Earlier this week we shared the interview with Richard Lee Byers who wrote part one of the Arcane Secrets Duology, and now we’re back with Aaron Rosenberg, author of part two, Lost and Never Found!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your work prior to this novel.
Hm, okay, the short version, then. Born in New Jersey, raised in New Orleans, educated in Kansas, long-time resident of New York City. Worked as a college professor, an animation studio director, a graphic designer, a book layout artist, and a website manager. Began writing as a kid, started professionally during college in RPGs, wrote 70-some-odd books and supplements there, segued into RPG fiction, then tie-in fiction in general, then original fiction. I mostly do novels and short stories these days, and I write everything from SF comedy to epic fantasy to superheroes to action-adventure to mystery to thrillers. Lost & Never Found is on track to be my 50th published novel, which will also be my 260th publication overall.
Lost & Never Found is the second book, following on the events of The Doom That Came to San Francisco. Was it a challenge picking up from where that novel ended? How much did you collaborate with Richard Lee Byers on where your book started and where it was going?
Actually, it was surprisingly easy. Richard and I have known each other for years, though this is our first chance to work together, and we had a long conversation beforehand about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go with both books and how to dovetail them together. We read each other’s outlines, so we both knew exactly where his book ended and mine began, and I read his draft before starting mine to make sure I was also consistent on the characterizations.
Your novel explores the Dimension of Doors, first introduced in the Mutants & Masterminds sourcebook Book of Magic. How much did you need to develop details about the dimension and how did you decide to use it as a storytelling device?
Since Richard had set things in motion with Gatekeeper, it made sense to continue his involvement, and that gave me the perfect opportunity to really play with the Dimension of Doors. I had the basic description, of course, but it was so open I had a lot of space to maneuver, and of course you can go anywhere with it , which just gives you endless possibilities. That was really at the crux of this book, too, flinging these heroes to strange new worlds—it’s a classic comic book trope, and I had a lot of fun playing that up. Plus it gives that great dichotomy between the group still in our world and the others in these new worlds and then the few in the Dimension itself.
While your novel works with characters from the previous book, you also get to introduce new characters, who don’t appear in Doom. Did you choose which ones from the Earth-Prime setting you wanted to use and why those particular characters?
We discussed it beforehand, which characters Richard wanted to use and which I wanted, and the good thing is, there was a lot of overlap! But yeah, his focusing on certain members of the Sentinels meant I got to continue using them but was also able to bring in their remaining teammates. Also, I really wanted to write the Shadow Knights, Richard basically used them in his specifically so I’d get to have them available for mine. They’re just too cool for words! Rhymer is also such an interesting character, and I hope my take on him is new and exciting.
The arcane and magical themes in the duology make it somewhat different from the usual four-color superhero fare. Your book, in particular, shows this contrast between the shadowy arcane world and the, let’s say simpler, world that superheroes live in. Which side do you think has a harder time of it in Lost & Never Found?
Oh, the superheroes, easily. Arcane types tend to be “in the know” as far as how the world really works, the forces underlying our own, etc. Superheroes tend to be more surface-oriented, particularly in a four-color setting—they deal with immediate problems but are often clueless about the shadows pulling everyone’s strings, the cosmic-scale objectives and conflicts, things like that. And that’s especially true because folks like Rhymer seem to delight in being vague and confusing in their explanations! There’s a lot of “mere mortals were never meant to know” when you’re dealing with arcane types, so the heroes are at a real disadvantage. An arcane character is far more likely to adjust quickly to a completely new world than a superhero, if only because the arcane know about other worlds and have probably studied them, even if they’ve never been to one themselves.
Of course, on the flip side, it’s a lot more common for arcane types to get paralyzed by indecision, weighing all the possible outcomes and all the ramifications. Superheroes tend to be a lot more immediate, a lot more direct, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
Aaron Rosenberg is the author of the best-selling DuckBob SF comedy series, the Relicant Chronicles epic fantasy series, the Areyat Islands fantasy pirate mystery series, the Dread Remora space-opera series, and, with David Niall Wilson, the O.C.L.T. occult thriller series. His tie-in work contains novels for Star Trek, Warhammer, World of WarCraft, Stargate: Atlantis, Shadowrun, Mutants & Masterminds, and Eureka and short stories for The X-Files, World of Darkness, Crusader Kings II, Deadlands, Master of Orion, and Europa Universalis IV. He has written children’s books (including the award-winning Bandslam: The Junior Novel and the #1 best-selling 42: The Jackie Robinson Story), educational books, and roleplaying games (including the Origins Award-winning Gamemastering Secrets). Aaron lives in New York. You can follow him online at gryphonrose.com, at facebook.com/gryphonrose, and on Twitter @gryphonrose.
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