Today we hear all about Marielle Bouleau, author of upcoming Blue Fox Comics series ‘Busy Little Bees’.
Tell us a bit about MARIELLE BOULEAU
I’m an English writer, based in Scotland. I grew up on French comics and was a pretty weird kid, and I loved classic literature and Shakespeare alongside fantasy and sci-fi, from an early age. I was always off making up stories and my father had hundreds of books. Between my Dad’s love of theatre and writing and my mother’s love of languages, I’m not sure I was ever really destined for anything else – though I have got distracted along the way. While I’ve always called myself creative (because other people said that this is what I was, and it seemed to make them happy), but I’m not sure I really know what that means (or that they did either). All I know is, I like stories, reading and writing them, and I’ve been making things up and writing them down, no matter where I’ve been living or what I’ve been doing, all my life. It’s the one constant and the thing I keep coming back to, which I think says a lot. I’m naturally shy, but love being around people. I can talk a lot and spend hours listening. I’m a sociable person who’s really a hermit. I do lots of other things, but if I spend a day writing, and find a few words for what I actually meant to say among all my scribblings, I’m a very happy person.
How long have you been writing?
All my life – which is what I hear said by a lot of people who write. I think it’s hard to put a time stamp on it. I know that when I was young, I wanted to have written my first novel by the time I was 17 – because I had seen another female author had done this, so this became the bar, and I was inspired, because she was a female writer in a sea of male authors. Clearly I must have been quite young when I said this, because I remember being a few years off, and how very adult 17 years seemed – and I also had no idea what publishing was. I didn’t get my novel written (and published) by 17 (though I am happy to say I do remember a very beautiful notebook that was full of a story I was working on, from that time) but I have continued writing and while I think that younger self would be shocked by the age I have reached now, I think she would be happy I had made it this far, and that I’ve been writing the whole time. I would also tell her that her handle of the average human lifespan is a bit unforgiving, and that she has time.
What inspired you to begin writing?
I think it was lots of things. My parents read to us as children, and they read us great stories, which opened up conversations and questions and this probably helped me love stories all the more. My grandmother wrote stories for her daughters and son, one of whom was my mother, and then she read them to her us, her grandchildren. That made writing more attainable, and something I could try. I loved reading and while I didn’t always understand the people around me, I understood the stories I was reading and the people in them. And I was quite a private person, so it was something I do myself, for me, or for more people, if I chose. So I could play around with it. And then my English teacher told me I wasn’t very good, so I sat down to a story and proved her wrong – and that felt great.
What do you love about the medium of comics?
I love that they are accessible. I learnt languages through comics. I love that you have a whole book of art and a story, all wrapped up as one, that you can take away with you and revisit, finding new things you didn’t see before. To have a character looking out at a reader, and to tell that reader what your character is thinking – or wants you to believe they are thinking – that’s amazing. And the artists we get to work with at Blue Fox are phenomenal. It’s great fun putting art and writing together.
What are some comics that have inspired you?
Titles that inspire me are the ones that linger, long after I have read them. Right now, Blacksad, Glitterbomb and Letter 44 come to mind.
What inspired you to write busy little bees?
I don’t really know where Myna’s story came from. I just knew I wanted to write about this character. I come from a musical family myself, and I always find the conversation around music really interesting. I see a lot of stories around the way that music connects us. I think one of the things I was interested in are the gaps between those connections – what happens when the song stops playing?
Did you find it difficult to write?
Yes and No. The story came easily and all the characters came into existence quite naturally. But writing a comic is very different to writing prose and working with that new dynamic was a challenge. I started with prose and transposed this into the comic style we have now, and that was difficult and great fun.
How long did it take you to write?
As it was a bit of a longer road, with the story having a few incarnations around the medium and style, it’s harder to say. Roughly, the story would have taken around 6 months, but I think the overall comic and process took a couple of years.
How did you go about looking for an artist?
I had seen Emiliano’s work for the Hexes series and loved it. When I brought the story to Simon, he asked me if I had anyone in mind and I said, Emiliano. I was lucky, Emiliano liked the story and said yes.
What made you choose a graphic novel to tell this story?
A few years back I was working on some short stories, with the idea of collecting them all in a book. The story behind Busy Little Bees was one of these stories, but as I worked on it, it became something in it’s own right and a story I wanted to do more with. Blue Fox Comics had started up and we were going to a lot of comic cons at the time, and I thought, maybe this could be an interesting story for a comic rather than prose. And then I let that sit for a while. And then I did a little, and then a lot of work. And then I spoke with Emiliano – I knew exactly who I wanted for the project and this was one of the ways I knew it was right medium for the story. Thankfully, he said yes. Fast forward a few years and Busy Little Bees is launching a Kickstarter in April. It’s exciting.
What are you currently working on and what’s coming up in the future?
There are a few things on the horizon – which is a lovely thing to be able to say. I have a few projects I am working on now, and, of course, there is issue two for Busy Little Bees.
Which writer would you like to see interviewed?
What questions (apart from these ones!) would you like to ask them?
I really like hearing writers talk about their craft, because I’m a nerd. I’d ask about turning Quince from a stage play into a comic.
Tell us something about yourself that people wouldn’t normally know!
That I write comics – I’m not sure how many people actually know this!
Marielle Bouleau Links
Marielle Bouleau Blue Fox Comics Work
Busy Little Bees – To be published
Blue Fox Publishing Limited
As well as comics, Simon writes plays, poetry, (award winning) film scripts. He also acts, directs and produces films, too, because why have any spare time…