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:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

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 2,277
26. 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.

Add a Comment
27. 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.)
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.

0 Comments on Guy Davenport on Writing and Reading as of 6/28/2014 12:13:00 PM
Add a Comment
28. 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.

0 Comments on Blog Tour: Writing Process as of 6/27/2014 7:28:00 PM
Add a Comment
29. Interview with Miranda Neville, Author of Lady Windermere’s Lover and Giveaway

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

[Miranda Neville] Romantic. Cynical. Humorous. Idle. English.

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

[Miranda Neville] Lady Windermere’s Lover is the third in a series of books about a badly behaved set of Georgian boys who got chucked out of Oxford in 1789 for breaking into the Bodleian Library’s erotic art collection. We follow their fate ten years later as they have to face the consequences of their wild youth.

Damian, the Earl of Windermere gambled away his estate at the age of twenty-one and was the first of the group to “reform.” Disgusted with himself, he reformed too much and became a stick-in-the-mud diplomat. Unlike his former friends, he needs to loosen up. To win back his estate, he marries heiress Cynthia, whom he resents and treats badly. After a year abroad he comes to make something of his marriage. Shy and dowdy Cynthia has bloomed in his absence, but she is also apparently having an affair with Damian’s former best friend, the Duke of Denford. Just to complicate matters, Damian’s government job requires him to reconcile with Denford at the same time he is trying to win back his wife.

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

[Miranda Neville] I love a marriage of convenience story and in this one the bride has real reason to be pissed off at her husband. He had a lot of work to do to change her mind and it was fun figuring out how to do it. Things like pretending his mattress was too lumpy and he had to share her bed.

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

[Miranda Neville] Because the book opens after they have been married and estranged for a long time, I had to explain what happened in the past without getting bogged down in back story and flashbacks. I did more rewriting for Lady Windermere’s Lover than any other book.

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

[Miranda Neville] I Get A Kick Out of You.

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

[Miranda Neville] My iPhone.

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

[Miranda Neville] Scissors, Metrocard for the New York subway, and a copy of Katharine Ashe’s My Lady, My Lord that I need to pack up and mail as a contest prize.

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

[Miranda Neville] Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue. I would love to have the power to make everyone change their wardrobes for next Spring. She was the model for the boss in The Devil Wears Proda and I promise I would be much nicer to my staff!

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

[Miranda Neville] Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James was just fabulous; I love her books and this is one of her best. The Bad Boy Billionaire trilogy of novellas by Maya Rodale; Maya usually writes historicals but this venture into contemporary romance is so funny and sexy. It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden, another favorite author.

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

[Miranda Neville] Apart from feeling guilty about NOT writing, which happens a lot and is no fun at all, I like to walk, ski, potter in my garden, chat to my friends, and complain about the weather. (That’s because I am English.)

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

[Miranda Neville] I love hearing from readers. Please join me on Facebook, Twitter, or contact me through my website.

Lady Windermere’s Lover

The Wild Quartet Series Book Three

By: Miranda Neville

Releasing June 24th, 2014


Damian, Earl of Windermere, rues the day he drunkenly gambled away his family’s estate and was forced into marriage to reclaim it. Now, after hiding out from his new bride for a year, Damian is finally called home, only to discover that his modest bride has become an alluring beauty—and rumor has it that she’s taken a lover. Damian vows to keep his wife from straying again, but to do so he must seduce her—and protect his heart from falling for the wife he never knew he wanted.
Cynthia never aspired to be the subject of scandal. But with her husband off gallivanting across Persia, what was a lady to do? Flirting shamelessly with his former best friend seemed like the perfect revenge . . . except no matter how little Damian deserves her loyalty, Cynthia can’t bring herself to be unfaithful. But now that the scoundrel has returned home, Cynthia isn’t about to forgive his absence so easily—even if his presence stirs something in her she’d long thought dead and buried. He might win her heart . . . if he can earn her forgiveness!

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/04/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for-lady.html

Goodreads Page for Series, https://www.goodreads.com/series/89518-the-wild-quartet

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Windermeres-Lover-Miranda-Neville-ebook/dp/B00FJ34ZY0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lady-windermeres-lover-miranda-neville/1117005013?ean=9780062243324

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lady-windermere-s-lover

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/lady-windermeres-lover/id718583745?mt=11

Author Info

Miranda Neville grew up in England. During her misspent youth she devoured the works of Georgette Heyer, Jean Plaidy, and any other historical novels she could lay hands on. As a result she attended the University of Oxford to study history, ignoring all hints that economics might be a more practical subject. She spent several years writing catalogs of rare books and original letters and manuscripts for Sotheby’s auction house in London and New York. Much of her time in this job was spent reading the personal correspondence of the famous. This confirmed her suspicion that the most interesting thing about history is people.

Since moving to Vermont, she has worked in Special Collections at Dartmouth College and as an editor and journalist on Behind the Times, a small, idiosyncratic (and now defunct) monthly newspaper. She is the owner and editor of a weekly advertiser in the Upper Valley, a job that leaves her enough time to write fiction.

Her first book, Never Resist Temptation. was published by Avon in 2009. The first two books in the Burgundy Club series will be published in 2010.

She lives with her daugher, Becca, a college student and confirmed drama queen, and two cats who are never on the right side of any door.

Author Links





a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Miranda Neville, Author of Lady Windermere’s Lover and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
30. Spreading the Good Word about Visual Literacy

In our increasingly visual culture we expect readers to respond to pictures. Yet when children approach third grade, there’s mounting pressure to narrow their reading to chapter books — books with no pictures at all. My mission with the new line of TOON Graphics is to make books for readers ages 8 and up that offer both rich text and captivating image — books that promote both verbal and visual literacy.”

This morning over at Kirkus, I chat with designer and editor Françoise Mouly about the launch of TOON Graphics, and I’ll follow up here at 7-Imp next week with some art from their three debut titles.

The Q&A will be here soon.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo used with permission of Françoise Mouly.

0 Comments on Spreading the Good Word about Visual Literacy as of 6/26/2014 11:59:00 AM
Add a Comment
31. Interview with Gail Z Martin, Author of Deadly Curiosities

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Gail Z Martin] Writer, author, scribe, imaginer, storyteller.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Deadly Curiosities?


[Gail Z Martin] Deadly Curiosities takes place in historic, haunted Charleston. Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun 350 years ago – acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market.

When a trip to a haunted hotel unearths a statue steeped in malevolent power, and a string of murders draws a trail to an abandoned section of the old Navy yard, Cassidy and Sorren discover a diabolical plot to unleash a supernatural onslaught on their city.

It’s time for Kincaide and her team to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

The novel will be out in June in bookstores everywhere and online. I also have a free novella, The Final Death, set in the Deadly Curiosities world that’s available free on Wattpad here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/15334006-the-final-death. And I write short stories in the Deadly Curiosities universe (including several time periods in the past) available on Kindle, Kobo and Nook, with more to come.

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

[Gail Z Martin] I visited Charleston a few years back for a conference, and then took my family back for a longer visit. It’s a beautiful place with a rich history and a lot of scandal and salaciousness beneath all the propriety. I loved the city, and I realized that it hadn’t been overdone as an urban fantasy setting. I started brainstorming right then about what kind of a series would be a good fit. Charleston’s one of the most haunted cities in the US, so ghosts fit right in, along with other supernatural creatures. An antique/curio shop also was a natural, because Charleston is full of them, and it would be the obvious place to bring an old, haunted object. From there, the characters took on a life of their own.

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

[Gail Z Martin] I wouldn’t say it was “trouble”, but Deadly Curiosities is my first series set in a real place in the modern time, so that means I can’t just make everything up! It required deciding what elements to make fictitious and where to draw on real people/places/history. And it also took a lot of research and fact-checking!

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

[Gail Z Martin] A book to read. I don’t mind waiting in line if I’ve got a book.

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

[Gail Z Martin] Cup of coffee, smartphone, to-do list.

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

[Gail Z Martin] My dogs. They have it good! Lounge around all day, go for a walk, be waited on paw-and-paw, then on to evening snuggling while watching TV. That’s the life!

[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?

[Gail Z Martin] Super-speed (as long as it came with super-dexterity), so I could finally get caught up on everything I need to do!

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

[Gail Z Martin] Lately I’ve been alternating through the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher and the Secret Histories series by Simon R. Green. (You can actually see most of what I’ve read in the last couple of years on Goodreads. It’s missing older stuff and some ebooks, but it’s got 500 or so of my latest reads!)

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

[Gail Z Martin] You can find me at www.DeadlyCuriosities.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com. I lead monthly conversations on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin and post free excerpts on Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

About the author: Gail Z. Martin writes epic and urban fantasy, steampunk and short stories. She is the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series, the Fallen Kings Cycle series and the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga series of epic fantasy books, as well as the Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy world and coming in 2015, Iron and Blood, a Steampunk novel, co-written with Larry N. Martin. Gail is a frequently contributor to US and UK anthologies. She also writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures

When she’s not writing, Gail also enjoys reading, cooking, watching anime and Dr. Who, and hanging out with her husband, kids and dogs.

The post Interview with Gail Z Martin, Author of Deadly Curiosities appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
32. Interview with Lisa Marie Perry, Author of Midnight Play and Giveaway

Lisa Marie Perry stopped by the virtual offices to chat about Midnight Play.  Please check later this morning for my review of her latest release.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.  

[Lisa Marie Perry] Random. Complicated. Survivor. Searching. Good-intentioned.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] In MIDNIGHT PLAY Dex Harper is a disgraced quarterback in the prime of his career, so Danica Blue—the woman who fired him and smiled while doing it—isn’t one of his favorite people. Until he ends up alone with her and a bag of sex toys. Attraction and awareness throw them both off guard even as she tries to help restore his damaged reputation and they become unlikely friends. Their scorching story unlocks plenty of secrets and rocks Las Vegas.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] Danica’s the “be perfect or die trying” type and Dex is the hell-raiser with a heart. In book #1 of The Blue Dynasty, it’s revealed that Danica fired Dex. Dex isn’t a man who backs down when he sees something he wants. So their romance was practically written in the stars.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] I enjoyed so hard how Dex and Danica fell in love. They screwed up each other’s plans, cracked each other’s armor, and were so sexy and passionate while doing it.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] Writing a “good girl” heroine! Danica Blue is the type of woman I am fascinated with. She seems to have it all so well put together. But … she’s got issues! And this is what I found to be endearing about her. She’s more twisted than perfect and she’s just the gal to keep badass Dex Harper on his toes.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The language. It’s beautiful and broken … and I’ll just stop there.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] Lip balm. I’m a lip balm slut. Just can’t have enough. Although, the thing I should never leave home without is my cell phone, because without it I am lost and distracted.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] Scented candle, Elle Woods—style fuzzy pink ink pen, my favorite perfume. My desk is stress-me-out central, so I try to decorate it with pretty things.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry]  A woman on a glorious honeymoon cruise. Not really the “I’m married!” part, because I’m perpetually single, but the romantic element of being on a honeymoon. And on a cruise. It must be on a cruise.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] I’ve been on a children’s book kick lately and am crazy about the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. Also, I’m hungry for new historical romance. Julie Anne Long’s stories have my heart.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] Researching! Every day I incorporate a bit of research into my day. It could be anything from bringing doughnuts to the local fire station to stalking the Bellagio’s website to browsing sexy men on Pinterest. And when I’m not researching, I’m kicking back eating junk food and thinking sarcastic thoughts.

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

[Lisa Marie Perry] Twitter is my water cooler. I’m plenty inappropriate and sometimes unfiltered. So if for some misguided reason anyone wants to become more acquainted with that side of me, holler at @PerryOrdinary. Also, do visit my website: www.perrytalebooks.com.


Night Games & Midnight Play

The Blue Dynasty Books 1 & 2

By: Lisa Marie Perry



No risk, no reward in the game of love 

Training the Las Vegas Slayers by day, sampling Sin City’s delights by night, Nate Franco’s life is one to envy. But a hot nightclub encounter could change all that. Because Charlotte Blue is more than a beautiful stranger. She’s the daughter of his team’s new owners—and his rival for the top training job. To keep his career and his legacy intact, Nate’s prepared to play a little dirty. 

Charlotte works hard to make her mark in a male-dominated sport. On the field, she and Nate are the picture of professionalism. In the bedroom, she’s risking everything for their breathtaking forbidden affair. But is Nate just using her so his family can reclaim the team—or will they be able to look beyond the passionate games to embrace real love?

Buy Links

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FBZL9TK/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1PDVQX3QYAXEDFXWE6RZ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846



Love evens the score 

As general manager of the Las Vegas Slayers, Danica Blue goes toe-to-toe with players whose size is matched only by their egos. Quarterback Dex Harper is the biggest and toughest of them all, with a hell-raiser reputation that he insists he doesn’t deserve. And Danica, the good daughter who’s always played by the rules, is suddenly tempted to break every last one. 

Football is the only thing Dex has ever been able to count on. To save his career he needs Danica’s PR savvy, and he’s happy to help her discover her inner bad girl in return. But glimpsing the real woman behind that sexy, flawless facade is making him realize how much is at stake. Because getting back on the team could mean losing Danica, unless he’s willing to risk it all—and play for keeps….

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I66GD5G/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i4?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0CCDZ7437VWK9DMJMXG6&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midnight-play-lisa-marie-perry/1118053061?ean=9780373863648

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/03/now-booking-tasty-review-tour-for.html

Author Info

Lisa Marie Perry encounters difficult fictional men and women on a daily basis. She writes contemporary romance fiction with plenty of sizzle, energy and depth. Flawed, problematic, damaged characters are welcome. Her tales feature exciting multicultural mash-ups, sexy guy-next-door heroes and powerful larger-than-life alphas who are brought to their knees by the love of complicated women.

According to Lisa Marie, an imagination’s a terrible thing to ignore. So is a good cappuccino. After years of college, customer service gigs and a career in caregiving, she at last gave in to buying an espresso machine and writing to her imagination’s desire. She lives in America’s heartland and she has every intention of making the Colorado mountains her new stomping grounds. She drives a truck, enjoys indie rock, collects Medieval literature, watches too many comedies, has a not-so-secret love for lace and adores rugged men with a little bit of nerd.

Author Links




Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card and Print Copies of NIGHT GAMES and MIDNIGHT PLAY)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


“Here. Your, uh, personal items scattered when you dropped your purse.”

Danica took the tiny item, and finding it unfamiliar, twisted it to read the label. Travel-sized massage oil. Cherry flavored.

A gasp almost slipped out, but she pressed her lips together and watched for his reaction. But he was diligently scooping the other runaway items—a silky blindfold, a pair of mini “sex dice,” a strip of condoms—into the pink goody bag Veda had jammed into her purse.

Crap. Blunders like this didn’t happen to her. What could she say to kill both the awkwardness and the electric current of tension that ping-ponged between them? “These are gifts.”

Dex looked her in the eyes, handing her the bag. His fingers swept her palm, and he straightened, distancing himself. Too late. His touch, despite how brief and innocent, had sparked a sensation that penetrated her flesh and was working its way into her bloodstream.

Count on a few strippers to make her overly aware of a good-looking man.

“Your…gifts…are no business of mine.” But the heat that danced in his gaze as it flicked from the pink bag to her eyes told her that maybe he’d like them to be his business. 

The post Interview with Lisa Marie Perry, Author of Midnight Play and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
33. Interview with Alexis Fleming, Author of Framed and Hung

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

[Alexis Fleming] Passionate, quirky, irreverent, stubborn, focused

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Framed and Hung?

[Alexis Fleming] This is a fun story about two people who both like to be the one in control, in bed and out. Throw in a matchmaking mama and a ghost who likes to goose women and it makes for a lot of fireworks.

