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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Interviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,274
1. Interview with Kay Thomas, Author of Personal Target

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Good morning, Kay!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Kay Thomas] Wife, Mother, Writer, Friend, Believer

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Personal Target?

[Kay Thomas] Here’s the scoop straight from the back cover copy:

A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn’t stop his enemies from coming after him, or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law’s best friend…a woman from Nick’s past.

One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she is abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first “customer” arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now as they race for their lives, passion reignites as old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?

At its core, the book is about a case of mistaken identity and a very personal vendetta. Personal Target takes the reader from Dallas to Mexico, across the African Savanna, to the shores of the Mediterranean in a race against time for Nick to save the woman he loves but lost ten years ago.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Kay Thomas] One of my favorite scenes to write was when Nick and Jennifer met on the page for the first time. They have a history together, but their summer affair was over long ago. In this scene, Jennifer has been kidnapped, and Nick has come to take her away from the people holding her captive.

Here’s the link to that excerpt. http://www.kaythomas.net/books/personal-target/exclusive-excerpt-reveal.html

The woman at the vanity turned, and Nick’s breath caught in his throat. He had known it would be Jenny, and despite what he’d thought about downstairs when he’d seen her on the tablet screen, he hadn’t prepared himself for seeing her like this. Seated at the table with candles all around, she was wearing a sheer robe over a gray thong and a bustier kind of thing, or that’s what he thought the full-length bra was called.

He spotted the small unicorn tat peeping out from the edge of whatever the lingerie piece was and his brain quit processing details as all the blood in his head rushed south. He’d been primed to come in and tell Jenny exactly how they were getting out of the house and away from these people and now . . . this. His mouth went dry at the sight of her. She looked like every fantasy he’d ever had about her rolled into one.

He continued to stare as recognition flared in her eyes.

“Oh my God,” she said. “It’s . . .”

She clapped her mouth closed, and her eyes widened. That struck him as odd. The relief on her face was obvious, but instead of looking at him, she took an audible breath and studied the walls of the room. When she finally did glance at him again, her eyes had changed.

“So you’re who they’ve sent me for my first time?” Her voice sounded bored, not the tone he remembered. “What do you want me to do?”

What a question. He raised an eyebrow, but she shook her head. In warning?

Nothing here was as he’d anticipated. He continued staring at her, hoping the lust would quit fogging his brain long enough for him to figure out what was going on.

“I’ve been told to show you a good time.” Her voice was cold, downright chilly. Without another word she stood and crossed the floor, slipping into his arms with her breasts pressing into his chest. “It’s you.” She murmured the words in the barest of whispers.

Nick’s mind froze, but his body didn’t. On autopilot his hands automatically went to her waist as she kissed his neck, working her way up to his ear. This was not at all what he’d planned.

“I can’t believe you’re here.” She breathed the words into his ear.

Me either, he thought, but kept the news to himself as he pulled her closer. His senses flooded with all that smooth skin pressing against him. His body tightened, and his right hand moved to cup her ass. Her cheek’s bare skin was silky soft, like he remembered. God, he’d missed her. She melted into him as his body switched into overdrive.

“What do you want?” She spoke louder. The artic tone was back. He was confused and knew he was just too stupid with wanting her to figure out what the hell was going on. There was no way the woman could mistake the effect she was having.

She moved her lips closer to his ear and nipped his earlobe before she spoke in a hushed tone. “Cameras are everywhere. I’m not sure about microphones.”

And just like that, cold reality slapped him in the face. He should have been expecting it, but he’d been so focused on getting her out and making sure she was all right. She might be glad to see him because he was there to save her, but throwing her body at him was an act.

Jesus. He had to get them both out of here without tipping his hand to the cameras and those watching what he was doing. He was crazy not to have considered it once he saw those tablets downstairs, but it had never occurred to him that he would have to play this encounter through as if he was really a client.

He slipped her arms from around his neck and moved to the table to pour himself some wine, willing his hands not to shake. “I want you,” he said, clearly and loudly enough for any microphone in the room to pick up.

She smiled, but her expression wasn’t warm. “Do you now?” Her frigid tone was so at odds with the woman he’d known years ago.

He knew what he had to do. Monique and company were expecting them to have wild sex. If they’d been truly alone, it wouldn’t have been a hardship. And regardless of the circumstances, that’s exactly what he was going to have to pretend to do. He had to make love to Jenny knowing others were watching, at least until that distraction of Bryan’s came through.

There wouldn’t be any sneaking out of the room or the house before then. Guards were most likely gathered around security monitors at this very moment, drinking beer and taking bets as to how long Nick would last before he came. They were expecting to see some action.

“What do you think I want?” His voice was pitched low but loud enough for the mics as he took a sip of the wine. “Didn’t they tell you what to expect?”

Copyright © 2014 by Kay Thomas. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Kay Thomas] I adored the research. Much of the story takes place in Africa. I loved “travelling online” and learning about the continent and the different countries. I liked researching so much that it was sometimes a challenge to pull myself away from the research and do the actual writing itself.

Talking with people who’ve lived in the places I wrote about was fascinating. With some of the exotic locales in this series, I’ve found it helpful to read blogs written by those who have just moved to an area and are sharing their day-to-day experiences. Through the marvels of the internet, I was able to get an authentic feel for what those extreme locations were like when I virtually visited the jungles of Mexico or the edge of the Sahara, without leaving my office chair.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Kay Thomas] A book to read, if I have downtime where I’m going. Nowadays that can be a Kindle or even my phone with the Kindle App.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Kay Thomas] Only three? I’m glad you can’t actually see my desk. : )

There’s an empty plate from breakfast (I had toast). A box of Kleenex. (I have allergies). Two tape measures. (I have no idea why they are here.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Kay Thomas] When I’m working on deadline is the only time I don’t really care what I eat. (It’s sort of my optimum time for a diet because I don’t notice if what I’m eating tastes like cardboard or ambrosia.) But my favorite snack is a cinnamon toast rice cake with almond butter. I could live off of that.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Kay Thomas] I honestly can’t think of anyone I’d like to trade places with, even for a day. I like being me. : )

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Kay Thomas] Ohhh, great question. I think I’d like to be able to “teleport” so I could snap my fingers and be anywhere in the world. There are so many places I’d like to see and people I’d like to visit that just live too far away.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Kay Thomas] I’ve been LOVING Laura Griffin’s work. I’ve glommed on to her entire backlist and, sadly, I just finished the last book. (sniff, sniff)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Kay Thomas] I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and sometimes, Pinterest.

My website: www.KayThomas.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KayThomasWrites

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KayThomasWrites

Pinterest: www.pinterest/KayThomasWrites

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you for stopping by!

AEGIS: an elite team of ex-military men working under the radar of most governments. If you have a problem no one else can handle, they can help.

A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn’t stop his enemies from coming after him—or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law’s best friend … a woman from Nick’s past.

One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she’s abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first “customer” arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now, as they race for their lives, passion for each other reignites and old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?

The post Interview with Kay Thomas, Author of Personal Target appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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2. Interview with Sarah Beth Durst, author of THE LOST

We've interviewed versatile author Sarah Beth Durst before--the last time was when we talked to her about her fantasy novel Conjured. We are thrilled to have her back for another interview, because her latest book, The Lost, is a bit of a departure... Read the rest of this post

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3. Interview with Kat Kruger, Author of The Night is Found and Giveaway!

Please give a warm welcome to Kat Kruger!  Kat’s here to answer a few questions, and then you can enter for a chance to win her Magdeburg Trilogy (digital). 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Hi, Kat!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Kat Kruger] Geek-girl, online-junkie, pizza-enthusiast, nature-lover, walking-paradox. (I hyphenated to cheat the word count.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Night is Found?

[Kat Kruger] It’s the third book in The Magdeburg Trilogy about 17-year-old Connor Lewis who gets a scholarship to study in Paris and winds up in the middle of a werewolf war. In this final book, he’s had to take on a leadership role to help stop two separate groups who threaten the existence of all werewolves. He returns home to NYC to seek out help from the New World packs who are rumored to have united. Meanwhile, the girl he’s crushing on gets mixed up with the enemy overseas.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Kat Kruger] This is a tough one because there was so much “closure” in this book and a lot of spoilers if I talk about any of it. The epilogue for sure is my fave. I’ve had that scene in my head since well before I started writing this book but, again, I feel like I can’t talk about it.

There’s a Madison chapter called Absolution where she ‘s running from the enemy with Josh. She’s been a divisive character for some readers who fall either in the love or love-to-hate camps. What unfolds in the chapter is a resolution of their post break-up angst. I won’t lie. I cried a lot writing this scene.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the series?

[Kat Kruger] This book. For real. As I mentioned already, there’s a lot of closure that had to happen in this final book so I felt a lot of pressure (mostly self-imposed) to do right by all of the characters and readers. I had a couple of false starts writing the first draft and cut at least 5,000 words from the beginning before I got a really clear picture of where to begin. The rest was about finding the right way to end things between everyone. There also had to be a ramping up of stakes and action happening at the same time. It was an exhausting book to write, more so than the other two put together, but with the help of a great editor and trusted beta readers I’m really happy with the outcome.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Kat Kruger] My iPhone. It has everything. My calendar, my music, my notes, my games, and a means of communicating with people.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Kat Kruger] The paperback edition of Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock. A sketchbook. My iPhone.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Kat Kruger] Zooey Deschanel. She would be my quirky spirit animal if there was such a thing. I like how she’s one of the women behind HelloGiggles and that she’s a positive role-model for girls. I’d like to know what makes her tick and what it’s like to be her for a day. During my day as her, I’d also try to sneak in a lunch date with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Kat Kruger] I guess there are two ways I could answer. One is the altruistic route where I’d ask for telekenisis and make the evildoers of the world see the error of their ways and put an end to the terrible things that people in power can do. Seems like a tall order for one week though.

The other option for me would be to just take teleportation and visit destinations around the world that are out of my travel range (price- or other-wise). That would reduce my carbon footprint though so it’s not entirely selfish…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Kat Kruger] I’ve actually had “reader’s block” for a while now. Between all the deadlines for the series and working freelance writing gigs during the day it’s been a struggle to get back into reading, which is a first for me. Usually I’m a voracious reader. That said, I recently picked up The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova. It’s the first in a trilogy about a merdude. Loved it and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I also lifted a self-imposed werewolf book embargo now that I’m done writing my own series so I just started Kathleen Peacock’s Hemlock trilogy and am really enjoying it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube.

“A superb series from start to finish that, like the best musical mashups, takes something old (werewolf mythology) and makes something completely fresh out of its source material.” — Charles de Lint, award-winning author of The Newford series

When they tried to kill a prince, they made a king

In the aftermath of his pack leader’s assassination Connor Lewis is ready to take control. Rodolfus de Aquila’s plan before he died was to unite the European werewolf packs against their common enemies: the Hounds of God who make the laws and enforce them ruthlessly with questionable motives, and the Luparii, an intergovernmental group of werewolf hunters now bent on the extermination of his kind. The uneasy alliance between these two factions has fallen apart, and now a battle wages leaving the pack werewolves scrambling to escape bio-chemical warfare on one side, and total domination on the other.

After hearing rumors of a union between the American packs Connor returns with Amara to his home city of New York to learn how to bring the Old World packs together. Werewolf society in the New World has taken a very different course from that of Europe, but when Connor meets the American leaders he begins to question if their ways are, in fact, the path forward.

A world away from Madison, Arden, and all those that he is trying to protect, Connor must discover the secret to uniting and leading the packs under one final charge, or else risk extinction for their entire species in the epic conclusion to The Magdeburg Trilogy.

“When they tried to kill a prince, they made a king.”

The Night Is Found, the final book in Kat Kruger’s popular Magdeburg Trilogy, is now available for pre-order

Enter to win a digital copy of the entire Magdeburg Trilogy! The Night Has Teeth, The Night Has Claws, and The Night is Found!  Thanks to Fierce Ink Press for making this giveaway possible!

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The post Interview with Kat Kruger, Author of The Night is Found and Giveaway! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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4. Vanilla Ice Cream Before Breakfast

It’s sometimes hard to come out from behind my stories and articulate reasons for things, as the stories are not written that way. I don’t go into them with a reason or issue — only that the characters will treat each other with respect and tolerance. And that their dogs can do anything they like around the house. The rest will hopefully follow.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Bob Graham, pictured here, whose books I consistently like. He chats with me about his newest book, Vanilla Ice Cream, coming from Candlewick in August, as well as what’s next for him.

That Q&A will be here here soon.

Next week, I’ll have some art from some of Bob’s books.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Bob Graham used with permission of Candlewick Press.

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5. Call for Submissions: Midnight Breakfast

To get the best idea of what we’re looking for, we encourage you to read our back issues, which are conveniently available for free on this very website. We publish one issue per month, with six pieces per issue, which means we have to be a bit selective. On a practical level, we’re looking for unpublished work in the range of 1,000-10,000 words. On a conceptual level, we want to be wowed. Nothing excites us more than a good story with emotional depth. We believe everyone has a story to tell and we want to share as many of these, from as diverse a selection of experiences, as we can.

Fiction: We’re open to loose genre, though we tend to skew more towards literary and speculative fiction. We also love a good, well-written humor piece. What we’re not looking for: fan-fiction, erotica, or anything that requires excessive world-building (as much as we love Game of Thrones in these parts, that kind of work isn’t for us).

Nonfiction: We’re looking for personal essays and/or cultural criticism with a narrative bent. We’re particularly interested in reading about people and cultures that are often underrepresented or otherwise marginalized.

Interviews: We love long form conversations between interesting people. We’re mostly intrigued by literary interviews, but if you’ve recently spoken with a musician, visual artist, activist, or any handful of folks worth spending some time with, we’d be happy to consider your piece. Please do not send any interviews more than 5,000 words. (If your interview is more than 5,000 words, feel free to send an excerpt, and we’ll let you know if we’d like to read more.)

Sadly, we’re currently not accepting poetry, or anything that requires excessive and specific formatting.

Submit Your work to:

submissionsATmidnightbreakfastDOTcom

(Change AT to @ and DOT to . ) as an attachment (either a Word Document or a PDF). Please only send one submission at a time and make sure your name, email, and any other pertinent contact info are in the document, and include the name of your piece as well as the genre (fiction, nonfiction, interview) in the subject line of your email. We’ll give it a read and get back to you as soon as we can. We’ve got a small staff, so please give us at least a month to give your submission the consideration it needs before checking in. And we accept simultaneous submissions, so please be kind and let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere.

