The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer

Guest: Ngozi Ukazu

April 28, 2020 Marissa Meyer Season 2020 Episode 10
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Ngozi Ukazu
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Ngozi Ukazu
Apr 28, 2020 Season 2020 Episode 10
Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer:   0:06
there. Hello, friends. And welcome to the happy writer. This is a podcast that aims to bring readers more books to enjoy and to help authors find more joy in their writing. I am your host, Marissa Mayer. Thanks so much for joining me. I truly hope you guys are managing to stay healthy and safe out there. One thing that is making me super happy this week eyes that this podcast now has its own social media pages. Um, largely thanks to Joanne Levy, who is a middle grade author and also happens to be my fabulous author assistant on. And she has been working super hard to get us set up with lots of fun images and organize spreadsheets and all sorts of things. So if you want to follow us or book recommendations and writing tips and inspiration and all sorts of fun things, you can do that now on Instagram and Facebook at ah, happy writer podcast. And on Twitter at Happy Writer Pod s o Many, many thanks to Joanne for taking that off my plate and getting it all set up so that I can keep focusing on recording these episodes and talking to such really amazing writers. Speaking of which, I am so excited to talk to today's guest. She is the author and illustrator of the super popular and highly acclaimed graphic novel Check, please hashtag hockey. Ah, and the sequel Sticks and scones just came out on April 7th and I literally just got my copy in the mail about an hour ago. And I am so excited to read It s so please welcome and goes you, Kazu. Hello. It

Ngozi Ukazu:   1:57
was so hard not to, like, cheer. And you said what? You know, Social media for Lamont tests.

Marissa Meyer:   2:01
Yeah, No, I'm so happy about it. And also, like, so happy that I don't have to do it cause I feel like it's enough work keeping my own social media of to and go z One of the things just t kick off this interview because obviously I really want to talk about check please, which is one of my all time favorite graphic novels. And I like I said, I can't wait to read this the sequel. But first I just thought we should take a moment to reminisce about that one time that you killed a ghost pirate. The one time that I killed. That goes, Are you referring to something that happened on the fierce reach tour? I might be like one of my all time favorite tour memories.

Ngozi Ukazu:   2:47
That was just such a fun tour. Like only gosh, I really had a blast. Is

Marissa Meyer:   2:53
it was It was so great. Were with April to choke. And she had the idea that we should all go and do in a seat room together. It's just like I think

Ngozi Ukazu:   3:04
this is an escape room in Austin, and I had no idea that this existed and it was just we were all extreme. It a very GTI. That was really fun.

Marissa Meyer:   3:16
It was No, I agree. I think that we totally kicked butt on and we escaped. So, you know, there's that, um but no. But that it was this for so for readers who were like, What are they talking about? Um, it was this escape room that had a pirate theme. And there is one part of the game where we'd solve something, and as soon as we solved it like the room when black and there was this big bang and I literally screamed on and then They're, like, revealed this pistol out of Ah, no treasure chunk Trust or something. And then this ghost of this pirate appears on the wall, and me and April and her husband are, like, scrambling Like, what do we do? What we do And what is it goes you do. She grabs the pistol and shoots the pirate. And it was, like the most like, kick asked thing that I'd ever seen. And I have just admired you

Ngozi Ukazu:   4:15
instincts toe shoot ghost with guns Because

Marissa Meyer:   4:18
that Yeah, but you figured And that wasn't like the thing that we were supposed to dio and the rest of us were clueless. And you were like, I could get this done because my

Ngozi Ukazu:   4:31
first time officially, toward for everything, for any head. And like you've been doing this for so long. Like, how do you answer? I'm not trying to turn the tables on you. You're a real stuff. You late? Is it just exciting every single time like that? That was my first book. Unfortunately, like my torpor, this book has was cancelled due due to the crisis going on. But like, yeah, if each time is it just like like is it just so it's almost like a victory lap a little bit. You could finally shared this story with the readers.

