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An interview with Jim Ottaviani is long overdue, on multiple levels. Ottaviani is a storyteller that has been impressing peers and entertaining/informing readers since 1997. I should have interviewed the writer a long time ago. And in fact, I did. This email interview was conducted in mid-November 2009, but logistical snafus on my end prevented me from being able to post this interview until now. My apologies to Ottaviani for the delay. On the good news front, since this interview, Ottaviani’s latest book (T-Minus: The Race to the Moon)–which we discuss a great deal–was included in YALSA’s 2010 Great Graphic Novel for Teens (ALA) list. T-Minus, as described by Ottaviani at his G.T. Labs site, “tells you what happens when you take two global superpowers, dozens of daring pilots, thousands of engineers and scientists, and then point them at the night sky and say “Go!?” So join the whole world as it counts down to sending the first men to the moon, and discover the story of the people who made it happen, both in the rockets and behind the scenes.” We also got a chance to discuss his upcoming work for First Second and Tor.com.
Tim O’Shea: You’ve been writing graphic novels since 1997, a period of time that has seen numerous independent creators come and go. What about the creative process has kept you around and interested in projects?
Jim Ottaviani: The short answer is everything about the process keeps me interested: I enjoy finding out about new scientists and subjects, figuring out whether there’s a graphic novel in their story somewhere, doing the research, and then crafting that story. And the pleasure of seeing the finished product — a story I care about realized via the skills of artist(s) I admire — never grows old.