Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Angela De Vito

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2021 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.

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In Heartless Prince, developed and illustrated by Angela De Vito and adapted by Leigh Dragoon, the badass Princess Evony (with fearsome weaponry) must save the prince — and the kingdom.

1. “Princess of nothing”? Harsh. What would you like to be the princess of?

I know, poor Evony. I do enjoy being mean to my characters! But if I don’t put them through challenges, how will they grow? I would like to be the princess of shadows — I love the idea of having shadow powers and magic. That or the princess of cats. 

2. And who was your favorite princess in childhood?

Hands down, Princess Serenity from Sailor Moon.

3. Do you ever scare yourself with your pictures?

My philosophy is, if I look at my drawing and I’m not disturbed, it isn’t scary enough. I thought of this quite a bit when designing the witch Aradia’s familiars. I wanted readers to find them unsettling and creepy. So what I’m saying is yes.

4. What (if anything) do you envy of authors who write unillustrated fiction?

I am a big fantasy reader. My favorite authors right now are Hafsah Faizal, Erin A. Craig, Sarah J. Maas, and Christelle Dabos. I envy that if they want to describe something detailed, they can just write it. Not that I’m saying writing is easy — it’s definitely not! But there are some other things artists have to consider. For example, a fiction writer can include a grand party scene and maybe throw in a line about the hundreds of guests. If I want a grand party, I have to deal with the consequences. I have to show there’s a crowd of people, sometimes over multiple panels.

5. Who would you trust to fight familiars and other baddies with?

If we’re talking about someone from the world of Heartless Prince, my obvious answer would be Evony. Not only is she the most skilled fighter, she can also sense familiars, so we’d always be prepared. If we’re talking about someone in real life, I would say my brother. Does either of us know how to fight? Not at all. But I know he would have my back and I would have his.

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Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton was editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. from 1996-2021. 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.

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