Posted: January 29, 2006
Glenn Chadbourne is the illustrator of the upcoming Stephen King book The Secretary of Dreams as well as Illustrated Stephen King Trivia book and Bev Vincent's The Road To The Dark Tower.
Hi Glenn and thanks for doing this interview.
Lilja: Can you tell me a little about yourself? Who are you and what have you done?
Glenn Chadbourne: Who am I? Hmmmmm . . . that's quite a question. I suppose I could be best described--at least as far as this interview goes--as an artist specializing in the horror/suspense/dark fantasy genre. I've been drawing/painting genre stuff for as long as I can remember; from childhood actually, but over the past eight years or so my art has been picked up fairly steadily by professional markets. Now I make a living at it, which is way cool for me. My first major debut was the artwork I created for Rick Hautala's "Bedbugs" published by Cemetery Dance, and since then I've illustrated works by pretty much every author working in the spooky book business today.
Lilja: You have done some illustrations for Stephen King. Do you know him personally?
Glenn Chadbourne: I don't know him personally, but I've done quite a bit of stuff for various SK related projects and he's been very kind to me. I know--and very much like--his personal assistant Marsha and she passes on little tidbits of how he's liked certain things I've done. Very much dream-come-true stuff.
Lilja: The latest King project is Secretary of Dreams, how did you get involved that?
Glenn Chadbourne: A few years ago Rich Chizmar at Cemetery Dance and I were just sort of casually talking about how cool it would be to do a graphic adaptation of King stories. Nothing quite like this had ever been done before. There was of course, "Creepshow", and Bernie Wrightson had done some wonderful artwork for that along with other King books, but there had never really been an old style graphic novel with Steve's every written word included in all the stories. At the time this was simply an off-the-wall fun kind of conversation, but from time to time over a course of months we came back to the topic, and one fine day both Rich and I decided to actually querry SK about the possibility of putting together a collection. We decided the best way to approach this was to write Stephen and ask what he thought about the idea. I really never expected in my wildest dreams that he'd go for it, but a couple weeks later I got a phone call from Rich telling me to pop the champagne. Stephen wanted to do it.
Lilja: How did you work on it, taking the stories from the written story to your illustrated version?
Glenn Chadbourne: That was the most fun and most challenging part of the whole project. I first re-read all the stories. I'd read them all before over the years and loved each tale, but I wanted to refresh myself with them. Then I thought about the different characters, how I visualized them etc, and went from there. I began laying things out, and as I drew I began to notice all the different people in the stories taking shape. Once I developed the characters my toughest job was keeping the continuity of each flowing throughout the given stories. It was a challenge but I think I pulled it off.
Lilja: How long did it take you to illustrate Secretary of Dreams?
Glenn Chadbourne: It took me on the whole around two years to draw the first six stories, and I'm about halfway through the second batch as we speak.
Lilja: Did King give you free hands or had he set up a lot of ground rules for the book? Or any rules at all for that matter?
Glenn Chadbourne: He just listed the stories he'd like to have included. He was super that way. I had a total free hand in creating the art part of things.
Lilja: You have also done the mascot for WKIT, King’s radio station. Tell me about Doug Graves? What’s his story?
Glenn Chadbourne: Good story. I sing in a whacky rock and roll band called Nick Noxious And The Necrophiliacs up here in Maine for chuckles, and I had done all the artwork on a CD we put out. I gave a copy of the CD to Marsha at SK's office and one day the station manager--a guy named Bobby Russell--from WKIT happened to see the cd on Marsha's desk. He asked who'd done the artwork on the cover and Marsha introduced us. Bobby wanted to do a Stephen King style logo for the station . . . something that said Stephen King, as opposed to just the station call letters, so we put our heads together and I did a few designs. The end result was Doug E Graves. "Dougie" is by far one of my favorite characters ever to drip from my head. He's a very cool cat.
Lilja: You have also done a mascot for Lilja’s Library (the readers will get to know him once the site’s new design’s up so this will be a teaser for them). Any comments on that creation?
Glenn Chadbourne: I did indeed whip up a little mascot for Lilja. We knocked noggins on what might befit the site, and as it deals with all things King, why not have a little Library Policeman hosting things.
Lilja: What’s next for you? I understand you have part 2 of Secretary of Dreams coming. Can you tell me more about that one? Maybe what stories it’ll contain?
Glenn Chadbourne: I can't tell you about the stories, they're a surprise, but I'm sure fans of Steve's short stories will be extremely pleased with each. All these stories are true gems of his career.
Lilja: How would you feel if you where asked to do say 8 illustrations to the next King book? More like The Dark Tower book instead of Secretary of Dreams? Interested?
Glenn Chadbourne: I'd be delighted. This Sectretary project has really been beyond belief for me and as I've said and will say again, repeatedly, It is truly dream-come-true stuff for me. Any opportuntity to illustrate any of Stephen's work is truly an honor.
Lilja: If you could pick one King book to illustrate which would it be and why?
Glenn Chadbourne: Tough question because there are so many great stories . . . but I guess if it came down to it I'd like to take a crack at Salem's Lot, for a couple reasons. First, because I love the atmosphere of the book as well as all the characters. Second, it would be great fun because you have to realize, I actually live near the fictional goings on of that book. There are several "real" towns surrounding the place and it would be fun to include actual settings that border the "Lot". I thing SK might get a hoot out of that.
Lilja: OK, thanks for your time; it was a pleasure talking to you!
Glenn Chadbourne: A real pleasure on this end as well. Thank you