Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for your first illustrated novel, Ghosts Are People Too. What can you share with us about the premise of this spooky, new book that will appeal to readers of all ages?
Peter Ricq: It's a book about ghosts, and it is illustrated by hand using mostly pointillism. (Takes forever!) I wanted to make a spooky book (not spooky at all actually) that educates kids on what it's like to be a little ghost, so that they won't be scared of ghosts anymore. It also has some mature humor which adults and parents will enjoy when reading alone or with their children.
I was inspired by the works of Edward Gorey, Tim Burton, and Neil Gaiman. It was a lot of fun to do, and I hope to do more one day.
BD: Your career has spanned a number of creative roles, ranging from writer and director to musician and cartoonist. What can you tell us about your creative process in transitioning to an illustrated prose book, and what (or who) were some of your influences?
PR: My goal was always to be a film director/storyteller. I try and know every craft so I can communicate with my team better and get my vision across. I was always drawing and telling stories with my illustrations from an early age, and they were mostly spooky themed. I got better at every craft as the years went on, and, eventually, an idea would come up that I'd fall in love with and would focus on its completion and give it my all.
When I like someone's work, I try and emulate it but with my own style/approach. With this book, Eward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies really caught my eye and [I] loved everything about it. I wanted to do something like that mixed with Tim Burton's work and more contemporary things like Cartoon Networks' The Amazing World of Gumball, Gravity Falls, and Clarence.
I wanted my young readers to feel a connection with our main protagonist, not be scared but also have a few "SCARY" illustrations which they can gaze at for a while.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Ghosts Are People Too’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
PR: Great question. The theme of the book is to not be scared of things you don't know or understand. The famous quote, "Don't judge a book by its cover," can be applied to people and ghosts. We need to take the time to see things from different perspectives, learn someone's culture and background. Doing so, you will appreciate, learn, and understand them better and hopefully make a new friend. I think this is something that the world needs to be reminded of these days.
BD: In light of the Kickstarter campaign, are there any particular backer rewards that you would like to highlight for our readers?
PR: The KICKSTARTER LINK has all the information you need to know, a sweet video, pictures of the book, excerpts, and its rewards.
Some of the great rewards, aside from the hardcover book itself, are spooky/cute doodles by me, and even 5x5 and 8x8 original art that looks like the book. You also get the chance to receive signed copies of my previous books (Once Our Land, Once Our Land 2, & A King's Vengeance) which all have been well received by critics, and Once Our Land is being turned into a feature!