Superpowers Can Be Fun

Michael J Bowler Author Interview

Like A Hero follows a masked crime fighter who finds reality isn’t like the comic books and he’s forced to straddle a moral and legal line. What were some sources that informed the development of this novel?

I grew up reading, and still read, comic books, but I’ve also learned the harsh realities of life for so many through my work with incarcerated children and as a public high school teacher, and I decided to incorporate that reality into my book. I do enjoy light-hearted “superhero” books, but I thought it was time for a story that explored the difficulties that being a masked crimefighter might entail since so much crime stems from human degradation and the circumstances of one’s upbringing. I’ve always believed that the spirit of the law is more often than not more important than the letter of the law, hence the moral vs legal dilemma faced by my main character.

What were some things you wanted to do differently from other superhero novels in your book?

I’ve always wondered if a real-life Batman could exist, but not someone who has unlimited wealth; just an average person with certain talents and abilities and the desire to improve his community. For this reason, I shied away from giving my main character any super powers, which makes my story different from all or almost all of the superhero novels out there. Having superpowers can be fun in and of themselves, but what my character gets to take home from his experiences is simply the knowledge that he saved a life or made someone’s life a bit better. But for every one of those successes, there are the times he could not make the difference he hoped. Thus, my novel has darker moments than most superhero books, but ultimately I think it leaves the reader with a sense of hope that we all can make a difference if we choose to.

What were some moral issues you felt were important to address in this book?

Invictus, my hero character, has numerous encounters with homeless people. I don’t believe that homeless people should be left on the street in a dysfunctional state because most of them need residential treatment centers before they need housing and jobs, but the fact that restaurants must throw out left over food (by law) rather than give it to people in need has always bothered me. I believe it’s immoral to waste anything that can be used by others. There’s also a moral component in shelters for runaway or homeless teens that turn someone away because of legal regulations. To me, the needs of the human being are more important than regulations set out by bureaucrats. Invictus also faces moral challenges with two of the kids he meets – Franky, the ten-year-old meth addict (whose mother is responsible for his addiction), and Joe, the African-American teen who had to leave home because his parents would not accept him as gay and was then forced to live on the streets. What’s to be done for these children? Social services might take them, but if the boys don’t want to go, should Invictus force them or trick them into the system? These and other moral gray areas are a large aspect of those people in society who are broken, and the answers are seldom simple. My hope is that readers will consider these and other issues in their own communities and perhaps might even come up with viable solutions of their own.

Do you have future plans to write more books with these characters?

I ended the book, not on a cliffhanger, but with doors wide open for further adventures. I love these characters and all of them changed or grew as a result of the first book, so I definitely want to move forward with these changed characters and their experiences as volunteer crime fighters. As I write this, I’m plotting out the second book, so hopefully, one day soon, readers can enjoy more of my characters and their adventures.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Courage can be costly. Orphaned brothers Vincent and Dennis Villanueva learn the truth of those words when they create a masked crime fighter and turn him loose on Los Angeles. The brainchild of fourteen-year-old Dennis and embodied in twenty-one-year-old Vincent, “Invictus” hits the streets to jumpstart apathetic Angelenos into taking a more active role in their city.

But reality isn’t a comic book. Vincent finds poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, abuse, and cast-off children. Labeled a vigilante and criminal, the shy grad student with formidable martial arts talent and abysmal people skills soon doubts his ability to make an impact.

Forced to straddle an ambiguous line between moral and legal, he becomes disheartened and secretive, hiding the truth of what he’s doing from Dennis and driving a wedge between them. Feeling neglected, Dennis infiltrates a dangerous drug ring to show Vincent he can be just as heroic, not knowing that the woman in charge is weaving an insidious plot against Invictus as part of her citywide scheme of vengeance. In a race against time, Vincent must regain Dennis’s trust before the brother he loves is lost to him forever.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on January 22, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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