The Deli Counter of Justice drops in less than a week, on Wednesday, November 5, and thus we have reached our final author interview. Paul Smith, part of the collection’s braintrust alongside AJ and Eric, talks about his story “…A Hero Only One,” which concerns Piecemaker’s former sidekick Crashtest. Paul discusses the fact that this is the first piece of writing he’s finished, which he claims led to plenty of self-flagellation, banging his head into hard surfaces, and lots of alcohol; the decades he’s spent reading comics, superheroic and otherwise; and his storytelling start as an RPG game master.
Next: no more interviews, but there will be one more podcast before the book’s release!
Continue after the jump for an introduction to the main character from Paul’s story, which Eric challenged him to.
What is the name of your character? Is he/she a fictional person?
He/she has had MANY names. Presently, he is Tommy Pigeon, better known to virtually everyone Crashtest, high-flying “kid” sidekick to the one-time golden boy superhero Piecemaker. And based on that description, I suppose I kind of have to admit that he’s fictional. More’s the pity.
When and where is the story set?
It takes place here* and now**! But really it’s a story that lives inside each of us, every day.
* New Caliburn, de facto superhero capital of the world, nestled up nice and cozy on the shore of Lake Superior.
** Present day, give or take.
What should we know about him/her?
Tommy is secretly the basis for the “sidekick cliché.” He uses several lifetimes’ worth of experience to partner with superheroes, one at a time through the the generations, and helps guide them to whatever heroic destiny the universe intends for them. He’s their inspiration, their youthful enabler, sometimes even their tragic motivation. Whatever it takes to get them to stand up and be all they can be.
This lifetime around, he’s the partner of Piecemaker, a superhero who had fallen on hard times. As Crashtest, Tommy got his hero back on his feet and into the Game. For a little while, at least.
Then Piecemaker decided to retire and open a deli.
What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Tommy finds himself as a sidekick without a hero. For generations, he’s driven those with powers to become champions and defenders. Now, his partner has chosen retirement over saving the world. Tommy is suddenly “unemployed.” But his mission can’t be over, since he’s still here. He hasn’t reset with a new hero to save. And he can’t even talk about any of this, since the universe won’t allow anyone to hear the truth, his truth. Not even his annoying-but-beloved step-sister, Tabitha.
And worst of all, he’s getting old. He’s been a kid for over a century. Today, he’s a twenty-something sidekick with a goofy costume and no backup plan.
So what’s he supposed to do now?
What is the personal goal of this character?
Obviously, the world still needs Piecemaker, right? There’s still something he’s meant to do, otherwise Tommy would’ve reset. So it’s up to Tommy to bring him back, to save him from retirement. Piecemaker’s legacy is still waiting to be revealed.
What is the working title of this novel and can we read more about it?
The book is titled The Deli Counter of Justice, an anthology of nine short stories. You can learn more about it here on this blog, by following us on Twitter, or by checking out the series of author podcasts we’ve released under the title The Deli Podcast of Justice.
As for my story, Tommy’s story, it’s called “…A Hero Only One.”
When can we expect the book to be published?
The Deli Counter of Justice is open for business on November 5, 2014. It will be available in physical and Kindle formats via Amazon, and other ebook distributors.