Exclusive Author Interview: Wesley King

Wesley King joins SciFiChick.com today for a Q&A about his young adult debut The Vindico and the future of the series.

Tell us a bit about The Vindico in your own words.

The Vindico is a literary take on the awesome world of superhero comics. It explores the grey areas between good and evil while following five very different and very relatable young protagonists through their training as the next generation of super villains.

I love the X-Men meets The Breakfast Club analogy – as they’re a group of regular teens with various struggles, suddenly given super powers. Do you relate to any specific character – whether from your story or The Breakfast Club?

I never really related to any characters on The Breakfast Club; I never quite felt enough like a jock or a nerd or a general badass to identify with one or the other. But I just loved the idea of changing perceptions. In terms of The Vindico, I think I relate to James the most, but I always get a great sense of amusement writing from Hayden’s perspective. He’s just such a jerk. I think I wanted to be that confident growing up, but never quite figured out how to do it.

The Vindico centers on the super villains and we see their reasons for hating the League of Heroes. Will we get to know the “Heroes” better in future installments?

Absolutely. In fact, the murky areas around the League of Heroes become a central point of the sequel, and the protégés are thrust into the conflict.

How about the Hero protégés?

Now you’re just reading my mind. The League of Heroes’ candidates do play an element in the sequel, but there is much further involvement in later novels. I love the idea of kids growing into these incredibly important roles, and the steps they take along the way. I think I just like the school and growing up dynamic in general. One of my favorite sci-fi novels is Ender’s Game—a kid who has to grow up way too fast.

How many books do you have planned for this series?

Six, actually. At the risk of repeating myself, I want readers to grow up with these teens as they explore darker themes. I call it the Harry Potter model.
P.S. I also love Harry Potter.

Can you tell us anything about the sequel, The Feros? Is there a date set for the release?

The Feros brings back what I think are the best elements of The Vindico— the friendships, the growth of the teens, Hayden harassing James—and adds some of those darker elements I alluded to. They are thrust into a conflict where there are truly no clear heroes or villains, and where a mysterious figure from one Vindico member’s past is pulling the strings. This time the teens can rely on no one but themselves and it really lets them come into their own. Naturally, things quickly get out of hand.

Did you read or watch much science fiction as a kid and/or adult?

Tons. I was a huge Star Wars fan growing up (still am), and I really got into Star Trek in my early twenties. I watched an unreasonable amount of TNG. The bio in my book says, “Wesley King has recently come to terms with the fact that his first career choice—Jedi—may be impractical for the moment.” That’s a true story.

Do you have a favorite super hero?

It was always Wolverine growing up. I liked that you could be a hero and an ass.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.

I am a Journalism graduate who realized he liked writing about imaginary worlds more. They’re way less frightening. And my experience in writing has been fantastic; my agent, Brianne Johnson at Writers House, is awesome, and so is my editor, Shauna Fay at G.P Putnam’s Sons. I don’t think even you’re supposed to like your editor, so I messed that up. But as much as I love that side and doing readings and signings, my favorite part of all this is still sitting down at my computer and diving into these worlds.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

My favorite all-around author is probably James Clavell (Shogun, Taipan, King Rat). I love historical fiction, and he does it as well as anyone. And a lot of the usual picks as well: Tolkien, Card, Martin. I’ve read LOTR three times. And I still want to read it again.

What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?

I play quite a few sports, and read of course. I also drink a lot of beer. Socially…

Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you very much for having me! I feel right at home here. If anyone out there wants to help me a build a Jedi Academy in the Amazon, let me know. Except we need to keep out the bird-eating spiders. I’m a cowardly Jedi.