Bookmakers: Kat Leyh’s Snapdragon

Image from Snapdragon

In this spellbinding tale of a feisty young girl, Snap, and her bond with the enigmatic town loner, the magic of the natural world slowly seeps into everyday life. Lucky for readers, the magic of Snapdragon isn’t confined to Snap’s small town; it emanates from Leyh’s bright, energetic illustrations; heartwarming dialogue; and moving portrayals of love, identity, and the power of individuality. In this interview, Leyh talks discovery, audience, and the strange time we currently find ourselves in.

BKL: The seamless blend of scientific and natural (articulation!) plus magical and supernatural (flying!) sets the stage for the enchanting world of Snapdragon. Can you tell us a little bit about why—and how—you struck that balance? What do you hope readers take away from it?

Leyh: I think when we’re young it’s easier to imagine the fantastical right alongside the mundane. It’s a natural part of discovering the world around us. I treated magic like just another thing to discover. I hope it encourages exploration of the natural world.

BKL: While Snapdragon is recommended for middle-grade readers, your other comics—from web series Supercakes to several issues of Lumberjanes—are geared more towards teen readers. What was it like writing for a different audience? Did that change your approach at all?

Leyh: When I write, I don’t tend to write for a particular audience. Most of the time the ages of the characters dictate the kinds of stories I tell. I don’t make a conscious choice to leave anything out when I’m writing for younger audiences.

BKL: Our current backdrop—coronavirus pandemic, national emergency, widespread shutdowns—makes for a distinctly difficult time to be a creator. What’s keeping you connected to the artists you love? And what can the rest of us do to properly support you all?

Leyh: I am fortunate that I already work from home, cook most of my meals, and am comfortably introverted. But even with all of that, I’m still finding it difficult to keep to my schedule and continue to create. I think we all need to be very kind to each other and especially to ourselves. We cannot be expected to be as productive as usual. Support local businesses if you can. And the easiest thing we can do is stay home and help keep those who can’t safe.

BKL: What’s next for you, if you can say?

Leyh: I’m working on my next graphic novel—and hopefully another after that!

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About the Author:

Briana Shemroske is Booklist's Marketing Associate. She graduated with a BA from Lake Forest College where she studied English Writing and Art History. In her free time she can be found eating cheeseburgers, frolicking with her schnoodle, Moritz, and feebly attempting to play board games. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Briana.

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