Q&A with Hope Larson
Hope Larson, a North Carolina native and award-winning illustrator and cartoonist who specializes in graphic novels, hosted a book signing at Chapel Hill Comics Sunday for her new graphic novel adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”
Staff writer Elizabeth Baker sat down with Larson after the signing and spoke with her about the adaptation, graphic novels and her career.
Daily Tar Heel: How has your time in North Carolina influenced your work?
Hope Larson: I was actually born (in Chapel Hill), but we moved to Asheville when I was 1 or 2.
Western North Carolina has influenced a lot of my work. It’s a big inspiration — the wildlife and the mountains.
DTH: What is your favorite project you have worked on thus far in your career and why?
HL: I think probably my favorite is “Mercury,” which is the last book I wrote and drew.
I had a great editor, which made the process really special for me.
DTH: Why did you choose to do a graphic novel adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time?”
HL: Actually, the publisher and L’Engle’s estate had planned to do one anyway.
They contacted me and offered me the job. I was a big fan, so of course I said yes.
DTH: Did you grow up reading this book?
HL: Oh yeah, for sure. I read all of her books. She has a million books, and I read all of them.
DTH: What new elements does this graphic adaptation bring to the classic novel?
HL: Well it’s a very faithful adaptation.
And as far as what’s new, I think you get to see the really abstract stuff you don’t get to see a lot.
There’s no wrong way to draw it, so it was fun.
DTH: Does your version make this novel more accessible for children, or is it more aimed at adults?
HL: I think it’s really both. I think it makes the novel less intimidating for reluctant readers, but I’ve heard of adults who love the novel and were excited it is in comic form.
The really great thing is that most of the text is in the graphic version, so if a kid can get through the graphic novel, he’s pretty much read the book. And I think that’s awesome.
DTH: The novel is full of whimsical and imaginative characters. Was it difficult for you to imagine a way to create those characters?
HL: Not really. I tried to stick really close to her descriptions, and there are actually really great descriptions of the beasts, so I knew what I needed to draw.
DTH: Do you hope to do graphic adaptations of other books in this series?
HL: No, I don’t plan to. I prefer to be writing my own stuff.
I think it would be cool if somebody else did the rest, not me.
Then I could read them.
DTH: Would you make a graphic novel adaptation of any other book?
HL: I don’t think so. I haven’t really thought about it.
I actually was asked that question about four years ago, and I said “A Wrinkle in Time” was the only book I would adapt, and it just came to me, like, out of the universe.
It’s just such an important book to me.
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