Interview: Darby Harn, Author of “Ever the Hero,” an SPSFC Quarterfinalist

I’m a judge for the Self-Published Science Fiction Contest (SPSFC), and wanted to spotlight some of the authors in the contest.

Darby Harn, Author of Ever the Hero

(Questions in Bold)

What was your gateway into speculative fiction? What lead you to write it?

I very distinctly remember seeing Star Wars at the drive-in and then sitting on the floor at the grocery store reading the Marvel Comics right after. This is 1977 and I’m also reading everything the rack. X-Men. Spider-Man. And I was writing or trying to around five or six. Little comics and stories. I read everything. The thrift store always had older scifi books for like 10 cents and then a quarter. Frankenstein is what really got its claws in me, though I’m not a horror person. It always came back to comics. The Body.

I love that it was Star Wars and comics that got you into speculative fiction. That combination reads like an inspiration for “Ever the Hero.” What other inspirations led you to writing this specific novel and featuring diverse characters?

Ever The Hero started in 2011 with an article I read in the New York Times.

Firefighters in Tennessee let a house burn because the owner didn’t pay a bill for emergency services. At the time, the callousness seemed particular. Now it feels too familiar. Sadly, the book becomes more relevant all the time as states pass bills that outlaw giving bottled water to homeless people among other things.

But right away the idea clicked – what if you had to pay for superheroes? It took a while to get to the right shape. I tried a few different approaches. One was a television pilot. I took that to the Austin Film Festival in 2016 and it made the second round in the Screenplay Competition.

I started writing what became the novel in November of that year. It took some more work before I finally published in 2020.

I wanted the book to reflect the world I live in. I grew up and live in a town in Iowa that has the largest African-American community in the state. I grew up with a lot of girls like Kit. It’s very diverse in general. LGBTQ representation is very important to me as well. I always strive for authenticity and make sure as best I can I’m elevating and honoring. And knowing where my limits are.

Around college I found Kelly Link, David Mitchell, Neil Gaiman, and Michael Cunningham. Writers who were writing speculative fiction with literary elements. That really inspired me.

I both love and hate that a real world event inspired the idea behind the story, and it definitely makes for a fascinating premise. I also appreciate your efforts to have broad representation in your novel. What helped you write experiences beyond your own?

I pride myself on being a good listener. A good observer. I’m curious and I think you have to be to appreciate the world you live in. The people in it. So I want to learn. I want to see the world from different perspectives. That’s one reason the Eververse series shifts protagonists from book to book. My interest is in perspective. Voice. Embodying a character.

In the last few years I’ve learned I’m autistic. I think this informs my interest in how other people a great deal. It helps me with Kit certainly, who is also autistic. This becomes more prevalent as the series goes on, since we’re both on a journey of self-discovery.

What (spoiler free!) can you tell us about the rest of the series and the aliens in future reads? Where can our readers find you?

You can find me on my website: www.darbyharn.com

Twitter: @Darbyharn

IG: @darbywritesbooks

Thank you!

All links to Amazon are Affiliates

Links

The Self-Published Science Fiction Contest (SPSFC) Hub– Check out all of my posts related to the SPSFC here!

Science Fiction Hub– I have scores of reviews of Hugo nominees, Vintage Sci-Fi, modern sci-fi, TV series, and more! Check out my science fiction related writings here.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.

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