[Note from Frolic: Our resident YA and comics expert Aurora got the opportunity to interview author Claudia Gray and chat all about her graphic novel House of El: Shadow Threat. Take it away!]
Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent graphic novel?
Claudia Gray: Why don’t the people of Krypton understand their planet is going to explode? That’s a question I’ve had since I was a little kid, and it’s fundamental to the story of House of El. We get to explore a society structured so that new ideas not only can’t find an audience, but almost can’t be conceived of to begin with.
What character in this graphic novel do you most relate to and why?
I probably relate most to Sera, even though I–sadly–have very little in common with a tough, kick-ass fighter. But she’s someone who very much believed her life would follow one very definite path, and was very wrong. That, I relate to. (Even if my path change was a whole lot more fun than hers.)
What three words would you use to describe what readers can expect from House of El?
Adventure, rebellion, connection
Why do you feel graphic novels and comics with powerful and unique characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?
It seems like a broader and broader audience is waking up to the incredible possibilities for graphic novels. The content has been there for a while, but the public at large has really become so much more aware and so much more willing to try new things.
Please describe the content of your latest read and what can readers expect from it.
House of El is a story set on Krypton in its final weeks of existence, though of course only a handful of characters know this terrible truth. Zahn-Re is a son of the most elite caste, studying to be what he was genetically programmed to become, one of the planet’s top leaders and scientists. Sera-Ur is a daughter of the soldier caste, programmed without any fear for her own life, ready and willing to die young in the service of Krypton. When two of the planet’s top scientists invite Sera to take part in a top-secret experiment, she volunteers with very little hesitation–but Jor-El and Lara’s work will change her in ways she never dreamed. Her path intersects with Zahn again, and they forge a connection that defies their entire planet.
What’s next for you in the comic and graphic novel world?
I’m finishing edits for House of El: Book III right now. Some time next year, I’ll be working on my first floppy–but I can’t share any more about that at present.
Who is your current favorite artist and writer? Why?
Writers: I’ve learned a tremendous amount from Charles Soule. We’ve worked together on Star Wars, so I’ve not only read his incredible comics but also had the opportunity to pick his brain and get his advice. Artists: Besides the brilliant Eric Zawadzki, I’m a fan of Sana Takeda and Joelle Jones.
Any writing advice for aspiring artists and writers?
Read as much as you possibly can. Write as much as you possibly can. Understand that it takes a long time and a lot of practice to become the kind of writer you want to be.