Amulet: Book Nine: WaveriderIn Amulet: Book Nine: Waverider by Kazu Kibuishi, the Amulet series reaches it conclusion. Can the Stonekeepers possibly hope to weather the climactic storm? Published by Scholastic Graphix, the conclusive volume is available now at your local bookstore and/or public library. 

To celebrate the occasion, The Beat caught up with Kazu over email. We asked all about the evolution of process over the decade and a half he spent on the series, about how The Rema Chronicles inspired his work on Amulet and about how his book tour in support of Waverider has been going.

AVERY KAPLAN: How does it feel to have concluded work on the final volume in the Amulet series?

KAZU: I feel relieved that I have at least one big series completed, and I’m excited to work on new projects. I also don’t feel my work is done in the world of Alledia, so I just feel that we have arrived at a nice milestone more than having arrived at the end.

KAPLAN: How has your creative routine evolved over the decade and a half you spent working on the series?

KAZU: My work process has become more refined and organized. Having confidence in a good process allows me to take on more challenging material, whether it’s the writing or the scale of production. I’m looking forward to getting better on the next projects.

KAPLAN: In the afterword, you credit The Rema Chronicles as “a constant source of inspiration.” Would you mind elaborating on this for us?

KAZU: Amy has been at my side for the entire Amulet journey. We work together on the same tables, at cafes or at our home office, which is basically our formal dining table. She and I are constantly discussing the merits and the process of storytelling, so it affects how I work in a very big way. Amy’s book series, The Rema Chronicles, is also one of the best new fantasy stories out in the world right now, so the material itself is inspirational!

KAPLAN: One repeated theme readers will notice in Waverider is the importance of being unafraid to build. Why is this theme important to the story?

KAZU: I try not to write themes and morals into my stories, but I’m aware that they will show up every now and then. What my characters say is reflective of who they are and are not always representations of what I believe. However, I do think what the characters have gone through in the story is relatable to many communities, where they feel it is now a time to rebuild. In order to rebuild, they will first need to begin by forgiving themselves. So if there is some kind of theme that people take away from this book, I hope it is that of forgiveness.

KAPLAN: Did depicting any particular character or narrative element present a particular challenge? Conversely, was there any element of Waverider that came especially easily?

KAZU: Nothing in Amulet has been easy, but that’s probably just as it should be. Handling the end of IKOL’s story in this book was probably the most challenging. Once I realized that he was tied to the destinies of the older characters in the book, it was clear how I could approach the narrative. He is a character that is essentially a mirror to others, so understanding the characters he affects the most was the key to writing his scenes.

KAPLAN: Have there been any reactions to the Amulet series over the years that have been particularly memorable to you?

KAZU: Some parents have come to events with their children to meet me and after discussing how much the stories mean to them, they would cry. We would have a nice discussion and they would leave happy. Even though I came into making these books with an idea of how it could impact others, these moments are strong reminders of the power of reading and literature.

KAPLAN: You are also the creator of the webcomic Copper. I’m curious if there is any substantial different in your creative process when approaching a webcomic versus a graphic novel series?

KAZU: I only draw Copper when I want to. I draw Amulet and my other projects for the readers and the publishers.  The web is a great place to go for trying new things, or in the case of my book Daisy Kutter, a great way to allow fans to read older, out-of-print books. I originally posted webcomics because there just wasn’t a venue where my work would fit at the time. Now there are so many venues for the work, so my focus has moved away from the medium and toward simply making great content for the readers.

KAPLAN: I understand you are currently on tour in support of Waverider. Do you have any particularly memorable book tour stories you’d be willing to share with us? 

KAZU: The whole Amulet: Waverider tour has been wonderful. I have met and spoken with many readers, and a lot of old friends came to events to say hello. That has been really nice. The students and librarians at the schools have been so great. They created various projects to celebrate Amulet, and it has all felt like a nice parade to honor the final book in the series. I’m very, very thankful.

KAPLAN: Is there anything else you’d like me to include?

KAZU: I hope the readers enjoy the final Amulet book, and that they consider reading the entire series all at once. That was the experience I was trying to create, where a day is set aside to live through this adventure, and by the time the reader reaches the end, they will feel like going back to the beginning again.

Amulet: Book Nine: Waverider is available now.