Danielle Paige on Graphic Novels, Superheroes, and MERA: TIDEBREAKER
Danielle Paige is a master at taking a world you think you know and flipping it on its head in interesting ways. Just look at her bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, which showed readers a dark and eerie side of Oz that was miles away from any other adaptation before or since. Now, Paige is tackling Aquaman and Atlantis—specifically, the Atlantean penal colony of Xebel, where a warrior princess named Mera takes a mission to overthrow Aquaman and ascend to the throne. Her heart, however, has different plans. Mera's not exactly a new character—she's crossed paths with Aquaman since the 1960s. But in Paige's hands, she shines in ways she never has before—Mera is a full-fledged superhero in her own right, and Paige's new graphic novel, Mera: Tidebreaker, celebrates the princess in all her butt-kicking glory.
We're looking forward to learning more about this empowering character when Danielle Paige visits us at the shop on April 9. Check out our Q&A with the author below, then pre-order your copy of Mera: Tidebreaker at the bottom of the page and plan to join us. It's going to be a super night. (We couldn't resist.)
I loved writing Mera. Mera’s a force. A true superhero. Formidable and loyal. Complex and full of heart. Mera grows up a warrior princess in Xebel, a penal colony of Atlantis. To secure her throne, she decides leave her underwater home and kill the heir to the Atlantean throne. But when she meets the heir, Arthur Curry (aka Aquaman) her heart takes over and she begins to question her mission. Mera has to decide between what her heart wants and her sense of duty.
How much did you know about Mera when you started the project and how did you learn more about her?
Not nearly enough. I knew that she was Aquaman’s great love and that she was a superhero in her own right. But she is so much more than that. She has an incredibly rich history of her own and she is incredibly powerful. And she has an incredibly cool power—she can control water wherever she finds it. I hope that when people read Mera, they see her in the same league as Wonder Woman and Batman and Aquaman himself.
We imagine there must be a difference between writing a novel and writing a graphic novel. Is that the case? And, if so, can you describe the differences?
I actually began my career as a scriptwriter (soaps and other TV) and I think that graphic novel writing is much closer to that. In novels, you have to describe everything, including your characters' internal monologues, to paint a picture for the reader. But in graphic novels, the artist does that for you. And my artist, Stephen Byrne, was so masterful at bringing Mera to life on the page.
Can you tell us a bit about the project you're currently working on?
My next novel is a fairy godmother origin story for Bloomsbury. I am so excited to give the catalyst for arguably the most famous fairy tale, Cinderella, an origin story!
What are some of your favorite recent reads?
I just finished The Art of Losing by Lizzie Mason, which I loved. I adored Marissa Meyer’s Renegades. I am just cracking open Rebecca Hanover’s The Similars. And Ibi Zoboi’s Pride is taunting me from my nightstand.
Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a penal colony ruled by the other no-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown....
The New York Times bestselling first book in a dark new series that reimagines the Oz saga, from debut author Danielle Paige.
I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?