Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Ian T. Healy and Just Cause Universe Interview

Today I'd like to welcome one of my buddies I first met through the Amazon contest several years ago. Ian is an interesting guy whose novels use a great mix of action and humor. He is a perfect fit for that super-hero realm, especially as his heroes seem to be a bit twisted... and I mean that in the nicest way. Ian has a book release coming, so we decided on an author interview to let all of you know a little more about him... so without further ado... Wecome Ian!

[Tart in Purple, Ian in Blue]

So you'll have to humor me a bit. I am sort of a novice as to Super Heroes and Mutant worlds, so just make fun of me if I ask something stupid...

So I'm curious how much of your world building followed prototypes of comic worlds you grew up with and how much was totally out of your head?

I was out of my head most of the time. No, not really. I grew up reading (and still read) DC Comics, and that's the comic world I'm most familiar with. That being said, the Just Cause Universe doesn't relate to it very much. DC is populated with fictional cities like Gotham and Metropolis, while the JCU has actual places. DC has heroes that can toss planets around like playthings and are generally like gods living among men. Nobody in the JCU is particularly powerful. The strongest man in the world once pulled an aircraft carrier into dry dock by its anchor chain, but that was mostly a publicity stunt thing. Most JCU heroes are just like you and me, only a bit better.

Who were your early favorite super heroes?

The very first comic book I ever owned was Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #15, which was a funny-animals comic like something Disney might produce. Before that, my favorites were the characters of Shapiro and O'Toole, from the book Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, by Mordecai Richler. I wanted to be them sooooo bad!

I love how whimsical your story sounds: the Cockroach God? Rabbit recruits (snark and jumping high as super powers--NICE)? So is that whimsy typical in the genre, or are you adding an element of fun that is a super bonus? And if so, how did you get the idea?

There has always been a place for humor in the superhero genre, whether in movies or comics. Even the really grim movies like the most recent Christopher Nolan Batman films have humorous moments in them. Life is funny, when you really look at it. Some characters respond to the funny bits better than others, and Jackrabbit for me is one of the great snarkmeisters of the JCU. He can find the humor in any situation and when he mouths off, it tends to distract his opponents. I could see him forestalling a fight entirely by causing his opponent to break down into gales of helpless laughter.

So you've written several books in this series. Can you give readers an idea how they all fit together? (and do they stand alone, or should they be read in order?)

All of the JCU novels are stand-alone books that could be read in any order. That being said, I always recommend people read them in this order: Just Cause, The Archmage, Day of the Destroyer, Deep Six, The JCU Omnibus Vol. 1, and finally Jackrabbit. The first two books focus on the core character of Mustang Sally in her place on the core team of Just Cause. The next four books broaden the scope of the setting and history, whether focusing on Mustang Sally's mother as part of the team in the '70s, the prison for convicted superpowered felons, or whatever. This fall, I will be returning to Mustang Sally's story once again in the book Champion.

And if there are Gods of Rabbits and a Cockroach God... that really gets the imagination rolling. What are some of the other gods and what powers can they impart?

Well, the thing is . . . Most gods signed the short form when they became gods, because hey, you're a god, you don't have time for all that paperwork. By signing the short form, they opted out of a lot of the rights and abilities of gods, such as the creation of Heralds. A few notables spent the extra time to go through everything and because of them we had such historical Heralds as Jesus, Mohammed, Shiva, etc. Leporidus, the Rabbit God, spent the extra hundred years to fill out all the forms, as did Cialia the Bluebird Goddess. When Blattodeus the Cockroach God (who is actually a god created by intelligent cockroaches, whereas all other gods were created by humans) invades Gods' Home and Earth, only Leporidus and Cialia have the authority to create Heralds to fight back. I'd also like to make a special mention of Anurus, the Frog God, who happens to be Leporidus' best friend.

How many of these do you have in the hopper? And what are you currently working on?

Champion is done and in the revising stages now. After finishing my two current WIPs (a mainstream YA called The Scene Stealers, which is in final revision now before going to my agent, and a horror western called Ghost Plain), I'll be taking on the next JCU book, which I've begun outlining and has a working title (that will probably change) of Patriotic.

Ian Thomas Healy is a prolific writer who dabbles in many different speculative genres. He's a ten-time participant and winner of National Novel Writing Month where he's tackled such diverse subjects as sentient alien farts, competitive forklift racing, a religion-powered rabbit-themed superhero, cyberpunk mercenaries, cowboy elves, and an unlikely combination of vampires with minor league hockey. His popular superhero fiction series, the Just Cause Universe, is ever-expanding, as is his western fantasy epic The Pariah of Verigo. He is also the creator of the Writing Better Action Through Cinematic Techniques workshop, which helps writers to improve their action scenes.

Ian also created the longest-running superhero webcomic done in LEGO, The Adventures of the S-Team, which ran from 2006-2012.

When not writing, which is rare, he enjoys watching hockey, reading comic books (and serious books, too), and living in the great state of Colorado, which he shares with his wife, children, house-pets, and approximately five million other people. Follow him on Twitter as @ianthealy and on Facebook as Author Ian Thomas Healy. Check out his exclusive publishing imprint, Local Hero Press.


Daniel Efosa Uyi said...

Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I'd be interested in a link exchange.
My blog covers a lot of interesting and helpful posts just like yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. And also, I think you'll love my recent blog post titled Want To Succeed In Life? Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know

I'm hoping to hear from you too and quickly, you've got a great blog here.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I grew up reading comics, too, although mine weren't so much the superhero kind (I stuck to the Little Lulus, Dennis the Menace, Charlie Brown, that kind of stuff.) But I saw a show on PBS on superheroes...a documentary on comics and really enjoyed it. Amazing how much influence comics have had. I also like that, as you mentioned, there's humor included in the strips.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Dude. This was an awesome interview. I also grew up reading comics, though for me it was more Marvel. The DC stuff came much later.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

How many do you have in the hopper - great twist on words, Hart!
Saw this on another blog, Ian. Need to pick it up. And I was always a DC guy as well.

Johanna Garth said...

My kids are upstairs entranced in graphic novels at this very moment.

Yours sound fabulous!

Helena said...

Jackrabbit sounds great, especially since he's a snarkmeister (gotta remember that word). I love humor in novels so I'll look this one up.