Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Manga writer interview with Queenie Chan

Today I'll be interviewing a great new manga writer at Review Carnival-Queenie Chan. Queenie Chan was born in 1980 in Hong Kong, and migrated to Australia when she was six years old. In 2004, she began drawing a 3-volume mystery-horror series called "The Dreaming" for LA-based manga publisher TOKYOPOP. To date, it has been translated into multiple languages.

She has since collaborated on several single-volume graphic novels with best-selling author Dean Koontz. As prequels to his "Odd Thomas" series of novels, they are called “In Odd We Trust” and “Odd Is On Our Side”, the latter becoming #1 on the New York Times best-seller list the week it came out. A third book, "House of Odd", is coming on March 20th, 2012. In 2009, she also provided art for the "Boys Book of Positive Quotations", by best-selling inspirational author Steve Deger.

Currently, she is working on "Small Shen", a prequel to Kylie Chan's best-selling "White Tiger" fantasy series. Apart from her professional work, she also draws a number of online comic strips on her personal site:



Favorite mangaka- Eichiro Oda
Favorite manga- One Piece
Favorite color- Red
Zodiac sign- Gemini
Place of your dreams- Blue skies, white sand... clear waters. A beautiful untouched tropical paradise.
Favorite character (in book/manga/movie)- Very hard... probably Tyrion from the "Game of Thrones" series of novels. He's such a good person, but the odds are stacked against him, and he has to fight every step of the way just to get any decent treatment.

1. Why did you decide to write manga?

I've always liked to write in high school, and we got plenty of chances to do creative writing in the earlier years. However, as I got to the higher grades, these chances dribbled away, so I was no longer able to write as much since I was too busy studying. When university came along, I found my degree (in Information Systems) very stressful, so I started drawing as a way of escape. I'd been reading manga all the way through my childhood, and one day it occurred to me that I can draw my own manga stories too... just like that, out of the blue. So, my #1 hobby in university was born.

2. What kind of characters or plots do you like to create?
I've drawn stories in all kinds of genres, so my interests are quite broad. Generally speaking, I tend to gravitate towards darker stories, because that's the way I am, but I've since learned the importance of a "lighter" outlook. I also like drawing/writing fantastical kinds of stories, probably because of the visual nature of manga. I feel I can create an entire magical universe on the cheap, just by usng pencil and paper. That gives me a lot of freedom, and it gives me a lot of opportunities to look at pretty pictures online (for inspiration).

3. Who are your biggest inspirations?

There's been a lot of artists over the years who have inspired me, but I would say my single biggest influence was probably Tezuka Osamu, the creator of Astro Boy. In the west, he's primarily known as a creator of children's stories, but in truth his work is very diverse, and there isn't a topic under the sun he hasn't tackled. He's also an incredibly dynamic and interesting story-teller - he uses techniques in his own stories that I've not seen used anywhere else. His story "Black Jack", about a rogue doctor (surgeon) who charges people ludicrous fees, but who really has a good heart, blew my teenage mind when I first read it. I didn't know people could write those kind of stories... but he did, and he taught me a lot.

4. What are your other hobbies?

I like to sew. I'm not so talented in the knitting department, but I also like to crochet cute little toys. I'm getting pretty decent at it, and it's always to have a nice relaxing hobby where you produce something cute and worthwhile at the end. When I'm not doing little arts and crafts, I like to read, watch movies, and play video games. I also shouldn't neglect exercise... since I sure surf the internet a lot too.

5. What is the best part of being a manga writer?

Seeing your creations come to life, and getting paid for doing it! Drawing manga is a slow and excruciating process, and there's no way of making that process easier or shorter. The reward is getting it finished, and seeing your characters being enjoyed by other people. There isn't anything else I'd rather do.

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