What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Interviews')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Interviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,715
26. An Interview with Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo served as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature from January 2014 to December 2015 and was this year’s National Summer Reading Champion. This past spring, Horn Book editors Elissa Gershowitz and Martha V. Parravano shared breakfast with the two-time Newbery Medalist (for Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures and The Tale of Despereaux) and Jennifer Roberts, VP of publicity and executive director of marketing campaigns for Candlewick Press. Once we’d sorted who ordered the mixed-berry plate and who had the seasonal berries, we got down to business.

Elissa Gershowitz: The Ambassadorship. How has it gone?

Kate DiCamillo: My term is almost up. It has taken me a long time not to be afraid of it, because it’s all so official. I never want to be a role model, and so that intimidates me, but I don’t think that’s necessarily what it is. What I finally figured out, after about six months, was that I’m just doing what I’ve done my whole life, which is talking to people about books and making them read. It’s what I do in my friendships. “Here, you have to read this, you have to read this.” There’s so much talk about what kids need to do and what parents need to do, and I keep wanting to push the conversation back to “this is a privilege to get to do this.” That you can go anywhere in this country and get a book from a library is just the most amazing thing in the world. It’s not a duty; it’s a privilege and it’s a joy. That joy is doubled and tripled and quadrupled if you read with other people.

EG: As ambassador are you mostly talking to kids, or to grownups, or a combination?


Photos courtesy of Jennifer Roberts.

KD: A lot of it has been school groups, but when it’s the general public, I’d say half-and-half. Sometimes it’s all adults, and I’ll say to a roomful of adults: Go home and read to your adult. We forget how much we love to be read to. And as long as your kid is receptive to it, and almost all of them are, even the really gnarly ones when they get to be twelve and thirteen, that time to sit down and read together gives you as parents as much as it gives the kids. It deepens the relationship.

EG: How did the Summer Reading Championship come about?

KD: [Candlewick publicist] Tracy Miracle was talking to the Collaborative Summer Library people and found out the theme was “Every Hero Has a Story.” Tracy thought, what if I got behind that, because I’ve got some furry heroes. The fear and trepidation I had around the ambassadorship — maybe I’d finally gotten my sea legs, I don’t know. But by the time the summer reading opportunity came along, it was just like, yes. Let me. I’m a kid who grew up going to the summer reading program every year at the public library. I love talking to kids about that. It’s just been the most natural thing in the world for me to do while I’m out doing the ambassador stuff. In Seattle, in front of an auditorium full of kids, I asked, “How many of y’all know where your public library is?” And this incredible number of hands came up. It must have been eighty percent of them. I’m like, “Really? That is so great. Do you know that your local library has a summer reading program?”

EG: So you’ve been traveling a lot. Do you enjoy traveling?

KD: Well, let’s talk about bedbugs.

EG: Erm, we just got our food.

KD: No, I actually do like traveling. Here, Jennifer [Roberts] always wants me to modify my language.

EG: Not for us, you don’t need to.

KD: If I am just home and writing, I become very strange. So there’s this balance. I am really an introvert, and I need that time alone for a variety of reasons. I need to write, and I can’t write when I’m on the road. But going out and not only meeting the kids, but meeting the teachers and the librarians and seeing the world, fills me up. There have been a couple of times when we’ve gotten the balance wrong, and I’ve been out to the point where it takes me too long to get back in, but it has generally been good. Now I can’t remember what the question was…

EG: “Do you like traveling?”

KD: I started off with bedbugs, and then I politely veered off.

EG: Have there been any especially memorable places you’ve been, or people you’ve met?

KD: There have been a ton of memorable places. About six months ago Jennifer and I went to South Dakota, which is not that far away from where I am in Minneapolis, but I had never done an event there. It was for their book festival, and they managed to get every third grader in the state, at the end of the year, a copy of [The Miraculous Journey of] Edward Tulane. And then I went there in the fall and saw them as fourth graders. They bused in something like two thousand kids, and I talked to them in groups of a thousand. I thought, “This will never work, because I’m going to physically be too far away from them.” But they have this state-of-the-art theater with an incredible sound system. I was able to move, and get down right in the middle of those kids. It was massive, and yet it was really, really intimate. What made that happen despite the size of the theater was that the kids were responding. It was the stories connecting us, and it was deeply powerful. Jennifer cried. I cried. Librarians cried. Organizers cried.

Jennifer Roberts: Didn’t you feel, Kate, that this was one of those moments where the connection was between not just your books and you as a writer, but also you as a person? Because the kids were comfortable asking you such personal questions.

KD_Seattle_fullhouseKD: Yes. And because I’m short and loud — I’ve watched this happen with Jon Sciezska when I’ve seen him present. It’s miraculous. The kids know right away that they can trust him, that they can say anything. I’m not Jon. But I think because I’m short, and because I’m in jeans, which a lot of the kids noticed — she wears jeans, you know? — and right, they’re not skinny jeans…

JR: Once someone asked, “How old are you?” Because they’ll ask these questions.

KD: That was one of my favorite exchanges. I said, “I’m fifty.” And the girl said, “But how did that happen?” Same thing I keep wondering.

EG: I’m looking at you and wondering that too. Do they ask any questions you just don’t want to answer, or you sort of deflect?

