Fact: I love EVERYTHING Greg Pizolli puts into the world. Having the opportunity to interview him makes me very happy. Like super happy: ice cream on a hot day happy.
I’m getting hungry. Better get to the interview.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about Tricky Vic?
TRICKY VIC is a nonfiction picture book about one of the world’s greatest con-artists. Robert Miller (aka “Count Victor Lustig”) counterfeited money, escaped from prison by tying bedsheets together and climbing out a window – he even conned Al Capone. TRICKY VIC tells the story of his life, and explains his most infamous cons so that a new generation of kids can learn from his successes and failures, and hopefully make their own cons even better. (3)
2. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Definitely too many things to list, but near the top is the avalanche of letters from kids after a school visit. Not having a boss is nice, too. (2)
3. What’s the hardest thing about being an author?
The work itself – the writing and illustrating – is very challenging, but I think the hardest thing about being an author is having to throw a project away. There have been times where I’ve worked on something in my sketchbook for weeks and then in the studio for longer and ultimately realized it wasn’t any good. Throwing something away doesn’t mean the project is totally dead – typically elements of the killed project will creep in to other projects later on – but in that moment when you realize you’ve gone down a dead-end street, that is tough. But, it’s necessary for artistic growth I suppose so it’s probably healthy to embrace it as part of the process. (4)
4. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick?
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE. (1)
5. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom?
I think you guys should work on projects and stories that you feel passionate about, even if they seem silly or sad or weird or that nobody else will like them. I thought TRICKY VIC was too wild and dark to ever be published as a real picture book, but I really wanted to tell the story, so I made my own zine. That zine became the basis for the book, and TRICKY VIC wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t taken that step.
If there’s something you want to create, a book or a comic or a record you want to make, go for it. Don’t let anyone else decide what stories you can tell. (5)