Marissa Meyer:   5:05
It is No, it is exciting. It never stops being exciting. Um, I do feel, though, that now that I've been on so many tours, I feel like I'm running out of things to talk about. Uh, because I do. I try to come up with, like, a new speech to give, or like, a new. Here's an interesting behind the scenes story into this book or my process or whatever, and I mean, I don't I've been on maybe, like, 13 or 14 book tours now, and it's, you know, look okay. Could I just answer questions? We'll just do Q. And A the whole time. It is what I do. I do love going on tour and love meeting readers. It is one of the highlights of the job, for sure. Eso I'm so sorry that your tour got canceled. Oh, you know, it's okay. I try and put it

Ngozi Ukazu:   5:53
in perspective. I had a friend. I had a friend who's anything. Cancel, no, but just to show much of a trouper she is. She's she's in the medical field. So she was just like, you know, deliver tool, zoom letting. And she and her like how husband they were just beaning. So I'm just like, you know, it's stuff. Did have a really wonderful wedding. You know, I can away from my book tour. It's fine. The instead of, ah, visible book tour, we actually had a virtual book tour where I was live streaming and doing, drawing and doing two a days online every evening after I released a chapter of my comic and I It's kind of apples of apples to oranges. You get so many more people coming in who might not be able to make it to the books. Daughter in Brooklyn might not be able tow, you know, go to Dallas, Texas, And they all did toe kind of be exciting with each other and, you know, even exchange user names. So there's pros and cons to it. I I'm happy I used to have a virtual celebration of the end of my comic.

Marissa Meyer:   7:13
Yeah, for sure. And I think it's so important to have that perspective in, uh, TB, looking for those bright spots on bats, a huge one. The idea that you know, doing it virtually. It does open it up to the whole world, which is a pretty cool thing.

Ngozi Ukazu:   7:28
Yeah, Yeah, it's like asking people. Oh, if you're in the chat where you're from and someone's like Oklahoma, someone's like Germany, Singapore, You know, I'm in Austin. I like I was going to go to the Austin signing. I'm from Austin. So it's It's nice and kind of brings everybody together a little bit of it. It's fact. The destruction during the size.

Marissa Meyer:   7:50
Yeah, no. And we could all use some distractions and just things to celebrate things to be happy about. Yeah, I was just remembering as we were kind of talking about the tour, the fierce reads tour and I realized or remembered that you are the first person that I ever heard about BTS from Oh my God. I think

Ngozi Ukazu:   8:10
that during a tour, even during my virtual tour, I've latched onto something in tandem. So during that a check, please. Hashtag hockey tour. I was like, Okay, um I'm going. Teoh rank the members of VTS every day online instagram stories. I'm going Teoh. Sure. Well, videos. I'm just going to watch all of their, you know, the documentary Siri's might get back to the hotel. It was like a little It was a grounding like something. I'm sure people other people do more meaningful things. But that was how I got through it all. Yeah,

Marissa Meyer:   8:49
I think meaningful can be overrated. I know because I've never heard of them before that tour, and then you were like, telling us all about them and we'd be on the car together and you're like, Everybody watch this video. And then we'd all ogle and, you know, be amazed. Their dance moves and e don't live it

Ngozi Ukazu:   9:06
just I have to talk about this because I had only discovered my my my friends is trying to pester me into getting into this boy band. And then suddenly I realized the magic of this boy band is that there? It has the same reason why people are interested in superheroes. It's that interesting divide between the public and the personal and even the private, which are all kind of three distinct bigs like. No one actually really knows who these boys are in their private lives. But they have us on stage persona of being like just superheroes. They just dance with ultimate precision. And then, like you release all this extra content of them being boys and, like, starting on each other and see each other. So that's what drew me in that kind of contrasts in their personal on. And then they're, like, for so's

Marissa Meyer:   10:04
I could talk about Bt Fs all day. I won't ask you to, although I'm sure there will be people listening. You're like, Yes, just talk about BDs all day. Um so so many people in teenagers are sick so into them right now. My mom actually had a very casual reference to BTS in a conversation recently. And I did. A double take was like, Mom, you know, BTS is, uh yeah, and she's, like, seen them on. I don't know, the today show or Ellen or something. And I was like, Oh, wow. I think my mom might know more about pop culture and modern music tonight.

