eSpec Books interviews Danielle Ackley-McPhail, co-editor of The Side of Good / The Side of Evil, a Superhero Flipbook anthology, http://tiny.cc/SoGSoE.
eSB: What drew you to this project?
DAM: I am an idea person, a creative thinker. There is nothing I enjoy more than coming up with concepts for projects, the more to-the-left the better. What I mean by that is taking something common and making it uncommon…unexpected. Generally this involves plays on words or what people assume are oxymorons, such as the anthology series I am best-known for: Bad-Ass Faeries. That might seem like a contradiction in terms but the title alone makes most people smile and then pick up the book out of curiosity. We get a chance to change their viewpoint and entertain in a really fun way. The same thing happened when I got the idea for this collection. CJ Henderson and I were throwing around ideas when we were driving to an event. CJ wanted to do something with superheroes. The moment we started talking about it I had the idea for SoG/SoE. Flipbooks had fallen out of fashion long ago, but it was such a cool concept that played into the theme. Half the book from the side of the heroes, half the book from the side of the villains.
eSB: What got you interested in superheroes/villains?
DAM: I was never a fanatic, but all through my childhood there were cartoons and movies featuring these larger-than-life heroes. The Amazing Spiderman (with Firestar and Iceman), Shazam! and Isis, and let’s not forget The Greatest American Hero :::grin:::. When I was a little older I had a crush on a boy who was into comicbooks and started reading the X-Men. Still, I never did more than dabble, but I LOVE a grand idea and the concept of forces of good standing against forces of evil.
eSB: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would it work?
DAM: I would stop time. Not for long. Just enough so that if I saw something dangerous happening like cars about to crash, I could stop them, or something like that. (Or backtrack and undo a stupid mistake…just saying…)
eSB: What would your weakness be and why?
DAM: I think it would be in knowing when to leave things well enough alone. Fixing one thing could have a negative impact down the road.
eSB: Who is your favorite superhero and why?
DAM: Hmmm…this is tough. I have always loved Gambit from the X-Men. Mostly from the cartoon, but nothing compares to Wolverine from the movies. The characterization of both of them just spoke to me. On Gambit’s part the southern charm paired with the mischief, and on Wolverine’s part the depth of character and the contrast between his honor and his darker side.
eSB: Who is your real-life hero and why?
DAM: I am a person of faith and one thing has stuck with me since I was about thirteen. I had a youth pastor named Brad Phillips and his dedication and honor were such a clear example to me. He supported me when he knew I had no other support in my walk as a Christian and was there for me in the secular world as well, and he took up my cause when others in our circle were not being true to their Christian faith. He stood up for what was right and did not waver, even when it would have been easier to let things go. He took a stand to show me and others that I mattered.
eSB: What is your favorite superhero movie and why?
DAM: Anything with Wolverine…really. I love the entire X-Men franchise. Part of this is because of my familiarity with the comics and then the X-Men cartoon, but mostly it is because these movies are so well-done in every aspect, from the acting talent to the direction to the cinematic choices made. It is a balanced universe with plenty of grey area to lend veracity to the world and events. There is continuity and depth that makes it easy for me to invest myself in following.
eSB: What other comic or superhero-related work have you done in the past?
DAM: Well…I had to make up a superhero for my 8th grade English teacher, Mr. Hepp…. She was a winged Valkyrie who used a bow and the drawing made her (unintentionally) look like she had a pig nose, but other than that, not much. Funny enough, though…I can’t remember the name I made up for my Valkyrie character now, but years after the fact I was on a Greyhound bus traveling through Florida and actually saw the name as I had spelled it on a street sign.
eSB: If there was one comic franchise you could work on, which would it be and why?
DAM: Oh…easy…X-Men! Just because this will always be dear to my heart and it is the only franchise for which I am even remotely knowledgeable. Besides…maybe then I could actually meet Stan Lee.
eSB: Fiction or comics, which is your favorite medium and why?
DAM: I’m a fiction girl, I have to say. I can be brief if I have to, but I love playing with language and that’s not something you get to do a lot when writing comics. I have a lot of respect for my friends that have written both, though. It takes skill to switch mediums. It is a completely different mindset.
eSB: Please tell us about your non-comic related work.
DAM: I am an author, editor and publisher currently. I write both novels and short stories and love to edit anthologies. Currently I have six novels: The Eternal Cycle trilogy (Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, and Today’s Promise) which I describe as Irish Elves in New York City fighting evil demigods; The Bad-Ass Faerie Tale novellas (The Halfling’s Court and The Redcaps’ Queen) which feature my biker faeries from the Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies; and Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, which is a steampunk version of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. I have edited nine anthologies (No Longer Dreams, Bad-Ass Faeries, BAF: Just Plain Bad, BAF: In All Their Glory, BAF: It’s Elemental, Dragon’s Lure, In an Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk, Clockwork Chaos, Trouble on the Water, and The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson) My short stories have appeared in about forty anthologies and magazine, but the best of them have been collected in three solo collections: A Legacy of Stars (science fiction), Consigned to the Sea (nautical fantasy), and Transcendence (urban fantasy). To learn more about these books please visit http://www.sidhenadaire.com.
eSB: Please let us know where you can be found on social media.
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/
eSB: Thank you for allowing this glimpse beneath your alter-ego. We’re looking forward to more super heroics and evil geniuses to come.