Punk poet of girl geekdom Cecil Castellucci has carved out a world all her own in novels like Boy Proof and Queen of Cool—a world populated by memorably quirky nerds and the people who either befriend or torment them. We predict '07 is going to be a big Cecil year...In May, she's got a graphic novel coming out from the new chick-targeted comics imprint Minx (we posted on this a while back), and a YA novel, Beige--which is all about NOT being beige. We grilled Cecil, and here's the juicy result:
Who is your favorite writer that most people have never heard of?
I'm a big fan of Walter Tevis. He wrote one of my fave books that I read as a teen called Mockingbird. It's about a robot that wants to commit suicide. So amazing. He also wrote The Man Who Fell to Earth.
I also adore James Tiptree, Jr. Who wrote as a man but was really a woman. Highlights include her short story collection Warm Worlds and Otherwise. A great biography of her life just came out.
And of course, two up and coming writers both of whom have novels coming out in 2007
Heather Tomlinson - The Swan Maiden (Holtzbrinck)
Jo Knowles - Lessons from a Dead Girl (Candlewick)
What kid or teen books rocked your world growing up?
All of the All of a Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor
any of the Shoes books by Noel Streatfeld
The Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Anything by Jane Austen or the Brontes.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Candide by Voltaire
Describe your ideal place to write.
How about in Paris at a cafe with a moleskine notebook and a fountain pen in the 1920s. Oh, you mean now? A cafe, with wireless and working plugs and a good view out of a window or a fabulous porch so I can day dream. Also, I like writing in bed, with my iPod blasting a great music piping out a soundtrack to go along with the words flowing onto the page.
Your life is a TV series. Name the theme song, one event that would be on the "best of" episode, and one that would be on the blooper reel.
Theme Song: What I'm Looking For by Brendan Benson
Best of Episode: In which Cecil and her wacky gaggle of friends find an Atoll in the South Pacific and declare it to be their own country. They call the country All Art All The Time (AAATT). Hijinks and hilarity ensue when every one declares themselves King or Queen and no one gets any artistic work done. Except Cecil, who declared herself the Fool and makes a great indie film documentary about the monarchy struggles in AAATT and wins an IFP award much to her friends total humiliation. Eventually they get over it, have a laugh, and drink a lot of champagne at the awards parties.
Episode Where We Jumped the Shark: Cecil delivers her friend's baby in the back seat of a taxicab in the middle of a snowstorm in a very special holiday special of The Cecil Show.
Blooper Reel: Falling down, Slipping on a bananas, Tongue twisters, Bad dancing, Unfortunate static cling, Skirts accidentally tucked into hosiery, Broken high heels, Fashion Faux Pas and Failed Wooing of Gentlemen.
Burger-flippers want to know: have you ever had a job that required you to wear a geeky uniform? Details, please!
Well, there were some ugly aprons that I had to wear working at Swenson's Ice Cream Parlor and Pier One Imports. Blech. But the geekiest uniform that I ever wore was my elf outfit while working as a Christmas elf at Macy's Santaland. Now you'd think that an Elf outfit would be FANTASTIC! But they didn't have an outfit that was small enough for me so it was ill fitting and the hat was very big. So it was kind of fantastically geeky and also totally badly geeky.
We'd like to name a burger in your honor. What kind of fixins should
It should have cheese, avocado, onions, some kind of special mayo-lemon fancy spread and cilantro. And it should have french fries with gravy on the side. (and Poutine if possible) (Poutine is french fries, gravy and cheese curds) (It's a Quebec thing)
SPECIAL BONUS QUESTIONS JUST FOR CECIL:
How did you get together with the folks at Minx? Did they find you or did you find them?
Shelly Bond at Vertigo, who was launching Minx got in touch with me. I was very happy to be found. She had edited one of my fave Vertigo titles, The Deadenders. I had long wanted to write comic books, but didn't know how to go about doing it. Happily Minx was putting feelers out to see if maybe a YA author would be interested as a potential person to write a book for the Minx line. Happily, I'm the gal that got the call.
Dirty Plotte by Julie Doucet
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman.
Maus by Art Spiegleman.
DMZ by Brian Wood
Gray Horses by Hope Larson
Fables by Bill Willingham
Y the Last Man by Brian K Vaughan
Sunset City by Rob Osborne
Do you have to be able to draw to do a graphic novel?
I do not draw at all. The Plain Janes is being drawn by an amazing artist, Jim Rugg, that I am so happy to be working with. He did an excellent comic book called Street Angel, out on Slave Labor Graphics. You don't have to know how to draw to write a graphic novel, much like you don't have to know how to draw to write a picture book. It does help to have an appreciation for the visual.
Any other news you can share about Minx and The Plain Janes?
Right now it's all very new, there is not much to share except that it's a book about four girls named Jane and how art is a wonderful thing. I'm very proud of the book, and I'm hoping to hang out and write about these girls for a long time to come. It's out in May 2007 on Minx and I'm super excited!