Comic Book Yeti contributor Lauren Smith sits down and chats with Jasmine Silva regarding her debut YA graphic novel, THROUGH YOUR LENS, currently available to order now. Lauren chats with Jasmine about where this story came from, how relatable it is, and what the source of her inspiration for storytelling is!
COMIC BOOK YETI: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me! Congrats on your first published work, Through Your Lens! How long was this story in the making?
JASMINE SILVA: Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and my work. To answer your question, it took about a year. Writing and planning panels, the boring stuff, took the majority of the time. The drawing and book assembly took less than three months, though also the most stressful part.
CBY: For those that don’t know yet, what is Through Your Lens about?
JS: Through Your Lens is about filmmaker Elena who’s given up her dream of directing. When she sells her filming equipment to an aspiring writer named Tala, the two have an instant connection and become each other's support. After reading one of Tala’s stories, Elena is inspired to bring her story to life through film and enter a film festival.
CBY: Was there any real-life inspiration behind Elena and her story?
JS: I would be lying if I said there wasn’t. In my early 20s, I was a real jerk and had a lot of problems back then. Just thinking about it makes me want to smack my younger self! Years of reflection have made me accept my faults, make amends where I could, and be a better person every day. But the journey to get there was filled with guilt
I think many people can relate to those struggles and may even need assurance that things will be okay, as long as you are willing to learn from your mistakes. I hoped that Elena can relate to those that messed up and may feel lost and be inspired to make positive change.
CBY: What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
JS: I wanted to explore the spontaneity romance can bring into someone’s life. Like, how the inspiration for a story can hit you at any moment. As well as themes of guilt and overcoming it.
CBY: Elena draws lots of inspiration from Tala, the other visionary she meets that helps her propel her back into film. Why choose another person to be Elena’s inspiration or even a muse?
JS: I felt Elena’s situation needed perspective from another creative person to motivate her again and make for a more compelling romance. Their proximity and chemistry made for a good base for romance.
CBY: Why did you choose to write a story aimed at younger readers, rather than an adult audience, for your first published work?
JS: I didn’t intend to create this story for only young adults, but it occurred to me that this story may resonate with a younger audience rather than an older one. When I was 12-13 years old I was obsessed with Shojo Manga, like Fruits Basket, so it made me happy to think my book may interest young girls especially.
CBY: On top of this being your first published work, you did all the art, the lettering- basically everything! Was there a specific reason you did this?
JS: Aside from the writing, which I had tremendous help from a scriptwriter, I have the skills for many roles and figured I would save money. I knew mistakes would happen, possibly costly mistakes, so I minimized my expenses where I could. I also felt determined to work on this book alone to prove myself and see through this comic. Hopefully, next time can be a little different with more help.
CBY: All in all, this is such a great book and I’m so grateful it’s out there for everyone to read! Where can people follow you for updates on your future work?
JS: Thank you so much, I’m happy you enjoyed reading it. You can get a physical copy by searching Through Your Lens on Amazon, but the easiest way to access all the alternative retailers is through my website, jasxsilva.com. You can also subscribe to my newsletter on my website to get info directly. I’m also active on Instagram @j.collinsdraws and can find all my social links on the site.
CBY: Is there anything else about Through Your Lens you’d like to add that I might have not asked about?
JS: I can't think of anything specific. Only [that] I hope people enjoy this comic book. I also hope my fellow Latin folks can see the Mexican flair in the world-building. My culture has become a source of inspiration for storytelling, and I'd like to continue that trend in future comics.
You can check out THROUGH YOUR LENS and more of Jasmine Silva at her website here.