Exclusive Interview: Mairghread Scott Dives Into ‘Sea Serpent’s Heir’

by Tito W. James

Sea Serpent’s Heiris a new Young Adult graphic novel from Mairghread Scott (Star Wars: Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy) and Pablo Tunica (TMNT Universe). I had the chance to speak with Mairghread about this exciting new high seas fantasy saga.

Tito W. James: Nautical themed fantasy is a unique concept. What attracted you to a world of pirates and sea monsters?

Mairghread Scott: Two things attracted me. One, I wanted a world that felt as big and messy and high-stakes as adolescence felt. Aella is going on a journey of self-discovery, just like every teenage does. But in Sea Serpent’s Heir we literally go on a journey across the sea.

Secondly, Aella’s destined to destroy the world, so when I thought about who might help her – who would thumb their nose at Fate itself – pirates seemed like the natural choice.

James: What is your approach to world-building within the fantasy genre?

Scott: I wanted the world of Sea Serpent’s Heir to feel grounded in reality and really big a the same time. You’ll see a lot of references in our book’s design to real coastal communities, real animals, real historical fashion, but with Pablo’s own fantastical twist on it. It’s that original research that makes the end result feel beautiful and unique, but not impossible. And because our world looks “real,” I wanted it to feel real.

There are lots of little references and hints to factions, countries, and people who never make it onto the page. But people live in a world of shared references. My hope is that even if you never go to the Tower of Clouds, reading Volume One will make you daydream about what’s up there.

James: Sea Serpent’s Heir looks stylistically similar to European and Japanese comics. Were there other comics that influenced you?

Scott: That’s a rather broad array of styles. I would say that my inspiration came more from other sources, this time. I took inspiration from James Gurney’s Dinotopia books. That man is a master of world-building. And our book clearly has a bit of Jim Henson’s darker moments in it. You can also see some Tamora Pierce in our story. She did such a great job in her Alanna series of not locking her heroine in a PG world, and I wanted that for Aella too.

But more than anything our style comes from Pablo himself. He’s a fantastic artist and once we found our pace, I really just wanted him to draw in whatever way spoke to him. It’s been awesome!

James: Besides telling a good story, what do you think is essential to crafting stories for young readers?

Scott: It depends on the age range. But once I get to YA titles, I don’t really write any differently than I do with my adult work. I think YA stories tend to be a bit more fast-paced than things geared for adults, which is why I like reading YA. And obviously, the protagonist in YA books is usually a young adult. But the only thing I changed about Sea Serpent’s Heir when I learned it would be YA was cutting out some swear words. (It is a pirate book, after all.)

I’d like to thank Mairghread Scott for taking the time to do this in-depth interview. You can pick up Sea Serpent’s Heir Book One right now at your local comic book shop.

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