Here’s the blurb for it.

Job satisfaction has never been this good…

If there’s one thing Zoe Chandler, Historical Restorations expert, knows, it’s that naked bankers aren’t supposed to look like Greek Gods. Honestly, it’s enough to make any woman pause. Luckily, Zoe is more of a take charge, rush in where angels fear to tread kind of girl, and she definitely has fantasies of rushing towards Jake. But Jake is a man who is all about control, and there’s no way he’s going to let Zoe run this show.  

Nude paintings, blackmail, and mind-numbing sexual frustration…will either of them survive this project?

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

[Alexis Fleming] I love the spa scene which happens right at the beginning of the book. The last thing Zoe expects to find when she takes on a new job of restoring a heritage-listed inn is the very upright banker Jake, naked as the day he was born. My sassy-mouthed heroine can’t help but comment and Jake is totally thrown for a loop. Jake quickly loses control of the situation and is not certain of anything…except for the fact that the delightful Zoe pushes his buttons.

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

[Alexis Fleming] There wasn’t actually anything that gave me a problem. I enjoy every story I write, but this one was a real joy. The characters spoke so strongly to me, so they dictated and I just wrote it down.

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

[Alexis Fleming] Hmm, probably a good book. I ruin a lot of handbags because I always have books stuffed in them. 

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

[Alexis Fleming] My desk is pristine right now, a place for everything and everything in its place…NOT! Lol I wish!

Actually, one thing that takes pride of place on my desk is a little black dink-bat given to me by a member of a writing group I belong to called the Bat Cave. He sits in a basket on top of the consol and stares down at me while I’m working. I also have a new addition. A tall fluted and stemmed glass with the Samhain Publishing logo on the side that I brought back from the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans this year.

Oh, and I have a crystal dish of polished amethysts. I love the feel of them and will often roll them around in my palm when I’m sitting here thinking about my latest story.

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

[Alexis Fleming] Chocolate, of course. Doesn’t every writer love chocolate? And if I’m working at the tail end of the day, cheese and crackers and a glass of mellow red will do the trick, too.

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

[Alexis Fleming] I’d love to be Kathryn Falk for a day, although that woman works like a Trojan. Kathryn is the founder and CEO of Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine. I love this woman. She’s so dynamic, so full of energy and vitality, one of the most incredibly interesting women I’ve ever met. I wouldn’t mind borrowing some of that energy for a day.

[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?

[Alexis Fleming] If you’d asked me that when my kids were small, I’d have chosen to be Super-Mom, with a wasp-thin waist and perky boobs, of course. And never a hair out of place, make-up artfully applied, right down to the false eyelashes, with the power to move mountains, do housework with the flick of a finger, read my kids’ minds when they tell me they’re at college and I know they’ve cut class to go out with the latest hottie(mwhahahaha).

As for now, hmm, have to give that one some more thought. Would I like the ability to read men’s minds? Nah, maybe not. So much more fun in the discovery rather than always knowing what he’s thinking.

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

[Alexis Fleming] For a start, I always enjoy whichever book I’m writing. If I don’t enjoy it, how can I expect a reader to find enjoyment in the story?

Other books? Hmm, I’m a pretty voracious reader and read across a lot of genres, but at the moment I’ve devouring the Shelly Laurenston books. I do love me a shifter. I’ve also just finished reading Stephanie Laurens’ “And Then She Fell.”

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

[Alexis Fleming] You can send me a message through the contact page on my website. http://www.alexisfleming.net

Or catch me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alexisfleming or on Twitter http://twitter.com/Alexis_Fleming

If there’s one thing Zoe Chandler, Historical Restorations expert, knows, it’s that naked bankers aren’t supposed to look like Greek gods. Honestly, it’s enough to make any woman pause. Luckily, Zoe is more of a take-charge, rush-in-where-angels-fear-to-tread kind of girl, and she definitely has fantasies of rushing towards Jake. But Jake is a man who is all about control, and there’s no way he’s going to let Zoe run this show.

Nude paintings, blackmail, and mind-numbing sexual frustration…will either of them survive this project?

The post Interview with Alexis Fleming, Author of Framed and Hung appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
34. Angela Johnson on All Different Now

johnson all different now Angela Johnson on All Different NowOn this day in 1865 — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued — abolition was finally announced in Texas, the last stronghold of slavery. In the May/June 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Robin Smith asked author Angela Johnson about the closing words and image of All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom. Read the starred review here.

Robin L. Smith: The last spread shows the family packing up and leaving, an image I loved. The text simply says, “all different now.” Who made the decision that this family would leave when the text gives no hint of it?

Angela Johnson: The heart of All Different Now is truly the essence of change. Change might seem to come slowly but at the same time appear to come out of nowhere, swiftly. With that said, though, I played no part in the decision to show the family packing to leave at the end of the book. But I have always believed the measure of a good working text is that the artist can go beyond and interpret the emotions of a manuscript. E. B. [Lewis] has done this wonderfully.

From the May/June 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

share save 171 16 Angela Johnson on All Different Now

The post Angela Johnson on All Different Now appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Angela Johnson on All Different Now as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
35. Anna Staniszewski: THE PRANK LIST Blog Tour

THE PRANK LIST by Anna Staniszewski

Today, I am so excited to welcome back Anna Staniszewski! Anna visited this blog when she was wrapping up her My Very UnFairytale Life series and wrote a great post about character development in Give Your Main Character a Mirror. Anna’s newest book, the second in her Dirt Diary series, THE PRANK LIST, launches July 1. From Anna’s blog, here’s a bit about THE PRANK LIST:

Rachel never thought she’d fight for the right to clean toilets, but she has to save her mom’s business. Nothing can distract her from her mission – except maybe Whit, the cute new guy in cooking class. Then she discovers something about Whit that could change everything. After destroying her Dirt Diary, Rachel thought she was done with secrets, but to save her family’s business, Rachel’s going to have to get her hands dirty. Again.

I loved THE DIRT DIARY, so I was delighted to have an opportunity to read an ARC of THE PRANK LIST. These books are so much fun! In an interview on The Book Cellar, you mention that you usually come up with the premise for a story before plot or characters. What inspired the premise for THE PRANK LIST?

At the end of The Dirt Diary, there’s talk about Rachel taking a pastry class at a local bakery. That idea stuck in my head, and I wondered what would happen if Rachel got to the class and it wasn’t at all what she thought it would be. As for where the “prank war” idea came from in the story, I thought it would be interesting to bring in a rival cleaning service so we could see how far Rachel is willing to go to save her mom’s business.

The main character in your book, Rachel, loves to bake. Details like her first disaster with the caramel squares—a pan of goo on one side and crunchy crystals on the other—sound so authentic. Did Rachel get her love of baking from you?

Sadly, Rachel’s baking mishaps in this book are very much inspired by my own. I love eating baked goods, but I’m not a very good cook. My big problem is that I’m impatient, so anything that takes more than a half hour is a deal-breaker for me. Rachel is the kind of baker I wish I could be!

On Stephen Macquignon’s blog, you wrote about thinking visually in novels. One of your tips was to repeat an image for emphasis. Can you tell us about an important image from THE PRANK LIST?

Good question! I wanted Rachel to feel taunted by the rival cleaning business’s vans (red and black ones painted to look like ladybugs) that seem to follow her all around town. Every time she sees one, she feels like it’s mocking her, and she becomes more and more desperate to succeed.

I loved Rachel’s best friend Marisol when we met her in THE DIRT DIARY, but I loved her even more in this book. Without giving away spoilers, can you tell us a little about Marisol’s role in this story?

Marisol tends to be the voice of reason in Rachel’s life, but at the same time, she would do anything to help Rachel. So in this book, it was interesting to explore how far Marisol is willing to veer away from her moral compass in order to help her best friend.

You recently wrote a guest post for Janet Fox, Creating a Believable Tween Voice, in which you urged writers to focus on emotions. Does Rachel, the main character in your story, have a particular emotion that defines her or drives her actions?

Rachel always means well and she tries to do the right thing, but she often lets her good intentions get her into trouble when she starts feeling desperate and frantic. That’s when things get out of control and she winds up making decisions that aren’t necessarily the right ones.

Another fun element of voice in this story is Rachel’s exclamations, like “Oh my goldfish,” and “Crabgrass!” Did you have to try out a lot of sayings before finding the ones that seemed natural to Rachel?

Coming up with funny sayings has become a bit of a game in my house. I’m always testing new ones out on my husband, and he’s even started a list of ones that he thinks I might like.

Anna, thank you for stopping by today!

You can find out more about Anna on the other stops on her blog tour, including her guest posts, I Sold My Book: Now What?, What to Expect After the Sale, and an interview with Nancy Tandon on her writing process for THE PRANK LIST.

Anna StaniszewskiAbout Anna:
Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. Currently, she lives outside Boston with her husband and their crazy dog. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time reading, daydreaming, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series and the Dirt Diary series. Her newest book, The Prank List, releases on July 1st from Sourcebooks. You can visit Anna at www.annastan.com.

Add a Comment
36. Interview with Jenny Schwartz, Author of Hero Duty


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

[Jenny Schwartz] Magpie curious. Read-aholic.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Hero Duty?

[Jenny Schwartz] “Hero Duty” is about two people trying to build new lives. Brodie is an ex-soldier who never thought he’d leave the Australian army. Jessica is insanely wealthy, but devastated by family secrets and trauma. She needs someone on her side and sets out to hire an emotional bodyguard – I think we all wish we had one of those sometimes.

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

[Jenny Schwartz] I love the scenes where Brodie is being tough-guy sweet, but one of the most fun is when he decides tackling an assault course will help Jessica:

‘And that’s why we’re heading out,’ Brodie said. ‘You need some time outside your own head. Less thinking, more doing.’

‘Doing what?’

‘An assault course.’

She choked on her pastry.


‘I really don’t think this is a good idea,’ Jessica said as Brodie rolled up the cuffs on her camouflage gear.

He wore his like a natural. She felt as if she were on her way to a costume party. A costume party with mud. She eyed the assault course dubiously. Then she turned to look at her fellow weekend warriors.

‘It’s only two kilometres,’ Brodie said. ‘A doddle.’

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

[Jenny Schwartz] One of my favourite fairy tales is Cinderella; not because she gets her prince, but because her prince (like anyone who loves us) shows her that she’s valued and in doing so, helps her recognise her own strength. That’s what Brodie does for Jessica, but the challenge for me as an author was to ensure that as readers we could empathise with a billionaire heroine. So often we think (and too often it is really true) that more money would solve our problems. With Jessica I had to be convincing that money caused her problems and it’s love that will solve them.

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

[Jenny Schwartz] Comfy shoes. Seriously, I just bought my first pair of Skechers and I’m a fan. Probably also an unfashionable dweeb, but I can live with that ?

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

[Jenny Schwartz] Laptop, pen and paper. I don’t know about you, but To Do Lists are my salvation. Pen and paper take the chaos from my brain and put it down in colourful ink.

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

[Jenny Schwartz] I’m trying not to be a sugar addict, so I won’t say chocolate. Vegemite on toast – and if you’re not an Aussie, you’re undoubtedly making “eww” faces reading that. It’s an acquired taste.

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

[Jenny Schwartz] Barak Obama. That’s the closest to being Empress (or Emperor, in his case) of the World, which is my destiny. I’m kidding! But I’m a novelist because I’m a control freak and think reality generally gets things wrong. For a day, I could do better ?

[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?

[Jenny Schwartz] A superpower? Well, I was just complaining the other day that I’d like to be able to step outside time and get a few things done. Then I might actually catch up with 2013. What do you mean it’s 2014??? Yeah, I need that time suspension superpower!

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

[Jenny Schwartz] I’ve been on a Shelly Laurenston re-reading kick. I adore her shifters. They’re sexy and funny and loving. Michelle Diener’s Regency London series has lured me back into reading historical romance. She’s a friend and her books are as clever as she is. Plus I’m hanging out for Ilona Andrews’ new series, A Hidden Legacy. Finally, my critique partner, Eliza Redgold, has a new contemporary romance out, set in Broome (which is a gorgeous tropical holiday resort town in Western Australia), Hide and Seek. Birds, waterfalls and a sexy American hotel developer — irresistible!

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

[Jenny Schwartz] My website, http://authorjennyschwartz.com is a great place to start since I have all my links there and I blog. I also love chatting to people on:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorjennyschwartz

Twitter https://twitter.com/Jenny_Schwartz

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1330145.Jenny_Schwartz

BookLikes http://jennyschwartz.booklikes.com/

Google Plus https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JennySchwartz/posts

LOL with all that chatting, it’s a wonder I find time to write! Thanks, Julie, for the chance to chat at Manga Maniac Café.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thanks so much for stopping by!

She can buy anything she wants, except the courage to stand up to her family. That’s where he comes in.

Jessica Trove is a billionaire Cinderella, bullied by her family, and terrified of the responsibilities crashing down on her shoulders. She knows what she needs to do – she just needs to find the courage to do it.

That’s where Brodie Carlton comes in. Jessica is used to buying anything she wants, and what she wants right now is a hero. She’s going to make Brodie Carlton an offer he can’t refuse: be her emotional bodyguard, and she’ll make him rich. The only question is who will guard their hearts?

Buy link: http://bit.ly/HeroDuty

The post Interview with Jenny Schwartz, Author of Hero Duty appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

Add a Comment
37. 5 Questions with Best Selling Author JC Herz

BookBuzzr author JC Herz’s book – ‘Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness‘ recently hit the #1 spot on the Amazon. We reached out to JC Herz to learn more about her story.

The screenshot below was taken on June 05, 2014.

1. Congratulations JC Herz. We’re so excited to have you here with us. To start with, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I started writing professionally as a teenage rock critic for The Boston Phoenix, while I was a Harvard undergraduate. It was my scheme to see bands in bars (they don’t card people on the press list). Every time I wrote an album review I got $50. I thought it was amazing. In my senior year I stumbled into this thing that not very many people knew about, called the Internet, and wrote a book about it, published in 1994 (the white hot year of “cyberspace” – that book was published in ten languages). Next book was a history of videogames, which led to writing a column about computer game design for The New York Times. I didn’t find a book topic that intrigued me as much as the Internet (when no-one knew about it) or videogames as a formative experience for Generation X, until CrossFit. Hopefully my cultural antennae are still well calibrated.

I also co-wrote a children’s e-book, A Dark & Dismal Flower, just released on iTunes and Google Play. It’s a gothic fairy tale filled with animated illustrations, published by Coliloquy. The illustrations are stunning – our aspiration was to create one of the first works of classic children’s literature for a tablet device.

2. How did you come up with the idea for ‘Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness’?

My husband found CrossFit after a serious back injury (ruptured disc – the result of a stupid bootcamp workout at the Y) made him swear to make his core so strong that he’d never have another back injury. He drank the Kool-Aid and started talking nonstop about CrossFit (The First Rule of CrossFit is, Always Talk About CrossFit). It was boring and annoying. So I figured, I had to try CrossFit for the sake of our marriage. If I liked it, I’d enjoy talking the same gibberish and it’d bring us together as a couple. If I didn’t like it, at least I’d get credit for trying, and I could start to draw some boundaries around Workout-of-the-Day dissertations at dinner time.

Unlike my husband, I am not a stellar athlete – I’m an excellent example of what you can do with zero genetic potential for sports. But the experience of CrossFit was so primal, and the tribal quality of the box was so powerful, that I realized something really interesting was going on, that deserved a book-length treatment. What makes CrossFit fun to write about is, it’s mythic – the sportswriting passages in Learning to Breathe Fire are present-tense, but also have an epic quality (barbells at the gates of Troy, sort of thing). Connecting the modern to the ancient – today’s throwdowns to the genesis of sport in ancient human society – was revelatory. And it got me back in touch with some amazing classics scholars who have some mind-stretching perspectives on athletics.

