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Today I’m on the ‘Dear Justice League’ blogtour, organised by DC Comics.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Michael Northrop is the New York Times bestselling author of Scholastic’s new multi-platform series, TombQuest. His first young adult novel, Gentlemen, earned him a Publishers Weekly Flying Start citation, and his second, Trapped, was an Indie Next List selection. His first middle-grade novel, Plunked, was named one of the best children’s books of the year by the New York Public Library and was selected for NPR’s Backseat Book Club. He is originally from Salisbury, Connecticut, a small town in the foothills of the Berkshire mountains, where he mastered the arts of BB gun shooting, tree climbing, and field goal kicking with only moderate injuries. After graduating from NYU, he worked at Sports Illustrated Kids magazine for 12 years, the last five of those as baseball editor.
About the Designer :
Gustavo Duarte is a Brazilian cartoonist, graphic designer and a comics creator and currently resides in São Paulo. For the last 20 years, Duarte’s cartoons and illustrations have been published in some of the most popular publications in Brazil. In 2009, Duarte began publishing his own comics like Monsters!, Có!, Birds and others. In addition to his own works, he has also written and illustrated comics for major publishers including DC (Bizarro) and Marvel (Guardians of the Galaxy and Lockjaw), among others.
Book Type: Original Graphic Novel
U.S. Price: 9.99
On Sale Date: Aug 6 2019
Art by: Gustavo Duarte
Cover by: Gustavo Duarte
Written by: Michael Northrop
The greatest heroes in the DC Comics universe, the Justice League, answer mail from their biggest fans–kids!–courtesy of Michael Northrop, New York Times bestselling author of TombQuest, and artist Gustavo Duarte.
Does Superman ever make mistakes? What was Wonder Woman’s eleventh birthday like? Does Aquaman smell like fish? In this new middle-grade graphic novel, iconic heroes are asked questions both big and small, and when they are not busy saving the world, the Justice League even finds time to respond. Their honest and humorous answers will surprise and delight readers of any age, as it turns out that being a superhero is not too different from being a kid.
Full of feats, follies, and colorful illustrations, Dear Justice League gives readers the inside scoop into everyday heroics, no matter who wears the cape!
Q&A with Michael Northrop :
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was an editor at Sports Illustrated Kids magazine for years. So during the week I was writing and editing these 800- or 1,000-word stories for kids about sports and athletes. As I got more comfortable putting those nonfiction stories together, I began writing my own fictional short stories on the weekends. I think I just wanted to stretch my wings as a writer. Those stories got longer and longer, a few got published, and at some point I realized: You know what? I think I’m ready to write a book. Over the last decade, I’ve had 12 books for kids and teens published. And now Dear Justice League is my first graphic novel.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I got a late start as a reader because I’m dyslexic. I repeated a grade and spent some time in special ed., so the first things I really gravitated to as a reader were comic books and poetry. Poems were a natural fit because they’re short and you have to read them slowly and carefully—and that was the only way I could read!
Now that I’m writing graphic novels, I find those early reading experiences more pertinent than ever. The comic books part is obvious, but poetry is also really similar to what you do writing a graphic novel script: fitting the carefully chosen words and sounds into little boxes, thinking about the images…
I am still a slow, deliberate reader but much more voracious. I read YA and middle grade—both current books and the classic stuff I missed out on as a kid. I read literary fiction, still some poetry and comic books, and nonfiction. I like those big historical nonfiction books about World War II and things like that. They take me forever, but I love getting a story and an education at the same time.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Tolkien. Because: Tolkien.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Bigwig from Watership Down. He’s my favorite character from one of my favorite books, he’s kind of a superhero, if you think about it, and I WOULD JUST LIKE TO HAVE TEA WITH A BIG TALKING RABBIT, OK??
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I am definitely kind of a creature of habit as a writer. I like to start early (but not too early) in the morning. There is definitely coffee involved: iced in the summer, hot in the winter. And if I’m writing prose, I try to write at least a thousand words. Some days that takes two hours. Some days the sun sets before I get there.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I get my ideas from everywhere: a work of art that makes me think, a bit of overheard conversation, a bad TV program late at night. I feel like the most important things for me are to keep my eyes open to the world and my mind open to the possibilities.
The people in my life don’t have too much to be worried about. I usually only use specific aspects of real people when I am constructing characters. It’s like a bird might make a nest out of straw and grass and a piece of string it found. I might make a character out of a quirky trait from someone I used to know, a physical characteristic from someone I just saw on the street, and the rest from my imagination. So even if I base a character on my friend, and then kill off that character in a horrible way, I am really only killing off my friend’s laugh or their nose or whatever.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I used to be a total pantser, but circumstances have cruelly forced me to become more of a plotter. I wrote a five-book series called TombQuest, and you just can’t pants your way through a five-book, globe-spanning mystery. In fact, you really need to know how the fifth book ends before you can start writing the first one. It’s the same for a graphic novel like Dear Justice League. There are nine sections and they all influence and interact with each other. Plus, you have a set number of a pages and an artist you’re collaborating with. I do still like having the freedom to find aspects of the characters and story as I write, though, so now I’m kind of a plotty pantser.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
My friend Rebecca Stead, who is an amazing middle grade author, says that the end of the first draft is the real beginning of the book. I totally agree. Once you get the first, rough draft down on paper, you can start revising and refining it. You can see what works and what doesn’t and then begin trying to flip that ratio. So I would say: Don’t abandon that project when you get bogged down in the middle, or it gets messy or becomes a slog. That’s normal! All writers go through that. I know how tempting it is to jump to some shiny new idea, but you need to power through to the end, so you can spend the time rewriting and revising. That’s when you learn how to be a writer.
What are your future plans as an author?
Right now, I’m working on Dear Super-Villains, which is sort of a sequel to Dear Justice League. It’s a lot of fun to explore (in a very safe and somewhat irreverent way) that fascination we all have with the villains, that little jolt of excitement and danger we get when they appear. Beyond that, I’ve got a bunch of ideas, both for YA and middle grade novels and for more graphic novels. We’ll have to see what the publishers have to say about all that, though!
Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Sure! I would say to keep an eye on the expressions. The artist, Gustavo Duarte, is an absolute genius when it comes to faces, and a lot of what’s going on with the characters is communicated in subtle, funny ways, like a raised eyebrow or a scrunched-up mouth. There’s a lot of high-flying superhero action in Dear Justice League, but if you look carefully, the funny little personal moments are just as important.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Michael Northrop.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!