2020 Snapshot: Queenie Chan

Queenie Chan was born in Hong Kong, and migrated to Australia when she was six years old. Her first published work was The Dreaming, a mystery-horror series for LA-based manga publisher TOKYOPOP, which has since been translated into multiple languages. She then collaborated on several graphic novels with best-selling author Dean Koontz for his Odd Thomas series, as well as with author Kylie Chan for Small Shen. After that, she worked on several anthologies, and completed a fairytale inspired fantasy series called Fabled Kingdom.

She is currently creating a series of non-fiction children’s biographical comics about historical queens. Please visit www.queeniechan.com for more information.

1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

I’m doing a non-fiction graphic novel series called “Women Who Were Kings”, which are biographies of famous historical queens that I have an interest in. The first book was about Hatshepsut, Egypt’s greatest female pharaoh, the second about Wu Zetian, which is China’s only female emperor, while the third and most recently released is about Queen Elizabeth I. For me, I was interested in indulging my interests as a history buff, and telling the stories of great women rulers from across the world and from different time eras. The research process was also surprisingly fun – I got to teach myself a lot of things about these women that I’ve always wanted to know, but never could find the time to read up on until it came to doing research for a comic. The series has been distributed to schools via Scholastic, so it’s great that it’s getting an educational application – and the next book in the series I’m working on is Catherine the Great of Russia.

2. What has been the best publishing experience of your career so far?

I don’t really have one to name, to be honest. All of my publishing experiences are different and varied, and not all of them are fun. Many of them involve compromises since publishing a book with a publisher means that you’re filling their need moreso than your own, which is particularly true if you’re working as the illustrator to a writer’s script. I both write, draw, and like working in niches where I think there is a demand that isn’t being met, so perhaps my current pursuit with non-fiction historical comics for all ages is my best experiences so far. I get to do what my interests are, and educate other people on a topic I’m passionate about, so I’m happy about the “Women Who Were Kings” series!

3. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge? 

It’s hard to pick one since my interests as of late lies towards video gaming rather than comics and books. Australian game creators have created some astounding, beautiful and successful fantasy worlds, and if you’re looking for one that really sticks in the mind, I’d recommend the game “Hollow Knight”. It’s a masterpiece action-exploration set in a dying civilisation filled with cute bugs, and the tragic story of how this world fell have to be gradually pieced together in the game. For those interested in alternative styles of storytelling which requires the “player” to ferret around a world and infer its history from the environment and bits of clues, it’s a form of storytelling that I like due to its voluntary level of involvement. You can just go around exploring and killing things, or you can compile a history book from the bits of lore in this game. It’s amazing that two guys from South Australia made “Hollow Knight” given its scale and execution.

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