Mr. Dalton writes sci-fi novels. This frees up the superior intellect, me, to write everything else.
I'm Shelly. A box turtle. That's Terrapene carolina for you biology nerds. Yes, I know I'm supposed to italicize genus and species. I just can't reach the ctrl and i keys at the same time, smarty-pants primates.
here I go again. Another mix of author, answer-girl, and interview.
But the good news is my attitude. After doing a few of these now, I
realize I don't hate talking to writers. Probably because they
aren't normal human beings.
guest is author Marion Jensen, the imagination behind Almost
Mr. Jensen, give us the teaser.
A teaser . . .
it's like Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets the Bible . . .
what other bestsellers am I leaving out? Ha ha, only teasing. Get it?
Teasing? Teaser? I crack myself up.
main character actually or metaphorically dies and comes back to
life? That's both morbid and
aside, Almost Super is about two brothers who are born into a
Superhero family. They have it all. Cool gadgets. Action and
adventure at every turn. And the chance to be heroes by saving the
day. But on the day they are supposed to receive their powers,
something terrible happens. They receive worthless powers, and they
are left with the horrible fact that they are normal in a family of
heroes. How the brothers react makes up the rest of the story. The
tagline in Publishers Weekly called it Savvy meets The Incredibles.
I like that
conflict. I like the Incredibles. I like, have to look up Savvy.
What's the deal
with humans and superheroes? Is it a desire to be better? To have
life easy and carefree? Take no offense, but I wonder if it's
compensation for your terrible evolutionary outcome. No claws,
fangs, prehensile tail, or wings. No shell!
protagonists in a superhero setting? That gets me interested. If it
weren't for brains and opposable thumbs, humans would be long
extinct. So how do the brothers compensate in their survival of the fittest?
. . . no claws, fangs, or wings that you can see. I have to
fit in, don't I?
point. (backing away slowly)
had one editor tell me that I should have the kids save the day by
using their worthless powers. But that actually goes against the
message of the book. Without giving anything away, the boys' powers
are just given to them. They don't have to do earn them. Granted,
they're worthless powers, but I didn't want some easy-to-earn power
that allowed the boys to save the day. In the end, what saves the day
is boys who decide they aren't going to let the rest of the world peg
them as worthless.
far as finding use in their lame powers . . . there are no redeeming
qualities to these powers. Really. They're completely worthless.
book with a moral? Implying one is in charge of one's situation by
the decisions made? What are you trying to do, make kids feel guilty about laziness and irresponsibility?
said the boys save the day.
they save the day, but I've said nothing about whether or not they
save the week. Or the month. And as far as the fortnight goes . . .
it's anybody's guess.
means no clues about a Harry-Potter-time-skip-to-the-train-station
scene? You're holding the cards pretty close, Mr. Jensen.
sparked the first idea for the book? Then, as you wrote, what
influences were most helpful in rounding out your prehensile tale?
know, I honestly can't say what sparked the idea for the book. I was
in bed one night and I had the idea of two brothers who had rotten
superpowers. In just a few hours I had the story, the characters, the
arcs, the idea for powers . . . it all just seemed to flow into me.
It was a very fun experience. Of course, then it took me four years
to write and polish the thing. I spent a lot of time learning the
craft of writing.
far as influences, I love a good parody. My favorite comic book hero
is The Tick. The Tick universe pretty much makes fun of, in a loving
way, the world of superheroes. The Incredibles did this to some
extent. I think my book does this as well. It's not your normal
superhero story. It pokes fun of these heroes, makes them not quite
as heroic, but in the end you still can't help but love them.
and relaxing. See? Mammals think of us ectotherms and pondering types
like Mr. Jensen as a bunch of lazies, while they run around
crazy, eating in cars and not sleeping enough. A parody begs to be
written. Now, cats are an exception. They get it, their naps
in sunshine and all. Speaking of which, any spunky sidekick almost
super-pets? I promise I won't take offense if none are reptiles.
sorry. No sidekicks, reptilian or otherwise. You see, the problem
with sidekicks is that they're always popping up behind you in the
publicity photos. And you can't have that.
Not at all. DWD keeps sneaking posts into this blog. Drives me crazy.
sure everyone here wants to know when they can storm the stores for
it. And your fellow writers want to know your publisher and agent.
But I want to know what the cover looks like.
My book will be published by HarperCollins. The tentative date is
Fall of 2013. We're very early on in the process, so still a lot to
do. Of course, it's never too early to go stand in line.
hibernate in line. My door-buster endurance is legendary.
agent is the very wonderful Sara Crowe with Harvey Klinger. Sara is
really great. I can't say enough about her.
far as the cover . . . I'd kind of like to know what it looks like
too. All in good time, I guess. All in good time.
curiosity prods me to ask – who's the audience you hope to
is a great question. C. S. Lewis once said, "A children's story
that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story
in the slightest."
think a good story can mean different things to different people.
Look at The Incredibles. It's probably my favorite Pixar movie. My
kids love it because of the action, the characters, and the jokes. I
love it because I can relate to the father and the fears he struggles
with throughout the movie. If a story carries real emotion, then I
think it can appeal to a broad audience.
know it's a lofty goal, but I like to think that Almost Super isn't
just for kids. I think it will be enjoyed by anybody who has had
dreams of being somebody special.
would be me. Shelly the Grassland Ankylosaurus. But that dream was
severed by a taxonomical split and then shattered by an asteroid. Stupid space gravel.
Mr. Jensen, thanks for the preview of Almost Super. I look
forward to it. In fact, I'm swiping DWD's credit card as soon as I
hear whisperings of pre-orders.