As our author interviews for The Deli Counter of Justice continue, editor-in-chief Arlo J. Wiley (or AJ when he’s not being pretentious) finds himself in the hot seat. AJ discusses his short story “Innovation,” about a D-list supervillain who starts frequenting the deli he doesn’t realize is owned by his former archnemesis. Other points of discussion are AJ’s history with screenwriting, how he learned to read in part from ’70s and ’80s superhero comics, and about his desire to take superheroes in a new direction.
Next: Paul and Eric chat with “Delilah by Proxy” author Alyssa Herron on Tuesday, October 28.
Continue after the jump for an introduction to the main character from AJ’s story, which Eric challenged him to.
What is the name of your character? Is he/she a fictional person?
This being a superhero book, my character has two names. There’s Charles Strewski, his birth name, his secret identity. That’s the one he uses these days. Years ago, when he fit into electric blue spandex, he went by Doctor Battery. And yes, he is mercifully fictional.
When and where is the story set?
The time? Now. The place? Anywhere, USA. Well, that’s not strictly true; the story is set in the city of New Caliburn, which serves as the unofficial superhero capital of the world. Go for a walk, you’re guaranteed to see at least one or two superpowered brawls. Which at times can make it a little difficult to remember the unspectacular people whose lives are happening around them.
What should we know about him/her?
This being a superhero book, there are going to be villains. Charles is one of them. His powers are limited; he can place his hands on any mechanical device and power it on. Or, piss him off enough, he’ll give you a nasty case of static shock. When he went around as Doctor Battery, Charles partnered with a genius inventor calling himself Professor Innovation. Professor Innovation was capable of building wondrous weird science contraptions, though getting them to work proved more difficult. Enter Doctor Battery.
Doctor Battery and Professor Innovation were strictly D-grade villains, never taken very seriously, though they had a number of run-ins with the superhero Piecemaker. AKA Carl Cook, the central figure of our book.
What’s the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Charles is still trying to put his life back in order after a second stint in jail for non-superpowered crimes. He faces the same problems any ex-con does: he has no money and can’t find a place to live or work. This is complicated by the resentment he harbors toward the now-retired Piecemaker and the role Charles feels his nemesis played in driving Professor Innovation away; how does he just get to ruin Charles’ life and then go into hiding like a coward?
One day, wandering down the Row, home to many of New Caliburn’s premier shops and restaurants, Charles happens upon Cook’s Deli. The food’s good and, more importantly, cheap; it becomes his regular lunchtime stop. There’s a chance he may eventually realize the man behind the counter bears a striking resemblance to his arch-enemy.
What is the personal goal of this character?
To get back on his feet. To prove to everyone who never gave him a fair chance that he can make it without their help. To take revenge on Piecemaker if he ever sees that smug, masked face again.
What is the working title of this novel and can we read more about it?
The title ain’t working (much like Charles). If you’ve read this far, hopefully you’ve gleaned that the anthology is titled The Deli Counter of Justice. My story itself is called “Innovation.” For all your Deli needs, please peruse the tag on this very blog.
When can we expect the book to be published?
The Deli Counter of Justice will be available in both physical and digital formats on Wednesday, November 5.