Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lexie Dunne, author of Superheroes Anonymous

Welcome, Lexie Dunne, author of Superheroes Anonymous (Harper Voyager) http://www.dunnewriting.com/ to It's all About Story.

Available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Superheroes-Anonymous-Lexie-Dunne-ebook/dp/B00JZOX5DG

1) Describe Superheroes Anonymous in one paragraph.

Lois Lane becomes Supergirl.

...oh, you needed more than that? Superheroes Anonymous is the story of a Lois Lane type (Gail Godwin) who has no idea why villains always target her, but she suspects it may have something to do with the 6'4 green-eyed superhero that rescues her. Who is totally not her 6'4 green-eyed boyfriend, so stop asking. When both boyfriend and superhero leave town, she's convinced she's doomed, but everything goes okay...until she's kidnapped again and this time with lasting consequences. The book explores what happens to her after she becomes a superhero herself, and what it means to be able to hit back after years of being nothing but the hostage. It is, I am told, my mother's favorite book.

2) What inspired Superheroes Anonymous?

Traffic on I-27. I worked out in the Hamptons for a year and some change, which mainly involved watching Martha Stewart fix the layout of her display at the local K-Mart and sitting in traffic. All the traffic. So much traffic. It gave me a lot of time to think about random things. One day it was "Why doesn't Lois Lane ever pick up on the fact that she's always at the epicenter of every crisis?" and from there, the idea evolved until I was writing it for my Nanowrimo novel. I wanted a more "on the ground" look at superheroes. We get to see them fighting in the sky in movies all the time, but what's that look like to the average citizen? So Gail was born.

3) Is this your first work of fiction?

My first traditionally published work of fiction. I've been writing since I was 11. I think it's my sixth or seventh finished novel. The rest are going to stay in the drawer forever and ever, amen. (Though I think my best friend is bribe-able if you want to read some of my terrible high school fiction.)

4) What song or music piece would you put on a soundtrack for Superheroes Anonymous?

Hilariously enough, I did create an 8tracks playlist [http://8tracks.com/dunnewriting/from-hostage-girl-to-hero] for this story. But I adore Janelle Monae's cover of Heroes. And God Help the Girl because Gail's nickname is Girl and God knows she needs help.

5) Which character was easy to write? Which was the most difficult?

Angelica Rocha, Gail's trainer, was the easiest character to write because she operates on two levels. She's honest and she puts her feelings right there on the table. But she's also shrewd and has a wicked sense of humor. She was inspired by somebody I knew that had the greatest, most evil smile, so that always kind of carried me through her scenes.

Most difficult character to write was Jeremy. I love him, but he did not get a good reception in this book. I think he turned things around in Supervillains Anonymous.

6) What is your writing space like? Or can you write anywhere?

For this book, I wrote in a freezing bedroom I rented for an obscene amount of money in the Springs, which is the neighborhood where Jackson Pollock lived and worked. I had this great antique desk that I picked up for 30 bucks that was battered and always covered in pieces of paper. Nowadays, I usually write at my desk with a Boston Terrier pawing at my shin or in a Starbucks armed with a flat white loaded with far too much sugar.

7) Any odd writing habits?

The weirdest one is definitely that I tilt my head. If I'm really into a scene, I'll come out of my writing trance and find that my ear is resting on my shoulder. I have no idea why.

8) Do you outline?

Sort of. I'm not a pantser by any means. I do something that I like to call tentpole outlines, where I write down the major beats that I know need to happen. And the rest of the book is a mystery of how I get from Point A to Point B. Usually when I get there, I discover Point B was missing a lot and I change everything. But there is a general structure.

9) Who are some of your favorite superheroes? Why?

Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers! Everybody go read Kelly Sue DeConnick's trades about her. I'll wait! Carol is smart and damaged, a recovering alcoholic and colonel in the military. She comes prepackaged with a best friend who will move the world for her--Jessica Drew (who is probably my favorite) aka Spider-Woman. I enjoy her wisecracking humor and the fact that she leads with her fists, chin raised the whole time, and that she's impulsive and gets into trouble all the time, but has a great support network to bail her out.

Movie-wise, I adore Natasha Romanoff and am known to bounce in my chair whenever she's on screen. And I'm learning to love the Black Canary, and of course Artemis Crock from Young Justice. Are you sensing a theme?

10) What is your favorite fictional world, one you'd want to visit?

Pern. Always Pern. Always and forever Pern. I want my own dragon, okay. I want to go Between just once to see if it's as awful as they say. I want to drink klah and don flying leathers and just DRAGONS.

11)  What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Henry Miller's 11 Commandments of Writing are all pretty great (http://www.brainpickings.org/2012/02/22/henry-miller-on-writing/ ) but the one that always, always, always sticks for me is this: Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is at hand. The idea of working joyously and recklessly is just so appealing to me. Anxiety over writing is something I've struggled with, especially since being offered a professional contract. So the days when I can follow this advice and just sit down, calm, reckless, joyous? Those are the days that make me love writing.

12) In Superheroes Anonymous, are there any hidden acknowledgements to friends, places you've lived, favorite writers etc;

A few! Gail is from Muncie, Indiana, where my best friend went to grad school. Her middle name comes from the best TV character to ever exist. Jess Davenport's name was originally Carol Davenport, but I changed that because of Carol Danvers. And I sneaked a line from Felicity Smoak on Arrow into the book (altered a little, of course).

13) Can you tell us what we have to look forward to after Superheroes Anonymous?

The long descent into the mental anguish of knowing you will never experience reading Superheroes Anonymous for the first time ever again, mostly.

Available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Supervillains-Anonymous-Superheroes-Lexie-Dunne/dp/0062369148

...or perhaps the sequel? Supervillains Anonymous, available online now! You can read the first three chapters at my blog (http://www.dunnewriting.com/2015/06/supervillains-anonymous-chapter-1_9.html ) After that, well, I'm working on some stuff that I'm really excited about, but I'm keeping mum.

Thank you!

No, thank YOU. It was a pleasure to come to your blog and talk about my favorite subject: meeeeeee. ;)

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