3. How did you feel when you discovered that your book was #1 in the Sports Psychology category on Amazon? Did you go out and celebrate?

It was a fantastic surprise, and I immediately posted it to Fire’s FB page! I did celebrate at the book’s DC event, which was also the grand opening of a CrossFit box in Northern Virginia. But beyond that, getting #1 in a category was helpful because I’m not sure booksellers were sure where to shelve this book. With sports literature? Anthropology? Epic chronicles of mountain-climbing and other “extreme” adventures? Pop culture? It’s a cross-cutting book, which sounds good but creates an uncomfortable ambiguity about how to categorize the title. Seeing the book go to #1 in Sports Psychology grounded me, so I could say, OK, Sports Psychology, that’s an awesome category full of really interesting ideas – let’s own that.

4. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I’d never done sportswriting, and it’s a blast. On a deeper level, as a younger writer I think I was caught up in being clever, and having a smart-ass take on everything, and writing Fire taught me to write un-ironically about experiences that are primal and mythic, and to weave science and business strands into those character-driven narratives. I grew up and found a deeper, more mature voice. As a human being, I learned a lot from the athletes who shared their stories. Am especially indebted to Greg Amundson, “the original firebreather,” for his wisdom about how to handle tough situations. In some ways, the reporting for this book was like interviewing a series of samurais and warrior monks – people who are unbelievably kick-ass, and at the same time very wise. Lastly, reporting on active duty military CrossFitters gave me a new appreciation for the fortitude of our men and women in uniform (and the contractors who work with them, in hot and dusty places). These are people who lived in shipping containers stacked on top of each other and jumped out of bed in the morning ready to hit some insane CrossFit workout or dodge mortar fire (or both simultaneously). Crown sent an advance copy of Fire to every military CrossFit box we could locate (the APO/FPO mail service is amazingly reliable) – notes back from military CrossFitters were incredibly humbling and gratifying.

5. Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?

I feel like my biggest mistake is not doing everything that people do on social media – there’s too little time and attention to do it all. Fire has a great and very engaged community on Facebook (I love having the Bookbuzzr excerpt there). I don’t do a lot of long-form blogging, and I have a guilty feeling that I should be posting a lot more to Instagram. I’m “micro-excerpting” the book on Twitter (i.e. posting the “zingers” that make people laugh or reminisce) but sometimes Twitter feels like a million people howling into the wind. I’ve been AWOL on GoodReads. I wish some wise man or wise woman of publishing could tell me what’s actually worth an author’s time, in terms of social media.


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._________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Add a Comment
38. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Kevin Sherry

That really should say six questions over breakfast. And no Pivot Questionnaire, which my visitor today, author-illustrator Kevin Sherry, opted out of. This is fine. He’s a busy guy, because as you can see here, he doesn’t just create books. He also dons his big blue bear head to entertain crowds of dancing children, guitar in hand (which you can read about below).

Kevin’s got a brand-new book out. Let me say first: If, by chance, you aren’t familiar with his books, I’ve got seven words for you. (Wait, that is not half as dramatic as something like two words for you, but moving on …) I’m. The. Biggest. Thing. In. the. Ocean. Those are the seven words and the title of his debut picture book, which is a favorite of mine and such a superb story time choice for the wee young crowd. (I’m lookin’ right at you, story time librarians.) The starred Kirkus review for this book says, no less, that “waves of exuberance” emanate from this book, and it’s true. This debut was in 2010, and ever since then, I watch his new releases with interest. Also, I’ve wanted to interview him since then. Better late than never!

The new book is Turtle Island (Dial, May 2014). It’s about friendship and community, and not surprisingly (for fans of his debut book), opens with “I’m a giant turle, and I’m as BIG as an island.” For this new story, Sherry penciled, inked, and then painted with watercolors. Oh, and his upcoming new chapter book about cryptids (image below) looks mighty fun, too.

As for our breakfast today, Kevin works morning shift at a restaurant, “so I ended up eating a lot of pieces of baguettes, and I found myself feeling a little sluggish, so I started eating oatmeal with apricots and toasted almonds, ’cause we got the apricots and almonds in the restaurant, and I feel myself feeling better and not being hungry for a while.” I like how he said that in one breath. It might be hard to keep up with him this morning, but I’ll give it a try.

I thank him for visiting and sharing lots of his art.

* * * * * * *

Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

Kevin: I studied Illustration at school (MICA), but I was always telling stories, and there’s no one else on the cover, so Author-Illustrator.

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


  • I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean
  • Acorns Everywhere
  • Ben Loves Joy (Korean publisher)
  • A spread in Manners Mash-Up
  • Illustrations for Animals Behaving Badly by Linda Lombardi
  • I’m the Scariest Thing in the Castle
  • Turtle Island
  • The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet (October, Scholastic)

  • Jules: What is your usual medium?

    Kevin: I used paper cuts and watercolor for my first, but now for Turtle Island [pictured below] and Yeti, it’s just pen and watercolor. But everything, no matter if it’s a screen print or a t-shirt or a book, always starts with pencil and eraser. Even with the eraser, I always draw the thing seven times over.

    “And the sea didn’t seem so big anymore. Until …”
    (Click to enlarge)

    [Ed. Note, Speaking of Medium: I would like to point out that the copyright page note for I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean says the following: "The art was completed in three layers, each separated by glass that was pried from the windows of shipwrecked pirate ships. There is a watercolor layer background, then a cut-paper level, and finally, an ink layer consisting of 100% fresh squid ink."]

    (Click to enlarge)

    A tattoo or two
    (Click to enlarge)

    Mmm. Coffee.Okay, that was quick. He is to the point. I like this. We’ve got more coffee, and it’s time to get a bit more detailed with six questions over breakfast, and we’re just going to have to imagine his responses to The Pivot Questionnaire. I thank Kevin 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?

    (Click to enlarge)


    : The books get six to ten re-writes.

    To brainstorm for books, I go to the basement of the Enoch Pratt Public Library here in Baltimore. That’s where the kids’ section is. It’s got this great vibe and this cool fountain. I scour the shelves and get a huge pile of books. I take it back to a table and I pour over the pages, jotting things down in my sketchbook. I’m listening to positive electronic music, like Dan Deacon or Daft Punk or Ratatat. So, I get my brainstorming engine going like that. I also hit Barnes & Noble to see what books they’ve chosen to display. Something that took me a while to learn, but now has made my life easier, is that you have to make books that the public wants. You want to make something that is emotionally-fulfilling and a valuable product at the same time.

    Working on The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet

    (Click each to enlarge)

    And I always have my sketchbook with me, always. You have to capture ideas when they flutter through your mind, because they aren’t there forever. For the kids’ books, I fold rectangles of paper in half, to make [them] like a book spread. And then I plan it out, in terms of making a story in 16 or 20 spreads. It starts with the writing then, and then a loose sketch, and then six more times, drawing it and improving the drawings. For the longer, 144-page Yeti book, it started with writing the different plot lines separately on index cards. Then I figure out how I’m going to intertwine them. Then I draw it out a bunch of times, until it’s good and ready.

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

    (Click to enlarge)


    : My studio is in my house. It used to be most of the downstairs, but I scaled it back, because I had to get a renter in, and I didn’t want the studio to encroach too much in what is usually a common space. So, I don’t have all the walls covered in art, but wherever my studio is [and] wherever I am, the walls are covered in art, because I need to look at the stuff I’m working on all the time. I got the TV on and maybe some music or maybe Netflix on the projector and COPS on mute on the TV. I like to listen to the TV more than music when I’m doing my drawing and actual physical artwork. I like the talking.

    (Click to enlarge)

    (Click to enlarge)

    (Click to enlarge)

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

    (Click to enlarge)


    : The first book I read that blew me away and got me hooked on books is Matilda by Roald Dahl. It was the thickest book I had read so far, and it was like, “If I can read this, I can read anything!” And my biggest influence ever was Quentin Blake. He did Dahl’s younger stuff, so I guess you could say the illustrator lead me to reading novels and stuff. And then Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions ushered me into the Orwell, Kafka, Burroughs part of my life.

    But artists: Maurice Sendak, of course, big-time. The Simpsons, big-time. Of course, Quentin Blake, Ralph Steadman, Shel Silverstein.

    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.)

    Kevin: I would have a cup of coffee with Bill Watterson and really ask him why he is still in hiding, why he won’t share his talent with the world. I get it that he doesn’t like “the man,” but he had such an intelligent, brilliant voice in American culture and was able to communicate huge ideas to a huge amount of people. And I get that you can do whatever you want with your life, but also with great power comes great responsibility.

    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?

    Kevin: Dan Deacon, Future Islands, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, Daft Punk, Ratatat, Lightning Bolt, Chester Endersby Gwazda. Cool stuff.


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

    Kevin: I cook as a day job. It’s frustrating sometimes, but you gotta do what you gotta do til you go over. I’m a puppeteer as well. I do a variety of shows in this awesome place, Black Cherry Puppet Theatre, here in Baltimore. Also, I have an act where I wear a bear head I made and play guitar pop songs to preschool kids and birthday parties.

    (Click to enlarge)


    (Click to enlarge)



    * * * * * * *

    All artwork and images are used with permission of Kevin Sherry.

    3 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Kevin Sherry, last added: 6/20/2014
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    39. Meet Lee Goram from Hunter by Night by Elisabeth Staab and Giveaway


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

    [Lee Goram] Jesus, I don’t know. Tall. (Does that count as five words?)

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in your life?

    [Lee Goram] I keep an eye on Thad, our leader. I monitor his day to day security and that of community. I also assist in training our military arm, the foot soldiers and the special ops guys who go out into other areas to keep the vampires safe from our enemies. When necessary, I also assist in taking down those same enemies but I guess that’s not so typical. Mostly, I stay close to the king and his family. That’s my primary responsibility.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Alexia?

    [Lee Goram] She’s… I don’t know. Challenging. Fucking gorgeous. Everything. She’s everything.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s her most appealing quality?

    [Lee Goram] The challenging part. For awhile I convinced myself I only found her attractive like any male with eyes and a pulse would. Somewhere along the way it hit me that nobody at has the balls to get mouthy with me like Alexia does. I mean not to get full of myself, but in our community few are above me aside from the royal family. Nobody gives me shit; nobody sticks their finger in my chest and talks back to me.

    Alexia does.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] What just drives you nuts about her?

    [Lee Goram] Try everything. The way she keeps sneaking out in the day even thought I tell her it’s not safe and I can’t be there to protect her. The way she can’t drive across town without stopping for Starbucks. That irritating music she listens to—“electronica” I think they call it?—I think it’s blown out her brain. I think mostly it’s the fact that her humanity makes it hard for me to take care of her the way I wish I could, that it makes our lives together on certain. Nothings certain, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

    [Lee Goram] I would have not let my ego get the best of me. Sometimes I think I’m the only one who can fix something, the only one who knows what’s best. That’s a sinkhole of delusion and I’ve fallen in a couple, five hundred times.

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

    [Lee Goram] A four-inch lockblade.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

    [Lee Goram] I wish for peace. Crazy wish for someone who’s fought his entire existence, but I would be okay with being put out of a job for the right reasons.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

    [Lee Goram] And thank you, ma’am.

    She wants out

    Party girl Alexia Blackburn is only hanging around the vampire compound until her best friend—the queen—has her baby. After that, nothing is going to stop Alexia from getting back to daylight, safety, and feeling like a normal human being. But leaving the vampire world has one big catch…

    He needs her to stay

    Head of vampire security Lee Goram has hated and distrusted humans for centuries. Feeding on vampire blood has kept him strong…but now it’s killing him—and he’s horrified to discover that Alexia may hold the key to his cure. He’d rather die defending his king than admit his weakness, but time is running out for the great vampire warrior…

    Author Website: http://elisabethstaab.com/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethStaabRomance

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElisabethStaab

    Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Books A Million | IndieBound | Indigo

    Author Bio: Elisabeth Staab still lives with her nose in a book and at least one foot in an imaginary world. She believes that all kinds of safe and sane love should be celebrated but she adores the fantasy-filled realm of paranormal romance the best. She loves to spend time with good friends, good music, good beverages, and good books (when she isn’t making characters fall in love, that is). She lives with her family and one big scaredy-cat in Northern Virginia, outside of Washington DC.

    US shipping addresses only

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The post Meet Lee Goram from Hunter by Night by Elisabeth Staab and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

    Add a Comment
    40. Interview with Auralee Wallace, Author of Sidekick and Giveaway


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

    [Auralee Wallace] Funny. Smartish. Kind. Careful. Offbeat.

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

    [Auralee Wallace] I like to think that Sidekick is just like Cinderella…if Cinderella wanted to be a superhero instead of a princess…and was a smartass. 

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

    [Auralee Wallace] Oh, that’s a tough one. If I have to pick a favourite, there is this one scene where my main character, Bremy St. James, makes a very Mission Impossible type escape from a dire situation. I like this scene because I think it’s a turning point for her in that she realizes maybe, just maybe, she can do the impossible…and she has a cool exit line. I like cool exit lines.

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

    [Auralee Wallace] A lot of the humour in Sidekick has to do with stereotypes and the expectations surrounding those stereotypes. For example, Bremy’s landlord is a Russian mobster with a glass eyeball, but he’s also a pretty nice guy in a semi-psychotic kind of way. Not crossing the line from exploring a stereotype to exploiting a group of people can be difficult, so I am always struggling to keep these issues in mind while I’m writing. I don’t want to take the jokes too far.

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

    [Auralee Wallace] Hmm, the only thing I can’t really leave home without is, well, my children. I have forgotten just about everything else you could possibly imagine: wallet, glasses, phone, the cat on my way to the vet…but I have yet to forget my kids. High-five me!

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

    [Auralee Wallace] 1. Empty coffee mug.

    2. Love note from my five year old.

    3. Books…lots and lots of books.

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

    [Auralee Wallace] Serena Williams. I bet she has never struggled to open a pickle jar.

    [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?

    [Auralee Wallace] Ah! This one is so hard! Seriously, I seem to give this question more gravitas than it deserves…like it might actually happen, and  I had better choose wisely. Okay so, I really want to fly, but I also really want to be invisible – and yes, I would absolutely do creepy things with that power. There’s also mind control to consider…that would be pretty great. Then I could compel David Tennant to put on his old Doctor Who costume and we could role-play some of my favourite episodes! Okay, that’s pretty creepy too. How’s about we just stick with the flying thing?

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

    [Auralee Wallace] Lately I’ve read quite the mix. Hmm, let’s see there was The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard, The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas and the first installment of Jonathan Janz’s Savage Species, Night Terrors. And may I just say in regards to Savage Species, well, I haven’t read any horror like that since I was a teenager. It was…really…wow. There’s this scene with a machete and an alien/insectoid type creature with a really big…well, you may not want to know about that…but wow. It reminded me of the movie Piranha 3D…and now I’ve just admitted that I’ve watched Piranha 3D. I’m just going to stop now.

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

    Website: auraleewallace.com

    Facebook: Auralee Wallace Author


    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8119821.Auralee_Wallace

    Thank you!


    Auralee Wallace

    Genre: Fantasy/Superhero

    Publisher: Escape Publishing

    Date of Publication: 1 June 2014

    ISBN: 9780857991591

    ASIN: Will be available end of April

    Number of pages: Approx 172

    Word Count: 73 818

    Cover Artist: Danielle Mait

    Book Description:

    Heroes meets Kick-Ass in this brilliant and hilarious debut about a girl who just wants to save the world…

    Bremy St James, daughter of billionaire Atticus St James, has been cut off from the family fortune and is struggling to survive in a world that no longer holds its breath every time she buys a new outfit. To make matters worse, her twin sister is keeping secrets, loan sharks are circling, and the man of her dreams — a newspaper reporter — is on assignment to bring down everyone with the last name St James.

