Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with author Svetlana Chmakova to discuss her upcoming graphic novel, "The Weirn Books: Be Wary Of The Silent Woods" that will continue the story of Night School with brand new characters taking us on fresh journeys throughout the supernatural world. During our discussion, Svetlana discussed the concept of the world of "The Weirn Books", where she draws her inspiration for her art work, how this new graphic novel connects to the stories of Night School's past, and where the series might be headed in the future!
The book itself will be released on June 16th, 2020 via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Comixology, and other retailers that will let fans once again dive into the mystical world penned by Svetlana.
Have you followed the story of Night School over the years? Are you hyped for the upcoming release of the next installment? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the world of the Weirn Books!
What Are The Weirn Books?
In chatting with Svetlana, she laid out just what the Weirn Books are for those who have not heard of them before or might need a refresher when it comes to this world filled with supernatural and magical creatures!
"The Weirn Books is a supernatural urban fantasy adventure, set on the mystic coasts of New England," Svetlana noted, "filled with storms, mosquitoes, and irate mermaids that throw trash back at passers by! The main characters are middle grade kids who are Weirns, which is a special kind of witch within the Night School world! They're basically humans that are born with demon guardian spirits. These kids have to go to their magic school each weeknight into a forest that makes no sound. They make a series of bad life decisions, hilarity and life adventures ensue, and that's the book!"
Be Wary Of The Silent Wood Comparisons
In talking with Svetlana, we brought up our thoughts that the upcoming release feels like a combination of the story of His Dark Materials and the works of Hayao Miyazaki with the author/artist noting that she had in fact read the Dark Matierials books "AFTER" she had finished putting together her book, discovering that the "witch familiar was a common theme" in some stories, with them dating back to the times of engravings.
The Concept Behind The Astrals
In the world of Night School, Astrals are ethereal beings that are connected to their hosts, looking like dark spirits with stark white masks as they hover nearby. In asking Svetlana about where she got her inspiration for the Astrals, she noted that she "always loved masks and the idea of them. A person puts on a mask and they're still the same person, but they look very different. So I was doodling and thinking about what if there were an entity living behind a mask, so all the Astrals spawned from that."
Svetlana also noted that "while they can be cool and scary, Astrals can also be adorable!" It's clear in Chmakova's works that she is able to do a great job of blending scarier aspects of the supernatural with the more appealing side for young audiences.
Revisiting Night School
The Night School series first established the supernatural world of witches and astrals, presenting an environment that is chock full of magical elements and combining them into a story that has appealed to young adults. With The Weirn Books, Svetlana is once again revisiting this world and went into detail about why she wanted to create a new story in this universe. "I wasn't done and I wasn't ready to leave the world I created. I barely scratched the surface in the original volumes. It felt like the first chapter of a bigger story and it needed more room to be told."
Svetlana also wanted to explain "what Astrals are" which she thought originally audiences had figured out, but discovered that there were many more layers to explore when it came down to the nitty gritty. "I can very smoothly explore all this stuff. I can lay out how the Weirn Books explain the mythology, the magic, and the rules."
Why The Weirn Books Won't Be Hitting Television Any Time Soon
"TV is very different and it's something that I try to stay out of." Svetlana noted, also dropping some hints that there have been inquiries in the past. She also said that were her project to become a television series or movie, it would be a "good way to break her heart" considering that changes can often be made from one medium to another. Svetlana also noted that her background in animation let her know a lot about the "success stories and horror stories, so I don't think I could survive in animation after that."
"It would be fun to see these characters on screen though as I think it would work in both live action and animation, so I suppose we'll see! Comics are the perfect way to keep control over your creation so it's definitely the medium that I wanted to work in."
Anime And Manga Influences
Svetlana took the opportunity to discuss a lot of the manga and anime artists that she admires but she "very consciously avoided being influenced by other artists" but did note that her love of art and manga came from reading and absorbing the works of "Rumiko Takahashi and her works of Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2". Chmakova also noted that she had loved the works of Kosuke Fujishima, who had created the anime properties of Oh My Goddess! and You Are Under Arrest!
Svetlana also noted that her favorite movie from Studio Ghibli was "Kiki's Delivery Service" because it revolved around artistic struggle with Chmakova noting that "this was a movie for me!"
Connecting To Night School
Svetlana also took the opportunity to state that there would be many connections and Easter Eggs that would appear in the upcoming story of The Weirn Books: Be Wary Of The Silent Woods. She noted that she would be bringing back the Leyburn family, with the new characters being introduced acting as other family members to the clan. "It may come to nothing, but it is a very large magical family in the world so you'll find a Leyburn. There family reunions are enormous and fraught with drama."
"There is also a recurring easter egg in the form of Mr. Raccoon, who is in this book also!" Svetlana noted. "He's in the first and last chapter and he travels a lot."
No Time Jumps In The Future0comments
Svetlana also went into detail that she is planning out the sequels to the upcoming story, but they "will not feature time jumps" as she has her characters and wants to "stick with them as they are."
The world of the Weirn Books is clearly looking to tell more stories from this magical universe and we can't wait to see what Svetlana has in store for the universe in the future!
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