Monday, May 19, 2008

Super-Heroes in the Lair

posted by Nancy

Eilis Flynn joins us in the lair today. A Cerridwen Press author and investment publication editor, Eilis brings some unusual personal slants, which we’ll discuss today, to her work. Before Eilis joins us, we’ll chat briefly with the hero and heroine of her newest release, Introducing Sonika.

Sonika--or would you rather be called Sonya?

This isn’t going into The Morrissey Herald, right? I’d prefer my secret identity not be blown this early in my career! Call me … uh … oh heck, call me anything you like. Sorry, I’m still new at this, even though I trained for it when I was a kid.

Yours is an unusual family business. Would you like to tell our readers a little about it and about your history with it?

Sure. Mom and Dad were super-heroes, local protectors of Morrissey and Hamilton, twin cities, basically. I was just a little kid when they figured out I couldn’t get away from the family business, when my ability to temporarily solidify sound manifested itself. My powers are clearly from both of them, but an amalgam. Like Mom, I can move at speeds too fast to be seen by the naked eye, but in my case, only for a few seconds at a time. Like Dad, I can manipulate sound, but unlike him, I can shape it. And from then on, I trained to fight crime alongside them. But then they died, and … I gave it up. Until I met John.

What drew you to John, and how did that attraction become something more profound?

He was determined to do what he had sworn to do, even though he wasn’t physically capable. He couldn’t even walk without crutches, but he was going to avenge his father’s murder. I was impressed by that. I mean, I trained to do that, so for me that wasn’t a big deal. He hadn’t, but that wasn’t going to stop him. And he was really cute in a geeky way.

Oh, and here’s John. What did you think when this woman broke into your home?

Well, the first thing I thought was I was going to fire that security firm, since they were clearly not doing the job. The cameras were always broken, and something else was always going on but I couldn’t prove it and the security firm just figured it was my imagination. And then she said she was the physical therapist I was trying to avoid, and she wouldn’t let me avoid her the way I avoided her predecessor. She was just as set as I was to avoid her, not to let me. And the second thing I thought was, you and who else?

What attracted you to her?

She was a knockout. And I also could tell she could knock me out if I crossed her.

What did you think the first time you saw her powers manifest?

From what I understand, I first saw her powers manifest in front of me and I didn’t know it, when she got me out of the way of a speeding car trying to hit me. But the first time I actually saw it and remembered it … it was like something from Industrial Light & Magic, the special-effects movie people. How could this petite woman be doing this? I thought I was hallucinating. But then I realized I was not.

Sonika (or Sonya) and John just received an emergency alert, so they have to leave now. Eilis is here, though.

Welcome, Eilis! What inspired you to write a super-hero romance?

I come from a comic book background! I read ‘em, wrote numerous letters to the editor critiquing the stories (32 letters published), then wrote stories for DC Comics when I was in college, married a comic book fan (whom I met when I tried to join his Legion of Super-Heroes Fan Club), and then worked at DC for a short stint. When I was younger, I wondered why there were so few super-heroines and when there were some, so many were lame. I wrote Introducing Sonika for those girls.

You have another book, Festival of Stars, that also has a very personal connection. Could you tell us a little about that book and what inspired it?

My mother was Japanese, and if there’s one thing that the Japanese love, it’s their legends and stories. There’s one story in particular about two stars up in the sky, a pair of lovers, who are only allowed to meet once a year. But that’s only if the weather is clear. Otherwise, the torrential rains you get in the summer are their tears when they lose their chance for the year. There’s an entire festival based on this story, called -- yes! the festival of stars. The story can also be found in China, where I think it’s called the festival of the weaving maiden, or the weaving princess (in that version of the story, it’s the princess and the cowherder). I always loved that story, and since the Japanese are also known for their relatively depressing endings to their faery tales, I wanted to give the star lovers a shot a happiness. But in my case, I set the story in the modern-day US.

Your first book, which I understand is still very popular, was The Sleeper Awakes. What’s that about?

Sleeper is a good example of how boredom can work for you. I started to write it when I was taking a Series 7 course for a brokerage firm I worked at. It was ordinarily a boring class, but one night the instructor was really late. I’d had a dream about torii, the vermilion-colored Japanese gate you see at the entrance to shrines, the night before. Except there was more than one in my dream -- there were seven. Now, at the shrines that’s not unusual. In fact, there’s a shrine near where my grandmother lived that has a dozen.

In my dream, I realized that going through each of the torii signified something, and doing so would give the answer to something. When I woke up, I knew I had to use that somehow, and the instructor being late to class was just the opening I was waiting for.

Did you finish the class?

Sure, but it was never the same. I knew I had to write the story behind those gates!

In The Sleeper Awakes, my heroine, terminally ill, finds herself in a land not her own. The gates she finds there are somehow key to controlling a naturally occurring devastating weather phenomenon called waterfire, and she is told she has a role in doing so as well. What is it? She doesn’t know … and knows that her days are numbered, whether she fulfills her role or not. But to make sure her life, cut short, means something, she starts out on a journey to find out, accompanied by someone who looks just like her manipulative, scheming boyfriend at home, but who is definitely not.

What do you see as the upsides and downsides of small press or e-press publishing versus the larger print houses?

Lack of distribution. Lack of marketing. The lack of marketing is both an upside and a downside, though, because you really learn to be a media hound. It’s good to know these things, but it cuts into my writing time.

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up my book in a sci-fi continuity series that I started with a few other Cerridwen authors, and writing sequels to Sleeper and Sonika. I was just at a comic convention a few days ago, and someone who had read about Sonika and bought it (bless his heart!) asked when I was writing the sequel. Geez, you can’t get more direct encouragement than that!