Ngozi Ukazu:   10:42
Oh, that's all. Yeah, she said she's with

Marissa Meyer:   10:45
she Is she Is she Actually, I say that jokingly, but it is true. My mom actually is way more instead. Modern music. Okay, so I guess we should talk about your books, um, and check, please. And now sticks and scones being out. Ah, for people who are not familiar with these graphic novels, tell us about them. Oh, okay, I can

Ngozi Ukazu:   11:09
definitely do that. This feel so check faced is a story of a former bigger spear who joins a college hockey team, and he really loves to bake. So it's follows. Eric Biddy Bible. Who is this tiny little gay kid from Madison, Georgia, who gets a scholarship to play hockey in Sandwich, Massachusetts? He also terrified of getting checked so the story kind of follows him as he deal with his fear of getting check them Nice. Also, as he becomes more confident in who he is and his sexuality and how he makes friends on the team, all these bro's also follows him and his romance with the captain, Jack Zimmerman. I won't spoil things for people who are familiar, but it za little bit of a slow burn. And, yeah, it's I think it's a fun story that's really about college, found family, and I have been doing a lot of reflecting now that it's come to the end. I had to write very Sacyr and uh, thank you's, uh and I think one reason why this is resounded with readers is because I wrote this right after I graduated from college and I poured all of my nostalgia and heart fell affection for my college experience and also, like Mike, the challenges they face into the story. So that's a college stories coming of age story, and it's, ah, hockey story.

Marissa Meyer:   12:39
It does have just a wonderful nostalgia about college, even for someone like I don't know anything about hockey. I wasn't into sports in college, but just kind of that vibe of, you know, living in the dorms and like finding your your found family. Um, you know, you really speak a lot to that. Yeah, I mean,

Ngozi Ukazu:   13:00
college had its ups and downs for me, but I looked out, I guess, in a way, because I ended up just for you. Totally brain Bush by this idea, communities and how people found completely backgrounds can still connect and learn from winning up another, and I just and but that's also very different from, ironically, three different from the world hockey, its intensity homogeneous. It's it's it's mostly white men. Um, even though in the women's league. It's a little bit more diverse, and it's not Oh, necessarily the most welcoming place. So I have this wonderful experience of college being this sparkling. They verse a melting pot. And then I fell in love with the sport of hockey, and I wanted to combine the two, which was why you probably get that look busy feeling while reading it. It's like This is weird, but I kind of like it's it's not what you expect.

Marissa Meyer:   14:02
It's not. And that's part of what's so lovely about it. Um, that even like for me again knowing nothing about hockey, but I enjoy every page of this story is you definitely do not. It is not a book just for hockey lovers. You know, it has such funny characters. Ah, a lot of just wonderful humor to it. Um, and a really, really sweet sweet romance. So, how long ago did you start this? How have you been working on this story? So I

Ngozi Ukazu:   14:30
started this story the summer of 2030 maybe like a week or two after I graduated from college and I was just the semester prior, my last semester in college. I waas I had fallen in love. A cocky I wrote a screenplay about hockey, and I didn't know anything about hockey beforehand. But my streamlined professor Camille Thomas ID really was like, You need to learn everything about what make this authentic. I fell in love. And then when I started this comic, I had all of this leftover hockey enthusiasm and also the nostalgia from graduating, finishing undergrad. And yeah, it kind of said, it's been about 6.5 years since I started it. And I still think the serious civil about that, that community feeling like like but that college feeling, even even to the very end. So that's simply a time capsule of how I felt in my early twenties.

Marissa Meyer:   15:36
So I know, like for me, even as a reader, I felt really deeply connected to these characters, particularly Biddy. I mean, he's just so charming and adorable. Um, and now to know that you've been working on them now for six going on seven years on, this is the last book. It's only gonna be the to correct. Yeah, So how how does that feel to know that you're kind of setting these characters aside now and moving on to other things. Oh, my God. Could you explain that

Ngozi Ukazu:   16:09
question to I don't know. Every time I talk to my parents about this silly, OK? Do you want to just do 1/3 bowl like this is kind of your job? Would you put your job? Okay. I realized in the last year that I only just figured out how to write the main character. Eric Middle like, Oh, I get him now I get this out. But now that I'm done, I'm moving on different stories. Do you feel the same way? Like you figure out the voice of the character? Or maybe maybe the characters come fully formed, like Athena from Senses Head?

