Blake Northcott may not be a household name…yet. But she is an international superstar. Her books are number one on Amazon in both the US and the UK. Her first book VS Reality is super popular right now and is even making its way to the big screen Its sequel Relapse looks like it might be even hotter. I got the chance to ask Blake a few questions to which she was kind enough to answer. So, read on…
So Vs. Reality was meant to be a four issue comic book mini-series when conceived?
Yes, it was.
I wrote a script for a four-issue arc but there are so many time and budget issues involved with producing a comic books series. The process took almost a year, and the first issue was only half-done! I realized it would take forever just to get my story out there.
After looking into Amazon Kindle Self-Publishing I discovered that with some extra work I could release my story as a novel. So I adapted the script into a book and it just took off from there.
In your words how would you describe the book – not the Amazon description?
I try to bring the excitement of a superhero movie to a written format. If you’re a fan of action, adventure, sci-fi and don’t mind the occasional four-letter word, then this might be for you.
I’ve read comments like “Vs. Reality is ‘Kick-Ass’ on steroids” and “It’s like an R-Rated ‘Avengers’”. I don’t know how much it’s like either, but the comparisons are certainly a huge compliment!
What were your influences when writing Vs. Reality?
For character development and dialog, I love Buffy the Vampire Slayerand Angel. Anything Joss Whedon does is amazing. For action I’m always thinking of my favorite scenes from movies like The Matrix, Fist of Legend, Ong Bak, and even UFC fights.
There are so many books, movies and shows I’m a fan of…it’s hard to nail down the top few, but those spring to mind.
You just released Relapse (Vs. Reality Volume 2); how many volumes do you have planned for the series?
The current storyline is a three-book arc.
I already have outlines for a ‘one-shot’, and a rough layout for the next trilogy, so if the fans keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them. It seems like a week after I release a book I get flooded with emails from people wanting more, so if those stop coming in I’ll quit!
Where does Relapse pick up after Vs. Reality, and how does it connect to the first story?
It picks up the next morning. Virtually no time passes between the first and second book, so the reader is tossed right back into the mix.
You could probably read Relapse without having first read the original, but I would recommend picking up Vs. Reality first.
What’s your favorite part of the book – without giving away too much of a spoiler?
Both books have big, loud action sequences – they’re the most fun to come up with and bring to life. The last third of a book is always the most exciting for me because it wraps everything up, and you get all the action, plot twists, explosions and all that good stuff.
Things get really crazy at the end of Relapse, and I had so much fun with it!
Relapse went straight to the top of the UK charts as well, how does it feel to dominate the digital market?
It definitely took off in the first week! Relapse hit #1 in a couple different markets, including the US and France.
Although the UK does seem to have the most Vs. Reality readers…I don’t know why that is? Maybe because they like the comparisons to Mark Millar’s ‘Kick-Ass’? Either way I’m grateful!
But to answer your question, it’s very flattering that people are reviewing the books, discussing them, and that they’re being downloaded by Kindle readers around the world. I couldn’t imagine a better feeling that people appreciating and having fun with my work – everything else is just a bonus.
Are there any plans to take the series into print?
Absolutely! I will have more news about that around September.
The books are relatively short, around 200 pages each. So they’re quick, three or four hour reads for most people. I don’t know if it makes more sense to release them individually, or do a 600-page book with all three volumes in print format. I will know more soon.
Do you feel that there are any downsides to digital publishing?
Some readers are still nostalgic about the ‘print-only days’, and I get that, but they’re coming around fast. Pretty much everyone has a Kindle or a tablet these days, so it’s just a matter of time before everyone goes digital. The books are cheaper, you can get them without leaving your house, and you don’t have to worry about where to store them. What more can you ask for?
There is still a stigma about eBooks and Kindle publishers, primarily because “anyone can do it.” Which is true, but the market still dictates the best of the bunch. If a book isn’t well received, it won’t be reviewed or purchased.
Oddly the most resistance comes from book critics and reviewers; some of them refuse to even consider reading an eBook. The review policy page on their website will often have a warning in giant red letters: ‘WE DO NOT ACCEPT EBOOKS EVER, FOR ANY REASON’.
Which is not only closed-minded, but ironic – since they’re not producing a physical good either. They’re making their name solely on a digital platform…yet they refuse to read a book that is digital.
But some of the better reviewers have started reading Kindle books as well, which is awesome.
Vs. Reality is also being made into a movie. What can you tell us about the production so far? Who is involved in adapting it into film? What companies are involved? Have any of the characters been cast yet?
It is being produced by Retribution Pictures in Los Angeles. All the existing details are over at IMDB. There is a director attached, a budget, and locations have been chosen for filming.
Casting is not confirmed for any lead roles yet, but people are speculating a lot. There is a rumor on Twitter that Emma Roberts had been cast for the role of ‘Dia’, the female lead, but as far as I know she is not confirmed. I have always talked about loving her performance in Scream 4 and thought she would be an amazing choice, but if she’s attached to the project nobody told me!
When can we expect a release date for VS Reality: The Movie?
Right now it’s tentatively scheduled for ‘2013’. Pretty specific, huh? But I’m thinking it might be the spring of 2014 at this point, only because some details are still being nailed down and filming hasn’t started.
Do you think that Relapse will also make it into film?
If the first one does well, then I think it’s a strong possibility.
When the movie Chronicle made $126M worldwide with a budget of just $12M I think it opened a lot of studio execs eyes. In the past low-budget horror was the best way to cash in with a relatively cheap film, but now they’re realizing that superhero stories are hotter than ever.
Of course Kick-Ass did basically the same thing – becoming a huge financial success despite a relatively modest budget – but Chronicle proved that it wasn’t a fluke. It’s becoming a trend.
And I think it proved that people don’t just want the mega-budget blockbusters like The Avengers and the Batman movies – they’re willing to go to the theater for smaller, more character-driven films about superheroes as well. I think that’s what ultimately paved the way for Vs. Reality, which is definitely more like Chronicle than some of the more ambitious Marvel and DC films.
There’s plenty more from the fabulous Miss Northcott, so be sure to pop back into ComicBooked.com this weekend and you will get to read part two of the interview, where we delve deeper into her inner comic book geek. Until then, Get Comic Booked!