Books·Magic 8 Q&A

What Jeff Lemire and Special Agent Dale Cooper would talk about over coffee

Award-winning comic creator Jeff Lemire answers 8 questions from 8 writers.
Jeff Lemire is an Eisner Award-winning cartoonist. (Jamie Hogge)

Jeff Lemire's bestselling archive ranges from punchy sci-fi comics like Black Hammer and Descender to tense long-form graphic novels like Roughneck and Essex County. Over his prolific career, the Toronto creator has amassed an impressive collection of accolades, including the Eisner Award, Doug Wright Award and American Library Association's Alex Award.

Below, the cartoonist takes the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A.

1. Jillian Tamaki asks, "What do you wish was different about your workspace and how do you adapt?"

I love my studio so much. It is my happy place and I've spent seven years getting it just right. So I wouldn't change a thing.

2. Silvia Moreno-Garcia asks, "If you could have dinner with a fictional character, who would it be and why?"

Special Agent Dale Cooper [from the TV series Twin Peaks]. I know he is not a literary character, but he is still the greatest fictional character of all time. We'd have black coffee and talk about Tibet and the Douglas Firs.

3. Ausma Zehanat Khan asks, "What form of writing would you love to attempt even though you're secretly terrified by it?"

Definitely prose. I have never even tried it. I'm too scared, but I really want to write a novel one day. One without drawings. (Not that there is anything wrong with drawings, of course).

4. Erín Moure asks, "Do you like winter?"

I love winter. Fall is my favourite season, but winter is a close second. I'll take the cold and snow over summer humidity ANY day.

5. Louise Penny asks, "What do you know now that you wish you'd known when writing your first book?"

I wish I knew then how much freedom I had and I knew to enjoy it. Success is great, but it also brings expectations and pressure that I was free of back then, but I couldn't appreciate it.

6. C.C. Humphreys asks, "What is your favourite part of the process? First draft, final edit, something in between?"

That first rush of ideas, when seemingly disparate ideas begin to connect and snowball into a bigger better idea that works. I love that feeling.

7. Jesse Jacobs asks, "Name the book that every teenager needs to read."

This is the toughest question on the list for me. So many great choices, it's hard to pick one. The book that got me through my teenaged years was Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics, so I'll go with those!

8. 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?"

All the time. Especially with drawings. Often the thumbnail sketches for a comics page have an energy and looseness that always ends up getting lost in the finished artwork. That is the Holy Grail for me, trying to capture that loose feeling in the more refined work.


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