hello all! today on the blog i will be interviewing the super cool Claribel Ortega! their book, Ghost Squad hits shelves April 7th and they’re currently offering some pretty awesome perks for pre-ordering, so definitely check it out! they also have a graphic novel, titled Frizzy coming out in 2022 and a story within a collection This is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them and Us which comes out in the fall of 2021! i will include links to the author’s social media and to buy the book at the bottom. hope you enjoy!
Lizzy: hello and thank you for joining me! i’m so excited, so let’s get right to it! did anything inspire you to write Ghost Squad? if so, who or what?
Claribel: Ghost Squad was inspired by Dominican folklore, my love for scary stories and my brother Pablo.
L: Ghost Squad has been compared to Coco, Stranger Things, and Ghostbusters. if you were on your own spooky adventure, would you rather have the characters of Coco by your side, those from Stranger Things, or the gang from Ghostbusters?
C: This was a hard one because I would love to have some scientists with me and a grandmother with a chancla is formidable, but I’m going to have to go with the Stranger Things gang solely because Eleven is undefeated and I also love Eggo waffles with all my heart.
L: gotta admit, I’ve never seen Stranger Things, haha, but Coco and Ghostbusters, especially the all-girl one, are my fave! next question: if you could meet your favorite author, who would they be and what would you say?
C: I’ve already met my favorite author! Leigh Bardugo, and we chatted about 80s movies the first time we met which was awesome!
L: wow, that’s so awesome! okay next: Ghost Squad is an Own Voices Latinx novel. And not only that, it is being adapted for the screen! What was it like to learn that the world you had created would be made into a film by Brenda Chapman and Barry Josephson?
C: It was surreal and also super validating. Brenda Chapman has worked on some of my all time favorite movies so for her to have read my book and think it was good enough to put her name on a project attached to it felt really nice.
L: when you tweeted out the announcement, i freaked out so much – can’t wait to see it once it comes out!! moving on to cover design, the cover artist, Lorena Alvarez Gómez, for Ghost Squad brought a new dimension to this story, for me. What was it like when you first saw the design?
C: I was blown away by her work! I was so happy that I was able to get such an amazing artist and I think the cover for Ghost Squad has been the most important thing for grabbing reader’s attention. Everyone loves that cover so much!
L: yaaaas that cover is gorgeous! i couldn’t stop staring at it when it came across my feed and is the main reason i started following you on twitter (though your tweets are so hilarious, i’m glad i made that decision haha). anyways, aside from the human characters, Ghost Squad features an adorable cat sidekick (side-cat, if I may), named Chunk. What was your real-life inspiration for this cat, and is there a real-life Chunk?
C: Chunk sort of just came to me! I knew I wanted Babette to have many cats, and I wanted to name them all after The Goonies so it made sense to me that Chunk would be a fat, adorable cat. I had no idea people would respond so strongly to her but I’m so glad they have!
L: Chunk is precious, we must protecc. but let’s switch gears from Ghost Squad; you are also working on an upcoming Own Voices graphic novel Frizzy (formerly named Rizos). What has that process been like? How closely have you been working with the artist, Rose Bousamra, (if at all), and what are your thoughts on the name change?
C: The process has been amazing! I’ve already seen some art from Rose and they are incredibly talented. I’m so excited for people to see their work on this book. Obviously, I loved the original title Rizos but it can be tough to keep Spanish language titles and I adore the title FRIZZY so I hope people love it just as much as I do!
L: If you had your choice, what would be your dream publisher, release date (spring/summer/fall/winter), and genre/age range for your next book?
C: I would love to be able to publish my next middle grade series in the fall! Same goes for my first YA. I love the fall but also they’re both spooky stories so I think it would be perfect.
L: One more silly question for the road: who is your favorite character from Animal Crossing and when did you first start playing?
C: I’ve been playing since the first game! My favorite character is Isabelle!
L: ah yes, Isabelle is adorable!! okay it looks like we are out of time today. 😦 do you have any closing remarks or anything else you wanted to add?
C: Please get a copy of Ghost Squad if you haven’t already! You can get it at buyghostsquad.com, and thanks so much to you for having me on your blog!
L: my pleasure! goodbye and have a great weekend folks!
want your own copy of Ghost Squad? click on the picture below. and thank you to Claribel for this adorable Chunk meme for my usage ❤