Hello everyone! I am so excited today to welcome back the super amazing Katey Hawthorne to the blog. Katey has a new release in her Superpowered Love series, called Losing Better. You all probably know I love this series and we are lucky ducks because Katey has brought a copy of Losing Better to give away to one lucky commenter. So be sure to enter at the end of the post. And please join me in giving Katey a big welcome back to the blog!
Hi there. I’m Katey Hawthorne and I write a series known as Superpowered Love. So far, all of the SL books have been about people who have normal jobs: students, bookshop managers, small-town punk rockers, salesmen, code monkeys. Seems weird, for someone who deliberately writes about superpowers and grew up on a steady diet of Marvel comics, right? All these superpowers–but no superheroes.
Only because that subject deserved its own book, which is Losing Better, out today from Loose Id. But even here, it’s not exactly Superman. I’ll just let Gabriel, aka Special Agent Genêt, the narrator of Losing Better, explain things for me:
“No autonomous unit, be it an individual or a subversive organization, can be allowed to wield the power of judge, jury, and executioner over its fellow citizens. Justice can only be fair and impartial when executed in the public eye—or, at least, that is the only chance it has. More immediately relevant, it is also the only way to guarantee the accountability of those in power. If a suspect or victim is seriously injured or killed or has his or her rights infringed upon by those in a position of power (read: agents purporting to be on the side of justice), who can speak for them if no one ever knows?”
Wait, before you ask, yes, Gabriel is a pretentious ass. It’s all part of his, um, charm. But this is why, wanting to use his own electrical superpowers on the side of the angels, Gabriel dedicated his life to becoming an FBI agent. And why he was sent to investigate suspicions that an old fling of his, Andrew, is using his own powers as a vigilante. Or, to Andrew’s mind, superhero. What separates a superhero from a vigilante thug is the question that keeps Gabriel and Andrew apart even when the heat between them becomes unbearable… and it’s one that comics have been wrestling with for ages.
Since there have been some excellent examples on the big screen lately, I’ll go with those. Like Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy. It’d be so easy for him to just lose it and become an absolute thug, abusing the power granted by his money and genius for his own gain, his own vendettas–one of the central struggles with the character. That’s why we get Commissioner Jim Gordon there, to legitimize him as more than just an angry thug, but a democratically approved superhero in the eyes of the public.
Even The Avengers need a government seal of approval to operate. Yeah, Iron Man and Thor did their own thing for a while, but S.H.I.E.L.D scooped them up right quick, putting them under the command of the singularly bad-ass Commander Nick Fury. (No matter how much Tony Stark complains. Iron Man fans, you feel me.) Now you belong to the U.S. Government; welcome to legitimacy, my friends. If you can’t beat them, make them work for you, says Fury.
Then there’s always The Amazing Spider-Man, who technically works outside the law, occasionally getting in their way, but craves the approval and validation of Captain Stacy. But let’s not front–that’s probably because he’s in love with the dude’s daughter, right?
The issue gets way more complicated in the comics. In the movies, it’s sort of a one-off: Look, our hero is not in fact a sociopath! Gold star! Marvel did an entire franchise-wide crossover event about it (Civil War –it was rough on us all), even. But you can see why the issue needed a book of its own, and two characters that could represent either side of the argument. Side A: the system is imperfect, but it’s the closest thing we have to keeping everyone safe. Side B: the system has utterly failed, and I know I can be trusted with the power to save people.
So what makes a superhero? And what makes a vigilante? And is either of those really so bad? All I know is, these boys do not agree on the subject.
“Because we have a fundamental philosophical disconnect, Gabriel, like I told you. You either go with your mind, or you go with your heart. You’re always gonna pick the former. I’m always gonna pick the latter.”
Superpowered Special Agent Gabriel Genêt’s first solo mission: go to Hooperstown, North Carolina, find evidence that Andrew Wynne is operating as a vigilante, then bring him in. Ten years ago, Gabriel spent a summer alternately torturing and hooking up with Andrew as they tried to ignore their parents’ embarrassing affair. Of course Andrew, the big puppy dog, will be happy to see his old friend and never suspect a thing. Career-driven, cocky young Agent Genêt can hardly believe his luck.
A covert game of betrayals ensues. Things start out complicated, with Gabriel using Andrew’s open arms and attraction to him for all it’s worth. Gabriel tells himself he doesn’t reciprocate, and then that he can control it, but it’s too violent for either of them to deny. As he gets closer to the evidence he needs, a heady combination of nostalgia, genuine affection, and even understanding brings Andrew closer to him. Dangerously close, in every sense.
The stakes are much higher than just their livelihoods. Gabriel begins to fear it’ll come down to a choice between everything he’s ever believed in, wanted, and stood for–and the only love he’s ever known.
Katey has brought a copy of Losing Better to give away to one lucky reader. Leave a comment by Friday, February 8th at 11:59 pm EST to enter.