This week’s FIVE ON FRIDAY guest is G. Xavier Robillard, author of the recently released CAPTAIN FREEDOM: A Super Heroes Quest for Truth, Justice and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves. Packed with pop culture references, Robillard goes non-stop from page one, racing through the twisted story of Captain Freedom (aka Tzadik Freidman). The action starts with Freedom’s fall from grace on the world stage, a disastrous dinner party and his search for a sidekick to his flagging comic book sales, a stint in rehab, his disastrous children’s book, a run for political office and finally, his true calling. This wild ride of a satire sends up celebrity, politics, Hollywood, the fashion world, upper management, current events and much more, including the beloved world of comic books.
(A note to parents, teachers and librarians: while I write children’s books some of my guests on FIVE ON FRIDAY do not. Many of the authors featured here write both. The purpose of FIVE ON FRIDAY is to give all visitors an insight into the mind of writers and the writing process. So please make your own judgment regarding the age appropriateness of the books discussed here for your children, students or patrons. And as always thanks for visiting FIVE ON FRIDAY.)
When did you know that you first wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first poem when I was eight. It was published, by my sister, on the refrigerator. During Comic Phase I (1979-1987) I wanted to write for Marvel Comics. It was in high school, due to the amazing mentoring of my tenth grade English teacher, that I knew I wanted to write seriously.
What book or writer do you feel influenced you the most?
Mark Twain. People often think that humor is ephemeral, and has no shelf life, but you can open almost any Twain essay or novel and start to crack up, and his caustic observations could easily out-snark all the bloggers in the pack.
What book or books are you currently reading or have recently read that you’d recommend to others?
Neal Stephenson’s Anathem is the best and most demanding speculative fiction I’ve read in a while. Corey Doctorow’s Little Brother should be required reading for middle school. And I recently read Later, At the Bar, a wonderful novel in stories by Rebecca Barry. At ComicCon last week I picked up the final installment in Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men.
At this very moment I’m rereading Orhan Pamuk’s My Name Is Red. Set in 16th century Istanbul it’s both rumination on the tension between art and religion, and a fast paced murder mystery.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Don’t underestimate the power of networking. It’s not the first thing many artists think about, since we tend to be introverts, but every bit helps. Almost every fun writing gig I’ve had has been a result of my other writer friends.
Can you share with us your next project or any information about the next book you’re working on?
It’s a comic thriller that’s set at a poetry publication. Think Treasure of the Sierra Madre meets J. Alfred Prufrock.