Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Justice League—the High School Edition

High School Heroes (High School Heroes #1) by James Mascia (L & L Dreamspell, 2010, 298pp.)

When Goth-chick Christine starts hearing voices while at school, she fears she may be loosing her mind—until she realizes that the “voices” are actually people’s thoughts. At first, she thinks she’s the only person at Thomas Jefferson High with special powers. Wrong! Turns out that Ethan, her hunky crush and captain of the football team, is the team’s star player for a reason: he has the power of super-speed. After revealing their powers to one another, the two quickly become fast friends. Meanwhile, they discover that two other students have powers: snarky mean girl Savanah (gifted with super strength) and skateboarding loser Peter (able to shoot lightning out of his hands). Then, Ethan has an idea: why not form a super league? (Christine’s initial reaction is less than enthusiastic.) And, as happens with the formations of all impromptu super leagues, the group eventually does come to loggerheads with a villain or two—one of them at Winter Formal, no less.

Been there done that, right? Actually, there’s more to it than that! Not only does the author build up a nice plot, he also pays attention to character development. True, the characters do play off certain stereotypes (the Goth-chick, the jock, the snarky mean girl), yet each of them is distinct in his or her own way. (I can’t tell you how pleased I was when Ethan, who, when we first meet him,seems to be a typical jock, is actually a really nice, smart guy who likes to drag his friends to ComicCon.) Overall, an enjoyable read.

The adventures of Christine and her friends in High School Heroes is the foundation for Mascia’s High School Heroes series. At least three more volumes will follow. Recommended for Ages 15-Up.

Click on cover for image source.

Author Interview: James Mascia

Introducing the first-ever author interview I’ve conducted for my blog! Meet James Mascia, author of the High School Heroes series.

Q: Is High School Heroes your first novel?

A: It is my first traditionally published novel. I had self-published a couple of novels years ago that are no longer on the market. I can honestly say that High School Heroes was probably the first novel I took seriously. Before this I had pretty much wrote for fun and for myself and if I published the novel then great, if not, no big deal. While writing High School Heroes was absolutely fun, I also wrote it with the intention of getting it published. So, after I was done, I edited it extensively, then I hired an editor to find and fix the thing I missed. Only then did I start sending it out to publishers. 

Q: Tell us a little about how you came up with the idea for your book.

A: I was at a comic book convention and talking to someone about how there weren't really any prose novels about superheroes. So, I decided I was going to write one. I've always liked comic books and stories about superheroes, so it was only natural that I create my own and write a story about them. So, I set out with a couple of short stories, which I got published in a magazine called A Thousand Faces. But, even with those few short stories, I knew there was a bigger tale to tell, so I decided to write the novel. 

Since High School Heroes was published, the market has been flooded with super-hero themed books. So, while I definitely didn't write the first superhero novel, I'd like to say I was a bit ahead of the game. 

Q: You’ve already published Volumes 2 and 3 in the series. How many books do you have planned for the series?

A: I have 5 volumes planned. Part 4, called Hero's Burden, is with my publisher now and should be out late 2013. Part 5 (which doesn't have a title as of yet), is what I am currently working on. I end the story-arc started in Book 1 in Part 5. Now, that's not to say another story arc can't pop up (they always seem to in comic books), but after I'm done with 5, I will be moving on to other projects. 

Q: I notice you chose a small press to publish your work. Why did you decide to go that route instead of contacting a traditional publisher?

A: First, I just want to say that there is nothing wrong with a small press publisher. However, I want to dissuade you from thinking that a small press isn't a traditional publisher, because it is. What you're referring to is the big publishers, like Scholastic, Hyperion and such. 

In that case, I would like to say that when I sent out my query letters, I sent to the big publishers as well as the small publishers. The small press publisher just happened to come to me first and offered me a great deal for my books. So I went with them. When I'm ready to do another series, I will follow the process again, and I will send to the big and the small alike. 

Q: Do you have a website where readers can find out more about your books?

A: My books can be found on Amazon.com, BN.com, iTunes, and information on myself and my books can be found at www.islandofdren.com