Good news! More than 150 generous donors made it possible for us to compensate all our writers and artists for their hard work during our first year. We’re currently able to offer $50 if we select your work for publication in Midnight Breakfast.

How do I submit my art?

We solicit artists to create original work inspired by a specific piece we’re publishing. If you would like to be considered to illustrate a piece, you may submit your art portfolio to our Managing Editor, Nevan Scott, at:

nevanATmidnightbreakfastDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

Anything not answered here that you’re dying to know?

Drop us a line at:

helloATmidnightbreakfastDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

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6. Interview with Jane Feather, Author of Trapped at the Altar and Giveaway!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Jane!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Jane Feather] Sometimes I sizzle, sometimes I fizzle

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Trapped at the Altar?

[Jane Feather] Childhood friends who grew up together in an outcast family of renegades are forced into marriage in their joint families’ interests. Ariadne is in love with another man and is fiercely resistant to the marriage, Ivor would be happy for the marriage if Ari were happy too. When she tells him she cannot love him as anything but a friend he has a tough time showing her that she’s wrong.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Jane Feather] The scene where Ariadne seduces Ivor, employing strategically placed furs and emeralds as her props.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Jane Feather] The dialogue between Ari and Ivor, the development of Ari’s character as she matures.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Jane Feather] Something to read

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Jane Feather] An antique silver paper knife, a paper weight in the shape of a scrunched up IRS tax return, Roget’s Thesaurus.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Jane Feather] A glass of red wine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Jane Feather] Hilary Clinton

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Jane Feather] Invisibility. I’d love to drop in on all sorts of people and events.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Jane Feather] I recently reread Forever Amber, described as a “Rediscovered Classic.” I think it should probably have remained un-rediscovered. What was a sexy and daring historical read as a teenager seems rather tame and overblown now…very disappointing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jane Feather] Email: janeplume@icloud.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather introduces a sizzling new series that moves from the remote wilds of southwest England to the turbulent royal court, when a lovely young woman is forced into marriage in order to unite two families—and discovers a most unexpected passion. . .

Ariadne Carfax has vowed to be with the man she loves, Gabriel Fawcett. There’s just one obstacle. On his deathbed, Ari’s grandfather decrees that she marry her childhood friend Ivor Chalfont, thus forging a powerful alliance between the two warring families. Giving Ari no time to protest, the elders plan her wedding the next day, forcing her to follow through on the nuptials. Though she is fond of Ivor, Ari has no intention of consummating their marriage—until he kindles an intoxicating desire that she can’t ignore. Ivor has loved Ari for years, but he doesn’t want an unwilling wife. He wants Ari to ache with the same irresistible longing he feels. And if that’s the way to woo her into his bed and into their new life, he won’t rest until his new bride surrenders to true love.

US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Jane Feather, Author of Trapped at the Altar and Giveaway! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7. Call for Submissions: Your Impossible Voice

Your Impossible Voice is now accepting submissions for issues five and six. We publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and more. We don't charge any reading fees and do pay our contributors.  

Contributors to our first four issues include: Arisa White, Jessica Hagedorn, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Gillian Conoley, Lewis Buzbee, Arielle Greenberg, Mary Burger, R. Zamora Linmark, Karen An-hwei Lee, David Bajo, and more.

To learn more about us and to submit, please visit our website.

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8. Call for Submissions: cahoodaloodaling: The Animal Becomes Us

The Animal Becomes Us

Email submission deadline: September 30, 2014

Issue #14 of cahoodaloodaling—The Animal Becomes Us—is open for submissions. We’re leaving this wide open to interpretation. Consider this your open invitation to send anything from light verse about your animal companion to speculative were-animal stories. 


Submissions due 9/30/14. Guest editor TBA. Issue live 10/31/14. See more information on submitting and read past issues here.

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9. Podcast Interview: Read-Aloud Revival

Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things interviewed me about my family’s book-crazy lifestyle for her wonderful Read-Aloud Revival podcast.

Read-Aloud Revival podcast

 

The post includes links to the many books I gushed about (I swear, once you get me started on book recs there’s no stopping me) and a Prairie Thief giveaway. I had a great time chatting with Sarah about how read-alouds work in my family with our many ages of kids, how I do dialects, how we squeeze book time into the various parts of our day, etc. Basically: my favorite topic in the entire world.

While you’re checking out the podcast, you’ll want to bookmark the two Jim Weiss episodes! What a treasure.

 

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10. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Lisa Brown

It’s a sort of miracle that this breakfast interview is even happening, since both author-illustrator Lisa Brown and I are not morning people. Oh wait, right. It’s a cyber-breakfast, but still … If it were a real, face-to-face breakfast, you can bet that we’d be having our chat over an afternoon snack, despite the name of this blog.

Another thing we share in common? A deep and abiding love for coffee (which certainly helps make our mornings easier), so I’m glad she was willing to come have pretend coffee with me today so that we could see lots and lots of her art. In fact, she says her usual breakfast is “a cup of coffee, then some toast and peanut butter, maybe some fruit smoothie if there is any left over from my husband and son, who will have been awake and functioning WAY before I shuffle into the kitchen in my pajamas, exhausted with the effort of having to wake up and shuffle into the kitchen. Then more coffee.” I can get behind these multiple rounds of coffee.

This year, Lisa saw the release of two illustrated titles, Lemony Snicket’s

29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy (McSweeney’s McMullens, February 2014) and Cathleen Daly’s Emily’s Blue Period, which just received a starred Horn Book review.

I love to follow Lisa’s work, and it was good to have a chance here to ask her what she’s up to next. There is a freshness and warmth to her watercolors that can be terrifically child-friendly, but there’s also an edge to many of her books (especially for older readers) and paintings. (She’s doing a sketch a day this year, as you’ll read below, which you can follow here.) As Martha Parravano writes in that Horn Book review, her work can be elegant. Yet she also embraces the enigmatic, as with 29 Myths. And embracing the enigmatic is always good. (Embracing the Enigmatic. Band name. I call it!)

I thank Lisa for visiting this morning and sharing as much art as she does.

* * * * * * *

Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

Lisa: I like to say “Illustrator/Author/Cartoonist.”











Above: Lisa’s New Year resolution was to post a sketch for every day of 2014.

Jules: Can you list your books-to-date?

Lisa: As writer and illustrator:


 




 

As illustrator:

As co-author and illustrator:


Lisa: “To promote Picture the Dead, Adele Griffin and I would dress as Victorians.”

Jules: What is your usual medium?

Lisa: I jump between brush and India ink with watercolor and a purely digital style that I do with Adobe Illustrator. Lately, I’ve also been combining the watercolor stuff with some digital collage: I scan in my original watercolor and ink drawing, then layer it over different found or created textures that I’ve scanned into the computer.

Jules: If you have illustrated for various age ranges (such as, both picture books and early reader books OR, say, picture books and chapter books), can you briefly discuss the differences, if any, in illustrating for one age group to another?

Lisa: I find that there isn’t really a difference to my approach in terms of the age range of my audience. It has more to do with the subject matter; each one is different and so requires a different angle, whether it be different medium, structure or style. A humorous book about the Pope will look different than a board book will look different than a cozy bedtime book will look different than an illustrated ghost story for young adults.

Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?

Lisa: San Francisco most of the time. Cape Cod some of the time.

 


Color test for Emily’s Blue Period


 


Thumbnails


 



Early sketches and tests


 



“Jack is hiding behind a big couch. He won’t comeout. ‘This is my FORTRESS! No one can come back here!’ ‘Come on, Jack,’ says Dad. But Jack won’t budge.”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“THIS IS MY COUCH FORTRESS AND NO ONE CAN TOUCH ME!
NO ARMS ALLOWED IN MY FORTRESS!”

Above: Some final art from Emily’s Blue Period (without text)


 

[The below images are an illustration from Emily's Blue Period ---the last image just below, that is---with reference images: the paintings on the wall, plus reference for the character’s stuffed animal, based on a toy horse belonging to Picasso’s son Claude.]

 






(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Can you tell me about your road to publication?

Lisa: Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to write and illustrate picture books. But then I went to college, got a degree in English and History, and sort of lost momentum on my art. I started working for a magazine doing admin, editing, and production, and then went back to school for graphic design. In the meantime, my husband, whom I met in college, was busy becoming Lemony Snicket. So when I was ready and had paid off some student loans, I borrowed his agent and his editor and pitched (and sold) my first book.

Jules: Can you please point readers to your web site and/or blog?

Lisa: www.americanchickens.com; americanchickens.tumblr.com.

Jules: If you do school visits, tell me what they’re like.

 

Lisa Brown -- photo is © Ashley Thompson Photography

Lisa at a school visit, explaining where the picture book gutter is


 

Lisa: I used to do a specific presentation tailored to each of my books: How to Be, for instance, was a slide show starring my father-in-law pretending to be different animals, to ridiculous effect.

 


Lisa: “[This is] from a school visit slide show. My lovely late father-in-law,
acting ridiculous for me.”


 

Vampire Boy’s Good Night had pictures of my husband dressed up as a very low-rent vampire and stalking me in my studio and reacting to a light box.

 





(Click each to enlarge)

Nowadays, I do a presentation that talks about how I make a book, in general, with slides, cartoons, and the showing of sketch dummies. I always end my talks with a collaborative drawing for and with the students, which grew out of my work leading bookmaking field trips at 826 Valencia.


Lisa: “[This is] a cartoon I made based on a workshop I’ve run at 826 Valencia tutoring center for kids — about how to write ghost stories.”
(Click to enlarge)

Jules: Tell me how teaching illustration influences your work as an illustrator, if at all.

Lisa: I’ve just started to teach picture book writing and illustration at the California College of the Arts, and I absolutely love it. I find that the act of trying to explain what makes a picture book or an illustration successful helps me to figure out how to go about making a successful book myself. I also use the class as a bully pulpit to extol the importance of picture books as perfect little pieces of mass-produced art.

Jules: Any new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?

Lisa: Mummy Cat, written by Marcus Ewert and illustrated by me, is all handed in and coming out in the summer of 2015.

 


(Click to enlarge)








 

The Airport, written and illustrated by me, is in process and coming out. [Below are sketches, color tests, etc.]

 






(Click to enlarge)


 

I dunno. I work unbearably slowly on things I care a lot about. Don’t tell my editor.

Mmm. Coffee.Okay, I’ve got more coffee, and we are sufficiently awake. It’s time to get a bit more detailed with seven questions over breakfast. I thank Lisa again for visiting 7-Imp.

1. Jules: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up?

Lisa

: When I’m writing the book myself, I start with an almost finished manuscript. I recognize that words will change once I get to drawing, but I need a text with a beginning, middle, and end upon which to build. Then I sketch out a tiny thumbnail storyboard of all the pages. It helps me if I can see the entire structure of a book all at once, number of pages and proportions and everything. I redraw my thumbnails bigger and bigger until they are almost full-size, and then I construct a dummy book. I need to see the book as a physical book, with turnable pages and set type, so I can grasp how everything is working. I was trained as a graphic designer, so I lay out everything in a layout program as if I am designing the final book. It often ends up very close to looking like the final book.

I’m also addicted to reference. I have stacks of books and folders of JPGs, sourced both on the internet and via my camera, for every book I do.

When it’s time to do the final art, I play around and test techniques and pull my hair out and cry and complain to anyone who will listen and then figure it out.

[Pictured below are some thumbnails and dummies, etc. from a presentation Lisa gives about how she makes a book. Click each to enlarge.]
























(Click each image above to enlarge)

2. Jules: Describe your studio or usual work space.

Lisa

: I work in a little studio apartment in the basement of a house where my best friend from high school (and senior prom date, pictured above) lives with his husband. It’s filled with books and pictures cut out from magazines and printed out from the computer and stuck all over the walls and with lots of tubes of paint and bottles of ink and stained brushes and a sink full of dirty coffee cups.














(Click each studio pic to enlarge)

3. Jules: As a book-lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?

 


Lisa: “My brother and I watching Sesame Street, 1976.
I was terrified and obsessed with The Count.”

Lisa

: Oh I was, and am, SUCH a bookworm. My favorite books as a little kid were The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright, Georgie by Robert Bright, A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams, and Sarah’s Room by Doris Orgel, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.


My chapter book obsessions: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, the Emily of New Moon books by L.M. Montgomery, The Girl With the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts, the Westmark books by Lloyd Alexander, and the Wizard of Earthsea trilogy by Ursula Le Guin. And I finally, after many an extensive internet search, found a book that I absolutely adored but had been unable to hunt down before, Elizabeth Elizabeth by Eileen Dunlop, published in 1977.

In high school, I became smitten with the work of Edward Gorey, with whom I have never fallen out of love.

 


Lisa: “A friend of mine won one of Edward Gorey’s fur coats at an auction,
and she let me try it on.”

Now I am immersed in reading a bunch of classic novels that I’ve never gotten around to exploring — for a book that I’m doing with more of my three-panel book reviews.

 



 



 


(Click each to enlarge)

4. Jules: If you could have three (living) authors or illustrators—whom you have not yet met—over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose? (Some people cheat and list deceased authors/illustrators. I won’t tell.)

Lisa: Tomi Ungerer. Quentin Blake. Isabelle Arsenault.

[Pictured below are sketches and finals from Lemony Snicket's 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy

, including how Lisa applies digital texture and collage, as well as different versions of the same page.]

 


Thumbs
(Click to enlarge)


 


(Color test)


 


Final art: “‘What can you tell me about it that I don’t already know?’
Your lies bounce off its windows like spinning discarded tops.”


 


Reference image


 



Outtake
(Click sketch to enlarge)


 


Final art: “People get sick all the time,
but nobody gets better because of the Swinster Pharmacy.”


 


(Click to enlarge)


 




“…We followed one of them home one night and he lived in a house right across from another pharmacy. The employee, not the coat.”


 

5. Jules: What is currently in rotation on your iPod or loaded in your CD player? Do you listen to music while you create books?

Lisa: The Free Pop Electronic Concept is the album that is playing on my stereo right now. It’s kinda go-go jazz, I dunno. It sounds like a disco in a 1960s’ comedy. My husband put it on. He listens to music — all kinds, non-stop. I listen to it too, because I live with him.

When he’s out of town, I have been known to sit in silence for days on end — to his total amazement. When I’m drawing, I listen to NPR all day long. When I’m writing, it’s something without words, like Haydn or Bach, that I put on and then don’t hear a note.

That last album just ended and now, apparently, we are listening to the soundtrack to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, 1958. Very orientalist.