Eilis is giving away a choice of one of her books, The Sleeper Awakes, Festival of Stars, or Introducing Sonika, to one commenter chosen at random today. Thanks for stopping by, Eilis!

To learn more about Eilis and her work, visit the website she and fellow Cerridwen Press author Heather Hiestand share: You can also reach it at

How far beyond the bounds of reality do you like your books to go? Did you ever have a favorite super-hero? Is there something in your background you draw on for your work?

If you didn't already check for yesterday's anniversary prize winners, you might want to scroll down a couple of clicks and do that, but be sure to come back and comment to be entered for this week's drawing!


doglady said...

I love Japanese fairy tales! What a great premise for a book. And the romance sounds HOT!

EilisFlynn said...

And the romance IS hot!

doglady said...

Hmmm. My main concern when I am reading something is the "human" and / or emotional factor. Is the story first and foremost and emotional journey? If it is and it is well done, then the sky is the limit as far as the reality factor of a novel. A good writer makes whatever they write believable. And kris, it sounds like your books definitely qualify.

And did I forget to say, Cock a doodle doo!!!!

EilisFlynn said...

Nancy's question about favorite superheroes made me think about the heroes from when I was younger and devouring those comics (who could afford that diet these days, considering the price?!). My favorite was one who had no name, no origin, just ... was. Eventually DC just called her Black Orchid and gave her background, but she was much more interesting without it!

Jane said...

I've been a fan of Wonder Woman since I was kid. What's better than being an Amazon princess who was also a member of the Justice League? She keeps great company, too. She gets to hang out with Batman and Superman. Nowadays, I'm a big fan of X-Men. I like the dark story lines. I like comic books that go beyond the bounds of reality. The weirder the better.

Congrats on the GR, Doglady.

doglady said...

I meant Ellis, not kris! DOH!!! It is almost midnight here in LA (lower Alabama!) I remember Black Orchid. Good stuff!

EilisFlynn said...

In Festival of Stars, the heroine and hero, because they have only the single chance per year to actually get together, have a lot to get through. What makes the situation more difficult is how their lives change through the year, reflecting in how they see each other when they meet every year.

Jane said...

Hi Eilis,
I think Sonika and Wonder Woman could be teammates in crime fighting.

EilisFlynn said...

I always felt sorry for Wonder Woman. She was usually written by men who had no idea what to do with her!

EilisFlynn said...

I think Wondy and Sonika could get along. In the sequel to Sonika (currently in process), Sonika realizes she has to brush up on her crime fighting skills ... and discovers that she never did finish her classes!

Nancy said...

Congrats, Doglady, on the GR and on your Daphne final! I hope great things come of it.

Eilis, I forgot to tell you, I think, that the day's first commenter gets the mythical Golden Rooster! I remember Black Orchid. She had a fabulous costume!

Jane, I read Wonder Woman, too. I agree with Eilis on the writers. Powered, dependent on Steve Trevor, nonpowered and a secret agent, powered again but in a new continuity. Sheesh! I discovered the Marvel heroes later in life, but I like X-Men, too. I haven't read them lately, but they've been among the most innovative comic books.

Doglady, I'm with you on the emotional journey. I like to see characters evolve and grow as they face obstacles. SFF and comic books just present more unusual obstacles!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Eilis, welcome to the lair! As a girl who REALLY wanted to be a superhero, thank you! Introducing Sonika sounds fantastic, as do your other novels. Best of luck with those.

I've never been a big comic strip reader but I loved watching superhero cartoons on TV. Only...why was it a prerequisite for the female heroes to have such large--er--assets out front? I always thought it would be a hindrance rather than a help. Unless they're aerodynamic or something...

Congrats, Pam! I hope your doggies get along with the rooster ok:)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Pam, way to go on the rooster! Congratulations. He hasn't visited Alabama for a while, has he? And congratulations indeed on the Daphne final. You're certainly a superhero on the contest circuit right now!

Ellis, I really enjoyed your interview. Thanks for visiting us in the lair. We could do with some superheroes to pick up all the empty liquor bottles lying around. And AC has kidnapped the cabana boys again! Sheesh!

Could you share with us some strategies that you as a media hound have found particularly useful?

Helen said...

Congrats Pam on the Gr and the Daphne Final hopefully I will be reading one of your books soon

Great interview Ladies these books sound very interesting I do like to try something different to what I normally read.
The only comics I used to read were the Disney ones and the ones in the paper but I used to love watching Wonder Woman on TV.
Thanks for a great post
Have Fun

Gillian Layne said...

Hey Pam, congrats on the GR! :)

Eilis, I love the sound of your stories. My middle daughter eats up Japanese fairy tales and already works on writing her own versions.

Reality is over-rated. ;) Keep the super heroes coming!

Caren Crane said...

Welcome, Eilis! Your books sound wonderful. I'm intrigued by Sonika's ability to "solidify" sound. That could be really handy!

I'm curious. Do you find it hard to write action? Because I get stuck trying to depict even short action sequences. I am in awe of writers like you who depend on them to propel the story forward. Any tricks to share?

And Doglady, congrats on nabbing the Golden Rooster! He should enjoy the weather down your way today. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, I forgot to answer the question! I don't require any base in reality whatsoever. The more fantastical the better. But I can tell you there are many readers (and contest judges) who believe that what they see around them is reality. There is nothing else and should be nothing else. Ever. For anyone. *eg*

I find reality both dull and depressing. Give me a good fantasy!

Carol said...

Your dogs are going to love that rooster!! especially Frodo...