KD: No, because I feel like that’s part of the reason that I’m there, to tell them the truth. I was just at the Library of Congress, and a couple of eight-year-old girls wanted to give me the business about Opal’s mother [in Because of Winn-Dixie], and how I really needed to write another book. They either knew what happened, or Opal knew what happened, or something had to give. I said, “I genuinely don’t know, and I would be lying if I made her come back.” And then we talked about how sad that was, and then I talked about the end of the book, where Opal is in that room with all of those people, and don’t they seem like family? And it’s that same kind of thing with talking to them about me and my life. It’s like, has it been ideal? No, but it has worked out in ways that have been incredible. Because I talk about being sick a lot as a kid, and I talk about my dad leaving. Those kids in South Dakota, it was electrifying that they put it all together, because the first big question was, “Do you think that you would have been a writer if you hadn’t been sick?” Yeah, no, so this bad thing that happened to me, this thing that seemed bad, actually gave me something. And then we moved to the next question: “What about your dad? If he had stayed, then maybe you wouldn’t have been a writer.” Yup.

EG: Many of your books are serious, but some of them are just kind of silly and fun.

KD: They are. Nobody ever learns anything.

dicamillo_francine poulet meets the ghost raccoonEG: I was just laughing out loud at your latest — that raccoon catcher [Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon, Tales from Deckawoo Drive series]. Do you think of those as a break from the heavier pieces?

KD: I was talking to Tobin [M. T. Anderson] about this one, and he said it’s like sorbet in between courses.

EG: Cleansing your palate.

KD: Yes. And it is like that. But it’s also necessary. I feel like I need it, so it’s not just taking a break.

JR: Wait, can I ask you a question?

KD: I love it when you ask me questions.

JR: It’s not like you wrote Flora & Ulysses, which is very funny but more serious, and then completely go to the sillier chapter books. You’re juggling a little bit.

KD: I’m always juggling. I’ve got four Deckawoos done now, and I’ll hold steady at that for a while. But I’ve got a novel that I’m working on. I just finished a draft of that, and when I put it aside, then I’ve got a shorter thing that could be silly. And so I work on that, and I’ve got that in a first draft now. And then I’ll go to the second or third draft of a novel, and then after I’m done with that, then I’ll go back to the short thing and take that up for another draft.

JR: You see why we have to stop traveling her! She’ll never get any writing done.

EG: But it never feels like you’re churning your books out. Each one is fresh and interesting. Nothing feels like you are just phoning it in.

KD: God help me if I’m phoning it in. That would be terrible.

EG: Are you getting ideas on the road, so you’re really working at the same time?

KD: Yes, that’s the great thing about the road. Because no matter how hard you try to be present at home, you’re always doing the things that you have to do. It’s hard to see with fresh eyes, but you come out here and wham, wham, wham.

JR: Well, it’s like what you say to kids when they ask, “Where do you get your ideas?”

KD: I eavesdrop. And this is like riding a city bus all over the country.

EG: Do you get recognized on the street? And if you do, are you recognized differently by children than by adults? There aren’t that many actual celebrities in this field, really, but you are one. How does that play into your life?

floraulyssesKD: I’ve been recognized in airports lots of places, but mostly getting recognized is at home. Minnesota has been so good to me and so pleased that I love Minnesota. This is the great thing about writing for kids. Adults might not do anything if they recognized me. But if they do see me, and they’re with a kid, they’ll tell the kid who I am. They think they should give that to the kid. So generally that sends the kid over. It happens at restaurants quite a bit. I don’t think about being a celebrity. I think, oh my god, kids are reading, and they care about a book enough to come over and talk to me about a book that they care about. If I think about it as being a celebrity, it would freak me out. But I just think, lucky me, that I get to be a part of this whole thing. Even when we go out on the road, and we do always go into areas where the kids are not seeing writers and they’re not getting books, and then we go to the other end where they have everything in the world. I still feel like it’s probably a rarefied chunk that I’m seeing, but what I see are kids who are totally engaged with books. It makes me so much a Pollyanna. Do you guys want to argue about that? What do you think? Do you think I’m just being hopeful?

JR: No, I think it’s books and stories. You talk about stories so much because stories come in so many different formats. They just love the stories. They want to know, like you said, Opal’s mom — what happened to her? You created her; it’s what you did. She exists somewhere, and you must know where.

winndixieKD: It’s real in their engagement, and it matters to them. There was a twenty-one-year-old guy at the Boston Public Library event the other day. He raised his hand and said, “I grew up in Boston, in an urban setting. I read Winn-Dixie when I was a kid, and that’s about a girl in a rural Southern town, and yet I really connected to that story. Do you have any other stories about unlikely connections like that?” And then he came through the signing line afterwards, he was at the very end. I asked, “So are you done with college?” He said, “I just finished.” I asked, “What’s your degree in?” and he said, “Psychology with a minor in art. Don’t ask me what I’m going to do. I’m hoping it will just come to me.” And then — I keep on thinking about this — he quoted verbatim the passage at the start of chapter seventeen, about Littmus W. Block coming home from the war and having seen so much sadness in the world, he wanted something sweet so he built the town a candy factory. This grownup quoting from the book!

EG: Do you think every kid is a reader, even if they don’t think that they are? And/or if they don’t think that they are, how do you reach them?

KD: I know people in the industry who are big, big readers, who are just nervous as all get-out about their kids. “He doesn’t like to read. She doesn’t like to read. What am I going to do?” Reading is my passion. I always think — and I don’t know that this makes me a lot of fans — I don’t think it’s going to be the thing for everybody. But I think for everybody it can be a solace, illumination, education. It might not be the way that the child engages with the world, but it should be something that they all learn how to do, and that they get to have for themselves, as opposed to somebody telling them what to do and how to do it. They’re not easy questions.

EG: In terms of this connection and what’s happening in people’s minds — every time I see the girl who played Opal in the Winn-Dixie movie [AnnaSophia Robb] acting in something else, I think, “I’m so glad that Opal’s doing okay for herself.”

