Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Michael DeForge on what his inner critic says and looks like

The author of Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero answers eight questions submitted by eight other authors.
Michael DeForge is the author of Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero. (Doug Wright Awards)

Sticks Angelica, the heroine of Michael DeForge's latest graphic novel, is a 49-year-old Canadian celebrity (included among her former titles are: Olympian, poet, Governor General and Mountie) who flees to the forest after her family is embroiled in a public scandal. Like all of DeForge's work, Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero is weird, hilarious and affecting.

Below, Michael DeForge answers eight questions submitted by eight of his fellow writers in the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A. 

1. Caroline Pignat asks, "If you made a caricature of your inner critic, how would it look? What might it say?"

My inner critic would just look like me. He'd just be me, but I guess a little smaller. (Because he'd have to fit him — inside of me?) He'd tell me to learn how to properly draw a car.

2. Tom Gauld asks, "Have you ever looked back on a finished story and felt that an element of it was actually better in a previous draft?"

Sort of. My sketchbook drawings are very sloppy and very loose, which is a lot different from what my finished work looks like. My finished comics are very clean and sterile. For some reason, there's an energy that just never translates from sketchbook to finished page for me.

3. Vivek Shraya asks, "Who is a Canadian writer you aspire to write like and why?"

I'm not sure there's anyone I aspire to write *like* honestly! That is a tough question. I don't think I have a good answer to it!

4. Anita Rau Badami asks, "What is your relationship with your characters: is it possible to separate yourself from them or do they always reflect some element of your own psyche?"

They definitely all reflect certain parts of me, or some sort of lived experience, but I still think of them as separate entities. It's been a while since I've written a character who I thought of as a direct stand-in for myself. Lately, I'm trying to write more characters that I enjoy spending time with. That hasn't always been the case. I used to get quite fed up with all of my characters by the time I reached the end of a story.

5. Michael Harris asks, "How do you care for your body while working on a book?"

I run a lot, almost every day. I really like running and I really like training. Some days I wonder if I like running more than I like drawing. I eat like garbage, however.

6. Meg Rosoff asks, "What book would you like every person on the planet to read?"

Gaylord Phoenix by Edie Fake.

7. David McGimpsey asks, "Who is the coolest person to follow on Instagram?"

@signsoftoronto.

8. Yann Martel asks, "What's the favourite sentence (or scene) that you've written?"

"I'm the dirtiest Canadian to ever live."

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