Corinne Duyvis discusses her upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy prose novel!
What do young adult science fiction and Marvel Comics have in common? That would be author Corinne Duyvis, writer of acclaimed YA books like “Otherbound” and “On the Edge of Gone.”
Now, Corinne brings her experienced hand to writing an original prose novel for Marvel, “Guardians of the Galaxy: Collect Them All.” While we don’t know too much about the finer plot details right now, we do know that less-than-savory individuals have gotten their hands on a piece of Groot for their own nefarious planting purposes. As a result, the Guardians must become wary allies with Taneleer Tivan, The Collector, to stop a galaxy-wide conspiracy.
We spoke with Duyvis—who couldn’t be more excited for her Marvel team-up—about the highly anticipated novel, her love of sci-fi and favorite member of the Guardians team…
Marvel.com: How did you end up working on a prose novel for Marvel?
Corrine Duyvis: How I ended up wanting to do it is pretty straightforward: I write my own original prose novels, and I’m a long-time Marvel reader. Over the past years, whenever announcements of the prose novels they’ve been putting out came across my screen, I would go, “Hmmmm. How…intriguing.” Imagine me rubbing a non-existent beard [or] twirling a non-existent mustache. I talked to my fabulous literary agent about it, and she was totally open to the idea. She spent some time asking around and keeping her ears open for opportunities, and here we are!
Marvel.com: You’ve had experience writing science fiction—especially for young adults—in the past as evidenced by your first two books, “Otherbound” and “On the Edge of Gone.” Going off that, what draws you to the genre in general?
Corrine Duyvis: I’ve always loved fantasy and sci-fi. Novels, comic books, animation, movies, TV series, games—the works. I’ve been all over this stuff since I was a kid, and while originally it might’ve been because I got drawn to all the pretty explosions and cool magic, it’s definitely developed into something deeper over the years. One thing I love is that there are no real limits. Whether it’s comparatively minor, street-level fantasy elements, or mind-blowing cosmic-level stories—your imagination is the limit, as they say. So much of writing comes down to asking the question “what if?” and you can take that awfully far in the genre. The other part that draws me to the genre is that the above flexibility means you have a lot of room to explore characters and themes. I wanted to talk about which lives are valued most; that worked perfectly in an apocalypse-centric novel where people have to make difficult choices about who gets to survive on a generation ship and who has to stay behind on the planet. I wanted to talk about identity; isn’t a great way to do that by writing about a boy who sees through the eyes of a girl in another world every single time he blinks? All sorts of human conflicts, whether individual or societal, can be explored in speculative fiction in fascinating ways—sometimes abstract, sometimes head-on—and I love all the directions you can take that into.
Marvel.com: Similarly, how did your fondness and prior experience with sci-fi translate into your take on the Guardians of the Galaxy? In addition, how will your version of the Guardians be different from previous iterations of the team?
Corrine Duyvis: Although my Guardians of the Galaxy novel has a very different vibe and style than my personal work, I still bring the same kinds of questions to it that I normally ask. I’m always interested in exploring identity, for instance. What makes us who we are? Which choices, experiences, or inherent traits are responsible for our identity? What kinds of events could change who we are, or what our version of normal is? Asking these questions in a sci-fi setting like that of Marvel’s is great fun—I get to use the tropes of the genre, play with questions I have about the characters, and more. My version of the Guardians is a bit of a mishmash of the versions I’ve seen across film, cartoon, and obviously the comics themselves. As is usually the case with long-running super heroes, each writer has their own take on the characters, so they can differ a lot depending on the creators, medium, or time period. There isn’t any “One True Version.” This is oddly freeing as a writer. It doesn’t mean I get to simply ignore everything and use my own approach—I wouldn’t want to; I love the source material!—but it certainly offered more flexibility. I’ve mostly used a combination of elements that will be accessible to readers and elements that appealed to me as a writer, while trying to stay true to the characters as I understood them.
Marvel.com: Groot is a huge part of the story here. Without giving too much away, why was he chosen as the cause of the main conflict and do we learn anything new about him from it?
Corrine Duyvis: The first thing I did when the possibility of writing the Guardians came up was re-watch the film—which is hardly a chore!—to jog my memory and slip into the world before I branched out further into the comics. It ended up doing a whole lot more than that. It gave me the inspiration for a big part of the book, since by the end of the film, I wondered: Hey, what’s to stop someone else from planting one of those Groot shards? What’s to stop them from planting a whole bunch? So why was he chosen? One, he’s great. Who doesn’t love Groot? Two, there was a promising opportunity for a story there. I leaped on it right away. Lots of other parts slotted into place naturally after that. We’ll learn not only what happens physically when he’s planted en masse, but also how it affects him on a more personal level.
Marvel.com: Who would you say is your favorite Guardians member and why?
Corrine Duyvis: It will come as no surprise to anyone that I love Rocket—both the hilarious parts and the sadder parts that a lot of writers have highlighted in different ways. He’s such a great character, and his interactions with Groot are always a highlight. I also found it really interesting to get into Gamora’s head for the book. She’s often so closed-off that it’s not exactly easy to figure out what’s going on with her on a personal level, but since she’s one of the major players of the novel, I really had to figure out what drove her. It gave me a huge appreciation for her as a character to both write and read about.
Look for “Guardians of the Galaxy: Collect Them All” in 2017!