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Tony DiTerlizzi
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Tony DiTerlizzi   Tony DiTerlizzi is the co-creator and illustrator of the #1 New York Times best-selling Spiderwick Chronicles, which was adapted into a blockbuster movie in 2008. The Spiderwick Chronicles have been translated into over 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. Tony won the Caldecott Honor Medal for his adaptation of The Spider and the Fly and the Zena Sutherland Award for his illustrated children's book, Ted. In the gaming industry, heís best known for his work in the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering and on the Planescape product line for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.

Buy Tony DiTerlizzi's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 10/29/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Tony DiTerlizzi

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

Matthew Peterson: Let me ask you a quick bonus question, Ďcause I knew we wouldnít have time for this. But just first, Tony, you wrote a book that came out last year called Kenny and the Dragon. What are you doing now? Do you have some other books in mind that youíre doing right now?

Tony DiTerlizzi: Yeah, Iíve got a couple projects cookiní. Iíve got, next month is the debut of a new silly kind of little Golden Book, picture book series that I created with my wife called Adventure of Meno which is about a space elf and his best friend whoís a jellyfish.

Matthew Peterson: Oh! Fun! A space jellyfish? Or a . . . [laughs]

Tony DiTerlizzi: Nope, just a near sighted earth swimming jellyfish.

Matthew Peterson: How fun! Holly, your second graphic novel in the Good Neighbor series just came out and itís called Kith. What else are you working on right now?

Holly Black: Well, actually I have a new series thatís starting in May. And itís really exciting and a little strange because itís really different from anything Iíve ever done before. Itís called The Curse Workers and the first book is White Cat. And itís kind of a noir crime, caper, fantasy novel.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, okay.

Holly Black: So, itís fun, but really different.

Matthew Peterson: Is it for young adults or middle grade or . . . ?

Holly Black: Itís for young adults.

Matthew Peterson: Young adults, okay, good.

Tony DiTerlizzi: Itís cool, Iíve read part . . . Iíve read about half of it on the plane on tour and itís awesome.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Awesome.

Extra Material That was Cut from the Radio Show Because of Time Constraints

Holly Black: [referring to Mark Hamillís voice work] So the joker is just chilling.

Matthew Peterson: Oh yeah.

Holly Black: In Batman, the animated series, it was amazing.

Matthew Peterson: I saw the picture on your blog of you guys with Mark. I thought that was really cool.

Holly Black: Heís a nice guy, very sweet.

* * * * * * * * * *

Tony DiTerlizzi: So I looked at a lot of the artwork that was done, kind of during the turn of the century when those fairy tale books were kind of at their zenith. So, Arthur Rackham was a huge influence, Edmund Dulac, Ernest Shepard, who did the Winnie the Pooh Books,

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: One thing Iíve noticed as I was reading them, is that you donít shy away from some of the scary moments. I mean thereís a sleeping giant there, and a manís got his machete and like heís going to kill the giant, and just little moments like that. I thought that was very interesting that you donít shy away from some of the little bit more scary... like the movie. I saw the movie and it was a little bit scarier than I had remembered the books being, but now that I think about it, the books were.

Tony DiTerlizzi: They definitely draw upon the old Grimm fairy tales or the Andersenís fairy tales, which had lots of dark, gritty, little spooky page turning bits to them. But I think on top of that, the landscape has changed when those guys were telling their stories. Now kids are watching movies like the Spiderwick movie, that are completely visualized in every single detail. Theyíre playing video games where theyíre doing far worse than, you know, stabbing a giant with a machete.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah.

Tony DiTerlizzi: You know, itís kind of . . . in some ways I feel weíre keeping up with media, but in other ways itís an old tradition to be able to have . . . youíve gotta kind of have that edgy-ness to it I think for the reader to appreciate either the calmness or the good parts. We try to do it in a full 360 degree circle, Ďcause thereís a lot of darkness, but then thereís a lot of light.

Matthew Peterson: Oh yeah.

Tony DiTerlizzi: I mean, itís kind of how life works, you know.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, and thereís humor and lots of adventure.

* * * * * * * * * *

Tony DiTerlizzi: I donít know about you, but Iíve seen adaptations of my favorite book from the theater and walked out and went, ďWow, they really blew thatĒ or ďThat was just horribly done.Ē And it was kind of a weird position being in the different part of the equation, but overall I really felt that the film did a fine adaptation of the story that we told. And the film was about a book, I mean it was still about Arthurís field guide and that knowledge thatís in the book and I kept waiting for them to pull that out. I know, Holly, you and I talked, we were like, ďThey made a movie about a book!Ē It was like Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!!

* * * * * * * * * *

Tony DiTerlizzi: I donít remember who it was, it might have been our editor, Kevin. But he came up with the idea of taking this 500-600 page story, which Holly and I had crafted of the Grace kids and just breaking it up into smaller books.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: And youíve created some new characters in this that have never seen the fairies before. Youíve got The Nixies Song, A Giant Problem, and then the third one that just came out is The Wyrm King.

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