Marissa Meyer:   16:44
Yeah, I for me, it depends on the character. You know, sometimes their characters that do have that just marvelous. They pop into existence, and they know who they are in it. It's so wonderful and refreshing when that happens. But more often than not, I feel like it takes me maybe two or three drafts, um, of writing a book. Teoh really feel like I've gotten into their heads. Uh, yeah, and so that's that's not uncommon. Although you So you've been writing it for six years, and you feel like only in the last year e had I had

Ngozi Ukazu:   17:22
a good grass of a lot of these characters, but it's nap. But when I'm at the very end like I can finally I feel like there's different layers to it as well. Like Oh, I kind of know biddies voice. Okay, I had that that little getting greasy all I kind of nobody's motivations so they don't get me through a seed. Oh, now I understand his shame. His loner, Dylan his weaknesses like like the really dark, unconscious stuff that kind of is engine for a scene I just figured out I just got to know him well enough now. So

Marissa Meyer:   17:57
I mean, I also think there's something to this idea that character's kind of reveal themselves to us, Um, as they go and there's been a lot of times when you know I'll be writing a book, and I know that a character is hiding something from me, or I know that I haven't really got into the core of who they are yet. Um, and then when you get to some pinnacle scene now, they start talking, or now they do something that reveals the motivation that was going on by in their head. And it's almost like you needed to push them far enough for them to open up, even to you as the

Ngozi Ukazu:   18:29
writer and I almost I feel like if I ask you So how do I figure that out more quickly? Yes. That artwork goes in experiments. I know that sounds like a secret.

Marissa Meyer:   18:42
Yeah, I don't even know that experience, is it? When I think you just have to write the book, Um and, you know, and I get like I said, for me, it often doesn't happen until, like, the second or third draft that I feel like I really have a good handle on along the characters. Um, it's like I I am uncovering them bit by bit. As as I'm revising like 11 thing that I find interesting is I definitely agree with

Ngozi Ukazu:   19:07
you in that, like, a character often reveals themselves, like halfway through C and like, they'll say something. I'm like, Oh, where did that come from? Oh, look like yes, that's something. Something in my unconscious or they're unconscious suddenly just jumps out um, but the weird thing with check, please. I'm Summit starting my next graphic novel, which is exciting. Uh, the food is also very hard work, but we're thinking check plays was, um I just did it as like a traditional left comic post says I go and I'm wondering. I'm wondering how would felt Teoh to revise it? What would I have learned? What would have it had taken out? Whereas now I'm writing a new graphic novel and I'm going through visions and it's hard. I'm like, Oh, boy, But these can trick cooked Yet I had to keep writing this book Well, that was so

Marissa Meyer:   20:02
interesting to think about. Eso did the cause. I didn't know that you had originally publish it as a Web comic. Kind of in a more serialized form. Um, so is it the published book? I mean, is it pretty much taken exactly as you originally published it, or did you go back and make any changes? I didn't make any

Ngozi Ukazu:   20:23
changes. It's almost like a collection. It's Yeah, it's more like a collection that they like. I wouldn't even say, although means that most readers it's a brand new bag. They they're not reading it online. They're discovering it in their libraries and bookstores. But I didn't do any revisions. I wanted to keep it true to the original story put online. For better or for worse, I think they're the stakes are higher plane The hardest moments and writing this comment for me have been knowing that I haven't update that's going to go online in like, two days and after it's a line, That's it. I'm not. I'm not going to go back budget

Marissa Meyer:   21:09
And I know that sounds terrible to me. I mean, I still struggle, you know, with books that power published eight years ago and wanting to go back and make change. This has there ever been a time where you felt like you kind of wrote yourself into a corner and it's like, Oh, I put this up in an earlier post and I wish I hadn't done that

