So a common question I get asked, well, I guess I should say I was asked this once and wish I were asked more often, is “What was your inspiration for writing this book? Why did you decide to write this as your first book?” Then I say “Well me, that’s a good question to ask myself.” Then I take my medication and everything is okay again. Alright, just kidding.
It’s actually a fairly long and drawn out answer. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but the twists and turns that I’ve taken in my life has never allowed me to write anything greater than a couple thousand words, if that. Dirty limericks and short stories aside, I’ve never actually sat down and written anything substantial. Then things changed. I found myself with a lot more free time, and the world of super heroes was drawing me back in. Now, I’ve never been a big comic reader, but I did collect for a time. However, a friend of mine invited me to play in this pen and paper role playing game he made up. It involved developing super powers for your character, and he created an immersive world, and I got sucked right in.
This was all well and good for a while. One of the last nights we played, I had finally gotten to the point of the reveal I had planned for my character. I had been sweating over all the details for a month with the DM, and in order to really go about my important plot point I had to pick a fight with a particular party member. So I start to get into character, and I’m laying into this other guy, and I start to go into all this back story for my character, and when it comes time for the other guy’s response, what do I get? “Uh…dude, I don’t have a back story. I’m a freakin’ robot ninja without a personality.” That’s when I smashed my face on the table out of frustration.
So if we flash forward a few more weeks after that, I was reintroduced to the game of Heroclix, and my love of super heroes was fully rekindled. I was also reminded of the stark differences between the Marvel and DC universe. DC in particular seemed so gimmicky that it was ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the different lanterns, and Wonder Woman is one of my favorite comic characters. However, all their characters are named by either picking an adjective (or noun) and a gender, or a color and a noun. That’s not to say that there aren’t some truly interesting and stand out characters in the universe (Nightwing, for example), but DC has never been particularly ground breaking.
Around that same time, I voraciously devoured the Hunger Games trilogy. I fell in love with the characters, cherished the story, and the first person style just stuck in my head. You’re obviously fairly limited when writing from first person, but at the same time you’re free to tell every aspect of how a character interacts with those around them, and what thought process they go through. If you’re intent on telling a story about a generally played out theme (a.k.a. super heroes), you need fresh ideas and you need to really flesh out characters and what makes them different.
That’s when this book popped into my head. I wanted to make a snarky, joke-filled super hero romp, starring a character who had super powers, but hated super heroes. I planned for all kinds of different things, but I eventually landed on a different theme. I got to writing, and managed to eke out a few chapters before I started to run out of gas. My girlfriend was always reading behind me and offering criticism appropriately. Then she said the magic words to me: “Kylie seems just TOO good. You need to do something to make her interesting. Make her a bad guy or something.” After that, everything started flowing.
Once I established that Kylie wished ill for Dennis, it was easy to develop an interesting villain, then flesh out an engaging story revolving around a super powered love triangle. Once that was established, what’s the proper thing to do next? Put the main character through absolute hell. I figured out what to do with that, but what does any good super hero story need? Super groups. Thus the motley crew of Hania, Malware, Broot, and all the rest were born. How could you not like a band of loveable losers who only end up contributing to the very thing they try to stop?
With this book, one thing just snowballed into another, and before I knew it I was halfway done. I laid awake some nights just thinking about where to go next, or how to write this scene properly to convey the emotion I’m looking for. I would dream scenes and struggle to express them properly on paper. My goal was to make sure the reader could picture the scenes exactly as I saw them. I felt the fight with Maestro was the catalyst for me writing better scenes. Most of all though, what spurred me to continue to write were the reactions I was getting from people reading. Everything was positive, and I even hastily sent off the first few chapters to a publisher. They declined, but the response was so overwhelmingly positive that I KNEW I had to keep writing until the book was absolutely polished. It’s not quite there yet, but that’s what Kickstarter is for.