Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interview with Blake Northcott, author of Vs. Reality

Last week I posted a review of Vs. Reality by Blake Northcott. I really loved the story and the characters so when I got a chance to ask Blake some questions I jumped on the opportunity. Hopefully these questions will give you a little insight into the mind of this truly unique and inspiring author.

1. What were some of your favorite books growing up?
I read quite a lot, actually: romance, poetry, thrillers, historical fiction - whatever I could get my hands on. If I had to pinpoint one, it might be The Mists of Avalon. It was a monstrous book, and I remember sitting in my room reading it hours into the night, until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. 

2. Favorite comic book character?
Batman, Tony Stark (Iron Man), Daredevil...I liked the characters that are more down to earth, flawed and real. They’re not overly ‘super’ as far as powers go, but they’re all overcoming adversary in their own way and those are the more compelling stories to me. There’s a vulnerability that human characters have that you don’t get with someone like Superman who is almost god-like in his strength.

Blake Northcott
3. If you could have any superpower what would it be? And what would you use it for? Good, evil, or your own reasons?
Creating Dia for Vs. Reality was almost like a fantasy for me. My passion in life is travel, so it would be a great shortcut to have her power, and be able to tear open a portal, walk through it and be in Paris, Sydney, Rome, or some other fantastic place.
So I guess that’s not for good or evil...that’s just my selfish desire to avoid things like long flights and getting molested by TSA agents.

4. How did you come up with the idea for Vs. Reality?
In storytelling there always seems to be people who somehow acquire superhuman abilities, and then everything is so cut and dry. “I’m gonna go save the world!” or “I’m going to make myself a costume in my bedroom!”

OF COURSE if someone could fly, read minds or teleport, they’re not going to immediately think about a costume they can make so they can go fight crime in their neighborhood. Some people would use their power for good, but that would be the vast minority.

I sort of started there and the story just evolved.

Having the characters need a drug of some kind to trigger their manifestation was just another layer I wanted to add – if you got hooked on the power, what would make you quit? Some people spend their entire lives trying to give up vices like smoking and drinking...imagine trying to quit flying? Or telepathy?

I wanted to explore that a bit too, and I’ll get into it a lot more in Volume 2 and 3.

5. Personally Jens was my favorite of your characters. Which one of your characters was your favorite to write?
Jens might actually be my favorite. He’s comic relief, but he doesn’t mean to be. He’s just such a huge jerk and he’s the only person who doesn’t know it. I love writing his one-liners, his advice for people, and of course he swears a lot...and who isn’t a fan of a little spicy talk?
Govinda is fun as well. Creating a smug, condescending villain was of course a blast – aren’t those everyone’s favorite characters? Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, Hans Gruber from Die Hard...they’re SO evil you just have to love them.

6. Do you have any advice for young writers out there?
Get something out there. Don’t edit and re-edit your work into oblivion because you’ll never finish. Shoot for great, not perfect. Then share it with the world and make it accessible.

That’s the great thing about social media and E-Books – you can find your audience and get instant feedback. And if people don’t love it, ask them why. Use that criticism to make your next book even better.

I think that's advice all aspiring authors can take to heart. And I thank Blake Northcott for taking the time to answer my questions. You should all check out her book Vs. Reality. Whether you're a lover of comic books or superheroes or fantasy novels, I think you'll really enjoy it. I did!


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