|photo: Ed Peterson
Kelly Sue DeConnick began her comics career writing English adaptations of Japanese manga for Tokyopop and Viz. After seven years and more than 10,000 pages on books like Slam Dunk, Blue Spring and Sexy Voice and Robo, she moved to American comics with 30 Days of Night: Eben And Stella (IDW) and Osborn: Evil Incarcerated (Marvel). DeConnick is also known as the force behind Carol Danvers's reinvention as Captain Marvel (the book that gave rise to the Carol Corps) and as the first female writer of an ongoing Avengers title in Avengers Assemble.
In 2013, DeConnick introduced Pretty Deadly, a brutal mythological western co-created with Spanish artist Emma Ríos. In 2014, DeConnick and co-creator Valentine De Landro launched the sci-fi series Bitch Planet (Image, October 2015).
On your nightstand now:
Cartozia Tales issues 1-7 by Isaac Cates et al. I'm reading these with my kids, who are five and seven. They're collections of short comics that explore the imaginary land of Cartozia and remind me of something I might have read when I was a kid. There's something a little bit Mercer Mayer in their DNA and that delights me.
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz. The science writer Ed Yong recommended this one. It makes an appealing case for reframing how we think about mistakes. As someone who seems to be devoted to the act of mistake-making, I like where we're going here.
The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters by Wes Moore. An author, TV host and Rhodes scholar, Wes Moore talks about the search for purpose and rewards of service. I've just started this one, so I can't tell you too much about it yet.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards. Yes, THAT Julie Andrews. My fourth grade teacher, Ms. Breedlove, read this to us every day over lunch and I loved it. I remember drawing my own illustrations. Won't be too long before I read it to my kids.
Your top five authors:
Matt Fraction--my husband--so I'm likely more than a little biased here, but I'm also right: he's brilliant. He is able to explore and take advantage of the comic form in ways that support the stories without ever becoming too clever. If I didn't know how hard he works, I'd resent the hell out of his abilities.
John Irving and Ernest Hemingway could not possibly be more different, but I love them both for the same thing--the discipline. Irving writes like he's being paid by the word, but still never comes off as indulgent. His books are so tightly plotted I always marvel at how, in the end, it feels like there wasn't a single extra syllable. He also has a gift for creating characters so real that I mourn their loss when the books wrap up, sad that my friends will never do anything new again. Hemingway's discipline is expressed differently, in the clarity he's so famous for. I admire them both.
Margaret Atwood creates worlds 10 minutes down the road in the wrong direction that terrify me because they are so shockingly plausible.
Mary McCarthy--I haven't read one of her books in a long, long time, so it's frankly odd that I put her on the list, but I remember reading The Company She Keeps in college and feeling shaped by it. So, what the hell, she goes on the list. Take that, J.D. Salinger and Shakespeare!
There are others I wish I could include, but I couldn't choose between them: Warren Ellis, Maggie Estep, Chelsea Cain, Neil Gaiman, Joe Keenan and Todd Grimson. Have you read Todd Grimson's Stainless? It's so good!
Book you've faked reading:
The Prince by Machiavelli. I've skimmed it, okay??
Book you're an evangelist for:
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Ugh, I am embarrassed because it is, for all intents and purposes, a self-help book for writers, but WHATEVER, I LOVE IT. I've recommended it to more people than I can count. Usually followed soon thereafter by Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and David Allen's Getting Things Done.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Promised the Moon by Stephanie Nolen.
Book that changed your life:
The Mercury 13 by Martha Ackmann. Same topic as Promised the Moon, but a much more satisfying read. This book fueled (haha--sorry) my interest in women in aviation and has directly influenced my own work more than any other.
Favorite line from a book:
"Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs." --from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Which character you most relate to:
Glory O'Brien, from Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King. This is a weird answer because I'm 45, and I just read this book a couple of months ago and it's about a teenager. But that said, Glory views the world from a remove that I recognize on a personal level.
Book you want to read again for the first time:
A Widow for One Year by John Irving. This was the book that made me want to read all of Irving's novels again.