I love fantasy novels, The title says it all...if you like fantasy I think anything goes, magic swords, magic powers, bring it on!
Great characters of course are the crux of it though! and I really like magic/fantasy creatures.

Your books sound great, Eilis and what a wonderful name you have...just right for a rpg Fantasy computer game! in fact the premise of your novel could be Rpg game.

Cheers to all.

terrio said...

Good morning, Eilis. Your books sound like fun. I'll admit I never got into the comic book stuff. I have the practical/logical streak that gets in the way of enjoying fantasy stuff much. But I'm very curious about this solidifying sound thing. And I did watch the Incredibles last night so I'm in a super-hero state of mind.

Do you think you could get these kinds of stories published by a NY publisher? Or is that the advantage of the smaller press, that you do a story like this that is so different?

doglady said...

Sorry I didn't get back earlier, but the GR had Frodo "treed" on top of a bookshelf and I had to negotiate a truce. Of course then the GR took one look at my 24 pound Manx cat and got on top of the bookshelf himself! I would take him to work at the bakery, but the deli is next door and they cook (SHHHHHH!) c-h-i-c-k-e-n.

Hey, Nancy, congrats on your Daphne final as well. I am honored to be in your company! And way to go KJ on your final. Are we all attending the Death by Chocolate Party at Nationals?

Yes, that's me, Anna C - Contest Trollop Woman. SNORK!

Eilis, let my reiterate Caren's question. Do you have any tips for writing action scenes? I find that I either have too much information, not enough or the wrong kind of information. What is a good balance?

Trish Milburn said...

Hey, Eilis! Good to "see" you again. Your books sound very interesting, and how cool that you worked at DC Comics.

I love superhero(ine) stories -- books, movies, TV, comics, doesn't matter. Hubby and I were frequenters of the comic shop across from our college campus, mainly to get the next X-Men comics. So of course I love the X-Men movies. And I loved the new Iron Man movie!

I have a book I've not yet sold but hope to in which my heroine has a superpower -- the ability to make herself invisible.

doglady, congrats on nabbing the GR! I'm sure he'll enjoy your southern hospitality today.

Christine, LOL on the superheroines' assets. I think they all had that because they were drawn by men. :)

Minna said...

I never read superhero comics as a kid, although there were some superheroes in all those Donald Duck comics (Donald and Goofy both had a secret identity), but I like superhero movies and TV-series, X-men, Superman, Batman... And then there was this one comic I always read from the paper about a magician with some strange powers and adventures. I think he was called Mandrake or something else equally strange.

Gerri Russell said...


So good to see you here! One of the things that I have always loved about your books is the poignancy of your character's struggles. So thrilled you'll be doing sequels to Sleeper and Sonika!

As for superheros . . . growing up I had little exposure to them. Nancy Drew as the closest thing to a superhero I ever got to read!

Congratulations on the books, Elizabeth. Love them!


Shelli Stevens said...

What a great interview!! I love it when character's spill the beans :)

Nancy said...

Hi, Christine--Eilis will be joining us again later, but I can answer the question about super-heroine . . . er . . . endowments. It's because all the early artists were guys (and the prime audience demographic was 11-yr-old boys). Now it has become, alas, traditional.

Helen, wasn't Lynda Carter great? I saw her on TV recently, discussing her cabaret run at a New York hotel, and she was just so gracious about Wonder Woman and about it being remade with someone else in the role. She comes across as a true class act!

Gillian, my son is heavily into anime, which I'm told has roots in Japanese fairy tales. When he was little, he fell in love with a video called My Neighbor Totoro, about two girls who move with their father to a farm in northern Japan (the mother is hospitalized). They meet Totoro, a forest spirit visible only to children, and some other amazing creatures. He watched the video so much, he wore it out! Eilis and her hubby gave him the storybook, and it's well worn, too, but still functional!

Caren, it sometimes surprises me what contest judges will nail you on. Sometimes they're right and sometimes . . . not even in the universe of "correct." Entering is always a risk, alas, but it's sometimes great for feedback. *sigh*

Terrio, I loved The Incredibles! What a fun movie!

Carol, I read a lot of fantasy, too, as you've probably guessed. I still have a soft spot for romances based on fairy tales. Which some bandita blogged about. Anna C., was that you?

Nancy said...

Trish, you (and Jeanne? Were you the ones who first raved about this movie?) were right about Iron Man. It so totally rocks! The dialogue at the beginning is snappy and clever and very reminiscent of early West Wing. We stayed until the very end of the honkin' long credits and had a nice little surprise. I'm not saying more; don't want to spoil it. Didn't see your "assets" post before I posted mine, but as you see, I agree with you.

Pam, thanks for the congrats. I'm definitely going to Death by Chocolate, and I think KJ is, but I'm not positive. She's away on a research trip, which will undoubtedly produce fabulous photos we can possibly induce her to share. This is my first year in KoD, and I was salivating over their trip, but my passport has expired! Are you doing that?

You gotta watch that rooster! He has a mean streak.

Minna, there was definitely a Mandrake the Magician! I think most of the superhero movies have been extremely well done. I was excited about Superman Returns, but I thought James Marsden had a better, more complex character than Brandon "Superman" Routh did, which doesn't seem right.

Gerri, you know I love Nancy Drew!

Nancy said...

While the comic book/action movie geek in me is loving this discussion, the history geek is feeling a little left out. That's a part of me I bring to my books, both in writing and reading, as Eilis brings her ethnic heritage. Do any of the rest of you bring something particular about yourselves or your interests to your work, whatever it may be?

Did something in your personality draw you to a particular line of work?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

What a cool interview, Nancy! Welcome Eilis! I love comic books and a I love action heroines and heroes.

