Fresh Voices: Q&A with Author Liz Montague
Welcome to the Fresh Voices series! We are excited to share a special Q&A with author Liz Montague about her new Young Adult Graphic Novel, MAYBE AN ARTIST.
Praise for Maybe an Artist
“Joyful and thoughtful—The Bulletin, starred review
“An inspiring journey of self-discovery, self-expression, and self-love” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
What inspired you to write MAYBE AN ARTIST?
I wrote it because Annie Kelley, my editor, reached out and asked if I’d be interested in doing a graphic memoir after seeing me on a blog called Cup of Jo! Once it was in my awareness I was inspired by my journey through education as a way of framing the story. I was fresh out of college and still processing that I-just-graduated-now-what shockwave and school seemed like the only thing I really knew anything about.
What was the most difficult part about writing the book? What part was the easiest?
It doesn’t come naturally to me to elaborate, so that was very difficult! I’m a super concise person, which is great for single-panel cartoons, where you have to cram a lot of big ideas into very small real estate, but not so great when writing a book. Left to my own devices, the book seriously would’ve been 20 pages. The easiest part was the cover, I absolutely love the jacket art! It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done.
What character or element of the story do you identify with the most and why?
I guess the Intro because timeline-wise it’s the most recent. I’m currently really identifying with page 5 of the book where I say, “I have no thoughts left. My brain is completely empty.” I’m sure a lot of people are feeling that during this post-Thanksgiving but pre-Winter Break time period!
What do you want kids today to take away from this story?
I hope kids take away that it’s okay to fully embrace where you’re currently at. I wish I could tell my younger self to not stress so much and just be open and present, but that’s also something my adult self probably needs to hear too. We’re all told “nobody has it figured out,” but I hope me showing myself really not having it figured out for most of my life offers comfort to someone.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading LOVE AND OTHER WORDS by Christina Lauren; a friend recommended it and so far I’m really loving it. A cozy feel-good read is so great, especially once the weather gets cold like this. I’m also listening to EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir on audiobook which I’m also loving, it really jazzes up my morning walk!