6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Lisa: That I’ve seen every single episode of Golden Girls. More than once.

7. Jules: Is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do? Feel free to ask and respond here.

Lisa: Q: Would you like another cup of coffee?

A: I thought you’d never ask.

* * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

Jules: What is your favorite word?

Lisa: “Ennui.”

Jules: What is your least favorite word?

Lisa: “Panties.”

Jules: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Lisa: My husband.

Jules: What turns you off?

Lisa: Fonts masquerading as hand-lettering.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)

Lisa: “Fuck-ing A.”

Jules: What sound or noise do you love?

Lisa: Waves crashing on the beach.

Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?

Lisa: Kids whining in the supermarket.

Jules: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Lisa: Librarian.

Jules: What profession would you not like to do?

Lisa: Receptionist who has to be at work early in the morning. I hate talking on the phone. I hate waking up in the morning.

Jules: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Lisa: “Come on in, and feel free to sleep as late as you like … for eternity.”

* * * * * * *

All artwork and images are used with permission of Lisa Brown.

The opening head shot of Lisa Brown and the studio pics are copyright © Kristen Sard.

The school visit photo of Lisa is copyright © Ashley Thompson Photography.

The spiffy and slightly sinister gentleman introducing the Pivot Questionnaire is Alfred, © 2009 Matt Phelan.

6 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Lisa Brown, last added: 7/17/2014
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11. Delivering Quality On A Tight Schedule: Speaking With ‘Ping Pong’ Art Director Aymeric Kevin

How did Aymeric Kevin and his team manage to produce so many quality backgrounds on such a short schedule? Aymeric speaks to Cartoon Brew about the background art of "Ping Pong."

0 Comments on Delivering Quality On A Tight Schedule: Speaking With ‘Ping Pong’ Art Director Aymeric Kevin as of 7/14/2014 8:05:00 PM
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12. Interview with Robin Bridges, author of The Gathering Storm

Happy Hour banner

by

Susan Dennard, featuring Robin Bridges

I’m so excited to have Robin Bridges on Pub(lishing) Crawl today! If y’all don’t know her (or her Katerina Trilogy), then you’re in for a treat.

First of all, she has the most beautiful covers.

The Gathering Storm The Unfailing Light The Morning Star

Second of all, she has the COOLEST book trailer of all time. Seriously, watch this.

Third of all, her books are awesome. Just read this summary of The Gathering Storm and tell me you’re not hooked:

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe’s royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina’s strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar’s standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina’s help to safeguard Russia, even if he’s repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

But enough about Robin’s books–let’s find out more about the author behind them.

Robin Bridges1.  Can you tell us how the idea for The Gathering Storm came about?  And why did you choose 1888 St. Petersburg (which I ADORED)?

I love Russian history, and have always loved Russian fairytales like Vasilisa the Brave and the stories of Baba Yaga. I do hate the Romanov family’s tragic ending, however, so I prefer to read about the earlier generations of the Imperial family.  Alexander III’s family was my favorite. Nicholas and his siblings were teens during the late 1880’s- early 1890’s. Princess Elena of Montenegro really did attend the Smolni Institute and truly opened the Smolni Ball by dancing with Nicholas in the fall of 1888.

Russia of the late nineteenth century, especially St. Petersburg, was steeped in superstition and mysticism and interest in the occult.  The Montenegrin princesses, Anastasia and Militza, were known as the Black Peril and they fascinated me with their séances. Papus, the French occultist, was one of their known companions. It was not hard for me to imagine a St. Petersburg where the magic was real.

2. Wow, the Black Peril. That is just so cool. Now, can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication? I’m sure our readers our curious.

The Gathering Storm was the fourth novel I’d ever written, (not including the 118 page murder mystery I wrote on notebook paper in seventh grade.) The first novel taught me how to craft a novel, the second one taught me how to find an agent, and the third one taught me how to write just for fun. The Gathering Storm taught me the importance of persistence (and revision).

3. Patience and persistence paid off! I love hearing such inspirational stories! Now, as I mentioned already, you have some of my FAVORITE covers out there not to mention the most amazing trailer around. Did you have any say in those creations?

I was blessed to have Trish Parcell at Delacorte design all three covers for the Katerina Trilogy.  Katerina is played by a Ukranian model (I wish I knew her name!) and the dress she wears on the cover of The Unfailing Light is actually a dress that was worn by Empress Alexandra. I had no real hand in the process, other than crossing my fingers and being flabbergasted at how beautiful the covers turned out to be. :)

4. WHAT? Worn by Empress Alexandra?! I literally have no words. Okay, last question: Make us a story cocktail. What ingredients do you think makes the perfect tale?

Mmm, I like spicy and sweet foods, and the books I enjoy reading have a similar balance.  Half romance, half danger?  Sprinkle in lots of smooching and lots of scares, too.  Add a teaspoon of dark humor and one swoony male character.  Or two…

Yessss! I love it!! Bring on the smooching and the scares! Thank you so much for stopping by, Robin!

To celebrate her visit, we have a giveaway for The Gathering Storm. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form to be entered!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


By day, Robin is a mild-mannered writer of fantasy and paranormal fiction for young adults. By night, she is a pediatric nurse. Robin lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband, one teenager, and two slobbery mastiffs. The Gathering Storm is her first novel.

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13. Suffragette Lady: An Interview with Kate Charlesworth

On International Workers’ Day, the 1st of May, Jonathan Cape published Sally Heathcote, Suffragette, the second graphic novel written by Mary Talbot

, a semi-fictionalised history of the Women’s Suffrage movement in Britain, and a really well researched and gripping piece of work, in my opinion, and should be read by everyone, everywhere, as it is still hugely relevant to the times we’re in right now. On her previous book, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, the artwork was all done by her husband, Bryan Talbot, but he was committed elsewhere this time ’round, so they needed an artist who they could work with, and who would understand what they were trying to do. They chose Kate Charlseworth, a Scottish cartoonist who had cut her teeth in the heady days of the British gay rights struggle, back in the 1970s and 1980s. So, when I got the chance to interview her – having previously interviewed both the Talbots [Bryan here, but Mary not online, I'm afraid] – I jumped at it.

FrontCovercropped

Pádraig Ó Méalóid: how did you become involved with the Sally Heathcote project?

Kate Charlesworth: In 2011, Bryan told me that Mary was working on the script of her second graphic novel – with a Suffragette theme – and would I be interested in drawing the pages, as he was committed to his Grandeville series, and just didn’t have the time.

And yes, I was interested!

PÓM: have you know the Talbots for a while, then? Or is it just that the comics world is a small one?

KC: Well, I’ve known Bryan for years, though our paths didn’t cross very often. And I’d never met Mary until I began working on her script. I suppose the comics world was a much smaller world back then. But Bryan knew my work.

PÓM: Any idea why Bryan asked you to do this, specifically?

KC: Hmm. given that he wasn’t available – Grandville – I think both he and Mary felt that it would be appropriate that a script written by a woman about the Suffragettes might be also illustrated by a woman. Although he was familiar with my work he found a drawing of mine – Virginia Woolf at Home, a sort of Bloomsbury pastiche; very detailed, very realistic, black and white line (not my usual style at the time) – which convinced him I could achieve the effect they were after.
VIRGINIA WOOLF@MONKS HOUSE

PÓM: What other work had you done, before this, which we might have seen?

KC: I was one of the contributors to Nelson, from Blank Slate Books, edited by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix, and some years ago I was involved with Carol Bennett’s Knockabout imprints – Fanny and Dykes’s Delight – plus a couple of Knockabout editions, um, 7 Ages of Women and Women Out of Line. There’s a theme emerging here.

But most of my working life has been spent drawing cartoons, strips and illustrations in the mainstream press. I had a strip in New Scientist which ran for years, up til 2001, Life, the Universe and (Almost) Everything. I put the Almost in, in case Douglas Adams objected, which, amazingly, he did – or at least, his agent did. But you can’t copyright a title, and I carried on for a few more years. I had strips in the gay press from very early on – when there was a hard copy gay press – Gay News, The Pink Paper – very political times they were too. And I had a strip in The Guardian for a couple of years – Millennium Basin – pretension and nonsense in Islington, really.

There’s lots of stuff on the website.

PÓM: is there no longer a hard copy gay press in the UK, then?

KC: Not much. A couple of mainstream glossies (though they don’t ignore politics and important issues) and, I suppose, some small press and indie zines. And I’m guessing a bit there.

A combination of the internet and changing social attitudes pretty much removed the need for the papers and magazines which informed the community, acted as a lifeline for isolated LGBT folk (posted in plain envelopes) and, massively important, personal ads and contacts.

In its heyday, Gay News, a fortnightly paper, carried a 24-page literary supplement!

The golden age of the gay press…

PÓM: I’m guessing there wasn’t much money to be made working for small press at the time, or am I making a massive – and incorrect – assumption about that?

KC: Has there ever been? I was lucky enough to earn a living in the mainstream – newspapers, magazines, publishing (so different today – digital, less illustration commissioned for fewer hard copy publications, commissioning rates dropping like stones) so I didn’t really do that much small press stuff, if by small press you mean comics. The gay press was more about community, identity and politics. I sometimes worked for small mainstream publishing houses, and their rates could be perfectly decent. But mostly, not a great deal of dosh around.

PÓM: I know you’ve done at least one other book-length comics work, The Cartoon History of Time. Was this an out-growth of the strip in New Scientist?

KC: Yes, it was. And the New Scientist strip in turn rose from the ashes of a weekly black and white strip in The Independent, basically about Quantum Physics – I can’t right now remember it’s exact name… But it was pretty heavy going, no chickens. The science editor had done astrophysics at uni, so that’s what the strip was about. The Cartoon History of Time has recently been republished by Dover Books!

PÓM: I’m also very impressed to note you are in AARGH! I have a couple of copies of that somewhere, including one that I occasionally attempt to get the contributors to sign.

KC: Why thank you. I think that came after Strip Aids, which was put together by Don Melia, a gay cartoonist who was incensed by the attitude of the Evening Standard‘s cartoonist (Jak, I think) to the AIDS crisis (Don alas himself had AIDS, from which he subsequently died). He contacted comic artists – Hunt Emerson, Mark Buckingham, Dave Gibbons, for instance, and cartoonists – Steve Bell, Frank Dickens, Kipper Williams – 80-odd artists reflecting a positive attitude to HIV/AIDS. Several of us were working in the gay press at the time (1987) and we were invited to contribute too. I mention this in particular because that was my first contact with comics. I met Tony and Carol Bennett from Knockabout; Woodrow Phoenix too. Don and his partner Lionel Gracy-Whitman also published the fabulous Heartbreak Hotel series.

PÓM: Did you actually have a background in science, or did you just become the default science cartoonist, the way Bryan Talbot was the default Adam Ant cartoonist, at one point?

KC: Not in the slightest. In fact, a couple of folk who knew me at school didn’t believe it was me, I was so rubbish at maths, chemistry and physics. Though earlier I’d been pretty good at something called ‘science’ – had the maths taken out, y’see.

I suppose the strip worked because I was interested in a lot of stuff – it was so flexible – I had everything in it from quantum physics to cutlery. It was a good excuse to draw things I liked. Animals, birds, ponds… Drawing instruments… Women in science… daft jokes…

PÓM: At what point did you get involved with Sally Heathcote? I know Mary Talbot did the writing, but had Bryan done some sort of breakdowns on the art before you got to it, or were you involved before that?

KC: Mary also broke down the script into pages and panels, and Bryan prepared the layouts, designed the panels and did the lettering. The only thing I did before that was to send some character sketches. Once we’d agreed that I’d do it, I did a couple of sample pages and we took it from there.

Sally script sample
Mary Talbot’s script for Page 74 of Sally Heathcote, Suffragette

I’d get a batch of around 8 pages in Photoshop layers – page grid, lettering layer and layout – he drew direct to screen with a tablet.

BRYAN'S PAGE 74
Bryan Talbot’s layouts for Page 74 of Sally Heathcote, Suffragette

PÓM: Do you draw electronically, or the old-fashioned way?

KC: Actual drawing, 100% ‘traditionally’. But in Photoshop, I often clean them up, colour them up, add effects… fun but painstaking.

Page74Copy
Kate Charlesworth’s finished art for Page 74 of Sally Heathcote, Suffragette

PÓM: How much research did you have to do at your end? I presume Mary Talbot already had her own research done – and this is very much right slap-bang in her given field, anyway – but I presume there was research for contemporary clothes, backgrounds, and the like?

KC: Yes, Mary – and Bryan too – supplied most of the specific reference material – architecture, particular photographs and set-pieces – transport – various bits of background – and all the posters. They form an important element of the book. Some as visuals, giving the flavour of the period, others as important parts of the narrative.

I had reference sources of my own, too – apart from the internet I’ve accumulated a pretty good reference collection, which I used to augment the reference I’d been provided with – sometimes I found a clearer image, which was helpful; there’s an awful lot of detail in there.

Costume was really up to me, and I tried to use outfits from source photographs wherever I could – very few of the characters in the book are invented – though Sally herself is, of course.

Although Bryan was very clear about the look and feel of the backgrounds, he always encouraged me to add extra touches. We were all rather obsessed with accuracy, and constantly checked images and ideas.

PÓM: Now that I’ve finally had a chance to read the book: Sally Heathcote is, I’m guessing, a fictional character who’s there as our Point-of-View character, with pretty much everything going on around her, and most of the people, being genuinely historical?

KC: Yes, Mary created Sally as a character who could take us through the story without being tied to any particular aspect of it, as would have happened if she’d focused on, say, Christabel Pankhurst or Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. So in this narrative Sally, a young girl from the poorhouse, taken on by Mrs Pankhurst as a maid-of-all-work, observes the movement from the early days, becomes an activist, witnesses the movement split, and the beginning of war. She also represents a working class voice in what is perceived as a predominantly middle class movement.

PÓM: Just a brief technical question: Who did the colours and the final lettering?

KC: Bryan did the lettering.

Sometimes he specified colour and tone on the layouts – firelight, night scenes, for instance – early on he came up with the idea that Sally should be a redhead – she stands out wherever she is on the page.

Originally the plan had been only to use the green and purple of the WSPUs as spot colour, but early on in the process we (more or less collectively) decided to expand the palette – purple for Mrs P, brown hair for Em Pethick-Lawrence; red for blood, flame etc. I coloured the artwork up first in watercolour and finished it off in photoshop.