My fav comic heroine was one named Sheena. She had all these jungle cats for pals and dressed in leopard skin (which seemed a bit scary since they were pals) and carried a spear. Loved it. Loved Wonder Woman too - hey, there's a brush with fame I forgot to mention on the fame blog the other day - I see Wonder Woman in Starbucks sometimes. :> She lives near me.

Had to LOL about the heroines being well-asseted (Donna, resident CPA, is that a word?) And about the audience being 11 y/o boys. I'd add that some of the audience are men who still have the appetites of 11 y/o boys! ha!

Like Pam and several others have said, I can totally suspend disbelief. Fairies? Yep. Superheroes? Yep. Talking swords? Check. I like it more if the situation is set up with some plausibility, but hey, If the action's fast enough, I'll even give that some slack.

Caren, I'm a great judge for paranormals because I can just "go there" and not worry about reality. Reality IS totally overrated. Ha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, Nancy, to answer your question, I think we all bring something of ourselves to our work. A lot of times my stories are set in the South, because I'm from NC. I like to write about houses because I love houses. I'd collect them if I could. Har! That's the way in which I "write what I know" as they say. Otherwise, I don't have a lot of quirky stuff to build on, family-wise. (jobs, ethnicity, etc.)

Trish Milburn said...

Nancy, my love of the outdoors figures into a lot of my books. And since I kind of remade myself when I went to college, that's a theme that I use a lot -- second chances, remaking one's life, etc. And on the opposite end of the scale, my heroines are usually way braver than me. :)

Glad you liked Iron Man. I thought Robert Downey Jr. was perfect for the role. And I agree about the dialogue.

Re: anime. I've not gotten into it much, but I did watch an anime film based on the book Howl's Moving Castle. I read the book afterward, and I have to say in this case I liked the movie version better even though the book was fine.

Minna said...

Nancy, you mentioned history and that made me think about some mythical superheroes, like Väinämöinen from Kalevala, who could sing another guy into a swamp. Oh, and about hundred years ago here in Finland lived a guy, Kuikka Koponen, who could make people see things -evidently he was some sort of hypnotiser- and maybe not quite like a Robin Hood, but he did some stuff that authorities didn't like, with the help of his skills.

EilisFlynn said...

Wow, so many comments after I had to deal with Real Life last night!

Christine, the only reason superheroines have to be stacked is to keep the
attention of the average comic reader, who is male and not dating. You'd think
that antigravity devices would be required, though.

Anna, the media hound is something you learn little by little (although there
are writers out there who seem to come by it naturally -- I wish I did!). I
remember one week in which I did something for promo four days out of six --
online chats, Yahoo group chats, guest blogs. If I did timed it right (and had
no other life), I could have also found appearances to do. As a print author,
you could add in a book signing. And if you're up for it, there are always
local groups interested in published authors. You can work promo and have NO life!
(And don't forget print ads -- local papers, even, as well as RT, and other

Thanks, Gillian! The current popularity of anime and manga have made a lot of
people who wouldn't otherwise have known about Japanese folklore interested,
so good luck to your daughter!

EilisFlynn said...

In the time it took me to get from home to work, more comments!

Caren, action scenes are basically choreography -- once you get used to thinking of it that way (it often helps to actually act it out, step by step, without actually kicking or punching anyone, of course), it's not hard. It helps if you also remember the impact (pun intended) on your character. A punch is a punch, but it's also really hard on your knuckles. You trip, that's gonna hurt. You get hit in the face, you're going to have a bloody nose or lip.

Yes, Carol, Sonika would be a great role-playing game! Sadly, the guys would shy away from it, though -- the same problem as with comic books. Both rpg and comics are male-oriented!

Terrio, I had two NY publishers interested at the same time, but in both cases, they decided that the interest would be limited. And ironically, Sonika was rejected by Cerridwen, only to have the eventual acquiring editor ask about it a year later (she bought it after the other two).

And it's good to see you again, Trish!

jo robertson said...

Wow, Eilis and Nancy, what an interesting interview.

I was never a comic-book fan, but your stories make me want to be one! I do love stories of the hero or heroine's journey, though, so I believe I'd really like your books, Eilis.

EilisFlynn said...

Minna, Mandrake the Magician! Even in the comics today, you'll find magicians, some more magic than others. I've never been as keen on magicians as The Hub, mainly because in our reality, it's just sleight of hand. I want REAL magic! (Yes, there's a reason why I write what I do.) And I think Marvel is gearing up for a Dr. Strange movie (another "magician," but not quite)! And I've always loved Finnish folklore -- it's the most exotic of the Europeans, clearly from another source. And the creation myth, with broken eggshells?! Amazing!

Hi, Gerri and Shelli! Good to see you here!

We just saw Iron Man over the weekend (it got above 80, and that's always the best time to go to the movies!). It worked beautifully, mainly because it wasn't a superhero movie and thus had the broadest appeal. Think about it -- no spandex, just a lot of technology. But man, it worked GREAT!

And Jeanne, Sheena was one of a kind. I've done a heroines in pop culture workshop in the past, and Sheena has her place in it, for sure!

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

Jeanne, I remember Sheena! She also had a movie serial, I think. Or maybe it was a couple of stand-alones. Irish McCullough played her, according to my possibly faulty memory. Let's not discuss the Tanya Roberts version.

Jeanne, I think knowing a setting is important. According to an author in a seminar I attended, a Very Famous Author wrote a book set in Atlanta and had a character dress formally and come down the stairs with a magnolia wreath in her hair. Huh? Excuse me? A magnolia blossom is the size of her face, maybe her head!

Trish, my heroines are usually way braver than me, too!