KD: That’s hysterical. I like it.

EG: Do you think of the movie versions of your books [Because of Winn-Dixie in 2005 and The Tale of Despereaux in 2008] as yours? Or do you think of them as something different?

KD: I was saying this the other day at the library. The only control you have over a movie is whether or not you decide to sell the rights. It seems very small and mean to say, “This book is so precious and perfect that you can’t turn it into a movie.” To me the book is like having a kid. I have to let it go out in the world, and great things will happen. Maybe they won’t, but it has to keep on moving. So yes, I see that as part of mine, or something that I’m part of a cycle of.

Martha V. Parravano: I wanted to ask about the illustrations in your books. You’re so devoted to visuals. In almost all of your books there’s some visual element. Is that you? Is that the publisher?

KD: That’s a happy synergy between us. With Despereaux I said to Kara [LaReau, former Candlewick editor], “I can’t imagine this book not being illustrated, can you?” and she said, “Oh, no, it has to be.”

MVP: You were so ahead of your time. Now it’s going to be all about the synergy between words and pictures.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward TulaneKD: Right. I remember when I had, like, eight pages of Despereaux, and I was struggling with it. But I gave it to one of my good friends, who read it and said, “It makes me feel like a kid. It makes me feel like I’m reading a book that I read when I was a kid.” Everything when I was a kid was illustrated. Those color plates. And they weren’t always — sometimes they were in the wrong place. And why was her hair dark, you know? That kind of thing. But they were an integral part of it. Kara and I hadn’t really talked about it that much. We just knew that it had to be. And then enter Chris Paul [Candlewick creative director and associate publisher].

I’ve been so lucky. I wouldn’t have the career that I have if I had not been at Candlewick. No one has ever said to me, “What are you doing?” Instead they always say, “We’ll figure out a way to make this work.” If I go from turning in The Tiger Rising to turning in Despereaux, Kara would say, “More, please,” as opposed to, “What are you doing?” Or: “Don’t put that word in a book.” Like [author and reviewer] Sue Corbett listing out all the words in Flora & Ulysses and saying, “What are you trying to do? Prep them for the SAT?” I think if I’d been someplace else, I’m such a pleaser that if somebody had said “Take it out,” I would have. And I think if I’d been at another place I might have been pushed into a Winn-Dixie sequel.

It goes back to that thing about phoning it in, and what’s the point of doing it if I’m just going to phone it in, right? Or like with Mercy Watson. My agent, Holly [McGhee], said, “I don’t know what it is. But I like it.” And she sent it to Candlewick. And they’re like, “We have no idea what this is. But we love it.” And then they found a way to make it work.

JR: Booksellers and librarians at first didn’t know where to shelve it. A not-yet-tried genre, really.

MVP: And now there are so many imitators.

EG: And speaking of imitators — how many books are there now with introspective girls with pets? Thanks for that, lady.

KD: My obituary: her books about introspective girls with pets.

EG: Do you read your own reviews?

KD: I read whatever the publisher sends me. I don’t look for anything. I have been clean and sober for eight years. I have not Googled myself. I have not looked at myself on Amazon. It could drive you wild. What other questions are on your list?

EG: Mostly dumb ones, like how many pairs of rainbow socks have people given you?

dicamillo_bink & gollieKD: It’s funny, I’ve gotten many more toast socks than rainbow socks. Yeah, there are socks out there with toast on them. Yesterday I got a loaf of bread. That was a new one. It looked really good. It was from the cutest kid. He was maybe four, and his mom said, “Sometimes when he goes to sleep at night he’s saying something over and over to himself. It took me a while to figure out what it is. It’s from Bink & Gollie: ‘I long for speed. I long for speed.’”

EG: So are you straight-up Bink, or are there Gollie pieces in there too?

KD: I’m straight-up Bink. There’s that scene in the first Bink & Gollie book where Bink is on the bench trying to get her roller skates on. Tony [Fucile, illustrator] had never met me at that point, but that picture captured me to a T. That feeling of “Oh my god, I’m so frustrated, I just want to get these on and go.” (I said to him once, at the Geisel lunch, “How did you—?” And he’s like, “Well, there’s the internet.” And he didn’t say it like an asshole at all.)

EG: Did he know that the character was you when he was working on the project?

KD: Well, I didn’t really know that the character was me until he did the art. I mean, I knew that Alison [McGhee, co-author] is tall, I’m short, but it wasn’t that clear what was going on until Tony turned in the art. For a long time I would comfort myself by saying I need to summon my inner Bink. I always feel like that’s the best part of me, that kind of irrepressible person. And Tony gave that to me through that art.

JR: You’re not officially in the book, but it is pretty much what I think of as you.

EG: But it’s not forced, vanity, self-conscious.

KD: No, because I wasn’t really, truly aware of it.

JR: Also, vanity — Bink’s a bit of a mess.

KD: Verisimilitude, you know?

EG: Oh, I did have one last question: Do you have any words of wisdom for the next ambassador?

KD: I don’t know that I have any words of wisdom except that you’re going in as somebody who is supposed to give a message and instead you get paid back in ways that you do not anticipate. So you think, “Oh, I’m going to go out and do this,” but instead everybody gives to you. You know what I mean? You don’t realize what you’re going to get, and you can’t prepare yourself for it. It’s a gift.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post An Interview with Kate DiCamillo appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on An Interview with Kate DiCamillo as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
27. ‘I Love Animators, I Just Want Them to Wake Up:’ A Birthday Interview With Ralph Bakshi

The outspoken animation legend speaks with Cartoon Brew about his new film "The Last Days of Coney Island" and other topics.

