Saturday, May 8, 2021

Author Interview with Marieke Nijkamp


About the Book:

You have to know about the monsters of the swamp! When 12-year-old Blake is shipped away to stay with her weird aunt in Fever Swamp for the summer, she expects her weeks to be filled with video games, mosquito bites and a whole lot of nothing. Instead, she finds herself in a spooky turf war between werewolves and wolf hunters in IDW Publishing’s Trade Paperback of Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp!

Blake’s never let anything–including her prosthetic hand–slow her down or stop her from crushing her opponents in a game of Lore Hunter, but real-life monsters on all sides take danger and fear to a whole new level, and Blake will need to use all of her gaming skills to escape.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I enjoyed the video game aspect, the friendships, and learning the truth about the "monsters" in the swamp. I loved how Blake discovered the truth and fought to help her new friends. The art was fantastic. I really want to read more about Blake and her new friends.

About the Author:

Marieke Nijkamp is a storyteller, dreamers, globe-trotter, geek.

About the Illustrator:

Yasmin Florez Montanez is a freelance illustrator and comic artist from Puerto Rico who is passionate about storytelling and earned an MFA in Sequential Art at SCAD. Yasmin enjoys crafting diverse cultural stories with action packed scenes mixed with quiet moments. Yasmin is pretty much addicted to coffee and loves working around animals

Chatting with Marieke Nijkamp

 Did you read Goosebumps or Fear Street as a kid/tween?

Yes! And those books absolutely terrified me! I got most of them from my local library, but I also owned a few Fear Street books and I can still remember the feel of them—they were bluish mass market paperbacks—and the sheer level of existential dread whenever I cracked them open. 

I'm not a horror reader today, but I loved Fear Street as a Kid. And Christopher Pike.

 Did you have a different process for writing a graphic novel vs writing a novel?

Both are team work in different ways. With my novels, the writing part is fairly solitary until I share a manuscript with my editor and early readers. With graphic novels, the writing is only a small part of it, where my scripts are the starting point, but they would mean nothing without Yasmin’s amazing art.

 It doesn’t really change my process though. I’m a pretty consistent plotter, who needs to know what the shape of a book or a story or a comic is, before I can start writing. And with writing individual issues, that’s all the more important, because it helps to lay the groundwork for details later on!


Each book I've read of yours encompasses inclusivity - how important is it to include inclusivity and diversity in your books?

I want to make sure the stories I write reflect the world I know. So inclusivity is incredibly important to me, because every reader should be able to see themselves reflected in stories.

 I love this!

Are you a video game player? Have you ever had video game skills come in handy in real life?

I am! I don’t game as much as I used to, but it’s still one of my favorite ways to relax and decompress. I primarily tend to play rogues in RPGs—though I’m doing a mage run through of Dragon Age: Inquisition right now, and that’s been a fun experience! But my stealthing and lockpicking skills don’t usually come in handy 😉

 Still, playing games also helps me think through plot difficulties and other story snags, so in that sense, they definitely help!

Makes perfect sense to me.


Is this the end of the story? Please tell me no!

It’s the ending. . .for now.

 Basically, right now, there are no plans for a next book, but never say never!


Anything you'd like to share that I didn't ask?

Just a massive shoutout to the creative team who worked on this book. Like I said, it isn’t just my words in the slightest. My words are only a small part, and Yasmin Flores Montanez has been a fantastic cocreator. Rebecca Nalty is responsible for the wonderfully creepy colors, and Danny Djeljosevic lettered many a wolf howl and did so fantastically. And finally, the amazing cover is by Clara Meath with colors by DJ Chavis!

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