Today I have the great pleasure to do an interview with Ian Thomas Healy, author of the Just Cause Universe Series! Along with the interview Ian Thomas Healy is nice enough to giveaway a copy of his newest installment to the Just Cause Universe Champion!!
Champion is my return to the story of Mustang Sally, the central character of the first two Just Cause Universe novels. It has call-backs to events and people involved either centrally or circuitously to the earlier books. Obviously, I don't want to give too much away, but a couple of familiar villains will show up, and some heroes who were mentioned briefly in earlier books as well. The story is a murder mystery, and Mustang Sally is the one leading the investigation of the death of her fellow Hero Academy classmate Orb. Who killed him and why is only the tip of a much deeper, darker conspiracy.
Champion is also the name of a new superhero, one who has chosen to flout the law by operating masked with his identity hidden. Despite this, he's done some very heroic things and is popular with civilians. He is very much a "classic" Superman-type character. But there's a dark side to Champion, and Mustang Sally is the one who figures out what it is.
What was your inspiration for this series? What drew you to writing about superheroes?
I've wanted to write about superheroes since before I could write. At one point I even wanted to be a comic book artist just so I could tell the stories I longed to tell. Unfortunately (for me--fortunately for everyone else), I can't draw. The Just Cause Universe came from my love for detailed superhero universes that are bigger than can be contained in just a single comic book series.
Why did you pick the specific powers you chose for your superheroes?
For me, powers are kind of a second-tier aspect of characters. Mustang Sally is a speedster, yes, but she'd be an interesting character without those powers. She's got the weight of two previous generations of heroes to live up to and the chip on her shoulder of having never known her father. Being raised and trained to be a superhero, almost from birth, meant she didn't ever have a chance to be a kid in a lot of ways, and that colors her interactions with others. Sometimes I don't even define a character's powers in a meaningful way, because it isn't really germane to the plot.
How did you come up with the super villains in your
books?Was it hard to go from the mindset of writing your heroes, to writing your villains?
Sometimes it's more fun to play the bad guy. My first few villains have been very much comic-book style in their grand schemes. As I've grown as a writer, so have my villains in complexity. Destroyer, for example, began as simply a "evil scientist mastermind" type, but then I really explored his personality and childhood in Day of the Destroyer, getting to the root of what made him the way he is. And I have some very special plans for him in a couple of upcoming books. He's like a set of bad luggage; you just can't get rid of him.
Is there any future Just Cause Universe books in your future? Is there future books in the works outside of the Just Cause universe?
I am currently working on JCU Book 7, called Castles. I have fairly detailed plots in mind for books 8-11, and plan to release two books per year as long as I have more stories to tell.
As far as outside the JCU, I am planning to complete my western fantasy saga The Pariah of Verigo with the final book, Pariah's Nation, during 2015. And I always have other projects cooking on the side as well, whether it's a collection of post-apocalyptic stories, another superhero anthology, or even my next NaNoWriMo project.
Who are your literary Icons?
George R.R. Martin, Mike Resnick, Alan Dean Foster, Genevieve Valentine, Alan Moore, Frank Miller.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write until you can't see straight. Edit someone else's work. Hydration is important. Edit your own work. Read all the time. Get to know your baristas. Learn about the industry, whether self-publishing or traditional. Choose your vices carefully.
Thank Ian Thomas Healy for taking time to chat today, it was a pleasure! Don't forget to check out my review for Just Cause!!
About the Author
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. 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. 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 publishing company, Local Hero Press, LLC.