Ta-da…

PÓM: I have to say, I loved the book. I have a young lady friend who works in publishing in London, and who is active in union activities, and I want to get her a copy. How has the reaction been to it, so far?

KC: Great!

4-5 star reviews so far – really good reception. Bryan and Mary doing [BBC Radio 4's] Woman’s Hour tomorrow morning, which is brilliant. They only wanted two, which suited me. Should shift a few more copies!

PÓM: One thing I noticed in the book was that there are several instances of threats of sexual violence against the suffragettes. Was there a lot of this at the time, do you know? Considering that there has been a lot of talk recently about rape threats to women online, do you think this is all just part of an ongoing use of threats of sexual violence against women, by men, and that, in a way, there’s nothing new under the sun?

KC: Threats of sexual violence against the suffragettes – there must have been. Any references in Mary’s story – well, same old, same old. Exactly your comment ‘there’s nothing new under the sun‘. Online threats are just easier to make. Some men (and some women too, alas) will always be threatened by women trying to achieve any sort of equality.

Perhaps overt threats of sexual violence were more taboo in Edwardian Britain – what seemed completely acceptable was the depiction of extreme violence towards Suffragettes, and what we’d today describe as torture – often taking the form of comic postcards. Women having their tongues cut off; jokey force-feeding. But hey, they were jokes! So that was all right, then. Very often on these cards, it’s suggested the woman ‘can’t get a man’ she’s invariably an ugly ‘old maid’; she neglects her children, she’s a sexless old freak.

PÓM: Am I right in thinking that this was finished and ready to go a good few months back, but Jonathan Cape wanted to hold it until Mayday, for fuller impact?

KC: Sally was finished in early June, last year. We’d been expecting a Christmas/New Year publication, so were surprised by the turn of events.

I don’t know if May 1st was deliberately chosen for the connotations of that date or not, but I heard that the Spring publication was brought forward from October 2014!

PÓM: Did you enjoy doing all this? It’s quite a different end of the business from what you usually do, isn’t it?

KC: Yes, I enjoyed working on Sally very much indeed. I’ve always pretty much made all the decisions, at all stages, myself. Once I realised that I didn’t have to make any of the basic decisions about layout, placing characters, emotion – even light and shade (and it didn’t take long) – I relaxed into it and concentrated on realising Mary and Bryan’s vision of Sally, with a sort of overwash of my style and contributions. I was conscious of becoming very proprietorial towards someone else’s character, and it was rather a wrench when I finally finished the book (even though I’d been practically counting down the days).

PÓM: Are there any plans afoot for the three of you – or just you and Mary Talbot – to do any further work together?

KC: Well, Mary has already written and I’ve illustrated the concluding chapter of a collaborative graphic novel (IDP 2043 – ‘Internally Displaced Person’ – a dystopian, post-diluvial action tale set in the Scottish borders) commissioned by the Edinburgh Book Festival*, to be launched at this year’s Festival. Pat Mills, Hannah Berry, Irvine Welsh amongst others are also involved.

I have my own graphic narrative which I’m starting work on soon, so I’ll be pretty busy for some time – but if Mary ever wanted to make a sequel to Sally – never say never!

PÓM: Can you tell me more about this graphic narrative you’re going to be doing?

KC: It’s a combination of personal memoir and the arc of LGBT history/life (specially the L) in Britain from 1950 to the present day. Lost worlds of the 50s, 60s, 70s… Role models, heroes/heroines. A Girl’s Guide to Sensible Footwear. It’s going to take quite a while.

PÓM: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview, Kate, whilst you were running around the country signing books!

KC: Many thanks – and hope to see you in Dublin!**

[*The Edinburgh International Book Festival is on from the 9th to the 25th of August 2014, and Kate Charlesworth will be appearing there, along with Bryan and Mary Talbot, on the 23rd at 12 30, as well as at a launch that evening for IDP 2043, along with the other contributors.

**Sadly, Kate and I never did get to meet in Dublin, as she was flying in for a visit within hours of my flying out to Paris for a few days. C'est la vie!

]

1 Comments on Suffragette Lady: An Interview with Kate Charlesworth, last added: 7/14/2014
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14. Born Reading: An Interview with Jason Boog

Folks, I talk a fair amount about my upcoming book with Candlewick but I’d be lying to you if I said it was the only book I worked on that’s out this year.  For lo, I helped write the introduction for another book that will be coming out this month on the 15th and it is awesome.  Behold:

bornreading23 Born Reading: An Interview with Jason Boog

Cute, right?

At the end of June The New York Times released the following story: Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth.  For those of us in the literacy-minded community, this comes as no surprise.  But what about those parents for whom reading aloud poses a challenge?  Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age is a delightful aid to any new parent, with (as the official description says) “step-by-step instructions on interactive reading and advice for developing your child’s interest in books from the time they are born.”

So I figured, why not interview the author himself?  If only to give you just a taste of what the book has in store.  Because you know me.  I don’t write introductions for no junk.  Jason kind submitting to my grilling.

Howdy, Jason. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

When I was a toddler, my mom took me to the Lyons Township District Library in the village of Lyons, Michigan (population 789). I kept reading and writing for the rest of my childhood, and I ended up studying English at the University of Michigan. After college, I spent two years working with youth groups in Peace Corps Guatemala.

In 2003, I studied journalism at New York University and I have worked as a writer ever since. Most recently, I spent five years as the publishing editor at Mediabistro, where I led the GalleyCat and AppNewser blogs.

There’s no lack of parenting books on the market these days, but your book appears to be doing something we don’t see that often. Can you give me the gist of the project and where it came from?

When my daughter Olive was born in 2010, I wanted her to love books as much as I do.

But it had been more than 25 years since I had read a kid’s book—so I needed some help. I consulted with child development experts to find out the best way to read to my daughter. Then I interviewed librarians, teachers and app creators to find the books, eBooks and apps to share with my child.

Through this research, I discovered the art of “interactive reading” or “dialogic reading.” Child development experts crafted these reading techniques 25 years ago. These simple and easy reading tricks will literally make your child smarter.

I tried to show parents how they can use interactive reading techniques to enrich books, eBooks, apps and any kind of 21st Century media experience. More about the art of interactive reading: http://www.born-reading.com/the-art-of-interactive-reading/

And had you written a book before?  How did you hit on the best outline and format for the content?

I had written a book before, but this experience was unique. I was literally living the book with my daughter and my wife.

Over the course of writing Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age, I watched Olive change from a mute newborn into a voracious and opinionated young reader.  The form flowed naturally from that growing experience. I dedicated a chapter to each year of a young reader’s life, incorporating all the books, eBooks and apps we read together during the writing process.

Whenever I learned something new from my team of amazing experts, I would immediately share it with Olive and my wife. We all grew up as the book evolved.

I could not help but notice that in the book you don’t just talk to reading specialists and educators but also teachers, librarians, and children’s authors themselves.  All told, do you have a rough number of who you spoke to?  How did you decide whom to speak to in the end?

I spoke with more than 50 different experts during my writing process. I asked all the questions that I had as a parent or that I had heard from other parents.

For instance, when local parents debated how much screen-time was appropriate for toddlers, I contacted child development experts and neuroscientists to get an expert opinion. It was so amazing to have these experts to guide me every step of the way.

Once Olive could voice her own opinions, I let her interests shape the book as well. When she developed a love of comic books, I reached out to the wonderful folks at TOON Books to find out how to nurture that interest. When Olive got into cooking, we shared the Julia Child cooking app with her. When she obsessed over Disney’s Frozen, I created a whole bundle of new stories to share with her: http://www.born-reading.com/born-reading-bundle-for-disneys-frozen/

One of the things I really liked about the book was the amount of attention given to screen time, particularly when it comes to the youngest children.  In our day and age it seems like the wild west in terms of shiny rectangles (as my brother-in-law calls them).  Did you initially expect this to take up as much time in your book as it did?

Oddly enough, I first envisioned my book as focused entirely on digital reading and the shift to a new kind of reading. My own reading and writing is mostly digital now, and I imagined my daughter would spend lots of time with these new devices. My wife totally disagreed and wanted to be more cautious.

Once I started exploring the research (and lack of research) into the benefits of digital materials for kids, I realized that I had to caution parents as well as share new kinds of reading. Thanks to the experts I interviewed, I learned how to moderate my daughter’s time on devices and how to make sure she has the best experience with the tablets and smartphones in our house.

These devices can be very seductive, but my wife and I worked together to create a more healthy relationship with technology.

In the course of your research, did you hit on anything that surprised you?

The art of interactive reading was by far my best “discovery.” Many librarians and teachers are trained in these awesome interactive techniques, and they are more than willing to share them with parents.

I was shocked that nobody ever told me about these techniques as we prepared for Olive’s birth. These interactive reading techniques should be taught to parents as they leave the hospital with a newborn.  Reading can truly change a child’s life.

At the American Library Association conference this year, a roomful of inspiring librarians shared a list of interactive picture books. Even if you are a shy reader, these books will help make any reading experience more interactive: http://www.born-reading.com/best-interactive-print-books-for-kids/

Any plans for a follow-up?  

I really hope my daughter spends the rest of her life as a reader. If I can take the journey with her into middle grade or YA books, I might have to write about that experience as well…

Thanks, Jason!  We’ll all look for your book next week!

 

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15. Interview: Wait, What? Graeme McMillan and Jeff Lester?!

150 episodes in, and the Wait, What? podcast is undertaking a huge shift. No, it’s not relaunching, although it is spinning off in a whole new direction, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Why? Well, because hosts Jeff Lester and Graeme McMillan, who have spent the last few years dissecting and reviewing all kinds of comics on a fortnightly basis, are moving the site to a base of its own, and running it under their own steam. Formerly hosted by the Savage Critics website, Wait What will now be hosted on its own website, run by the pair.

Alongside the move, the pair have set up a Patreon in support of their podcast, which you can see here. The Patreon, which I’d suggest is one of the first times that comic critics have established a crowdfunding page of their own, has been a tremendous success thus far. They’ve hit several of their target goals, meaning that on top of the fortnightly podcast they will also be writing reviews for their site, and populating it with content.

Considering that both are established writers in their own right – Lester has written extensively for Savage Critics, whilst McMillan writes for Wired, Time, The Hollywood Reporter and more – that’s pretty good news. And on top of everything else? The podcast is teaming up with Oily Comics for a giveaway which is going on RIGHT NOW.

To find out more about all their plans, I spoke to them both about how the podcast got started, how it runs, and what we can expect in future months.

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Steve: How did you two meet, to begin with?

Graeme: We met because I ripped Jeff off. That’s maybe not completely true — Jeff and I both knew Brian Hibbs, who owns San Francisco’s Comix Experience store and we’ve both worked for him at various times in our lives — but when I created the Fanboy Rampage!!! blog those many years ago, I subconsciously ripped the name off from the monthly column Jeff wrote for the Comix Experience newsletter.

It was so subconscious that, when Jeff got in touch to politely ask if I’d done it, my first response was “Of course I didn’t, what are you talking about?” It was my first experience with riding on Jeff’s coattails, but not my last.

Jeff: Mine is the Fanboy Rampage of Earth Two:  technically, it came first, but it’s mostly a footnote to Graeme’s.  I’m just glad I get to team up with him more frequently than once a year and I don’t have to have the rest of the JSA in tow.

Steve: When did the idea for Wait, What come about? Were you aware of other comic podcasts around, and wanted to get involved yourselves?

Graeme: The short version is, we wanted an excuse to talk comic stuff to each other. I was definitely aware of other comic podcasts, but not that many. We started five years ago, and I want to say I was only really aware of something like Word Balloon at the time? Definitely nothing as conversational or, for that matter, honest as what Wait, What? is.

Jeff:  We actually owe a debt of gratitude to David Brothers, who as I recall shamed Graeme into finally buying the headset so we could actually start recording.  And David’s 4th Letter podcast with Gavin Jasper and Esther Inglis-Arkell, along with Funnybook Babylon, were the first real podcasts I checked out.  But Graeme was way more aware of other comic podcasts than I am—between having a really short commute and an inability to multitask, I can’t keep up—and that’s pretty much been the case ever since.

Steve: How did you develop the style of the show? Was the interest always in having a show which could run at length, and talk about any aspect of comics you wanted?

Graeme: The style of the show developed… unintentionally? I think that’s fair to say. When it first started, it was far more organized and compact than it’s become. We used to edit the longer conversations into shorter episodes, so that one session might make two or three episodes, but there was something about that that felt very artificial, and arbitrary — and also problematic, when we’d refer back to things that we’d said earlier that conversation, but two episodes back to the listener. It’s been a slow evolution, and one that’s reflected our learning curve as podcasters.

Jeff: We were very lucky to get feedback early on from listeners, and enough of them preferred the more organic approach of a longer conversation.  It gave us the courage to really commit to that approach.  Sometimes I worry it makes it difficult for new listeners to start listening to us—it seems like it’s asking for a big commitment up-front, but we have dedicated listeners who occasionally say things like, “man, if you just did three hours every other week, that’d be perfect!”  And I think Graeme and I enjoy the freedom now, even if it still makes us feel “unprofessional.”

Steve: Being a completely visual medium, you’d think comics wouldn’t translate well to podcasts. Was it difficult, especially to begin with, to find ways to talk about them?

Graeme: It’s still difficult. We’re still guilty of concentrating more on the writing than the art, although having the website to post images/artwork when we’re commenting on a panel or sequence in particular has been a great help. I was going to say, it’s no different from writing about art, but that’s not true: depending on where you’re writing for, there’s the chance to feature the images RIGHT THERE beside the text, so it’s immediately put in context. You can’t do that on a podcast (or, at least, an audio podcast).

Jeff: Unfortunately, talking about the visual elements in comics and the artist’s role as a creator in Big Two bullpen-style comics is something a lot of comics criticism on the web has been kinda terrible at?  Speaking for myself, that comes from having learned from my literature classes to talk—in a rudimentary way, at least—about what the writing and storytelling might be doing, but having far fewer tools for talking about, I dunno, what the artist is achieving by using a foreshortened perspective.

I think the podcast makes it easier for me to talk about the visual elements because I can do so conversationally, imprecisely, in a way I’d be too self-conscious to do in print.  And it helps that Graeme will either help me out when I’m not making sense, or mock me for his own amusement.  It’s a win-win situation…at least for him.

Steve: Do you think that the podcast has improved your ability to talk and analyse comics in general?

Graeme: Talking to Jeff has, more than doing the podcast, if that makes sense? He approaches things in a way that I just don’t, and it’s helped me appreciate what I’ve been reading more, and also question my assumptions on any given text.