    Things are certainly looking bleak for the down-and-out socialite until a good deed throws her into the path of the city’s top crime-fighter, Dark Ryder. Suddenly, Bremy has a new goal: apprentice to a superhero, and start her own crime-fighting career.

    Ryder has no need for a sidekick, but it turns out the city needs Bremy’s help. Atticus St James is planning the crime of the century, and Bremy may be the only one able to get close enough to her father to stop him.

    Now all she needs to do is figure out this superhero thing in less than a month, keep her identity secret from the man who could very well be The One, and save the city from total annihilation.

    Well, no one ever said being a superhero would be easy…

    About the Author:

    Auralee Wallace has played many roles in her life, including college professor, balloon seller, and collections agent. She is now living her dream of writing humorous women’s fiction. When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children (and psychiatric nurse to two rescue cats) isn’t writing or playing soccer, she can be found watching soap operas with lurid fascination and warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard.




    Tour giveaway details

    5 ebook copies of Sidekick

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The post Interview with Auralee Wallace, Author of Sidekick and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

    Add a Comment
    41. Interview with Louise Forster, Author of Home Truths

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

    [Louise Forster] Family. Loving. Tenacious. Strong. Joie de vivre.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Home Truths?

    [Louise Forster] Jennifer Dove leaves London for an Australian country town, Tumble Creak, to attend her uncle’s mad-cap funeral. She doesn’t plan on staying, life in London is too exciting, but it turns out not as exciting as a hot country town and a hot gorgeous guy. Calum is out to protect her from all manner of things, especially her uncle’s house. As much as she wants him, Jennifer can’t ignore her past mistakes and her dream. She feels trouble is a touch away, and can’t get back to London fast enough. Calum is more than disappointed she left believing ill of him. But he has plans and he will make them happen, no matter what.

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

    [Louise Forster] Calum arrives just in time to see Jennifer’s bottom disappear through a second story window. She is slung over fireman Bruce’s shoulder; he’s a rookie and has only ever rescued a mannequin. Jennifer hears Calum behind her chatting with Bruce. She desperately tries to pull her top down to cover her bum. In fear for her life, she clings to Bruce and is toe-gripping fluffy pink stilettos. Her world below seesaws and someone from the local paper is taking photographs.

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

    [Louise Forster] Knowing when to cut and when to stop fiddling.

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

    [Louise Forster] Hahahaha…my undies, and it never has or ever will happen. But I had friend a while back who was always forgetting to put them on. Halfway to the shops, her face would change, she’d get this “Holy crap!” look. One summer’s day with a hot northerly wind gusting, her dress blew up and a truckie got an eyeful. He was a very happy man. I bet he smiled the rest of the day, especially since he missed the tree.

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

    [Louise Forster] Glass of mineral water. Anniversary card. A photo of DH and me.

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

    [Louise Forster] Anything I can lay my hands on that won’t send me to sleep or give me heart palpitations. I’m allergic to sulphites and Amines, a natural preservative in all foods, some more than others. And the older the food, the more Amines. The allergy unit at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital did a very interesting study on this problem and published a very useful handbook. (Just in case there are any of you out there Smile)

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

    [Louise Forster] That’s very difficult. But, as I love music, I’m going with Gwen Stefani or Pink. I’d love to be able to belt out a song…and not scare my family, neighbours, and pets.

    [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?

    [Louise Forster] Other than the obvious, I would love to have skills that enable me to plan out a book in advance and have it all there in my mind and know exactly where it’s going and what’s needed. But then I’d have no surprises popping up…hmmm, I do enjoy those so perhaps not. Okay, to be able to spend time with my favourite authors and talk about writing and how they go about producing great stories.

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

    [Louise Forster] Kristen Ashley: Fantasyland Series. Renea Mason: The Symphony of Light and Winter. Noelle Clark: Rosamanti. Shay Savage: Transcendence. Loretta Chase: Lord of Scoundrels.

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

    [Louise Forster] http://www.louiseforster.com/Louise_Foster/Home.html




    London-based chef Jennifer Dove loves her exciting, fast-paced life and she has every intention of returning to it ASAP. This trip to Tumble Creek — middle-of-nowhere Australia — is just a blip, a trip out of time, to visit her sister and niece and farewell her beloved Uncle.

    But barely hours into her stay, she disturbs an intruder in her uncle’s house, is questioned by police, and finds a pair of fluffy pink stilettos in the bedroom. Things are not all they seem in Tumble Creek, and much as she tries not to, Jennifer is sucked in to the mystery surrounding her uncle. Who is his girlfriend Veronica, and why is she not here? What are the locals hiding? And why can she not get sexy local Calum McGregor out of her mind?

    All is not what it seems in this sleepy, small town, and as Jennifer unravels its mysteries, she might just be tying herself to Tumble Creek forever.

    The post Interview with Louise Forster, Author of Home Truths appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

    Add a Comment
    42. Interview with Sophia Nash, Author of The Once and Future Duchess


    I’m thrilled to welcome Sophia Nash to the virtual offices today! 

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

    [Sophia Nash] Mother, friend, artist, fearless, directionally-challenged (that’s 2 words, but will count as one)

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

    [Sophia Nash] The Once and Future Duchess has been the most requested story since I began writing. Readers are very curious to see what will happen in the major wrap up to the series. It took a long time to write this book, and I’m so excited about how it came together! Not only will readers watch the central love story of the series unfurl, i.e. between the Duke of Candover and the Duchess of March, but fans will also learn how the Duke of Barry finds his happiness. And the grand finale is not to be missed!

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

    [Sophia Nash] The Royal Entourage series was born of several thoughts: First, I always wondered why the French Revolution did not inspire other populace’s in nearby countries to rebel against monarchy, such as in Great Britain. Secondly, I was a big fan of the first hangover movie, and Entourage on TV. Add these two together, and I wondered what would happen if a royal band of dukes in England had a Regency-era bachelor party of the century, and incited a revolution against the excesses of the royals. A series was born.

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

    [Sophia Nash] This was the last book in the series and it was fun to see all the final pieces of the overall story fall into place. While this is a “stand-alone” book, there are glimpses of some of the other characters.

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

    [Sophia Nash] It was difficult to have the hero, the Duke of Candover break a promise. He is an extremely duty-driven gentleman and his word is everything. But to find happiness, he must delve deep into his heart to find the solution. I would challenge anyone to consider what circumstances would have to occur to make you break your word!

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

    [Sophia Nash] Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

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

    [Sophia Nash] Clothes

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

    [Sophia Nash] Compass, arrowhead, flowers

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

    [Sophia Nash] God

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

    [Sophia Nash] Gone Girl, The Secret Life of Bees

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

    [Sophia Nash] Hiking, swimming, surfing, eating, traveling, and serious adrenaline-infused adventure!


    The Once and Future Duchess

    Royal Entourage Series Book Four

    By: Sophia Nash


    A duchess in time saves a noble line…

    In theory, the Duke of Candover is the most eligible peer in the realm. But in truth, he has a deep aversion to the merest hint of marriage, not to mention two botched engagements which have marked his jaded soul. Now, after a debauched bachelor party that causes public outcry, the Prince Regent is demanding that it’s Candover’s turn to be brought to heel. And Prinny secretly believes that Isabelle Tremont, the Duchess of March, is precisely the lady up to the challenge.

    Isabelle must marry, but a day of reckoning with the man she’s loved for years is her greatest fear. If Candover insists she’s too young and innocent for a seasoned world-weary man like him, there’s no shortage of other candidates. Gentlemen of prestige and position. Gentlemen whose attentions are driving Candover to jealous distraction. Yet one abandoned moment under the stars hints that if they can put aside pride and duty, then a love once denied might just be their destiny.

    Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/04/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for-once.html

    Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17331448-the-once-and-future-duchess

    Buy Links

    Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Once-Future-Duchess-Royal-Entourage-ebook/dp/B00BATNOGC/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

    B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-once-and-future-duchess-sophia-nash/1114516196?ean=9780062273635

    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-once-and-future-duchess/id599910931?mt=11

    Author Info

    Sophia Nash was born in Switzerland and raised in France and the United States, but says her heart resides in Regency England. Her ancestor, an infamous French admiral who traded epic cannon fire with the British Royal Navy, is surely turning in his grave. Before pursuing her long-held dream of writing, Sophia was an award-winning television producer for a CBS affiliate, a congressional speechwriter, and a nonprofit CEO. She lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs with her husband and two children. Sophia’s novels have won twelve national awards, including the prestigious RITA® Award, and two spots on Booklist’s “Top Ten Romances of the Year.”

    Author Links





    Two Digital Copies of THE DUKE DIARIES, Royal Entourage #3

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The post Interview with Sophia Nash, Author of The Once and Future Duchess appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

    Add a Comment
    43. Interview: Nicola Scott on Wonder Woman and more

    downloadby Verushka Byrow

    [Wonder Woman has always been a part of Nicola Scott’s life, in fact it might seem like she was destined to work with the heroine’s, be as an artist or an actress. Scott came late to comics and in fact, it was the simple desire to draw Wonder Woman every day that set her on her path to DC.

    Her pursuit of her dream is a study in determination and will cause no small amount of awe given the fiercely competitive industry she wanted to break into. Below Nicola discusses her Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman’s appearance in the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie, and how a failed Wonder Woman pilot set her on her path to comic success.

    Nicola Scott will appear this week at the Supanova Pup Culture Expo in Sydney, AU.]

    VB: There was a quote in one of your old interviews where you said that would be happy drawing Wonder Woman all day every day, so is she still everything you hoped for when you were growing up, or is she more?
    NS: Well obviously my version of Wonder Woman in my head is not necessarily the fictional character as she is now. Wonder Woman’s look and stories are guided by a number of different people at any given stage. What tends to happen is that you start narrowing down who she is to you, what these characters mean to you, so I narrowed her down to what she means to me, and as an idea she hasn’t let me down. That is one of the reasons why I feel like I haven’t grown out of the character, because she still speaks to me on that really sort of nostalgic level, but also just as an adult. I like her life philosophy.

    VB: What exactly do you mean?

    NS: Oh, well, for the last, oh gosh, it’s got to be probably about 15 years there has been a version of Wonder Woman that has been quite aggressive. She’s not really the Wonder Woman I relate to, she’s more of a Xena Warrior Princess version of Wonder Woman. It’s a fashion, and it’s a trend in comics.
    I see Wonder Woman, at her core, as quite compassionate. She has a lot of solidarity, and she is very inclusive, so despite being physically perfect, she’s more than that. She’s gifted by the gods in almost every aspect of her life — with her compassion, wisdom, nature, power, and beauty.

    What makes her relatable or approachable, despite this perfection, is that she is incredibly inclusive, and welcoming, and nurturing, you know, she is a earth mother and I have a lot of time for that. She is a woman from a race of women where, there is nothing but solidarity. They don’t have to rise up against anyone, they don’t have to fight from oppression from anybody, they don’t have to compete for attention with anybody. They are pure solidarity and I find that a really lovely way to see female sisterhood and I think that is something she will always aspire towards.

    I come from a female family sisters and cousins, all girls. The only men we have are the ones that have married into it and then they go and procreate more women. So I understand that dynamic of huge female energy and luckily my family is a very warm family, there is no sort of bitchy outsider. So I have always related to her in that regard quite strongly, and it wasn’t really until I was in high school, that I really started experiencing the separation that can be caused by competitiveness, elitist thinking and all that kind of stuff.


    I found that really disenfranchising for a while, until I started to realise that no, I can tell the world around me what I would like with the people I choose to surround myself with, with all the people whose attention I should encourage or seek myself, so my ideas relate quite strongly to that.

    Q: That is a wonderfully pure version or pure thinking about her.

    NS: Well, that is what I think she is. She’s not really a superhero like Superman is a superhero, she is a warrior by training, but she by the time she comes to face a war, she is not really a warrior by experience. So it’s her nature, in any confrontation, to try and settle it down, to try and talk it down, to try and compromise and suggest other options other than brute force. If that doesn’t work, which quite often it won’t, she will just defend people that need defending and try to stop harm being committed, and if that doesn’t work she will always try to take the most submissive turn.

    So, if push comes to shove she will shove back and at the end of the day if everything is completely out of control and someone needs to be put down (literally killed) she will do that too but it is absolutely a last resort but she will do it. Superman and Batman won’t do it but she will.

    VB: She isn’t afraid of making the hard decision when there is nothing else to be done?

    NS: Exactly, and I have a lot of respect for that, she has the power to use brute force first, which is probably what Superman would do, but she will try everything else first. At the end of the day she is willing to go further than the boys will, if need be and I have a lot of respect for that discipline.

    VB: Before you started work as an artist for comic books, did you have an interest in art in itself or was it always Wonder Woman and comic books you lean towards?

    NS: I didn’t really know about comic books properly until I was in my late teens. I saw a few comic books in newsagents when I was a kid and some of them would have characters on them I would recognise, like Superman or Batman or Wonder Woman. And when I picked those up to look through, they were not the same version of the TV characters I was used to. I would find the continuity that they existed in a little confusing and very overwhelming, and really more often than not the comic book would have Hulk on the front cover, and I did not know who any of those people were. So cComic books didn’t really factor in my life until much later but art factored in my life from a very early age, because my mother and grandmother were artists, so the culture of art was very rich in my family.

    My mother had a studio which had a big book shelf full of art books, so I was always looking at art books from a very young age and starting to relate to some artists and some themes more than others. I gravitated towards classical themed art, sculptural or paintings or anything like that. The culture of art was part of my family and because I think I had a natural instinct for it, my mother spent quite a bit of time teaching me bits and pieces. A lot of which went over my head at the time. But now that I am older it comes back to me, and I realise it has actually made a difference learning stuff so young.

    I used to go along to life drawing classes when I was four, not because I was taking myself to them but because mum was going to them. Instead of leaving me at home she’d take me with her, and instead of giving me a toy to play with in the corner she would give me some paper, and some graphite to draw the model which I would, and more often than not I would go over the drawing she had done and put Wonder Woman boots onto everybody. Take all these naked fleshy forms and turn them into a super hero! The language of art was being discussed with me and nurtured in me from a very young age.



    VB: If you hadn’t found yourself working in comics what kind of artist do you think you would be?

    NS: Originally what I wanted to do with my life was be an actor, that was where I had placed a lot of my training, I went to a performing arts high school and I started acting quite seriously from the age of 12. Like many unemployed actors do I worked in hospitality and drawing was just something I could always do, and not something I could see myself doing professionally. My eldest sister is a graphic designer and she has the eye for that, and the knack for that, which I didn’t necessarily think I had, so that wasn’t really a field I considered pursuing. There were times when I did some work for hire, art jobs for her, but really some uninspiring stuff like directions on how to use floaties and stuff. So commercial art was never really something I pursued professionally because I was always drawing something that other people wanted me to draw. It wasn’t terribly interesting and I wasn’t inspired to be a fine artist like my mother and my grandmother were.

    I wanted to draw the things I wanted to draw, which would be super heroes, and fantasy stuff but I didn’t really grow up as part of a geek culture — none of my family were terribly geeky and none of my friends were geeky. So I didn’t really have anyone to share the interest with or bounce the ideas off of until I was quite a bit older. By that stage I was so behind the 8 ball in terms of knowing anything, that I just sort of felt like an outsider when I found people who I felt could be kindred spirits, but they knew so much more than I did. I found that really intimidating. It wasn’t until I was 28 and trying to work out what I was going to do with the rest of my life, because I had given up on acting, probably a really dumb time to give up on acting at 28 because that is usually when everything really starts happening for the people that really make it. You either make it really young or you make it round to your mid to late twenties.

