Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sarah Kuhn Author Interview


Photo Content from Sarah Kuhn

Sarah Kuhn is the author of the Heroine books – starring Asian American superheroines – for DAW Books. She also wrote the romantic comedy novella One Con Glory, which is in development as a feature film. Her articles and essays on such topics as geek girl culture, comic book continuity, and Sailor Moon cosplay have appeared in multiple publications. In 2011, she was selected as a finalist for the CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) New Writers Award. Find her online at heroinecomplex.com and on Twitter @sarahkuhn.

        
  


What was your first introduction to literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
I’ll answer this as one question! I have so many favorites and there were so many books that made me love reading. But one series that still sticks in my mind as a real discovery, something I found in the SF/F section of the library all on my own, is Anne McCaffrey’s Pern. I remember just being sucked right in by those beautiful, vibrant covers with these cool ladies and bright, colorful dragons, and then I stayed up all night reading them. I loved how fantastical the world was—but the characters were so, so human. I also wanted a pet dragon for a long time—in fact, I still do. And of course I loved all the romance. That melding of fantasy and romance is something I really try to have in the Heroine books.

Are there certain qualities that make a novel better for you?
Characters I can fall in love with. I just devoured and adored Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient—the two main characters, Stella and Michael, are so alive, I kept wondering what they were doing even when I wasn’t reading. Like, they existed beyond the page for me. Are Stella and Michael okay?? Are they eating ice cream? Are they in a fight?! Creating characters that real is like magic, and something that will keep me reading well into the night.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
I think there’s almost no advice that applies to all writers—really, it’s about finding the process that works best for you. And sometimes that process will change from book to book. For me, I need to be ruthless about carving out the time to get the work done—but then I need to also remind myself to have a life outside of writing, because that’s what fuels my creativity. There’s a lot of trying to figure out what “balance” looks like, and honestly I’m still bad at it. So, uh, maybe don’t take any of my advice.

In your newest book, HEROINE'S JOURNEY (HEROINE COMPLEX #3); can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about the novel?
This book is all about Bea Tanaka, who is the problem child younger sister of Evie Tanaka, the protagonist from Book 1. Bea was a teenager in the first two books, but now she’s 22 and trying to figure her life out. She really wants to be a superheroine, like her big sister, but she’s not sure exactly how to get there. So in the meantime, she’s experimenting with her powers of emotional projection, dealing with annoying customers at her bookstore job, and falling for one of her best friends. She’s impulsive and loud and bad at sharing food—but eventually she learns to save the world in her own way. Also, there’s a porcelain unicorn battle and a cute dog!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Beatrice?
That she eventually became a protagonist in her own right. I’d originally conceived this series as following one protagonist all the way through—Evie. But once I’d finished the first book, I was really dying to tell the stories of some of the other women I’d come up with—especially Aveda, Evie’s best friend/superheroing partner, and Bea. Bea was always so much fun to me, because she’s kind of a brat, but she’s also so enthusiastic about life and she always wants to put glitter all over everything. I loved being in her POV for a whole book.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most over the course of writing HEROINE COMPLEX Series?
Probably Aveda Jupiter, aka Annie Chang. She was originally conceived as a straight-up diva superheroine, someone who loved being in the spotlight and had a tendency to throw starlet-style tantrums whenever she didn’t get her way. But I remember one of my editors, the great Betsy Wollheim, really pushed me to get under her skin and explain what made her tick—to really get into why she and Evie were such good friends in the first place. That helped me find her vulnerability, her insecurity, her perfectionism—what’s underneath the diva. The perfectionism and the fear that no one will like you if you aren’t absolutely amazing every second of every day was something I could really relate to, and I loved exploring that more in Book 2, Heroine Worship.

If you could introduce Evie and Aveda to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Wow, this is really tough, but maybe the gang from Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series? I feel like they would all have a blast comparing notes on their bananas adventures.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m thrilled to say I just signed on to do more books in the Heroine series—three more novels and a novella! I love these girls and I’m so happy to get to write more adventures for them. I also have a YA contemporary rom-com coming out next year called I Love You So Mochi, which is all about a Japanese American fashionista who goes on a journey of self-discovery in Japan and falls for a cute med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. And I co-wrote another Clueless comic with my friend Amber Benson and artist Siobhan Keenan—that will be out later this year! Cher, Dionne, and Tai on summer vacation!

What did you do for your last birthday?
I generally like to have a birthday week. I didn’t have much time to celebrate this year, though, because I was on back-to-back deadlines, but I did sneak off to Disneyland, I had a couple good meals, and I purchased a very shiny pair of patent pink cowgirl boots.

What was the first job you ever had?
I worked in a movie theater. Shockingly, I still love movie theater popcorn—even though I know how it’s made and also couldn’t get the smell out of my hair for an entire summer.


The final book in the smart, snarky, and action-packed Heroine series completes the "Heroic Trio" as Bea Tanaka joins her sister, Evie, and diva Aveda Jupiter in their quest to free San Francisco from its demon portal problem

If there's one thing Beatrice Tanaka never wanted to be, it's normal. But somehow, her life has unfolded as a series of "should haves." Her powers of emotional projection should have made her one of the most formidable superheroes of all time. And she should have been allowed to join her older sister Evie as a full-fledged protector of San Francisco, pulverizing the city's plethora of demon threats.

But Evie and her superheroing partner, Aveda Jupiter, insist on seeing Bea as the impulsive, tempestuous teenager she used to be--even though she's now a responsible adult. And that means Bea is currently living a thoroughly normal life. She works as a bookstore lackey, hangs out with best friends Sam Fujikawa and Leah Kim, and calms her workplace's more difficult customers. Sure, she's not technically supposed to be playing with people's mental states. But given the mundanity of her existence, who can blame her?

When a mysterious being starts communicating with Bea, hinting at an evil that's about to overtake the city, she seizes the opportunity, hoping to turn her "should haves" into the fabulous heroic life she's always wanted. But gaining that life may mean sacrificing everything--and everyone--she holds dear...

Praise for HEROINE WORSHIP

"Mixing fun superhero shenanigans with great teamwork and a well-developed (and hot) romance, Heroine Worship is a worthy sequel to one of my favorite books from last year. I am so ready for book 3 now." —Kirkus Reviews

"The Heroine Complex series continues to be one of the most fun and thoughtful takes on the superhero genre. By telling a story from Aveda Jupiter’s perspective — or rather, Annie Chang’s — Kuhn adds more layers of complexity, honesty and heart to this series." —RT Reviews (top pick)

"Kuhn follows Heroine Complex with a thoughtful look into the often crowded and complex mind of superheroine Aveda Jupiter, aka Annie Chang, in this roller-coaster romantic urban fantasy." —Publishers Weekly

"In Annie, Sarah Kuhn writes a reminder to women like us who feel too much, who do too much, who want so much, and who have no idea how to manage all of those things at once. She is richly drawn and explored, and given agency to be all that she is." —BookRiot

"Annie’s struggles to merge her kick-ass Aveda persona with her everyday Annie Chang tendencies can be hilariously slapstick, while her emotional growth provides its own tearjerker moments." —Library Journal

You can purchase Heroine's Journey (Heroine Complex #3) at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SARAH KUHN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Heroine's Complex by Sarah Kuhn. 
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