INTO THE DANDEROUS WORLD Blog Tour is in full swing and today I'm hosting author Julie Chibbaro. Julie collaborated with her husband JM Superville Sovak on this illustrated novel. Find out how they work together, then enter to win a Into the Dangerous World print, shirt, and swag.
INTO THE DANGEROUS WORLD
by Julie Chibbaro
Art by JM Superville Sovak
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Published by Viking/Penguin
On the city’s streets, and in its museums and galleries, Ror finds herself pulled in different directions. Her father wanted her to make classic art. Noise Ink insists she stay within their lines. Her art teacher urges her to go to college. But what does she want? Ror’s soul-searching—expressed in remarkable drawings and sharp-edged prose, set in the gritty Manhattan of 1984—is cinematic in its scope, and its seamless blend of text and art makes Into the Dangerous World a groundbreaking event in young adult fiction.
“How We Work Together”
by Julie Chibbaro
When I told my friend Sandra that I was working on a novel with JM, my artist husband, her eyes opened wide. She said, “I could never work on something with Steve,” her partner. “We’d end up killing each other.” We nearly have, I wanted to tell her. Instead, I kept my mouth shut and smiled, letting her think the collaboration was seamless. That was the front he and I had agreed on.
Frankly, I had never successfully written a book without the help of many people, JM being my first reader, always. And I knew the same was true for him – he never spent too long in the studio without asking my opinion on something. Because no one creates in a vacuum. Always, we hurt each other, because who doesn’t want to believe their creation is perfect. Those harsh words, “It’s not there yet. I don’t understand what you’re doing,” were more easily ignored before we started working on Into the Dangerous World, our first really big project together.
This time, we had the book, and everyone who believed in us, our editor, our agent, on the line. Our fights were awful.
“That scene is NOT ridiculous! You don’t know what you’re talking about!” I would cry, when he dismissed the fight between Frankie and Trey, two boys in opposing crews. Frankie was physically larger than Trey, and I logically had him pounding the smaller guy.
“You’re not being true to your characters,” JM said, exasperated with my drama.
“Of course I am. I know my characters.” I had written out character studies, spent hours researching their backgrounds, matching pictures to what I imagined they looked like.
“Trey is quicker, both mentally and physically. He would whip around Frankie, and outsmart him. Frankie could never beat Trey.”
I pouted, but secretly, I knew he was right. And I knew he had found just the right reason, the one that made sense for the book. So when it came time for me to critique him, I withstood his evil eye. Then, I found just the right words to explain what I felt was wrong with his drawing, in relation to the book.
That, it turned out, was the key to us working well together. Being able to find what was true to the novel, and taking away the personal element resulted in us insulting each other personally less often. The more we could turn to the text, and our characters, the better our answers became.
Here are three rules we followed when working together:
If you’re going to make a statement, give proof in the text.
Be a whiny baby, but get over it.
Be willing to ask and answer questions relating to the story.
In other words: Keep the drama in the work, where it belongs.
All in all, it’s been a great experience working with my husband, and now that we know our boundaries, we just may do it again!
Julie Chibbaro was born into a family of artists, and also married one. She grew up in NYC during the explosion of graffiti art. She has written two historical novels, Redemption, which won the American Book Award, and Deadly, which won the National Jewish Book Award. JM Superville Sovak is half-Trini, half-Czech, half-Canadian. His fourth half is spent making art, for which he earned his M.F.A. from Bard College in NY.
They both live in Beacon, NY.
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