I love the Binky graphic novels, so I was over the moon when creator Ashley Spires agreed to drop by the virtual offices to chat about her space cat. If you haven’t heard of Binky, you owe it to yourself to read his humorous adventures. Re-reading these books are a guaranteed pick me up and have me smiling even on the most trying of days. I believe these books are truly All Age friendly, and even the most jaded of readers will soon be laughing at Binky’s antics. Later today I will be giving away a copy of Binky Under Pressure, so be sure to stop by for your chance to win this wonderful, funny book!
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Ashley Spires] I am a creature of routine. Take away my quiet morning time with my pets, my daily run or my cuppa tea and I’m crazy out of sorts.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Binky?
[Ashley Spires] He is a kitty superhero. Some say he’s delusional, what with his belief that outside is outer space and bugs are aliens and all, but make no mistake, those aliens are attacking. And he is the cat who stops them. He’s a little over confident, but his assurance comes from a good place, which is the case with most cats I believe. He is a member of F.U.R.S.T. (Felines of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) thus making him a certified space cat and protector of his two beloved humans and the space station (house) that they live in. And he farts.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept for the series?
[Ashley Spires] I grew up with eights cats and a dog, so cats are the natural star to all my imaginings. When I got my own apartment, I got two kittens and for the first time I had strictly indoor cats. They are different than other cats and I believe their imaginations kick into high gear when they aren’t able to chase mice and birds outside. Suddenly moths and mosquitoes get the brunt of all that pent up instinct. So it was from them that the space cat mythology arose. The look and name of Binky came from my sister’s cat, whom she rescued from a shelter. He had a rough past that left him mostly blind, deaf, short several teeth and suffering from respiratory problems. But his love of people is still so strong that he will literally throw himself at anyone for a cuddle. I figured if anyone deserved to be a superhero it was this guy.
[Manga Maniac Café] Are you anything like Binky?
[Ashley Spires] Absolutely. The 3rd and 4th books have Binky trying to adapt to change and having a very hard time with it. I am totally like that. (See routine-aholic above.) I moved over two provinces a few years ago and I still am askew because of it. And I really hate bugs. Like REALLY hate them.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your biggest creative influences?
[Ashley Spires] I am inspired by other illustrators all the time. My personal favorites these days are David Roberts, Oliver Jeffers and Julia Denos. As far as story inspiration goes, obviously my pets (I currently live with three cats and a dog) are a big influence. I do spend a great deal of time alone, so my imagination has a good chance to veer off in different places. I am notorious for anthropomorphizing EVERYTHING. My poor husband has to hear about how the last yogurt carton in the fridge got beat up in high school because of it’s high fat content, or how that miniature spider that I had to squish when it lunged at me with malicious intent, had a family that may press charges and we should be prepared for years of litigation. Fortunately, some of my ramblings actually lead to books!
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Ashley Spires] Quiet, a cup of tea, and a good idea. It’s really hard to write when your ideas are junk. Trust me, I’ve tried.
[Manga Maniac Café] What’s in store for Binky next?
[Ashley Spires] He’s getting a new recruit, issued by F.U.R.S.T. to train. He is very excited to mold an impressionable young kitten into a space cat, but he is horrified to discover that his student is actually a puppy. F.U.R.S.T. is starting an equal opportunity program so they’re allowing other animals to join the cause. Needless to say, Binky doesn’t handle it very well. The puppy is based on my dog, Gordon. And then in the fifth book Binky, Gracie and Gordon go on an adventure to the vet and meet a whole new enemy.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
[Ashley Spires] Does TV count as doing something? I exercise a lot, walk and run with my dog, bike ride, anything outside. I also love to draw. So often I draw just for work so when I get a moment to play artistically with no final result or story arc to deal with it’s great fun.
[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!
You can learn more about Ashley and see some of her other projects at her website.
There are currently three Binky adventures available, and you can purchase them using the links below.