I’m so pleased to have Wesley King on the blog today, which just happens to be the release day for his new YA book, The Vindico, featuring a group of teen superheroes that you won’t soon forget. Wesley was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, so please welcome him to the blog!
Wesley, your new book The Vindico, is out today!! Have you always wanted to be a writer? Can you tell us a bit about your journey?
Actually, my career aspirations have changed dramatically with time. Initially it was a Ninja Turtle, until I became old enough to realize that being a turtle was impractical for any number of reasons. From there it was a member of the X-Men, until I saw Return of the Jedi, upon which I became convinced that I was the last (and totally forgotten) Skywalker. So I suppose I was always destined to be a writer, though I haven’t entirely abandoned being a Jedi. In a more practical sense, I have always loved writing. I was actually a bit of a jock in school (which is ironic, because
I slept with Star Wars sheets until I was 18), and didn’t publicize that passion until grade 12. That year, at the urging of a teacher, I took up Writer’s Craft and won the award at graduation. From there I started to actually believe I could do this.
How did you celebrate when you found out that The Vindico would be published?
When I first received the call, I was watching the first game of the World Cup in 2010. When my agent told me, I literally sat down in the middle of my kitchen floor, all alone, and listened with a probably dumbfounded expression as she told me they wanted the sequel too. When she hung up, I actually danced. Around the kitchen, in the backyard. Actually, it was rather lucky I was alone. I’m not a good dancer.
The Vindico is described as X-Men meets The Breakfast Club. I’m in! Will you give us a teaser?
That was actually my agent Brianne Johnson’s pitch—I loved it the second I heard it. I think everyone loves the idea of different social stereotypes coming together, probably because we all secretly wonder how they came to push everyone apart in the first place. In terms of a teaser, I will leave it to Emily, the bitingly-sharp computer genius:
“If you teach a bunch of kids to be supervillains, you can’t expect them to follow the rules.”
The sequel, The Feros, will be out next year. Do you already have in mind the number of books you’d like to write in the series?
I do actually. The thing I love most about Harry Potter is how we follow the characters as they grow, and I’d love to do the same thing with mine. I believe that readers will really connect with James, Hayden, Lana, Emily, and Sam, and want to grow up with them. So as a short answer, I’d like to do 6 overall. Suffice to say the books would grow darker and more convoluted as they went, and explore some of the issues about power that I think would (and do) come into play in the real world.
As an adult, is it a challenge to write for a teen audience?
It would be, if I ever grew up myself. I’m pretty much a twenty-five-year-old teenager. I still think there is another Skywalker.
What are some of your favorite authors or books?
It varies big time. I love Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and The Inheritance Cycle, but I also love Tolstoy and Dickens. The end of A Tale of Two Cities stuck with me for a very long time, and I still think it’s one of the great literary examples of truly unselfish love. But if I had to name one author, it would probably be James Clavell. I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and Shogun is one of my all-time favorites.
What was your favorite book as a child?
That probably depended on the year – I loved Roald Dahl, and My Side of the Mountain was a favorite for a while. It spoke to that inherent yearning for independence and adventure in all kids, and I used to joke with my agent that I was going to move into a hollow tree if we didn’t sell the book soon. And of course, as a Star Wars buff, there were any number of those. The Courtship of Princess Leia was a main one, probably because the word courtship was scandalous for a very shy eight-year-old.
Favorite line from a book?
I’d have to go back to A Tale of Two Cities for the very last line from Sydney Carton as he awaits his execution: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.”
If you could be any superhero, who would you be?
It’s ironic, but I’d probably choose the superhero I was always least interested in: Superman. I always preferred my superheroes to be deeply-flawed and haunted and vulnerable, which is why I gravitated toward X-Men growing up. But Superman can fly around the Earth so fast that he reverses time. That’s badass.
When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I still play a lot of sports—soccer, football, hockey—and I’m a bit of a movie buff. I also read as much as I can, of course, and I am currently reading Game of Thrones. But really, when I have a good chunk of free time, I like to be writing. It’s like reading a book where the characters magically keep saying and doing everything I‘d like them to.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about upcoming projects or events (or anything at all!)?
In terms of upcoming projects, I’m still finishing up editing for The Feros and I’m also currently working on outlines for the remainder of the series. But I’m a fairly prolific writer—I wrote my last novel in 11 days. I have written the first novels in two separate series—one a YA dystopian fantasy and the other adult sci-fi—and another about a sarcastic and brilliant overweight girl who challenges the status quo. I also have a very dark horror/comedy screenplay being considered in Hollywood, and I have even been delving into the world of television. Suffice to say I like writing. And I am currently booking readings and signings, so check out www.thevindico.com or The Vindico’s Facebook page to see if I’m doing one in your area! You can check out my promo video there as well, which should give you a fairly good idea of why most authors don’t do promo videos.
About The Vindico
X-Men meets The Breakfast Club in this darkly humorous adventure
The Vindico are a group of supervillains who have been fighting the League of Heroes for as long as anyone can remember. Realizing they’re not as young as they used to be, they devise a plan to kidnap a group of teenagers to take over for them when they retire—after all, how hard can it be to teach a bunch of angsty teens to be evil?
Held captive in a remote mansion, five teens train with their mentors and receive superpowers beyond their wildest dreams. Struggling to uncover the motives of the Vindico, the teens have to trust each other to plot their escape. But they quickly learn that the differences between good and evil are not as black and white as they seem, and they are left wondering whose side they should be fighting on after all . . .
With fast-paced action, punchy dialogue, and sarcastic humor, this high-stakes adventure from a talented new YA voice pulls you in from the first page.