Welcome, readers, writers, and monster supporters of all sorts! We have the incredibly talented author and illustrator of the Monster Support Group series, Laura Suárez, with us today. When twelve-year-old Lowell moves to a new village, he doesn't fit in. To make things worse, Lowell starts to change: he gets hairier, growlier, and gets moodier too. Before he knows it, he turns into a werewolf. That's when he turns to the help of a very important group. Want to know about Laura, her amazing graphic novel book series, plus want to hear a neat trick she uses? Read on...
Q: Hi, Laura! Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit. We’re excited to have you Trick or Treat with us, and hear all about your adorable series, Monster Support Group. Can you share a little about how you got started in writing and illustrating for children?
A: Hello both! Thank you very much for the host. I am excited to be here with such a great company.
Well, like many of my fellow illustrators, this job is completely vocational for me. Long ago, when I was in school, I usually made books about witches with sheets of paper. I drew, wrote, and then stapled them. I loved to create the cover, endpapers, all the inside… Making books it's something that has always been with me and I knew I wanted to pursue it in the future. So I went for it and here we are now!
It's a real dream to be able to work on it nowadays and meet such wonderful people as illustrators, writers, or editors along the way.
Q: Monster Support Group is a graphic novel that follows twelve-year-old Lowell who already doesn’t fit in as his new school, then a change starts that makes it worse. He gets hairier, his voice growlier, and before he knows it…he’s turned into a werewolf. Naturally he needs help from the Monster Support Group.
This sounds like SO much fun. Can you share the inspiration behind the story and how it got started?
A: Referring to what I said above, we can say that the monster theme came to my interest from my childhood! But actually, this book series started with the Flying Eye team itself.
We wanted to make a book about monsters, to tell facts about them, legends... But this project concept came from the idea of how we could make an environment where monsters could tell their stories, all together. Emily Bally, editor of Flying Eye Books, and I worked side by side, and just there the “Support Group” concept popped up. It was really fun to imagine all these monsters sharing the scary stories that surround them but from their point of view.
In this way, we can show that perhaps, not everything is what it seems to be at first glance, and researching secrets or interesting facts about our favorite monsters was a lot of fun!
Readers, check out the slideshow below to see some amazing spreads!
Q: Please introduce the monstrously-amazing characters to us! We’d love to know what fun characters we get to meet in Monster Support Group. Also, who do you relate to most?
A: In this Monster Support Group, we count on Lowell, a young werewolf, Anatiti the mummy, Hollow the pumpkin, Frederick, created by a mad scientist, a vampire, Medusa, Zombie-girl, the Swamp Creature and Igor, the host of the group.
In this first book, we will also meet Lys, Lowell's twin sister/monster fanatic, and Marie, a young witch who is always accompanied by her raven, Merlin.
In the second book, “The Mummy’s Curse”, we will meet Lord Pilferington and Lady Pearl. An Egyptologist and his daughter find the tomb of a truly forgotten pharaoh!
I empathize a lot with Frederick's character. Not because of the situation that surrounds him of course, but to the feeling topic. Anyway, I don't want to spoil it, you'll have to wait for issue 3 to find out!
Q: Very cool - we can't wait to check out issue 3!
Can you share a little more about your creative and research process with this series?
A: It was very interesting and fun to research facts, legends, tales, or stories related to monsters. I learned a lot! For example, with the werewolf, there is a bunch of folklore, rituals, and historical events.
Then, I prepared a document that gathered all that information, and we started to create the characters. I illustrated and drew a lot, of sketches, character design, and illustrations, but finally, we got that mix of “spooky but cute” that I think works for what we want to tell.
Throughout the whole process, wonderful women from Flying Eye have accompanied me. From the art direction to the text, Ivanna, Emily, Susannah, and Kate were essential pillars where everything began to take shape!
Photo credit: Mar Cervino
Q: What is one of your favorite things about Halloween (or fall)?
A: I don't know if it's the brown leaves, the cool wind, or the magic of Samhain or Halloween... but for me, Fall is by far, the best season! And my favorite thing to do is telling ghost stories and carving pumpkins.
In my childhood I had the role of telling my cousin's ghost stories by candlelight, we all loved it.
Q: BONUS QUESTION: What’s your favorite Halloween Candy? OR What candy pairs the best with your book?
A: I love chocolate or anything sweet with cocoa or nuts in it. But with “Monster Support Group: The Werewolf’s Tale”? Moon biscuits, for sure! And for “Monster Support Group: The Mummy’s Curse” … gummy worms!
Thanks again for joining us, Laura! It was a blast talking with you and learning more about your books!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: A Trick!
When I start a new book, I love to buy a notebook where I write down all my ideas, draw, and write trying to find the essence of that project. It certainly works for me!
Thanks for such a terrific trick! That will definitely come in handy. Everyone, please leave a comment below and thank Laura for stopping by.
Note: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes, perfect for quick MS feedback, provided by Agent Mentee Lynne Marie & Author Heather Macht.
About Laura Suárez:
Hello! My name is Laura Suárez and I am a Galician illustrator and author. My work is done mostly by mixed techniques, especially a mixture of digital tools and a variety of traditional materials. I love monsters, mysteries, and also the tenderness in nostalgia. Since I was a child I have had a great passion for books, and it is encouraging for me to be able to work on them as an author sometimes but always as an illustrator with wonderful publishing clients such as Flying Eye Books or Edelvives, in different languages and around the world.
For more about Laura, check out the below links:
Facebook: Laura Suárez
Tick Tok: @laurasuarezinfo
To purchase Laura's books from Flying Eye Books, click here.
A special thanks to David Rodriguez Lorenzo for the amazing custom-signatures!