I am super excited to be today’s stop on the SPINNING Blog Tour and to share my five question interview with the incredibly talented and creative and courageous Tillie Walden.
SPINNING is a gorgeous and moving and engaging read – and experience. The illustrations are amazing. They’re beautiful and expressive and tell the story in ways the words alone can’t. You can see just how Tillie feels at every moment of the read. You can see and feel the highs and lows, the anguish, the frustration, the sadness, the envy, the fear, the joy, the anxiety.
Each picture enhances the story, is an integral part of the story. The illustrations can tell the tale on their own, without any words to accompany them. But together they paint the complete picture, making this a story that is captivating and sad and sweet and delightful and wonderful and brave and a must read.
SPINNING released this week, so if you haven’t yet had the chance to experience this graphic memoir, its description and links to find it online are below.
And if you want the nitty gritty on how Tillie Walden would describe SPINNING, what she enjoyed most about creating SPINNING as a graphic memoir, who had the biggest impact on her decision to skate or not to skate, and more, check out the interview which follows beneath the book’s details.
To hear what else Tillie Walden has to say about herself, about creating SPINNING, about the world of graphic novels/memoirs, be sure to follow the tour. The schedule, with direct links to all the stops can be found at the end of this post.
Author: Tillie Walden
Release date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: First Second
Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, eBook
Figure skating was Tillie Walden’s life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing in glitter and tights. It was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as Tillie’s interests evolve, from her growing passion for art to a first love realized with a new girlfriend, she begins to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fits in.
Poignant and captivating, this powerful graphic memoir captures what it’s like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.
Q&A with Tillie Walden
Q. If you had to describe SPINNING in 25 words or less, how would you describe it?
Figure skating. Synchronized skating. Competitions. Lesbians. Bullying. Coming out. Coming of age. Texas. Graphic memoir. How many words is that?
Q. What did you enjoy most about creating SPINNING as a graphic memoir? And what did you find most challenging about telling your story in this way?
I really enjoyed finishing it. That maybe sounds silly, but that was such a huge accomplishment and relief. And the whole thing was challenging. That isn’t necessarily a negative (I love a good challenge) but it really was all hard. The writing, the drawing, the remembering. It was a fight to create. And thank god I won.
Q. In your memoir you’d touched upon a number of different events and people who had an impact on your life – from your first skating teacher, to the various bullies at school, to your indifferent mother, to your successes and failures in competition. Looking back, what (or who) would you say had the biggest impact on your decision to remain a skater for as long as you had (or your inability to leave skating until you did)?
Ah that’s easy, it’s me! I was the one who kept myself there. At the end of the day, it always comes back to me. I didn’t know how to quit. I didn’t know you could leave something you were good at. And I didn’t realize how much there was in the world outside of the rink. I kept myself there, and I got myself out.
Q. In the afterword, you talked about how SPINNING became a very different story than the one you’d initially thought it might be. If you’d stayed with your original storyline, how might your illustrations have differed in order to tell that story?
I guess it wasn’t that I had an original storyline, but more that I went into it really expecting this entire book to be about ice skating. And it surprised me that it went so far beyond that. I think if I had been more strict with myself to keep the book ice skating focused, it would have lost a lot of it’s power. I imagine the drawings would have been relatively similar ultimately, but the content and style would have changed quite a bit.
Q. What was your favorite memory to share in SPINNING? And what was your most difficult memory to share?
It’s brief, but I love the moment where I’m on the ice with Lindsay and we’re both cheerleaders. That was when I was doing a Glee on Ice routine, and we were Quinn and Brittney. I laugh now because I believe one of the cheerleaders in the show is either gay or bisexual. I wish I had known that then, I would have played the character with a lot more gusto. And the most difficult? Lord. I’m just going to go with every single other scene besides the cheerleader moment.
About Tillie Walden
Tillie Walden is a two-time Ignatz Award–winning cartoonist from Austin, Texas. Born in 1996, she is a recent graduate from the Center for Cartoon Studies, a comics school in Vermont. Her comics include The End of Summer and I Love This Part, an Eisner Award nominee. tilliewalden.com
The Tour Schedule
9.11.17 | Tales of the Ravenous Reader
9.12.17 | Love is Not a Triangle
9.13.17 | The Book Rat
9.14.17 | YA Bibliophile
9.15.17 | Fiktshun
9.18.17 | The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia
9.19.17 | Book Crushin’
9.20.17 | YA Wednesdays
Follow along at Fierce Reads