Colleen AF Venable

Photo by Joey Miller,

Colleen AF Venable lives in New York and is the author of several acclaimed graphic novels, including National Book Award Longlist selection Kiss Number 8.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

It was my favorite book then and it still is now: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I’ve re-read it nearly 100 times and can never get out how perfectly the mystery is crafted and the amazing cast of characters. Turtle is one of the greatest shin-kicking, mystery-solving heroines of all time.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

"Do you know that you are very strong?"
—Jon Stone, The Monster at the End of This Book

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

M. T. Anderson, Roald Dahl, Bryan Lee O’Malley

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I always loved telling stories. (Granted when I was little they were elaborate excuses in an effort to cover up the bad thing I had just done, but they were still stories.) My whole life I’ve wanted to write funny kid’s books, to make kids feel that sense of excitement and giddiness I always felt when reading Dahl’s work. I was raised by wonderful creative parents on a healthy diet of silliness and I know there’s no better feeling than laughing so hard that food flies out of your nose. I’d like to share that feeling with the world.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Read everything you can get your hands on and you’ll learn what makes a book the sort that will not only knock your socks off but will send them flying across a room.