0 Comments on ‘I Love Animators, I Just Want Them to Wake Up:’ A Birthday Interview With Ralph Bakshi as of 10/31/2015 2:33:00 AM
Add a Comment
28. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Jeremy Bastian


5 giant frog1 skel












6 horse4 llama

sea demoncover3

Bastian 3



bastian-0027 seahorse




Julie's witchmg-cpg



Since this is Halloween Week, I thought how better to celebrate than exploring the intricately detailed work of Cursed Pirate Girl creator Jeremy Bastian! A graduate of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Bastian spent his years studying the works of the great engraving art masters and old time book illustrators. One of the inspirations for Cursed Pirate Girl was a children’s book called The Ship’s Cat, featuring illustrations by Alan Aldridge. It takes about a week for Jeremy Bastian to draw one page of Cursed Pirate Girl. Each page is meticulously packed with the smallest details; it’s fun to just stare at a page and let your eyes wander. You can read about Jeremy’s art process on this blog post here.

Cursed Pirate Girl follows the title character’s search for her Pirate Captain father on the mythical Omerta Seas, encountering many strange and wondrous creatures along the way. The first 3 issues were published by Olympian Publishing and are now highly sought after collector’s items. Much bigger publisher Archaia/BOOM has taken over on Cursed Pirate Girl and if you’re quick enough, you might still be able to find a copy of Cursed Pirate Girl 2015 Annual(52 pages), which hit stands this month. The plan is to do 2 more yearly specials to complete the 6 part story, but there could be more material set in the Cursed Pirate Girl world after that.

If you want to get the latest news on Jeremy Bastian & Cursed Pirate Girl, fell free to follow him on Twitter here!

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

0 Comments on Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Jeremy Bastian as of 10/29/2015 5:43:00 PM
Add a Comment
29. Of Moons and Magic with Melanie Crowder

“I was … rolling around the idea of negative emotions—grief, regret, shame—and how we allow them to form the walls that imprison us. I wondered what that prison might look like if it were a tangible thing — and how a person would ever find their way free.” * * * I chat with author […]

0 Comments on Of Moons and Magic with Melanie Crowder as of 10/29/2015 1:21:00 PM
Add a Comment
30. INTERVIEW: Mark Russell’s & Ben Caldwell’s PREZ Wants to Spark a Political Revolution

"I hope that...when people read PREZ, they'll have a laugh. Then, the next week, when someone has sex with a pig...they say 'wait a second, that sounds familiar.'"

1 Comments on INTERVIEW: Mark Russell’s & Ben Caldwell’s PREZ Wants to Spark a Political Revolution, last added: 10/29/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
31. ‘I’m Not Going to Be Left Behind’: An Interview with ‘Descendants: Wicked World’ Director Aliki Theofilopoulos

One of only two female directors currently at Disney Television Animation, Aliki Theofilopoulos speaks frankly about the ups and downs of her career in the animation industry.

0 Comments on ‘I’m Not Going to Be Left Behind’: An Interview with ‘Descendants: Wicked World’ Director Aliki Theofilopoulos as of 10/28/2015 1:33:00 PM
Add a Comment
32. Don Brown on Drowned City

brown_drowned cityIn our September/October issue, reviewer Betty Carter asked Don Brown, author/illustrator of nonfiction graphic novel Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, about what we can learn from the events of Hurricane Katrina. Read the full starred review of Drowned City here.

Betty Carter: So many of your books cover a pivotal moment in American history. What do you believe is the most important takeaway from Hurricane Katrina for our country as a whole?

Don Brown: Hurricane Katrina presented America with two questions that have not yet been fully answered: Why did all levels of government fail the most vulnerable citizens of New Orleans, and what part did class and race play in that failure?

From the September/October 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Don Brown on Drowned City appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Don Brown on Drowned City as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
33. INTERVIEW: Anders Nilsen Argues that “Poetry is Useless”

A talk about drawing as exploration and play.

0 Comments on INTERVIEW: Anders Nilsen Argues that “Poetry is Useless” as of 10/27/2015 10:35:00 PM
Add a Comment
34. Nine Years in the Making, Raul Garcia’s Poe Anthology ‘Extraordinary Tales’ Has Arrived

The former Disney animator speaks about the challenges of creating an international co-production spanning more than a half-dozen countries, numerous visual styles, and almost a decade of production time.

0 Comments on Nine Years in the Making, Raul Garcia’s Poe Anthology ‘Extraordinary Tales’ Has Arrived as of 10/26/2015 8:27:00 PM
Add a Comment
35. NYCC ’15: Marjorie Liu on “Monstress”, Rebuilding Life After Trauma, and The State of Being an Asian American Creator

In the quiet early hours of Saturday in New York Comic-Con's press lounge, Marjorie Liu chatted with The Beat about her new Image title "Monstress" with artist Sana Takeda, systemic racism, the expectations places on creators of color, and the intergenerational trauma of war.

3 Comments on NYCC ’15: Marjorie Liu on “Monstress”, Rebuilding Life After Trauma, and The State of Being an Asian American Creator, last added: 10/28/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
36. Guest Post: Writing When You’re Already an Editor!

Hey guys! Kat here :) Today, I’m bringing you an interview with Kamilla Benko, an editor for Paper Lantern Lit who is also publishing her MG novel, THE UNICORN HUNT, with Bloomsbury!


1. Hey Kamilla! Describe THE UNICORN HUNT for me in 3 words.

Wish-full, Wonder-full, Sister-full. (You didn’t say they had to be real words!)

2. Okay, now you can describe it in a sentence or two.

The UNICORN HUNT explores that idea that magic exists in anything that requires creativity as well as in family relationships—specifically, sisterly bonds.

