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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Guest Post: Maggie Thrasher on Honor Girl

Today we are so lucky to welcome Maggie Thrash, the author of Honor Girl, to discuss her work and her choice of using a graphic novel to share her story.

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Comics were the only way I could tell this story. It's a memoir, and it's pretty personal. In the past when I've tried to write about myself, I tend to get really awkward and sound like an alien masquerading as an especially self-centered human female. Comics are a way for me to zoom out of the quagmire of my perspective, and present myself objectively: There I am, that's what I look like. That's the kind of stuff I say and do. Here are the people around me. And here's what happened when I fell in love at my all-girls Christian summer camp and was never the same again.

I've never taken an art class, and when I started this I didn't have much experience with comics. The learning curve was steep. I studied the Scott Pilgrim books by Bryan Lee O'Malley very closely to figure out how to write a graphic novel. Scott Pilgrim is totally populist and unpretentious; it's essential to me. I love how the book just BEGINS. The first line is “Scott Pilgrim's dating a high schooler!” And you're just like, who is Scott Pilgrim? Who is this high schooler? I must know more!

I'm also a Donna Tartt fan in a deep way. Her characters can be out of touch with themselves, a little aloof from their emotions, a little self-deceiving. But you can see their raggedness, and how anguished they are.

Another huge influence for me is the Twilight series. Those books changed me forever. There's a gravitas to that love story which I hadn't seen much before in YA. There's nothing whimsical or cute about Bella and Edward's love. It's not a crush. It's real and it's intense and it almost kills them multiple times! People get distracted by the vampire nonsense, but what Twilight is really about it how love KILLS you. That's how it felt to be in love with this girl at camp. I felt like I was going to die! Anyone who's been in love can probably relate to that. 

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