An Indies Introduce Q&A With Kay Davault

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Star Knights by Kay DavaultKay Davault is the author of Star Knights, a Summer/Fall 2022 Indies Introduce young adult selection and July/August 2022 Kids’ Indie Next List pick.

Davault is an illustrator and comic artist based in Nashville. Best known for her webcomic Oddity Woods, she spends her time creating stories about cute characters in vibrant stories.

Nicole Brinkley of Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, New York, served on the bookseller panel that selected Davault’s debut for Indies Introduce. She said of the book, “When Tad the frog finds a falling star, he wishes to become a Star Knight and help protect the other animals from the evil witch — but the stories he's been told his whole life may not be right. An absolutely charming woodland fantasy that will appeal to fans of Garlic & the Vampire, Aster & the Accidental Magic, and the much beloved Steven Universe.”

Brinkley and Ernio Hernandez of River Bend Bookshop in Glastonbury, Connecticut, who also served as a panelist, recently had the chance to ask Davault about her creative process.

Ernio Hernandez: What comes first for you, the visuals or the story?

Kay Davault: Usually for me, it starts with the idea of a character. I love character design and imagining what their world is like, and what they want out of life. With Star Knights, the character Tad came about from a small zine I made back in 2017, which followed a magical frog trying to reach the stars. I really loved the idea, so I built even more upon the story and world, until it ultimately became Star Knights!

EH: Is there a character in this you loved drawing so much you’d consider a whole separate story for them?

KD: I think exploring Astrid’s background more would be fun! But to avoid spoilers, I’d also say the swan and crow characters, Cygnus and Corva. I loved designing their outfits.

Nicole Brinkley: What are some of your favorite graphic novels — and what are some graphic novels you think fit well alongside Star Knights? (I’ll be shoving this into the hands of kids who loved Kat Leyh’s Snapdragon myself!)

KD: Recently I’ve enjoyed Fabian Vehlmann and Kerascoët’s Beautiful Darkness, Míriam Bonastre Tur’s Hooky, and Aliza Layne’s Beetle & the Hollowbones. For children’s graphic novels, I think books like Kaeti Vandorn’s Monster Friends, Tim Probert’s Lightfall and Gigi D.G.’s Cucumber Quest series all have great magical adventure and friendship themes, which I aimed for with Star Knights.

EH: What did you learn about the publishing process that you’d love to share with aspiring graphic artists?

KD: I believe knowing your work schedule is most important, especially when deciding on deadlines. Graphic novels are a lot of work, please be sure to pace yourself! If you need more time, communicate with your editor. Also, I recommend getting an agent! They help make navigating the publishing world so much easier.

NB: If you could tell independent booksellers one thing about Star Knights, what would it be?

KD: Star Knights is about accepting one’s self, as well as accepting others for who they are, regardless of their differences. As someone who struggled with this as a kid, I hope Star Knights can help show young readers that being yourself is the best person you can be.

Star Knights by Kay Davault (Random House Graphic, 9780593303658/9780593303641, Hardcover/Paperback Middle Grade Graphic Novel, $20.99/$12.99) On Sale Date: 7/5/2022

Find out more about the author at

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