    When I was 28, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life, because I’d finished with acting. I knew I wanted to do something creative for a career, but I wasn’t sure what. The skillset I had was that I could draw and I could sew, and out of a process of elimination I had got myself down to drawing, but I could not work out what I could do with that that would be satisfying to me, until I thought, if I have to draw the same thing all day every day, what do I want to draw?

    And that was where Wonder Woman came in I was like, I thought it would be fun if I could just daw Wonder Woman every day. I had not considered it before because I don’t know anything about it but that is ridiculous because all the things I love exist there. Just because I didn’t know the industry wasn’t a good enough excuse. That was what I wanted to do, that is what I should be doing and so that was the initial spark and from that moment literally I started pursuing, learning about the industry, learning about what being an artist in that industry meant and pursuing that and facilitating goals as I went along.

    VB: What was the time like for you? Did you ever think “oh my god what am I doing this is never going to work out” or did you just go for it?

    NS: I just went for it. I think because I was older and I was coming to it from a period of creative frustration in a different field I could just put all of that energy into learning about comics. That I knew nothing about it just meant that I could go into it just sort of less emotionally and more aggressively. I think if this had been something I had been toying with for a long time and then I decided to pursue it the weight of expectation and failure would have possibly stopped me at a number of road blocks along the way. Because I came into it knowing I had no idea what I was talking about and just determined to learn, it just made me a bit more of a bulldozer.

    I just decided I am just doing this whether anyone else wants me to or not. I am just going to start asking all the questions that I need to ask. And I think because of that it gave me a really particular … I say rejuvenation.

    The first time I went to Comic Con in San Diego I went with a couple of people, less than a year after I decided this was what I wanted to do. I just found out that going to conventions is the best way to get work and going to America is the only way I was going to get a job in comic books. The San Diego convention was the biggest one, and even though it was a fraction of the size it is now, it was still the biggest one. I found out about that one through asking people, magazines, and websites. I went to that with a couple of people who had been in the Australian industry for a few years, and we were really emotionally invested. And what I found really interesting was at the end of that convention we were totally overwhelmed and completely freaked out.


    We went to this convention think that we were hot shit, and that we would be snapped up and we got knocked on our arses as soon as we saw the size of it. That was completely overwhelming, by the end of that show the other two were like “oh my god I don’t know if I can do this” because it was so overwhelming and also a little scary. I came away from it thinking, I don’t know what I am doing but I now have direction so I am doing this. I wasn’t taking no as an option, failure just wasn’t an option.
    To start off with people would see that attitude from someone who clearly has no idea what they are doing, yeah I could draw ok but they would see that as slightly amusing but give it a couple of years and they would say that chick is really determined she is going to get there.

    One of the very first people in the American industry I met was a writer and traditionally an inker and was a big deal in the industry. He had been around for a very long time and he knew everybody. The very first time he met me and saw my portfolio, he was like yeah this is cute but good luck, and because I was being quite determined and asking a lot of questions, he gave me some advice and he sent me in some particular directions. Jimmy managed to open a couple of doors for me and had quite a lot of faith in my determination.

    Now I consider him one of my best mates, he has a lot of time for me and he looks at me like I cannot believe you are the same person that I met 10 years ago that had no idea what she was doing, because you are at the top of your field. It is one of those things where I think my enthusiasm for learning actually worked in my favour, because it was a little contagious. People would get swept up in my I am going to make this happen gung-ho attitude and they would sort of think oh ok she probably can.

    VB: So you have no regrets about coming to the industry late?

    NS: Not regrets no, but it would have been better for me if I had started earlier partly because I have been doing this for over 10 years now and physically I am not in my top form. I am in my forties now. Also there was a window of opportunity in the 90s before I started, where there were a lot of people that made a lot of money, and there were some really interesting creative pushes that happened in the early 90s and then again in the later 90s. I wish I had been part of one of those, where artists were getting quite a lot of notice.

    I am talking real bottom line here because I am in the industry, it becomes about what you earn per page and I make a nice but a modest living and there are some people who make quite a lot more. They were lucky enough to get in at a good time, they were lucky enough to get some really fabulous creative jobs, and some of those creative jobs are still around, but there isn’t as much money around as there once was.

    Q: I read an interview you did with Gail Simone where you said you had actually auditioned for a part in a Wonder Woman show. It seems like you were always meant to do something with Wonder Woman.

    NS: Well yes, Wonder Woman has sign posted my life, it was actually because of that audition that I decided to give up acting. Because I had been pursuing it throughout my twenties and it wasn’t happening and then in the late 90s when I was in my mid-twenties there was a Wonder Woman pilot series being made. I was auditioning for that and I got through to one of the final rounds, and they never ended up making the show or even confirming the casting. From what I am aware, I was still included in, I hadn’t been struck off the list before it got delayed and then it got cancelled. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, the one role not only did I really want but I would have been great for.

    So I thought I am getting out of this gig, this is ridiculous, so that was when I spent a couple of years trying to work out what I was going to do next and eventually I came round to comics.

    VB: She has definitely signposted your life that is a good way to describe it. So when you think of all the pilots and the Wonder Woman in the new movie coming up what do you hope they all remember about her?

    NS: I hope they remember she is a complex character, because the pilot they did make a couple of years ago, the David Kelly one — I don’t know if you have seen it — was appalling, it was really, really bad.

    He didn’t understand the character, he’d just taken bits and pieces of her to make the TV character. I didn’t mind the casting because she was quite a big, tall, girl, but she was a little too American for me. Despite wearing an American flag Wonder Woman isn’t American. It was just a terrible waste of an opportunity, for Warner Brothers to finally, finally commit to injecting some money into a project, and it was badly conceived, and then pretty poorly executed.

    There was a fight scene towards the end which had the potential of being pretty good, but other than that the characterization was awful they just painted her as a bad ass that didn’t fit in. That is the one thing she is not, just because she can be a bad ass doesn’t mean she is one, it is not a defining characteristic. Even though she is an outsider, no one feels that way about her — she is somebody everyone wants to be friends with, or feel protected by, she is like everyone’s big sister, everyone’s mum. Everyone feels a warmth from her. I think she will look amazing, primarily because Zac Snyder has a great eye for beauty and for visual dynamics and he really plays up the glamour of texture, shape, and form.

    I have no doubt that her hair will flow in the breeze in a completely beautiful slow-mo way. I think the girl that they have cast is really pretty, I was incredibly happy they had chosen a non-American, their understanding of sexuality is different to the American understanding of sexuality. I think that is quite important because Wonder Woman is quite a sexy character and even her outfit is quite sexy but her personality does not broadcast that sex appeal. She wears that outfit because that is what she is comfortable in to fight, and because she comes from a society where women wear things like that normally. She has no discomfort or modesty with nudity. She is a pagan earth goddess character, she is very comfortable in her own skin and while being an incredibly beautiful person she would see beauty in everybody.

    She shouldn’t be a pin up for others to feel bad by and that in itself is an incredibly tricky fine line to tread, and a lot of that comes down to how her character is written, how the actor is directed, and how she performs the role. So I am really hoping for, I have a real unnatural, unreal expectation on how good it can be and I would be incredibly surprised if I get even half way there but fingers crossed.

    VB: At least she’s finally in something we can all see.

    NS: Yes, the first time since the 70s the broader public audience will be exposed to Wonder Woman…

    Q: When you put it like that it sounds so epic.

    NS: Prior to the Iron Man movie the general public would not know who Iron Man is, and prior to the Thor movie the general public would have no idea who Thor is, and prior to the Captain America movies people might have had a vague idea of who Captain America is, but not really anything specific. They might have had a better idea of who the Hulk is because the Hulk had a TV series in the 70s, the same way the Wonder Woman had a TV show in the 70s. But Wonder Woman is iconic, and her visual is iconic.
    There are people around in their 20s now who have barely heard of Wonder Woman and really wouldn’t be able to pick her out of a line up. Now I think that is a real shame, there are kids that I know that have never heard of Wonder Woman, and I make it my job to educate all the kids around me about Wonder Woman and with some of them it sticks and with some of them it doesn’t. She is the premier, biggest name, most iconic female super hero of all time there are so many people we aren’t familiar with her and that is pathetic, considering how well people know Superman and Batman.

    There was a time when everybody knew who Wonder Woman is, and now they don’t and I think that is an incredible shame. A lot of that has to do with the license and that license is owned by Warner Brothers, who haven’t taken the opportunity to capitalise on that. They make more money out of merchandising the image of Wonder Woman, than they have of actually letting the creation of Wonder Woman evolve in the public eye.

    VB: That is so depressing

    NS: Yeah, I know it is really sad, so I hope the image in the movie is impressive enough that people want more, because I feel like Black Widow was introduced in the second Iron Man movie and she didn’t really make that much of an impression, no one really cared it was like oh yeah there is Scarlet Johannsson with red hair.
    Then she appeared in the Avengers, where she was really well written and had a significant role to play. Johannsson played it incredibly well and she got to play be the only person for the job in the movie, twice over. She wasn’t just the girl on the team, there were things that she could do that no one else could. She was really well written, she was really well directed, she was really well acted and when that movie came out suddenly everyone was like Oh this Black Widow character is awesome.

    VB: So that is what you want for Wonder Woman?

    NS: Wonder Woman needs that kind of treatment, not like a half-arsed oh here is Wonder Woman that makes people go Oh yeah I kinda remember that character she was just a female. She is not she has a lot more to offer and hopefully she will get the opportunity to offer it.

    VB: She shouldn’t just be in there for the sake of being in there?

    NS: Yeah I hope there is enough substance in the upcoming film, that generates more interest because it is from generating that interest she will get more material. Fingers crossed.

    VB: I want to go back and go over some general questions about your time in the industry as an artist. So generally speaking the comic book industry is thought of as male dominated but what has your experience been like of it?

    NS: Well the broader comic book industry which includes Indie Comics and small press and Japanese comics there are a lot more women than you would think at first. Though certainly when it comes to superhero comics it is very male dominated, in terms of numbers but that has to do with a lot of things. I work for a company that gets slammed quite a lot by the female readership for not having more female creators, for not having better representation of female characters. Their answer is (and it is actually the real answer not their brush off answer) it’s that they are trying.

    And they are but getting a job at one of these companies at DC or Marvel, getting a job at one of those companies is incredibly competitive and then once you get the job you have got to be able to keep the job, and that is incredibly demanding. So you not only have to really, really want the job, you have to be good enough to get it, disciplined enough to keep it and I am not saying boys have more of this than girls do, because that is bullshit.

    But I think, because there are so many guys already in it, that intimidation factor can put doubt in your mind. You have to have really thick skin to get into the industry, and you have to have really thick skin to stay in the industry. I know a lot of guys you want to get in, get in and then are like Holy shit I want to get out of this, this is terrifying. It’s not because it is mean, it is because it is a machine. The books come out once a month that is 20 pages minimum that is a lot of work. I work 7 days a week to keep to my schedule and I only draw a maximum of 10 issues a year out of 12 of the titles I work on.

    It is a very full on industry, so you have to be prepared to work that full on. A lot of the guys I know who work in the industry have wives or girlfriends who look after them so it just gives them the freedom to get all the drawing done. There are women who work in the industry to have supportive boyfriends or supportive husbands, but not necessarily doing all their laundry or cooking all their meals blah blah blah.

    The women are running their own lives as well, so it adds up to quite a lot of focus and work keeping your own life running, as well as keeping your career running and that is overwhelming. I don’t know a lot of guys that do it on their own. Considering what you get paid you work a lot of hours for not a lot of money, so it really helps to have a thick skin There are a lot of people who don’t cut it because of that and you have got to be fast. The thick-skinned thing tend to keep the boy numbers a little higher than the girl numbers I think, which I think is a real shame.

    VB: Until our conversation I have not realised how incredible your schedule must be working on 10 titles a year.

    NS: I draw, generally, 7 days a week. I take days off for travel when I need to travel to a convention, I take a day off when I am doing a convention. I am sitting there drawing and signing books anyway so it is part work as well but it is not part of my regular work. I take Christmas day off, I take New Years Day off and every now and then something will come along and it will be like I am taking a day off because I have something on, but generally I work 7 days a week. I am working 9-10 hours Monday-Friday and probably about 7 hours on Saturday and Sunday and that is a lot of work. That is the nature of the work, there are some people whose work is just as detailed as mine but who draw faster than I do but this is how I need to pay for myself, this is just how I operate.

    VB: You were working as a writer on the Red Sonia anthology, what is that like coming from working on art then into writing?

    NS: I am working with totally different head space. As an artist I am thinking of storytelling the whole time, my job is taking the script and finding the most interesting and/or the most straightforward way to visually interpret the writer’s story. I need to find the subtext, find the relevancy of the text. You are thinking narratively a lot but the head space for writing is totally different.

    I found that quite a jolt, it’s not just in a more complex way, it’s just a completely different set of storytelling skills and it really requires me to remove myself from my drawing routine for a day. I just sit at my desk and hatch it out, commit to not just doing a little bit of writing per day, but to block off a day and get into that head space. I find it really kind of rewarding to do and a little nerve-wracking and exciting, because for the first time I was being the writer, handing my script on to an artist to interpret because comics are quite a unique medium in that it is a series of Chinese whispers.

    VB: What do you mean?

    NS: The writer writes something down, then the artist has to interpret what has been written down. Sometimes they can really make a story sing, and sometimes they can really miss the point or they can overemphasize the wrong moment, or the wrong emotion, and can change the tone of the story. The inker has to take that line work, and follow on a nature that they don’t necessarily understand the lines they are looking at, then the colourist has to do the same and what comes out the other end is not necessarily the intention that the writer had.

    You have to be prepared to be part of that production line of collaboration. With a film a lot of people collaborate but the end is the director pulling all the pieces together, and what comes out is their best version of everyone’s collaboration.



    VB: With the Red Sonja title you had to give your words over to an artist — was it scary giving those words over to another artist that wasn’t yourself?

    NS: The idea of it was scarier than the reality of it, because in reality I ended up getting to choose a friend of mine, who was my absolute first choice for who I wanted to draw this book. Knowing that he was going to draw, gave me the freedom to really take the story in the direction that I hoped it would go because I knew he would understand, he would get the humour. That made it very exciting — giving him the plot breakdown and the character breakdown, and he would come back to me with the character design, before I had actually written the script. That I just loved, I thought it was so perfect.

    The script isn’t really all that exciting but it is really interesting, and writing, and reading over it and editing it before handing it over to the artist, the artist side of my brain would kick in just enough to make sure all the information I wanted was there. I would just start working out in my head what I would do, and it was fascinating to see what just came back from the artist. Some of the things were exactly how I thought they would go down, and some of them were completely different, and it was a really different way of seeing that panel description. Just because it is not what I had in mind, didn’t mean I was not happy with it, sometimes I was just like that is brilliant it was so funny. I was lucky I got to work with someone I knew who was coming on board and I trusted him.

    VB: Do you think you will do more writing in the future?

    NS: Not that I don’t want to, but because it requires a different head space, it requires the time to do it and it is a little hard to pursue writing when I am busy with my monthly schedule. But I would hope to have opportunities to write again in the future.

    VB: What was the most unexpected part about writing?

    NS: Realising as I was going that my characters were all in first person narrative, they were telling their own story. That what she was saying, didn’t necessarily have to be what the artist was depicting because I wanted the art to show the reality of what was happening, and it being contrary to her telling of it was tainted with her opinion. The visuals would be telling the real story.

