When you gather an all star group of artists and creators, it sometimes takes a great leader to turn that group into a team. That is where the editor comes in. It is their job to meld those respective talents and produce a great work. So when the Ahoy Comics had a project that was given the green light, that’s when Editor Sarah Litt was brought in. She worked with writer Mariah McCourt, Artist Soo Lee, Colorist Pippa Bowland, and Cover Artist Jill Thompson to produce the very popular 5 book series, Ash and Thorn. Issue four of the series is scheduled for release this week. So with that in mind, we bring you a conversation with the anchor of this great series, Harvey Award winning Editor Sarah Litt.
GVL: Looking over your career, you have had wide ranging experience in all areas of editing. At what point in your education did you think that being an editor was the path you would choose to take? And did you have other ambitions before then?
SL: I always knew I wanted to be an editor. No, I also wanted to be a ballerina. But mostly I just wanted a job where I could sit and read all day.
GVL: You had the opportunity to work on the highly respected DC Comics/ Vertigo line as Assistant Editor. What was that experience like and what lessons did you take from your time there?
SL: It was definitely an interesting experience. I got to work with some amazing people on some amazing titles. Mariah actually left shortly before I came in, I think. We were like ships in the night. I learned how to work with creatives to get the best out of them, I think. The goal is to get them to their best work. If they are adamant about something and it makes no sense, give suggestions, but ultimately, they are the writer, not you.
GVL: Many writers have gone the Writer/Editorial route. Have you ever considered writing a book of your own? And if you did, what kind of book do you think it would be?
SL: I have considered it. I mean, who hasn’t. I do actually love being an editor, though. As far as writing goes, I have no real follow-through. But maybe I’ll write about my life in Spain during a pandemic.
GVL: I notice you are currently multi-tasking on a number of different jobs. From Editor at All Black, LLC, Editor at The Princeton Review, as well as Editor at Large at Ahoy Comics. How hard is it to juggle so many diverse opportunities at the same time?
SL: I think it keeps things interesting and prevents me from being bored. Some weeks are super busy and non-stop, and some are a little slower. I’ve learned how to enjoy both aspects. Also, I keep everything in the Notes app because otherwise, I will completely forget what I have to do.
Ash and Thorn
GVL: When did you first hear about the Ash and Thorn project, and when were you approached to bring that book to fruition?
SL: I think this was all in 2018, maybe. I was brought on and Tom Peyer showed me this project. I loved it. It’s so weird and unique. How could I not want to work on it?
GVL: Was Soo Lee your only choice for artist on the book (she did a great job on the series) or did you have others in mind?
SL: I knew I wanted an all-female-identifying team. I keep tabs on really talented artists, and Soo was on that list. At the top.
GVL: How about Pippa Bowland? What did she bring to the table that you thought would add to the project?
SL: Pippa is still relatively new to comics. And I love to give new people a shot, if for no other reason than to watch them flourish. I saw what she had done with some Heavy Metal stuff and I felt she’d be a good fit for our little team. I am really glad I took that risk.
GVL: You had the good fortune of getting Jill Thompson for the book covers. How was she recruited and was she given any guidelines or did she just work from a synopsis given to her from either yourself, writer McCourt or artist Lee?
SL: I wish I could take the credit for Jill. That was all Tom Peyer and Mariah. She worked from our synopses. She got weird with it and those covers are FANTASTIC!
GVL: When it comes to deadlines, you were dealing with an entirely different animal with the pandemic. Were you presented with any unusual challenges to complete the project on schedule?
SL: Most of us sort of work from home anyway, so everything went really well. Which was nice.
A Successful Project
GVL: You have worked on many different projects in your career, including winning a Harvey award in 2011 for Cuba: My Revolution. At this point in your career, what do you consider a successful project? Does it just need to be completed on time, on budget and accepted positively with readers or do you have a different metric you go by from your experience?
SL: I think if the creative team is happy with the finished product, that’s really important. Is it what they envisioned? Or is it at least close to what they envisioned? Is this something they can be proud of? Being well-received and making money is nice and all, but ultimately, that will be a subjective measure. Do YOU love this thing you created? Yes? Okay, then my work here is done.
GVL: Do you have any projects that you are working on you would like to share with our followers?
SL: Billionaire Island, of course. Unnamed 2021 AHOY project. White, the follow-up to Black. Princeton Review MCAT.
GVL: Finally, if you could choose any type of project to work on, no matter the genre to be Editor in Chief of, what would it be?
SL: You know, I’m not picky. I want to work with a good team who care about the work. I think when you have the right people on a project, the results can be just phenomenal.
GVL: Thank you so much Sarah. We look forward to reading the final issues of Ash and Thorn.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 17 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.