Jeff: Yeah, I’d agree with that.  Definitely.  Although I think the standards are changing overall about how to talk about comics—there’s been a real push from online writers to change things up, and I think that’s helped me a lot as well.

Steve: How has the podcast developed over the years? Do you think you’ve changed as time has gone on – moved away from certain companies, moved towards certain kinds of stories, and so on? 

Graeme: To an extent? As I said earlier, we started doing shorter episodes that were segments of longer conversations, and now listeners generally get the longer conversations more or less complete. Part of that’s being more comfortable doing what we do, but there’s also an element of us just KNOWING what we’re doing more now. There’s also been a bit of making mistake and then learning from them, too. I’ve said things in the past — reading into creators’ intentions, especially — that I try not to do now (Note the “try” — I still forget myself occasionally).

Jeff: I went through a couple years there where I refused to support Marvel financially, and I was worried that might modify the tenor of our conversations or what we could talk about and stay interesting.  But it didn’t change things as much as I thought.

What has changed, since we started doing the podcast, is how digital has really grown as a market, and libraries carrying more graphic novels and collections than ever. I think those two factors have influenced the podcast tremendously, as it’s easier for me to stumble across material I might have missed, or to revisit material I had no interest in until it was ninety-nine cents an issue.  I never would’ve ended up talking about Daddy Cool, for example, or what a thematically unified statement The Boys is for Garth Ennis, if I wasn’t able to supplement my staid comic book shop purchases with more experimentation.

Steve: A recent feature which has taken over a good hour of discussion each episode is your run-through of the Avengers books – starting right with issue #1 and tackling ten or so issues at a time. What made you want to go back and start reading and reviewing those books?

Graeme: I honestly don’t remember. I think it just seemed like a good idea at the time, and sounded like it’d be something fun and different for us to do? Jeff?

Jeff: Graeme doesn’t remember because it was his brilliant idea! I’d bought those amazing GT Corp. DVDs off eBay that contain 600 issues at a go of specific Marvel characters—Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and The Avengers—and I’d been moaning about how I hadn’t made any time to read them.  And since Graeme also had the Avengers DVD, he said, “If we make it part of the podcast, you’ll have to read them!”  And he was right.  (Thank God we’re only reading the first 300 issues, though.)

Steve: Has that changed your view of the characters, or the series as a whole? Do you have a new favourite Avenger, for example?

Graeme: Not so much a new favorite Avenger — I think that’ll always be a tie between the Beast, Hawkeye or the Wasp depending on who’s writing at the time — but it was an eye-opener to go back and realize how bad the Lee/Kirby issues actually are. You think of the two working on Thor and Fantastic Four, and they’re capable of such amazing stuff, and their Avengers just doesn’t work. It’s kind of surprising how long it is until the series DOES work, to be honest — and just how quickly it all comes together when everything falls into place.

Jeff: I ended up loving The Wasp during the Stan Lee and Roy Thomas years: they both wrote her as kind of flighty (pun intended, probably) and with more than a little condescension, but she was the only one who seemed to be having anything like fun…or resembled anything like an actual human being.

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Steve: Are there any types of comic you wished you spent more time on – you tend to talk about any comic you want, without a particularly heavy DC/Marvel/Image bias. But are there any comics you wish you could discuss in more detail?

Graeme: I think we talk about what we “want to” talk about — as evidenced by the amount of time we spend on 2000AD on a regular basis, or Top Shelf’s Double Barrel when that was coming out. There’re certainly comics I wish I knew more about so I could talk about them more, if that doesn’t sound too odd. I should be reading and talking about more Fantagraphics books, you know? Or Drawn & Quarterly, Nobrow, SelfMadeHero, and so on. I need to get outside of my Direct Market comfort zone more.

Jeff: Man, it can be hard to follow Graeme McMillan without just saying “Ditto!” and “What Graeme said!” after everything.  As for what we cover…when the only limitations are our imaginations and our budgets, it’s not long before you get really frustrated with both.

Steve: Wait, What is particularly notable because you’re “candid”. Or, to put it another way, you don’t pretend that books are good just because everybody else says so. Do you think the ‘of the moment’ nature of podcasting allows you to offer a more honest review of comics than sitting down to write a review? Once something’s been said, you can’t so easily press the delete button?

Graeme: Yes, for better and worse. There are times I would love to take something back, but there’s a lot to be said for the immediacy of the whole thing, and the way in which it gets past a lot of the inner editor for the good, as well. Plus, having someone like Jeff to bounce half-formed ideas off, knowing that there’s something about the conversational format that gives you license to be just outright wrong is pretty great, too.

Jeff: For me, this is really where Brian Hibbs’ influence shines through:  I started writing reviews for comics over at the Savage Critic website and I followed his lead in never being afraid to say what I thought.  So I don’t think the “of the moment” nature of podcasting affects me, at least in that regard.

What’s great is that Graeme can point out my biases, suggest alternative readings, or just flat-out call me on my shit.  Also great is that the organic nature of our podcast means I can revisit a work and talk about if my opinions change, and why.  That’s an aspect of criticism that gets overlooked in the written medium—the idea that these works are part of our lives and as we age and the culture ages, what they mean to us can change.

I guess it’s easier to address how art is an ongoing conversation between the work and the beholder when you’re having a literal ongoing conversation with someone?

Steve: Do you think there can be a tendency to offer better reviews to creators you like as people, or to find conflicts of interest start to influence your discussions? Graeme, you’re always quick to let people know if you received a review copy of the books you talk about, before you talk about them.

Graeme: Am I? That’s maybe self-consciousness, rather than any intentional idea of what I should do in the name of transparency. I think there’s definitely a tendency to find yourself biased when you’ve received something for free, or know the people involved — more than once, we’ve talked about a particular comic being good for something we didn’t pay for, but not worth the official price, or something similar.

It definitely feeds into not only what you say publicly about a work, but also how you read it — but then, so does whatever mood you’re in when you read something. I’ve been incredibly guilty of writing something off when I read it the first time, then going back and having an entirely different experience when I revisit it. There’s a lot that’s in there beyond the objectivity we’re always supposed to show when we’re reviewing something.

Jeff: Damn it, Graeme!  “Ditto.”

Steve: You’ve taken the podcast to Patreon and gone independent, moving away from the Savage Critics website. Was this because you wanted to take more ownership of the show?

Graeme: Yeah, and also because we wanted to do more with the show — and also see if the show could give something back to us in terms of the amount of work involved.

Jeff: To be clear, Brian was always incredibly supportive of everything we did and never put any kind of restrictions on our content or anything…but he’s also a busy guy with a lot of irons in the fire.  Sometimes we couldn’t change things as fast as we’d like or feel like we could experiment easily.  Or a lot of times the site would be content-light and then all of a sudden everyone would contribute at once, and I’d feel like we were stepping on toes.

Paring it down to just us—as tough a decision as that was, because I think Graeme and I are both really loyal—seemed like it would be the best way to figure out what we could do, and if people were willing to support us doing it.

Steve: What were your goals with the Patreon? What did you want to use the funds for, and have you been surprised by the response?

Graeme: The goals have always veered wildly between our natural pessimism (“It’ll be great if anyone even notices us”) and wild optimism and ego (“And then, when we’re making thousands of dollars every month!”). Realistically, we wanted to see if there was some way we could use the show as the basis for something more ambitious, which we also owned and controlled. We’ve been very, very surprised by the response. It’s way beyond what either of us were realistically thinking would happen.

Jeff: ARGHHHH. “What Graeme said.”

Steve: You’re one of the first high-profile ‘comics media’ places to take to Patreon, although I’m aware several other sites will be trying it soon. Do you think this is where comics criticism has to go, now? Fewer and fewer places are paying for digital content now.

Graeme: I’m not sure if this is where it HAS to go — I got started doing this for myself, for nothing, just to get it out there, after all, and that’s as valid an aim as ever — but it’s certainly one of the directions it can go in, especially if you’re looking to do this as a way to earn money (or even just break even from the cost of buying all those comics in the first place).

The future of paid online journalism is all over the place right now — not in terms of comic stuff, although if you think about what’s happened to Comics Alliance, iFanboy, MTV Geek and other sites over the last couple of years, that’s obviously in flux as well — but in general, there’s a lot of change and turmoil right now. No-one’s worked out what “the model” for this as a business really is, yet, and they’re still trying.

The last six months have been crazy, as someone who works in this field, and I doubt it’s going to get any less turbulent any time soon.

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Art by Julia Gfrörer

Jeff : I’m super hand-wringy about the state of comics criticism:  I think people can only write it for so long as a labor of love before they move on to something else, because they have to eat or the pain of feeling like such a small fish in an even smaller pond gets to them.

And although I think there’s a very good case to be made that there may not be anything to write critically about comic books that weren’t written in the first hundred issues of The Comics Journal, I feel like the two biggest impediments to comics being considered the important medium they obviously are has been an inability to keep books in print long enough to become “canon,” and our inability to have someone professionally writing about comics over the decades—without both of those things, I think every generation ends up having to re-create the wheel.

We’re finally in a situation where a canon is accumulating, and access to that canon is easier than ever.  And we have Understanding Comics, and writers like Heidi and Tom Spurgeon who’ve been covering things for a stretch of time now.  But I think it’s super-important to find ways for the next generation of comic critics—the people who are out there now—to get paid, and paid enough so they can think, “well, I can make a living at this—a bad living, but a living—and I really care about the art form, so maybe I should give this a shot.”

Steve: What sorts of rewards are you offering?

Jeff: Since everyone who is reading this is on the Internet already, I invite you to go to http://patreon.com/waitwhatpodcast and see!

Steve: You’ve already hit several milestones for the Patreon, and will now be writing content as well as recording the podcast. Is this your ideal for the future? That Wait, What spins into a whole, affordable website of its own?

Graeme: In a perfect world, yes. Quite how workable that would be in practice remains to be seen, of course…

Jeff: Yeah, that is totally my crazy dream: that enough people will believe in us and between that and the content we’re generating, we can get enough traffic to make something like a full-fledged comics website, one that doesn’t have to rely on exclusive previews or softball coverage.  We have a few of those sites.  We need more.

Also—and I know he’ll hate me for saying this—but Graeme McMillan is one of the smartest, most knowledgeable writers about both the business and artistic sides of the comics industry currently working, and I know he’s also a hell of a good editor.  Who doesn’t want to see what he could build if he had the funds and the support to do so?

Steve: Does this mean, ultimately, that you’re now rivals with The Beat?

Graeme: Sure, why not. (I mean, no, not really; we don’t do a fraction of what the Beat does in reality, but professional feuds are meant to be good, right? Hey, Steve! Pixie sucks! YOU HEARD ME.)

Steve: Graeme, you are BANNED from The Beat as soon as I ask this one final thing: Where can people find you online? What are you up to at the moment?

Graeme: The podcast can be found here, and it’s on Twitter here (individually, we’re also on there as @graemem and @lazybastid). Right now, I’m typing this between deadlines for the Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog, where I post every weekday, and Wired.com’s entertainment vertical, because I clearly have a lot to say on the Internet.

Jeff: And I just got back from walking on the beach!

-

Many thanks to Jeff Lester for his time! And NO THANKS AT ALL TO GRAEME for his harsh and inaccurate and wrong and WRONG opinions regarding Pixie. You are now officially banned from The Beat, grr.

On top of the links above, you can find the new Patreon site for Wait What over here. I’m pledging myself! You’re in good company if you choose to as well.

3 Comments on Interview: Wait, What? Graeme McMillan and Jeff Lester?!, last added: 7/10/2014
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16. 5 Questions with Best Selling Author Sharon Bayliss

 

BookBuzzr author Sharon Bayliss’ book – Destruction: The December People, Book One recently hit the #1 spot on the Amazon. We reached out to Sharon to learn more about her story.

The screenshot below was taken on June 20, 2014.

 

Hi Sharon, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

1. How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

 I have been writing fiction since I was fifteen. I clearly remember when my English teacher pulled me aside and told me I was talented. That gave me the motivation to keep writing and getting better. It has always been my dream to be an author.

 

2. How did you come up with the title of your book or series? Tell us a little bit about your book series.

Destruction is book 1 in The December People Series. The December People Series revolves around the Vandergraff family, a family of dark wizards living in Houston, Texas. There will be four books in the series, in honor of the four seasons. The series is called “December People” because wizards are classified by seasons, with winter being the darkest. “Destruction” refers to the destructive quality of dark magic.


 

3. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Every time I’m asked that question, I chuckle a bit. My life is chaotic. I have a full time job and also have two small children. I don’t have dedicated time to write and just squeeze in it whenever I can.

 

4. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I wrote a blog post on this topic called, Why I Read My Book’s Reviews. So, yes, I do read them! I often thank people for their reviews, but I never argue or make comments other than “thank you.” As for dealing with bad, I recommend looking at the big picture. It’s amazing how much one scathing review can hurt, even if you have 50 others that are glowing. Do you best to look at the overall star rating and remind yourself that ALL successful authors get bad reviews!

 

5. Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

99 cent sales always work for me, especially if well-promoted. On the day I reached the #1 spot above, my publisher had put Destruction on Book Bub. It was certainly the one single marketing tool that had the most dramatic effect. If you can make it in, and can afford it, I highly recommend it.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Vikram is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to starting BookBuzzr, Vikram founded another software company that has been successfully serving clients from all over the world since 2001. When he is not dreaming up ways to help authors accelerate their earnings and book sales, Vikram spends his time playing the guitar, practicing Aikido and spending time with his family._________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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17. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Lauren R. Weinstein

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Lauren R. Weinstein is a cartoonist, illustrator, and graphic storytelling teacher based out of New Jersey. Her work is distinct in it’s raw, humorous approach to the human condition, and sometimes ventures into the realm of a dark, surreal head trip. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, her first comics would start popping up in various publications like the Seattle Stranger, and gURL.com. Then, a few years, she would debut the critically acclaimed Inside Vineyland, her first collection of comics. Girl Stories, a memoir of her teenage years, and the over-sized Goddess of War, a tale about the God of Thunder’s great-granddaughter’s exploits, would soon follow.

Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Glamour, Nautil.us, Lucky Peach, and Kramer’s Ergot.

She was a recipient of the Xeric Foundation’s grant for self-publishing comics for Inside Vineyland, and her comics have been featured in The Best American Comics book series twice.

She is currently teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and working on her next graphic novel, a follow-up to Girl Stories.

You can read her latest work Carriers, a very personal webcomic about a very serious health situation with her unborn child, and the life lessons she took away from that experience.

