Ghosts Are People Too is a new illustrated book on Kickstarter from the writer, artist, musician, and director Peter Ricq.
You can learn more on the Ghosts Are People Too campaign page, but in brief, this a 42-page book that has text on one page and the illustrations on the opposite page throughout. It’s also a book that like the best Pixar films should appeal to children with its adorable illustrations and concept about friendly ghosts, while also giving adults clever concepts and jokes for a quick chuckle.
Ricq — who is an award-winning writer, director, musician, and cartoonist — was kind enough to discuss the project with The Beat in advance of the Ghosts Are People Too campaign.
You can find our quick conversation below…enjoy!
PETER RICQ: I wanted the readers to fall for our main character from first glance. The inspiration came from other classic books like The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey but with a touch of contemporary animated classics like The Amazing World of Gumball for instance, I wanted this to feel fresh, spooky, yet still inviting Edward Gorey’s book is a lot more morbid and would defeat the point/theme of my book.
ZACK QUAINTANCE: There’s also a really nice balance in the writing in this book, some of which seems perfect for children to enjoy and some of which takes a clever, funny approach I enjoyed as an adult. How aware of striking that balance were you while making this book?
RICQ: I wanted to make a children’s book that wasn’t just for children, but something a parent could read and enjoy with their kids. Children’s books that are dumb down for “kids only” aren’t interesting to me even when I was a child. As a kid, I hated things that were dumb down but loved books, comics, and movies that were clever like Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, Adam’s Family, Edward Scissorhands, Gremlins, King Kong (the original), and new classics like The House With a Clock in its Walls & Frankenweenie.
Neil Gaiman is a good example of an author that does mature clever work for both children and adults. I’m no Neil but that’s the approach I try to emulate in my work.
RICQ: I do a lot of different art and try to bring it back some way or another. Also, I found that taking breaks from a certain artform is healthy for me as an artist. When I do one thing too long like write music straight for 4 months, I start getting writer’s block and nothing I do is good. I like taking a break, do something else, get inspired, and take it back with me with a fresh start.
Being a director has helped with my storytelling and I carry that in a lot of things I do because telling stories is my passion. In my stories, I try and work with themes so that there’s something beneath its surface, a message, and an idea to take with you on your lifelong journey.
QUAINTANCE: Finally, have you ever had a run-in with a ghost and how friendly was that interaction?
RICQ: Hahahaha, I don’t think I have and don’t know if I’m brave enough to do have that encounter. Even if it’s a super friendly ghost, I think I would get too scared. So you could say this book was also written for myself.
I do also think that ghosts probably don’t look like ghosts but look real and are physically there for that moment like in The Shining or The Conjuring. So it’s possible we’ve all seen or met ghosts but never knew they were ghosts. Have you seen the film Ghost Story (1981)? It kinda deals with that idea. I saw it when I was 10 and the ending is amazing.