Minna, thanks for reminding us of the Kalevala and pointing out Kuikka Koponen. I often envy older countries their mythic traditions. Native American lore has wonderful depth but doesn't get the publicity it deserves (very prominent in C. E. Murphy's books and Tom Dietz's, though). Paul Bunyan never did much for me. I liked Babe, his big, blue ox better.

Eilis, I agree with you on the walking through bit. I sometimes notice that fight scenes don't work because the position the character is in after Move 1 puts him/her off-balance for shifting to Move 2. I figure the author didn't walk it through, doesn't understand martial arts, or had something cut at the last minute.

EilisFlynn said...

Jo, I'm big on the heroine's journey too. In Festival of Stars, my Japanese-American heroine has a lot to learn about how others view themselves, even if it's not the way she does. And in Sonika, she struggles with the family business -- she turned away from it in sorrow, but when someone needs to be protected, she had to face her heritage, all over again! (Hey, this sounds downright Japanese!)

Suzanne Welsh said...

Congrats on the GR Doglady!

Welcome to the lair, Eillis. I'm afraid I'm of the age when Wonder Woman was about the only super heroine, well until Storm came along, for girls to read about in comic books. But my daughter's both loved comics in the '90's and still do. I rediscovered X-men when my middle girl went ga-ga over Rogue and Gambit's love story in the comics. It influenced her to the point of developing her art in an Americanized amalgum of X-men meets Manga.

Speaking of Manga. What do you think of the whole Manga craze among schoolage kids in America? Have you considered writing one?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Nancy, I liked Babe the Ox better too. :> Minna, cool on the Finnish tales.

Eilis, I know what you mean about promo taking over your life. I'm promo-ing my first book and trying to finish the second for deadline - not whining, but I am tired! ha!

Too cool that there were actual live-action versions of Sheena. Too bad it didn't work out for her...

Eilis, don't you think Sonika could make it as a game? After all, Laura Croft did and Sonika sounds MUCH cooler. :>

EilisFlynn said...

Suzanne, I grew up on manga and anime (childhood spent in Japan). I think it's part of the expansion of culture. Manga and anime have always been action-oriented (unless you read the girls' manga, which are all love stories), and the stories have always been streamlined. I would consider writing manga; I'd just have to remember how! I didn't mention in the interview that I wrote a graphic novella for, based on the first category-style romance I wrote back in the 1980s. (It's titled "30-Day Guarantee," if you're interested in checking it out!)

Esri Rose said...

Hi, Ellis! Love your premises and also your personal background. Good for you for giving aspiring superheroines new role models, and also for doing such interesting things with your heroes! It fascinates me that you have the unreality of superheroines married to areality that many authors avoid -- that of illness and injuries. It seems like a niche that could really tap into a lot of people's needs.

EilisFlynn said...

Jeanne, Sonika's powers would certainly lend themselves to a video game. And that costume of hers would certainly keep their attention!

EilisFlynn said...

Hi, Esri! We met long ago, I don't know if you remember, at the Emerald City Writers' Conference. I always wanted to merge romance with superheroes, because that's certainly what I was looking for when I was younger.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Wow, Eilis, I'll have to check out the graphic novella and I'll have my girls do so, too! I've been watching for Sherrilyn Kenyon's graphic novel to hit the book stores. Wouldn't it be great if that whole genre opened up for the paranormal/sci fi romance writers?

EilisFlynn said...

Suzanne, I should warn you that there's one panel in there that's lovemaking, so I'd suggest you look it over first and make sure it's okay for your daughters!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Aren't you sweet, Eilis. My youngest, (son) is 23 and getting married this month, so I'm thinking the girls can handle it! LOL

EilisFlynn said...

And Suzanne,
It would be great if the entire sf/f finally opened up to comics/manga. For a long time, sf has always sort of looked down its nose at comics, even though they are related in so many ways!

EilisFlynn said...

Suzanne, yeah, I guess they're old enough!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Eilis, do you find it easy to suspend your imagination for your stories because of your background and your early interest in super heroines?

EilisFlynn said...

Suzanne, suspension of disbelief isn't a problem for me at all, probably because it's how I grew up. That's why my disregard of magicians has always puzzled me -- or maybe it shouldn't, since I'm just as willing to believe in the "real" magic!

Gina Robinson said...

Hi Elizabeth--

Great interview! Congrats on the books!

Nancy said...

Shelli, Gerri, and Esri, thanks for stopping by! Sorry I missed you earlier, Shelli and Gerri.

Suz, Storm is amazingly cool! I love that part from X-Men (or maybe it's X-2) when she calls up the lightning and blasts Toad (Ray Park, a/k/a/ Darth Maul) out of sight. I'd love to see that new genre open up!

Nancy said...

Hi, Gina--thanks for stopping in!

A note on Storm--she was one of the first heroines I remember with a serious, major, take-out-the-Hulk-or-flatten-a-building level of power. Chris Claremont, who wrote X-Men then, also beefed up Marvel Girl into (the unfortunately doomed) Phoenix. There was Ms. Marvel, but she didn't last long. Wonder Woman, of course, but with restrictions.

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Free Amazons of Darkover stood out as both independent and strong within their world.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Eilis! (What a GREAT Irish name -- Eilis Flynn!) And thanx for bringing her for a visit, Nancy.

I never read many comics with 2 exceptions, Archie (I liked Betty & Veronica, never could figure what either of them saw in Archie) and Wendy Pini's Elfquest comics of the early 80s.

Thanx for the promotion tips, Eilis. Since my debut novel will be out in a few months, I'm going to be doing a lot of that myself. Have you done any direct mail promos? Just wondering if they are worthwhile.

still hung-over from the truths and lies party yesterday

EilisFlynn said...