Ngozi Ukazu:   21:36
now. Absolutely, absolutely. A ah, lot of the times when I'm when I write myself into a corner, it's just like, Oh, I have to mention I mentioned that the team made it to the finals. I mentioned that, uh, this character, you know, had an injury. And the the worst thing to dio rectify those reptiles that ends is I just use dialogue to kind of say, Oh, this happened, which is like the cardinal sin of sequential art is it's like not showing telling like You have to make the art and the words like Have the synergy. But sometimes we'll just throw in some dialogue. And that's a story I just didn't You didn't say Inglis. I

Marissa Meyer:   22:24
think it's it's really it's a real problem that, uh I mean, not that I have to deal with that. I don't illustrate, but it makes perfect sense. Um uh, especially kind of doing that that format And you got to do what you got to dio to make the story work. And can I actually

Ngozi Ukazu:   22:41
asked that question back to you when you feel me? Have you ever felt like Richard into a corner? And when you get there, is it just a lot of untangling Teoh working backwards, reverse engineering or

Marissa Meyer:   22:54
yeah, you know, it depends on the book and the problem for me. The problem that I tend to write run into especially kind of the bigger you know, the Loader chronicles and the run against Trilogy, Um, you know, in which there's people who have, you know, magic powers. Essentially, um, is that I have a tendency to make some characters too strong on you end up in these scenes like these battle scenes where logically this person should clearly be winning without any trouble on DSO. I'm constantly having to think, well, how'd away? How do I put more restrictions on them? Or how do I kind of have some checks and balances in place that they're not so powerful that it the fight scene doesn't make sense? Um, so that's that's a problem that I run into. I always wishing I could go back and, you know, tell put more things in place that I wouldn't, you know, make it so complicated later,

Ngozi Ukazu:   23:58
So way check, please. It's a sports comic, and it's a sports comic that almost has a premise of like a Disney movie. People often, uh, compared check please to like, Oh, isn't it like that movie or slash TV show slash Other thing that I seen where, you know, take a figure skater and put them in the hockey world, or take a hockey player and put them in figure skating. But I have to kind of pitch in another way that makes people It makes it a little bit bigger than the genre. The genre of, like sports commentator progress. Like for you When we wear things like you at this point in your career, if you say like I'm going to do, you know superheroes I'm gonna tow tell a story about superheroes paper like Great. Ready, ready for this take. But when when you're reciting something like I don't know, sender like, how do you How do you do? How do you just say? Like, I'm going to reimagine Cinderella in, like is I wonder? I wonder if my question makes sense. Like, how do you

Marissa Meyer:   25:07
and like, and have some faith that people want to read it? Yeah, yeah, I don't know. I had so many doubts writing cinder, um, in constant, constant doubts, especially because I mean, it seems weird now, but when I was first writing cinder, um, science fiction and why a Didn't really overlap a whole lot. Um, and there was this this rumor, this this idea in the publishing world that with very few exceptions, teenagers would not buy and read science fiction, and that's just kind of what people believed on. And this is before hunger games before they virgins on. And so, yeah, I was writing this, you know, very science fiction with cyborgs and spaceships. And, um and I I had no no idea if anybody would be interested in it, So I don't I mean, for me, I just knew that I loved the book. Um, and I love the characters and that I had to try. You know, I feel like that's that's the best you can do is if you really love something, you have to try and see what happens. That's awesome. I mean, how, But how did you feel? So when you started writing this and you're putting it up his web comics, I imagine it didn't just explode overnight.

Ngozi Ukazu:   26:23
No, not Oh, my God, it was I know. It's kind of sad. At the beginning, I would post and then, like, maybe one person would be like, Oh, this is interesting. It would be like, I think you so speak. Um And then it was a very slow process of maybe with each update with each tractor release like a few more people with latch on and and asked, What is this like? What is this new Web comic? Rex out Baking but also hockey? And I have to tell people like, Well, it's a sports comic And he's a figure skater who plays hockey, And I had so many comparisons, Teoh things that come out before. It's fair enough, but I had to kind of put this weird. I have to keep emphasizing like the weird twist of he bakes. And also it's a blogger and also like, There's two characters who have this educational miniseries inside of the comic as well. Like I had to keep tossing is on it and the silly, uh, viewership groups with point where people were became ambassadors for the comic, which out of everything that has happened with his comic. I definitely think that readers sharing it and really advocating for it. That's the only reason it it got attention from publishers. It's the only reason why the Kickstarter, that of self publishing a Kickstarter campaign you did well, it's it's really the advocation, like a film cyclical grassroots how people talk about the comic sometimes, so yeah, yeah,