You can keep up with the latest news, and see more of Lauren R. Weinstein’s art on her website.

Click here to read my interview with Lauren R. Weinstein.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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18. Interview: The Whole Creative Team for ‘And Then Emily Was Gone’!

Who even is Emily and where did she go? Those are the first two questions that spring into the mind when reading ‘And Then Emily Was Gone’ by John Lees, Iain Laurie, Megan Wilson and Colin Bell. A mystery series which quickly leaps into the horrific and fantastical without a word of warning, this month sees the book head out into the previews catalogue. The first series published by ComixTribe, the series was originally published last year in black and white – however, for this second time round, it’ll be in full colour. Each member of the creative team is known for their own work, making this a bit of a Scottish supergroup thing – like The Reindeer Section! Lees is probably best known for writing superhero series ‘The Standard’, and Laurie for a whole load of books including Metrodome and Horror Mountain. Wilson can also be seen colouring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,whilst Bell is the writer of Dungeon Fun and owner of Dogooder Comics. They’re busy people.

But they all very kindly took the time to talk to The Beat about ‘And Then Emily Was Gone’ – delving into all aspects of the creation of the book, and the journey it’s been on. With the first issue about to launch at Glasgow Comic-Con this weekend, it felt like the perfect time to take a closer look at the series. Read on!

atewg1 How did you meet each other, specifically for this project? And what was it that made this the project you decided to collaborate on?

JOHN: Well, I’ve been a fan of Iain’s for years, so I’d been wanting to work with him for some time: it a quite large-scale anthology with a pretty big publisher interested, and had enjoyed that taste of the partnership.  So, when that project stalled, Iain and I decided we were going to develop a comic of our own to work on together.  And so what made this the project we decided to collaborate on is that, from the ground up, it was something we cooked up together as essentially our dream project, a mash-up of a whole bunch of ideas and influences that we shared a passion for.

IAIN: I saw a copy of The Standard and was really impressed. I was trying to move away from the more experimental stuff I’d done with Craig Collins or on my own with Powwkipsie and Horror Mountain, and I thought John would be the best guy to do that with. Luckily he wanted to do something with me. In terms of collaborating on this, it’s very much everything that both of us are into thrown into a meat grinder really.

Where did your respective interest in horror stories come from?

JOHN: I’ve loved horror for as long as I can remember.  Monster Squad was an early favourite film in my house, and one of the earliest toys I can remember having was of Frankenstein’s Monster.  Me and my cousin were equally mad for scary movies at a very young age when we really should have been watching cartoons, and while other kids were playing Cops & Robbers or Soldiers or whatever, my cousin and I would play “Horrors,” where he’d pretend to be Freddy Krueger and I’d pretend to be Chucky from Child’s Play, and we’d take turns murdering invisible victims.  I had a very happy childhood, it was only fucked-up in retrospect!

IAIN: I’m not a huge horror guy in the traditional sense but a lot of what I do is influenced by being a teenage Stephen King fan. I really like the idea of the horror beneath the surface stuff he was so good at. And that also plays into my love of David Lynch too. But most modern horror leaves me pretty cold.

Is it difficult to translate a horror experience to comics? Is there still a capacity to shock and startle within a comic page?

IAIN: If I’ve got a technique its always to try and make something that looks like a normal comic but isn’t, so your mind traditionally expects a certain progression of the story and framing choices – close-up, wide shot – that reflect the story and the intentions of the writer and artist. By refusing to follow this it unsettles the reader. So if you have a really intense scene where you would expect a close up if you instead use a long shot it throws you and you’re not sure why. Hopefully that makes sense a bit.

JOHN:  It’s certainly a challenge.  Much of the power of horror books comes from the words inspiring you to imagine in your head something far more terrifying than any visual that can be reproduced, but comics are a visual medium and so you have to create something that’s as terrifying as what the reader pictures in their mind’s eye in order to be successful. EMILY 0103 Meanwhile, in horror films, so much of the scares come from the use of sound – be it atmospheric sound design or a Luton bus jump-scare – and with comics that’s a whole box of tools that just isn’t at your disposal. But I think it is still possible for a horror comic to frighten.  Just look at manga cartoonist Junji Ito, in my opinion the master of comics horror.  With a combination of expert pacing and skin-crawling imagery he’s been able to make some really scary comics.

In the American comics industry there’s been a flourishing of genuinely frightening horror in recent years, with Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Severed by Scott Snyder, Scott Tuft and Attila Futaki immediately springing to mind. I think something that is an effective strategy in horror across all mediums is to make your audience uncomfortable, to make them feel like they’re in a world that isn’t quite right and where something horrible could be waiting around the corner.

And that’s what we’ve tried to do with And Then Emily Was Gone: create a comic that reads like a bad dream, drifting gradually deeper into nightmare.

What has the collaborative process been like, as a whole, for the story? Were there any points where you surprised each other with where you took the narrative?

JOHN:  Working with Iain Laurie has been an absolute joy.  Because we co-created this comic and developed it together, when I was scripting each issue I constantly had an eye to thinking up stuff I, as a fan of Iain’s, would be excited to see him draw.  Some of that was hoping to stretch him and have him tackle stuff that was a little different than his previous output, but a big part of it was relishing in writing “Iain Laurie’s Greatest Hits,” repurposing some of the most notable recurring motifs in Iain’s unique body of work.

But even so, Iain has managed to constantly thrill and surprise me in the pages he’s sent back, taking my weird ideas and pushing them so much further into the realm of bonkers invention.  There’s one page in issue #1 where the script says, “Close-up of Hellinger, looking worried,” and what I got back was this jaw-dropping collage of Greg Hellinger and the monsters that hound him.  There’s been loads of experiences like that, Iain finding grimy little details between the scripted panels and blowing them up to add a whole new dimension to the storytelling, or portraying a bit-part character so powerfully that I want to go back and write a bigger role for them!

IAIN: Yeah it’s been great, and I’m not the easiest person to work with as I’m sure anyone I’ve worked with in the past will tell you. I very much like to do things my own way which can annoy writers and I totally get it but with John it’s been a really great time. I think were both aiming for the same things so while we might argue about directions, we both want to get to the same destination.

MEGAN: I’m jumping in here too.  There is this one particular panel in issue #3 that comes to mind where John wrote something seemingly normal in the panel description and what Iain translated it to was hilariously bizarre.  It stayed true to what John’s script was trying to convey, but I have no idea where Iain came up with his interpretation of it. You guys completely feed off of each other and it turns into this wonderfully charming collaborative thing and I wish everyone could see the scripts to really see this dynamic.

COLIN: Having known Iain and John and their respective work prior to Emily it’s been really fun to watch the two of them bounce off each other and see the effect this has on what they produce. Iain’s artwork, at least for the first couple of issues, is the most restrained I’ve ever seen from him, played totally straight -  and I mean no disrespect to the vast body of his wild work that we all fell in love with prior. It’s like there’s an insanity, caged, just bristling to get out, and it’s unnerving – which is the desired effect, I’m sure. Meanwhile, John’s scripts feel like Iain’s work has goaded him to being the most evil, terrifying, horrific version of himself. It’s fascinating. EMILY 0107 We should get to what that narrative actually is. The story starts off with a series of disconnected strands, but the core of it is a mystery disappearance. How did you approach structuring the series? Did you start off with this central mystery, and build around it?

JOHN: While that central mystery of “Where is Emily Munro?” is the through-line that spans across the series, I’m not sure if I’d go so far as to say that the whole story is built around it.  While we’ve billed And Then Emily Was Gone as a horror mystery, I’d certainly say the pendulum progressively swings more and more towards horror as the narrative unfolds. While I love a good whodunnit, I feel like the problem with many serialised mysteries is that they are most interesting at the beginning and the end, while what happens in between can be a lot of going through the motions with false leads and red herrings.  I wanted to avoid that here, so I’d say it was more the desolate atmosphere of Nordic dramas like The Killing that we incorporated rather than the plot mechanics.

What interested me was the notion of stepping away from that procedural element, and crafting a mystery that would only become more horrifying and unknowable the deeper you dig into it. I’d say the focus is more on the characters and their deeply damaged headspaces.  If anything, it was them – Hellinger, Fiona, Vin – that were our starting point, fully formed as individuals, and the plotting from there was more about what dark places we wanted to take those characters.

What prompted the idea of incorporating Scottish folklore into the story? Was part of your intent to make this a uniquely Scottish storyline?

JOHN: It certainly was for me.  I wrote a graphic novel called Black Leaf, in the process of being drawn by Garry McLaughlin, which was another Scottish horror, set in the Scottish Highlands.  And Then Emily Was Gone takes place on a remote island community in Orkney.  I just feel like Scotland is such a fascinating, diverse country with locations rich in storytelling potential that has been largely untapped. And given that Iain and I (and Colin) are Scottish, why not make the most of that and inject a unique flavour into our comic that might set it apart from its American counterparts?

Iain, I read your interview with Multiversity where you said that your artwork was inspired by, amongst other things, Reeves and Mortimer. And it’s noticeable – they have that same mix of dark comedy, surrealism and a little horror which marks your style. How have you found the balance of horror and comedy within the story? Is it a difficult line to balance?

IAIN: Yeah, I’m pretty open about the fact that the biggest influences on my work are Reeves And Mortimer, David Lynch, Dennis Potter. Creepy blue-collar surrealism. In terms of Emily, I don’t really see any comedy in there. Other people have told me they find it funny but I’m never going for that. To me it’s a bit like Chris Morris’ JAM in the sense that some people found it hilarious (me) while others thought they were watching something really disturbing. EMILY 0108 One of the more interesting things about the way you structure page layouts is how much negative space you leave. There are several points where you ‘skip’ a panel, essentially [you can see this in the below images]. Was this a conscious design choice on your part?

IAIN: Yeah absolutely. This plays into my earlier answer of throwing the reader off by not giving them the panel or the facial expression they expect. Again, I take a lot of this from film directors. My drawing styles got a million influences from Ken Reid to Frank Quitely to Peter Howson but my framing is very much influenced by movies rather than comics.

There are a series of strange characters in the book, marked by Iain’s sense of facial design. Where do you begin with a character? Do you bounce ideas back and forth – the scripted personality affecting the design, the design then deepening or changing the scripting, and so on?

JOHN:  I would say the process of character design was very much a symbiotic one.  With the main characters, Iain and I started off by talking about them, their role in the story and their personalities.  Based on that Iain did some sketches, which were so evocative that they’d further inform those characters and give them a voice in my head.  And that translated into how I’d write them in the script.  Then when it came time to draw them on the page, Iain would often further refine his design of those characters based on how I’d written them.

With supporting characters who we perhaps discussed less beforehand, and whose roles in the scripts were more limited and functional, so much of their personality comes from how Iain draws them.  There’s no such thing as a background character in Iain’s artwork: every character, even ones who only appear in one panel, has a story written into their faces.  A lot of the time, it’s hard to tell where I end and Iain begins when it comes to these characters… we’re like a comic Human Centipede!

There was a certain starkness in the black and white version of the series. What prompted you to bring in Megan Wilson as colourist?

JOHN: It was actually Nick Pitarra’s idea!  Iain and I had originally envisioned the comic as being black-and-white, and had produced the first issue with that in mind.  Iain had been showing pages to Nick, who’s been incredibly supportive of the book and a major cheerleader for us.  While we thought this would be a little personal comic destined for the British small press scene, Nick was perhaps the first person to suggest that And Then Emily Was Gone could work in the American market, and that colouring it would make it more appealing to that demographic.

And so he suggested letting Megan Wilson, who he’d worked with before, try her hand at coloring.  And the rest is history.  Looking at the book now, with Megan’s spectacular covers and how they compliment Iain’s art, I can’t imagine the series without her now.

IAIN: Yeah, Megan’s amazing. I love how her stuff complements my drawing.

MEGAN: This is probably a weird part of the interview for me to add to, but whatever.  You guys always have such wonderfully nice things to say in interviews about me and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to chime in, so I just wanted to add that YOU guys are amazingly talented and infectiously enthusiastic and I’d be happy to work with you forever and always. EMILY 0109 What do you think the transition to colour lends the book?

JOHN: Megan has become an integral part of the creative team.  She’s the ideal tag team partner for Iain, as her colouring seems to fit Iain’s art like a glove onto a gnarled, clawed hand.  When I’ve seen Iain’s stuff coloured in the past, it sometimes seems like the effect has been to mute the weirdness of the linework and make things a bit smoother and more palatable. Not so for Megan, who has brought this askew, almost rotten aesthetic to the colours with sickly, grainy shades that actually accentuates the inherent “Laurieness” of the image.  Looking at the book now, with Megan’s spectacular colours and how perfectly they compliment Iain’s art, I can’t imagine the series without her.

IAIN: Yeah exactly. It just plays into how I want the book to be read, beautifully. She’s a wee genius.

Megan, is it daunting to work colours on a comic which has previously been released in black and white, or do you enjoy that challenge?

MEGAN: I live in the US and have still never seen a hardcopy of the B&W version so I actually hadn’t thought about this before – of course I’ve seen the original B&W as digital, but I suppose that doesn’t have the same impact since scans are always my starting point.

It can be daunting to realize there is an existing fan base and that you could do something that they completely hate, but I elbowed my way into the project because I loved it and wanted to be a part of it, so I guess the worrying part became somewhat irrelevant (notice I didn’t say non-existent!).  But yeah, I guess I’m up to the challenge!

How did you develop the colour palette for the series? What were your aims as a storyteller?

MEGAN: I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I didn’t really develop a specific palette for this, I just kind of make it up as I go.  I’ll go back and grab colours off of pages from earlier pages as needed for consistency, but other than that, it’s pretty much a free for all.  From a storytelling perspective, to me this felt like an escalating fever-dream, and so the colours start to get a little more weird the further into the book you get.

And Colin, how do you approach lettering horror? Do you find that you have to work in specific ways in order to maintain or enhance that atmosphere?

COLIN: It was a conscious decision to utilise lower-case lettering because there’s a kind of innocence to it that I thought would play well against the art and lull people into a false sense of security. I can echo Megan in the sense that as the issues progress, I’m able to crank up the weird factor to accentuate what’s happening on the page. Also worth mentioning is the logo for the book. When we started we talked about these filmic covers like movie posters, and it inspired me to go down the rabbit-hole of 80s horror movie poster typography.

