Author Rosemary Edghill can now officially say she has written a book in every genre— including books with Superheroes!
Have you read any of the Shadow Grail books she co-wrote with Mercedes Lackey and thought the characters reminded you a bit of the X-Men? Well, Rosemary has been a huge fan of the X-Men ever since the first comic was published. She even got the chance to write two X-Men tie-in novels, Smoke and Mirrors and Time’s Arrow Book Three as well as a short story in Ultimate X-Men.
Over at Not Quite Superhuman, I got the chance to interview Rosemary about the new book she co-wrote with Mercedes Lackey, Dead Reckoning. When I found out what a big fan she was of the X-Men, I thought it would be great to get her take on working for the Marvelverse as an author. Here is what she had to say about it:
I didn’t exactly work directly with Marvel (though I used to hang out with Chris Claremont in a totally-unrelated way, which was very awesome) — I was working with Keith deCandido, who was the editor preparing the books for Boulevard Books (I think it was) which held the license at the time. I cannot say enough about Keith’s awesomeness (so I used him as a character in both books) and his fanboy chops — he’s a huge comics fan from way back, and we bonded over comics, which was how I ended up getting the gig. He also knew I’d used to write for Warren Magazine Group (Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella) back in the day, so I had totally paid my dues in comics. As well as earning the right to say I used to kill vampires for a living. TRUTH!
On the second book, Spider-Man and the X-Men: Time’s Arrow: Book Three: The Future (which totally wins my award for most colons in a book title) I was writing the third book in the trilogy. All three books had different writes, and Tom deFalco had outlined all the stories (the fun thing was, when I wrote Book Three, I don’t think One and Two were done yet, so I kind of winged it), so for that I just had to hew to canon and a sort of postmodern Comics Code sensibility. Keith sent me a huge, huge, huge stack of comics for reference, because I was dealing with a number of characters I didn’t know, like the Future X-Men (I think the book was called X-Men 2020, so it’s not that far in the future these days, is it?), and the future versions of Iron Man and Spider Girl. But I was already entirely familiar with the Marvelverse, and, of course, the X-Teams.
Anyway, when I finished the manuscript, I sent it off to Keith, and he
sacrificed chickens over it ran it past Marvel Licensing, but I don’t think I had to make many changes.
This was not true of my other X-Book, Smoke and Mirrors, where I submitted a full proposal (since I’d come up with the plot) and Licensing kept saying “The X-Men Cannot Be Terrorists” (silly licensing department). So I made some tweaks to the original idea to have the X-Men fighting primarily against the Villain of Importance for the Book (who was supposed to be a big reveal around Chapter Six or so, but they put him on the cover, alas) who was not working as directly for the government as he was in the first version of my outline.
Licensing’s only other tweak to Smoke and Mirrors was in the scene where the crazy Wolverine-clone, Ladykiller, is slaughtering her way across the United States: there’s one scene where she’s killed everyone in the house but a tiny baby. I had to make it very clear that no, contrary to all expectations, the wee tot survives…
The most important thing in doing a tie-in novel, especially for a comic book property, is to maintain the “look and feel” of the original. Sure, you’re doing it all with words and not with pictures (*sadface*) but the ideal is to write something that could be retroengineered into a comic book without the need to throw out incidents or behaviors that you just wouldn’t see in the usual book. (Although I’m not entirely sure what that would be these days.)
But it was the experience of a lifetime to get to virtually hang out with the X-Men, and I absolutely adored it. And I would do it again in a New York Minute, too. Because they are just that awesome….