G. Bianco, 2019
Hi everyone! Today I'm so excited to talk about one of my favorite books with the person who actually wrote it!
I had the pleasure of talking with Giuseppe Bianco, author of A Girl Named Willow Krimble, a few questions about his inspiration for the writing this story, being both an illustrator and writer, and when we might see Willow and her friends again in another book! A Girl Named Willow Krimble is a book I hold near and dear to my heart, as I mention in my review of it (you can read that here), so I can't even tell you how happy I was to get the opportunity to sit down and speak with Mr. Bianco about it!
What inspired you to write A GIRL NAMED WILLOW KRIMBLE?
I won’t insult professional writers by calling myself a “writer”, but I have always considered myself a fun storyteller. Someone who loves recanting life’s fun, memorable incidents and occasions, sometimes embellishing to make the retelling of each version a bit more humorous or exciting. After reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, I didn’t think for one second, “I can do that. I can tell a story in that same way.” No way – I would never think that because Miss Rowling’s storytelling is on a whole other level, but I did think, “I WANT to do that.” I want to be able to create memorable characters that people would want to spend time with; be friends with; create a world that taps into the reader’s imagination in a way that makes you really want to be there. A world that makes you wonder how you would handle certain situations if you were presented with them. I don’t necessarily mean a fantasy world with wizards and dragons. It can be grounded in a bit more realism, but I really wanted to see if I could envelope the reader into my fictional environment, suck them in so deeply where they would laugh out loud in particular scenes, tear up at others, all the while being able to relate to certain characters. I hope I was able to accomplish that with Willow, Razzel, Shayla, Wyatt and the rest of the cast.
Who is your favorite character and why?
Wow! That is a tough one. I’m going to have to cheat on this one. So, Willow is my absolute favorite because we can all learn so much from her poise, bravery, kindness and selflessness. Her heart makes her who she is; who she longs to be and who we wish we were more like, in terms of how we view and treat the people that orbit our world. On the other hand, Razzel is the most fun to write dialogue for because her sarcasm comes so easily to me. As exciting as it is to write Willow’s actions, it is even more fun to come up with Razzel’s re-actions. They play off of one another so well, so I really love them both equally.
I love the little illustrations before each chapter and thought it made the novel even more fun to read! What made you add them in?
I started this book as a web-novel before I officially made it print-ready. Aesthetically I wanted to draw (pun intended) potential readers to my website so they would be curious to read the book. You have about 5-10 seconds to grab someone’s attention when they are on your website before they click onto the next thing that interests them. I wanted site visitors to want to turn my pages, digitally speaking, rather than click away from them. I hoped that the illustrations would intrigue them to stick around and find out what was in store for them if they stayed to visit the next chapter.
Did you have a favorite scene, character, or portion of the book that you had fun writing?
The scene where Grandma Trisha asks Willow if her granddaughter would rather be “perfect” or would she rather be “great”? This is something we all struggle with. I know I do when it comes to being creative. We are always placing boundaries on ourselves by hoping that someone likes what we create, wear, drive, etc. When we remove the shackles of perfection, only then can we be ourselves and go beyond anyone else’s irrelevant perceptions of what they or we deem to be “perfect”. Also, it’s just such an endearing moment between the two characters and really sets the tone for their relationship.
Being an illustrator, did you have an idea for Willow in your mind before writing, or did the plot come before the character?
With storytelling, at least for me, I have so many visons of what characters and scenes look like, but not until the writing begins to pour out of me. It may happen simultaneously, but rarely do I envision a character before I begin writing about them. That is probably one of the rare instances where I don’t picture something in advance. I want the natural process of writing to describe the character to me rather than any preconception of what I think or want a character to look like.
Since you are an artist, do you have a favorite medium or character you love to illustrate?
Oh, boy! Here comes the fan-boy nerd in me. I’m a huge giant monster movie fan. More specifically, Japanese Kaiju films. In simpler terms, I love drawing Godzilla and all of the giant creations of nature in his world, and beyond. These creatures were such a big part of my childhood. For me, these movies are the ultimate form of escapism. The creativity and wonder in those films will always help me tap into my imagination in way that no other science fiction or fantasy film(s) can. There is nothing more wonderous to me than a world where a giant scary being can be a hero, a villain, a symbol, a metaphor, a warning, a force of nature…. Monsters are not always bad. They can be, of course, but there are so many other shapes they can take, not only in appearance, but in the form of an allegory that can mold itself into any lesson. My weapon of choice is a brush pen. Color art is beautiful, but there is something so revealing, delicate and raw about black/white line art. It’s all there; details, mistakes, lights, shadows, without any color to deter from what the eye is processing.
You've made the decision to keep this book free on your website. I know you get asked this question a lot, but can you explain why you chose to do so?
The absolute truth is I knew it would be an uphill climb to get this published and I just wanted people to read it, to experience it; to get to know the characters and relate to them in any way they could. I never wrote this book to become a famous author. I wanted to see if I could create a world where people would want to visit and when they leave that world, the impressions left by it would last long after the final chapter. This is why I wrote it; to share my crazy imagination with the everyone. I figure the best way to get it out there was to place it on the web and make it available for anyone who wants to read it.
If you had a superpower like Willow, what would it be?
Ah, the age-old question. There it is … what power would I want? I’ve thought about this for so long. If I had to choose one, it would be Super Speed because I always feel like I am running out of time with everything that I want to accomplish, not only in life as a whole, but even day-to-day activities. You could experience so much more if you could just move faster, forcing everything around you to slow down just a bit.
What do you want readers to take away from A GIRL NAMED WILLOW KRIMBLE?
I hope that there are a lot of takeaways within Willow’s story: be yourself despite what others may think, appreciate your true friends, never let a handicap slow you down, etc. However, the main thing that I really hope resonates with the reader is that everything we do – EVERYTHING – the good, the bad, the kind, the hideous, the selfless and the selfish, effects everyone around you. That needs to be considered when we act or react to the people in our lives. The effects of our actions, words and emotions don’t just fade away with the breeze. They can and will remain embedded in the people within your environment. The positive or negative lasting effects can be infinite. We shouldn’t want the world to revolve around us – we need to remember that we revolve around our world.
After the ending of the book (no spoilers, but OMG!), please tell me you have any plans to write a sequel?!
I have actually written a follow-up novel that picks up directly after the first book leaves off. In the next book, we get to delve a bit deeper into Shayla’s relationship with her father, Razzel’s relationship with Wyatt and, of course, the history of Willow’s … gift. Not sure when I am going to put it out. It is pretty much ready to go. I just need to tweak a few things, so hopefully it won’t be too much longer before we can reunite with Willow and her friends.
Special thanks to Giuseppe Bianco for taking the time to speak with me!
A Girl Named Willow Krimble by Giuseppe Bianco is available now and you can find Giuseppe @kaiju_sketches on Instagram. Click here to buy to book on Amazon or here to read it for free!! See, now you have no reason not to read this book!
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Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!