When there were no typefaces that really sold what we were going for (or were basic pastiches of existing horror film typography), we got Iain to scrawl the title in his own inimitable terror-screed, which I tidied up a bit, coloured and now happily slap across every cover sent my way. I feel like knowing that it’s Iain’s handwriting on them lends a kind of unity to his covers as a whole. But really it’s just my job to try and help guide the reader’s eyes where appropriate and for the most part stay the hell out of the way of Iain and Megan’s work, which I’m very happy to do.

 

Emily1BRossmo

Alternate cover for issue #1 by Riley Rossmo and Megan Wilson

There’s an interesting group of Scottish comic-makers right now, with yourselves, the Master Tape team, Team Girl Comics, Dungeon Fun, and many others. What has been your experience of this Scottish community?

JOHN:  Scotland is certainly a major comics hub, and my native Glasgow is a great comics city: not just in terms of the dedicated readers – enough to support 9 comic shops, 2 comic cons and multiple marts, clubs and public events – but also in the volume and quality of creative talent. I’m a founding member and the current chairman of the Glasgow League of Writers, a kind of writing circle for comics where creators meet to discuss and critique each other’s scripts, so I get to see first-hand some of the amazing talent in the Scottish community.

Iain McGarry is a writer who’s been quietly producing some excellent short stories for various anthologies over the past year or two, and once he collects them all into a volume of his own and gets his name out there some more, he’s going to become a big deal fast, mark my words.  John McCusker is like 21 years old, was totally new to writing comics when he first joined, and already he’s better than me.  His debut book, The Alchemist, is in production with artist Jason Mathis, and is going to be incredible. You mentioned Master Tape, and Harry French is another guy primed to blow-up: his other series, Freak Out Squares, is even better.  And Freak Out Squares artist Garry McLaughlin is also kicking ass on his own series, Gonzo Cosmic.

NeverEnding, by Stephen Sutherland and Gary Kelly, is a hidden gem of a comic which should be getting distributed by a big publisher yesterday. Gordon McLean won a SICBA award for No More Heroes, which was ace, but the stuff he’s been quietly working on since is so much better. Dungeon Fun by the sublime Neil Slorance and our own Colin Bell - the first issue was one of the best single issues produced by anyone of any level last year.

Team Girl Comics, Black Hearted Press, Unthank Comics, there’s so much going on I can’t hope to cover it all.

IAIN: Yeah, there’s so much interesting and diverse stuff coming out of Glasgow, and I think John’s covered most of it. I live in Edinburgh and older than most people in that group but they’ve always been really welcoming and friendly to me.

MEGAN: I’m completely jealous of the vibe you guys have got going on over there.  Can someone please adopt me so I can be Scottish too?

JOHN: Working on this comic has made you an honorary Scot, Megan!

COLIN: Congratulations Megan! The Broons are your Gods now. My experience of the community has been nothing short of lovely. Everyone’s dead nice. And talented! I could sit here for ages and reel off so many Scots comickers deserving of attention we’ve not mentioned yet - Craig Collins, Edward Ross, Stephen Goodall’s IMR, Chris Baldie and Holley Mckend’s Never Ever After… there’s LOTS.

Do you feel there is a movement in Scotland, and the UK as a whole, where different groups of creators are all starting to rise up together? Even Colin Bell?

IAIN: Colin Bell is the sun we all revolve around.

COLIN: Shucks. But also, correct.

JOHN: EVEN Colin Bell!?  He’s going to hit the big-time quicker than any of us.  He’s already a comics mogul who seems to have lettered just about every comic in Scotland and now half the comics in the UK as a whole.  As for whether or not there’s a movement with groups of creators all rising together, I’d say, “yes and no.”

Yes, there are many indie creators – both in Scotland and the UK as a whole – on the cusp of breaking out, producing quality work, and I take pleasure in seeing their successes, but ultimately everyone is doing their own work, and I think most would rather get recognition based on the merits of that work rather than through riding the wave of a movement.  Though I’d say the one exception is that I’m happy to ride on Iain Laurie’s coattails to comics glory!

How did ‘And Then Emily Was Gone’ find a way across to ComixTribe, who’ll be publishing this five-issue run?

JOHN: I worked with ComixTribe on my debut comic, The Standard, and that experience has been a pleasure and a privilege.  You won’t find a more passionate, professional group of people than Tyler James, Steven Forbes, Joe Mulvey, Samantha LeBas and co at ComixTribe, and they’re super-nice people too.  Anyone who works with them once would want to work with them again in a heartbeat, so when the opportunity presented itself I jumped at the chance to pitch And Then Emily Was Gone to them.

They’re the kind of publisher who will get behind their titles and their creators 100%, and given that a comic as weird and out-there as And Then Emily Was Gone might not be the easiest sell, I wanted that kind of support network behind us.  ComixTribe took a chance on us, and thankfully that seems to have paid off, as initial Diamond order numbers suggest that And Then Emily Was Gone #1 will be the biggest first issue Diamond launch they’ve ever published!

How do you feel about the story, as a whole now, looking back across it as it heads to the new colour printing

IAIN: Well I’m still drawing #5, so I’ve not had time to reflect yet!

JOHN: Looking back at the story as a whole now, which at the time of this interview has been 100% written and 80% drawn, I’d say this could be the proudest I’ve been of any comic I’ve ever created.  I don’t know, choosing between this and The Standard is like choosing between my children!  But with The Standard, right from the beginning I approached it with this goal of escalation, of having every issue be better than the last building up to a blow-out final issue that was the best of the bunch.  And I think I’ve been consistent with that in my approach to And Then Emily Was Gone.

Looking back, as a reader, I feel like each issue is not only better than what came before, but darker too, scarier, and by the time you get to the last couple of issues hopefully it’ll be a bit of an onslaught.  As I touched on above, the story starts relatively grounded, but steadily gets scarier and more bonkers with each passing chapter!

MEGAN: I’m in last place here (colouring #4) and I have no idea what happens in #5 yet since I have been purposefully not reading ahead so I can experience the story and art together.  That being said, I’m really excited to see how this all wraps up!

COLIN: Well, I’m after Megan, but having been in the Glasgow League of Writers I’ve been privy to the scripts for the whole series. I’m still recovering. emily2

What are you working on next? Where can people find you online?

JOHN: I’ve got more work with ComixTribe on the horizon.  I’m currently co-writing Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare with Tyler James.  It’s a spin-off from Tyler’s comic series The Red Ten, taking the villain from that book – masked psychopath The Oxymoron – and removing all superhero trappings and dropping him into more of a crime procedural milieu where regular cops have to deal with this larger-than-life, monstrous master criminal.  Alex Cormack is on art duties, and the pages I’ve seen thus far are delightful. Looking further ahead, Iain and I have also been talking about further collaborations, since we had such a blast working together on this.

In general I’m looking to do more work in the horror genre. As for where you can find me, there’s the official blog for And Then Emily Was Gone. You can find out about my other comic, The Standard, while my personal blog is here.  You can follow me on Twitter, and can follow And Then Emily Was Gone on Facebook here.

Remember, And Then Emily Was Gone #2 is currently available to order in this month’s Previews, order-code JUN141021, and you should still be able to order issue #1 – due for release July 30th – with the order-code MAY141251!

IAIN: Next thing for me is a story with Sam Read (Exit Generation) for Grayhaven, then a Standard story with John and a few other things in the wings with Owen Johnson (Raygun Roads) and Tim Daniel (Curse) hopefully. And then onto the sequel to Emily: AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE AGAIN, where they all go on holiday to Spain!

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Right! This is me, Steve, back again. A few extra credits and links for you, because there’s so much more still to find! You can also find Megan Wilson’s work over on her facebook page, as well as on her twitter account right here.

Colin Bell, meanwhile, will be launching Dungeon Fun Book Two this weekend at Glasgow Comic Con, and is also the letterer for a number of projects – Exit Generation #2 being one of the most recent. You can find him on twitter here.

Many thanks to the whole of the creative team for being so generous with their time in the interview. I hope you enjoyed it! As mentioned above, issue #1 of And Then Emily Was Gone will be released on July 30th.

4 Comments on Interview: The Whole Creative Team for ‘And Then Emily Was Gone’!, last added: 7/3/2014
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19. Blog Tour: Writing Process

Greetings Illustrator Amigos! Today I am part of a blog tour!


 I was invited by the super talented illustrator and banjo player, Russ Cox! Before I begin, let me introduce you to Russ! 

Russ Cox was raised by a pack of crazed hillbillies in the back woods of Tennessee. Without much in the way of modern conveniences, like a television set or running water, he spent his time drawing and whittling away the hours. All of that drawing paid off. He has illustrated the Freddy the Frogcaster series written by Janice Dean (Regnery Kids). Major Manner Nite Nite Soldier, by Beth and Mike Hofner (Outhouse Ink). A Merry Moosey Christmas by Lynn Plourde (Islandport Press Fall 2014) and his first book that he wrote and illustrated, Faraway Friends, will be released in April 2015 by Sky Pony. 

You can find out more about Russ and see his work at his website, www.smilingotis.com and his blog, www.smilingotis.blogspot.com.



Now on to the questions. This blog tour topic is Writing Process. Here is a little bit about my writing process! 


1. What am I working on? 

I am working on a new picture book- title to be revealed soon- that I have written and am now illustrating. The characters in the book are all sheep and goats set in an ancient (yet strangely modern) middle eastern style royal court. Right now I'm working on character design- it has been a struggle at times, but mostly a blast! Character design sketches to be posted here soon!


2. How does my work differ from others of this genre? 

I have always loved fairy tales and spoofs on fairy tales. My stories usually don't take place in the every day life of a child like many picture books do. I do like to write books that are character driven, but my stories often take place in fantasy or fairy tale- like settings. 

Also a lot of children's illustrations use very flat and stylized and local color , whereas in my illustrations, although stylized, I like to use light and shadow and atmosphere.


3. Why do I write what I do? 

For a long time, I tried to write and illustrate things I thought would work well in the market- what I thought everyone else would want to read. 

But I was not writing what really resonated with me and with who I was.

 So I decided to write and illustrate something that I would want to read, and that's when I really started feeling happy and successful about my work.


4. How does my writing process work? 

When I write my story, I am already thinking of where I can show things with pictures instead of words. I usually write a few drafts of my story before I take it to my critique groups, and then revise it again a few times.  

Then I design the characters and do some other visual development for the book. This takes a while, because I want to get the characters just right for the story. Some of this takes place later in my process- every thing is ongoing. 

Next, I make a pacing book which is 8 pieces of paper, folded in half and stapled together. I tape the words of my story into the book and then turn the pages, and rearrange them until I like the pacing.

After that, I make a storyboard and revise that a few times. At this point I will show the story to my agent and critique group, and do a few more revisions. 

Then I make my dummy book/ more polished sketches, which will also go through a few revisions. 

In other words, write, revise, write, revise, draw, revise, draw, revise, draw again, revise, rewrite, redraw....that's my process!



So now that you know a little bit about my process, I hope you will join my friends next week (July 3rd) to find out about their writing processes. Hopefully hearing from all these amazing talented artist illustrators will give you some good ideas about what you can do to improve your writing craft. 

So without further delay, I would like to introduce you to some of my writer/illustrator friends!



First up, we have Mr. John Nez! I will let him introduce himself. Take it away, John!

I've illustrated over 50 books of every sort, from toddler board books to historical non-fiction. I'm now also writing and illustrating my own picture books and interactive e-book apps, which is a lot of fun.

I draw mostly in a whimsical style with the goal of conveying lots of feeling in my pictures... happy, sad, sneaky, mad, hopeful, afraid... whatever. I'd guess that's about the main point of any illustration.

 I work in Photoshop and Illustrator, which greatly expand the illustrator's toolbox. The combination of traditional and digital mediums allows for amazing new possiblities... and lots of fun.


You can find more about John by visting his website at www.johnnez.com and his blog at johnnez.blogspot.com.




Next up is my food friend, Manelle Oliphant. Here's a little about Manelle:

Manelle Oliphant graduated from BYU-Idaho with her illustration degree. She loves illustrating historical stories and fairytales. She lives with her husband in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

You can see her work and download free coloring pages on her website awww.manelleoliphant.com





And last but not least is another great friend of mine, Sherry Meidell. Here's a little bit about Sherry:

Sherry Meidell loves to tell stories with paint. She is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Utah Watercolor Society, and  Western Federation of Watercolor Societies.  She has received numerous awards and is a member and illustrator coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She keeps her paint brushes busy painting watercolors and illustrating children’s picture books.
 You can find out more about her by visiting her web site www.sherrymeidell.com and blog sherrymeidell.wordpress.com.






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20. Guy Davenport on Writing and Reading

Guy Davenport, illustration from Apples & Pears

I've just begun reading Andre Furlani's Guy Davenport: Postmodern and After, a magnificent book (so far), and went to track down one of the items cited there, a 2002 interview by B. Renner for the website Elimae. Alas, the site seems to have died, but god bless the Wayback Machine: here it is, cached.

The interview is not as meaty as some others, for instance Davenport's Paris Review interview, but it's always interesting, and I was particularly struck by this:
DAVENPORT: At Duke I took Prof Blackburn's Creative Writing course (Bill Styron and Mac Hyman were in the class) and got the wrong impression that writing is an effusion of genius and talent.  Also, that writing fiction is Expression of significant and deep inner emotion.  It took me years to shake off all this.  Writing is making a construct, and what's in the story is what's important.  And style: in what words and phrases the story is told.  (William Blackburn, the full name.  His guiding us all toward autobiographical, confessional, "emotional" writing is -- in reaction -- why I write about concrete objectivities that are fairly remote from my own experiences.  I like to imagine how other people feel in a world different from my own.)
Also:
ELIMAE: Almost none of your stories take place in the U.S. or involve American characters. Is there a particular reason for this? Are Americans and the U.S. less noteworthy than other peoples and places, especially Europeans and Europe, or is it as simple as a matter of going to subject matter that hasn't already been done to death by other American writers? 

DAVENPORT: A clever critic might note that they are all set in the USA.  "Tatlin!" is a fable about totalitarian governments strangling creativity, not always blatantly and openly.  At the time I was lecturing on Hermann Broch's The Death of Virgil, the classic study in our time of Government and The Poet.  Vladimir Tatlin's genius suffocated by Stalin seemed to me to be paradigmatic and timely.  I learned from Kafka's Amerika that you don't have to have a realistic knowledge of a place, and from Nabokov that "realism" is simply a fashionable mode.