3. Where did the original idea for the UNICORN HUNT come from? 

I was inspired by two things: a painting and a tapestry. When I was eight, my aunt painted a picture of two girls—me and my sister—stumbling upon two unicorns in a sunlit meadow. It was the most magical thing I had ever seen, and I always wished I could step inside the brush strokes.

Then when I was 22, I went to The Cloisters in New York City and saw the Unicorn Tapestries that depict a medieval unicorn hunt. These beautiful images are woven of silk and gold, but the milk-white unicorn is covered in blood. There are seven tapestries all together, but one of the panels has been torn and only fragments remain. I asked myself, “Why would anyone want to destroy a tapestry of unicorns?” and by trying to answer that question, The Unicorn Hunt was born.

4. Share a bit about your path to publishing. Have you always wanted to write, in addition to becoming an editor?

Funnily enough, I always wanted to be an editor, not a writer! At the age of 11, I was reading in the field behind my great aunts’ house, and this thought came to me: Someone thought that I should read this book, and I want to be the person who helps put stories out there. I didn’t know until I asked my mom that what I was describing was called editing/publishing.

I was lucky to land a number of internships during college: at Foundry Literary + Media, Simon & Schuster UK, and Viking Children’s Books. Later I was hired as an editorial assistant at HarperCollins, and now I work as an editor at Paper Lantern Lit. Things came full circle for me at PLL, when authors I had read as Stephen Barbara’s intern—Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer—were now my bosses, and Stephen became my agent.

I find nothing more intimidating than a blank page, and as an editor, I never had to face them. But as I worked with Lauren and Lexa, both writers as well as editors, I was inspired to write down my own stories for the first time. With their encouragement, I drafted the first chapter of The Unicorn Hunt…and then I found I couldn’t stop writing!

5. Fill in the blank: “Fans of _____  by ______  will love THE UNICORN HUNT because… “

Fans of THE PRINCESS ACADEMY by SHANNON HALE will love THE UNICORN HUNT because both follow young girls who feel ill-prepared to face the shifting world around them and must rely on an inner strength they didn’t know they had. Plus, there’s a pinch of magic in both!

6. Okay, last question! What’s one Middle Grade book that should be mandatory reading for all adults?

Ugh, that’s so tough! I’m going to cheat and give you two.  One is from my childhood that helped me as I grew up and perfectly captures children’s frustration of not being in control of their own destiny, and one that I read now, as an adult, that I wish I could have read as a kid. The first is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and the second is The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin.

Thanks for joining us today, Kamilla!

Any of our readers dream of being a double-threat and edit as well as write books? :) 

KamillaBKAMILLA BENKO spent most of her childhood climbing into wardrobes, trying to step through mirrors, and plotting to run away to an art museum. After interning and working for several publishing houses, she now dreams up stories as an editor for Paper Lantern Lit. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her bookshelves, teapot, and hiking boots.

Add a Comment
37. Robo-Sauce for Breakfast:A Visit with Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

” … If only there were some sort of magical ‘Robo-Sauce’that turned you into a giant awesome robot …”   Author Adam Rubin and illustrator Daniel Salmieri are visiting this morning to talk about their newest book, Robo-Sauce, just released by Dial last week. It’s the story of a boy who drinks a sauce that […]

0 Comments on Robo-Sauce for Breakfast:A Visit with Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri as of 10/26/2015 2:33:00 AM
Add a Comment
38. Designing Vlad and Bela: In-Depth With ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ Production Designer Michael Kurinsky

Heading into its fifth weekend at the U.S. box office, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Hotel Transylvania 2 has proven to be a crowd-pleaser in both the United States and abroad, cementing the Drac Pack’s status as a valued franchise for Sony Pictures Animation.

One of the key creative figures on this second trip to Hotel T was production designer Michael Kurinsky. While it’s Kurinsky’s first outing as a feature film production designer, he’s enjoyed a distinguished career in animation, including a decade at Disney painting backgrounds on hand-drawn films such as Hercules, Tarzan, Fantasia/2000, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. For the last dozen years, he’s been at Sony, where he’s contributed to most of their animated projects, including art directing the splashy universe of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

As production designer of Hotel Transylvania 2, Kurinsky was responsible for expanding the world while maintaining visual consistency with the original film’s universe. Among the most memorable expansions in the new installment were the introductions of Dracula’s father, Vlad (voiced by Mel Brooks), and his menacing sidekick Bela (Rob Riggle). I spoke with Kurinsky at length about the process of creating these characters, their environment, and how they evolved through the course of the production.

Michael Kurinsky: Vlad originally wasn’t in the first script. We had a completely different villain: it was this real estate mogul named Quinston and they were trying to get Quentin Tarantino to be the voice. Actually the designs looked a lot like Quentin Tarantino. And two things happened. One, Quentin Tarantino turned down that role, and two, it just didn’t work after they did a first screening. You know, you’re in this monster world and your villain is a human real estate developer who wanted to turn the Hotel Transylvania into a theme hotel, kind of like the W. I think it was going to be called the T, and he wanted to put them all over the world.

So, Genndy came up with this idea: What if Dracula had a dad? In the final version of the movie, Mavis does know about Grandpa Vlad because she says it in the wedding sequence, but in the original, she didn’t even know she had a grandfather; he was a recluse. He and Drac were estranged from each other; that was the tone. So we were like, “This is cool. He’s really old school monster.” This union of Mavis and Johnny would be very upsetting for him. And you’d get this backstory that Drac and Vlad had some sort of bad fallout and they haven’t talked to each other for 600 years or something crazy like that.

