Today on WinterHaven Books I’m excited to take part in the Five Questions with Kids Comic Book Tour hosted by Macmillan! Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre, authors of DRAGONS BEWARE!, are interviewing amazing graphic novel artists throughout the month of May and we have Cecil Castellucci with us today!RAFAEL/JORGE: Hi Cecil, thanks so much for answering our questions. You might not remember us, but we met you at a First Second Books get together at the San Diego Comic-con in 2012, when our first book, "Giants Beware" came out - and Rafael was a part of a Kids Comics drawing challenge which you moderated that year.
Yes of course! Hello again!
QUESTION: Can you describe your process when you worked with Sara Varon on Odd Duck? Did you write a full script, an outline? How closely did you collaborate?
Odd Duck started off as an early chapter book with spot illustrations at a different publisher. When I discovered that they had picked Sara Varon, of whom I was a great fan, I freaked out with happiness. I loved Chicken and Cat and of course Robot Dreams. I thought that since we both did comics that it would be fun to throw out my words and have more fun with illustration. The publisher was not so convinced, so Sara and I talked to each other and we jammed over the phone and Sara came up with the layout that it is now. The publisher didn't really like what we came up with. They thought it was too odd! So we decided to go elsewhere. So I would call it an open script with big collaboration between Sara and I once it came to thumbnails. We both weighed in on text pacing and art pacing and it worked out really well for us. We recently did a collaboration for Comics Squad the same way.
QUESTION: We really like this quote of yours: "Writing is writing is writing... I think that writing a novel or comic book or libretto or short story is just like an artist choosing to draw a landscape with pastels, watercolors, oils, or whatever. So really, it's no different except that you shade differently." So do you feel different kind of limitations or freedom when you're writing a graphic novel versus a novel or vice versa? http://thecoachellareview.com/fiction/interview_cecilcastellucci.html
Absolutely! I think the great thing about writing in different mediums is that you don't have to worry about cramming everything in. I have the freedom to do what is best for the medium and if I want to do something else, I can just write another story and express myself in the way that I cannot elsewhere. It also informs how I approach things, sort of strengthens the craft. For example, I find that I'm freer with my prose, able to cut things in order to serve pacing. As for comics, I take great joy in working with an artist who cares about the story as much as I do and I relish in the silence that comics can bring that prose doesn't. I kind of married these two with the hybrid novel I wrote called Year of the Beasts. When words could no longer adequately express the emotions in the book, I turned to comics. That was very fun to do.
QUESTION: Unless we're mistaken, you seem to have written for every medium imaginable, but we didn't see any film or TV credits for you (except for your appearance in the documentary "Starvoids"). Since you're based in entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles, is writing for TV or film something that' s on your list of projects you'd like to do? Have you tried adapting your books into the film/TV medium?
You are right! I haven't really done any TV or Films. I mean, I did make one feature film that I wrote and directed that is pretty much obscure, but was a fun exercise in improv and stuff. But it was not a formal film script in any way. More like an experiment. I did just actually write my first screenplay because the story wanted to be told that way. Nothing happened with it, but it gave me great confidence and I think it's nice to have as a spec in case anyone does option one of my books. I haven't tried adapting one of my books yet, but I'm toying with the idea of it. As for television, it used to be that I didn't watch much because I didn't have cable. But now with all the streaming, I'm caught up. And loving the ongoing storytelling. I write with a bunch of friends who are television writers in cafes, and I am obsessed with the fact that there is a writers room and that people get together and break a story. I want to break a story! So who knows! Maybe I will try that one day for one season on some show! But it's also been kind of nice living in Hollywood all these years and not be in the biz.
QUESTION: What are you working on now?
Well, I am just finishing up the Princess Leia novel Moving Target for Star Wars Journey to the Force Awakens and that's been really fun. As for new projects, I've got a comic book maxi series that I'm trying to get off the ground and I'm writing my first Middle Grade novel. I'm also finishing up the libretto for my newest opera. And a bunch of other things. I've always got a million stories I want to write or should be writing.
QUESTION: What's on your nightstand?
A stack of novels that I want to read next. The stack is so hight that it threatens to topple on me. A glass of water. My journal. My earrings that I always forget are there and that I want to be wearing. Actually, I'm going to go and put those on right now.
Children's Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. It is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.
In 2015, official Children’s Book Week events – including appearances by beloved children’s book authors & illustrators, children’s open mic nights, read-alouds, book-themed costume parties, and much more – will be held in all 50 states. Photos from last year here. Event attendees receive complimentary Children’s Book Week posters and tote bags. You can see how the celebrations for 2015 are shaping up here.
Children’s Book Week is administered by Every Child a Reader (ECAR) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC) is the anchor sponsor.
Be sure to follow the rest of the tour! You can find the tour schedule by clicking here.