Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

My Kirkus Q&A with Jen Wang

h1 Thursday, February 15th, 2018

For a while, I’d wanted to write a story about a character whose super power was making clothes that transformed the wearer. I couldn’t think of a premise that fit until I was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race one day, and suddenly everything clicked. I’ve also wanted to do something fun, like a Disney princess movie but with more queer themes attached, and everything fell in line perfectly from there.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk with Jen Wang, pictured here, about her new graphic novel, The Prince and the Dressmaker (First Second, February 2018).

The Q&A is here. Next week, I’ll follow up here at 7-Imp with a bit more art from the book.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Jen Wang taken by Ye Rin Mok.

My Kirkus Q&A with Nina Crews

h1 Thursday, February 1st, 2018

I started thinking about illustrating [Richard Wright’s] haiku back in 2006 after I came across a few of them in a poetry anthology. I had read Native Son and The Outsider in my twenties and had more or less dismissed his work as too polemical for my tastes. I was surprised and delighted by the poems. A quick search online led me to a posthumously published collection of over 800 of his haiku, Haiku: This Other World.

In addition to hundreds of wonderful poems, this book included a terrific introduction that gave me a new perspective on Wright and backmatter that gave me a deeper understanding of this poetic form. Creating this book was an opportunity for me to reconsider my feelings about Wright’s work. I am now a fan.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk with author-illustrator Nina Crews, pictured here, about her new picture book, Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright (Millbrook Press, February 2018), which features her photo-collage illustrations.

The Q&A is here. Next week, I’ll follow up here at 7-Imp with some art from the book.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Nina Crews taken by Matthew Septimus.

Lita and Mary

h1 Thursday, January 18th, 2018

I wanted to write about Mary Shelley for over a decade after I learned that she was a pregnant teenage run-away when she wrote her novel, Frankenstein. That blew me away. Why did I not know more about her life when she should have been an incredible role model to young women? We’ve all heard the popular myth that Frankenstein was conceived spontaneously on a stormy night when the poet Lord Byron dared a small party of fellow expatriates to write ghost stories. But the myth strips away the identity of the brilliant young woman who wrote one of the most influential novels of the Romantic era and places credit for its inspiration in the hands of a man. Countless events in Mary’s life before and after that evening played a much greater role in the horror novel’s creation.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk with author-illustrator Lita Judge, pictured here, about her new book about Mary Shelley (and her first YA book), which she describes as “part biography, part visual fantasy, and part feminist allegory.” Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein (Roaring Brook Press) hits shelves this month.

The Q&A is here. Next week, I’ll follow up here at 7-Imp with some art from the book.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Lita Judge taken by Ben Conant.

My Kirkus Q&A with Celia C. Pérez

h1 Thursday, December 21st, 2017

I’ve mentioned in a few interviews my desire to see more stories about brown weirdos, because that’s something I never saw as a kid — brown people who were outside the ‘mainstream.’ Growing up in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood and attending schools with a similar demographic, there weren’t many kids who were into books or writing or art or music. And that’s not to say that those two things don’t go together; I just never saw it in my sort of insulated world. I didn’t start making zines or really get into punk until I was in college, but these are both things that if I’d had any exposure to as a twelve-year-old, I would have eaten up.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk with debut author Celia C. Pérez, pictured here, about her middle-grade novel, The First Rule of Punk (Viking, August 2017).

The Q&A is here. Next week, I’ll follow up here at 7-Imp with some more of the zines in her book!

Until tomorrow …


Matt Tavares on Red & Lulu

h1 Thursday, December 7th, 2017

When my kids were little, it turned into sort of a game, where we’d notice the bright red male cardinal out at the bird feeder [in our yard], and we’d try to find the female cardinal. And sure enough, she was usually nearby. It made me wonder what would happen if they ever became separated, and how far one might go to find the other. I felt like there was a story there.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk with author-illustrator Matt Tavares, pictured here, about his newest picture book, Red & Lulu (Candlewick, September 2017).

The Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …


A Visit with Aaron Zenz

h1 Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

It’s a pleasure to have a visit today from author-illustrator Aaron Zenz, who is here to talk about his winsome new picture book for very young readers, Little Iffy Learns to Fly (Two Lions, October 2017). You can see the intrepid Little Iffy above.

Filled with warm, eye-catching colors and simple sentences (with various font colors emphasizing particular words for emerging readers, such as the repeated “up”s and “down”s in the tale), it’s the story of a baby griffin, who is afraid to fly. “What if he goes up and never comes down?” writes Zenz. Little Iffy’s friends work together to help their friend, making this a sweet story of friendship (and courage — lots of it).

Aaron is here to talk about the story behind the book, and he shares lots of art. I thank him for visiting.

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My Kirkus Q&A with Chris Harris

h1 Friday, November 24th, 2017

Have you seen Chris Harris’s I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups, illustrated by Lane Smith? You may have already read about this book, as it’s received a whole host of starred reviews.

Over at Kirkus today, I talk with Chris, pictured here, about this book, what it’s been like to enter the world of children’s lit (he comes from the world of television — writing and producing, that is), and what it was like to work with Lane.

He also lobs some fruit at me.

Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll follow up with some more art and verses from the book.

The Q&A is here.


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Photo of Chris taken by Cliff Lipson.

My BookPage Q&A with Allen Say

h1 Tuesday, November 21st, 2017


I’ve got a short chat with Allen Say over at BookPage, where he answers some questions about his picture book Silent Days, Silent Dreams. (And I have art from the book and a link to my review of it here at this recent 7-Imp post.)

The BookPage Q&A is here. Happy reading. I love this book.

Zack Rock’s Good Story

h1 Tuesday, November 14th, 2017


Author-illustrator Zack Rock visits 7-Imp again today to share preliminary images and art from his newest picture book, A Good Story (Creative Editions, August 2017). It’s the story of Assistant Bean Counter #1138, whose world is filled with numbers. “Numbers keep the world orderly and ordinary. You can always count on numbers!” At least this is the story that this accountant has been told all his piggy life. Things change when he ends up in a bookstore and discovers stories — and that some things that can’t be counted matter.

It’s a thoughtfully designed book — from the pages made to look like graph paper to the textured cover under the dust jacket — and Zack’s earth-toned paintings are detailed and textured. I always like to see what Zack is up to. Let’s get right to his images and commentary, and I thank him for sharing.

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My Kirkus Q&A with Sharee Miller

h1 Thursday, November 9th, 2017

The first thing I wanted to be when I was younger was a beautiful princess. The first representations of beauty we see are often princesses. They usually have long straight hair and Eurocentric features. I think this is the point when most girls start to think about their physical appearance, and I wanted little girls with natural hair to see themselves as beautiful princesses.”

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Over at Kirkus today, I talk to debut picture book author-illustrator Sharee Miller about her new book, Princess Hair (Little, Brown, October 2017).

That Q&A is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Sharee courtesy of Darrell Hanley.