Vlad was thrown out to two different artists: Craig Kellman and Andre Medina. Andre did some really funny stuff; picture like Danny DeVito being Vlad. This is before we knew who the voice was going to be. So he had these little tiny stumpy looking guys, and then he had these sort of dandified looking guys, almost like Gary Oldman when he was playing Dracula. We had a big range, but when Craig’s stuff came in, we got the most laughs out of those. When Craig heard Mel Brooks was doing the voice, a design came in from him, and we told him we liked that design. The next thing we knew we got a bunch of expression sheets back from Craig and now you could almost hear Mel Brooks’ voice coming out of those drawings.

Genndy is an extremely hands-on director who knows very much what he is looking for. The thing that I think he’s most specific about are the characters. When it comes to a new character design, he’s the one who says, “This is a Craig Kellman design,” or “This is going to be a Stephen DeStefano.” He picked the people he wanted to draw the characters, and sometimes he would even send them a preliminary sketch/idea asking for something in a particular vein.

Where I got mostly involved with characters was when it had to make the translation from black and white drawings into color and texture — either I would paint some of them myself and start really filling out the volume of the character, or I’d hand it to who I thought would be the best artist to do that character.

For Bela, I just took one of Stephen DeStefano’s drawings that I liked, and just wanted to try something out so I started painting this thing. I had a picture in my head for these creatures that clearly never see the light of the day and live in a cave, and what the quality of their skin was going to be, almost a translucent fish-flesh kind of thing. I can be a real renderer and a real noodler if need be, and was really happy with the painting because it got the quality of the skin, and the leathery wings and the veins running through it. I loved monster movies as a kid, and this really had all the things that were in my head.

Genndy could have told me to dial it back but he didn’t. He liked all that stuff. I remember when I put that painting up, he said, “This is scary. You’re going to scare kids. But we should work with these kind of textures, and when we get the right kind of facial expressions on this character, it won’t be that scary.”

And he wanted to go even further than what the painting had, not so much in the textures, but based on looking at the drawing Stephen had done, he asked our vfx supervisor, “Can we build a muscle system underneath the skin?” Because normally it’s skeleton on the inside and you’re animating just the skin that has the volume in it. He said, “I’d like a skin with real muscles underneath it and then the skeleton,” so that we could really feel when these characters bent their arms and made a fist — you could feel the muscles flex and tense. We took the realism in this character much further than any other character in the Hotel Transylvania universe.

Vlad and Bela’s Environment

Michael Kurinsky: When Vlad was written into the script, whenever they would talk about his location, it would say “Exterior: Vlad’s Castle,” so we started designing castles. At 10 o’clock every morning we had these meetings where we would show Genndy what we were working on, and we put up a bunch of castle sketches, and he was like, “We already have a castle. It’s called the Hotel. Let’s do something different. What if we put him into a more natural structure like a cave or something?”

I don’t think Genndy had discussed it with the writers or anything like that. It was just an idea that he had right there in that meeting and we immediately went and attacked it. We started designing this cave, which actually worked great, because Vlad felt like a reclusive hermit in there, like he purposefully was sequestering himself away from his family, from the world, from everything. And it really set the stage for who this character was; it helped support his story.

There was a whole sequence that I absolutely loved and it hurt so bad when I heard it was being taken out for time. There was a sequence called “Meet Vlad,” and it helped strengthen this story of how this person wanted to be left alone. In the sequence, Frank and Drac have to go to Vlad’s lair. To do that, they first had to drive through this windy mountain road and then the car comes to a dead end, and then they had to go down a rocky hill; they had to crawl through a tunnel, and then at the tunnel, there was another steeper hill that was covered in big stickly briar patches, and they kind of bounced down that hill. A trap door would open up and they’d fall down this never-ending hole, and then boom, they landed into an entry chamber where they were greeted by one of the cronies, who escorted them through a little passageway which led into the throne room.

When we were going to do the lighting for it, we started with this really warm lighting at the top of the scene and as they kept moving down, down, closer to Vlad’s lair, the lighting would get colder and colder, so what it was doing was supporting the story of this guy — that he was this cold, angry curmudgeon, and this is where he chose to live. It was the classic example of showing, not telling who this character was. It was all done with visuals and music; there was very little dialogue as they were traversing all this stuff. And you would have felt when we finally got into his presence, “Oh my gosh, I know a lot about this guy already.”

0 Comments on Designing Vlad and Bela: In-Depth With ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ Production Designer Michael Kurinsky as of 10/23/2015 1:27:00 PM
Add a Comment
39. A Peek at Jonathan Bean’s Drawing Table …

  Last week over at Kirkus, I chatted (here) with author-illustrator Jonathan Bean about his newest picture book, This Is My Home, This Is My School, which will be released next week from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Today, he shares not only a bit of final art from the book, but also early sketches and […]

2 Comments on A Peek at Jonathan Bean’s Drawing Table …, last added: 10/23/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
40. Daniel Radcliffe’s ‘Playboy’ Interview

Yesterday Playboy released a 20Q interview with Daniel Radcliffe, centred around his role as Harry Potter, his personal life and beliefs, Victor Frankenstein, Equus and the price of fame.

Here’s some of the Potter highlights from the interview!:

You were 12 years old when the first Harry Potter film came out. At what point did you realize the role was going to follow you for the rest of your life?
It may have become clear to me only in the past few years. In your head, you imagine it will all go away once the series is over. When I was first going out to bars and pubs, I was trying to pretend I could have a normal existence. Then you realize that people know who you are, and when you’re in a bar they take out their camera phones. Eventually you accept that you have to adapt how you live.

