The following is an interview with Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm regarding the upcoming release of their graphic novel series, The BIG Adventures of Babymouse: Once Upon a Messy Whisker, through Random House Books for Young Readers. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with the brother-and-sister creative team about the exciting return of fan-favorite Babymouse, their shared creative process in returning to the world and characters of their prior series, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of The BIG Adventures of Babymouse: Once Upon a Messy Whisker! In light of the return of the beloved Babymouse character, how would you describe the premise of this new series, and what can readers anticipate with her all-new adventures?
Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Thank you so much! We are very excited to bring Babymouse back to readers of all ages. In the original series, Babymouse’s imagination helped her to solve problems in her life. In this new series, her imagination breaks into her everyday life and, well, causes a few whisker-raising problems.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in bringing this world and its characters to life? Did you find that there was a creative “shorthand” in revisiting the world and characters?
J&M: Because making a 224-page fully-illustrated graphic novel is such a monumental amount of work, we learned to streamline the process. Jenni does the writing using a traditional storyboard template, and Matt does the illustrating; however, we both try to help each other along the way. Matt was an editor in his previous life, so he pipes in during the writing process and brings a nice, dry wit to books. Jenni lays out Matt’s artwork into the page spreads. After working together for almost twenty years now (Boy, we feel old.), we definitely have a shorthand, especially when it comes to Jenni giving Matt art direction.
BD: What makes Random House Books for Young Readers the perfect home for this series?
J&M: Random House believed in Babymouse all the way back in 2003 when graphic novels for young readers were not a staple on bookshelves. They were the OG pioneers of graphic novels for kids!
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Babymouse’s story will connect with and impact young readers?
J&M: Babymouse is a very relatable character, because she is always trying to figure things out. Most kids are trying to figure things out. Come to think of it, we are still trying to figure things out, lol.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
J&M: The next book in the new Babymouse series will be out in fall 2023. It’s called The Big Adventures of Babymouse: Besties!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The BIG Adventures of Babymouse: Once Upon a Messy Whisker and your other work?
J&M: You can follow Jenni on Instagram (@jenniferlholm) or on her website (www.jenniferholm.com). Give Matt a follow on Twitter at @mattholm and keep track of our ever-growing list of books at www.matthewholm.net. (Hmm … maybe we should get Babymouse’s Whiskers her own Insta Page?)