Welcome to the SDCC Edition of “Let’s Get Lit!” on PureFandom.com, where we will chat with an author about their work and their favorite fandoms! This week’s edition will feature the super awesome, Sarah Kuhn!
Sarah’s book, HEROINE COMPLEX is on sale NOW and she is busy at SDCC promoting it! She was kind enough to take a break to chat with me about her book, her influences and her true Harry Potter house!
Meg Bonney: Hello! Thank you so much for chatting with me while you are in the land of crazy (aka SDCC)! I appreciate it. If you couldn’t tell by my recent twitter interactions with you, I am a huge fan! I am about halfway through HEROINE COMPLEX and it’s amazing. I love the “voice” of your writing so much and the characters are so bad-ass in their own ways.
For those who aren’t currently reading your book, can you give a little spoiler-free summary of what HEROINE COMPLEX is all about?
Sarah Kuhn: Thank you so much! I’m glad you’re digging it. HEROINE COMPLEX is all about the adventures of Evie Tanaka, the put-upon personal assistant to glamorous superheroine Aveda Jupiter—who also happens to be her childhood best friend. It’s also very much about Asian Girls Having Fun: doing bad karaoke, eating junk food, and falling in love. Oh, and saving the world every once in a while.
MB: Love it! Tell us about your SDCC plans! Where and when can people go to see you?
SK: A bunch of places! You can find my full schedule here. I have panels and signings every day on a variety of topics, from romance comics to geek girl creators to Asian American representation.
MB: I read that you just finished up a book tour! Do you have any additional tours on the horizon?
SK: The tour is done, but I’ll be doing a lot of events throughout summer and fall, which you can find on my website’s events page.
MB: Awesome! I am sure you get asked this often, but if you were a superhero in real life, what would be your preferred power?
SK: I would love to be able to either shoot something cool out of my hands, like lightning bolts, or to be able to immediately transport myself to anywhere in the world. Although honestly, I would probably use that one for really mundane things, like avoiding LA traffic during rush hour.
MB: That’s a great idea! HEROINE COMPLEX is pretty damn epic and will no doubt have a huge fandom. If you had to give your fandom a name, what would it be? (Example: Twilight fans are called Twihards, Harry Potter fans are called Potterheads)
SK: Ha! Oh, man, I have no idea! I feel like fandoms should always name themselves. More empowering that way!
MB: Power to the people. I like that! Speaking of fandoms, we all get way too into our fandoms here at PureFandom.com. What fandom makes you geek out the most? (A book, movie or TV show)
SK: I have many. HEROINE COMPLEX was influenced by various obsessions, including superhero comics (especially X-Men), Hong Kong action movies, and funny urban fantasy type TV shows with huge hearts, like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and THE MIDDLEMAN.
MB: I am Buffy fan too! It had such amazing character development! I also love the characters in HEROINE COMPLEX. Tell us a little about the characters Aveda and Evie.
SK: Evie is Hapa—half-Japanese like me—and very comfortable being a wallflower. But also like me, she has a definite snarky side and a lot of feelings she’s constantly trying to shove down. Over the course of the book, she has to learn how to stop being a sidekick and start being a heroine—which, to be honest, is something I feel I’ve had to do in my own life and writing. I spent a long time feeling like I couldn’t center Asian American women like me as protagonists. Now I can’t imagine anything more awesome or empowering. Aveda—whose real name is Annie—is Chinese American, very dramatic, and very fabulous. She’s driven by a constant need for perfection, which is another thing I very much relate to. I really love the way they interact, clash, bond, and ultimately come together.
MB: I love their dynamic. If you could dream cast anyone to play Evie and Aveda Jupiter in a movie version of your book, who would they be?
SK: Ha, to be honest, there are so many awesome Asian American actresses out there right now—Constance Wu and Anna Akana and Julia Cho and Keiko Agena and Jenny Yang and so many others—I would love to write an entirely different movie that just features all of them. Like an Asian lady version of The Expendables or something.
MB: Yes, please do! That sounds f*cking amazing! Ok, so if Evie and Aveda were at Hogwarts, which Harry Potter houses do you think they would fit into best?
SK: Evie is a kind Hufflepuff with the occasional Gryffindor tendency. Aveda is a brilliant, badass Slytherin. They balance each other well.
MB: Which house would you be in?
SK: Slytherin. I thought I was a Ravenclaw forever, and then I took the Pottermore quiz and got Slytherin…and suddenly everything made so much sense.
MB: We are always on the hunt for a good book. What are you loving right now?
SK: I’ve read a lot of things I’ve really loved this year. In sci-fi/fantasy, my 2016 favorites so far are Seanan McGuire’s CHAOS CHOREOGRAPHY, which is an awesome urban fantasy set behind the scenes of a dance reality show; Charlie Jane Anders’s ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY, which is a brilliant mix of sci-fi and fantasy with characters you just fall in love with; and Paul Krueger’s LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE, which is an incredibly clever and very funny urban fantasy about bartenders who fight demons with alcohol magic.
MB: Wow, those all sound amazing! Noted. Ok, time to play KISS, MARRY, PUNCH (PureFandom Edition) Who would you kiss, who would you marry and who would you punch?
Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Author)
Leslie Jones (Ghostbusters)
Jon Snow (Game of Thrones)
SK: Amber is one of my very best friends and we travel really well together and have the same taste in murder mystery audiobooks and french fries and I feel like these are really important qualities in a spouse—so I’d marry her. I’d kiss Leslie Jones because I have a huge talent crush on her—I just think she’s amazing and being in her proximity would be a dream come true. And I guess I’d punch Jon Snow because he’s the one who’s left. (And to be honest, I kind of hate that he’s still alive but Ygritte is not.)
MB: I think my favorite thing about HEROINE COMPLEX is how cool it is to have superhero story that is female driven. It’s certainly something that is lacking or bashed right now. (*cough* Ghostbusters). Who would you say are some females that inspire you?
SK: All of my amazing friends. I have multiple girl gangs—many of them Asian lady dominated—who are totally taking over the world right now. I draw inspiration from them in all things and they, in turn, have been with me every step of the way on this book journey.
MB: That’s awesome. Lastly, any advice for writers out there who are still working on getting published?
SK: Just keep doing it—coming up with new stories, working on your craft, cultivating great beta readers. And don’t let people tell you what is “unsellable”—because plenty of people thought an Asian American superheroine book was unsellable. As it turns out, they were wrong.
MB: Thanks so much for chatting Sarah! Have a great time at SDCC!
Want more Sarah? Of course you do!
And don’t forget to get your copy of HEROINE COMPLEX right here: Amazon
Need more Let’s Get Lit! in your life? Check out my interview with Bob Proehl, author of A HUNDRED THOUSAND WORLDS. And don’t forget to hit me up on twitter if you’d like to be featured on Let’s Get Lit! Thanks for reading!
Until next week, STAY LIT everybody!