Scott Seegert on Vordak & Time Travel Trouble
BrodartVibe: Scott Seegert, author of the upcoming Time Travel Trouble (a Vordak the Incomprehensible book) which releases in August, was gracious enough to answer some of our questions.
Seegert: Yes. I mean no. Wait a minute—that’s not even a question. Is it?
BrodartVibe: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?
Seegert: I steal them, just like everybody else. Seriously, though, there’s hardly an original idea out there, anymore. Vordak has had stories involving age-reduction rays, cloning and time travel, which are obviously all existing concepts. It’s how you work with those concepts that, hopefully, makes your book entertaining.
In our case, John (Martin, Vordak’s illustrator) and I both had a childhood love of comic books, thanks in large part to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. And we both enjoy the heck out of the live-action and animated superhero/supervillain movies that, thankfully, are so popular right now. Vordak is basically a satire of that whole universe.
BrodartVibe: Was there someone that inspired you to begin writing professionally (an evil chemistry or English teacher, perhaps)?
Seegert: Dave Barry. Not personally, of course, but a friend of mine turned me on to his writing about 20 years ago. And I loved it. To this day, his is the only writing that has actually made me laugh out loud.
BrodartVibe: In this day and age, most people love a good superhero. Why did you choose a supervillain?
Seegert: Because they are waayyy more interesting. And fun. In Vordak’s case, he’s really just an oversized kid, constantly bragging about his accomplishments and letting the world know how wonderful he is. Problem is, his accomplishments are meager and his wonderfulness is brought into question on page after page. Vordak is a totally unsuccessful supervillain in everyone’s eyes but his own. He’s basically that ten-year-old boy who thinks he should be playing for the Yankees. There’s a lot of humor to be had in that. I hope.
BrodartVibe: Where did you come up with name Vordak?
Seegert: Well, quite obviously, it’s the combination of “VOR” and “DAK”. And DAKVOR just didn’t have that menacing a ring to it. For supervillains, the name is perhaps THE most important aspect of evildom. Vordak is the son of Walter and Irene the Incomprehensible, so he has the added advantage of a sinister surname. If anyone reading this is interested in ruling the world, I invite you to visit www.vordak.com and let the Evil Name Generator select a unique evil name just for you! Even if you don’t have planetary conquest in mind, a shiny new evil name can work wonders in the workplace.
BrodartVibe: Are any of the characters in the book based on anyone you know (your secret is safe with us – MUAHAHAHAHA)?
Seegert: In terms of the personalities, not consciously. But I’m sure some traits sneak in there. I do know that John has visually patterned a few of the adult characters in the books after people he knew or knows…and apparently doesn’t intend on ever speaking to again.
BrodartVibe: How did you come up with Vordak’s costume? More specifically, what was your inspiration behind his head gear?
Seegert: A superhero costume is all about functionality. Well, that and showing off the results of your gym membership. A superVILLAIN costume, on the other hand, is about intimidation! And a hugely heinous helmet is by far the most important piece of the ensemble. Ordinary citizens need to know at first glance that you are a superior being of great power. And the less superior and powerful you actually are, the larger your helmet must be to compensate. Thus Vordak’s humongous headgear, the inspiration for which was a trip to Home Depot.
BrodartVibe: Vordak’s catchphrase of “Great Gassy Goblins” is very catchy, where did it generate (no sarcastic comment of what’s in my head is needed – thank you)?
Seegert: Well, I considered “Sakes alive!” and “Dagnabbit!” and “Yo, Mamma!”, but none of them had what I feel middle grade readers demand in an awesome catchphrase—a reference to flatulence. As far as where it originated, TIME TRAVEL TROUBLE answers that question when Vordak travels back in time and meets his medieval ancestor. For those of you with etiquette levels that hinder your imagination in this area, here’s a hint:
BrodartVibe: I love your sense of humor! With that being said, does your family find you funny or is there a lot of eye rolling in your house?
Seegert: That’s a good question. Hold on a minute and I’ll ask…They say that if by “funny” you mean “immature and easily entertained by bodily noises”, then YES, I am extremely funny. As far as eye rolling, a family genetic defect resulting in short optic nerves prevents us from making extreme eye movements.
BrodartVibe: Do you have any (sane/serious) advice for aspiring authors (young and old)?
Seegert: Let your personality come through in your writing. Agents and editors are more than willing to work with you on the details if they find your voice interesting and entertaining. And don’t give up on yourself too quickly. It only takes one agent to like your work. In my case, I sent a proposal for my first book, IT’S A GUY THING, to about thirty agents. Exactly ONE, Dan Lazar, was interested in representing me. He then sold it at auction within two weeks. You just never know. Also—write something good.
BrodartVibe: What’s next, besides taking over the world?
Seegert: Well, I’d lay it all out for you, but someone would just come along and steal my idea. Like they did with Harry Potter.
Time Travel Trouble and the other Vordak the Incomprehensible titles are available here.