Meghan: Hi, Cynthia. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Cynthia Von Buhler: I’m an author, artist, and theater producer. I’m passionate about animals.
Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?
Cynthia Von Buhler: 1) I was the lead singer of an all-female S&M band. 2) I’m agoraphobic. 3) I never take the subway. 4) I love antique shopping more than sex. 5) I’m really good at cutting pig hooves.
Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?
Cynthia von Buhler: As a child I think the first book I read myself was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. For adult books, I read Gone With the Wind and The Last Tango in Paris in 4th grade (I found it hidden in my parent’s bathroom). I can’t recall which one I read first.
Meghan: What are you reading now?
Cynthia Von Buhler: The Wes Anderson Collection: Isle of Dogs. It’s a book about the creation of the brilliant film.
Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?
Cynthia Von Buhler: The dictionary.
Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?
Cynthia Von Buhler: I started my career as an illustrator and became tired of illustrating other people’s stories. I started writing children’s books in the mid-nineties and graphic novels only a few years ago. I’m only interested in writing books with pictures.
Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?
Cynthia Von Buhler: In bed or in the bathtub.
Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
Cynthia Von Buhler: I need to drink many cups of coffee, all my animals need to be fed, and my house needs to be clean before I write.
Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Cynthia Von Buhler: Dialogue needs to sound natural. I like to give it to my actors to read aloud before I commit to it. If it sounds realistic I’ll keep it.
Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?
Cynthia Von Buhler: Writing The Illuminati Ball was a cathartic experience because I have such complicated feeling about human beings. I’m compassionate like Pig King and furious like Chumanzee.
Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?
Cynthia Von Buhler: The pulp comic books of the twenties and thirties inspired my graphic novel drawing style. I love the paper texture, muted colors, and realistic line drawing. My actors inspire my writing style.
Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?
Cynthia Von Buhler: A good story, play or film needs to teach you something about life.
Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?
Cynthia Von Buhler: Loveable characters are not perfect. Like all of us, they battle their inner demons and struggle. I seek out my own demons and haunt my characters with them.
Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Cynthia Von Buhler: I think all of my characters have a little bit of me in them. With The Illuminati Ball, I’m compassionate, trusting and kind like Pig King, but I’m also aggressive and angry like Chumanzee. In The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini, I’m like Minky Woodcock and Harry Houdini. Humans contradict themselves.
Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?
Cynthia Von Buhler: Absolutely. The cover needs to be special. I draw all my books, including the covers. We also hire artists to do alternate covers and I get to choose them.
Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?
Cynthia Von Buhler: That creating a book is the easy part. Promoting is the hardest.
Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?
Cynthia Von Buhler: When you kill characters you love it is always hard.
Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
Cynthia Von Buhler: I try to make every single panel a work of art. Many comics have a good cover and the interiors are too simple or poorly drawn. My books are fairly unique. I don’t think there are many out there like them. I’m not interested in superheroes or fantasy monsters. My books are always based on shocking facts.
Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?
Cynthia Von Buhler: A good book title is crucial. I love writing them and yes, I always choose them.
Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?
Cynthia Von Buhler: I write graphic novels or children’s books. I’m only interested in creating books with pictures.
Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?
Cynthia Von Buhler: I toned down some of the steamier scenes.
Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?
Cynthia Von Buhler: I’m working on a graphic novel about a girl who is half human and half tree. I also envision it as a puppet show.
Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?
More books and plays – and maybe a TV show.
Cynthia Von Buhler: Where can we find you?
Cynthia Von Buhler:
Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?
Cynthia Von Buhler: Be not a cancer on earth – leave room for nature. Leave room for nature.
Cynthia von Buhler, aka Countess von Buhler, is an American artist, performer, playwright and author. Hailed by the press as “multitalented and eccentric” (Boston Globe), a “rising star” (NY Arts), and “one of the top contemporary surrealists” (Art & Antiques), Cynthia von Buhler has made a name for herself as an award-winning and critically acclaimed fine artist, author, and illustrator. Her illustration work has won awards from the Society of Illustrators and has repeatedly appeared in American Illustration, Communication Arts, and the Society of Illustrator annuals of the best illustration in America. Von Buhler’s stunning, three-dimensional paintings have been displayed in galleries and museums around the world, and have been featured in books, newspapers and magazines from Rolling Stone to The New Yorker. The New York Times has written four features on her in the last five years. Von Buhler has collaborated on art projects with Steven Spielberg, Neil Gaiman, and Clive Barker. She has illustrated book covers for Harry Turtledove, Scott O’Dell, Jane Yolen, Elizabeth George Speare, and Lawrence Block. Her sculptures have appeared on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, she and her work were profiled in Mary Magdalen: An Intimate Portrait on the Lifetime Network, and she was a recurring character on Discovery Channel’s Oddities. Von Buhler also writes, directs and produces immersive theater. In writing about her theater productions, Forbes called her “a creative genius” and the New York Post wrote, “Von Buhler has the kind of family footnote any writer would kill for.” Von Buhler was the lead singer in two seminal Boston bands, The Women of Sodom and Countess, the latter garnering her a development deal with MCA Records. Her comic work includes Evelyn Evelyn: A Terrible Tale in Two Tomes with Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning and Emily and The Strangers.
Cynthia von Buhler, acclaimed author and visual artist of Minky Woodcock, brings her immersive theater production The Illuminati Ball to Graphic Novel form.
Acclaimed author and visual artist Cynthia von Buhler (Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini) brings her hit immersive theater production The Illuminati Ball to the page in an all-new graphic novel which merges the myth and mystery surrounding the secret organization of the rich and powerful who supposedly control the world with a story about human-animal hybrids who have escaped an experimental lab. Inspired by the legendary 1972 surrealist masquerade party that influenced Stanley Kubrick’s film Eyes Wide Shut — hosted by the Baron and Baroness de Rothschild at their mansion in Paris — The Illuminati Ball combines elements of the fantastical with reality to tell an unforgettable story about power, cruelty, deceit, betrayal, and the insatiable hunger for freedom.