Author Ian T Healy was introduced to me by the awesome Kristen J Tsetsi (who has recently released her novel Pretty Much True). You may be familiar with him from the Paper Rats videos that I am always going on about. Or you may be familiar with him as the publisher of Local Heroes Press, or, you might be familiar with his work as a novelist, author of the Just Cause series about a multi-generational family of superheroes. Superheroes, you guys! He's got a new one set in that universe coming out on April 1, 2014 titled Jackrabbit.
A) Actually, I'm a ten time champion, as I pulled off a successful marathon once again this past November. Over the years, I've gotten very good at planning ahead during the times when I'm NOT writing, so that when I sit down to write (whenever or wherever that might be), I have two things already in mind: what happens next, and what happens in the end. Knowing those things helps me to put together a cohesive plot, in spite of the general philosophy that plot is inconsequential during NaNoWriMo. I disagree with that fundamentally, and believe that plot is every bit as important as character and setting.
Q) What do you find most appealing about the idea of the superhero?
Q) What's your superpower?
Q) What prompted you to form your own imprint and become an author/publisher? What advice would you give to someone thinking about taking that road to publication?A) I was looking toward the future, when I'll be sitting atop a publishing empire, raking in the dough, surrounded by hookers and blow (hookers and blow is a recurring joke between me and my dearest friend, writer Allison M. Dickson). Honestly, I didn't want to see my work just published under my name. I wanted it to be attached to a publisher of some kind, and I also considered that someday I would probably try to publish other authors. It looks like that day may come as early as this summer, when Local Hero Press will be publishing an anthology of superhero fiction by several other authors.
My best advice is to do it the right way. Don't pick a company name that is already in use somewhere else. Register the company with your local Secretary of State. Form it as an LLC (that's on my to-do list for this year). Be professional about it in all aspects. Do not ever expect people to pay you for the privilege of being published by you. Money should always flow TO the author (and to your service providers like editors and artists). That's the biggest reason I haven't taken on publishing anyone else yet. I want to make sure I have enough income from my own work that I can pay someone right out of the gate. Shared royalties are all well and good, but cutting an author a check right from the start for the privilege of publishing their work says a lot about how willing I am to assume the financial risk for the work's success.
Q) Would you like fries to go with that font?A) My current favorite font is Linux Libertine. It is utterly gorgeous in print. And it's also free. I love open source projects!
Q) How did you approach creating your series set in the Just Cause universe? What is one feature of world-building you think of as unique or most significant?
A) I built the JCU around the character of Mustang Sally and her family. She was the first third-generation superhero, with her mother being a hero during the '70s and '80s, and her grandmother during the '40s and '50s. Someday I will tell tales about Sally's own children as well. It's given me a lot of story material, and I think that's one of the things that makes the JCU unique. At its core, it is a family saga, like the sort of things James Michener wrote. Sure, there are tales that reach outside the saga--in fact, JACKRABBIT is one of those--but the main focus of my work in the JCU deals with Sally and her family in some way.
The novel coming out this fall, CHAMPION, is a return to Sally's ongoing
career as a member of Just Cause the team.
Q) Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming novel?
A) Yes, of course.
Jay is having a pretty bad day at school. His popular cheerleader girlfriend just dumped him and a jock spilled soda all over his brand new Nikes. So when the God of Rabbits recruits him to save the world from an invasion of interstellar cockroaches, it seems like it might be a pretty cool gig.
Unfortunately, in the spectrum of god-like abilities, rabbits rank pretty low, and Jay receives the ability to make snarky wisecracks, jump real high, and . . . that’s about all.
With all other superheroes snapped up by the Cockroach God and his minions running rampant in the extra-dimensional Gods’ Home, Jay and his newfound ally Bluebird are the only two unlikely heroes left to defend humanity.
We are doomed . . .
Q) What has changed or stayed the same for your writing process since you started writing fiction?
A) I have more gray hairs in my beard than when I started. Writing tends to be a little slower for me now, not because I want to write less, but because I'm working harder at writing better. Recently I've been stretching myself and working well outside of my comfort zone in unfamiliar genres and situations, simply because I think doing so will
broaden my skill base and make me better overall at the craft. People ask what's the hardest thing about being a writer, and I always say it's being a better writer. I write less on my phone than I used to, but that's mainly because I have much less time outside of the home to do it. I do still keep an active project or two on the phone in case the mood and the time strikes.
As far as what has stayed the same, it has to be the drive to tell stories no matter what. I'd still write even if people stopped buying my stuff tomorrow. And I would be very, very sad SO DON'T DO IT.
Q) Unitard or union suit?
A) Depends on the application. Mustang Sally wears a full body suit reminiscent of what speed skaters wear. Jackrabbit also wears a full body suit (at the insistence of his ballerina coach tailor). Another character in the JCU, named Crackerjack, is completely immune to harm, and he could fight crime bare-ass nekkid if he so chose.
I don't really have the abs to rock either one, so I'd have to go with a nice Italian suit, overcoat, and fedora like The Question.
Q) Is there a form of storytelling that you haven't tried yet that you would experiment with? *hands Ian an Erlenmeyer flask*
A) That's a tough question. So far over the years I've written space opera, mainstream fiction, non-fiction, superhero fiction, western/fantasy, hard science fiction, urban fiction, mainstream YA, cyberpunk, steampunk, a murder mystery (that's CHAMPION), horror (my current WIP), and slipstream. What's left?
Oh yeah, romance. I have a dear friend, Shewanda Pugh, who writes romance brilliantly. I need to take some lessons from her in that and see if I can squeeze out a better romance than what's in the Just Cause books.
About Ian Healy:
I can be found on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ianthealy)
Jackrabbit releases in print and ebook versions worldwide from all
online retail outlets on April 1, 2014 (honestly!).
Check out the Goodreads Giveaway at
14 through March 21, 2014, with three signed ARCs as the prizes). Visit
my Facebook page for more information.