Blog Tour & Interview: Spinning by Tillie Walden
Spinning is a graphic novel memoir written and illustrated by Tillie Walden. I am thrilled to be a part of this blog tour and to ask Tillie 5 questions about her newest novel. I read and loved her story, even the heartbreaking moments, and I hope you love it too! Check out what Tillie has to say and follow the tour!
Spinning by Tillie Walden
Category: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Memoir
Publication: September 12th, 2017; First Second
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.
1. Since Spinning is based on your real life experiences, was it hard to put those memories on the page?
Yesss, oh yes. Yes. Super hard. But I’m still standing after it all, somehow, haha. It was a challenge to turn my life into a narrative. I had a lot of help from my editor Connie though. She really held my hand through it all. She’s a gem.
2. I really felt a lot of emotions in your words and images, how does putting your art out there for the public differ for you then performing on the ice?
Oh it’s so different! It’s so much easier! Performing on the ice is a very visceral, and very live. The judges and audience watch you as you move, so there’s no getting away from it. But publishing a book has so much distance. If I don’t feel like hearing about it I can just close my computer and turn off my phone. I’ll take publishing a book to competing on the ice any day.
3. Did you have a playlist or a few songs you listened to while working?
My comics drawing music is almost entirely composed of musicals. I’m a fiend for them. My constant rotation is of the following: Next to Normal, Spring Awakening, Rent, Passing Strange, Once, West Side Story, Parade, Hamilton, Les Mis. I’ll stop, but I could go on.
4. Any advice for any teens out there who are struggling with their identity and/or pursing their dreams?
Well if you’re struggling with identity, my advice would be that there is no rush! My goodness, if you’re a teen, you’re still a baby and you don’t even realize it. Take your time, and enjoy being who you are. As far as pursuing your dreams go, same answer. Take your time. Don’t listen to the grown ups telling you that your calculus test will unlock your future. Let yourself explore, let yourself rest, and let yourself screw up. Think of all the great stories and books you love – how many characters go on great adventures because they’re perfect? None. It’s your flaws and intricacies that will take you where you need to go.
5. My blog regularly covers YA fiction, and lately more comics & graphic novels, I think Spinning will find its way into more YA readers hands, do you have any recommendations for the novice reader just getting into comics & graphic novels?
This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang are some of my favorites. Also, anything by Raina Telgemeier.
I just want to thank you for telling your story, as someone who went through a lot of similar struggles (except for the ice skating) as you did as a teen, it really meant a lot for me to read your story, and I hope it resonates for all the teens out there who are struggling with bullies, school work, testing, parents, friends, being different, being passionate, being assaulted, and finding the courage to speak up and following your dreams.
Thank you so much! That means the world to me.
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
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