Interview with the Fan Brothers: Terry Fan and Eric Fan

Hi Terry! Hi Eric! Thanks for stopping by my blog. It’s an honor!

Thank you, Dylan! It’s an honor for use to be here!

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Tell us a little bit about your new book, The Antlered Ship.

The story was written by Dashka Slater, and it’s the tale of an inquisitive fox named Marco who sets off on a seafaring voyage with a crew of deer and pigeons. They are in search of Sweet Tree Island, a place where Marco hopes to find all the answers to his questions. The crew finds adventure and intrigue along the way, and—at last—Marco finds the answer to his most important question of all: What’s the best way to find a friend you can talk to?

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Tell us a little bit about your illustration process—what’s it like to work together?

Usually we’ll each draw certain elements for a scene and then put them all together in

Photoshop. Then we’ll share files, and we’ll both go in and do tweaks and revisions. It’s great to have a fellow collaborator because you always have someone to bounce ideas off when you get stuck. Making a book can be a daunting project sometimes, so it’s nice to have someone to share the workload with. When one of us falls down or falters, hopefully the other one is there to save the day. That’s happened on numerous occasions.

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Have you always been into writing and illustrating?

Terry: I would say to one degree or another we have. It has ebbed and flowed and taken on different forms over the years, but there has always been a creative impulse that seems to be a driving force in our lives.

Eric: When I was younger I worked on a picture book with our other brother Devin (he was sixteen at the time). We sent the manuscript unsolicited to a bunch of publishers. Needless to say, most of our packages were returned unopened, but we did get two very nice rejection letters with some positive notes and encouragement. One of the editors even invited us to call her, and Devin spoke to her on the phone. She reiterated some of the positive things about the manuscript and told him we should be very encouraged. In retrospect, we should have been over the moon, but we were gutted that our “masterpiece” didn’t receive the response we had hoped for. I still have those letters, and looking back on them now it’s amazing to me how receptive and helpful people in the industry can be.

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What’s the most exciting part of your job?

It’s always exciting to receive first copies of a book; to finally see it in its complete form.

However there are so many other exciting aspects as well, from getting the opportunity to meet other artists and creative people in the industry to hearing from readers and fans that our books have impacted or inspired in some way.

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What inspires your creativity?

Terry: I’m inspired by many artists, both past and present. Really, there are too many to name. I also draw inspiration from past experiences, nature, and random things that interest. To be honest it could literally be anything. This seems to be a question that comes up a lot, and I wish I had a more eloquent answer, but inspiration is a mysterious thing,and it’s difficult to pin down.

Eric: I think inspiration is something that resides in the subconscious; perhaps an accumulation of all the experiences and memories you’ve had that have become remixed over time. When you’re asleep you can wander at will through those hidden rooms, but when you’re awake they’re more difficult to access. If you’re lucky, one of those doors opens briefly to the daylight, and you get to peek inside and snatch a few ideas or images.

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

Eric: The first piece of artwork I did that I was ever paid for I drew with my hand in a full cast, after breaking it at work. It was simultaneously the moment I decided I was in the wrong line of work and also that it was possible I could be successful as a freelance artist.

Terry: That I’m almost completely deaf in my left ear, which is normal-looking. However my good right ear looks kind of pointy, and I call it my “Mr. Spock” ear. Anyway, I think my partial deafness has probably contributed to me being an artist. It encouraged me to look more inward and seek out solitary pursuits from an early age.

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

Terry: I’d probably be a musician of some sort. We come from a musical family—our mom was a professional harpist and our older brother, Paul, is a very talented musician and producer. I played the drums and keyboard a bit when I was younger and have always loved music. It has a transporting power to it like nothing else.

Eric: Up until fairly recently I was driving a delivery truck for a construction rental company, so I don’t have to stretch my imagination too far. In all likelihood I’d still be doing that,although I’d probably be working toward doing something else, hopefully in a creative field.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

In the Spring of 2018 our next picture book, Ocean Meets Sky, will be released. We both wrote and illustrated it. Next, we’re illustrating a picture book called The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry. We’re also working on a project with Dave Eggers entitled The Lifters. And after that we’re going to start work on The Barnabus Project. Our brother, Devin, will be collaborating with us on that book.

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

Thank you for interviewing us, Dylan. And thank you to everyone who has supported our

books!

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