I had the pleasure of interviewing author Danielle Banas about her debut novel, ‘The Supervillain and Me’, which will be released on July 10! You can also read my ARC review of the book, and check out the playlist that I made for it!
COURTNEY: What inspired you to write ‘The Supervillain and Me’?
DANIELLE: I have a deep, unrelenting love for Spider-Man, so that definitely had a lot to do with it. The Spider-Man films are what got me hooked on superheroes, and in a lot of ways The Supervillain and Me is total wish fulfillment. I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily mind living in a world of supers and falling in love with one. Just saying. But even though I became obsessed with superheroes when I was a kid, I didn’t have the initial idea for the book until I was in college. I had just finished taking a creative writing class for an elective, and I was looking to write something fun and snarky to keep myself occupied during my summer vacation. I’d had an idea in the back of my head for over a year, which was just a snippet of a scene where a non-powered girl was making fun of her superhero brother’s dorky spandex super suit while they were sitting at their kitchen table. I loved how quirky and yet how normal it was, and I wanted to show that you don’t need powers to be a hero. When I first started working on the story, I had never considered that it might one day be published. My only goal at the time was to write the book that I desperately wanted to read.
COURTNEY: What changed the most from the first draft on Wattpad to the finished copy?
DANIELLE: The biggest thing that changed was actually the identity of the main villain. I don’t want to say who it was in the first draft because I don’t want to spoil anything, but my editor very kindly pointed out that it didn’t make much sense for it to be that person and that I should change it. I tried to fight for it to stay as it was, more for nostalgia than anything else, but eventually I had to give in, which I’m honestly very happy about because the story makes much more sense now. So protip: Editors are right like 99% of the time.
COURTNEY: If ‘The Supervillain and Me’ were to be adapted into a movie, who would be your fan cast for Abby and Iron Phantom (trying to put the least amount of spoilers possible in here!)? (Feel free to add any other character fan casts here too!)
DANIELLE: I have thought about this wayyyy more than I should – because I love movies. Growing up, I always wanted to work in the film industry. I still sometimes do, to be honest. But okay, here we go. My fan casts have changed a lot since I wrote the first draft four years ago, but I’m super happy with my current picks. So Abby is 100% Lili Reinhart, and Iron Phantom (whose real name I can’t say) is Casey Cott. I’m a big Riverdale fan, and when the two of them have scenes together I get all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m like that emoji with the heart eyes. Seriously, if I could get the entire Riverdale cast to play my characters, then I would totally be cool with that. Oh, and this one isn’t Riverdale related, but I would die a happy girl if Michael Keaton ever played one of my characters. Maybe the villain. He’s a great villain. We’re both from the same town, but I’ve never met him – which might be a good thing. If I met him, I’d probably babble incoherently anyway.
COURTNEY: I know that ‘The Supervillain and Me’ is the first book in a series, at least according to Wattpad. Is there anything you can tell me about the other books in the series? (Such as how many books total, which superhero the books follow, etc.) Fingers crossed that Swoon Reads decides to publish the rest!
DANIELLE: I actually wrote three books on Wattpad – because I love my characters so much that I couldn’t stop. The sequel picks up a few months after the end of the first book, and Abby and company are trying to come to terms with some of the stuff that happened at the end of book 1 while also battling two new supervillains that come to town. Book 3 takes place shortly after book 2, and that’s where things really get crazy. The draft I have of that one is actually so long that it could be two books because I put so many battle sequences into it. Books 2 and 3 aren’t available to read on Wattpad anymore because my publisher and I agreed that it would be best to take them off before Supervillain is released, but I just want to make it clear that The Supervillain and Me does work as a standalone story. There aren’t any cliffhangers, so if you’re trying to decide whether to read it, you don’t have to worry about that. And if it sells well, then there’s always a chance that Swoon Reads will publish the others!
COURTNEY: Sort of related to the previous question but…do you have any other upcoming novels in the works?
DANIELLE: I’m in the very beginning stages of working on something not superhero-related. That’s all I can say about it right now. Hopefully it goes well because it’s been years since I’ve written a story without superheroes in it.
COURTNEY: What scene was your favorite to write? What scene are you most excited for readers to read?
DANIELLE: I wrote a lot of new scenes that weren’t in the Wattpad draft, so I’m really excited for people to be able to read those. There’s a scene close to the end where Abby and Iron Phantom have a stakeout that’s super fun. But a lot of my favorite scenes are the ones between Abby and her brother, Connor. The sibling relationship that the two of them have is really special. I’m an only child, but if I had a brother I’d want him to be like Connor.
COURTNEY: Which scene was the hardest for you to write? (Or what about the book in general was hardest for you to write, if that’s easier to answer)
DANIELLE: The entire second half of the book was pretty difficult to write. When I wrote the first draft, I was primarily doing it for my own enjoyment, so I barely did any outlining other than typing up some character bios and picking out superhero names. I had somewhat of an idea of what I wanted to do for the first half, but then I hit the second half and was like, “Oh crap. Now what?” Thankfully, I think it turned out really well.
COURTNEY: Was there a scene that you absolutely loved that you had to end up cutting from the final draft? If so, can you tell me anything about it?
DANIELLE: Yes! There used to be a scene where Connor (AKA Red Comet) was driving in his truck and hardcore rocking out to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan because he’s a giant Disney fan. Unfortunately, it slowed down the momentum of the story so it had to go, but I was able to find a way to add the Mulan reference into another scene, so that made me very happy.
COURTNEY: Is there anything else you’d like to add? (Questions/answers you wished I had asked you, author bio, etc.)
DANIELLE: I’d just like to say how excited I am that everyone is finally able to read the final product of this story! I posted the first draft on Wattpad four years ago because I thought that maybe people would find it as fun and quirky as I do, and I’ve been overwhelmed with how much support I’ve received since then. There are so many people who helped make this book a reality, but it never would have happened without the love from all the friends I’ve met online. You guys believed in my writing more than I ever did, so thank you. And thank you, Courtney, for interviewing me!
HUGE thanks to Danielle for letting me interview her! Make sure to pick up a copy of ‘The Supervillain and Me’ when it’s released by Swoon Reads on July 10, 2018.