A Chat With: Grace Ellis

Hi Gang!

 I'm so excited to be bringing you yet another chat. More and more creators are taking the time to sit down with me and every time I am pleased and honored. Content Creators, Comic writers and more are sitting down with me for an interview, little old awkward me. Is this what it means to become an adult?  Today, we are talking with the amazing Grace Ellis, creator of Moonstruck, which comes out on the 19th. 

- Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Grace Ellis, I live in Columbus, Ohio, and I am a comic book creator and writer, most notably the book Lumberjanes and most recently the book Moonstruck, out in July from Image Comics. I went to Ohio State and majored in journalism and theater with a minor in women's studies, no surprises there. Now I just fill my days with writing and petting my cat, who sometimes very sweet but always very beautiful.

- Walk us through a typical day. 

I usually wake up pretty early and start writing or answering emails while I eat breakfast. I have a rule that I have to have a three-dimensional interaction with a human outside of my apartment before noon, so at some point I'll leave and work from a coffee shop or the library or the park or whatever place seems to have the right vibe for what I'm working on. I'll write as much as I can until 5 or 6 or so, and then I stop and hang out with my girlfriend for the rest of the night. Sometimes I'll keep working, depending on how close I am to a deadline or how much momentum I have, but I try to be very good about stopping with enough time to go out and experience the world a little every day, ya know?

- What are some of your favorite comics to read? 

To be honest, I don't read a ton of comics, and I'm a really bad trader-waiter. Lemme look at my bookshelf: Saga, Sex Criminals, we've got some Calvin and Hobbes, some Emily Carroll, some Alison Bechdel. I've been trying to read more superheroes, so I've been reading America Chavez, which I love. I love comics, but reading them feels like work a lot of the time, so when I read for fun, it's mostly plays. Lynn Nottage, Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel lately. There are some really spectacular plays out there. I think a lot of comics folks could stand to read some of them, to be honest.

- What inspired you to make Moonstruck? 

Moonstruck came about because Laurenn McCubbin, who is the Moonstruck editor and a teacher at the Columbus Academy for Art and Design, approached me and asked if I wanted to participate in an anthology called Spitball, which pairs professional comics writers with student illustrators. Of course I agreed, and I wrote the original five-page Moonstruck story for that class. And thank GOD I was paired up with Shae Beagle, who is an incredible artist and, mark my words, is about to change the entire industry. Their art is unbelievable, I'm very lucky.

- Who was your childhood role model?

That's a great question. No one is really springing to mind except for Mia Hamm, which is hilarious. But truly, it probably WAS Mia Hamm, because I was super duper into soccer, and she really did make me feel like I could do anything if I worked hard enough for it.

- Tell us about your favorite part of Lumberjanes?

Hmm. I think probably my favorite part of Lumberjanes is the team dynamic. I really labored over designing those main characters to make sure that the team would be well-rounded and that everyone would contribute differently but also there was room for tension within the team. So when it all came together on the page and it actually worked, it made me really happy and made all of that work seem worthwhile.

- Moonstruck has Werewolves, What other supernatural creatures can we expect to meet? 

Oh man, all kinds! There's everything from classic mythology to creatures we just completely made up. There's the college fraternity of fairies, there's the cafe down the street that's staffed entirely by clairvoyant witches, there's the punk band that lives across the hall with a Gorgon for a lead singer. It's a wild time.

- What did you want to be when you were younger?

I always wanted to be an artist or a writer, but I was too easily discouraged to stick to drawing, and now I'm a writer! Which is not less discouraging, as it turns out, but I'm naturally better at it, so it's easier for me to stick with. 

- Walk us through your creative process

THAT'S a tough one. I am constantly brainstorming new projects, even when I'm reasonably too busy to take on anything new. When I have a good idea, I jot it down in a note my phone, and it usually sits there for a while, and I occasionally look at it and say to myself "wow, what a great idea," and then I let it stay there because as long as it's in my head, the idea stays absolutely perfect. Finally, I'll have both the time and the will to start, and it all falls apart, and I realize I've made a horrifically complicated puzzle for myself to solve, so I start hacking away at it. Sometimes I write myself an outline or a treatment. Once I know where the story is going, I don't usually do too much rewriting except to iron out the finer details or to make it more cohesive.

- Do you have a favorite fandom? Supernatural, Harry Potter, so forth and so on?

I've never been all that into fandom, to be honest! Not like I don't like things, just like, I've never really been a part of a community of people who like things as a group, ya know? That being said, I'm a big proponent of the High School Musical franchise. I've been getting back into the genius that is The Room lately. Does the Container Store have a fandom? Maybe Dolly Parton? Or Barbra Streisand! Oh god, there are so many good things in the world, I could burst.

- If your house was on fire, but your family was safe, what material object would you save? 

My laptop, for sure. Not because there's anything vital on it that isn't backed up on the cloud, but because it sounds like a real pain in the butt to have to get a new one. Oh, my cat! I was assuming the cat counted as part of my family, but if she doesn't: Definitely the cat.

( As a mother of Two cats, OF COURSE they count. )

 You can find more about Grace on Twitter, and there's a Twitter for Moonstruck too!! Don't forget that Moonstruck is available in comic shops on the 19th. 

  As Always,