Capes & Clockwork 2 Author Interview: John A. McColley
As a way of celebrating the release of Capes & Clockwork: Superheroes in the Age of Steam, Volume 2, I’m interviewing some of the contributing authors.
Today, we talk with John A. McColley.
- Tell us about yourself and how you got started writing.
While I started writing stories down in junior high during a short stories class, I’ve told myself stories for as long as I can remember. My first role models and friends were Transformers, G.I. Joe, and the Smurfs, as well as a host of other, mostly animated, characters. This may seem lamentable, but I’m certain I was making informed decisions about life seeing what was going on around me and contrasting it to the way people dealt with problems in the magic box in the living room. I’ve turned that play time of running alongside the Flash and Bumblebee to constructing my own worlds, my own characters
- What genres do you prefer writing and why?
I write across the speculative spectrum, but most enjoy the sense of wonder and freedom afforded by science fiction and fantasy, especially tales involving aliens and superheroes. I want to be more hopeful and writing stories in which good wins out help me, and I hope others, get there. I’ve dwelled enough.
- What drew you to Capes & Clockwork?
In addition to the aforementioned love of superheroes, steampunk had always intrigued me from afar. Once I did some research for the original Capes and Clockwork, it drew me in. The characters I built for that first story have gone onto a handful of other adventures and are charging through a novel-length tale even now.
- Give us a quick blurb about your story?
Revenge of the Gorgons is a direct follow up to Aeolus, Chiron and Medusa from C&C1. Aeolus is tracked down by other members of that first villain’s emergent race of snake-headed ladies and chaos ensues.
- Tell us about your hero and what drives them to be a good guy or gal?
Aeolus has led a sheltered, strictly directed, life. Early on, despite his interest in more creative pursuits, he was forced into being an accountant in 19th century alternate Rouen, France. He sat in his small third floor office scribbling numbers all day, but secretly dreamed that something would happen. Having gotten his wish with the appearance of wind-based powers, he falls back on his love of classical myths for inspiration and seeks to emulate the greats in service of his city and civilization.
- Were there challenges for you in writing a cross-over genre (steampunk and superhero)?
My main challenge with crossing genres was incorporating the steamy aspects solidly enough. Not only do I include airships and ray guns, but clockwork devices and pneumatic message delivery. Still, how to tie it into the story? Chiron is the answer, in a wounded soldier who has made himself a steam-powered horse body to get around. The machine also allows him the vaunted higher ground as well as superior reach with his mighty spear, improved running speed and endurance.
- Who do you prefer writing? The heroes or the villains.
This is a tough one. Both heroes and villains have their fun aspects. I suppose I’ve always identified with the underdog super hero more than I’ve allowed myself to accept the darkness in my life and let it twist me into the villain. They say you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. Characters are a writer’s company. You have to be careful to keep balance in your influences.
Check out John’s story, Revenge of the Gorgons in Capes & Clockwork, Vol. 2
And his story, Aeolus, Chiron, and Medusa in the original Capes & Clockwork.