Hi guys! Today I have a special treat for you. I’m a tour host with Curiosity Quills and for the past two weeks we have been sharing Richard Robert’s newest work Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Super Villain.
For my contribution to this tour I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Roberts and without further ado…
Interview with Richard Roberts
Hi Richard, thank you for doing the interview.
First, tell us if you would what was your inspiration for Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Super Villain?
That is quite a complicated story! I spent a whole page tracing it out for my publisher. I’ll try to cover the highlights. At least half my books were inspired by my friend Dana, this one even more so. We just set off each other’s imaginations that way. Long ago we created some ‘tough little girl’ characters, and I became fascinated with the idea of little girls who could compete with adults. Much later, I was asked to pitch some animation ideas, and one of those was about a child mad scientist. When Dana was working on developing Girl into Heavenly Nostrils, we played with the mad scientist idea for about thirty seconds. I decided to run with it myself, and when she provided me with the song ‘Teach Me To Be Bad’, my brain caught fire and the book was off!
And that’s the short version!
What genre do you consider Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Super Villain is? And is it your favorite genre to write?
I don’t worry about a genre when I write, so after the books are finished it can be hard to label what I wrote. This time, that’s not a problem. Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Super Villain is straight out Young Adult. Call it fantasy or science fiction – wherever you put superheroes. It’s meant to be fun, not challenging.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? Was there an easy part?
This was my easiest book to write by far. It flowed. There were some issues in editing with my grammatical style that I am absolutely not going to specifically name. I’d rather not alert my readers to the mistakes that remain! The climactic fight scene needed a complete rewrite, and that was challenging. A beta reader pointed out that it wasn’t climactic at all, and needed to feel like a struggle. They were absolutely right, but rewriting most of a chapter from scratch and inserting it into a finished story? Not easy!
Really, honestly, and truly, those were little things. This book jumped from inspiration to inspiration, and most of the time I only worried about fitting them all in.
What are you reading right now? And who are some of your favorite authors?
I’m rereading the Harry Potter series right now. It’s refreshing, and a great reminder that being surrounded by a magic world and magic people makes the adventures of fantasy interesting. Favorite authors – hmmm. I admire Peter S. Beagle the most, and Margery Sharp’s Miss Bianca books were the most formative for me. How’s that?
And finally, my favorite question to ask. What, in your opinion, does it take to be a great storyteller?
My usual answer is ‘All you have to do is get out of your own way.’ I’ve known tons of people who spend more time worrying if they can write than writing, and they always have what it takes to create great stories.
To get a little closer to the answer you’re looking for – it takes all sorts of things, doesn’t it? Almost all of them can be developed through practice. You need a sense of voice, and an understanding that your characters are people and will think and act like people. You need an active imagination, and a willingness to pour it all over everything in big lumps. You need to be able to put together a plot, a sequence of events that have to happen to get from Once Upon A Time to Happily Ever After. You actually only need a little of that ability, just enough to make that trip. You need discipline, enough to hammer all your ideas into one piece and not get distracted by sounding witty. Having something deeper to say with your story is nice, but entirely optional. You need some technique, understanding what word use good make understand people stuff. (Hint: Simple, sensory descriptions are the most powerful). All of this can be trained and practiced. Tell enough stories, and you will get good at it. Then you will get great at it.
Thank you Richard for your time! Below you will find information on Mr. Roberts newest work as well as where you can get your hands on your own copy.
Genre: young-adult, science-fiction, fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: February 15th, 2014
Cover Artist: Ricky Gunawan
Penelope Akk wants to be a superhero. She’s got superhero parents. She’s got the ultimate mad science power, filling her life with crazy gadgets even she doesn’t understand. She has two super powered best friends. In middle school, the line between good and evil looks clear.
In real life, nothing is that clear. All it takes is one hero’s sidekick picking a fight, and Penny and her friends are labeled super villains. In the process, Penny learns a hard lesson about villainy: She’s good at it.
Criminal masterminds, heroes in power armor, bottles of dragon blood, alien war drones, shape shifters and ghosts, no matter what the super powered world throws at her, Penny and her friends come out on top. They have to. If she can keep winning, maybe she can clear her name before her mom and dad find out.
He’s had the classic wandering employment history – degree in entomology, worked in health care, been an administrator and labored for years in the front lines of fast food. He’s had the appropriate really weird jobs, like breeding tarantulas and translating English to English for Japanese television. He wears all black, all the time, is manic-depressive, and has a creepy laugh.
He’s also followed the classic writer’s path, the pink slips, the anthology submissions, the desperate scrounging to learn how an ever-changing system works. He’s been writing from childhood, and had the appropriate horrible relationships that damaged his self-confidence for years. Then out of nowhere Curiosity Quills Press demanded he give them his books, and here he is.
As for what he writes, Richard loves children and the gothic aesthetic. Most everything he writes will involve one or the other, and occasionally both. His fantasy is heavily influenced by folk tales, fairy tales, and mythology, and he likes to make the old new again. In particular, he loves to pull his readers into strange characters with strange lives, and his heroes are rarely heroic.