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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Interview with Tillie Walden, author of Spinning!

Today I'm hopping on the blog tour for Tillie Walden's Spinning! For this tour, Tillie let us pick her brain a bit, so below you'll find some of the things I wanted to know (and if you want to see what else Tillie had to say, make sure to check out the rest of the tour!).
Have a read-through and let me know your thoughts in the comments — is Spinning on your radar? — and then make sure to stop back by this weekend for my thoughts on the book!

Spinning is your first graphic memoir, but I'd imagine there's always some of YOU that spills over into any creative endeavor. Did Spinning feel very different to what you'd done before?

Spinning felt very different. I had done fiction before this, and like you said, some of my own story always spilled into my fiction. But it turns out that that is nothing in comparison to doing a straight up memoir. I found working on a fully autobiographical work to be very challenging, and pretty draining. But that payoff was totally worth it. The sense of accomplishment I felt was nothing like what I felt when I finished a work of fiction.

Were there times that it felt too personal, too much to share, when you wanted to back out or give up? How did you convince yourself to open up, or decide what to share?

There were times where I wanted to just stop. Not because it felt too personal necessarily, but just because it all became too much. I felt worn out by my own narrative, and I felt a little trapped by it. But in a way, by pushing through those moments in the process, I found a real strength in myself that I didn’t know existed.

If you could push only 3 comics or comic creators on people who aren't into comic or are just getting into them, what/who would they be? (or 5, I'll give you 5, if you need. I'm not a good limiter myself, I'm always wiggling in more recommendations...)

I’ll stick to three. I would recommend Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

What are 3 (or 5!) things on your bucket list?

I don’t even think I have a bucket list. Is a bucket list all the things you like, really want to do? I think so.. Well.. I would love to jump out of an airplane or off a mountain ledge at some point (in a safe way, not interested in dying.) And I really want to meet all the actors and actresses on Brooklyn 99, which is a show I’m obsessed with... Damn, maybe I need to actually make a bucket list. I’ve never thought about this before!

And finally, your book in a tweet: Give us Spinning in 140 characters or less. 

Competitive figure skating - lesbian - coming of age - graphic memoir by a 21 year old Texan. Bam.

Spinning by Tillie Walden
Graphic Novel / Memoir, 402 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by First Second Books

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.

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


  1. I've not read too many graphic novels, but I definitely like the medium for storytelling. Neat to get the background of author and book. I would imagine writing a memoir to be draining, but I enjoy the authenticity of reading one.

    Thanks for sharing!


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