Today I am super excited to welcome the awesome Katey Hawthorne to Joyfully Jay! Katey wrote the fabulous Riot Boy, which I totally adored, and now has a new book out to share with us, Nobody’s Hero, which I reviewed yesterday. Katey has also brought a copy of the book to give away to one lucky commenter.
So please join me in giving a big welcome to Katey!
Hi, Jay, thank you for having me!
So can you start us off with a quick overview of Nobody’s Hero?
Sure! The main character Jamie grew up in a culture of awakened folk who take their responsibilities as such seriously. They keep their secret community tight through philanthropy, taking jobs where they can do the most good with their powers, and of course intermarriage to pass on both the powers and their values.
Jamie’s an off-the-charts electrical, but he has some nightmare-inducing issues that kept him from becoming a doctor like his father before him. Result: he feels like a massive failure. Now he’s avoiding the imminent threat of marriage to his mother’s best friend’s daughter. He’s not desperate enough yet to break his mother’s heart (again) with, “Hell no. And by the way, I’m gay, so double hell no.”
It’s cool, Jamie’s excellent at managing this dual life thing… until he meets the new geeky hot guy at work, a sleeper (as in non-superpowered type) called Kellan, and neither of them can resist. Kelly’s an all-or-nothing guy, totally honest and upfront. To a fault, because man, he has a mouth on him. He’s also way too smart to be fooled by Jamie’s “I’m just a simple, carefree party-boy!” act. As they grow closer and closer, Jamie’s internal complications end up spilling over and making a proper mess of things.
This book is another story with a Superpowered Love theme. The guys in these stories all “awakened” to their powers and can control things like heat, cold, and electricity. Can you tell us more about the awakened and where this idea developed?
Mostly I think I just wanted to work with basic elemental superpowers — bonus if they could be attributed to the same physiological and neurological causes — and see where it took me. As my friend Reenie helped me figure out how they might possibly work (we have a whole superpowered science page for the curious), characters and situations grew out of aspects of that, and vice versa.
I always think that everything I write is just looking for excuses to give people superpowers. This one’s just blatant about it. Plus, I always wanted to be able to set things on fire with my brain.
Lucky thing I can’t, probably, but I still say it’d be cool.
Do you consider the Superpowered Love stories a series, or do you think folks can read them in any order?
They can definitely be read in any order and there’s no real character crossover, so they aren’t a series in the traditional sense. They do happen in the same world, though. In theory Jamie could go see Riot Boy’s Willoughby Spit on tour and ogle the hot bass player. By design each book deals with a different aspect of superpowered complications, so you pick up more pieces as you read more stories. As a reader I’d like to know they were related in that way.
Which is how I think this must’ve happened. The awesome thing about it is that Superpowered Love is actually just the name of my blog, like the only thing I could think of to describe what I was writing. Someone out in the ether decided that the books needed to be grouped more tightly and that was the label to do it, and others must’ve agreed. It happened completely independent of me, which is the coolest thing ever. That’s the opinion that counts, and I love it. But never fear, start anywhere, skip around, it’s all good.
You are doing some fun things to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day over on your blog with the guys from Nobody’s Hero. Can you tell us more about what is going on there?
Yeah, I love St. Pat’s, so I can’t resist. Today there’s a blog hop going on, so I’ve got fun art of the guys getting their party on and a little post about my family (and sorta Kelly’s since there are extreme parallels). I’m giving stuff away, too, both for the holiday and in a larger week-long giveaway.
Tomorrow Kellan is going to bust out his paddy rock love and DJ St. Pat’s for me. I’m not sure how this experiment will go. You’d think I’d have more control over my own characters, but as any author will tell you, that’s never how it works. Definitely stop by for fun Irish-American punk times. BYOB, though, since I can’t check IDs through the net.
What appeals to you about superheroes? (I happen to know you are a big fan!) Is this something you have always enjoyed?
Haha yeah, I might be single-handedly keeping Marvel afloat. Or that’s what it feels like when I do my monthly buys.
My dad started me and my brother out with his 60s and 70s Amazing Spider-Man comics when we were really little, and I still have them all. I don’t remember ever not being into superheroes. I like the action, I love a good fight scene and a chase and things exploding.
