So, the below interview questions were supposed to be part of the Calamity Jack tour but with the holidays and book release, I unfortunately didn’t get them in time. However, I hate to think that they wasted their time, so I’m going to post them anyways. (Plus the answers are a lot of fun!) Enjoy!
First, I have to start by saying that normally I’m not a fan of graphic novels, but I love this series. Where did the inspiration/idea come from?
SH: Thanks, Bookblather! What a gorgeous compliment. I wanted to collaborate with my awesome husband, who is brilliant but tragically apathetic. We combined our first loves: comic books + fairy tales, and this is where it took us.
DH: My first love is actually apathy, but combining that with anything doesn’t really make a good story. So we went with my second love.
Out of all the fairy tale characters out there, why did you pick Jack and Rapunzel as your hero/heroine?
SH: Rapunzel irritated me. I wanted her out of that stupid tower and in the world doing cool things. Jack just is cool. The rogue is an intriguing character.
DH: It was totally Shannon. I wanted to do the woodsman from Little Red Riding, but wolf-dismemberment didn’t quite seem all-ages appropriate.
What inspired you to choose the Old West setting?
SH: Westerns rock! But really it was all about the hair. We wanted Rapunzel to use those braids as weapons, and the Old West was the setting that made sense.
DH: We also briefly toyed with an “Indiana Jones” type of setting, given the hair as bullwhip, but it just felt too derivative. And less interesting.
Do you have a favorite character in the series?
SH: Rapunzel of course! She’s awesome! But I love Freddie too. And Jack. And Brute. And all the creatures, especially in Calamity Jack, which I won’t name for fear of spoilers.
DH: Apart from the mains, the bandersnatch is my favorite in Calamity Jack. And probably Witchy Jasper from Rapunzel.
SH: The bandersnatch is creepy. Eyes as toothy maws is creepy. So you know it was Dean.
Will we be seeing more of Jack and Rapunzel in the future?
SH: I hope so! I don’t want this to sound like a cheap plug for the book, but the honest truth is, the better the books sell, the more likely we can do more. Nathan Hale feeds a family of 12 (or is it 4?) on this meager income. Save the Nathan Hale children!
DH: I’ve suggested Nate sell his children’s organs for the disposable income, but after some research, he decided against it. Turns out organ farms are way more complicated to organize than I thought.
How is the process of writing a graphic novel different?
SH: We have to be so brief! I’m used to the luxury of 300 pages. And werely so much on the illustrations. I’m not as in control of the story, which is scary and wonderful.
I know Rapunzel’s Revenge was the first GN for all. Was there anything that changed while writing/drawing Calamity Jack?
SH: Ironically, CJ was TONS harder to write than RR. You’d think we would have learned the process and had a smooth sailing, but CJ really kicked our collective buttocks.
DH: The actual format of the Calamity Jack script was a little different than the Rapunzel one – we already knew, sort of, how Nate worked, so we were more loose with panel descriptions, unless they had specific plot impact. There were a couple of scenes we knew he’d love to have some fun with, so we just said, “Fight scene. Have fun. Let us know if you want it written out.” He didn’t.
Thank you very much to Shannon and Dean Hale for taking the time to answer my questions!