“Nightlights” is the debut storybook by #Author and #Illustrator by Lorena Alvarez. Due to be released in March of 2017 by Nobrow Press, “Nightlights” is a graphic novel that is colorful yet creepy and thereby intriguing for teens and adults rather than small children. Creator Lorena Alvarez was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, and her hometown and Catholic school clearly influenced many aspects of her first book. Lorena, who has been praised by the Junior Library Guild, also holds a university degree in Graphic Design and Arts. She has been involved with an experimental puppetry club called "La Procesión Puppet Club” since 2008 and has illustrations for well-known companies such as Paragon, Disney, Nickelodeon, Usborne Books, Puffin Books and more.

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Lorena recently described her experiences working as an author and artist.

Writing

Blasting News (BN): What prompted you to become an author and illustrator?

Lorena Alvarez (LA): I made the decision to become an “artist” when I was a kid. I imagined myself in an animation studio in front of a canvas throwing paint at it or designing gowns and costumes. After I graduated from high school I got accepted to the Graphic Design program at Universidad Nacional. Although there wasn’t an illustration program I met teachers and students who were interested in illustration and comics and I started to explore from there. Attending illustration workshops and talking with more experienced illustrators helped me to understand the basics of the trade and start my portfolio.

BN: So far, how many books have you published?

LA: “Nightlights” is my first book as an author.

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As an illustrator, I’ve worked on many. My favorires are “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Noon Balloon,” “Hattie B” and “Equis in New Zealand."

BN: How many books have you published so far in your career?

LA: When I started writing my own stories I became interested in how we build our reality using our dreams, our beliefs and fears. In the case of “Nightlights” the first idea I had was from a game I used to play at night when I was a kid, I used to imagine little bright dots all over the darkness and I took those dots and give them any shape I wanted. The memories from my school days and the fantastic stories we used to share there also inspires me to write.

Drawing

BN: How did you find out about Nobrow Press?

LA: When I finished the first draft of “Nightlights” I was living in a small town in Arkansas and found some Nobrow books at the library. I was really impressed by the care they put in every publication, their values and the creators they have published. They were accepting submissions so I sent my story to them.

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Working with Nobrow is a great experience for me. As a new author, I’m shy when it comes to show my ideas, but they were helpful and encouraging. It was overwhelming when I finally had my book in my hands!

BN: What’s the best thing about working as an author and illustrator?

LA: Being an illustrator has given me the opportunity to work with great authors and editors. Working with authors is particularly rewarding, I treasure the opportunity of contributing to a story with my point of view and participate in a constructive dialogue with the author. I also love the fact that I learn a lot while working in each project, reading the texts, doing the research, and looking for references. Being and author means that I have to grow a unique voice and work to let it out, being brave enough to share my stories, find the balance to work without being too self-demanding or insecure. This is a huge leap for me and taking the chance to do it is rewarding in itself.

BN: What do you hope to be doing in ten years from now?

LA: I’d like to see myself writing and drawing more and better. I’d love to participate in projects involving new media, to see my work adapt and evolve. I’m working in my second book, which is a little bit frightening, but that’s a good feeling if you know how to use it! #Interview