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Meet The Artist: Episode 3 - sono.N (その・えぬ)

Hello everyone! Welcome to the third installment of the Meet The Artist series! I'm your host of course Lilyka-chan!~ Today's special guest is sono.N the author of the fantastic series SHWD. Let's get started, shall we? Lilyka: Hello, sono.N-sensei! How are you doing? I hope you're doing well during these times. sono.N: It's getting hotter and depressing, but I'm well for now. How are doing? Lilyka: I'm quite alright. Just taking things day by day! Well now, let's get to the meat of this interview because I'm super excited to learn about your process. To start, who are your greatest influences in your art style? I really enjoy it! sono.N: I think I am influenced by BL manga artist named Shiho Sugiura. Sugiura-sensei's works are attractive because of the psychological content and unique world views. I like all of her works because they have a underlying gentleness. Besides them, I'm influenced by many other artists as well. Lilyka: Wow, it really shows. The way you represent your characters really shows the your influences well, and you totally make it your own. That brings me to my next question. SHWD is very unique in its story content, what is your inspiration for it? sono.N: The first motivating force was "I want to write a yuri manga featuring strong women." I was very drawn to strong female characters by watching "PERSON of INTEREST" and "Assassin's Creed Odyssey." However, I felt that I should differentiate myself by doing something other than a "strong woman" and "weak woman" dynamic. So, I thought about coupling women with different types of strength. This is why all of the SHWD main characters are "strong women." From there, I thought about situations and threats that could show their strengths, and that became the foundation of their world.

Lilyka: I really admire how much thought you've put into this series. Even down to the element of them interacting in the office. The dynamic of women in the workplace is pretty prevalent here, have you experienced anything that influences the storytelling here? sono.N: Since this story focuses on female characters, the achievements of the women are notable, but SHWD (particularly in Japan) is in a male-centered society, the men's achievements stand out more if you look at the entire organization. In reality, Japan is also still male-centered, so there may be an influence there. Even though, in SHWD, the female characters the don't stay one step behind the men. It's a desire rather than my experience. Lilyka: Your dedication to these characters really shows. The layers of complexity that make things feel natural in an unnatural world is so wonderful. That being said, the relationship between Sawada and Koga is very genuine. What was your approach in writing it? sono.N: SHWD is more of a job manga (+action manga?) than just a romance manga, so I'm taking steps in growing their relationship with each other that goes beyond romance. Lilyka: Exactly! I don't want to over analyze, but there also seems to be an element of self-determination here too. Especially, in the SHWD 4. It's a very inspiring element. Do you have feelings like that in your every day life? sono.N: Hmmm... I wonder about that... I may not be able to make a decision like Leo or Nonaka. I'm not that strong of a woman... Lilyka: I totally understand that. Switching gears to the overall elements of the story. Do you have anything special in mind when you're writing your story? sono.N: The story is fiction, but I try to respect the dignity of the characters as much as possible. I feel that would also disrespect the readers if I didn't. Lilyka: That's very admirable. Speaking of the readers, do you have any final words to say to your Western fans as we wind down? sono.N: Thank you for reading my book. I would be happy if you like my work even a little. Lilyka: Thank you so much, sono.N-sensei for taking time out of your schedule! We look forward to your next release! Thank you all for joining me for another episode in the interview series! Tune in next time! Follow sono.N on social media! sono.N's works

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