Book: Other People's Heroes
Check out his website: www.EvertimeRealms.com
Josh loves superheroes, he always has. He even likes to dress up and try to fight crime! Do you ever try to fight crime like Josh?
Heh -- no, I don't think the sight of an English teacher in his 30s prancing around in tights would exactly make the criminal element tremble in their boots. Not even if I was quoting Shakespeare while I did it. It's funny, in the last few years you hear more and more stories about "real life superheroes" cropping up in different cities across America, and I actually admire those people quite a lot. They've got way more courage than I do. I'm better off sitting behind a keyboard, dictating the actions of heroes from a distance.
There are quite a few superheroes (and villains) in this book. Where did you get the idea for all of their powers?
I've been reading comic books since I was eight years old, so coming up with the powers was the easy part. Most of the power types are based on your standard superhero templates -- the strong guy, the fast guy, the stretchy guy, and so on. What I tried to do was create fully-realized characters who happened to have superpowers, then come up with unique, original ways for the powers to be used. For example, in the scenes where Josh has speed powers he uses them to "melt" stone and to pull off a pretty spectacular rescue, things that I don't recall ever seeing in a comic before. I don't know how if any of the physics behind his stunts would stand up to scrutiny by a real scientist, someone who knows what he's talking about, but I maintain they make as much sense as getting the power to stick to walls from a radioactive spider bite.
If you could be any of the superheroes in this book, who would you be and why? Also, which villain would you be and why?
You know, in a lot of ways, I put myself in Josh -- the self-deprecation, the awkwardness, the way he gets tongue-tied. He's me if I had the guts to overcome that stuff. If it was a wish fulfillment sort of thing, it'd have to be Lionheart. He's the pinnacle of this world's heroes -- the strongest, the bravest, the most respected... who wouldn't want that? As for which villain... that's tougher. The villains in this book aren't really what they appear to be, and if I picked one of the real villains... well, that would give away some of the best surprises, wouldn't it?
If you could describe Josh in three words, what would they be?
Goofy, insecure, brave.
Are you working on a sequel? If so, can you give us a preview?
As a matter of fact, I recently finished the second draft of the sequel, 14 Days of Asphalt. I'm hoping that will be available some time in 2012. In this one, Josh takes a road trip, makes some new friends, and will learn a lot more about the true nature of super powers in his universe. But if you don't want to wait that long to check in with Josh and the crew, I've also written a Halloween-themed short story, The Restless Dead of Siegel City. That'll be available as a 99-cent "Kindle Single" in October!
As for a preview, how about the first scene of 14 Days to whet your appetite?
1: GENTLEMEN, START YOUR ENGINES
I was busy with a fake robbery when my girlfriend called to tell me she was staying in California. This wasn’t unusual for me – fake robberies, fake plane crashes, fake alien invasions, that kind of stuff was what I did on a daily basis. I never carried my phone with me when I was in costume either, because (let’s face it) being a superhero is a rough job. Even in Siegel City, where fights are planned ahead of time and every punch is meticulously choreographed, accidents happen. People can get hurt. Things like “explosions” or “spontaneous bursts of microwave emissions” tend to “void” “warranties” and make me “lose” my entire “Weird Al playlist.” So at the same time I was crashing through the skylight of the Eisner Musem of Art, back at Simon Tower my phone was buzzing away in my empty apartment.
My phone rang at about 5:30 in the morning with the message that the Pieces of Eight were robbing the Siegel City Coin Collector’s show, and only the hero known as Copycat could stop them. It didn’t matter at all that the hero known as Copycat would rather be sleeping at that ungodly hour. I rolled out of bed and pulled on my uniform as fast as I could – black pants and a black, military-cut coat, gray boots, a gray cape and a gray mask. On my chest was a red-and-black medallion with the embossed image of a proud lion. The whole uniform was a take on that of a man named Lionheart. At first I had been reluctant to wear even a variation on his uniform, but now I looked upon it as an homage – my way of making sure he remained in the public consciousness. People seemed to forget the important things in the world far too easily sometimes.
I considered, for a moment, putting on the trench coat that hung next to my uniform in the closet. I started wearing it originally to cover up a minor weight problem I’d had a while back, but six months of living in Simon Tower with dozens of super-efficient metabolisms in proximity, I was currently in the best shape of my life.
I put the coat down – it wasn’t that cold, even in January, and any time a Cape made even the smallest modification in his uniform it started the tabloids buzzing. Was he hiding something? Was it a new person under the mask? What he trying out a new “grim and gritty” image? Bah. Wasn’t worth it. I left the coat behind and was nearly out the door when the phone rang. It was Annie’s ringtone, and it seemed odd to me that she would call so early, but I was already running late. I loved her, but I also knew that when she got on a roll it could take me a half-hour to get off the phone, and I didn’t have that kind of time. With her powers, I decided, it couldn’t be anything life-threatening, and anything else could wait a couple of hours. That decision did nothing to add to my lifetime total of being right about exactly three important things. I’d lost count of how many times I’d been wrong, but as I rushed off to do battle with the Pieces of Eight, that total increased by one.
Now for some more fun! I'm hosting my first giveaway, and I'm giving away an EBook Copy of Other People's Heroes to three lucky winners! Here are the rules:
- You must be 13 or older to enter
- One entry per person