Katie O’Neill under Oni Press released Aquicorn Cove that The Daily Fandom reviewed and viewed favorably. This fantasy story based around a small coastal town would draw readers of all ages into its world. If you’re looking for a gentle narrative with an environmental message, this work will bring you a lot to enjoy. Her other works each contain a hint of magic, including the award-winning Tea Dragon Society and Princess Princess Ever After.

We had the exciting opportunity to talk to Katie O’Niell about her newest project, along with a fun few tidbits!

Ready To Fly On An Aquicorn’s Wings

TDF: I’ve always been interested in the beginnings of any piece of creative work. What sparked and influenced the creation of Aquicorn Cove?

Katie O’Neill: After my hometown went through two destructive earthquakes within the span of a year, I think I began carrying a need to express some feelings I had about coping with a natural disaster. At around the same time, I came up with a design for the Aquicorns that I thought would work well for a kid’s story. So, I decided to pair the two ideas.

Katie O'Neill
Oni Press, 2018

Over time the narrative naturally became more about marine conservation, as well as coping with grief and questioning your guardians when you realize that perhaps their beliefs are causing harm to the world.

TDF: Is Aquicorn Cove’s setting based on any real-life place? I enjoyed how the mixture of mundane and fantasy makes the graphic novel pop!

Katie O’Neill: It’s based on a lot of the small coastal villages that you can find all over New Zealand. They have a mixture of permanent and casual residents. They seem to follow a completely different pace of life. And, it can feel like going back in time when you visit them.

They have wonderful charm and character; and, unfortunately, will be on the front lines of climate change and rising sea levels.

Home Brings The Strongest Inspiration

TDF: Aquicorn Cove deals with themes that involve the conservation of the ocean. Are there any special steps you take in your personal life to help our planet?

Katie O’Neill: In my daily life, I do try to reduce waste, avoid one-person car trips and support brands who have made a commitment to the environment (which thankfully there are a number of in New Zealand).

Katie O'Neill
Katie O’Neill, 2018

However, I believe that real improvement and conservation is going to need huge corporate and political change. This is why advocacy and awareness are essential. Aquicorn Cove is my small way of helping young readers take steps towards protecting their environment, and I would like to become more politically active locally in the future.

TDF: Do you have any advice for young artists and writers?

Katie O’Neill: Whatever you make, make it for yourself first. It can be hard, but try not to get weighed down with worry about what other people will like or if it will be successful. People can sense passion and sincerity, and creating something unique and personal will always make you yourself feel fulfilled.

TDF: As a known lover of tea, how do you take your tea, and do you have any favorites?

Katie O’Neill: When caffeine is a requirement, I really like earl grey with a non-dairy milk. If I’ve already had my caffeination limit for the day, I like lemongrass and ginger, or chamomile and vanilla.

Where To Find Katie O’Neill & Her Other Works?

You should check out her website and The Tea Dragon Society.