This October, Sea Lion Books brings one of the most popular Young Adult novels to comics with “Hush, Hush,” the first of three graphic novels adapting the New York Times bestselling YA novel by Becca Fitzpatrick.
“Hush, Hush” follows the story of average teenager Nora Grey, a good student and writer for the school paper whose routine life suddenly goes off track when a new student named Patch becomes her lab partner and turns her entire world upside-down. While Nora finds herself inexplicably attracted to Patch’s bad-boy image, danger begins following her at every turn. As the story progresses, Nora learns more than she bargained for about her past and her dark connection to fallen angels, becoming embroiled in an ages-old conflict. Along with her best friend Vee, Nora has to sort out who she can really trust between Patch and new arrivals Jules and Eliot.
Becca Fitzpatrick took time out of her busy schedule to break the silence to CBR News about the “Hush, Hush” graphic novel adaptation, the process of designing her characters from prose to illustration, the style of the book, the challenges of adapting her work for comics and the special 18-page story that bridges the gap between “Hush, Hush” and its sequel, “Crescendo.”
CBR News: Becca, tell us about “Hush, Hush” as a graphic novel. What’s in, what’s out and what’s new?
Becca Fitzpatrick: The firstÂ “Hush, Hush”Â graphic novel will cover one third of theÂ “Hush, Hush”Â novel. [Publisher] Sea Lion Books are determined to make it as close to the novel as possible. The big surprise with the graphic novel will be the original bonus story. It reveals what happens to Patch and Nora betweenÂ “Hush, Hush”Â and the sequel,Â “Crescendo.”
So much of a novel involves readers imagining setting and how characters look and move. How closely are you working with the creative team of the graphic novel in order to help smooth the transition from text to image?
In the early stages, there was quite a bit of back and forth as I provided character and setting descriptions to artist Jennyson Rosero and he, in turn, translated my input into sketches. It was such a fun process, and rewarding too — with each round, I felt that we were getting closer to nailing the artwork. I also posted several of the sketches on my blog, and we got an incredible amount of feedback from readers. They’ve definitely had a hand in shaping the graphic novel.
By the same token, how involved have you been in character design work? How do you feel the character designs reflect your descriptions of Nora, Patch, Vee, Eliot and Jules?
While I understood going into the project that the images in my head couldn’t be perfectly replicated on the page, I’ve been very pleased with the designs. I also think it’s important to note that I didn’t want to dictate every last detail. Part of what I think will make the graphic novel successful is the blending of my suggestions with Jennyson’s creative energy.
How long is the graphic novel and how does it compare to the level of detail provided in “Hush, Hush?”
The first graphic novel will be 120 pages. Sea Lion Books are working hard to capture the essence of theÂ “Hush, Hush”Â novel. All important events, characters, settings, etc., are included in the graphic novel. The first novel,Â “Hush, Hush,” will be adapted into 3 graphic novels.
While many other young adult novels have been adapted into graphic novels, most of them (notably “Twilight”) have taken the route of the manga-inspired art. What is the art style like for “Hush, Hush” and how do you feel it reflects the story you’re trying to tell?
“Hush, Hush”Â will be done in an Amerimanga style. Manga definitely appeals to young adult female readers, but I believe by going with the Amerimanga style, the graphic novel will capture both male and female readers.
Why do you think the graphic novel format is a good medium to adapt your story?
“Hush, Hush”Â is a very pacey and plot-driven story, and I think because of this, it translates well into a more visual medium. Readers often tell me they can see scenes playing out in their minds — almost like watching a movie. Many of them are anticipating “viewing” the story through the graphic novel.
Sequential narrative is very different than prose. Did you find the art in line with the vision in your head when you’re working on the novels?
I’ve been really impressed by the transition. I feel the pages are following the novel closely. At one point during the process, Sea Lion Books sent me a picture of the farmhouse where Nora lives and it was drawn to be a single story. Since quite a bit of action down the road inÂ “Crescendo”Â takes place on the second story of the farmhouse, I did ask the artist to redraw the house.
What are you most excited about for the release of the graphic novel?
Fans’ reactions! Since announcing the graphic novel, there has been an amazing amount of enthusiasm for the project. I hope my readers feel as though they’re experiencing Patch and Nora’s story again for the first time.