About the author: Victoria Ying is a developmental artist whose clients include Disney Studios and SONY, among others. She has worked on major films such as Frozen, Tangled, Big Hero 6, Moana, and Wreck-It Ralph. She also is illustrating DC's new middle-grade Wonder Woman graphic novel series, Diana: Princess of the Amazons. City of Secrets is her first original graphic novel.
About the book:
An Interview with Victoria Ying
Q: Hi Victoria. You are a wonderful artist with so much experience drawing for Disney Studios and SONY on films like Frozen, Tangled and Moana. How did you approach writing your first original graphic novel?
A: I actually wrote my first graphic novel as a prose novel first! I was excited by the global event known as National Novel Writing Month and set to write my very first book. I learned a lot from simply getting to the end of my story and it turned out to be a great first draft for my graphic novel!
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist? Did you have a natural talent for drawing?
A: I’m a kid who thrived on praise. I was marginally better at drawing than other children and I chased that feeling. I kept going and going, so the experience just kept building upon itself!
Q: Have you had this story in mind for a long time? How did it develop for you?
A: Before I became a professional writer, I would jot down notes for story ideas. This one was a dream that I had about two children running into a moving building that was housing a secret safe. I had no idea who they were, who they were running from, or what was in the safe, but I built my story around those questions and found the answers as I went.
Q: Were you the type of kid who had imaginary worlds growing up? How did you come up with this world?
A: I was actually pretty bad at that! I was drawn to other imaginary worlds in comics and movies, but coming up with my own original ideas was difficult and for years, I thought that I couldn’t do it. I was comfortable working at a studio where I helped shepherd other people’s visions along. I ended up learning how to write and create my own worlds by seeing how my peers at Disney and Sony tried and sometimes failed, but improved. I knew that I could fail too, which meant I could improve as well.
Q: The book is aptly titled as there are so many secrets! Is there going to be a series that will continue this work?
A: Yes! The sequel and final chapter of the story CITY OF ILLUSION will be out on July 27, 2021!
Q: What advice would you give to kids starting out with creating and publishing their own comics on Scribblitt.com?
A: Start with short stories, if you have a giant epic of a tale, try telling just one small portion of that story first. You learn a lot by getting to the end of things and the more often you do it, the better you get! Don’t be afraid to fail, most stories you read are the perfect polished versions and not the first drafts of artists or writers. They can improve and you can too.