it insightful, or did you learn anything? If you have read Rain, what do you think of it?

Answer in the comments, or write your response on your own blog and link it here!