Since the middle of October, the talented Eva Dalila Rojano has been designing the cover art for Christian Pan Erotica. You may recall seeing her work on The Minotaur, Counter-Terrorism Porn and Instagram Hoes, Appearances, and most recently Red.
Recently, Eva and I had a chance to pause in our collaboration to talk a little bit more about her work, her life, how she got into visual art as well as her own writing. Below are some highlights from that conversation.
CP: Eva, you seem to create with images as well as words. You create illustrations, write your own work, and sometimes combe the two. Let’s begin our conversation by talking about the artwork. How did you get into that? Did you go to school for this?
EDR: Thanks, Christian. Well, graphic arts have always been with me ever since I can remember. Both my parents were/are pencil sketchers, although my father did more artistic professional work in his lifetime; he worked as a graphic arts teacher for many years, plus he briefly worked as a cartoonist for a local newspaper and he loved to paint for leisure.
I remember beginning to sketch since I was 2, and drawing Wonder Woman at 5! As for school, I do have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, but creating graphics for publicity and working as an illustrator are two different things. Fortunately for me, I can combine both, as I have always gotten both design and illustration gigs from clients across the US, Mexico, and the UK. Also, I worked for many years as a graphics design teacher for various colleges, teaching computer software among other subjects.
CP: That´s amazing. I´m interested to learn more about your writing. What kind of creative stories do you do?
EDR: I am a big fan of pop culture in films, comic books, magazines. Being an asthmatic kid back in the 80’s that could not run or play outdoors made me find a hobby in watching films we´d rent on VHS, as well as animated series on television.
I used to sketch my favorite characters inside my notebooks, wishing I could give them a better storyline or ending than what I had seen on TV. I am pretty sure that’s when my desire to write began, although it took me many years from that point (and lots of discipline!) to really start creating my own stories. And sharing them with the rest of the world.
CP: Are there specific themes or ideas that you are most interested in, that keeping coming back in your writing and your art?
EDR: I like SCI-FI in general--robots, futuristic stories in the cyberpunk style--but I am also a big fan of psychological thrillers or non-conventional love stories.
I always have lots of ‘floating ideas’ in my mind for new short stories, prose pieces and novels, and those usually revolve around the themes I just mentioned. Also, cats have always been my dear companions, so I usually ‘drop’ a cat character in each one of my books!
CP: Awesome! You have also combined your visual/literary talents, such as with The Black Butterfly. Can you tell me a bit about that project--what it´s about, how it came into being?
EDR: The Black Butterfly has an interesting background story. That was my ‘real’ breakthrough as a writer, after writing a RoboCop fanfiction project for some months, and having a vested interest in showing screenwriter Edward Neumeier that I could write my own characters and not just ‘fanfiction’ his stories forever and ever.
The Black Butterfly was initially a short kind of ‘roleplay’ tale that included drawings that I made for Ed to entertain him. Its original title was: “The Barbados Fantasy,” and it narrated the occasional fling that happens between a mature interesting man (Matt L., who was supposed to be Ed) that visited this island to do business; and the middle-aged escort that he meets one night at the hotel’s bar (Anna Sirena, who was supposed to be me).
The initial conversation that both characters have when they meet, though, started to become more and more serious inside my imagination. After a while, I thought about turning this short tale into a complete novel.
I formally started writing the book in 2018, when the talk of an upcoming sequel, RoboCop Returns, seemed to be everywhere. Both Ed and actress Nancy Allen (who played Anne Lewis, RoboCop´s partner in the film saga) were not given the respect they deserved by the pre-production crew and the film studios, in my opinion, so I thought that, by creating characters for them in my novel, I was paying tribute to both of their careers.
It was a long and. painful process to put my book together, since I had next to no experience in self-publishing. However, my efforts paid off as my novel made headlines in April 2020, just three months after its official release on Kindle Amazon. Nancy is Sergeant Liz Collins in the book, the tough cop in charge of the police precinct in Hollywood. I removed the Barbados element from the novel, and instead re-set the story in Los Angeles. The Black Butterfly is the name of the nightclub where Anna Sirena and Matt Lamoreaux meet.
CP: Wow! What an incredible story. Congratulations!
CP: So, obviously you are really really into the world of "RoboCop"! What is it about that film for you? And are you going to come back to writing more about it, in some manner, down the line?
EDR: RoboCop is and will forever be my favorite SCI FI tale/film. As a teenager, I found everything I loved in one story/film, which was action, robots, the complexities of the human mind, and a female heroine.
The main two characters of that saga have been a longtime inspiration for me to develop stories around them--again, trying to give RoboCop and his partner Lewis a better outcome than the one they had in films. RoboCop Enhanced Reality is a personal fanfiction project I started in 2016. Its main purpose is to create an alternate story that would combine both sequels of the cinematic saga released in 1990 and 1992, and make a “What if” kind of story. In my tale, not only does Lewis survive, but also we get to explore in-depth the relationship she has with RoboCop, as well as how she could get mentally or emotionally affected by spending her days and nights with a heavily mechanized cop partner, one that is more machine…than man.
CP: Wow. So cool! And as if all of these projects weren´t enough, I see that in all of your "free time" that you also work as a model?
EDR: For many years, I was always the artist drawing sexy girls and taking real-life models and actresses as my inspiration. Later in life, it has been a great surprise to enjoy opportunities to ‘become’ one of those sexy girls myself!
I am not a runway model, or anything remotely close to that, but I was recruited a few years back as a large-sized model for a couple of brands. I have also sold some of my photos for apps or publicity ads and that’s simply wonderful. I like to portray a healthy self-image; I am proud of being a curvy woman. Beauty comes in all sizes, ages, and colors.
I’ve worked many years by editing my clients’ photos. It´s quite fun, editing my own images now! I consider this more as a side hobby, though, one that is somewhat stalled due to the pandemic. But whether I return to it or not, I am so happy with the fun I have had with it.
CP: What upcoming projects are you working on next?
EDR: Well, I am glad to let you know that my third book Mystery Man is already available on Amazon kindle. For months I had been toying with the idea of creating a new novel, that would tell the story of a writer that suffers from DID (dissociative personality disorder) and a younger journalist that has the misfortune of falling in love with him.
This one is really different from my past works. Mystery Man is a darker novel exploring the depths of emotional and mental suffering. Also, it is written in “real-time”: the novel is a journal that the main character writes over the course of 40 days, before she attempts to kill herself.
CP: That sounds intense! I´ll have to pick it up. Anything else you want everybody to know about you or your work?
EDR: I want to say that for me the fun is barely starting. Finding the path for self-publishing has finally given me the freedom to showcase my stories and illustrations for an open audience. I have some other ideas/plans for upcoming publications, but I need to organize them and see which one would come first.
*Author/Artist photo credit: Melissa Moriel Mar