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Interview: Evangeline Lilly Talks About her SQUICKERWONKERS Book Series Plus The Hobbit and Ant-Man

Find out about her new book plus some information on her next two films.

Photo by Sarah Dunn. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Photo by Sarah Dunn. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

THE SQUICKERWONKERS is an amazing book. Coming out from Titans Books Tuesday, November 18, we first got a look at it during San Diego Comic-Con. As a children's book from actress/author Evangeline Lily, it's far from your typical children's book. If you've ever shared the reading experience with young readers, you probably know most books directed at them fall into the same patterns. Evangeline Lily set out to do something a little different with the ideas for the book starting when she was young as well.

If you haven't already, you can watch our video interview with Evangeline from July HERE.

We had the chance to talk to her once again over the phone about the book's release and we even snuck in some questions about The Hobbit and Ant-Man.

COMIC VINE: We talked back at San Diego and now THE SQUICKERWONKERS is about to be released. How has the journey been for you?

EVANGELINE LILY: Oh man, it’s been mind boggling. I feel somewhat dizzy from the whirlwind of it all. It’s been a lot of work. Someone recently asked me what was the hardest thing about being a published author and I said, “Publishing.” The writing in the fun part and then you have to publish. It’s an incredible amount of work, but I keep reminding myself, periodically, to step back, look around me, and pinch myself because this is a total dream come true.

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CV: What’s your elevator pitch for the book? How do you describe the story?

EL: THE SQUICKERWONKERS is a book about a group of misfit or outcast marionette puppets who have a little girl stumble into their Squickerwonker wagon. They put her through a bit of a test of character. Unfortunately for Selma, the little girl, she doesn’t do so well.

CV: I know the first book is just being released and we talked about this at San Diego, is the second book still set for 2015?

EL: Yeah. I don’t know if it’ll be ready for Comic-Con or not. We’re in the process of editing right now and then we move into the storyboard process and illustration in the New Year. So it depends on how quickly the incredible Johnny Fraser-Allen can bang out the illustrations once we’ve laid out the book.

CV: I was going to ask if he was still doing the art again.

EL: He is! The first one was such an incredible undertaking. It ended up taking a lot of our lives. It was almost hard to convince him to start working on book #2 when we don’t even know if anyone is going to like book #1. Thankfully he ended up deciding to do it. He is on board for book 2. We’re game. We’re ready to go.

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CV: Well, I liked it. If that counts.

EL: Oh, thank you! It counts for a lot, actually. Plus, you’re going to write up an article about it.

CV: That’s right! Is the interactive version still on track? Where can people find that?

EL: I’m self-publishing the interactive version actually. Publishers, for the most part, are extremely enthusiastic. They just don’t really make a lot of money. I ended up doing it because I am just so desperate to see this book come to life in an interactive format. I wanted to hear the Squickerwonker soundtrack and I wanted to hear the voices come to life. I wanted to hear the creaking of the [Squickwonker] wagon. I just felt I needed to do it for myself creatively. It’s been such a rewarding experience, but man oh man, it’s taking up a lot of time.

Tane Upjohn-Beatson from New Zealand, that’s his real name Tane Upjohn-Beatson, has composed an incredible soundtrack for the interactive book. It was so good that I was able to convince Sylvester McCoy to do the voice work for the book, he’s vocalizing the book. And that was so good together that Audible Books has agreed to publish the audio version on their website, which they don’t normally do. Normally they have full length books which are hours long. This is an eight-minute long audio book, but it’s just so delightful that they decided they wanted to publish it.

CV: That’s great!

EL: Yeah!

CV: Are you going to be able to go on a publicity tour for the book since you’re just a little busy with other things?

EL: [laughs] I’m going on tour. I left Friday to go on tour to promote the book and then that bleeds into The Hobbit tour. I’ll be out on tour promoting for the next month straight. I’m a bit overwhelmed to be honest, but I’m also very very excited.

CV: You’re also supporting a great cause through Prizeo. What can you tell us about that and how it started?

EL: I’m actually really excited about this. I’m so embarrassed to admit but it actually came about because I was looking for different marketing avenues for the book. My very creative marketing team came to me and said, “What about this Prizeo campaign that people do? These Prizeo campaigns get a lot of attention. If you gave away your book as prizes, it might help spread the word.”

Once I got into figuring out what Prizeo was about, it became so much more about the wonderful charitable organization they work with and everything else. It turned into a really wonderful opportunity to both spread the Squicker-word and also support an incredible charity. And of course I chose the First Book organization because they help get books to underprivileged children. As a children’s storybook author, that’s really meaningful to me.

[Note: you can find more information on her Prizeo campaign HERE].

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CV: I know that seeing The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is part of the prize. Have you seen a final version of it?

EL: I have not. I’ve seen pieces of it because I had to do my ADR, my additional dialogue recording, where you go in and sort of clean up any dialogue that’s not really working. But I haven’t seen anyone else’s work, I’ve just seen Tauriel’s scenes. They got me really pumped.

From the stuff I saw, I think this will be the most action packed, most dramatic, most intense of the three films. Personally, I like that. I feel we’re moving tonally towards Lord of the Rings and I was a huge Lord of the Rings fan.

CV: And I have to ask, I know there’s probably NDAs and all that but…

EL: [laughs] I know where you’re going.

CV: Can you tell us anything about your experience filming Ant-Man?

EL: Honestly, it’s easy for me to talk about it. I’ve had such a wonderful experience. Marvel Studios has shocked the pants off me. I really expected to be walking into a great big machine that would be so well oiled and anybody new with new ideas or new contributions would just be a pain in the butt. Marvel could not have been more opposite to those expectations. They’ve been collaborative in a way that makes me feel like—and I know you’re going to say this is bullcrap but it’s totally true—in a way that makes me feel like I was working on a little indie project. I mean, it was that intimate and that collaborative. I just had a wonderful experience.

CV: Well we’re all waiting. Everything is about Age of Ultron right now and we’re waiting to hear anything about Ant-Man.

EL: [laughs] I know. It was incredible and I’ve never experienced this before. I just wrapped on the film. They’re still shooting. They’ll be shooting into December. Then they’re going to turn the film around and have it in theaters by July. That’s unheard of, that’s an incredibly quick turnaround. You won’t have to wait very long. You’re going to get some news about it very soon.

Be sure to pick up THE SQUICKERWONKERS, on sale November 17, check out The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in theaters in December, and be on the look out for more Ant-Man news.