But what really appeals to me — and this is why I write romance novels instead of action/adventure — is the way having powers like that would affect someone’s everyday existence. The need for secrecy, the massive ethical dilemmas, the little things they’d take for granted that we wouldn’t, the applications in bed —
All of your books have a soundtrack at the end. Are these songs that appear in the book, or inspire you when you write (or both, maybe)? Where do you find all these different types of music?
That was my editor Raven’s idea, because I have a playlist for every book while writing and editing. Sometimes the music is actually in the book, like with Riot Boy, since Brady speaks fluent Punk. Other times it’s there now and then — there’s a lot of music in Nobody’s Hero that’s specifically named, since Kellan’s from a very musical family. Still other times, like with Equilibrium, it’s just stuff the characters would listen to or relate to or that reminds me of them and sets the mood.
In some cases, like Riot Boy, it’s stuff I’ve been into since I was a kid. In others, it’s music I’ve been lucky enough to stumble over or have recommended by someone awesome — and not always stuff I’d listen to so voraciously on my own. Like, I had to buy a ton of Gorillaz to satisfy Jamie while I was writing Nobody’s Hero. I dig them, but I only owned three songs when I started, and Jamie’s all “More, more, gimme more now!” in my head.
Luckily I owned a ton of Massive Attack already, so we were cool there, or I would’ve gone broke. I have a comics habit to maintain, man.
You also write dark fiction, horror, and fantasy under your other pen name, KV Taylor. Can you tell us more about these books? How do you balance your time between your two writing personas?
Yeah, that stuff is quite different from Katey Hawthorne, but it does share some similar themes. Both tend to be heavy on the LGBTQ protags and have a little love involved.
My first KV Taylor novel, Scripped, which came out last November, is about a sad Appalachian version of Faerie. The original stories of fairy kidnapping were really twisted and sick, so I Appalachian’d it up and let it go to work on my main character. The resulting love story is fairly depressing and creepy as hell.
The vampire book I have coming late this year called Liam is the first in a series. That one is a straight up romance in a way — though the rest of the series isn’t — but it’s what I think of as monsterlove. I like my vampires unapologetic, tearing out throats and enjoying it. That attitude does not lend itself to a healthy relationship; monsters don’t get to have nice boys.
I think I need both that dark and the light to keep me balanced. Writing dark fiction is great; I love to be creepy, but it requires too much seriousness for me to sustain all the time. Romance, though it’s even more intense and emotional, is better at keeping me laughing and giving me hope in the end. It’s important to me to write a happily ever after on occasion — anything else would be a lie.
Aside from writing, what else do you like to do in your free time?
I’m an editor as well under the KV Taylor name, so that’s most of my time. I run a small pulpy magazine (redpennypapers.com) and edit for Morrigan Books, but I reckon that’s not so free, as time goes. Obviously I read lots of comics and books and listen to music. I’m constantly looking out for the next concert to hit up and I’m a big museum lurker — both of which are good hobbies to have around DC. I draw and play guitar sometimes to relax, but badly.
I also game a bit — I like MMOs (LotRO!) and time suck games like The Sims. I can lose a lot of my life to a given video game, and it’s nice to just switch off the whirring brain. I’m sure you know what I mean there, seeing as I read your superbusy blog.
Can you tell us what else you are working on? What new things can we look forward to reading from you?
I’ve got a couple of things with my editor to see if they’ll work out. One is more superpowered fun with a would-be superhero and an FBI agent. That one’s currently called Losing Better, though my friends refer to it as “Rainbow Underpants Boy and Angry Ginger”. 🙂
The sequel to Riot Boy is written and being worked over by my life-saving betas. I know, just after I said there was no character crossover, but it’s about Malory, not Brady and Et. It should stand alone, too. [OMG, I can not wait for this!]
There’s some dreamy elemental fae love on the horizon too, just to change things up.
If folks want to know more about you or your work, where can they find you?
There’s kateyhawthorne.com, which has the Superpowered Love blog and lots of info about superpowered science, FAQs, and the books themselves — excerpts, character stats, fun things like that. I’m on twitter as @hawthornetaylor, and I have the same username on both tumblr and pinterest.
Thank you again so much for stopping by Joyfully Jay!
Thanks for having me. <33
And now you guys are super lucky because Katey has brought a copy of Nobody’s Hero for one lucky commenter to win! The contest will close Tuesday March 20 at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the contest, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay and leave your email address if it is not in your profile.