Hi, Gina! Thanks, and good luck to you! November will be here before you know it for your debut book, so be prepared!

Nancy, I was reading a '70s book by Stan Lee on Marvel superheroines the other day, and I was amazed at how things have changed and how they haven't. Storm was the real demarcation line for Marvel superheroines (that was Len Wein, wasn't it? It's been a while), and I was disappointed at how the movies had to weaken her. She should have been able to pound virtually everyone.

Loucinda, the thing you have to remember is to not be shy about telling everyone you know or encounter about your upcoming book! And hit every chance to be interviewed (thanks again, Nancy!) and guest blog, post, online chat, etc. I have two group chats scheduled for this week, for that matter, as well as the Cerridwen Press authors blog (at on Wednesday, which doesn't get anywhere near the hits Romance Bandits does!

Direct promo I'm unsure about, because unless you have another contest or promotion connected with it, you have to practically rap the casual reader over the head at least twenty times before it sticks. (The Hub is a marketing guy, so this is what he says.) If you're in print, though, I hear that Pat Rouse's list is a good one, but for a first book, go cheap.

Minna said...

You know, Nancy, Native Americans have got one story we Finns have, too, namely how bear lost his tail.

Among other things Kalevala has been turned into many different comics, but one of my favorites is definitely Väinämöinen's Return, where Väinämöinen returns to modern day Finland after being away for a long time. And of course there is the Disney comic, a Quest for Kalevala by Don Rosa.

Eilis, I think I'd like to see that movie. I love fantasy and magic. And no, it's not the same in real life, is it? Although I appreciate a good magic show. As long as there isn't someone next to me trying to explain how it's done -my brothers love to do that even though they don't have a clue.

Anna Campbell said...

Ellis, thanks for the word from the promo hound ;-)

Why do you think culturally so many Asian fairytales have sad endings? Actually Asian love stories in general. There's all this amazing passion and then everything ends in tears!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, my goodness, I'm so sorry, Eilis! I'm not wearing my glasses and I read your name as 'Ellis'. Huge apologies!!!

Pat Cochran said...

Hello, Eilis,

WOW! Is this ever like a blast from
the past! Both my sons, from the
time they learned to read, lived on
DC Comics and SUPER HEROES! I have
to capitalize the words because,if
one can verbally do so, that is how
the boys pronounced the words. Even today as adults they still have a SUPER HERO interest. Joel has even turned his children onto DC. His eldest daughter has a
quite a great interest in anime
and will be majoring in Japanese Studies when she goes off to
college next year. I look forward
reading your work.

Pat Cochran

EilisFlynn said...

Minna, Yasmine Galenorn is a big fan of Finnish folklore and uses a lot of Finnish tidbits in her Sisters of the Otherworld series.

Anna, I've often wondered myself why it is that Asian stories have such sad endings. I have no idea! That may be why American culture holds such an interest for them, with our amazing optimism. It may be that the concept of reincarnation plays into it somehow; no matter what you do, you're gonna have to be reincarnated, and start all over again.

Pat, now that's the spirit! DC appreciates it, I'm sure (and I still have Warner stock, so I do too!)! I've always been a DC girl myself -- never been much of a Marvel fan for one reason or another. And as for your daughter, good luck!

Minna said...

Anna and Eilis, take a look at When Cultures Collide by Richard D. Lewis. You might get an idea why the stories have sad endings. I have studied Japanese and Japanese culture and... There's all this stuff about losing your face, meeting your parents and the societys expectations and the conflict of those expectations with your own wishes... It's no surprise to me that Asian stories have such sad endings, both in Fiction and in real life.

I guess I need to get some Yasmine Galenorn's books to my hands. Also Anna Frasier has used Finnish stuff in at least one of her books and when the story happens in a town called Tuonela, you can guess it's not light reading.

Joan said...

Welcome to the lair, Eilis!

Your books sound fabulous. I love stories based on fable and tales. I especially think it is too cool about your dream and the seven gates!

As to superheroes...can't say I identify with one or the other. Maybe Storm from the X-men.

Hey, maybe you could write a comic book starring the GR! Doglady, ask him what he thinks. And don't take "cluck" for an answer.

Cassondra said...

Welcome Eilis!

I'm so pumped that you're giving superheroines a) some kick-butt powers and b) some frailties--some room for a growth curve. That seemed to be lacking in a lot of the superheroes AND heroines I remember from childhood. But really there weren't many women--just WonderWoman really. And I liked the tv show a lot bette than the comic book honestly. The invisible jet just sort of aggravated me. I mean, WW wasn't invisible, so what was the point of the jet being invisible....?????

Oh well. It's obvious why I don't write comics.

BUT I'm also loving that your hero has physical limitations of one sort or another. That contrast between superhero female and male who is struggling with something physical is such a nice twist and I see lots of room for conflict and character growth. Love it!

Anna Campbell said...

Minna, I had a feeling a little like this. Because a lot of medieval love stories have sad endings too - think of King Arthur or Tristan and Isolde. These were cultures where family bonds and duty were the mainstays and love is the great revolutionary. It's the wild force that operates by its own rules beyond the demands of duty and honor. Love and duty create the clash of two immovable forces and tragedy results.

Nancy said...

Hi, Eilis--I thought Storm was Claremont/Byrne, but she might've been Len Wein.

AC, I bought Betty & Veronica's Summer Fun every year from jr. high to graduation from high school. Betty was clearly the better person, but Veronica had dark hair, so I was torn. Not about Reggie though--he was a jerk!

