Laura Lee Gulledge, author of The Dark Matter of Mona Starr, is the Eisner Award-nominated author of YA graphic novels Will & Whit and Page by Paige as well as the interactive book Sketchbook Dares: 24 Ways to Draw Out Your Inner Artist. She is based in Charlottesville.
What books have you read recently that have made an impact on you?
Gulledge: The recent books that have stuck with me the most include the stunning graphic novel Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green, abundance-inducing The Trance of Scarcity: Stop Holding Your Breath and Start Living Your Life by Victoria Castle, and Shaking Medicine: The Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement by Bradford Keeney, since dance has become a recent creative outlet for me.
If you could make everyone in the world read one book, which would it be?
I’m not sure what I’d recommend for the ENTIRE WORLD but I do wish I could make everyone in America read American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard so we could better understand our neighbors.
Do you have a routine you follow when you start writing a book?
Since I think more in pictures than words I must use images to help me unlock my story. So I’ll start by drawing my protagonist… and laying out my ideas visually on large corkboards before I can even start writing out the story in words.
What was your favorite part about writing your latest book?
I was terrified to write The Dark Matter of Mona Starr since it was exploring my depressive side, but it turned out to be really therapeutic for me. So I suppose my favorite part was miraculously discovering all the love, hope, and healing in her story so in the end it would be much more than just a “story about depression.”
Where do you prefer to do your writing?
In my studio without distractions!
What are you working on next?
Currently I’m working with my Artners on getting our musical based on my second book Will & Whit to its next stage of development so that schools will be able to license & produce the show, which is super exciting. Then book wise, the project I’m currently developing is a book about Artnering and healthily supportive collaboration since it’s a topic I am so passionate about.
What advice would you give to beginning writers?
Write what you NEED to say instead of thinking about what you think other people WANT to read.
Laura Lee Gullege was scheduled to take part in the 2020 Virginia Festival of the Book. You can learn more about her work by clicking here, and you can order her books from a local bookseller by clicking here.