Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Whazamo! Profiles: Ashley Spires

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Name: Ashley Spires

Hometown: Tsawwassen, BC

Website: and

Role: writer/illustrator

Latest Work: Binky the Space Cat, Kids Can Press (Coming August, 2009)

What’s It About in a Nutshell: A delusional house cat entertains notions of exploring outerspace (which is anything outside of his house) and fighting aliens (all flying insects) while secretly building a rocket ship in his litter box.

What first inspired you to create comics or graphic novels? Like everyone, I was always drawing comics for fun, but when my editor suggested that my story about a space cat, which I had originally pitched as a picture book, would do well in a graphic novel format I jumped at the chance.

What for you makes a comic or graphic novel AWESOME!? Well, I'm an illustrator first, so the artistic style of a book is what draws me. I love anything that pushes the traditional layout styles as well. If it makes me laugh too, or surprises me, then all the better.

What subjects are you obsessed with? I am obsessed with anything oddly funny. I suppose that's why I enjoy working in the children's lit world- what other genre allows you to be unapologetically absurd?

If you weren’t doing comics or graphic novels, what would you be doing? If I wasn't writing and illustrating I would be turning rapidly into a crazy cat lady and trying, probably unsuccessfully, not talk to myself in public.

What is your favourite Canadian graphic novel, or What’s your favourite graphic novel of all time? Favorite graphic novel of all time- that changes depending on who is inspiring me right now- but one of the first books to make me see what a comic COULD be is the Neil Gaiman/ Dave McKean project Mr. Punch (full title: The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch) Photos, painting, drawing, all cool.

What are you working on now?
I am finishing up a picture book right now and then I'm working on the second Binky book. This time he has to go on a rescue mission to outerspace. Like all sequels there will be plenty of over the top action, heart breaking love triangles and we'll find out that his real father was an alien/insect. Don't miss it.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Ian Daffern

Ian Daffern directs and produces documentary videos and writes about books and comics for places like Quill and Quire, The Globe and Mail and The National Post. He's also half of the mighty writing team behind Freelance Blues, your favourite new supernatural-horror-comedy comic (tm).

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