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About the Author
Date of Birth:June 13, 1963
Place of Birth:South Haven, Michigan
Education:B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1985; M.F.A., Northwestern University, 1991
Read an Excerpt
Art is like love. It's impossible to will it into being; it won't come when called or leave when the party's over. Love and art manifest themselves through the most unlikely people, attract opposites, and defy expectations. Love and art are often unlovely, but when they are real, that doesn't matter so much. Disappointments and happy accidents alike can lead to new ways of seeing and happily ever after. Love and art require us to take risks.
A few months ago, Eddie Campbell and I got married. We had been conducting a very long-distance courtship: He lived in Brisbane, Australia, and I lived in Chicago, USA, two cities that are almost exactly opposite each other on the globe. After a number of "dates" that each lasted several weeks, we took the big plunge and applied for a K-1 visa from the US government. Eight months later, we stood together in front of a judge in the basement of Chicago City Hall and said, "I do."
Now we are living happily ever after. When I was small, I always wondered what that would mean; it was never specified, as though it was too marvelous or too boring to mention. I am pleased to report that in our case, living happily ever after includes working together on this book, Bizarre Romance.
These thirteen stories are sometimes romantic, sometimes star-crossed, or merely discombobulated, but all are at least a tiny bit bizarre. We embarked on the first of them when the Guardian invited us to collaborate for their special section, "Novelists Do Comics," wherein novel-writing persons and comics-drawing persons got together to produce comics. The result was "Thursdays, Six to Eight p.m." It amused us to make a twisted, twenty-first-century romance comic while pursuing our own romance from distant corners of the globe. We worked on the comic over email and by phone, mingling discussions about it with conversations about daily life in Brisbane (walks with Monty the dog, drinks at JoJo's pub) and Chicago (weird weather and politics, opera). Afterward we were pleased and relieved. That wasn't so bad, we thought. When the editors of Shadow Show invited us to turn my story "Backwards in Seville" into a comic, we realized that we had a good thing going, in more ways than one.
Some of these stories are new, and some have been published before, sans pictures. In the past I have been my own illustrator, and it has been a whole new crazy different wild thing to give the stories over to Eddie and to see his ideas take form and grow on the lattice each story provides. His art expands and comments upon the text, inflects and gently lampoons it, and sometimes moves sideways from the text, shakes it up a little. There are places where the words did not specify, and the images have moved into that empty space with form, color, a bustle of activity, a soft mood, or a jolt of realism; it has been interesting to find out what certain characters look like and to watch the interplay of words and images yield a more complete world for each story.
Taking risks is always surprising and often uncomfortable. We had to figure out new ways of working while we were figuring out how to reconfigure our lives after closing all that distance between us. We now live in the same house and work in adjoining rooms. We have learned things about art making and about each other. The result has been a book that neither of us would have made alone — a book that is ours.
Excerpted from "Bizarre Romance"
Copyright © 2018 Audrey Niffenegger.
Excerpted by permission of Abrams Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Thursdays, Six to Eight p.m., 1,
The Composite Boyfriend, 12,
Rose Red Snow Riding Beauty Shoes Hood Sleeping White, 18,
Secret Life, with Cats, 30,
The Ruin of Grant Lowery, 50,
Girl on a Roof, 70,
Jakob Wywialowski and the Angels, 76,
At the Movies, 92,
Motion Studies: Getting out of Bed, 96,
The Wrong Fairy, 114,
Digging up the Cat, 126,
The Church of the Funnies, 134,
Backwards in Seville, 144,
PUBLISHING HISTORY, 156,