Marissa Meyer:   28:08
having that that word of mouth? I mean, there's nothing more powerful than that. Um you know, as Faras Marketing goes, um and is it So I know at one point the Kickstarter that you held, you know, to try to move it from a web comic to ah ah, physical publication was the most highly funded Web comic of all time. Is that Does it still hold that,

Ngozi Ukazu:   28:34
uh, three? No, it still does Hold that record. That's how cool is that. It's It's bonkers. It's just people's raw enthusiasm for this comic. And yeah, didn't expect for that to happen. I That was the second Kickstarter to which was singing. I'm very thankful. The first starter I was even I'm just thankful about funded. So

Marissa Meyer:   29:02
So you're kind of going back, Teoh, when you know your first creating and you're putting them out and you're getting, you know, one to a handful of comments. Ah, do you have any recollection of how much time passed before it really kind

Ngozi Ukazu:   29:16
of started to snowball? Oh, boy. Um, I would say that the first remember that the 1st 4 or five updates which must have taken me, you know, that entire summer. So the 1st 45 chapters it was, you know, a few people coming into the story. And then by the time I finished the first volume, they had a pretty like, steady readership. I could come on maybe, like 20 people showed up to your like button I'm like, But the big explosion happened when, um, and your two again I won't spoil it for anybody who has not read the comic. But there is some romantic fulfillment that happens. And that was a point where readers went nuts. They just started shoving the comic and their friends speak. It was really the moment where people and when I meet them at conventions, they tell me that like they forced people their friends to read it. So, yeah, I would say to kind of spikes, and it's been doing pretty well.

Marissa Meyer:   30:28
Yeah, I know. And I I mean, I read that whatever two years ago or something, and I still so clearly remember that moment. It's one of the best romantic moments of any graphic novel that I I have yet to read, so it really is a moment that catches the reader's and fills our hearts with such joy. So now you are. You don't still post is a Web comic, do you? Do you still have Web comic that you're putting stuff out there?

Ngozi Ukazu:   30:55
Well, also during a virtual tour, it was the last posting of the Web comic, basically. But this is the This is a wild part of all of this. The entire comic is online for free to read. This is almost like in marketing, you know, suicide. But it's not. In a way, it becomes this calling card for people to get their friends into the comic for people just to get interested in it. So, up until the very end I hosted, I posted the very end of the comic online. So it's people still for some reason, are ordering the book. So I'm thankful that Skin and MacMillan allowed me to do that. I love

Marissa Meyer:   31:40
that. And I am a believer in if you want to sell something that gives something away for free. Yeah, and I think that there's a lot of truth to that. And so when you did enter into this, um, you know, agreement with MacMillan t publish and distribute it. It was that something that you came to the table with like, was that really important to you? Teoh. Keep it available online. Did you get me push back against that? Um, absolutely. I thought it

Ngozi Ukazu:   32:06
was important to keep the story online, like the only reason that that this comic is anything is because it was free to read online and the readership shared it. So I felt like it's just the kind of honor, the reading, the loyalty of the readership. Let's keep it online. And e didn't really get much pushback like 1st 2nd and MacMillan they were. I think they saw this as an exciting opportunity. Look, a bit of a change to traditional publishing like, Let's keep this comic online. Let's keep pointing people to it like they can read it and be excited about it. And yeah, I really do think it works. I think that, like you said, when you want to sell something, gonna give it away for free and having this story up that anybody could read this just something that people don't complain to say. Hey, reap us,

Marissa Meyer:   33:00
Yeah, I think that is so cool, and I think it really does show a lot of appreciation for your readers in your your original fan base, the ones that have been there with you the whole time. So now that you are working on this new project, which can you tell us anything about it? Or is it too soon for that?

