A Dangerous history|
I love superheroes.
I grew up watching Wonder Woman, my sister and I spinning around in the family room in our Underoos and pretending to fight bad guys. I watched Super Friends, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, He-Man, Jem and the Holograms, and later Batman and Superman. The Spider-Man segments on Electric Company were my favorite part. Our family loved the Superman movies (all but 4, of course) and yes, even the Supergirl movie. I didn't know it was terrible. It was Supergirl!
And I was a voracious reader. But I never came across a superhero book.
My husband grew up reading superhero comic books. I didn't have access to comic books growing up. They were a "boy thing." But I'm certain I would have loved them. I began to read them as an adult--Wonder Woman, X-Men, Justice League, Invincible, Runaways. Dean and I saw all the superhero movies in the theater and walked away feeling as though we could vanquish all the bad guys ourselves!
I was still a voracious reader, but still never came across a superhero book. Why are superhero stories so fundamental to movies, cartoons, and comics but mostly skip novels altogether?
I wanted to write that book. The one that I would have loved when I was younger. The one I would gobble up now.
The superhero genre is a subset of science fiction. Growing up, our library coded books by genre with a sticker on the spine. The fantasy books had a unicorn, the scifi had a Saturn. I went straight for the unicorns. The Saturns, I understood, were for the boys, not for me. Not until adulthood did I question this. Why is science fiction only for boys? And science too, for that matter?
So, yeah, I definitely wanted to write science fiction. As a girl. Starring a girl. Superhero YA scifi, something I hadn't seen before but to my mind so logically needed to exist.
As a writer, what excites me is crossing genres. A western-fairytale-graphic-novel. A literary-princess-story. An Austen-romantic-comedy-murder-mystery. With this book, I wanted to take the realism and depth allowed in novels + superhero adventure story + young adult. Could I pull it off? And would people accept a popcorn movie/Saturday morning cartoon type story in a realistic medium?
Smart People told me that it wouldn't work, and for many reasons.
But I have this problem. When people tell me I can't do something, I want to do it all the more. It took me time to get it right, no question. The book creation spanned a decade.
2003 I knew I wanted to write a YA scifi superhero story and began to invent it.
2004 I first named a character Daisy Danger Brown (changed her name to Maisie several years later).
2005 I sold a synopsis and outline of the book to my publisher, Bloomsbury.
2009 I finished a first draft.
2013 I finished a final draft.
Maybe in 2003 we weren't reading for a superhero-female-MC-contemporary-scifi-YA-novel. Hopefully by 2014 we are. At least, I am ready for Maisie Danger Brown. If I had Maisie Brown Underoos, I'd put them on right now and spin around in the living room.
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