Sebastian Kadlecik is the creator of Quince: The Definitive Bilingual Edition, which is an oversized hardcover that collects the full English and Spanish editions of the 15-issue, Eisner Award-nominated comic.
Written by Kit Steinkellner, illustrated by Emma Steinkellner, and translated by Valeria Tranier, this book from Fanbase Press has received a number of accolades, including the 2020 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Award as well as a nomination as a finalist in the 2020 International Latino Book Awards in the graphic novel category.
The story is about a young girl named Lupe who discovers at her quinceañera. Her powers, however, only last while she’s 15 years old. It’s a great concept, and today The Beat is honored to have an interview with Kadlecik about the series he created.
Check it out below!
ZACK QUAINTANCE: First of all, congratulations on being a finalist in the 2020 International Latino Book Awards! How rewarding has it been for Quince to continue receiving critical accolades?
SEBASTIAN KADLECIK: Thank you! We are all thrilled. We really believe in our story and in our characters, and we’re thankful whenever anyone responds positively. It also helps amplify the book, which is great. Everyone worked so hard to make the hardcover the best it could be, and we are beyond happy that the work of all these amazing contributors is being recognized. We’re always so grateful for the folks that let us know it resonated with them.
QUAINTANCE: Now that the book has been available — in two languages — for some time, what has the reaction been like from readers?
KADLECIK: Truly humbling and amazing. To speak directly to your point about it being available in two languages, we’ve had numerous people come up to us at conventions and tell us they were so happy to be able to share Quince with their Spanish-speaking parents or family members. We’ve also received really positive feedback from teachers that specialize in English, Spanish, and/or ESL that have incorporated the bilingual edition into their classrooms. The response has been overwhelming and we’re so happy.
QUAINTANCE: I love the tagline for this book — If you can survive being fifteen, you’re a superhero — which really resonates with me. What do you think it is about that age that lends itself to this kind of sentiment?
KADLECIK: If I remember correctly, Kit came up with that tagline and I think it’s so perfect. Everything is SO INCREDIBLY intense at that age. And I don’t say that with even a hint of condescension. None. Because things really are that dramatic. I remember it well. I think the main reason everything feels like life or death is because there’s no context beyond that age. These events truly are the biggest thing to ever happen to you (yet). We’re figuring out our bodies, our emotions, what we believe, who we want to be; everything is confusing and scary and always feels like the stakes are so high — just like they are for superheroes. And then, that moment in time is over. And, hopefully, we can learn from it, move forward, and be better equipped to take on whatever challenges we face next.
QUAINTANCE: Aside from it being the year of the quinceañera, what else makes 15 the perfect age for your story?
KADLECIK: The stakes are so high. A quinceañera is all about transition and that age truly is such an in-between time; we aren’t quite adults yet and we aren’t little kids. It’s the perfect stage for a coming-of-age tale. It’s a deeply emotional time as we’re dealing with what’s expected of us, external and internal pressures, social media, etc. It can be a harrowing experience! And that all makes for a really great setup for drama — but also allows us to recognize and celebrate the big-hearted love and kindness that can be present at that age, as well.
QUAINTANCE: Finally, where do you see Quince going from here? Are there any plans for a related follow-up?
KADLECIK: When we were first working on it, we kicked around ideas for a sequel and considered leaving it more open-ended, but opted to tell the best, most complete story we could. As a result, there are no plans for a follow-up. But outside of comic books… I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
Quince: The Definitive Bilingual Edition is available in stores now.