My Next Book (Interview with Jess Smart Smiley)

The wonderfully talented illustrator Emma Reynolds shared with me this blog-it–and-pass-it-along interview for artists and authors to introduce their newest upcoming work. Her timing couldn’t have been any better, as my next book is just around the corner. Now I get to pass the interview along to three of my favorite creators and keep it going. Let’s jump in!

. What is the working title of your next book?

The Adventures of William Worm.

. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was approached by multi-lingual publisher Piggy Press about illustrating their series of William Worm books into a single volume in comics form and I leaped at the opportunity!

. What genre does your book fall under?

Children’s book.

. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I don’t know too many worm actors, so I’m thinking about voice actors. Hmm…William Worm is the main character, and he gets the most page space, for sure. It would be cool to have Ira Glass take over William’s voice. Maybe Tavi Gevinson for the voice of Wanda.

. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A thrilling journey through the world of tunnel engineer, William Worm, as he faces natural disasters, near-death experiences, and the prick of cupid’s arrow.

. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be published by Piggy Press.

. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Three or four months. I wasn’t simply illustrating the book, but rewriting the existing series of 13 books into a single narrative. It was quite a challenge putting the stories together into a space of 32 pages without making things feel rushed or crowded. With about 9 panels on each page, there is a lot happening in the story. I also spent months developing the characters – what they looked like, their colors and size, facial expressions, etc. It was a lot of fun creating their tunnels, and the environments and animals the characters encountered.

. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

That’s a tough question, and I’m not really sure how well they compare, but I think it’s fair to suggest John Lechner’s The Tales of Sticky Burr and Daydreams of a Solitary Hamster by Astrid Desbordes. They are both great stories about life on the small scale, and are equally funny and insightful.

. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

When writing the story, I focused on the composition of the plot, and the character’s dialogue. I read a lot of short comics and children’s books to get a good feel for pacing and action. I also studied a lot of color palettes, and combined hues until arriving at a palette that looked and felt right.

. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This is a multi-lingual book, with text in both English and Spanish. It’s great for English-speaking children that are learning Spanish, or Spanish-speaking children that are learning English. It’s really easy to read, as each language is presented in a different color. Aside from the language, it’s a lot of fun to look at, and is jam-packed with adventure.

2 Responses to “My Next Book (Interview with Jess Smart Smiley)”
  1. It sounds like a great, new adventure Jess. I can totally “dig” a worm tunnel engineer!!!

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