Carrie South is currently enrolled in UCA’s Master’s of Fine Arts program where she is pursuing a degree in Creative Writing. To help with her studies, she is developing a graphic novel series with her sister, Amy Lee, the lead singer of Evanescence.
The series is called “Echoes from the Void,” which is inspired by songs from the band’s upcoming album, “The Bitter Truth,” and even other songs from their back catalog.
The magazine “Heavy Metal,” first approached Lee about doing a series on the subject and started pitching her ideas and potential writers.
The ideas were good, but she wanted a more personal connection to the stories, so, knowing her sister was a writer, Lee pitched the job to her, and the two began collaborating.
“Since we grew up together and share memories, it was easy to draw inspiration from her songs,” South said of the project.
Once they began pitching their ideas to the editors, they loved it, and the writing process began.
In traditional novels, the author has more room to describe characters and their feelings, the space around them and their actions. In graphic novels, it is different as the author writes more visually.
“I write a brief description of what a panel will look like, and the artist interprets it. So I have to consider how an image or dialogue can convey those feelings and actions rather than my words alone,” said South when describing the writing process.
Graphic novel authors are also able to play around with different effects, like sound. In one of the pages, a nearby heart monitor makes the sound “boop boop.” South illustrates this by having it on the page as text.
The Lee family has always loved things related to graphic novels, such as manga and Japanese animation. Specifically, Hayao Miyazaki movies like “My Neighbor Totoro.”
South began her early teen years reading manga.
“I started getting into manga when I was about 13 -- my favorites were ‘Fushigi Yugi’ and ‘Ranma 1/2.’ I couldn't save up my allowance fast enough to go out and buy my next graphic novel. I spent many weekends at Barnes and Noble just reading through as many as I could,” South said.
South is not alone in the project, though, as her sister is the lead and often gives a thumbs up or thumbs down for story ideas.
South is also one of the many creative writers on the project. The first story she wrote is based on the song “Better Without You” and the second one is based on “Swimming Home” with others in the works.
“I'm inspired by Amy's music, we share ideas and once I send her a story pitch, she gives it the thumbs up before I move on to writing the full script,” South said.
She wants the project to impact readers in feeling the emotion and personal experiences that inspired the stories.
“I hope Evanescence fans agree that the stories do the songs justice while still adding something beautiful and new,” South said.
She also wants to credit artist Kelly McKernan for the artwork, saying it is “gorgeous” and she is “so proud to have been a part of it.”