Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Alexandra Bracken

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

Sponsored by

Alexandra Bracken reimagines her 2010 fantasy Brightly Woven into a graphic novel, adapted by Leigh Dragoon and illustrated by Kit Seaton.

1. Second chance! Did you take the opportunity to “fix” anything?

Definitely! I’ve learned so much in the ten years since the novel was published, and it was important to me to go back in and rework certain aspects of the story, especially the moments that deserved more thoughtfulness and sensitivity. The biggest “fixes” are that Sydelle is more assertive and actually guiding her story, rather than being someone the events of the story are happening to; and that we’ve aged the story down from YA to MG, which suits the themes and character arcs so well.

2. What’s it like to see your characters through an illustrator’s eyes?

Absolutely amazing! Kit’s illustrations really sparkle, and she leaned into the bright of Brightly with their colors and design, which I love. I’m stunned by how close her illustrations are to how I’d imagined the characters.

3. Should people pay closer attention to their dreams?

I’m a big believer in trying to track your dreams and taking a moment to process them in the morning. Your mind is trying to work through something, whether it’s a feeling, a memory, or information, and being a bit more mindful can help you understand yourself, or at least help you address areas of stress and anxiety.

4. If you could “twist” yourself right this minute, where would you go?

I would twist to New York City to see my friends there — even if it’s still too risky to hug or spend time together without masks. I’d been planning a trip last spring to do some research for my upcoming YA novel, Lore. That unfortunately never happened, and I’m eager to go as soon as it’s safe.

5. If you were an illustrator, what fantasy novel would you want to bring to graphic novel life?

Oh, this question is almost too hard because there are so many choices! (And it makes me wish my illustration skills didn’t begin and end with stick figures.) Is there a Sabriel graphic novel? That would be pretty epic!

Sponsored by

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more


We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.