Posts tagged Ian Healy

Interview With the Author: Ian Healy

Ian Thomas Healy Talks Candidly About The Archmage:


Tell us about your latest book.

 The Archmage is a sequel to the novel Just Cause, starring the super-speedy Mustang Sally along with the rest of the Just Cause superhero team. In it, I explore the use of magic in a superhero setting. In this case, a character named Wolfgang Frasier has been slaughtering other mages around the world and taking their power for himself. He’s gotten so powerful that there is only one other mage remaining besides him, the hero Stratocaster, who is a member of the Lucky Seven hero team that Sally trained with at the beginning of Just Cause. If Frasier manages to kill Stratocaster, his power becomes absolute and he could plunge the entire world into darkness, becoming its total ruler. This is, of course, his goal. Sally and the other heroes have no choice but to try to stop him, even though his power is so great that he can call armies of the dead out of the ground and turn anyone captured to his side. There’s a nifty bit of time travel thanks to magic going awry that sends the team back to the 1870s, and of course some great intrigue and epic, cinematic battles. At the same time, Sally’s relationship with Jason is growing much more complex and suffering growing pains all its own.

What is Local Hero Press?

LHP is an imprint I created specifically for the release of my novel-length work and collections. I didn’t want to simply release them under my own name as the publisher because with such a wide variety of genres under my belt, I wanted something to tie them all together. This way, if someone buys The Archmage, likes it, and looks to see what else LHP has to offer, they might discover Blood on the Ice or Pariah’s Moon or Troubleshooters.

You do write in a variety of genres. Tell us about some of them.

I don’t like to be pigeonholed, so I don’t force myself to stay in one genre, if I’m interested in writing in a different one. This goes against common wisdom of building a brand, from what I’ve seen on the internet, so I’m forming my own uncommon wisdom instead. That again ties back to the LHP imprint by creating a common thread beyond just my name. I follow my muse, so I’ve gone from superheroes (Just Cause, The Archmage) to funny science fiction (The Milkman), to cyberpunk (Troubleshooters), to fantasy/Western (Pariah’s Moon), to urban fantasy sports (Blood on the Ice), to religious symbolism (Hope and Undead Elvis) and even more. And if my agent sells The Guitarist, I can add “Mainstream Young Adult” to my genres.

 You have an agent?  I thought you were self-published.

 I do have an agent, Carly Watters of PS Literary Agency in Toronto. She represents my Young Adult work only, and when we discussed the possibility of her representing me, we both agreed that she could still effectively represent a portion of my work and I could still effectively release my speculative and adult fiction without interfering with one another. I am, in fact, searching for a second literary agent to represent The Oilman’s Daughter, the epic steampunk/space opera that I coauthored with my dear friend Allison M. Dickson.

 What’s it like working with another writer so closely on a project?

I’m not sure I have anything better to compare it to than a successful marriage. We worked very closely together on the project (two time zones separating us notwithstanding!). We had complete trust with each other, and were able to discuss what should have been extremely divisive and difficult issues not only with calm heads, but with a sense of joy that only two opposing viewpoints between dear friends can bring. The best thing about working with someone like that is going back through the manuscript and not being able to tell exactly who wrote which parts. That’s just awesome.

Prof. Jenn’s Custom Questions: 

How does this sequel to Just Cause continue the universe/make its characters grow? Will we enjoy it if we haven’t yet read Just Cause?

 I’ll answer the second part first. Yes, you’ll enjoy it. I have intentionally designed every Just Cause Universe book as a self-contained tale. Yes, it’s part of the larger universe, and there are storylines that carry over from the previous books, but not in such a way that a new reader will be lost. If you have read Just Cause, you’ll find the relationship between Sally and Jason growing and changing, like relationships tend to do. You’ll find Sally’s relationships with other members of her team changing as well. You’ll also see her maturing more, a process which began in Just Cause. She’s a young woman who’s still trying to find her place in the world, and that means a lot of growing pains.

Are there plans for more books in this universe? What direction/s will they take?

 I have tentatively planned 19 books for the Just Cause Universe. Yeah, that’s a lot. Besides The Archmage and Just Cause, I have three more novels completed. Some expand the other areas of the universe, focusing on characters only circuitously related to Just Cause. Others deal with prior incarnations of the team, set in the ‘70s, or ‘40s, for example. Remember that Sally is a third-generation superhero. Both her parents and her grandparents were involved in the Just Cause team, so that’s a lot of history to explore.

