Monday, March 5, 2012

Get To Know The Author: Celeste!

[It's Monday and we're trapped in the evil clutches of paying work again! Have a throwback to Celeste's! interview from 2009....]

Q: Where did you grow up? What fictional place would you link it to?
A: I like to tell people I grew up in Maine, as that is the place I’m most proud of being from, but it’d be unfair to limit my answer to that. I’m from Maine by way of Philadelphia, PA; Niagara Falls, NY; and Boston, MA. But for the sake of the next question, let’s just call me a liar and a Mainer.
Maine is like Oz. Compared to the other places I’ve listed, it’s like stepping into a magical, Technicolor-enhanced land where nature controls the land more than the population does, people are nice without ulterior motive, and houses land on those that deserve crushing.

Q: When did you first seriously consider becoming a writer? What sources do you draw from in your work?
A: My aspirations as a writer began as most classic stories do: it was a revenge plot. I was a musical theater major that couldn’t get cast in any musicals. (In retrospect, that was wisely decided.) Befriending some classmates in a similar predicament, we decided to write, produce, and star in our own show and prove everyone wrong. Submitting it to the school, we proved our clout as script- and songwriters, and were granted the funds to produce our show…as long as we didn’t cast ourselves. The show was produced and, not long after, my deserving friends finally won over the spotlight. Luckily, I discovered how much I enjoyed writing.
Stylistically, I draw a lot of my voice from the TV shows I like: Spaced, Buffy, Clone High…. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I watch a lot of television and movies, but the writing I see and hear there is very inspirational for me.

Q: What kinds of written work have you attempted, aside from comic books? How do they compare?
A: I actually ended up co-writing 3 musicals, while in college. After those, I was convinced that I couldn’t write dialogue to save my life so I took a playwriting class, wherein I wrote the first draft of Saving Eva. Scriptwriting and comic writing are very similar for me because I essentially use the same process. I believe in allowing the artist to interpret the work independently, as opposed to dictating exactly what he or she should draw per page or per panel. (Luckily for me, Jeff's extraordinary in that and many other respects.)
In the past, I worked briefly as a video game reviewer and essayist. Presently, when not working on our comics, I'm penning a novel of debatable quality.

Q: Describe your partnership with Jeff.
A: Working with Jeff is one of the most natural-feeling partnerships I’ve had the pleasure of encountering. We’re on the same wave-length. Not only does he understand my humor and comedic-timing, but he knows when it’s not working as it should and can communicate that. He knows how to brainstorm and he knows how to edit; it makes all the difference! It sounds trite, but we really complement each other.

Q: Who is your favorite character you’ve ever created? And do you base characters on people you know?
A: I tend to relate most to the grounding-force characters like Eva from Saving Eva or Zombie from Genre Squad; the ones who think they are a voice of reason in cacophony of weirdness (when really, they're only adding to the noise). However, like any good parent, I love them all of our characters equally for their own, individual reasons. ...That being said, Mom and Dad from Saving Eva are beyond my control and that's the best feeling a creator can ask for.
I really don’t base characters on anyone I know. Sure, if I catch something that a friend or family member does or says that I find particularly hilarious, it’ll undoubtedly make its way into a script…. But I’d be too nervous to assign a character to any person; I wouldn’t want to insult them by how I represent the personality.

Q: Do you have any side projects planned?
A: I'm active in the theater and dance community, so when not writing, I tend to spend a lot of time there. But other writing-related projects include getting back to my songwriting roots and improving upon the quality of my first novel attempt.

Q: Tell us 10 facts about yourself.
A: -Jim Henson is my hero. I wanted to be a puppeteer when I was younger and actually studied some puppet construction in college. That’s something I could really get into.
-I’m a middle child, but hope I don’t act like one.
-I’m not the only writer in my family. In fact, I’m not even the best writer in my family.
-Regarding training, I’ve only taken that one playwriting class I mentioned earlier. That is, other than what public school English classes provided. …Which actually was considerable, depending on the teacher.
-Deep down, I’m a reclusive cat-lady. I just can’t afford it to be reclusive or a cat-lady, yet.
-My hair hasn’t been its natural hair color since 7th grade.
-I’ve had glasses since I was 8. They’re my favorite accessory.
-I’m pretty darn geeky. I love video games, I play DnD, I write comic books….
-I actually haven’t read that many comic books. Enough to get me through a conversation, but nothing comparable to other comic book writers. …I probably shouldn’t have admitted that.
-That being said, Batman is my superhero of choice.

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