Five questions with Jeffrey Brown

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RAFAEL/JORGE:  Thanks for answering our questions, Jeffrey.  It’s a pleasure to cyber-meet you!

Thanks Rafael and Jorge, good to virtual-meet you too!

QUESTION: Your graphic novel, “The Jedi Academy” is such a hit. And what a great idea. We read in an interview that you first got the idea when you were approached by Google to do a Father’s Day Doodle and you thought of doing Darth Vader and Luke.   Did you have to sell Lucas Film on the idea too? What was the process like of getting their permission?

The original idea from Google, which became my first Star Wars book “Darth Vader And Son”, wouldn’t have been the same if I didn’t make it as an official Lucasfilm book. Fortunately, my publisher – Chronicle Books has been doing Star Wars books for years, and that helped convince Lucasfilm to give the green light on the project. There was also at least one person at Lucasfilm already familiar with my work, and in general they all liked the idea. So that process was unexpectedly smooth for me. Scholastic had taken the idea for “Jedi Academy” to Lucasfilm right about the time I was finishing “Darth Vader and Son,” so my editor at Lucasfilm suggested they see if I’d work on that book. As soon as I started working on ideas for that, I knew it would be a ton of fun and really satisfying to write and draw. Overall, working with Lucasfilm has been perfect for me – both as a fan of Star Wars, and in terms of the creative process.

The Phantom Bully by Jeffrey Brown

QUESTION:  Your Star Wars books are so successful, is that success allowing you more or less time to do your personal/autobiographical work?

I did find the time to finish one autobiographical project – “A Matter Of Life”, which is about fatherhood and religion – while working on Star Wars books, but overall the majority of my time these past four years has been all about Star Wars. At the same time, I was ready to work less on the autobiographical stories so there hasn’t been any project I’ve necessarily had to set aside. And the success is definitely setting me up to have more time and freedom moving forward from here. Also, there’s a lot of autobiography worked into the Star Wars material anyway – as a parent with the Vader books, and my own school years in the Jedi Academy series.

QUESTION: You’ve written for film (“Save the Date”) and music videos (Deathcab for Cutie).  Do you see yourself doing more film and music video work?  Would you like to work more other mediums besides books? 

I’m definitely interested in working more with film and video – and I’m dabbling in ideas for television. Making books will probably always be my first love, but I’ve been interested in film, TV, and sketch comedy since high school so whenever a good opportunity comes up, I’ll probably explore it.

Jeffrey Brown

QUESTION: What is currently on your nightstand?

For myself, most of my reading lately has been research oriented – currently I’m working through science and science fiction books for inspiration and information to use in a space exploration series I’ll be doing. The most recent book I’ve finished is Andy Weir’s “The Martian”, which I really enjoyed. I also get to read with my older son a lot and we’re currently having a lot of fun reading a few chapters of Mac Barnett and Jory John’s book “The Terrible Two” (which also has great drawings by Kevin Cornell).

QUESTION:  What are you working on next?

Right now I’m working on a fun middle grade series called “Lucy & Andy Neanderthal”, a story about cavemen 40,000 years ago based on recent discoveries and theories. I’m also going to make a picture book about dinosaurs. So, I’ve gone from drawing futuristic science fiction to drawing ancient prehistory!

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