Any plans to branch out in comic versions/spinoffs?

If any artist reading this wants to talk to me about graphic novel adaptations of my work, feel free to contact me via my website ( At the moment, I’m not looking for any original JCU stories, although that’s certainly an option for the future.

Jump up on a soapbox about self e-publishing. What’s been your experience, and would you recommend it?

*boing* My experience has been almost uniformly positive. My goal has always been to make my work accessible and available for people to read, and it’s been a real boost to get so many positive reviews. That encourages me to continue with my work. That being said, I am still looking to break into traditional publishing via my agent or another avenue. Self-publishing is a slow road, and in spite of the rags-to-riches tales permeating the internet, you’re probably not going to be the one who starts selling a million copies a month. You’re probably not going to start selling a hundred copies a month either. My first month as an ebook publisher, I think I sold five copies total. Now I’m averaging about three copies sold at retail price per day across all platforms. Some of those are novels, others are short stories. I lump ‘em all together because it feels a lot better to me.

I do recommend self-publishing with the following caveats: Short stories, novellas, and cross-genre works make great fodder for self-publishing. If you have a completed novel that might be commercially viable, take the time and the effort to try to sell it traditionally first. If it doesn’t sell that way, then epublish it. Ignoring potential traditional sales and focusing solely on self-publishing (or vice versa) is like only shaving one leg and wearing shorts. And don’t cheat by self-publishing: you still need to do thorough editing and revision, and design (or pay for) a great cover. If your beta readers can’t tell you honestly that your work stands up on its own beside similar traditionally-published work, you need to head back to the editing table.

What’s a favorite book you’re reading right now? 

Right now, I’m reading Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter. It’s a Victorian steampunk novel and I’m enjoying it.


The Archmage, book 2 of the Just Cause Universe series, launches from all online retailers on September 1, 2012. Exclusive signed editions can be purchased directly from Local Hero Press (

Find Ian on Twitter and follow Local Hero Press

On Facebook: and

Author website:

*This post originally appeared at Bonzuko.   ~Prof. Jenn


Book Review: Ian Healy's Blood on the Ice

Review by Prof. Jenn

Ever hear of the phrase, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out”? Well in Ian Healy’s Blood on the Ice, the blood is of a different flavor than your basic in-game scuffle. And in this era of post-brooding-Louis and sparkling bloodsuckers, that’s a good thing.

Healy’s snickering, boyish humor is a highlight of this novel—from the characters’ postmodern comments on vampiric pop culture to the hockey teammates’ constant good-natured trash talking to the wry snarkiness of the “narrator” (a lovely twist as to the identity of the narrator I won’t spoil for you, but wait for the delightful punchline) pull us through this story with tight action and a keen series of cliffhanger chapter endings.

The basic dramatic action is as follows: our slightly naïve young protagonist is a part of a sub-sub-par hockey team in Canada (the Fighting Aardvarks—an awesome name), and is caught in the crossfire as his teammates slowly begin to transform into vampires. Already we have an unconventional pairing—hockey and vampires—that oddly makes a lot of sense. As we follow Hammie through one failed and one successful romance, through his slow discovery of why his teammates are acting so strangely, to his hilariously guilt-trippy parents, unusually brilliant history of vampires and probably the funniest character entrance ever (by a character with an equally ridiculous name: Doogie Van Halen), you get the picture right away that this isn’t your common vampire story, nor is it your common sports-underdog or rom-com story either: it’s a crazy mix of all these things and in the middle, you have characters that are so realistically drawn, you can’t help but root for the home team, even as they mold matzoh balls into bullets.

Three things Healy does especially well in this book: 1) his treatment of the female characters and the romance brewing alongside the action is not in any way sappy, but completely realistic: his women are strong yet feminine, Hammie’s adorable-yet-not-cloying attention to his new love spot-on, and his inclusion of a Goth girl is perfect within the panoply of characters. 2) Healy’s action sequences are exciting without being confusing, detailed without being weighty, and gory to the funniest degree. Of course, we should expect Healy to be good at action scenes, as it’s a bit of a specialty for him: .   3) the thread of the wry Narrator is gripping throughout—sort of a Chorus to the main throughline of the action.

Overall, this is a thrilling, funny read, and I highly recommend it.   ~Prof. Jenn


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