David Solomons and Superheroes

Words and pictures by Leanna Coleman

Who knew superheroes were so fun to make? David Solomons, author of ‘My Brother is a Superhero’ and the series, gave an interactive talk on the imagination behind his characters and the craft behind his creation.

David spoke about inventing superhero characters

David began the talk by answering his most asked question: where do your ideas come from? “Before I was a writer I was a fan,” he explained. His last years of primary school were important in regard to his writing career. He was a big science fiction fan and inspired by Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.

Becoming a dad lit the fire in him to create a story for his children. Although, in order to create a bunch of superheroes, he had to conduct some research. He admitted he didn’t know much about superheroes, especially the modern ones. One of his favourite series is Star Wars and he preferred lightsabers to superpowers.

To show the crowd just how fun making superheroes is, he and the audience made a new one together. With the help of some eager volunteers from the crowd, they drew a superhero, added superpowers and named him ‘mitten man’ and his sidekick ‘lava llama’. The children had the chance to contribute ideas and David explained: “in brainstorming, no answers are wrong”.

One child asked David if he plans out his books and he replied with an example of a spectrum that shows planners one side and ‘pantsers’ the other. He uses a brief plan and doesn’t usually brainstorm. “I like to know the end and a little bit of the middle. You want to be surprised yourself when you’re writing,” he stated. His wife, Natasha Solomons, also a novelist, reads over his work and has good suggestions he confirms. Creating a novel, he says, is “frustrating but hugely enjoyable”.

His fifth book is going to be the last of the series and David will begin writing it in a month.

David got the kids to design their own superheroes
Lots of kids took the opportunity to get their books signed by the author

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