    VB: You have said that you have had a romantic view of super heroes do you still have that romantic view of them?

    NS: I think at their core absolutely, different stories play up or add something contrary to that view. The current mode DC is in at the moment with the new 52 is contrary to my opinion — my view of superheroes are they a little more human and not quite so responsible and not so mature about their status than I would like them to be. That is the fashion that comics are going through at the moment but I don’t think it is a really true representation of who these characters are to me and yes I have a romantic view of who I want them to be. I like my Superman to be a boy scout and I like my Wonder Woman to be compassionate and loving and I like my Batman to have a sense of humour on occasion. It’s one of those things, there is going to be fads and fashions all the time.

    [Verushka Byrow is a contributor to I'm With Geek.]

    0 Comments on Interview: Nicola Scott on Wonder Woman and more as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
    44. Interview with Skylar Dorset, Author of The Girl Who Never Was


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

    [Skylar Dorset] Blonde-ish, stubborn, dreamy, baking writer.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Girl Who Never Was?

    [Skylar Dorset] It’s about a Boston teenager who finds out she’s half-faerie-princess and half-ogre and basically you should read it if you’re a fan of fun! Smile

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

    [Skylar Dorset] Well. It’d be a bit spoilery buuuuuut suffice it to say that it involves cuddling in the rain.

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

    [Skylar Dorset] I think what gave me the most trouble was getting to the ending. Like, it’s always tempting, when you’re a writer, to just spend a ton of time hanging out with your characters. I find myself always having to remind myself, “No, no, you have to get to an ending point eventually!”

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

    [Skylar Dorset] My phone. I know, I know, that’s a cliché, but I can’t help it!

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

    [Skylar Dorset] My computer, many assorted piles of disorganized paper, and a plant.

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

    [Skylar Dorset] Tea. Does tea count? It’s definitely tea. And anything chocolate that happens to be hanging around.

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

    [Skylar Dorset] Can I trade places with one of my sister’s dogs? I have just always, always, always wanted to know what the world looks like from a dog’s perspective.

    Does that make me sound crazy? I’d also trade places for one day with Jennifer Lawrence, because that looks fun.

    [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?

    [Skylar Dorset] I would choose teleportation, AND I WOULD GO ALL OVER THE WORLD AND SEE EVERYTHING AND VISIT EVERYONE.

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

    [Skylar Dorset] Right now I’m reading “The Break-Up Artist” by Philip Siegel. Very cute and clever and funny.

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

    [Skylar Dorset] Lots and lots of places!

    My website: http://www.skylardorset.com/

    My Tumblr: http://skylardorset.tumblr.com/

    My Twitter: https://twitter.com/skylardorset

    My Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/skylardorset/

    My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skylar.dorset

    My Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/SkylarDorset

    About the book:

    The Girl Who Never Was (Otherworld)

    This is not your average trip to Fairyland

    In Selkie’s family, you don’t celebrate birthdays. You don’t talk about birthdays. And you never, ever reveal your birth date.

    On her seventeenth birthday, Selkie finally understands why. All she wanted was a simple “Happy Birthday” from her secret crush, Ben. But the instant she blurts out the truth to him in the middle of Boston Common, her whole world shatters. Because the Boston that Selkie knows is only an elaborate enchantment constructed to conceal the truth: Selkie is a half-faerie princess. And her mother wants her dead. The faerie court believes Selkie is a child of prophecy-fated to destroy the court’s powerful grip on the supernatural world. And the only way for Selkie to survive…is to prove them right.

    The post Interview with Skylar Dorset, Author of The Girl Who Never Was appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

    Add a Comment
    45. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jennifer Yerkes

    (Click to enlarge)

    This interview has been several years in the making.

    Back in 2012, when I juried for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, I was delighted to see a little book called Drôle d’oiseau, published by France’s Éditions MeMo in 2011. The book went on to receive a Mention for the Opera Prima Award that year. (The Opera Prima Award is given to debut artists.) It also received here in the States the 2013 Gold Medal for the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art award, as it was released in the U.S. by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky as A Funny Little Bird. Jennifer, as you’ll read below, was born here in the U.S. but now makes her home overseas — and has for many years. (So, yes, her debut picture book was published in French yet translated later into her mother tongue, as she notes in a response below.)

    The book was described by professional reviewers as fresh, innovative, highly-original, thought-provoking, infinitely clever … I could go on. To say the artwork is spare is an understatement. Yerkes’ protagonist in the book consists of primarily negative space, as you can see in some of the spreads below. Pictured above, in fact, in the spread opening this post is the cover art. (It pains me to put a border around it, but I want you to be able to click on it and see it in more detail, if you’re so inclined, and if I don’t put the border, I think cyberspace adds a big, ugly thick border. Also, please note that if you click on it, the colors in the larger version are slightly off. They’re brighter than they appear in the book.)

    Where was I? Oh, it’s a delightful book on many levels, and I’m glad Jennifer’s here to talk about it, to share lots of art, to let us know what’s next for her, and to give us a peek into her sketchbooks. We’re going to have lots of coffee. A typical breakfast for her involves that and then, “about two hours later: four slices of well-buttered toast. Or if I’m lucky enough to make it to the bakery, a cinnamon ‘cross.’” I say we splurge and have all of the above.

    I thank her for visiting. Let’s get to it …

    * * * * * * *

    Jules: Are you an illustrator or author/illustrator?

    Jennifer: Author/Illustrator, as of a couple years ago. Graphic designer/Illustrator first, though.

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


    • Drôle d’oiseau [spread pictured below], published by Éditions MeMo, 2011 (A Funny Little Bird, the North American edition, was published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in 2013)
    • À vue d’oeil (or At First Glance), published by Éditions Notari and out on shelves as of 25 April
    • Une parfaite journée printanière (or A Perfect Spring Day), a work in progress with Éditions Notari, which should be out early next year, if all goes as planned!

    “Le monde était vaste et beau.
    [The world is full of beautiful things, he thought.]“

    Jules: What is your usual medium?

    Jennifer: I’ve used various mediums over the years, depending upon the project. Drôle d’oiseau was supposed to be a cut-paper project, for example. But there was the problem of shadows. So I did something I thought I’d never do and … went digital.

    When not doing things digitally, I usually fall back on markers and pens and pencils in the end, though there’s been a recent watercolour resurgence.

    The story I’m currently working on is being done with coloured pencils. It makes me so very happy to be working everything out entirely by hand!

    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?

    Jennifer: My frst two published books and the book in progress are marketed for age ranges from 0-8. But I’ve done illustrations for all ages. In the end, the style used comes partly from the targeted age group , I guess. But it always develops with the reading of the accompanying text and/or the conversations with my clients. I love playing with forms and colours, whether digitally or with paper and scissors and so on. But I also love drawing and painting in simple to more detailed ways. I don’t think I could stick to one style all the time.

    Rhymes and Lullabies From My Countries

    by the Strasbourg-Neuhof Main Library & Django Reinhardt Cultural Center
    (Neuhof, Strasbourg), 2013

    Jules: Where are your stompin’ grounds?

    Jennifer: I spent a great deal of my childhood in Iowa City, Iowa. Then I spent years moving around Europe, studying and—ahhh!—just being. Then a great friend of mine called me in Budapest to ask if I was ever coming back to Strasbourg, and I said, “funny, but I was just trying to decide what to do next!” And next thing I knew, I was looking for a place in Strasbourg. And a few years later, that great friend of mine and I got married. That was more than a decade ago, and here we still are, stompin’ around. Though now we’ve got twin mini-stompers in tow!

    From Jennifer’s sketchbooks

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

    Jennifer: I was creating an illustration project for a group of very small children. The idea was that I would create a story, and they would use different techniques over a period of months to illustrate it, and then we would print the results. I’d done this before with young children, but never this young. Some of them had difficulty holding a crayon! And many of them came from tough backgrounds. So I needed to come up with something to really intrigue them. And also something that could be easily illustrated in pleasing ways — in order to help that initial intrigue grow into real interest.

    One day, I had the phrase “drôle d’oiseau” foating around in my head. A number of ideas floated through, while ruminating on what could be so funny about a little bird. And then, without any warning, the whole project just came together: the kids would dress up an otherwise unadorned “funny little bird”!

    So, I wrote the story — but quickly realised that this was the story that the illustrator inside me had been waiting for for years, and so…

    “Le plus souvent, c’était comme s’il n’était pas là. Ou presque.
    [Most of the time, it was as if he was invisible. Or almost.]“

    (Click to enlarge, though the colors in the enlarged version are a bit off)

    “A présent, le drôle d’oiseau n’est plus solitaire, même s’il reste encore très discret ….
    [Now the funny little bird isn't alone anymore. And he never shows off.]“

    (Click to enlarge, though the colors in the enlarged version are a bit off)

    I came up with another project for the workshop and started working on the funny little bird myself. And when I’d finished, I hemmed and hawed, not knowing what to do with it, and my husband said, “SEND IT!” So we went into the boys’ bedroom and looked at the spines of our favourite French books. Éditions MeMo was everywhere on those shelves, so I emailed them.

    And two days later, I got an email from Christine Morault (the Mo of MeMo), saying, “We are interested. IF you are willing to cut some of the text.” And I said, “I am MORE than willing to cut some text!” The truth is, I had already started doing that. Which, looking back on it all, seems to have augured well for the months to come: the fact that we were seeing eye-to-eye from the start, even before we’d gotten to know one another, I mean.

    And the rest is history!

    (Click to enlarge)

    (Click to enlarge)

    From Jennifer’s sketchbooks

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

    Jennifer: My (still under construction) site: cargocollective.com/jennifer-yerkes and ye aulde blog: jennifer-yerkes.blogspot.fr (in French, but there’s a translation option on the left-hand side. Keeping two blogs, one in English and one in French, was too time-consuming!)

    (Click to enlarge)

    (Click to enlarge)

    (Click to enlarge)

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

    Jennifer: I love doing school, library, etcetera visits. Really and truly. To start with, the adults who program them are usually doing so because they like your work. And they’ve almost always instilled some—or a lot—of that in the children. Often, they’ve prepared for the visit by doing amazing projects, based upon your book. So it is obviously gratifying. But it is also humbling, because you see all that they’ve put into their work, and you are witness to an immense amount of imagination and intelligence.

    To date, most of my visits have involved short workshops, which is a lot of fun and also, frankly, inspiring. One of the simplest things I do with groups of children is also an across-the-board favourite. Afer a reading, followed by questions and answers and discussion, I give them an A3-size piece of paper on which are printed the eyes, beak, and legs of Funny Little Bird, in different poses taken directly from my first book. The children are invited to dress their bird in whatever way they wish. I give them ideas, of course, because some children need that kind of kick-start. But whether they are inspired by one of my ideas or do their own thing, the birds they create are truly, extraordinarily wonderful. I would love to print a book of their works, to be honest!

    (Click to enlarge)

    Jules: If you teach illustration, by chance, tell me how that influences your work as an illustrator.

    Jennifer: Ahh … hm! I teach Illustration to children aged 3-12 and Design to 18-22 year-olds. A big part of how teaching (both illustration and design) influences my work has to do with the amount of studying up you need to do as a teacher. You have to know that you know what you’re talking about. And you have to come up with lesson plans that interest both the students and you, their teacher. Otherwise, why bother? So you’re always researching, always on the look-out for new ideas, new ways of bringing something good out of your students.

    The truth is that it’s thanks to teaching small children how to illustrate that I came up with the “idea I’d been waiting for all my life”! It feels like it was bound to happen. I wasn’t thinking of the children, exactly, nor of the things that I want to teach them about life; it all just came together, seemingly spontaneously. It wasn’t until my copies of that first book arrived that I realised what an enormous number of experiences actually went into it, including those of a mother and art teacher and old kid.

    (Click to enlarge)

    (Click to enlarge)

    (Click to enlarge)

    More from Jennifer’s sketchbooks

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

    Jennifer: À vue d’oeil was out on the shelves on 25 April. Although it’s a wordless book, there is a kind of a story in there. But it’s more of a game than a story: trickery involving shapes and colours and patterns.

    I’m currently working with the Notaris on Une parfaite journée printanière [pictured below], creating images using only coloured pencil. It’s something of a challenge, which I always enjoy. In any case, every time I sit down to work on it, I feel like I’m sitting down with a friend. Sometimes I lose track of the time. Last night, for instance, I looked up after a while and was shocked to see that it was 2 a.m.!

    (Click each to enlarge)

    I’m also working with a friend of mine, Claire Perret, on a book with the working title Il s’est passé quelque chose (or Something Happened). I wrote the story a few months back, but every time I started sketching it out, I’d see her illustrations on the pages in my head. Thankfully, she saw her illustrations on those pages, too!

    From the sketchbook …
    (Click to enlarge)

    After those are done, there are a number of ideas for children’s books that are vying for attention. And I’m also working on two ideas for graphic novels, one with the working title Flight and the other called Nunzio (the title of the play by Spiro Scimone that inspired it).

    Otherwise, I’m creating a pop-up image for an exhibit; a cut-out-and-fold-and-glue accordion-style book for a Swiss literary journal called Le Persil; and I’m finalising and starting to think of sending out feelers for a project for a wooden block set I call Little Architect.

    (Click to enlarge)

    Mmm. Coffee.Okay, we’ve got more coffee, and it’s time to get a bit more detailed with seven questions over breakfast. I thank Jennifer 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?


    : Good question!

    I have two published books. The one with text began with the title. The wordless book began because I was looking at a children’s book, and at first glance, I saw a shape within a part of one of the illustrations, which had nothing to do with the intent of the illustrator — and my book was pretty much born then and there. The text and images for the one I’m currently working on came together pretty much at the same time, though I needed to work out the text before I could really get going on the images. Their choreography and the flow of the phrases really have to work together.

    Jennifer: “These [above and below] were some of the preliminary sketches for
    À vue d’oeil

    and, in an accidental way, a couple of the preliminary sketches for another project that I printed myself but that I’m hoping to be able to publish for real, soon, which I call ZUT! Alors or OH! Well… I’d already finished a ‘chapter’ of ZUT! Alors and printed it up but hadn’t yet gotten back to the other ‘chapters,’
    when I got the idea for
    At First Glance, while working on another project with the Notaris. This gave me the chance to work with a few of the ideas that were originally for ZUT, though I think that the windmill is the only one that comes pretty much directly from the earlier project/idea. These sketches were scanned for a mini-exhibit in a boutique called Nairami in Bologna this year.”
    (Click each image to enlarge)

    Most of the small, hand-made books I’ve made are either wordless or word-thrifty. When a wordless book/pamphlet/other comes about, it’s often because of a phrase or a word that kick-starts images in my head. But sometimes it’s just a funny idea that kicks things off. And the squillions of ideas for books that have been piling up all over my studio over the years follow similar patterns as the ones outlined above, depending upon the weight of the words.

    I really enjoy the research process and tend to get caught up for a long time in sketching out possibilities — sometimes even just sketching the same thing over and over, until something in me decides that this is (or isn’t) “it.” More than that, though, I think I just need time to think — to let things sink in, sift out, come together, reach a conclusion. Then, when I “really start working,” I really start working.

    More of the sketches mentioned above
    (Click each to enlarge)

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


    : I’m between studios right now. I love my home studio, with its stained glass windows and balcony doors and cozy-but-open, funny-formed space and the walk-in supply closet. But I really had to get out of the home and have some contact with the outside world. When the chance came, I hemmed and hawed a bit … and then jumped at it. It’s only been a few months now, but I really feel like it was the right decision.

    Besides myself, there are several other graphic artists, my designer studio-mate, a screen-printer and illustrator, a DJ, a small publishing house, and four arts associations in the same building. But I still work from home on the weekends or when the job is demanding.

