There has been a lot of discussion in the publishing world about books featuring characters and situations that are not drawn directly from the author’s personal experience or culture. I appreciate the various points of view and sensitivities surrounding these issues. I have learned a great deal from the ongoing conversation about GHOSTS, and I acknowledge and take responsibility for the blind spots in my vision.
Although people regard me primarily as a memoir graphic novelist, Cat, Maya, and their friends and family in GHOSTS are characters from my imagination. After GHOSTS was published, I received a wide variety of feedback, both positive and negative. One of the highlights of my book tour was hearing from many Hispanic and mixed-race families who were happy to see their heritage reflected in GHOSTS. At the same time, I have followed closely and have learned from the criticism of my inclusion and depiction of Día de los Muertos and a California mission in the story.
I did an extensive amount of research for GHOSTS, using both primary and secondary sources (including interviews and discussions with my own friends and members of my extended family), and the book had a number of readers in advance of publication who gave me feedback. Nonetheless, I understand that this research supports a story that fell short for some.
I value and respect the opinions and viewpoints of my readers very highly, and will continue to evolve as an artist. The ongoing discussions about GHOSTS will surely inform my work in the future.