The Empties - CoverIf you’re a fan of hard-boiled adventures, flesh-eating monsters, and sad-souls looking for love, then you’re a nut, a freshly picked walnut, who deserves to have a fair crack at reading the following interview I did with my friend, Kristen Renee Gorlitz. She's the creator of a 150-page graphic novel, called ‘The Empties’, which was illustrated by the one and only, Eli Powell. Please enjoy.

1) What are your own origins, Kristen?   I grew up in a very religious part of West Michigan and come from a very religious family. In fact, the world around me was so religious, that I used to brag that I was only two years old when I first became a Christian (as soon as I could speak). All that started to change, though, when I began studying film and philosophy in college and fell in love with an atheist. It's funny, really, because 'The Empties' is about that particular relationship but from a very different side of things. Not the side where I learned how to escape from a religious doctrine that constantly controlled my every move (I have another story about that). But the side which demonstrated how love can fail when you're overly consumed by it.

The Empties - Cop
2) What inspired you to create, ‘The Empties’?   At first, this story was a calculated attempt at writing a horror movie that I would be able to direct on a fairly low budget. However, things didn't exactly go according to plan until I started to learn that horror is a genre that works on a very personal level. Or in my case, a level where I could tell a story about love gone horribly, horribly wrong. It also took a lot of experimentation before I discovered that comic books were the right medium for me to tell my story through. It took two years, in fact. But when I did, it became a labor of love from that moment onwards, with me finding the right artist for the job (Eli Powell and his brilliant, stark, black and white images), as well as the right team too (with all of us working on every detail to get the graphic novel into the shape that it's in today). 

The Empties - Run
3) In your own words, how would you describe this story?   It's a story of all-consuming love that goes horribly, horribly wrong, due to thoughtlessness, self disillusionment, and of course, a mysterious illness that creates a frightfully eerie body. Or in other words, it's about what happens when love dies. Well, I'm sure most of us have experienced the end of a relationship at one time or another, and even though the best breakups aren't very easy to deal with, the worst ones are so messy they leave us battered, bruised, and yearning for a love we hoped would last forever. So, you can see why I thought that the messy side of relationships would be fertile grounds for a one of a kind horror story, 'The Empties', because when love dies, something inside us dies along with it (and is reborn in a flesh-eating monster)!

4) What song would you say best represents this graphic novel and why?   It's funny that you should ask this question because I already feature a song in 'The Empties',  'Mr. Sandman' by The Chordettes, as they both touch upon the idea of a perfect relationship ("bring me a dream") that isn't real or entirely realistic. It's also a really catchy song that promises us the hope of love that can so easily be twisted into something far more sinister. But at its core, it's a naive hope, an unthinking naive hope, that's epitomized by one of the main characters, Helen (while she loses her mind in the process).

5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   The first celebrity I would want to know about this project would be Macaulay Culkin because he would be the absolute perfect casting choice for the other lead role of Derrick. So if he became a major fan of this graphic novel and then started to promote it? Oh my God, I would instantly hire him to act as the lead in the movie version. 

The Empties - Monster
6) What have you learned about yourself through this endeavor?   Well, I've learned quite a lot, really, as I learned that I am strong, the world is not black and white,  people are complex, relationships end for multiple reasons, and most importantly of them all, that I love people in all of their weirdness and whatever horror they may bring.

7) If ‘The Empties’ had a motto, what would it be?   "Don't consume your lover".

And on that note, I'd like to thank Kristen Renee Gorlitz for telling us about her graphic novel, ‘The Empties’, before encouraging you to check out her official Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.


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