Friday, January 15, 2010

Interview with Shannon Hale

I'm super excited to present to you today an interview with the fabulous Shannon Hale about her newest release, Calamity Jack. Shannon has been one of my favorite authors ever since I first read Princess Academy and The Goose Girl, and I've really enjoyed reading all of her books. So, without further ado...

What is the process of writing graphic novels like?

First we come up with a strong concept and outline the plot. Then we write the script, dialog and illustrations descriptions. Then we polish it. Then we throw the whole thing away and start over.

In Calamity Jack, we get to see more of Jack's personality and past. How did you first come up with his character? Did his personality evolve much over the course of putting together the book?

We looked for clues in the original story of Jack and the Beanstalk. He’s a thief, a rogue, and yet a hero. Those are seemingly contradictory things, so from there we looked at a conflicted criminal. And the presence of Rapunzel made him even more interesting.

Calamity Jack features a wide variety of new, exciting characters. What was your inspiration for all the different creatures in the book?

We really liked the idea of a world where all the fairy tales are true, and the Old World is full of their creatures: brownies, pixies, ogres, giants, etc. What would a city look like full of those immigrants? It was fun to design, and even more amazing to see in Nate’s illustrations.

How is writing a graphic novel different from writing a regular novel? How did you have to alter your writing style?

I had to be so much briefer! You have very little space for storytelling, so every word counts. I also had to give up the luxury of a prose narrator. The illustrations take that role. Different, but also so fun.

What were your favorite and least favorite parts of the whole process?

I really liked collaborating with Dean and Nate, not being alone in a project, having other people to talk to about it. But Calamity Jack was honestly a really hard book to write. It took months to figure out how to make it work. Someday I want to get it right the first time!

Do you ever try to convey themes or messages through your writing or through your characters' actions?

I always try to weave in themes to make the story stronger, but I never try to teach a message. That makes it less strong. It’s always better if the reader discovers her/his own personal messages. Readers should create their own morals, not the writers.

Do you have any plans for another graphic novel?

Not immediately, but we have ideas! I’d love to do another someday. Thanks, Priya!

Thank you so much, Shannon!


Maya Ganesan said...

Great interview!

Nonie said...

Awesome interview, Priya! :)

Wow. It's amazing how you got to talk to Shannon Hale! Eek! :-D

Edge said...

Shannon...Hale...*dies* This was awesomeness!

Cate said...

Dream interview...*sigh* :D

Erin said...

YAY for Shannon Hale! Fabulous interview!

Judi said...

This was an awesome interview! :D
I gotta ask, how'd you get the snow-looking things falling through all your pictures? That's cool looking.

And yes, I'm a country music fan. One of the biggest ones actually. It's sad, but my life (or most of it) revolves around music...

Sadako said...

Wonderful interview as always.

Milli said...

Awesome intervie, Priya! Shannon Hale...*faints*