    (Click to enlarge)

    Jennifer: “The blocks on my desk were the boys’ — until I ‘borrowed’ them.”


    (Click to enlarge)


    Jennifer: “Some of the kinds of things that can be found
    in the deepest recesses of the studio closet …”


    Jennifer: “There is a little scrap of paper at the edge of the pink DVD box with ‘a full rigged ship’ printed on it, which has been following me around for years and years — doggedly but discretely begging me to DO something with it …”
    (Click to enlarge image)

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

    Jennifer: “[This is] 7- or 8-year-old Jenny on a sick day.”


    : [she laughs] Oh … so-o-o-o many books, so little space! [She laughs again, and starts racking her brain]

    For one thing, I was one of the crowd of kids who received Cricket magazine, starting somewhere close to Volume 1. There were so many great authors and illustrators between those pages.

    And then, of course, there was Maurice Sendak. Everything by Maurice Sendak. My favourite Sendak book is Kenny’s Window. It makes me hollow with grief to think that the person who came up with that story is no longer with us.

    And every single thing I’ve ever read by Arnold Lobel. My boys and I laugh and laugh every time we read Mouse Tales. And I weep just thinking of “Tear-water Tea” or “Owl and the Moon.”

    Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day still gives me goosebumps. It’s so gorgeous and dreamy. Leo Lionni’s Frederick and many of his other titles, too.

    And I recently nabbed a few old faves from the bookshelves, before my parents moved out of our childhood home, including Wallace Tripp’s Jennifer’s Rabbit; Strega Nona; Who’s Got the Apple?; Squawk to the Moon, Little Goose; Too Much Noise; The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night; the Eva Le Gallienne version of The Nightingale; Gorey’s pop-up, The Dwindling Party …*

    Also, The Maggie B., given to me (and in a way to my little brother, too) just before the birth of our first little sister. A huge influence, really — and still a favourite with my 10-yr-old boys, too. (I have a book’s worth to say about picture books and supposed age-appropriateness.)

    My parents were English-majors-turned-editor and -bookbinder and gave us books for every occasion. There were four children, which over the ages, meant a LOT of books. And one of the great things about being the oldest of four was that I could still gorge myself on great books that were ostensibly for younger children until I was leaving home for college. And that next Christmas, my parents gave me the Lisbeth Zwerger version of A Christmas Carol, which, I think, sealed my fate as a lifelong children’s book reader and collector.

    *I know I’m going to be sick about leaving someone(s) out when I read this later, but in the interest of leaving some blog space for your next interviewee …

    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.)

    Jennifer: Tomi Ungerer* (though it would have to be a couple of glasses of whiskey), Enzo and Iela Mari (whom I’m counting as one), and Katsumi Komagata.

    * I’m cheating a bit here, because although we’ve met, we’ve yet to have a glass of wine or whiskey together: Tomi Ungerer’s Strasbourg home is very close to ours, and last October, we met in the local grocery store. We were chatting as he paid and bagged up his groceries, and he asked, “Do you have a car?” I said, “No, but I’m the mother of twin boys, so I have strong arms!” He laughed and let me take his bags, and we walked back to his home, chatting all the while. He is such a charming, easy-going person that it took until I’d left and was some distance from his home for the reality of it all to settle in. A funny little aside: My husband and I are huge fans of Ungerer’s work and decided to name one of our twins after him. The boys were meant to be born around 7 January, but they popped out unexpectedly on the morning of 28 November. And couple of years later, reading a bio of Ungerer, I noticed his birthdate: 28 November 1931! (Our other little whippersnapper is called Leo, after Leo Lionni.)

    Image (and detail) for an arts festival, called Ateliers Ouverts (Studio Open Doors),
    in Strasbourg (from May 2014)
    (graphics — S. Riedinger)

    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?

    Jules: [she squints at the stereo] The Fall, Siskiyou, Ian & Sylvia, Music From the Penguin Café, Yo La Tengo, Tune-Yards, Richard Thompson, Debut Italian 3 + 4, Randy Newman, Sufjan Stevens, Fredo Viola, The Sixth Great Lake, Daniel Johnston, Rufus Wainwright (his dad’s in the other room), The Tallis Scholars, and a number whose cases are turned around.

    Our stereo dates from about 1988 (no, I’m not joking), so only one of those albums is actually loaded, but I can’t tell which!

    Jennifer: “The music corner … Our 1988 stereo is in the apéritif caddy on the bottom left. The stacks of CDs are in the place usually designated
    for the Picon and Martini bottles.”

    Sometimes I feel a real need for music when I create, and other times at the end of the day, I look up, shake my head, rub my eyes, and realise that it’s been silent all day (except for the scraping of pens and pencils or the tapping on the keyboard)!

    Jennifer: “These are from a failed attempt to paint ‘play mat’ canvasses for [my] boys, when they were very small. Though they played on them, they didn’t do it much in the way I was hoping. I’m not much with acrylics, for sure, but I think the perspective problem was just too much for them, so they decided to just play on a painting. Heh! There were a couple of details that I’m still kind of fond of, though,
    so I include the pics for fun.”

    (Click each to enlarge)

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

    Jennifer: As a kid, I dreamed of becoming a race car driver. Sometimes I still do. (But I’ve never owned a car!)

    (Click to enlarge)

    Image created for the exhibition of Venus Elsewhere Circle Magazine, April 2014,
    plus one of the images created to facilitate the workshop “Me Martian?”

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

    Jennifer: Umm … Yeah:

    “How did it feel to be translated into your mother tongue?”

    Tough. I still don’t really know how to answer that one!

    Jennifer: “[This is] from one of the many ‘portrait’ series
    one of our sons has produced.”

    * * * The Pivot Questionnaire * * *

    Jules: What is your favorite word?

    Jennifer: Can’t decide. “Whippersnapper”? Or “criminy”?

    Jules: What is your least favorite word?

    Jennifer: Any of a number connected with racism, misogyny, bigotry of any kind.

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

    Jennifer: The wind in the trees, water lapping, crickets chirping, delighted laughter …

    Jules: What turns you off?

    Jennifer: Racism, misogyny, bigotry of any kind.

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

    Jennifer: “Hogwash!” (when I don’t feel like really cursing).

    Jules: What sound or noise do you love?

    Jennifer: The wind in the trees, water lapping, crickets chirping, delighted laughter.

    Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?

    Jennifer: Tires screeching.

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

    Jennifer: Race car driver! (I know, I know, but even if I were a race car driver, I wouldn’t want to hear tires screeching!)

    Jules: What profession would you not like to do?

    Jennifer: Honestly, I don’t know how dentists can stand it.

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

    Jennifer: “Come in, stranger.” Then a pearl-handled guitar could start strumming, and familiar voices might be heard joining in: “I know you’re weary from all your miles, just sit right there in your easy chair and tell me about all the places you’ve been ….”

    Either that, or “Don’t worry. I don’t mind that you were wrong. Come on in and make yourself at home!”

    * * * * * * *

    All artwork and images are used with permission of Jennifer Yerkes.

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


    3 Comments on Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Jennifer Yerkes, last added: 6/13/2014
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    46. Writers Rumpus Blogiversary

     What is Writers Rumpus? Marianne Knowles, who runs the writers critique groups I belong to, started a blog for children’s book writers and illustrators that is chock full of great information in twice weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays)  by our crit group members  and guest posters. I’ve written a few of these articles myself. One, titled […]

    Add a Comment
    47. Meet Colin Pearce from Mischief by Moonlight by Emily Greenwood and Giveaway

    [Manga Maniac Café]  Good morning, Emily and Colin!  Thank  you for visiting so early in the morning.

    [Emily Greenwood] Hello, and thank you very much for having me back at the Café to celebrate the release of MISCHIEF BY MOONLIGHT. And how nice of you to invite my hero, Colin Pearce, the Earl of Ivorwood, for a chat. I warn you, though, if the average man doesn’t like to talk about his feelings, Colin is worse.  And he definitely has feelings for my heroine, Miss Josie Cardworthy.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe]  Welcome, Colin!  Can you describe yourself in five words or less.

    [Colin] Reserved, tall, black hair…I don’t really like to talk about myself.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in your life?

    [Colin] My days are filled with research and writing—I’m an author of several historical texts—and the duties that are my responsibility as the Earl of Ivorwood.

    Very well…since Josie won’t see this, I’ll admit that one of the main reasons I bury myself in work is because I’m terribly attracted to her—and she’s engaged to my best friend, Nick. You see, I was smitten with Josie and had been about to let her know, but before I could, she met Nick, and six weeks later they were engaged.

    He’s been away at war for over a year now, but before he left, he asked me to look after her and be a friend to her. It would have been a lot better for me if he hadn’t asked this, because the last thing I need is to spend more time with her. But most days, I’ll get an invitation to visit the Cardworthys—that’s Josie and her family, who are my neighbors. Since I promised Nick, I always go, but I’d be lying if I said that was the real reason I can’t stay away. Being with her is an exquisite torture, though, and it only seems to be getting worse.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Josie?

    [Colin] Vivacity, smarts, spontaneity

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s her most appealing quality?

    [Colin] I love how outgoing she is. She’s my opposite—lighthearted when I’m serious, engaging when I’d be more likely to observe. She makes me do ridiculous things that usually end up being amusing.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] What just drives you nuts about her?

    [Colin] She can be reckless! If she gets it into her head to climb a tree, up she goes, never mind that its branches are ancient, and she rides like a madwoman. And I don’t even want to get into the love potion she gave me, but it’s fair to say that she started something on a whim that changed everything for both of us.

    I know I shouldn’t even be thinking this, but sometimes I wonder if it was that same recklessness that made her agree to my friend Nick’s proposal. They’d only known each other for six weeks, and then he had to leave. In Nick’s case, I can understand getting engaged—he was going to war. But Josie is a young woman who’s seen hardly anything of life—was it sensible to engage herself to a man she hardly knows? It’s despicable of me even to be thinking about this.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

    [Colin] I would have declared myself to Josie sooner, before she met Nick, of course. I was too damned reserved, and it cost me.

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

    [Colin] Pencil and paper for jotting down ideas for my current work in progress. Josie likes to tease me about my writing, and she comes up with ridiculous fake titles for my books. This would all be easier if she didn’t make me laugh so much.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

    [Colin] Figure out time travel.

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

    [Colin] Thank you for having me, though I seemed to have talked about my feelings a great deal (shudders). You are a crafty interviewer and your café is charming.

    With the night so full of romance…

    Colin Pearce, the Earl of Ivorwood, never dreamed he’d desire another man’s fiancée, but when his best friend goes off to war and asks Colin to look after the bewitching Josie Cardworthy, he falls under her sparkling spell.

    Who can resist mischief?

    Josie can’t wait for the return of her long-absent fiancé. If only her beloved sister might find someone, too…someone like the handsome, reserved Colin. A gypsy’s love potion gives Josie the chance to matchmake, but the wild results reveal her own growing passion for the earl. And though fate offers them a chance, a steely honor may force him to reject what her reckless heart is offering…

    US addresses only, please

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The post Meet Colin Pearce from Mischief by Moonlight by Emily Greenwood and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

    Add a Comment
    48. Interview with Lori Wilde, Author of Love with a Perfect Cowboy and Giveaway


    This morning I’m excited to welcome Lori Wilde to the virtual offices!

    [Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

    [Lori Wilde] Tall. Texan. Foodie. Adventuresome. Expressive.

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

    [Lori Wilde] It’s the last book in my Cupid, Texas series, Love with a Perfect Cowboy, is set in the rugged terrain of the Davis Mountains. The hero, Luke Nielson, and the heroine, Melody Spencer, are star-crossed high school sweethearts caught in the middle of a decades old family feud.

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

    [Lori Wilde] Melody was the fourth cousin in the series, and honestly when I was writing the rest of the books, I didn’t know much about Melody, other than she was a big ad executive in New York City. I also knew I wanted to tell the story of the Nielson/Fant/Greenwood family feud what started back in 1924 when Melody’s wealthy great grandfather, John Fant, left Luke’s high-society great-grandmother standing at the alter in order to marry housemaid, Millie Greenwood. When it came to the hero, I asked myself, what kind of guy would cause an ambitious urban woman the most trouble, and laidback cowboy, Luke was born.

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

    [Lori Wilde] Working out how to end the family feud so Luke and Melody could be together.

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

    [Lori Wilde] I had the worst time trying to figure out the turning points in this book. I kept moving the turning points around—trying to create the highest escalating stakes—and it drove my beta reader crazy. But in the end, she declared the trouble was worth it.

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

    [Lori Wilde] “I’ve Got a Little Hillbilly in Me” by Brent Amaker

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

    [Lori Wilde] My purse.

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

    [Lori Wilde] Circular knitting needles. Swiss Army knife. Fitbit.

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

    [Lori Wilde] No one. We’ve all got our ups and downs. I finally got myself good and broke in, and I know what I’m dealing with. If you switched places with someone, no telling what mess you’d find yourself in.

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

    [Lori Wilde] Is this where I lie and pick the latest best seller or tell the truth and admit the last three books I’ve read are all for research? Story Solution, 23 Actions All Great Heros Must Take by Eric Edson. The Wrong Stuff, the autobiography of lefty pitcher, Bill “Spaceman” Lee. 101 Nights of Great Romance by Laura Corn.

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

    [Lori Wilde] Yoga, watch movies or glom on a TV series, cook something challenging, spend time catching up with family and friends.

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

    [Lori Wilde] Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. www.loriwilde.com.

    About the book:

    Love with a Perfect Cowboy

    A Cupid Texas Novel

    By: Lori Wilde

    Releasing May 27th, 2014


    Cowboys always seem to have the most spectacular butts, probably from all that hard riding in the saddle. But Melody Spencer had long-ago wiped the dust of Cupid, Texas off her cute shoes…and done her best to forget the chiseled jaw, strong arms and those other assets of cowboy Luke Spencer. Their families might be part of a long-time feud, but he was her very first love even if it turned out they never wanted the same things.

    But now Luke’s come striding back into her life, tempting her with the memories of long, lazy evenings and hot, passionate kisses. And he has an ulterior motive-as Mayor of Cupid, he knows Melody’s business savvy can help save their beloved hometown. His smooth-talking might get her to Texas, but that doesn’t mean he’ll get her in his bed. Still, people do say love can be more perfect the second time around…

    Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/04/now-booking-tasty-virtual-tour-for-love.html

    Buy Links

    Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Perfect-Cowboy-Cupid-Texas-ebook/dp/B00FJ331SQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

    B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-with-a-perfect-cowboy-lori-wilde/1116864927?ean=9780062219015

    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/love-with-a-perfect-cowboy/id718570475?mt=11


    Author Info

    LORI WILDE is the New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty books. A former RITA finalist, Lori has received the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers’ Choice, and numerous other honors. She lives in Texas, with her husband and a wide assortment of pets. Lori teaches Romance Writing Secrets via the internet through colleges and universities worldwide at www.ed2g.com. Visit her at www.loriwilde.comor @LoriWilde on Twitter.

    Lori’s Links:


    twitter handle is @LoriWilde


    Cupid Texas Series

    Love at First Sight Release Date May 28th, 2013

    All Out of Love Release Date June 25th, 2013

    Somebody to Love Release Date Dec 31st, 2013

    Love with a Perfect Cowboy Release Date May 27th, 2014

    Goodreads link: http://www.goodreads.com/series/99988-cupid-texas

    Rafflecopter Giveaway (Two Winner’s will win Two Print Cupid Texas Romances)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The post Interview with Lori Wilde, Author of Love with a Perfect Cowboy and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

    Add a Comment
    49. INTERVIEW: Dylan Todd on Designing Monkeybrain, Creating Covers, and Art Direction in Comics

    Comics design is something everybody appreciates whenever they walk into a store – in many cases, it’s one of the central reasons why they try a comic series they’ve never seen before. And yet it’s something which doesn’t get discussed as much as it perhaps should do, considering the importance of a good logo or cover design. Which is why I approached Dylan Todd a short while back to ask him a few questions about what comics design entails, what good art direction offers a comic, and where he thinks design should be improved within the industry.

