David Schwartz's first novel, Superpowers, came out this month by Three Rivers Press. The book has been praised by Kelly Link and Karen Joy Fowler, with Fowler saying, ""A thoughtful and convincing blend of magic and realism. I believed in these ordinary, recognizable college students with their extraordinary abilities. As their powers change and fail them (and vice versa), Superpowers tells us a story both soaring and sober." I interviewed Schwartz recently about his book. He answered the questions via email while "sitting at Nina's Coffee Cafe in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Nina's is a great little place in my neighborhood, despite having a redundant name. It sits in a corner of the Blair Arcade building, which used to be the Angus Hotel and the Albion before that; it's a gorgeous five-story red-brick building with lots of stonework and wrought iron detailing, built in 1887."
Amazon.com: So your superhero novel has no villains in it, I hear.
David Schwartz: In a way I think that the powers themselves are the villains, or at the very least a major complicating factor to the challenges the characters already have in their lives. It was important to me that the characters remain normal people, aside from their new abilities. I think that super-villains have a tendency to move stories to a different level, one that's more mythic (and, well, heroic) but is also less relatable, and less open to questions about the personal and societal implications of that sort of power. It's nice, sometimes, to think of evil having a recognizable face, like the Joker's. That way everyone knows who to punch when bad things happen. But aside from being an oversimplification, it's also a way of distancing us from the terrible mistakes that ordinary people are capable of making, even without a lot of power.