Interviewing John David (he prefers “Dave”) Anderson was fun – I read his novel, STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR prior to meeting him, and I really enjoyed it! It is a fun read, and for an official review, I had my 13 year old son read it, he loved it, and is waiting for a sequel! (Dave, ahem! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!)
Dave’s books can be found on Amazon.com!
KR: I see a trend in SIDEKICKED and with Standard Hero Behavior that the main character thinks of himself as an unlikely hero – (is this the case with MINION, too? I haven’t read it yet) How do you see these characters? Let’s start with Mason is SHB.
JDA: Heroism is often a function of circumstance rather than superpower. I think all of my novels question what it means to be heroic, though some, like STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR, are more tongue-in-cheek about it. I think that’s why I enjoy superhero stories–because they allow us to explore the contrasts between the human and superhuman, to see (and relate to) the potential flaws in even our most idyllic figures. Mason Quayle finds himself in a situation that requires him to be heroic and struggles to rise to the occasion. Andrew Bean has the makings of a hero–the code, the costume, the powers–but just wearing a mask isn’t enough. SIDEKICKED is full of heroes with ulterior motives, and I think, its this question of motive that makes the exploration of heroism so interesting. My latest novel, MINION, actually explores it from the other side–questioning whether someone clearly planted on the wrong side of the law can still be considered heroic–and, again, I think it comes down to a question of motivation and world view. What do you have that’s worth fighting for?
KR: What elements from the universe you use as the setting for MINION and SIDEKICKED that you wish existed on Earth?
JDA: The moments I like best in those novels are the mundane ones, actually. Drew cheating on a math test. Conversations on the bleachers behind the school. Meeting a girl at the mall. To be honest, I’m glad we don’t live in Metropolis or Gotham or any place where capes and masterminds take to the skies to duke it out. If we did, I would undoubtedly be one of the bystanders, probably the guy who gets stepped on by a giant robot.
That said, it is a lot of fun creating a universe where the ordinary and extraordinary have so much interplay. You see the latest Marvel blockbuster, and for the most part, it’s nonstop, popcorn-munching action. Not always a lot of quiet moments. I like my universe to be more balanced. Quiet, with the occasional supernova thrown in to shake things up.
KR: In MINION and SIDEKICKED you have contrasting narrators: Drew is a hero, albeit a flawed one. Michael is a villain, though equally reluctant, it seems, to embrace that identity. Which character do you identify more with?
JDA: I’m a do-gooder at heart. For all of his flaws and trust issues, Drew is an upstanding character. He faces familiar coming-of-age obstacles–identity issues, daddy issues, girl problems, escaped henchmen trying to knock his head off–but as I was writing his story there was never a doubt in mind that he would (try to) do the right thing at the end. Michael, on the other hand–I had no idea what he was going to do. The act of writing the novel was an act of exploration, attempting to pinpoint his motives, watching him evolve, to create a values system that works somewhat outside of society’s norm. So I guess I’m more like Drew, but there’s a part of me that finds Michael a lot more compelling.
KR: What’s next? A return to the world of superheroes?
JDA: A return to the world of fantasy, actually. Stuttering mages. Barbarians that faint at the sight of blood. Goblin turncoats. And a protagonist who is short a finger but finds its easier to pick pockets that way. Look for The Dungeoneers next summer (2015).