SO excited to have Patrick here today. He’s guesting on my blog, sharing his insights on Superhero Social Disorders.
First of all, thanks to Laura for having me on her blog today!
Have you ever noticed superheroes are never normal, well-adjusted people? They’re always outsiders whether it’s because they’re aliens, nerds, or just loners. Most have at least one skeleton in the closet, whether it’s the death of their parents, child abuse, a drinking problem, or something else that helps explain why most of these people adopt a secret identity. I’m sure Dr. Diamond could spend a long time analyzing the likes of Superman, Batman, Wolverine, or Spider-Man. There’s just something about putting on a cape and tights and beating up criminals that appeals to people who are not very well-adjusted.
The protagonist of my novel A Hero’s Journey is no different. When she was just eight years old, Emma Earl’s parents died violently at the hands of a couple of criminals. Even before then it was no picnic for Emma as her off-the-charts IQ made it difficult to fit in with her classmates.
After Emma’s parents died, she turned inward and focused on her education and her only remaining dream of someday becoming a scientist. Between her natural intelligence and a lot of determination born out of adversity, Emma earned her doctorate at nineteen and landed her dream job at the Plaine Museum of Natural History.
When she moves back home to share an apartment with her childhood friend Becky, Emma hopes to make a fresh start. Of course things almost immediately begin to go wrong. People start to die and the museum is nearly blown to smithereens. Any hope of a “normal” life goes out the window when Emma finds a suit of magic plate armor that turns her into the superhero known as the Scarlet Knight.
Like any superhero, Emma’s got plenty of problems. She struggles to cope with the death of her parents. Her aunt has severe dementia that forces her to stay in a nursing home. And she has to go out every night and risk being killed, which also doesn’t leave much time for beauty sleep. That’s only the first book! As a little spoiler, in the rest of the series the weight keeps piling on Emma’s shoulders.
There are times when even I think, “Can’t I give the poor girl a break?” But the thing is, we readers don’t really want the pressure to ease up on our heroes. We want them to have to deal with crisis after crisis, whether it’s an external threat like a villain or an internal threat like a traumatic past. The way any superhero series continues for years or even decades is to keep the pressure up on the hero. If you think about it, how boring would it be if these people were normal and well-adjusted?
A lot of it is probably catharsis in that we want our superheroes to have inner demons so we can feel better about our own little problems. I mean sure Superman can fly and he has heat vision and all that stuff, but he still can’t keep Lois Lane. Take that! I think part of why these characters have endured so long is that they can continue to grow and change as writers throw new problems at them.
What I enjoyed most in writing my series is growing Emma from the shy teenager she is in A Hero’s Journey to the mature young woman she eventually becomes. It is a long and bumpy road, but that’s why it’s a hero’s journey, right?
If you’re ready to take that journey, you can buy my book from Solstice Publishing here. The book is also available from other retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To find out more about A Hero’s Journey including character bios, deleted scenes, and a visitor’s guide to Rampart City visit my blog at http://www.ptdilloway.com
Thanks again to Laura for allowing me to take up space on her blog!
Can’t wait to read about Emma’s journey!
Patrick is offering a PDF copy of the book to one lucky commenter! Sa-weet!
Part Two of this exiting post features Lynn Rush and VIOLET MIDNIGHT…
It’s a Blog Blitz Release Event!
Lynn Rush, author of the Wasteland series, has a new New Adult Paranormal Romance series launching and she’s celebrating by hosting a SUPER AWESOME GIVEAWAY! If you enter, you could win a Kindle Fire!
To quote Penny from The Big Bang Theory: Holy crap on a cracker!
VIOLET MIDNIGHT BLURB:
Let the Hunt begin…
Blending in with her college co-eds proves difficult for vampire Hunter, Emma Martin, considering the mystical tattoo on her wrist glows whenever Vamps are near. And after three months of silence, the glow is back with a vengeance.
Jake Cunningham witnesses Emma, a violet-eyed beauty, using unimaginable powers to fight off a fanged creature. Finally, after two years of searching, he may have found out what he’s become—a Hunter, like Emma.
Thankful for an ally in the fight against the Vamps, Emma finds hope and comfort in Jake’s arms. As she learns more about her new love’s family and its dark heritage, she may be forced not only to hunt them but to sacrifice her life to save Jake’s soul.
READY TO BUY? GO HERE:
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/violet-midnight-lynn-rush/1112747880
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT LYNN RUSH? GO HERE:
Catch the Rush™: www.LynnRush.com
TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ONLINE LAUNCH PARTY, GO HERE:
I’ve never been to a Facebook party before, but I’m totally going to this one! It’s 7-9pm EDT. There will be tons of prizes and lots of authors participating. You don’t want to miss it!
WANT TO SIGN UP FOR THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY, GO HERE:
I love hero stories. Thanks for sharing!
That PT Dilloway is some kind of genius. And that Lynn Rush person is cool too.
Ahhh, thanks!!! 🙂
Thanks so much, Laura. It’s a super fun day!!!! Woot!
Congratulations to both of these authors. Emma is a very unique superhero. She cries almost as much as she kicks ass. It’s kind of like *punch/kick *shed some tears and throw another *punch/kick.
😛 I’m just givin’ Patrick a hard time.
I’m about 1/4 of the way through “Hero” and it’s awesome — it’s got this great mix of comic-book-style writing (alliterative names, etc.) and updated/modern fiction writing.
So I heartily recommend it. I suspected it’d be good, having read other stuff PT wrote.
As for superheroes w/ psychological problems, because I’m contrarian I’m wracking my brain to see if I can remember one that didn’t have a troublesome past. I came up with “Booster Gold” and “Blue Devil,” so I’ll go with “Blue Devil” for the win. Per Wikipedia:
Daniel Patrick Cassidy is a special effects wizard and stuntman hired to create and play the title character in the movie Blue Devil. To that end Cassidy creates a full-body costume with a hidden powered exoskeleton and built-in special-effects devices. When two of his co-stars accidentally free a demon named Nebiros, Cassidy uses his costume to drive the demon back, but not before being blasted with mystical energy. After the fight, Cassidy finds that the blast has permanently grafted the Blue Devil costume to his body.
Reading the rest of the entry– I stopped reading the comic after about 20 issues years ago, it seems like the psychological problems started only after Cassidy became a hero and accidentally (?) killed his sidekick’s mom. And became a demon. But that’s to be expected.
I’ve wished frequently that someone would write a super hero story about a normal guy that is just doing the right thing because it’s the right thing. No angst. No trauma.
I just realized both mine and Lynn’s main characters are named Emma. Freaky.
Great post full of helpful tips, Patrick. I’m tweeting it.
And congrats Lynn!
This is fun and very cool. (And I love Penny on the Big Bang Theory).
I love characters that have a painful backstory like this, and they manage to turn their lives around. Sounds like a great story, Patrick.
I love the supper hero cape!
That purple eye is so catchy! And it’s true about superheroes being underdogs. They are so much more exciting in that way.