    Todd is best known perhaps as the main artistic designer for Monkeybrain Comics, where he developed the design of their interior layouts, as well as the central logo for the company and several of the comic mastheads. He’s also worked on various other comics, including Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham’s ‘Five Ghosts’; ‘Sacrifice’ by Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose; and many others. He’s a man who knows what he’s talking about, which is always a good thing when you’re talking to somebody like me – who rarely knows what he’s talking about.

    He was kind enough to take part in an interview with The Beat about his process, what he looks for in a design, and just why it remains one of the most important facets in the creation of a series. His answers are fascinating, and well worth reading in full:


    Steve: How did you get involved in design as a career? Do you have a background in art and design?

    Dylan: Yeah, design is my career. For my day job, I’m an art director and designer in-house at a place here in Vegas. I started drawing in fourth grade, around the same time I discovered comics. I’ve always been interested in design, though when I was younger, I didn’t really know that was what I was interested in.

    I remember the Dick Tracy movie campaign — which ran ads in every comic for months leading up to the release — being a real eye-opener for me, because it wasn’t just illustration, which I thought was what I was interested in, because there was also type involved and the copywriting style alongside the iconic, primary-colored illustrations. A few years later, I read or heard about design and thought, “Oh yeah; that’s what I want to do.”

    Steve: Were you always a comics reader? I’m wondering if there may have been any dovetailing between an interest in comics and your subsequent interest and career in design.

    Dylan: Until I was 10 or 11, I had no idea comics existed. But one night I slept over at a friends’ house and he pulled out a box of Jonah Hex and Nth Man and Masters of the Universe comics and my mind was blown. I grew up with Spider-Man cartoons and Wonder Woman TV shows, but had no idea that there were comics, too. And they came out every month!

    The next day, we walked down to the 7-11 at the end of the street and he showed me the spinner rack full of comics that, somehow, I had never noticed before. I’m not 100% sure, but I’m pretty sure Fantastic Four #313 was my first purchase. I was hooked from then on out. I remember sitting in my friends’ yard with a hand-stapled comic, drawing the cover and taking a long time on the masthead (which was a perspectival, X-Men-ish thing) and our publisher logo. (Which was probably something like Cool Dudes Comics.) Way more time than on the actual cover.

    Steve: How did you first make the move to work in comics? What was your first project?

    Dylan: My first project was designing the cover for Curt Franklin and Chris Haley’s first collection of Let’s Be Friends Again strips, Under Pressure, which was a lot of fun to work on.


    My first “big break,” was working with Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose on their self-published series, Sacrifice. Sam had followed me on Tumblr, saw some stuff I’d posted and hit me up to see if I’d be interested. I said, “Um YES,” because I’d just read Our Love Is Real, and knew he was super-talented. Then he showed me Dalton’s artwork with Pete Toms’ coloring on top of it, and I couldn’t resist.


    I’m a huge fan of everybody involved in that project: Sam, Dalton, Pete (who, if you haven’t read his comics, is just a real talent. Go check out On Hiatus over at Study Group. It’s hilarious and beautiful.), editor Alejandro Arbona, who’s the Associate Editor at Valiant now. It was intimidating to be included alongside those guys.

    Steve: What would you say is the core goal of a strong design? Is the aim to convey as much as possible in as simple an image or design as possible?

    Dylan: I think good design communicates. Period. Whether it’s minimal or maximal or in-between-imal, good design tells a story through art and typography and iconography. For comics, that’s usually a cover that catches the eye, lures a reader in, and gets them interested enough to plop down three or four bucks for, well, more words and pictures that tell a story.

    Steve: Branding is a huge undertaking, and one which you took on for the launch of Monkeybrain Comics. How did that originally come about? Did Chris Roberson and Allison Baker approach you?

    Dylan: I’d met Chris and Allison at an iZombie signing here in town and chatted with them while I waited in line to gaze uncomfortably upon the visage of Mike Allred. (He’s so dreamy.) I gave them my card and we started following each other on Twitter and stuff, chatting back and forth every now and then.

    After Chris cut ties with writing for the Big Two, you could tell they were up to something, so when I got an e-mail to chat with them about “something cool,” I knew I wanted in on whatever this thing was.


    Steve: What were the goals of the design? Was there a brief of what kind of identity they wanted for Monkeybrain?

    Dylan: There wasn’t a brief per se, but we had a phone call where we talked about what they needed, the type of versatility the mark needed to have, what their end goal with the mark was, what sort of things it would be used for, etc. I’ve since developed a “new project questionnaire” that I give to new clients, but our phone call basically ticked off all the boxes there, so I knew what direction to be headed in. The only real restriction was that they had this icon they’d used previously for Chris’ novels, that literal monkey-brain drawing, and they wanted the mark to be fun, but not too fun that they wouldn’t be dismissed as not being serious enough.

    Steve: If we take the main Monkeybrain logo as a starting point – this is a logo which uses the same image as Monkeybrain Books, but then adds to and around that central point. How did you approach building up the logo for Monkeybrain?

    Dylan: So yeah, once we established the tone we wanted and set some parameters, I got started with my usual, what I call, “wool-gathering”: looking at reference, making word lists, sketching out rough ideas, building computer comps, deciding what to develop and what to toss. I remember looking through the Comixology publishers page and seeing which marks jumped out as you scrolled past quickly. With most things, it’s the simpler, easier reads that are memorable and jump out at you.

    I think we went two rounds with the logo, with my first round being close, but overall too whimsical. (I’d had a gut feeling I was being too goofy, but went ahead and shared where I was at to get feedback) Once we looked over the first batch, I sent another round with the one we ended up going with. It was one of those projects where, as soon as I finished that comp, I knew that was the one they’d pick. Feels good man.

    Steve: Did knowing this would be a digital launch affect the way you approached your design of Monkeybrain’s logo and branding? Your logo would need to be appropriate for a twitter avatar, for use on ComiXology – does there have to be an added versatility in design now?

    Dylan: Oh definitely. I mean, end use of a design should always, not necessarily dictate the design, but at the very least, inform it. It’s something that you need to always have in the back of your brain as you go through the process, regardless of the project. But creating versatile marks and branding systems is something you’re trained to do in school. You need something that works horizontally, or can be stacked, something you can use as a social media icon, something recognizable when it’s shrunk down to an inch or blown up 3 feet wide.


    Steve: Do you feel as though the rise of digital has now changed the way comics are designed as a whole? Instead of appealing to readers amidst a shelf of other comics, issues are now struggling for reader attention as undersized icons on, say, ComiXology.

    Dylan: I think it’s still too early to say. I think there’s a lot of savvy creators who are definitely keeping digital in mind, but I also think there’s enough people who see digital comics as just a variation of the print product and approach it with that same mindset. It’s not that dissimilar from going from having a 12” LP to design a cover for, to a 5” CD to a 200 pixel iTunes album preview.

    I think a good design by a good designer is going to work regardless of size, but I also think you need to remember how your art’s going to need to be used rather than approaching it in a one-size-fits-all mindset. There are titles I purchase digitally that I constantly manage to scroll past when I’m doing my digital New Comic Book Day shopping that look just fine on the shelf, but manage to get lost in the visual noise that is a digital storefront. Digital vs. print isn’t an apples vs. oranges thing, but it’s maybe an orange vs. grapefruit thing. Like, it’s still a citrus fruit, but it’s its own citrus fruit that’s consumed differently.

    Did that make sense?

    Steve: Looking across the various Monkeybrain covers and logos, the most striking thing is how different they all look, emphasising the variety of genre and styles in the stories the company publish. Was there ever an interest in creating a shared concept for the design of each book, or was this always the idea?

    Dylan: The three MonkeyBrain titles I’ve done masthead design work for, Edison Rex, Theremin and Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective, are all wildly different books. I mean, one’s a supervillain-turned-hero book, one’s a psychedelic alternate history action thing and one’s a robot noir, so I’ve approached each of them from those starting points. From the beginning, Chris and Allison wanted to give the creators the freedom to come up with their own ideas and look while still managing to make it all feel like part of a whole.


    One of the great things about MonkeyBrain — and one of the biggest challenges in coming up with their main logo and identity — is that they publish a crazy amount of different titles. So my goal was to find a mark and look that could apply to everything from superhero stuff Like Edison Rex or Anti-Hero, to stuff like High Crimes or Amelia Cole or Bandette or Strange Nation. With the exception of Edison Rex, I had no hand in developing the visual identity for any of those other books, but I had to make sure the templates I provided for the credits and bio pages, etc. were variable enough to allow for a host of genres and stories.

    Steve: What influences the choices behind the fonts you use? “monkeybrain” here is in all-lowercase as well, which is possibly to highlight the company’s more informal and open approach to publishing?

    Dylan: Will it completely blow the mystique if I tell you that the logo is that way because it made a nicer shape with only had the stem of the “K” and the descender on the “Y” sticking out of the shape of the logomark? Haha. I mean, yes, the friendliness of lowercase was definitely a factor, but the final decision came down to it looking nicer with most of the letters taking up the same visual rectangle of space. Sorry?

    Steve: Fair enough! You’ll notice that lots of my questions are perhaps somewhat vague here, which is because I don’t know how to talk about design, particularly! I’m trying to learn. Do you find that people do tend to misunderstand or misrepresent the role of design in comics?

    Dylan: Graphic design is really hard to understand in general. One of my professors in college told us a story about his dad, who could never understand what exactly he did for a living. My professor was home visiting and one of those Claymation California Raisin commercials came on. His dad looked at him, and said, pleadingly, “Is this what you do for a living?” My professor sadly told him it wasn’t. His dad finally, resignedly, threw his hands up in the air and said, “I’m never gonna get it.”

    It’s a hard thing to wrap your head around. And really, design in comics hasn’t really been a thing until fairly recently. You have people like Jim Steranko and his work on FOOM in the 70s, but largely, it wasn’t until the Direct Market took hold and collections became a thing you could buy rather than hunting down back issues from retailers and comics started competing with books in bookstores (for younger readers, bookstores were IRL Amazon.coms) that designers were really brought in to make the product look like, well, a product as opposed to a pulpy, disposable entertainment module that was produced in the quickest fashion possible.



    Steve: We’re in a period now where comics are being pulled apart more by fans and critics, and the role of colourists, letterers, inkers are getting more attention. With people like – for example – Jonathan Hickman placing a particular importance on design, do you think we’re starting to now see people pay more attention to art direction and design in comics?

    Dylan: I hope so. I think people like Hickman, who has a good eye for design, and Jim Rugg, who won national design awards for his and Brian Maruca’s Afrodisiac, Rian Hughes’ work on the Valiant relaunch and now Dynamite’s Gold Key line, basically the entire output of Fantagraphics and Adhouse, the Steranko revival we’re seeing (his work on Marvel’s FOOM fanzine in the 70s is still some of the best superhero-related work out there), all are working to make comics look better, and that helps the recognition of design’s effect on comics.

    Even having Chip Kidd, who is a fantastic book jacket designer (though I think his comics work mostly stinks), doing work in the comics sphere is a good sign.

    The sad fact is that most comics design is pretty poor. And I get the reasons why: tight deadlines, overworked staff, corporate politics and cost-cutting, last-minute editorial decisions, being in this weird transition period between comics being this physical thing that sat piled on a shelf in a neckbeard pulp dungeon to something you can read on a future-tablet wherever you want. I get it, I do. I just want sexy, cool-looking comics. I want to try harder.

    Steve: What do you want to see more from in terms of comics design? Or on the other hand, what concepts do you think we could do with less of right now?

    Dylan: I’d like to see more experimentations, more risks, more pushing how a comic book is presented. More conceptual thinking and daring executions.

    As far as what we need less of? Less covering up weak executions with textures or effects. Less “first idea is the best idea” concepts.

    Also, more holofoil.


    Steve: You write for Comics Alliance, and a few years back had a series of interviews with designers which I’d recommend people track down – in fact, with several of the people you mentioned above. Which designers do you admire, yourself? Which companies or books have especially strong work right now?

    Dylan: Off the top of my head, my design heroes are Stefan Sagmeister, Milton Glaser, Jeff Kleinsmith, Chip Kidd, Rian Hughes, Aesthetic Apparatus, Bradbury Thompson, Paula Scher, Vaughan Oliver and the Australian duo behind We Buy Your Kids. I’m probably forgetting somebody, but those are the big ones for me.

    As far as publishers who are really putting out top-notch work: Fantagraphics, AdHouse, manga publisher Vertical, 2000 AD/Rebellion. Lots of cool stuff coming out from Image, though that’s more a book-by-book type of thing, but I really like covers for Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood’s The Fuse, Jasons Aaron and LaTour’s Southern Bastards. Fonografik’s work on Nowhere Men was excellent and his work for Saga is so simple and great. Tom Muller’s work for Ales Kot’s Zero and Jeff Lemire’s Trillium has been fantastic, surprising no one.

    I’m not sure who did the design for the Manifest Destiny book, but that’s a really nice masthead. Vertigo’s FBP’s always looking on-point. I really like the design for Joe Casey’s Dark Horse superhero book, Catalyst Comix. Again, I’m forgetting a lot, but that’s what stick out in my mind.

    Steve: What other projects are you working on right now? Where can people find you, and your work, online?

    Dylan: Right now, I’m finishing up design for for Curt Pires and Jason Copland’s upcoming POP mini-series from Dark Horse, as well as finishing up an anthology I’ve been working on for the last six months or so titled 2299, featuring sci-fi future stories from Kyle Starks, Derek Charm, Nolan T. Jones, Kevin Church, Jordan Witt, Caleb Goeller, and a bunch of other people. It’ll be a 96-page-or-so anthology that we’ll have available through Gumroad in the near future and I’m really excited about it. Lots of dayglo future comics.


    As far as where you can find me, my comics and pop culture design portfolio is located at bigredrobot.net (I have a non-comics design site as well at dylantodd.com). You can follow me on Twitter at @bigredrobot. I also have a bunch of Tumblrs, but my main one’s here. Guttersniper, which is more design/comics-focused, is here.

    1 Comments on INTERVIEW: Dylan Todd on Designing Monkeybrain, Creating Covers, and Art Direction in Comics, last added: 6/12/2014
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    50. Catching Up with Lauren Castillo …

    I had the opportunity to make five books with Frances before she retired in 2013. During that time, we grew close, and I very much thought of her as my NYC family. She was an extraordinary editor, who always encouraged me to trust my creative instincts, something that isn’t the easiest to do when many people are involved in the making of a book. The faith she had in her authors and illustrators made all the difference, and that kind of trusting collaboration is what leads to the strongest, most successful outcomes.”

    * * *

    Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Lauren Castillo, pictured here, about her newest picture book, The Troublemaker (Clarion, June 2014), as well as her forthcoming Nana in the City (Clarion, September 2014).

    She speaks above about legendary editor Frances Foster, who passed away earlier this week. The rest of our discussion is here.

    Next week, I’ll have some art from The Troublemaker, as well as some character studies, etc. from Lauren.

    Until tomorrow …

    * * * * * * *

    Photo of Lauren used with her permission.

    0 Comments on Catching Up with Lauren Castillo … as of 6/13/2014 4:01:00 AM
    Add a Comment

    View Next 25 Posts