Goblins, Mighty Jack, and More to Come from Ben Hatke

Hey Ben! Thanks for joining me here to talk about a few great 2016 titles you have coming out!

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Tell us a little bit about Nobody Likes a Goblin. 

Nobody Likes a Goblin Is a picture book in the same vein as my book Julia’s House for Lost Creatures. The story was influenced by a lifelong love of fantasy stories and the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons. 

I’d noticed that often in these stories, and especially in the games, goblins were very low-level “bad guys.” Goblins tended to be the first creatures you’d encounter in a dungeon, and usually a party of “heroes” would kill a goblins without a second thought. So I wanted to write a book for the goblins.

I had a blast making this book and I dedicated it to my role playing group. We still meet every Wednesday. Specifically the book is dedicated to our first band of adventurers, known throughout the realm as “Black Stag and the Beefy Boys”  

Nobody Likes a Goblin will be released on June 7th. For me June 7th is now Goblin’s Day.

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Tell us a little bit more about Mighty Jack.

Mighty Jack is a single graphic novel adventure story that spans two books. By my best recollection I started working on an adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk as early as 2006. I poked away at the ideas for years before the project grew into its present form. In its final form, the story is no longer a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk so much a tale spinning out from that source. You might get the impression that these events happen cyclically. That, somewhere, there’s always a Jack…

There are also a couple of fun cameos from the Zitaverse, if you like that sort of thing!

The first volume of Mighty Jack will be available on September 6th. The second volume, which is what I’m working on now, will release roughly a year later.

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You’ve recently started doing live inking on Periscope. It’s pretty cool to watch you work “live”- what inspired you to do this? Is it something you’ll continue doing?

You know, normally having someone watch over my shoulder while I draw would be miserable for me, but doing the something similar through live streaming is really fun. I’m enjoying sharing a bit of the process with people. Periscope (and live streaming in general) suggests a lot of interesting possibilities. I’m sure I’ll continue to play with it.

Have you always been into writing/drawing?

Oh yes. Once we visited the house that I grew up in the couple who lived there was taking down the wallpaper. Underneath they found drawings that I had scrawled on the wall when I was probably only 3 year old.

Entertaining my family and friends with words and pictures has been a constant in my life, even when I thought I was going to go on to do different things. (I seriously considered joining a circus).

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What’s the coolest part of your job?

Oof, that’s a tough one. The whole thing seems miraculous. I mean, even on the frustrating days there is still someone out there, someone who I haven’t met yet, enjoying one of my stories. 

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

One day, I was waiting in line to ride the Ferris wheel and I got out of line to say hello to some friends. Then the people in line said “Hurry up, Ben! It’s almost your turn!” So I turned and ran back toward the Ferris wheel but I ran into a cable that was holding up a nearby tree. I ran into it with my face. 

And that’s why I have a scar on the bridge of my nose.

If you weren’t writing and books, what do you think you’d be doing?

I would probably be nearing the end of a career as a stunt person and wishing that I could write and draw books.

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What can readers expect from you in the future? 

Oh there is so much to come! The next thing I am working on is a chapter book called Miracle Molly. It’s about a girl with a fox tail.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

 I share a podcast with my friends writer/artists Zack Giallongo and Jerzy Drozd. We talk about storytelling and art and we’re on a space ship. Sort of. 

Thanks, Ben, for joining me here today! What a great year for readers!

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