About the Author:
John David Anderson once hit himself so hard on a dare by his sister that he literally knocked himself out of a chair and nearly blacked out. He has since translated this passion and singularity of purpose to the related arts of novel writing and pizza eating. The author of STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR and the forthcoming SIDEKICKED, Anderson is a firm believer in wearing the same pair of jeans for three days in a row (four in the winter). He lives with his beautiful wife and twins in Indianapolis.
You can haunt John David Anderson at-
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In Sidekicked, Drew, has some difficult powers to deal with and master(super sensitive touch, smell, hearing, and sight), so, why’d you choose the route of super sensitivity over everything else?
There were a few reasons, actually. I wanted something that would make him special, but at the same time exclude him. Drew is part of this close inner circle of superheroes and sidekicks. He's clearly gifted. But his powers aren't necessarily bash-a-bad-guy-worthy (or combat compliant, to use Mr. Masters's phrase), which means he still finds himself on the outside of that circle when the lasers start to fly. He's not exactly the first guy you'd call to stop a bank robbery. This problematic balance between inclusion and exclusion fits nicely with what he is going through as a middle-schooler as well, and what a lot of kids his age go through, I think.
Also, granting him super senses gave me the chance to experiment with Drew's voice. Obviously he sees and hears and smells things that we ordinary civilians can't, and much of his own internal dialogue is an attempt to make sense of a world that is always too intense and overpowering for him. He views the world differently, but he spends a lot of the novel trying not to just so he can fit in better, so he can blend with the crowd. Again, I think a lot of readers can empathize.
I seriously enjoyed reading how at times Drew struggled with finding who he was and which part of his identity was the mask. So my question to you is, other than keeping his secret identity a secret, what do you think is the most difficult thing Drew will face in Sidekicked?
Puberty. Or maybe algebra. On the more heroic side I think Drew's biggest challenge is in reconciling his sense of the world as it should be and the world as it is. He believes in rules (for the most part), in the dichotomy of good and bad, right and wrong. He has heroes he admires. But that idealism is tested from the very first chapter--even before, in fact. Obviously the Titan throws Drew's perspective out of whack, and the whole rest of the novel is him attempting to negotiate these gray areas while still holding onto his basic beliefs, redefining heroism in a world where people are never as cool as their collectible cards make them out to be.
If you could transport any superhero from another book/comic into Sidekicked who would choose to throw into the world? Would they participate in H.E.R.O.?
I think Peter Parker might get along well with Drew. They are both smart-alecks. Both have extraordinary senses. Both go to great lengths to preserve their identities. Both have girl problems. The difference is Spiderman has a darker motive, a driving force that comes out of personal tragedy. He's also older and not as naive as Drew and most of the other members of H.E.R.O. On a side note, I can picture Wolverine sharing a drink with the Titan at The Last Hurrah pretty easily.
Since your debut middle grade book, Sidekicked, deals with sidekicks, would you mind sharing with us who your personal favorite sidekick is? Why?
Funny. This is probably the question I've been asked the most frequently, and I really need to just stick to one answer, because I keep waffling. This time I'm going to go with Chewbacca. Partly because I've wanted to be Han Solo since I was four and partly because of all the free wookie-back-rides. It would be like having an oversized dog. With a laser crossbow. Who can play chess. And fly spaceships. And fix the leak on the faucet. What's not to like? Unless wookies have fleas.
John, I’ve heard that writers can be a little quirky in their hobbies. So, what is the strangest thing you like to do or create when not writing?
I actually make board games as a hobby...because writing superhero books is just not nerdy enough. Then I make my kids play them. I also play the ukulele, poorly, and the piano, somewhat less poorly. Oh, and I tried bungee jumping once. Once.
If you could pack your bag and head off to hike somewhere new, where would you go and why?
I actually love to hike and don't get out much, so the list is long. Would love to spend some time in the Outback. Haven't had a chance to hike in the Grand Canyon yet. Would like to hike more of the Appalachian Trail than I have. I would say anywhere that nature has left her great big, wondrous, beautiful footprint is fair game, just so long as I can bring a book with me. And some chocolate.
The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?
Wait a minute. Is this a trick? Am I picking the only hero who is actually capable of saving the day, or am I picking the hero that I would like to see try to save the day. Because if it's the first, I'm going to geek out an choose some hyper-powered deity like Ion or Dark Phoenix or Dr. Manhattan or Superman Prime or one of those other heroes nobody's heard of who, like...burp, and completely rearrange the molecular structure of the universe.
But that's boring. So I'll go with Acid Rainman. I just made him up. He's like regular Rainman, but not as good as blackjack and capable of drenching the whole world in a corrosive, metal-eating deluge. The good news is those rampaging robots are quickly dissolved into rusted buckets. The bad news is we have no cars, bridges, or buildings left.
Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?
It's dark inside. So dark. I should really think about getting a home office.
Any upcoming projects that you can share with us?
Don't know how much I'm allowed to share, so I'll just be alluringly illusive and say that I've taken an interest in exploring Drew's world from the other side, but that I'm certainly not done with superhero fiction yet.
Also, anyone who liked Sidekicked is welcome to check out my other book, Standard Hero Behavior. It's like Sidekicked. Except without the spandex and with swords instead.
You can find out more about John David Anderson at www.johndavidanderson.org or on Facebook at JohnDavidAndersonAuthor.
Thank you so much for stopping by, John, and for answering some of my (weird) questions. Cannot wait to see what your next book will be.
You can check out all the previous tour stops on Walden Pond Press's Blog. I know that all you will want to check out all the great posts for this tour.
With not nearly enough power comes way too much responsibility.Thanks to the awesome people at Walden Pond Press, I have one copy of Sidekicked for one lucky person.
Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. There’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than he does fighting crime. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna – their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw a Volkswagen the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers.
But this was all before a supervillain long thought dead returned to Justicia, superheroes began disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew’s two identities threatened to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to break down?
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