Supervillain Preparedness Plan

robots_incrediblesBefore I reveal the winner of Don’t Touch by the awesome Rachel M. Wilson, I have to pose this question: Would you know what to do if supervillains or giant robots took over your city or town? Watching movies like Megamind and The Incredibles and also watching a slew of superhero shows made me realize my lack of preparedness. Usually when supervillains attack or send surrogates (like killer robots), many people run helter skelter or drive their cars while screaming. Eventually those drivers crash into each other or into stationary objects (like plate glass windows) and cause even more chaos. Those who aren’t running and screaming just stand there waiting for the superheroes to show up and fight on their behalf. They offer no assistance when the heroes show up. My guess is they don’t quite know what to do, especially if they haven’t been bitten by a radioactive spider or are sadly lacking a power ring.

  megamind-movie-wallpapers-a Lex_Luthor

Archvillains Megamind and Lex Luthor

While you wait for the Avengers, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, or Spider-man to show up, you can be proactive. Think of how proactive you are when you learn about a storm heading your way. You either take out an umbrella or a shovel (for a snowstorm). (In the advent of a storm of locusts, well, you do what you can.) With a supervillain takeover, here are some ways you can be proactive.

spider-man-spider-man_00245898

1. First, determine the threat level. Check out the news reports to assess the imminence of the threat. How far along in the nefarious scheme is the villain and his or her henchpeople? Are they still at the threatening stage? (“Unless I’m given one meellion dollars, I will . . .”) If they are, you still have time to get packed and get going with the next tips.
2. Practice your self-defense. While you’re waiting for the villains to make their move, make yours by practicing your kung-fu, archery, knife throwing, or even your tai chi. Supervillains usually come with loads of henchpeople. You may be able to conquer at least one or two with your fighting skills. Also, while everyone else panics and races about, you can chill with tai chi.
3. Keep hydrated. You might have to hide in sub-basements or caves for a long time when the fighting commences. If so, you’ll be thirsty. Start stocking water now, so you can keep hydrated. Try to set up more than one water cache in your town, in case you have to move around.

Horrified_Man_Running_Fast_clipart_image[2]4. Make your relationships betrayal proof. Can you count on your family and friends to avoid selling you out or eating you if they turn into zombies, thanks to the evil gas the supervillains released into the ozone? If not, make your relationships betrayal proof by making things right with friends and relatives while everyone is still human. Offer forgiveness and affirmation. Keep reminding them that friends and family stick together.
5. Keep vaccines on hand. Speaking of zombie-producing gas, you’ll want to stock up on vaccines and other medicines. Again, have more than one cache of these—preferably someplace cool and dry.

VACCINE-VIAL6. Keep off the bridges and high floors. Everyone will be attempting to travel across the available bridges as they flee the city. That means time-consuming gridlock. Look for alternate routes (sewer tunnels, trees [squirrels manage to go from tree to tree at a good clip]), mailing yourself via UPS box). Also, avoid hanging out on high floors. They’re usually the first place enemy drones crash through.
7. Learn how to use a machete. You’ll know why when the time comes.

No need to thank me. Just doing my civic duty. Feel free to pass along any other tips you would add to the list.

And now, let’s get to the winner of Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson.

        5642209  596343

That person is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

The lovely and vivacious Brickhousechick!

Congrats, Brickhousechick! Please confirm by commenting below!

And for the rest of you out there, keep safe. A gas mask might be the only fashion statement you need to make.

500fullThe Incredibles Omnidroid 10 from gonewiththetwins.com. Vaccine from daiasolgaia.com. Lex Luthor from youngjustice.wikia.com. Megamind from worldsoforos.com. Man running away from paulsjourneytolife.blogspot.com.

Check This Out: Don’t Touch

After reading the title, maybe like me you have MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” going through your mind right now. Well, my guest today will change that tune. In the house is the marvelous Rachel M. Wilson, author of Don’t Touch, a young adult novel that debuted this month. Isn’t the cover beautiful? You can read the synopsis here.

             5642209  596343

Rachel is represented by Sara Crowe. Don’t Touch was published by HarperTeen. After I finish talking with Rachel, I’ll talk to you about a giveaway. So strap yourselves in. Before we get started though, check out this book trailer:

Cool huh? Let’s talk to Rachel!

El Space: Four quick facts about yourself?
Rachel: I’m a Scorpio. I love Ethiopian food more than any other cuisine and eat it about once a week. In my last show, I played a harmonica solo. I almost always wear a turquoise ring that belonged to my grandmother. She was a geologist and liked uncut stones, so her husband had it set for her.

El Space: Cool! Please give us the scoop on Don’t Touch. How did this book come about?
Rachel: The book grew out of my own experience with OCD. Like Caddie, I started dealing with OCD symptoms around age ten, and I still struggle with anxiety. Caddie’s story isn’t my own, but that was the first inspiration. I wanted to explore how fears—rational and irrational—can separate us from other people and from pursuing what we love. And while I’ve never gotten the chance to perform in a full production of Shakespeare, I’m a big fan, and I’ve long loved Hamlet. Once I landed on that as the play within my book, my story path felt clearer.

