Bina wants this summer to rock her Summer Fun Index. That may prove problematic when her best friend travels to soccer camp, no one else is really in town, and her parents cut off her TV privileges. Still, Bina resolves not to waste her free time, and enjoys channeling her frustrations through music.
Hope Larson sits down once more to talk with us about her work; her other credits include working on Batgirl for DC Comics and collaborating with Rebecca Mock. We previously interviewed her in 2016 and 2017.
Last time we talked, you had collaborated with Rebecca Mock on COMPASS SOUTH and KNIFE’S EDGE. How has it felt working on ALL SUMMER LONG in contrast?
I started working on All Summer Long after writing Knife’s Edge, and while Rebecca was drawing that book. It was a big shift, going from tall ships and battles at sea to a couple of middle-class 13-year-olds hashing out their differences! This is also the first book I’ve drawn since A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, so sitting back down at the drafting table was a lot to wrap my head around.
Bina starts to worry when Austin won’t text her back from camp. It starts creating a gap between them. How important do you think communication is with friendship?
Communication is key to friendship, and to all relationships. But it’s a skill you learn over the course of your life. There’s so much etiquette surrounding texting, especially, and everyone seems to have gotten a different rulebook. Kids today are in constant communication with each other, on a level I wasn’t when I was growing up in the pre-smartphone era, and I knew that was something I’d have to address in the book, since it’s set in the present day.
What is your ideal summer day?
Walk to the bakery for a pastry and a cold brew, spend the rest of the day working in the garden, and wrap things up with a glass of wine on the porch.
At one point in the story, Bina accuses one of her newest friends of just using her and not actually wanting to hang out. That fortunately isn’t the case, but how do you think someone can recognize the signs of a false friend?
The big red flag I watch for is, “Does this person want something from me?” Luckily, adults are usually pretty obvious when they want you to do something for them. It can be less obvious when you’re a kid.
What would constitute fun on your Summer Fun Index?
I would calculate fun by the different kinds of wildlife spotted in my garden.
How does working on ALL SUMMER LONG compare to working on Batgirl for DC Comics?
Those processes are completely different. For one thing, I have almost total creative control over All Summer Long; with Batgirl, I had to keep a specific format and readership in mind, and since I was working for a huge corporation, I had to make whatever changes they asked for. I enjoy a challenge, and I enjoy working within restraints and telling the best story I can given the conditions that I have to meet, so I generally liked working for DC. But it’s been such a relief to come back to writing my own graphic novels, and not need to get a fight scene in ever five pages!
Austin’s mother works in the music industry, to listen to new bands and maybe help their careers. How much research did this require?
I did very little research for this character, because my boyfriend at the time was a radio DJ and promoter, so I was getting a glimpse into the music industry through him. That’s where I picked up a lot of the music terms in the book.
If you had to choose, vinyl records or CDs?
Vinyl! I barely own any CDs.
What is your favorite music genre?
In addition to Batgirl, what other works can we expect from you in the future?
I’m writing two sequels to All Summer Long, and Rebecca Mock and I are working on our third graphic novel together, which is a stand-alone fantasy coming out around 2020. I’m having a blast and can’t wait for all of these books to get out into the world.
All Summer Long is out in May. Be sure to buy a copy!
Looking for more from Hope Larson? Check out Interview: Hope Larson on COMPASS SOUTH, BATGIRL, and Interview with Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock, KNIFE’S EDGE and COMPASS SOUTH team.