Jane--just remembered something about Wonder Woman (may have involved Black Canary, too). The Justice League was in a big battle, and several people were hurt. Flash told WW to tend to them, and her response was essentially, "You tend to them. They need me over there." At the time, it was sort of a first in gender dynamics and didn't come over as cold as it sounds here.

Minna, that's cool about the common legend. Eilis knows more waay about this than I do because she was a linguistics anthropology major, but there seem to be a lot of common word roots not entirely traceable to the spread of Indo-European. I think it's fascinating when things pop up in different cultures but have similar structures.

Eilis, don't you have Finnish passages in Festival?

Pat C., I discovered comic books when I was seven and clung stubbornly to them ever after. I was also a DC person, coming to Marvel much later. Eilis and I actually met through Legion of Super-Heroes fandom.

Nancy said...

Cassondra wrote: The invisible jet just sort of aggravated me. I mean, WW wasn't invisible, so what was the point of the jet being invisible....????

I had to laugh. Many years ago, on Halloween, a woman answered her door in a WW costume, which just blew the boy (about 7 at the time) out of his socks. He couldn't believe a grownup was dressed as Wonder Woman. As we stepped off the porch, she called, "Watch out for the robot plane. It's right by the driveway." That's probably his most memorable Halloween interaction!

Minna, I'm going to check out that book you recommended. It sounds fascinating.

Minna said...

Nancy, that story I mentioned... It's amazing how similar it's different versions are both in Finland and in the U.S.A., but everyone don't have both parts of the story, How a fox stole fish from a farmer and how bear lost his tail. Karen Kay told me that the Iroquois also have both stories, but she has not run across the first part of the story in the other tribes.

Minna said...

How a fox stole fish from a farmer

It was winter and the fox was hungry. But as luck would have it, he saw a farmer driving a sleigh. He had his nets, so he was going to the lake to fish. So the fox decided to wait. When he saw the farmer was coming back, he went to the road, laid down and pretended to be dead. The farmer thought it was his lucky day! First all that fish and now a dead fox! His wife would love to have a new fox pelt! So he took the fox from the road and put him in his sleigh. The fox waited a while longer and when he saw the farmer was totally concentrated on driving his horse and sleigh home, the fox started silently throwing fish out of the sleigh. When the last fish was laying on the road the fox jumped from the sleigh and started collecting his loot from the road. In the meantime the farmer had reached home and was telling his wife the happy news. But when his wife went to see the fox and all that fish, there was no dead fox or one single fish left.

The bear goes fishing

One day at winter a bear had woken up from his winter sleep and was going for a walk through the forest. He met a fox that was burying fish into snow. Where did you get all that fish? The fox told a lie because he didn't want to share his fish with the bear. He had stolen them from the farmer, but the fox said:I caught it in the lake. I put my tale into a hole in the ice that farmer had made and when the fish bit it, I pulled it out and I caught them.The bear wanted to fish like the fox and put his tail into a hole in the ice.The night fell and the water around bear's tail froze and when the bear tried to get up his tale broke. From that time the bear has not got a tale or if it has it is very short.

Minna said...

That was the Finnish version.

Nancy said...

Minna--thanks. The part about the bear's tail freezing sounds familiar. I must have heard or read that story somewhere.

That book When Cultures Collide sounds intriguiing.

Pat C., have your kids ever been to a comic book convention? ComicCon in San Diego is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in the world. Lots of SFF TV show producers preview their seasons there. In the Southeast, DragonCon is massive and growing--comic books, SFF, science, costuming, anime--a huge variety of tracks, and last year, they had publisher spotlights, too. ( If they're that into comics ad manga, they might enjoy that scene. Most cons sell one-day passes if they just want to dip a toe in and see how it goes.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, I go away for an hour and boom! A ton more comments! Minna, great story. :> I had read the Native American version. Really cool.

Its funny to think about the development of Storm in X-men. Hadn't thought about it before. Innnnnteresting....

Hey Donna, does that make your character who goes invisible in The Trouble with Moonlight, a Regency superhero? Grins.

EilisFlynn said...

Minna, those cultural factors are so ingrained into me that I never would have thought of them! Thanks for reminding me! And until Nancy reminded me, I'd forgotten there's a bit of Finn in Festival of Stars, almost an aside. And in Yasmine's work, there's some very notable Finnish bits. The folk tales are really interesting, too. I'll have to do some research into them and see how they compare with other cultures!

Joan, I'd be too chicken to ask! (Sorry.)

Cassondra, I think that invisible jet bugs everyone with any brains! If I had taken more than one psych class, I'm sure that there's some deep-seated meaning about it (Charles Marston, the official creator of WW, was a strange guy!).

Nancy, I love that Halloween story. That is wonderful!

EilisFlynn said...

A Regency superhero is a GREAT idea!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, great, so it's not enough for a woman to have superpowers, she has to be stacked, too.LOL Thanks for the explanation, Trish, Nancy and Eilis. I should have thought of that.

limecello said...

Hi Eilis!
Thanks for visiting with us today. :) Hm, as usual, I have to vacillate. I tend to like books rather firmly rooted in reality. But at the same time, I like paranormals - and X men type things will always have a soft spot in my life. Can I say I like realistic supernatural/paranormal reads? LOL. I read a lot of fantasy growing up...

Nancy said...

I'm with Jeanne and Eilis, Donna. I think you got yourself a Regency super-heroine!

Minna, it's fascinating that some parts of the story cross boundaries and some don't!

Madame, the only modestly endowed super-heroine was, for a long time, Light Lass of the Legion of Super-Heroes. She was just normal. There's some word for the usual "look." Zoftig? Zaftig? Eilis? Somebody? What is it?