The Potter series is over. Has the attention gone away?
It feels like I get recognized more now. Here’s what’s scary: If you were 14 when the first film came out, you’d now be almost in your 30s and could well have a child under 10 whom you’re now introducing to Harry Potter. We’re already getting the next generation. That’s just bizarre. It’s never going away.

Why hasn’t the appeal faded?
Because the stories are great! A huge part of our culture now is that if something becomes successful there’s a backlash. Harry Potter didn’t have that. There are people who don’t want to read it, but the number of people who actively dislike it is very low. The books are great, and they came along at the perfect moment, when there was a fear, because of the rise of computer games, that reading was going to become a thing of the past. When kids suddenly found these books, it was something everyone could get behind as a global populace.

You’ve said that your performance in Harry Potter  and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth movie in the series, was your best, but you hate watching yourself in the sixth, The Half-Blood Prince. How did your best and worst performances come back-to-back?
In every movie up to the sixth one, you can see a big step forward in my acting. And then it stopped, or went backward maybe, in the sixth film. I really enjoyed my performance in the fifth—part of it was how much I worked with people like Gary Oldman and David Thewlis. On the sixth, I remember watching it and thinking, Wow, there’s been no growth. You’re watching a mistake you made every day for 11 months—that’s the way I saw it. I had the idea that Harry was like a soldier traumatized by war, and as a result of that, he shuts down emotionally. That’s not a bad idea, but it’s not the most interesting thing to watch for two and a half hours.

You’ve focused mainly on low-budget independent films since playing Potter. Will people ever not think of you as Harry?
One of the positive by-products of celebrity culture for actors like me who’ve been stuck with one character for a long time is the opportunity for people to get to know me. I don’t think Mark Hamill, for example, had the same opportunities for people to get to know him. When I went on Jimmy Fallon and rapped a Blackalicious song, I got a job off that—playing Sam Houser in Game Changer, the movie about Grand Theft Auto. It made the guy in charge go, “Oh, he’s interested in hip-hop. He’s not just a typical posh white boy.”

The full interview can be read here.

Victor Frankenstein Daniel Radcliffe’s newest appearance as Igor – is released on November 25th. Watch him talk about this role at Comic Con here!

Add a Comment
41. INTERVIEW: Dean DuBois and Richard Hamilton Reimagine Berk in “How to Train Your Dragon” GNs

The How to Train Your Dragons franchise is one of the biggest critical successes in animation from the last decade.  Spawning two movies and three seasons of television, the story of a scrawny viking boy and his toothless dragon have captured hearts and minds through screens around the world.  Now, film series director Dean DuBois and Dreamworks’ […]

0 Comments on INTERVIEW: Dean DuBois and Richard Hamilton Reimagine Berk in “How to Train Your Dragon” GNs as of 10/21/2015 1:21:00 PM
Add a Comment
42. Meeting Jessica Souhami at the Children’s Bookshow

MWD meets Jessica Souhami at the Children's bookshow - banner

On 6th October I went to the beautiful West Yorkshire town of Ilkley to attend a presentation by picture book author and illustrator Jessica Souhami as part of The Children’s Bookshow, which … Continue reading ...

Add a Comment
43. INTERVIEW: Jessica Abel on Intersection of Comics and Radio and the Limitations of Art

by Alex Dueben Jessica Abel has produced a unique body of work in comics that ranges from two collections of her award winning comic series Artbabe (Soundtrack and Mirror, Window), the acclaimed graphic novel La Perdita, to co-writing the graphic novel Life Sucks and producing two textbooks with her husband Matt Madden which build on […]

1 Comments on INTERVIEW: Jessica Abel on Intersection of Comics and Radio and the Limitations of Art, last added: 10/20/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
44. Fuse #8 TV: Laura Ruby (Now a National Book Award longlist finalist!)

As I’m sure you all noticed, yesterday the National Book Award announced its shortlist for the Young People’s category.  A couple surprises there.  M.T. Anderson’s removal will come as a nasty shock to anyone who has read his book and the elimination of Shabazz/Magoon effectively turns the remaining writers into a pretty white fivesome.

BoneGapThe five titles make for an interesting cross-section of YA literature, of course.  With the exception of The Thing About Jellyfish they are all for the 12-18 year old set.  There’s nonfiction, realistic fiction, graphic novel fantasy, and  . . . The Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.  Neither fish nor fowl, the book doesn’t slot well into any one single category.  What to make of it?  Why not hear from the author herself?

It was with great pleasure that I sat down with Laura Ruby to talk about her book.  Unlike many of my other Fuse #8 TV interviews, Ms. Ruby delves deep into the writer’s process.  She discusses not just the book’s roots but how the human brain can organize a novel without you being aware of what it’s doing.  By the end of this talk you won’t just be curious about her National Book Award nominee.  You’ll be moving heaven and earth to get yourself a copy.

Oh. And I get to do a crazy interpretation of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.  That’s fun!

Some of the other Fuse #8 TV episodes are archived here.

Finally, thanks to Harper Collins for being my sponsor and helping to put this together.


1 Comments on Fuse #8 TV: Laura Ruby (Now a National Book Award longlist finalist!), last added: 10/15/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
45. Classin’ It Up with Jonathan Bean

With This Is My Home, This Is My School, I wanted that line to feel like it had been lived in and was beginning to fall apart some, as buildings will when they age and are occupied by energetically active people. So, I inked the whole thing with a hand-carved bamboo pen, often drawing at arm’s length. I also used cheap paper so that the work wouldn’t feel precious and so I wouldn’t worry about drawing things over and over. When, on the fifth or tenth or thirtieth time, I got a face or tree or stove I liked, I cut it out and pasted it to the Frankendrawing that I gradually completed like a puzzle.”