Ngozi Ukazu:   33:16
Oh, I talked about it a little bit actually working. There's a few irons in the fire. The first is I'm working on a softball comic with my friend Madeline Rupert, who we've been friends since we graduated from the Savannah, called of our design, and it's the story of art students who must win one game of softball in order. She got academic scholarships, athletic scholarships, and it's it's just it's art students. You are just not very athletic trying their best toe pull off the spice back. Actually fun, because Madeleine actually played softball for about 10 years. 10 years of South promise off also where I wrote the script for Latin and designed the characters and environments, and Madeleine is drawing it, so it's gonna be really fun. And then the other story that I'm working on, which is no still in thumbnail format, it's about a young black girl who goes to a private school, and basically she has a crush on a boy who is out of her league. Different socioeconomic status, different, different race, different. Just background. And there's a if in a fantasy element, that kind of puts them in each other's shoes. I'm calling it like freaky Friday needs. Get out. This is less or but more more heart, perhaps less for more heart. Um, and did you, and maybe tying to a little bit more? I wouldn't I wouldn't say. It takes a great too many things from the bluest eye by Tom Morris said. But it does take maybe, but the main seat of that novel of how young black women view themselves. So if this lofty goals and I'm still prison, so I hope I'll be we'll talk about it this way, if again. Oh, I'm

Marissa Meyer:   35:14
sure I have utmost faith in you. Um, they both some great I can't wait to read them, is there? Is it weird now to be writing it, like knowing this is going into book form that do you miss kind of doing the week by week Web comic? How is it different? How's it changed? How you're approaching it.

Ngozi Ukazu:   35:34
Um, it zits, Really, It is very it is very different. And the thing I'll miss the most is that immediate instant gratification, almost an immediate audience feedback being excited to see, you know that, but the characters have been on the gun, But the the greatest thing that it does offer, which but I kind of learned from writing the end of check please to because I finished the entire comic before posting it online on May Immediate. Might feel this way it is. Well, there is this vulnerability that get to access when you're working on a time delay. When you have a story that you're putting out there, you don't have to worry about Internet comments and people people getting, um uh, jumping the gun or anything. And with this story, I think I get Teoh, um, play mourn. MySpace is vulnerability because I know that people will have to read the entire story at once. They're not just gonna get little bits and chapter all the questions will be answered, hopefully by the end. So that's I think creatively it's it's good motivation, motivation, lives. It's the full challenge.

Marissa Meyer:   36:54
Yeah, I know. I can totally see that I'm having flashbacks to when I wrote fan fiction. Yes, and the same thing Where if you're posting constantly and getting that feedback like it's it is a little bit like a drip drug, like you just want more. Ah, but at the same time, it is hard when people start like making predictions or having criticisms, and then it can really get into your head way talk fan fiction. Like, is that okay? Sure. We talk. Hit anything, e think sand

Ngozi Ukazu:   37:23
them is so important. And and I'll talk a little bit just a little bit before this about selling You're, well, kind of your creative juices. And I'm doing a lot with fandom recently, Uh, like this fandom where you kind of found her footing as a writer. Are you do it when you were, like, in high school college or yes, for

Marissa Meyer:   37:47
me? Absolutely. I credit it 100% with with my development as a writer. Um, and yeah, it was in high school. I think I started when I was, like, 13 or 14. Yes, Um, and pretty much a road at all through all through high school, through college. Uh, What are what are the fandoms that you're into right

Ngozi Ukazu:   38:05
now? Okay, here you go. Well, BTS right. What I call a fandom versus what I say I'm a sand of like I'm definitely army for BTS. Yes, but I have not read in San Fiction of I guess is a real people. And I haven't really drawn that much finer of them. Uh, but the two things that I drawn fanar of and been critical picture for our this must've meant in this this royal naval historical fiction Siri's that I can obsessed with in honey 18 and then also this, um, this book series called Jeeves and Wooster that I actually really wasn't too in 2007. But I just recently found, um, like, rediscovered, um, in the last few months. So yeah, just stuff by, like, old, boring British books. That's what I but I'm into who

