Hero, Second Class and Hero In Hiding are the first two novels in The Hero Complex by Mitchell Bonds.
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE HERO, SECOND CLASS AND HERO IN HIDING ?
Well, it was a combination of being too old to be running around outside and swinging sticks at people, pretending we were Heroes and swinging swords, and an itch to write down all the crazy things my friends and I had done in those children’s games. My ideas amused me too much, and they tended to amuse my friends and the people who heard the stories about them. So I thought “why not write these things down so you can remember them later?” And it turned out that other people want to read them too. Huzzah! Published book. And with the positive response I received on the first one, it kind of made sense to try and finish the story.
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
Starting out, I was really inspired by a telling combination of authors. For the excellent fantasy writing, I am ever indebted to Patricia C. Wrede for taking conventions and turning them on their heads. For making that even funnier, I look to the early books in the Xanth series by Piers Anthony. (Not his later work, which is definitely not safe for children.) And for solving philosophical and theological issues inside a fantasy setting, I always look to one of the great grandfathers of Christian spec-fic, C.S. Lewis. Nothing beats talking lions for fantasy, and with a few exceptions, Lewis manages to do it without “beating me over the head with the Jesus stick” as one of my friends is fond of putting it. People I’m inspired by now are Christopher Stasheff, who is giving me some nifty ideas for a society that combines magic and technology, and Jim Butcher and the Dresden Files books for the same reason. Because when I’m done with the Hero Complex…
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
Well, it helps to have a solid foundation to build your launchpad on before blasting out into the reaches of space. I think I have a better grasp on writing for deities thanks to my faith, because I can put the *real* God at the center of everything, and then I don’t have to write for Him. I just write for other created beings, ‘gods’ who are basically really powerful angels. Because, really, you can’t write to make fun of fantasy without snarking at mythology and its plethora of pantheons.
Aside from that, though, it really helps when writing about spiritual conundrums, especially ones I’ve struggled with myself. In Hero, Second-Class, Cyrus mulls over the problem of God vs. pain in the world. If he’s all powerful, he can’t be all good, if he’s good, he can’t be all powerful because evil exists, and if he’s not all powerful, he’s not worth worshipping, etc. I had a little struggle with that after leaving home for the first time, and turned to, surprise, C.S. Lewis. I think the biggest thing about having a faith to base your writing in is nice because it gives you answers to problems other people have to really fight with in their worlds.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
Not terribly long, actually. For a long time I wanted to be a game programmer (so that’s kind of writing I suppose), and then wanted to do political science. Failing at the technical and the rhetorical, I turned to the written word, and voila, here I am. It was mostly a need to keep my imagination working and nostalgia for the lost summer days in the woods, having “Destructo the Arch-Mage” attack “Trigger Guardian” and his “party” with his “Destructo Tube.” Destructo becomes Voshtyr, and away we go. New format, new adventures.
WHAT DO YOU MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
I hope that every one of my readers laughs so hard that their stomach cramps up and their eyes tear up. Failing that state of uncomfortable mirth, I just want people to laugh. And if they accidentally get some of their spiritual questions answered or at least their curiosity piqued, bonus points for me!