* * *

I chat with author-illustrator Jonathan Bean this morning over at Kirkus about his newest picture book, This Is My Home, This Is My School, coming later this month from Farrar Straus Giroux.

That will be here soon, and next week I’ll have some and preliminary images from the book here at 7-Imp.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo used by permission of Jonathan Bean.

0 Comments on Classin’ It Up with Jonathan Bean as of 10/15/2015 2:50:00 AM
Add a Comment
46. NYCC ’15: Wes Craig on “Deadly Class” – The Process and Perils of a Career with Assassins

At New York Comic Con last week, The Beat's Lindsey Morris chatted with Wes Craig about his current comics life - what it's like to spend your days elbow-deep in teenage assassins, angst, and violence.

3 Comments on NYCC ’15: Wes Craig on “Deadly Class” – The Process and Perils of a Career with Assassins, last added: 10/18/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
47. ‘Rethink What We Think is Normal:’ An Interview With ‘Dissonance’ Director Till Nowak

Artist and filmaker Till Nowak is a rare talent who can work across art forms and scientific disciplines, until his viewers are left disoriented and dazzled.

0 Comments on ‘Rethink What We Think is Normal:’ An Interview With ‘Dissonance’ Director Till Nowak as of 10/16/2015 7:20:00 PM
Add a Comment
48. INTERVIEW: Maggie Thrash on HONOR GIRL, Queer Invisibility, and the Crush that Could Have Been a Scandal

by Alex Dueben For the past few years Maggie Thrash has been writing fiction and nonfiction at the acclaimed Rookie Magazine. Her first book, Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir, details a single summer at camp which Thrash described as the most important few months of her life because she comes out as queer while nursing […]

1 Comments on INTERVIEW: Maggie Thrash on HONOR GIRL, Queer Invisibility, and the Crush that Could Have Been a Scandal, last added: 10/16/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment

Hi everyone! I am so excited for today’s post because it’s a very special day for my dear friend, and fellow pub-crawler, Stacey Lee. The cover for her sophomore novel, OUTRUN THE MOON, is live on Entertainment Weekly.

I adore this cover! If you haven’t seen it yet, you can (and should) check it out by clicking here.

But make sure to read the rest of this post, because Stacey has answered a few questions about titles, and plotting, and port-o-potties. She’s also giving away an advanced release copy of OUTRUN THE MOON (and trust me when I say you want to read this fabulous book).

And now to the interview with Stacey Lee!

Stacey Lee

Stephanie: Before we get to the questions on craft, I am dying to ask, how did you feel when you saw the amazing cover for OUTRUN THE MOON?

Stacey: I was in line to buy a taco, and my phone was loading extra-slowly. Seeing the cover was a like a book cover strip tease, one pixel at a time. I honestly didn’t think I would love the first cover as it took several comps to arrive at the final of UNDER A PAINTED SKY. But I think cover artist Theresa Evangelista (who did the cover for UAPS as well as many other books like Jacqueline Woodson’s BROWN GIRL DREAMING, Renée Ahdieh’s WRATH OF THE DAWN and David Arnold’s MOSQUITOLAND) really captured the drama of the setting in one take, and I loved her choices of color, too.

Stephanie: Yes! She totally captured the drama of the setting. Thinking about it now, it’s hard for me to imagine that OUTRUN THE MOON was not your original title. Could you share how you came up with a new title?

Stacey: We wanted something poetic and memorable, something out of the ordinary. I spent a week reading poetry for that perfect turn of phrase. I even stayed extra-long in a port-a-potty which had the poems of Jack London written on the inside. I was desperate. It was in the course of filling my head with poetry that the title came to me.

Stephanie: Wow—spending extra time in a port-a-potty—that is dedication. But it paid off. Whenever I tell people about OUTRUN THE MOON, almost everyone responds by saying, “I Love that title!” Is there any specific meaning behind it?

Stacey: The main character’s mother is a fortuneteller. She tells her daughter she can’t outrun the moon, or escape her fate, though she can change her perspective on it.

Stephanie: That totally sounds like something a mother would say. You wrote your first draft of this book on deadline in three months, which just amazes me! Are there any tips you can give writers who might be working with a tight deadline?

Stacey: As a pantster and a stewster (someone who likes to stew with their ideas before putting them on the page), I can honestly say that writing a first draft in three months was hard. It helps to have a good plan, in particular, plotting out your turning points, pinch points and end point. Where do you want your character to be at the end of the story? Then you have something to write towards, even if those things change (as they will!).

Stephanie: When I first read OUTRUN THE MOON I remember highlighting so many lines that I absolutely loved. (This book seriously has a lot of amazing lines!) Would you mind sharing one of your favorites with readers?

Stacey: The universe never jokes. It is always profoundly, unflinchingly serious.

Thanks so much for sharing all of that, Stacey. I am so excited for this book to be out in the world next May. But one of our lucky readers can get a copy early. To win all you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter below. Please note: Stacey has not received her ARCs yet, but as soon as she does, she will be sending one out to our lucky winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Add a Comment
50. MATT CHATS: Jim Zub on Finishing Skullkickers and Continuing his Wayward Path

Jim Zub, easily my most-interviewed creator, is on a tear lately. In addition to wonderful corporate-owned work like Figment, he more than stuck the landing on Skullkickers and he nailed the second arc of his new series Wayward. I talked to him about both beginnings, endings and everything in-between. When did you map out the overall story […]

0 Comments on MATT CHATS: Jim Zub on Finishing Skullkickers and Continuing his Wayward Path as of 10/20/2015 2:09:00 AM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts