I’ve been asked by poet and my “Alas” co-blogger Richard Jeffrey Newman to participate in a Blog Hop in order to introduce new authors to new readers. If you’ve come here from the link posted on Richard’s blog, welcome! If you’re a regular reader of mine or came upon my blog by chance, this is an opportunity for you to get know something about my new graphic novel, and to check out some writers and cartoonists who might be new to you by following the links at the end of the post. They are all fine creators whose work I would highly recommend. Again, special thanks to Richard Newman, from whom I swiped most of the text in this intro paragraph.
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Great Read
Q: What is the
working title of your book?
A: Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite. It’s a new book just hitting stores (including online stores like Amazon) this week.
Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?
A: This is a sequel to my earlier book, Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword. So I already knew most of the characters and the setting before I began work on this book. The books are about Mirka, who I describe as “yet another monster-fighting Orthodox Jewish 11-year-old girl.” For this book’s story, I did a variation on the old “evil twin” storyline, although in this case the twin isn’t evil so much as self-centered. The idea was to confront Mirka with someone who is in many ways her idealized version of herself – strong, fast, not worrying about what others think of her — and to let the story grow from there.
Q: What genre does your book fall under?
A: All-ages fantasy. Also, I should mention that it’s a “graphic novel,” aka a comic book.
Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
A: Geez. You know, I’ve never tried to answer this question before. If I could use a time machine, so I could hire kid actors who have since grown up, I might cast Abigail Breslin as Mirka, or maybe Chloe Moretz. Or the 11-year-old Kirsten Dunst. I have no idea if any of these kid actors are Jewish, though. To play the grown-ups, my fantasy cast might be Jennifer Jason Leigh or maybe Dianne Wiest to play the Witch, Stephen Fry or John Lithgow to play the Troll, and Allison Janney to play Fruma.
Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A: Eleven-year-old wanna-be hero Mirka saves her town from a meteorite, but finds herself stuck with an identical twin who’s better at everything than she is.
Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
A: This book is published by Abrams. My agent is Judy Hanson.
Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A: Writing the script for the comic took me three months, or eight months, depending on if you count I spent writing stories that ultimately were not used. Then it took me nine or ten months to draw it.
Q: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A: In their review of this book, Horn Book compared it to Raina Telgemeier’s books Smile and Drama and Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost. I am very happy to be listed in company like that!
Q: Who or What inspired you to write this book?
A: All the Hereville books are, in part, heavily disguised autobiographies. The first Hereville book was about wanting to be a cartoonist but not knowing how to get started. This book, the second one, is about starting to realize your ambitions but realizing that it’s never as simple or satisfying as you’ve imagined.
Q: What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?
A: I think a lot of people are initially tickled by the concept of a fantasy-adventure novel in which the main character is an 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl being raised in an Orthodox community. But what makes it worth reading, I hope, is that the Judaism in the books isn’t a gimmick or exoticized; it’s the setting in which the characters’ live their lives. I try and present the cultural aspects in as non-exotic and matter-of-fact a way as I can, and I think readers appreciate that.
Also, there are some exciting action sequences. Or I hope they’re exciting, anyway.
Here are the writers and cartoonists whose work you can check out next:
Watch out for their “Blog Hop” interviews on November 7th.