Limecello wrote: Can I say I like realistic supernatural/paranormal reads? You'll have a lot of company, I suspect. Around here, you can say pretty much anything. Well, anything that doesn't turn the air blue around the monitor. *g*

EilisFlynn said...

LIght Lass had to be modestly bosomed, Nancy. After all, she had to disguise herself as her brother for a while! (For those not used to such shenanigans, this is a character from the Legion of Super-Heroes. And it's a loooong story, but entertaining!)

EilisFlynn said...

Not a German language speaker, but I believe it's "zaftig," Nancy. Pulchritudinous? Hourglass? Curvy? What would you call Big Barda (a character from another group)? I always thought she was kinda scary!

Carol said...

Minna, thanks for telling those stories of fox and bear...I hadn't heard them!

Frodo and the GR on top of the bookcase with a big pussycat prowling the floorboards! LOL,LOL

Cheers Carol

Juliet Marrillier wrote a book series - The Sevenwaters Trilogy with the 7 swans legend as the basis, fantastic series!

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Ellis! Your books sound fantastic - love the idea of basing a story on a Japanese legend!

I can go as far beyond reality as a story can take me but I need to be able to emphathize with the characters.

Right now I'm watching Roswell on DVD and while the premise is pretty far fetched, I'm happy to go along for the ride *g* The Aliens may have 'gifts' and abilities that humans don't have but they're easy to relate to because even through they're from outer space, they still have a lot of the same emotions their human counterparts have: fear, love, lust, anger :-)

Great interview!!

Jacquie Rogers said...

I really hope Introducing Sonika finds its audience because it's such a great story, and the whole idea of a super-heroine having a romance is long, long, overdue. But hey, who better to write such a story? And I must say, you pulled it off really well. I stayed up reading way past my bedtime to finish the book!

It's such a fun concept. I agree Sonika should have her own game, and I definitely agree that she should have her own series.


Virginia said...

As long as a book is well written you can take it to the limit.

Super Man was alway my hero. He was aways so nice looking.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I believe its "Zaftig" or "Zaftiga" as well. Think St. Pauli Girl as zaftiga. I never new The Lass you referred to, but she'd have to be slight to hide her sex in Comic world. Usually the superhero gals lead with...well, the girls! Heehee

Esri Rose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

Beth, there are some people on my Stargate fandom loop who are obsessive abour Roswell. I meant to check it out when it re-ran on SciFi, but I could never seem to catch the beginning of an episode. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

Carol, I remember those Juliet Marillier books. Weren't some of them based on fairy tales?

Jacquie, thanks for stopping by!

Virginia, I always liked Superman, too. He was just so . . . noble. In recent years, DC played up a contrast between Batman as a hero born in the traumatic murder of his parents, a man most at home in the night, and Superman as a hero inspired to give back to his adopted world, a man whose nature embodies the sun that gives him his powers.

Jeanne, what gave Light Lass away (in her heavily padded suit, which must've been a 30th century version of the one George Reeves wore as Superman; she was then Lightning Lass, but explaining that makes the story EVEN longer) was the absence of an Adams apple.

Esri, isn't that a great conference? I went once, and I do believe it's the best food I ever had at a conference. Any conference. Of any kind. It was terrific.

Esri Rose said...

Eilis: Wow, I'm glad I got back on here and had a look-see! The Emerald City romance conference was my first conference EVER (six, seven years ago?), and I cannot believe you remember me from that. How great are you?! Very great!

Esri Rose said...

Nancy: It was a great conference. Super nice people. I don't remember the food.

Regarding, Light Lass/Lightening Lass... It wasn't her name that gave her away? ;]

EilisFlynn said...

Beth, Roswell was a show with promise. And you know what THAT means -- it was remarkably uneven. I always meant to look up the book series and see how it compared.

Jacquie, you make me want to figure out how to devise a game for Sonika! If only I played games!

Virginia, Nancy can tell you this about Superman: He's good. He's noble. He's a demi-god! It's because he's so perfect that quite often Batman was more popular in certain circles, just because Batman is a wacko. (That's why the Joker is the classic nemesis for the Batman: psycho vs psycho.) Superman would have abandonment issues, and I've always wondered why his writers don't make more
of that!

Esri, I've been looking forward to your books for years!

EilisFlynn said...

Esri, you don't want Nancy or me to start to explain the saga of Lightning Lass/Light Lass!

EilisFlynn said...

I had to check -- it was Len Wein who came up with Storm. She was one of the original new X-men. Len and (the late) Dave Cockrum.

Thank you all for this opportunity! Good night!

Nancy said...

Esri -LOL!

Eilis wrote: It's because he's so perfect that quite often Batman was more popular in certain circles, just because Batman is a wacko. (That's why the Joker is the classic nemesis for the Batman: psycho vs psycho.) Superman would have abandonment issues, and I've always wondered why his writers don't make more of that! All quite true, alas. The tortured depths of Batman's psyche give writers, apparently, more room to work. Also, it's hard to find a villain who can oppose (for more than a fraction of a second) a hero who can move planets from their orbits.

Pat Cochran said...

Nancy, for some reason,we've never had a major comic book convention
here in Houston. There have been
a couple of medium-sized shows and
my sons did attend those.

Pat Cochran

flchen1 said...

What a great interview! I grew up watching Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman, so I still think they're pretty cool! But a more modern take on superheroes sounds very fun :)

Congrats on the GR, doglady!

traveler said...

I enjoy fantasy and fairy tales that do have a reality and realm that I can identify with. Superheroes are more the Star Trek type for me. Captain Kirk and Captain Picard always appealed to me.