Why I Wrote Persepolis
People always ask me, "Why didn't you write a book?" But that's what Persepolis is. To me, a book is pages related to something that has a cover. Graphic novels are not traditional literature, but that does not mean they are second-rate. Images are a way of writing. When you have the talent to be able to write and to draw it seems a shame to choose one. I think it's better to do both. We learn about the world through images all the time. In the cinema we do it, but to make a film you need sponsors and money and 10,000 people to work with you. With a graphic novel, all you need is yourself and your editor. Of course, you have to have a very visual vision of the world. You have to perceive life with images otherwise it doesn't work. Some artists are more into sound; they make music. The point is that you have to know what you want to say, and find the best way of saying it. It's hard to say how Persepolis evolved once I started writing. I had to learn how to write it as a graphic novel by doing.
In the translation that my American editor is working on now, I tell about when I was only seventeen years old and a junkie living on the streets. It's a terrible part of my life, but I don't say it was a mistake. I learned from that that you can change your life anytime. Of course, I'd rather not have lost two years of my life. But I had my hippie friends in the streets. Maybe I would be boring without them. Maybe I would be an engineer marrying another boring engineer, and not a graphic novelist.
When I was featured in a prominent magazine, the publishers didn't want to print how my great-grandfather was a king, but I ended up a junkie. They decided I would not be a role model if I want to make this past public. But there is nothing I regret. If one is intelligent, one can learn and grow from her mistakes. I like myself now and that is what matters.
Read more about the book and view sample pages here.