1420

El Space: What was the most challenging aspect of slipping into Caddie’s skin?
Rachel: Probably figuring out her relationship with her parents. It was hard for me to be mean to Caddie when it came to her changing family, and it took me a long time to find the balance between love and disappointment in her relationship with her father.

El Space: What, if anything, would you like to see more of in young adult fiction? Why?
Rachel: Oh, wow! Great question! Apart from diversity, which I think most of us are really hungry for, I’d love to see more genre-mashing and more magical realism. Those are two things I respond to as a reader, and I think they stretch the mind in challenging ways. As readers of Don’t Touch will probably glean, I have a thing for superheroes, so I certainly wouldn’t mind a badass superhero trend.

El Space: Me too! You also act and teach. How does either profession influence your writing?
Rachel: You know, I’m an introvert, but I’m also a very social creature. Theater is the most collaborative art, and teaching can be highly collaborative too. It’s very important to me to have a place where I go and make things with other people, and it makes it easier for me to sit alone with my computer if I know I’m on my way to spend time with other people.

Aside from that more practical answer, teaching writing to younger kids always perks up my own excitement and energy for writing. It’s a great reminder of why I love it. And theater got me started writing. I would write from the points of view of characters I was playing, and I did a lot of collaborative writing projects in theater, and eventually, I started feeling ready to try my own stories.

El Space: You graduated from both of my alma maters: VCFA and Northwestern University. Yay! I attended NU 100 years before you, however. How did each of your programs leave its mark on you?
Rachel: I didn’t know that! Awesome! I was in the theater program at Northwestern—as an actor there, you join a class that stays intact for three straight years. My teacher was very spiritual, into meditation and Tai Chi as well as some physically and emotionally aggressive schools of acting. One day, I was prepping to bring in a scene from Euripedes’s Orestes, where Orestes and Electra are about to be executed, and our teacher warned us to wear running shoes to class! It wasn’t uncommon for people to get picked up and tossed around and totally break down on stage. Playing around with all of that within a safe community had a huge impact on me. I credit it with teaching me how to be an open, creative person. And as I said above, acting out other people’s stories gave me that drive to write my own.

1152977

And VCFA! I can’t say enough positive things about that program. The residencies feel like writers’ summer slash boot camp, and it’s another magical place where the community feels drawn together in an inevitable way. And then working with advisors over months at a time, it’s a true mentorship. I’ve never had a relationship quite like that with another artist, and through that program, it happens four times in a row. It stretched my writing muscles in ways that I hadn’t been able to accomplish on my own and gave me the support to push through the hard stuff and finish a book.

El Space: I know you know a ton of authors, so this next question is usually a delicate one to answer. But I’ll ask it anyway: what books, authors, or actors inspire you? Why?
Rachel: How about I stick with authors I don’t know well? Nova Ren Suma, Jaclyn Moriarty, and Libba Bray always inspire me. In different ways, there’s something so present and tangible in their writing that slams me right into their worlds. Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races blew me away with its perfection of world and character, and I need to read more of her work. In middle grade land, I feel the same way about Zilpha Keatley Snyder and E. L. Konigsburg. The Headless Cupid and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth are two of my longtime faves, as is Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game. As all of the above are at least a little dark and creepy, that might give you a sense of how my tastes trend.

              2316  902

340321

El Space: Any advice for the writer who wants to incorporate the theater in his or her fiction?
Rachel: Choose your story within a story with care. Bringing another story into play changes the story you’re telling, even if the play within the story is an invented one. That story will probably be the weightiest metaphor or mirror in your work, so it’s important to understand it inside and out and to have a clear thesis for how it’s in conversation with your own and how the roles your characters take on challenge them and serve as foils for them. And you need to remain open to finding connections you may not have consciously realized were there—the art of the mash-up comes into play.

El Space: What are you working on now?
Rachel: I have several irons in the fire, but the one I’m most focused on right now deals with the aftermath of a shocking change and coming into power. I’m being cagey because you never know how things will develop. The next thing readers will see from me is a short story, “The Game of Boys and Monsters,” out from HarperTeen Impulse as a digital short. It’s suspenseful and creepy, very different from Don’t Touch, about two girls whose friendship changes when the enigmatic Marsh boys move to town.

Rachel, thanks for stopping by! I’m looking forward to that short story!

And thanks to all who stopped to read this interview. You can be entered into a drawing to receive a copy of Don’t Touch just by commenting below.

Don’t Touch is available here:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indiebound
Powell’s

Looking for Rachel? Check out her website and Twitter. And check out Goodreads and the Don’t Touch Book Club Guide.

Winner to be announced on Tuesday, September 30.