Interview with Drew Hayes, author of Villains Code

1. Could you tell us a bit about the Villains’ Code world?

Happily! Villains’ Code is a fictional world inspired by a love of comic-book style heroes and stories. It follows a guild of villains with enough basic pragmatism to realize that not leaving evidence is a lot easier than fighting superheroes, specifically a new member of the guild and her teacher.

2. How did you get inspired to do this series?

I had an idea to write a story about villains if they were given even the slightest bit of leeway to make smarter choices, and exploring what sort of world that might look like. It took a few tries, but eventually I found Villain’s Code and have been happily writing it since.

3. Why set it in a separate world from Super Powered?.

The settings they occupy were too fundamentally different, and had to be for the stories, for them to occur in the same world. A big part of the comic-book-style setting is that sense of anything being on the table. Advanced tech, aliens, magic, mutation, you never know what might pop up in those worlds. Whereas Super Powereds was more designed to be a more grounded take on the idea of superheroes, so the limits were essential to keeping that in the proper scale.

4. Can you describe your protagonists Tori and Hephaestus?

Tori is an inventor/aspiring entrepreneur with a tragic past and a short temper. She also has a fairly limited regard for the law, which is how she ended up on the guild’s radar. Hephaestus is her villain identity, fully manifested when she puts on the meta-suit she designed. While it’s not yet on par with most powerful versions of the tech in her world, it makes use of her unique power and advantages. Hephaestus is also not known for having a lot a patience.

5. Do you have a favorite character after these two?

I think I’d say Ivan and Helen when they’re on screen together. Writing that interaction is always a lot of fun.

6. What is Villains’ Vignettes Volume One about?

Three novellas covering different, smaller events in the Villain’s Code world. One focuses on Tori and her friends dealing with a magical Halloween land, the second gives us a peek into Ivan’s past, and the third is a Christmas story where we get to check-in with the cast at large.

7. What inspired Spooky Trudy and Hallowville?

A general love of Halloween and it’s common stories/tropes. I enjoy the holiday so much I did a decade-long special event story every year leading up to it. I thought it would be fun to have Halloween marked by something special in the Villains’ Code world too.

8. I really liked the combination of lameness and danger with the Fashionistador? Will we see them again?

I’m sure they’ll pop up again at some point, though probably in not nearly so aggressive a role. Tori made sure her lesson stuck.

9. “The Princess and Peril” ends on a cliffhanger. Will we be continuing this story elsewhere?

Indeed it will! I thought it would be nice to have a sort of through-line for the first few iterations of Villains’ Vignettes, and Ivan’s off-world adventure fit that well. We will at least get to the end of his part in that story.

10. Will we ever get lyrics for Lodestar’s educational rap? Will it get uploaded to the internet (and give Lorestar her first defeat)?

Not if Lodestar has anything to say about it.

11. Fans love all the seeds you’re dropping about Cyber Geek, Tachyon, and maybe Cliche liking Tori. Will we ever get a romance for our antiheroine?

We’ll have to see how Tori feels toward the idea as her life develops and she gets to know everyone better.

12. What’s next for Villains’ Code?

That would be Villains’ Code #3, which should be out in 2024! I’ve been writing it most of this year, and will continue to do so for the next several months, as these big books take a long while to get done. That’s part of why I started the Villains’ Vignette series as well, this way we can do pop-ins with the characters in between the giant novels.

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