Saturday, April 4, 2020

Q&A with Isabel Ibañez

Isabel Ibañez is the author of the new young adult novel Woven in Moonlight. Also a graphic designer, she lives in Winter Park, Florida.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Woven in Moonlight, and for your character Ximena?

A: Woven in Moonlight came to me during a tumultuous time in Bolivia. My family had been eyeing their president with growing trepidation and rising unease. Many of my cousins and aunts and uncles and my own parents took to the streets, waving their sign of protest. 

In a way, Woven in Moonlight became my own banner, my own way to walk alongside my family protesting the scary political upheaval in Bolivia.

Q: Did you need to do any research to write the novel, and if so, did you learn anything that especially surprised you?

A: I grew up going to Bolivia every summer, all summer. From infancy and until I turned 18, my mom sent my brother and me to Bolivia for three months out of the year.

I know Bolivia, know the way it tastes and smells, know the cities and its twists and turns. I drew from the deep well so research looked like unearthing a lot of memories.

Q: You're also a graphic designer--how do writing and graphic design complement each other for you?

A: Because illustration and graphic design is so visual, I’ve been able to use the skill in writing when picturing scenes in my stories.

In a way, they are similar because each process goes through several  rounds. Before I take on a project, I will quickly create thumbnail sketches before finalizing the artwork. In writing, you go through several drafts.

Both forms of art have taught me how to whittle down to the crux of what I’m trying to say and do with the project.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?

A: I hope they take away a feeling of curiosity about Bolivia! Truly, the most important thing is that a reader will have enjoyed a new story inspired by a country they may not know a lot about. 

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’m hard at work on the companion to Woven in Moonlight, Written in Starlight, out winter 2021! We are currently in the middle of copy edits. 

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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