We are still immigrants.  Culture imports and exports.  There was a great anxiety that European culture would be obliterated twice in the 20th century.  I became interested in "Europe" through Whistler's etchings.
And then there's a Davenport desert island list!
ELIMAE: Here's my version of the "desert island" question: if you could select any six books (besides your own) originally written in your lifetime, and be the author of those books, which six would they be?  

DAVENPORT: Your 6 books question is diabolical!  I couldn't have written any of 'em.
    Eudora Welty, The Golden Apples
    P. Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower
    Michel Tournier, Les Meteores
    Isak Dinesen, Anecdotes of Destiny
    Mann, Doktor Faustus
    Beckett, Molloy
Finally, I also found an interesting mention of Davenport in this interview with John Jeremiah Sullivan, whose whole response about the connection of writing and reading is great, but here's the Davenport part:
That said, how do you get to be a better reader? I asked Guy Davenport this question one time, because talking to him could really make a person despair; he just knew so much, he’d read so much in many languages, but not in a pedantic or scholastic way, in a really passionate way. He gave me what I thought was very solid advice, which was: first of all, start reading and don’t stop. The other thing is to follow your interest. He said there ought to be a phrase, “falling into interest,” to go with falling in love.

Follow your interest; follow the writers who energize you, not the ones who exert a sense of obligation on you. The books that do the one or the other will change, as time gone on. The landscape shifts. Don’t adhere to systems unless that feels good.

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21. Call for Submissions: Prime Number Magazine

Submissions are now open!

Prime Number Magazine has just completed its 4th full year of publication! Every quarter we post short stories, essays, suites of poems, reviews, and interviews. In between, monthly, we post single poems, flash fiction, and flash nonfiction. And, annually, we publish a print edition with some of our favorites plus contest winners. 


Please submit! We want to see your work. Our editors are looking for work in all genres. 

See our most recent issue here. 

And check out the submission guidelines here.

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22. Interview with Candis Terry, Author of Something Sweeter and Giveaway

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Candis.  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Candis Terry] First, thank you for having me here today. Lots of great questions. Let’s get started!

Busy. Goofy. Happy. Entertaining. Odd. That last one came from my daughter. Go figure.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your Something Sweeter?

[Candis Terry] I’d be happy to! Something Sweeter is the third full-length book in my Sweet, Texas series. There are also two Sweet, Texas novellas. After writing Anything But Sweet and Sweetest Mistake where both books had heroes with lots of angst issues, Something Sweeter was a lot of fun to write. But it too has a lot of depth. The story is about former Marine/playboy veterinarian Jesse Wilder who meets Allison Lane, the daughter of the man his mother plans to marry. Allison is a wedding planner who doesn’t believe in happily ever afters. Fearing Allison might destroy his mother’s happiness, Jesse takes it upon himself to prove that she’s wrong about relationships and a forever kind of love.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Candis Terry] The Wilder brothers are very real to me. Through the first couple of books I just couldn’t help thinking how much fun it would be to give one of them a heroine who actually thought like him and then for him to try and change her mind. I wanted to turn the tables on Jesse who loves and appreciates women but never plans to settle down. For him to have to convince Allison that true love and happily ever afters do exist was a really fun ride.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Candis Terry] The wicked fun banter between Jesse and Allison. Jesse is very smart and quick-witted. He definitely found his match in Allison.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?

[Candis Terry] Without a doubt it has to be Allison’s background and the reason she’s afraid to believe that a man and a woman will stay together forever and love each other like crazy for all those years. In every story I write there’s a little bit of something I’m familiar with, whether it’s from my personal life or someone I know. That something always adds a dimension to the story that sometimes, honestly, just breaks my heart. Allison’s story did exactly that.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Candis Terry] Me personally? I’d have to do a very twisted musical mash-up between Welcome to the Jungle by Guns and Roses and Happy by Pharrell Williams. Seriously. Maybe that’s why my daughter calls me odd.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

[Candis Terry] Chapstick. Seriously. I’m addicted. I’d totally freak out if I don’t have at least one tube on me at all times. Please don’t judge. ?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Candis Terry] Only three? Because there’s a lot of junk! Okay, a cute little piggy calendar, a Sweet Home Chicago candle I received from an awesome reader, and a brand new 32 GB Flash Drive.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Candis Terry] One of the Kardashians because I’d loved to be pampered to that luxurious extent for just one day. But then I’d want my own life back really fast because that family is kind of crazy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Candis Terry] Like everyone else I devour books like crazy. Writing my own books (on deadline) has kind of put a damper on that because I’m usually too pooped to read. But the last couple of books I’ve read and enjoyed are; Fury of Fate by Coreene Callahan (a Dragonfury novella), Rush Too Far by Abbi Glines, Just to Be With You by Bella Andre, and last night I started reading Gimme Some Sugar by Kimberly Kincaid.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Candis Terry] I have a big country garden that I like to challenge myself with to see if I can keep the plants alive all through the hot summer. Also my family and I are campers. We like to take our trailer out into the Idaho forests to ATV, relax and fish. I’m not going to apologize for having a big trailer with a shower and a microwave because I spent plenty of years sleeping on the ground in a tent with a couple of little kids who liked to complain. A lot.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Candis Terry] I’m most active on Facebook. I promise I do respond to my readers. And if I get a personal message from one of them I always answer. I truly appreciate them.

Website: www.candisterry.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Candis-Terry/131817443567853?focus_composer=true&ref_type=bookmark

Twitter: @CandisTerry

 

Something Sweeter

Sweet Texas Series #3

By: Candis Terry

Releasing June 24th, 2014

Blurb

The men in Texas are hard to resist . . . Seattle event planner Allison Lane is an expert at delivering the perfect wedding—even if she might not exactly believe in the whole “’til death do us part” thing. When her father decides to tie the knot with a woman he barely knows, Allison heads to Sweet, Texas, to make sure his new honey is the real deal. What she didn’t expect to find at the local honky-tonk was a sexy Southern man as bent on charming her pants off as he is on blowing her “true love doesn’t exist” theory all to hell. And they always promise . . .
Veterinarian, former Marine, and Sweet’s favorite playboy Jesse Wilder takes one look at Allison and knows she’s a handful of trouble he can’t deny. But even after a sizzling kiss and obvious mutual attraction, it seems Allison has no such problem. When Jesse uncovers her sweet side, can he crush his playboy image, melt her cynical heart, and change her mind about taking a trip down the aisle?

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/05/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for_20.html

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Something-Sweeter-Sweet-Texas-Candis-ebook/dp/B00FJ34YHS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/something-sweeter-candis-terry/1117005010?ean=9780062237262

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/something-sweeter/id718579932?mt=11

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18599713-something-sweeter?from_search=true

Author Info

Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.

Author Links

Website: http://www.candisterry.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/candis.terry

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CandisTerry

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4935263.Candis_Terry

Giveaway

*Please enter the Wedding Themed Sweepstakes at:

http://avonromance.com/sweepstakes

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23. Interview with Page Morgan, author of The Lovely and the Lost

Happy Hour banner

by

Susan Dennard, featuring Page Morgan

Page MorganWe’ve had the lovely Page Morgan on the blog before, but I wanted to have her again to celebrate her latest release: The Lovely and the Lost.

If you guys haven’t yet read her books, DO. Especially if you’re a fan of my (Sooz’s) books. The Beautiful and the Cursed will totally appeal to fans of Something Strange & Deadly. I mean, just look at those titles together! ;)

For those of you who don’t know the premise:

After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.

The Beautiful and the CursedIn Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.

And Grayson has gone missing.

No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.

Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.

If that doesn’t have you hooked, then maybe reading the opening chapters will. Or–if you’ve already read The Beautiful and the Cursed, read the opening of The Lovely and the Lost instead! :)

Now on to the interview.

Lovely and the Lost

1. Okay. I have to know: where did the idea for THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED come from?

It all started with a picture of a Notre Dame gargoyle. I was struck by this image. It looks like the gargoyle has a heavy burden resting on its shoulders, right? So I did some research and found out gargoyles do have a duty: they protect a structure from evil spirits. I knew there was story potential there, and I was really intrigued by writing about a creature that hasn’t been seen much in books. It took a few years to build the mythology, develop the cast of characters, and research the setting (I’d never been to Paris!).

2. You’re right that I haven’t seen gargoyles in books, and yet everyone is so fascinated by them! Go YOU for seeing a story there! Now, are you a plotter or pantser…or neither?

I used to be a pantser, but now I’m a dedicated plotter. My outlines are extensive. Mini-novels, even. The outline for The Lovely and the Lost was just over 30,000 words! They take months to finish, but once I start writing the actual novel I love knowing exactly what I’m going to write.

3. WOW. I am really fascinated by this! That sounds so efficient! So, with regards to research, what’s your primary go-to location–online or in real life? (i.e. I can’t live without archive.org)

I’m going to check out archive.org! I use a lot of websites, but I found a great one with lots of old maps of Paris, appropriately named OldMapsofParis.com, and GentlemansEmporium.com for everything having to do with clothing, and a great collection of photographs from the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris from the Brooklyn Museum. Wikipedia is also my friend!

4. If I recall correctly, you got to visit PARISSSSS for your book. :) What was your favorite thing about the City of Light? (Also, our heroines would totally get along and should TOTALLY hang out there one day. We can pretend, right?) 

I did visit Paris!! I wanted to go before I finished writing The Lovely and the Lost, so I took my parents and daughters and we spent a week there. It was overwhelming and beautiful and I absolutely loved it. One of my research outings was to the Paris Sewers (they are REALLY proud of their sewer system, as they should be!) and yes, we actually walked alongside a canal of rushing sewage. There’s a scene in The Lovely and the Lost where I put that experience to good use! And YES, Eleanor, Ingrid, and Gabby would be such an amazing team! I’m thinking a fan fiction contest is needed…

5. OH MY GOSH, THE SEWERS!!! This is incredible. Okay, last question: if you could meet at the pub with any author (alive or dead), whom would you choose? 

I’d have to say Jennifer Donnelly, whose new book Deep Blue, just released and is on the top of my to-read list. I’ve loved all of her books, and after my friend met her at BEA and told me how genuine and nice she is, I think I’d like to spend an hour talking about writing and book over a pint of Guinness.

I love it! Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by, Page! I’m super curious about your outlining method–perhaps we can convince you to stop by again with a guest post. ;)

To celebrate having Page on the blog, we’re giving away a SIGNED COPY of The Lovely and the Lost! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. :)

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24. Josh Weil: The Powells.com Interview

Dima and Yarik are twin brothers in a Russia set in a slightly alternate universe, in the city of Petroplavilsk. The city is in perpetual daylight, thanks to the Oranzheria — a "sea of glass" greenhouse built over farmlands lit by mirrors in space. Though inseparable in childhood, Dima and Yarik begin to take radically [...]

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25. Interview with Michele Summers, Author of Find My Way Home and Giveaway!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Michele!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Michele Summers] Funny, blunt (in a good way, I hope), sarcastic (not always good), creative and loyal!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Find My Way Home?

[Michele Summers] Find My Way Home is the first in the Harmony Homecomings series. My heroine, Bertie Anderson wants nothing more than to move away from her small, hometown and make it big as an interior designer. She’s only three weeks away from reaching her goal when she’s given the challenge to redesign the old Victorian in town she’s always dreamed about. But there’s a catch: she has to finish in three months with the reward of a huge bonus if she does. No probs. Easy peasy. Except her client is Keith Morgan, retired professional tennis player and bad boy of Miami.

Keith has moved to Harmony with a huge chip on his shoulder (along with a lot of guilt) in hopes of changing his life and making a better one for him and his ten-year old daughter. What he doesn’t expect is the small town quirkiness he encounters, his aunt’s ultimatum to get married in three months, and his uncontrollable attraction to his maddening designer, Bertie. Lots of sparks and laughs!

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Michele Summers] Gosh, so many. How do I choose? I absolutely adore the ending, but I won’t give that away. But it makes me laugh and smile every time I read it. Near the beginning, one of my favorites is when Keith takes Bertie to the Dog, the local diner for the first time, and he’s shocked by the crazy, colorful interiors. He insults Bertie, who designed the interiors, with his commentary and the evening goes downhill from there.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Michele Summers] Making the hero, Keith’s anger and resentment from his major life changes come across without making him unlikable. Trying to convey his apprehension, without sounding too bitter, was a real challenge for me. I hope I nailed it!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Michele Summers] Unfortunately, these days, it’s my cell phone…I guess we all live in fear of leaving it behind. But, I also have an obsession with hand lotions…keep them everywhere, in my handbag, car, desk top. I wouldn’t leave home without it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Michele Summers] Waterford ring holder to hold all my jewelry when I’m typing. My Bem wireless speaker for music and, wait for it…backscratcher. My back always itches and it comes in handy!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Michele Summers] I’d like to be all healthy and say baby carrots with hummus, which I do eat on occasion, but when a deadline is looming I crave sour gummy candy…particularly Haribo Sour Spaghetti. (sounds gross, I know). The sour pucker wakes me up! If you have any on hand…don’t hesitate to send it over. ;-)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Michele Summers] Again, I’d like to be noble and wise and say something like, Oprah or Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But really, I’d like to trade places with Hugh Jackman’s wife! Just for one day…come on, I don’t think she’d mind!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week.  Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Michele Summers] It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s Superman! I think I’d want to fly. Amazing aerial view and I could get where I needed to go with no traffic.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Michele Summers] First Love by James Patterson: touching story with lots of humor.

Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: even better than the movie…thought provoking.

How A Lady Weds a Rogue by Katharine Ashe: interesting and different and well-written.

The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwell: again different, but well-written…kept me up all night!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Michele Summers] Readers can connect with me at: www.michelesummers.com where they can sign-up to join my newsletter and hear about new releases, contests and more. Also,

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michele-Summers/549145438478629

Twitter: https://twitter.com/michele_summers

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7274198.Michele_Summers

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/michelesummers5/

Thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. It’s been such fun and I hope you enjoy reading Find My Way Home.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Interior decorator Bertie Anderson is almost ready to say goodbye to small-town life in Harmony, North Carolina. She’s excited about living her dream life at her new job in Atlanta, the design capital of the South. She just has one last job to do…

Keith Morgan is ready to leave life in the fast lane (a.k.a., Miami) for a quiet life where he can raise his ten-year-old daughter. Unfortunately, his new lifestyle is threatened the moment he lays eyes on the decorator his aunt hired to help him create his dream home—the curvaceous temptation that is Bertie Anderson. As Bertie begins to turn his house into a home, will he find his way into her heart before it’s too late?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Debut author Michele Summers writes about small-town life with a Southern flair. She loves to knit and has her own interior design business in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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