Marissa Meyer:   39:13
I e think it's so great and I love I know that there will be people listening to this who will be so excited to hear you know that you, a published successful writer illustrator, are still in fandom and making fan art and writing fan fiction because even if I feel like there is this, of course, for a lot of people, there's a stigma against Fan are in fan fiction in general, which is ridiculous. But it is still out there. But even, I mean, I think a lot of people think that. Okay, once you've moved like it's a phase that you go through and then you move past it and you get published and you know you're done with that. And I love hearing that you're like, Nope, it's still fills me creatively. I'm still getting joy out of this like That's wonderful. It's really it's

Ngozi Ukazu:   39:58
not a phase. Because if it's us in comics, if you're if you grew up drawing Spiderman and writing about Wonder Woman, if you get a gig and comments, you're still gonna be drawn. Spider Man, I'm getting so

Marissa Meyer:   40:11
it's perfect. Maybe it's so true. It is so true. And these days, like you're seeing so much, um, like these these licensed properties being taken in like a lot of really popular Y authors are, you know, retelling. Um, you know, the DC Comics Bree branding them and all of this and and I think it's so cool to see people put their new funds spin on things.

Ngozi Ukazu:   40:35
Absolutely. So if anybody out there states that fanar fan fiction is bad, revise your floss. See, It's really enriching

Marissa Meyer:   40:43
has there? Do you know if anyone has made fan fiction or fan art of check, please? Yes. Uh, boy at the get I

Ngozi Ukazu:   40:53
remember the first time I ever got stand fiction for check please. I lost my mind. I contacted the person. It was like this again Is a chip was very small and I contact the person I like symptoms annotated like being of, like, why the fan fiction was amazing. You know what I loved about it? And I thought this part was funny. You would do with, like, a close friend after reading no infection. Like, I love this line of so great. Um, I no longer do that, but since then I think the readers have taken a lot of things. The ticket will have its first from a comic and are making their own worlds. Are Vin just tangential the check, please? It's still on the Czech police wagon ao three, but they've totally done the work of creating New World. So that's I think that is? That's probably something I'm very proud of. Like people are taking it and running with. Yeah,

Marissa Meyer:   41:52
yeah. No, that's so cool. There's no greater compliment knowing that someone loved your work and was inspired them to create something themselves. Um, okay, we're gonna wrap this up with our happy writer. Lightning round. Uh, first question What book makes you happy?

Ngozi Ukazu:   42:13
I didn't say my p g Woodhouse Anthology. Yeah. What

Marissa Meyer:   42:21
do you do to celebrate an accomplishment? Oh, my days. Uh, how do you fill the creative well, banner and van fictions? What advice would you give to help someone become a happier writer? Oh,

Ngozi Ukazu:   42:43
he kind to yourself, I think that the one of the most I'm trying to keep the scampi for letting around. But one of the most unfortunate and sad things that I see and artists and writers is that this sense that their work is mediocre and and feeling that they're not good enough, and and that's a stumbling block. So please be kind to yourself. Let yourself give yourself time to get better. And it's about is about loving the characters in the story. It doesn't have to be perfect on the first draft.

Marissa Meyer:   43:19
Good advice. And lastly, where can people find you?

Ngozi Ukazu:   43:25
Ah, you confined almost everywhere at this point at in goes EU and g o z. I do that tumbler dot com on instagram twitter. Facebook. Yeah, and you can read my comic check, please, at check please dot com It's also in bookstores.

Marissa Meyer:   43:44
Yea, and I can't wait. I am I have plans. I have a date with myself and check please to tonight. Thank you so much for joining me today and go Z, it was so great to talk

Ngozi Ukazu:   43:57
to you. Thank you so much. You are You are effervescent and in kind. So thank you. I appreciate it so well.

Marissa Meyer:   44:05
Thank you. Readers definitely pick up a copy of check, please. And book to check, please. Sticks and scones, which I didn't think I said before, but what a cute title is that, Um it is out now and more than ever. If you can support your local indie bookstore, we highly encourage you to do so. Um please subscribe to this podcast. So you will always be in the know about new episodes and you can also find us on Instagram at Happy writer podcast or at Marisa Meyer author until next time. Stay healthy, stay cozy out there in your bunkers and whatever life throws at you today, I do hope that now you're feeling a little bit.