I never set out to be a superhero fiction author.
I was going to write Star Wars novels instead. Oh sure, I’d grown up reading comic books, and before that I’d run around my neighborhood with a towel safety-pinned around my neck, pretending to be a do-gooder. And in college I discovered role-playing games, in which superheroes figured even more prominently than magic-users and thieves. Yeah, I’d read the Wild Cards books, and my graphic novels of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns were well-thumbed. But no, I was obsessed with the Star Wars Expanded Universe. After reading a particularly bad series by a particularly bad author who I will not name here but whose name rhymes with Shmevin K. Schmanderson, I said to myself “I can do better than that.” This was some eleven years ago, and I sat down to write the book which I have since released under the title Assassin after removing any and all Star Wars references from it.
Not knowing anything about the publishing industry, I took my glorious naivete and ran with it. I finished the novel, slapped a couple of cursory edits on it, and sent off a query email to the editor of Del Rey Books, which was publishing Star Wars books at the time. I don’t recall exactly what I wrote, but I’m sure it was ridiculously bad. She wrote back to say “Sorry, we don’t accept unsolicited submissions here.”
Undaunted and drunk with my luck of getting a reply, I emailed her back. “What do I have to do to get solicited?”
She had no reason to reply. She didn’t know me from (*Googles infamous people from 2003*) Steve Bartman. But maybe she was having a good day that day. Maybe she was a Florida Marlins fan. Regardless, she replied to say I had to be an established writer, with a style consistent with that of the Star Wars Universe, and a good fan following. Some writers might have just said okay and been done with it, but I was feeling particularly combative that day. “Fine,” I said to myself. “I’ll show her.”
And thus, the Just Cause Universe was born.