New York Times and USA Today best-selling author MaryJanice Davidson joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about Superheroes and her latest release Undead and Underwater. And keep reading for a chance to win a copy of the book!
“Super, Girl!” one of the novellas in your new anthology Undead and Underwater, features a brand new protagonist, Hailey Derry. Where did your inspiration for her and her unique powers come from?
I’ve been a comic geek since I was 13, and I’ve always wanted to write a superhero story. But as I do with my paranormal characters, I wanted to tweak the tropes; I didn’t want a fiercely hot superbabe with giant boobs and a costume the size and density of a doily who constantly agonized about Her Responsibility To Do The Right Thing. So Hailey’s not especially sexy or outgoing (as an HR exec as well as a superhero), doesn’t spend much time searching her soul, and has a power that irritates the hell out of her and grosses people out. She can eat anything and not die no matter what she ingests. She can then use what she eats to make herself stronger, quicker, and more durable. So if she sucks down a meat lovers pizza with a side of thumbtacks and a glass of glass, she’ll be stronger and quicker and hard to hurt—temporarily. But there’s nothing sexy about being able to eat all the ashes out of a fireplace. When the hero remarks that he thinks it’s great she’s got a cool power, her brittle response is, “It’s neither great nor cool. Because my power isn’t to make things taste good; it’s to be able to eat anything. So a tree branch tastes like a tree branch and bricks taste like bricks and yogurt tastes like yogurt. God, I hate yogurt so much.”
Will we be seeing more of Hailey, do you think?
Oh, I hope so! I really loved indulging my inner comic book geek and would love to do more with Hailey. She’s the product of IVF—her mother donated dozens of eggs; four were fertilized and then implanted, and Hailey was the one that “took” for want of a better word. But her mom saved the other eggs…and then they disappeared. So there’s a strong possibility that Hailey’s got up to a dozen siblings out in the world. Where are they? What can they do? What will they do?
How do you feel about the superhero trend in Hollywood? Do you have a favorite superhero of your own?
I love the superhero trend! Who knows, maybe superheroes are the new vampires. I’ll watch any superhero movie, from the great (Avengers) to the yucky (Eric Bana’s Hulk). My favorite superhero was always Illyana Rasputin (Magik of the New Mutants). She was kidnapped as a pre-schooler and fell into a demonic realm where she was taught hand-to-hand fighting and black magic. She killed to survive. So I loved that she was a badass even without her powers, and that she had a huge dark side to her that could at any moment turn her into a villain. I loved how conflicted she was. I won’t lie: I occasionally rooted for her to be evil.
In “Super, Girl!” there is a lot of office culture, with most scenes taking place at Hailey’s work where she is responsible for HR. How would you characterize various departments? Do you imagine an epic battle between them?
Yes, I do. And so does anyone who has ever worked in any office anywhere ever. Also, imagine? I don’t have to: interoffice epic battles go on all the time, but like Fight Clubs, it’s off most people’s radar. I promise you, wherever you are when you read this, there’s an epic office battle going on right now. And IT is probably winning it. Describing Hailey’s job came easily to me because before I could write full time, I worked a number of office jobs. It was great fun to pull some of my past work experience into my writing. I had just as much fun plotting Hailey’s work life as her superhero life.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Telekinesis! I hate having to get up and shut off lights.
MaryJanice talks books and writing tomorrow, March 13th,
Courtesy of Berkley/NAL, I have a copy of Undead and Underwater by MaryJanice Davidson for one (1) lucky winner!
Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends March 29. I’ll draw a name on March 30, and notify winner via email.