Book Nerd Interview
Pop culture junkie. Comic book nerd. Author of The Cloak Society the first book in a new series about a boy born into a family of supervillains–out October 2, 2012 from Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins. My work has previously appeared in places like Salon, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Gizmodo.
I grew up in Odessa, Texas, studied advertising and English at TCU, and graduated from the MFA program at Columbia University where I studied nonfiction writing. I’ve worked as a snow-cone maker, barista, retail mannequin dresser, and intern in the editorial department at Marvel Comics. When I’m not writing about superpowers, I work in the animation industry and watch a lot of cartoons. Who says you have to grow up?
I like bad horror movies, comic books, cheese boards, and music that sounds like laser pistols. I live in Texas with, predictably, my cat, Loki.
How long have you been writing? Did you set out be a writer or did it start as a hobby?
I’ve been writing since before I could actually write: when I really young, I used to fill up notebooks full of loops and squiggles and call them stories. When I got older and started reading comics, I began writing stories about my favorite characters and what I thought was going to happen next. It was just something I did for fun. Writing definitely started out as a hobby, and then grew into what I wanted to do with my life.
What would you want to be if you were not a writer?
Going into college, I was almost a music major. I really loved singing and music theory, but in the end I wasn’t really happy unless I was doing something with words. I also really, really love to cook. I think every Cloak book has featured a big scene where everyone comes together over food.
How did you come up with the idea for the Cloak Society? It was interesting how the powers of each character matched their personality.
The very first inklings of the idea came about while I was interning at Marvel comics. I was surrounded by superheroes and villains, and was spending a lot of time thinking about what I liked about them and what I didn’t. What I realized was that many times, you didn’t get to know the bad guys near as much as you did the good guys. So I started wondering what a supervillain origin story would look like, and what someone who was raised to be a supervillain would act.
I’m glad you thought the characters and their powers were interesting! That came about in two different ways. In some cases, like Titan’s super-strength and metal underskin, I knew what powers I wanted to use and built the character around them. For other characters, like Misty, I knew the personality of the character and tried to use their power to complement that. That part of the writing process was so much fun, especially since I’d been doing stuff like that since I was a kid.
Will there be any more trilogies coming from you?
I’ve got a lot of fun stuff in the works, but nothing I can really talk about right now. Sometimes when I’m excited about an idea or story I have to keep it to myself for a while. The next thing I’ve got going on is the final book in the Cloak Society series, which should be out next fall!
The Cloak Society has finally taken down their greatest enemies-the Rangers of Justice-in a spectacular feat of supervillainy, and their long-awaited rise to power is imminent. But twelve-year-old Alex Knight has other plans-he has joined forces with Kirbie and the Junior Rangers of Justice to fight Cloak once and for all.
But fighting for the same side is easier said than done...especially when your new teammates aren't sure your days as a supervillain are over.
Packed with intense battles, extraordinary superpowers, and life-changing decisions, The Cloak Society is a thrilling middle-grade trilogy that turns everything you know about superheroes on its head-and in Villains Rising, the stakes are even higher. Fans of The 39 Clues and the Alex Rider Adventures will be hooked!
After the fall of the Justice Tower, the Junior Rangers of Justice and Alex, a former Cloak Society member, hide away in a lake house. Then one day, someone followed them to their house. It was Bug. He can communicate and command bugs. Soon after, the Junior Rangers and Alex break into the rival Cloak Society's secret hideout. There they discover the location of the Omegas, another secret group that works with the Cloak Society. With the help of Alex and Bug, the Rangers make their way into the Omega hideout to look for information about what the Cloak Society has planned. As Alex searches the attic of the hideout, he is attacked. His attacker is a girl named Del. Despite their rough introduction, Del is no enemy. Del helps the Rangers understand the maps that were discovered in the Omega hideout. This information leads the Rangers to the Omegas and the first major battle. The Omegas get away with two Rangers. With the help of Bug, the Rangers track the Omegas to the Cloak Mansion. There they have another battle with the Omegas. The struggle between the Cloak Society and the Justice Rangers is not over.
I really enjoyed all the supernatural powers, like Bug being able to communicate and command bugs. I also really liked how Alex and the Rangers did different exercises each day. The descriptions for the exercises were very precise. The details of the Cloak Mansion made a pretty picture in my head. There was never a slow moment in this book. There was lots of action to keep my interest high throughout the book.