Interview with Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks, Creators of Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Please give Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks a warm welcome! They are visiting the virtual offices to chat about their graphic novel Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can each of you describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

Prudence Shen is a caffeine-addicted, camera-toting work in progress. She’s never met a library book sale that wasn’t her jam.

Faith Erin Hicks is a small human from planet Earth. She is addicted to diet coke and making comics. She is always sleepy. Also hungry. Cats

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong?

Pru: Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is about loving your friends even when they’re jerks, building robots, and how through teamwork and car theft, anything is possible. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is also about how everything goes completely and totally wrong, and how sometimes that’s okay.

Faith: Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is a graphic novel about Nate and Charlie, childhood friends and (in Charlie’s case, unwilling) adversaries in a school election gone horribly wrong. There are geeks, cheerleaders, evil plots and it all climaxes in a 50 page battle bot fight scene. You must read it to believe it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

Pru: Nate and Charlie are basically the worst parts of my personality split across two people. The idea in general came from watching way too many battlebot highlight reels on YouTube, and having a deep fondness for teenaged romps and road trips.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Charlie?

Pru: Hesitating, uncertain, improving.

Faith: Tall. Depressed. Sweaters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Nate had a theme song, what would it be?

Faith: Haha, I’m just going to take a wild stab in the dark and say Anna Eng by They Might Be Giants. I’m curious what Pru’s choice would be …

Pru: I personally think Marina and the Diamonds, "Oh No!"

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Charlie is never without.

Pru: $1 in change; something drilled into him by his dad in case he needs to make an emergency pay phone call, nevermind he has a cell.

Faith: His legs. … oh, that’s two things. His right leg.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Nate’s backpack?

Pru: I feel like Nate’s that kid who never has any cash, a working pen, or clean paper to write on. Probably all of his schoolwork is just filled with marginalia from incidental writing needs.

Faith: Probably a sports team uniform or some kind of sports-related magazine. A complete DVD collection of Saved by the Bell (although that would be hilarious). A note to his parents apologizing for his behavior. ;)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

Pru: The news, insomnia, and books I read as a kid. I was just rereading Farmer Boy this morning, actually.

Faith: My top three cartoonist influences are Jeff Smith (Bone), Naoki Urasawa (Pluto) and Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist). I also like animated shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Gravity Falls. Authors I like are Maggie Stiefvater, Lloyd Alexander, Diana Wynne Jones and Stephen King.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to work?

Pru: I have to write at a desk or table, must have music, and it usually helps if I’m supposed to be doing something else that’s due on a really tight deadline, because that seems to be the magic bullet for actually getting me to write.

Faith: Diet Coke! My drawing desk! A good audiobook to listen to while I draw!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

Pru: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. If you haven’t read it, you absolutely must.

Faith: I blubbered like a baby throughout Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. That was an amazing book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

Pru: Little House in the Big Woods is the first one I remember vividly, although almost everything I read between the ages of 6 and 8 were foundational things that would build into a lifelong love.

Faith: I was a pretty voracious reader as a kid due to growing up without a television. I honestly can’t remember what books really sparked my love of reading, but I remember what books really inspired me to want to create my own stories and especially stories starring awesome girl characters: the Vesper Holly series by Lloyd Alexander. They’re fun, awesome, Indiana Jones type adventure books, starring an amazing heroine, perfect for nerdy 12 year old tomboys like me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Pru: I’m lucky enough to travel quite a bit. This year I’m hoping to get to Morocco and Shanghai.

Faith: … or drawing? ;) Draw and write more, I guess! I definitely should try and develop more hobbies. When I’m not working, I try and go outside (I like running), explore the city I live in (Halifax), and get fresh inspiration for more stories. I should maybe take up knitting …

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

About the book:

You wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team, and Nate is the neurotic, scheming president of the robotics club. But they are friends, however unlikely—until Nate declares war on the cheerleaders. At stake is funding that will either cover a robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms—but not both.

It’s only going to get worse: after both parties are stripped of their funding on grounds of abominable misbehavior, Nate enrolls the club’s robot in a battlebot competition in a desperate bid for prize money. Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not. Running away from home on Thanksgiving to illicitly enter a televised robot death match? Of course!

In Faith Erin Hicks’ and Prudence Shen’s world of high school class warfare and robot death matches, Nothing can possibly go wrong.