Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.

November 18, 2022

Horne’s debut follows Advent 9, the last superhero in a world that’s almost forgotten them. To stop the biggest threat the world has ever seen, he’ll have to team up with a supervillain to uncover his lost memory.  

Advent 9 is your first full-length work. Can you describe your writing process?

To begin with, I’m an outliner. I always know how my story ends, and I constantly take stock of what I’ve written to ensure it brings me closer to that ending. The path can and should meander but never turn back on itself, much like an algebraic function. I also frequently encourage writers to develop a definite writing method. Too many writers—indies in particular—have no method other than what I call “word diarrhea.” They just put down words without consideration for cadence or pacing.

Why choose superheroes as your subject matter?

I’ve never seen a superhero story done well as a novel. Neither had David Farland, my editor and mentor, who taught writing to Brandon Sanderson, Stephenie Meyer, James Dashner, and Brandon Mull.  After reading Advent 9, he declared it to be the first time a novel had successfully told a serious superhero story (there are some delightful superhero parody or superhero-adjacent novels, but Dave was still waiting for a novel to be the next Watchmen or Infinity War and was delighted to find in Advent 9 everything he’d hoped for). He insisted that Advent 9 represented a new genre—Superpunk, he called it, which basically means a superhero story that reaches the same heights of complexity and nuance found in the greatest comic books.

I also wanted to create an openly autistic superhero, since the parallels between superheroes and autism have always been there. Both groups tend to be antisocial loners who mask their real selves while in public, adhere to strict personal codes of conduct to keep their behaviors in check, and dedicate all their free time to a weird hobby no one understands until it saves/changes the world.

Many characters across all mediums have been coded as autistic without being given a formal diagnosis. I learned the reason for this after meeting with an acquisitions editor who straight up told me, “An autistic character cannot be a hero. Those people need rescuing by others. They don’t do the rescuing.” Naturally, he rejected my book.

Did you always intend for Advent 9 to be YA or did that come later? 

It was always YA. YA is one of the few categories read by everyone. I’ve met YA readers who are 50-plus years old and others who are in grade school—and everything in between. For this book to have the maximum possible impact, YA was the only conceivable option. And since my own autism diagnosis happened during my teenage years, it became natural to write a story about a teenage superhero being given a diagnosis during the same period of his life.

Why do you think people with abilities are so fascinating in the current cultural zeitgeist?

Human beings are more powerful now than at any previous juncture in history. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was a wake-up call for everyone on Earth. Since then, we’ve only grown more powerful. Submarines, satellites, the internet, social media—people in every echelon of society have the power to destroy, kill, or unperson. The great moral issue of our time is how to properly manage the godlike power we wield. We want to use our power heroically, but we’re afraid of making deadly mistakes. Superhero stories naturally reflect this dread.

Can readers expect a sequel?

Yes. The Antiworld Engine will continue the story of Advent 9 and answer many of the questions left open by the first novel. I hope to have it out sometime in 2024, if not sooner.