T.M. Root has found a treasure trove of new experiences and solace in books. Her favorite growing up was Daughter of the Forest. Her favorite author is Cinda Williams Chima. And her favorite anime is Demon Slayer. She thrives on stories and writes hers to reconcile this confusing and pain-ridden world with her hope that it can become better. She lives in Massachusetts but harbors dreams to return to Japan after her study abroad in Kyoto in 2017. You can read more from her at pages.tmroot.com.


What anime/manga/light novel inspired your short story?

"Supernova and 28" is Oikawa from Haikyu! with the concept of heroes in My Hero Academia foisted upon him, but he lives somewhere like Amestris from Fullmetal Alchemist. 
What was your process like for writing this story? Did you have a specific idea for the ending or a theme you wanted to write around?
I knew I wanted to have an Oikawa-inspired character as my frontman from the get-go. On a long car drive I bounced ideas off my sister, determined to couch this sort of character in a short story that would accentuate both his independent/competitive streak and his (unacknowledged) desire to be on a team. Here's what my notes from that day say:
Vain relationship consultant who got supernatural abilities in an accident but can't be a superhero with the abilities he gained (ambition higher than ability)
From there, I spent time working out how to combine the worlds of My Hero Academia and Fullmetal Alchemist yet include a twist that made them my own. (That's where all the star names and imagery came in.) And then I thought out the plot. That was all in the one long car ride. All I had left was writing the story out!
What was your favorite part about writing this story? Was there anything challenging about it?
I have many favorite moments, but the one that came first, which is perhaps the most memorable, was gasping at my sister in the car then saying, "It'll be Oikawa as a PG incubus who's a vain relationship consultant!"
What I found most challenging was the worldbuilding and names. In other words, the research portion. Coming up with story ideas is exciting. Writing and editing feel like forward motion almost the entire time. Research, though, is fits and starts. It might actually be the most rewarding part of the process, but it's the part that feels the most like work.
Do you have a favorite sentence or quote or paragraph from the story?
The entire scene where Kei is in the Pyxis Constel car with Vi and Ei'ichi is my favorite. Here's one of my favorite parts:
“My answer is yes.”Vi hissed with undisguised pleasure. Ei’ichi reopened his laptop. The businesslike response was first marred by the victorious light in his dark eyes. Second came the upward lift of his mouth. A strange pride welled in Kei that he didn’t have to rely on his ability to detect their feelings.“And now that that’s out of the way,” Kei continued, “I’d like to make my requests.”
Can you tell us about one character in the story? Any insights into who they are as a character that we didn’t get to see in the story?
SwiftTern grew another set of wings, these on her ankles, because of her dedication to her Constel. Sacrifice for one's team increases (some) Celestials' power no matter which way their inner compass points. Now she is not only fast and airborne but armed with chillingly accurate aim.
Can you briefly share about your other works? Where can people find you if they want to read more?
"Supernova and 28" is my first published work! You can get monthly updates on my in-progress writing by signing up for emails from me, at  pages.tmroot.com.
I also have a podcast on the deeper side of creativity. You can find it at  deepwatermediaandpress.com/podcast.
Are the names of the Celestials like SwiftTern and PressureEyes significant? How did you choose them?
The idea of the Celestials having "hero names" came from My Hero Academia. Everyone's Celestial(/Nova) name is directly related to their ability.
SwiftTern - fast, has wings like a tern
PressurEyes - can generate pressure with eye contact
Violet Cobra - self-explanatory
CommuniKing - when it comes to communication, he rules the court
Ei’ichi may not be a hero name, but its significance is that it is the name of a Japanese Nobel Laureate for Chemistry. He passed away in 2021, the year I started writing "Supernova and 28."
Kei’s ability and its accompanying weakness is quite interesting: fantastical, yet relatable. What inspired you to create the Hunger?
My desire to put Kei in the worst possible situation: He needs connection with people to survive, but he can't truly connect with them because he's a Nova. (Tell people what you really are - connect with them on what you're most affected by and scared about - and they'll kill you.) The severity of the hunger, how visceral its effects are, made itself known once I started writing. 

Author Interview - T.M. Root

10 July 2022

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