Chapter 1 Reading of Becoming Hero by Jen Finelli

Performed by Val Cole

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your novel about?

Skye’s an Asian-American comic book superhero with a gun in his hand and a gripe against his author. Every girl Skye’s ever dated is either dead or trying to take over the world, and in the series finale, Skye’s best friend kills him. Or so he thinks. The weapon meant to disintegrate Skye lands him in his author’s universe. With a shot at revenge.

Skye, meet Jace. Jacen Howard’s a brilliant black teen math whiz, but at his West Baltimore high school that’s a bad thing. Black kids aren’t “supposed” to be good at math, and if the bullying isn’t bad enough, Jace’s cop-father regularly pisses off the local gang recruiters. Jace doesn’t see himself as a hero; he’s just trying to survive. He might be just the hero Skye needs.

But Skye won’t open up when Jace tries to ease him out of PTSD, and the author’s still torturing his friends. As Skye’s mood swings and nightmares escalate, Jace realizes that if he doesn’t uncover his roommate’s real identity soon, Skye will hurt someone–and Skye’s still deciding if murder will save his world, or damn his soul.

If that’s something you’re interested in hearing more about, feel free to drop me your e-mail at the bottom of the Becoming Hero page of my website! ( I’ll let you know when it comes out, and I’ll drop you a few hot tips on superhero geek gear gifts for the holidays. -_^

What genres would you say this novel is in?

It’s a YA light scifi superhero novel.

How would you describe this story in two words?

Meta murder.

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Peter Pan by Universal studios, 2003.

How long have you been working on this story?

Several years.

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Either the original dark and creepy Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie or Perelandra, a wild, philosophical scifi by C.S. Lewis.

What motivated you to write this story?

The suffering of comic book characters I love to hate. Like Batman, Jason Todd, Nightwing…anyone in the Batman part of the DC Universe, actually. = P

Some people have questioned my diverse character choices, and I have to say that’s a motivation in the story, too. It’s not just that there’s a strong need for diverse heroes in superhero fiction: there is, a huge need, and you can just google Whoopie Goldberg’s story about StarTrek to see that we become the heroes we identify with on screen and on the page. But beyond that, I write the characters I want to see. I write the people I see as heroes in real life, and that means more Asian and Black (and Hispanic) representation, with varying and different experiences that aren’t bound by societal expectations. Why should I write characters I don’t need to see more of? That would be stupid.

What artist would you love to have dinner with?

Whatever artist clicks.

That sounds weird, but actually I’m looking for an artist for the “comic-book insert” pages of this novel, for a special “extra” release I’ll be doing next year, and I’m definitely going to be paying decent rates, but I really want someone who clicks. I’d preferably like to support underrepresented artists but more than anything I want to find someone of any background who loves the stories and wants to maybe work with me long term.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Got a film coming out at, too, about a #blasian married couple who get mad at each other, seek out affairs online, and accidentally end up matched up with each other. They’re all sneaking around having an affair with each other! Crazy stuff. (Yes, I like Pina Colada–it’s actually my favorite drink.)

Other than that? Song composition, cooking, poetry, competitive card and tabletop games, comic books, zoology, social and conservational activism, swing dancing, martial arts and weapon studies, linguistics, video games, and historical literature and cultural exploration. I like to hike, and I just got my Scuba certification. I’m working on a webcomic over at

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I do have a little stream of advice here, at! I’m a pro-published #scifi writer, but I really like to give advice that’s from OTHER people who know more than me. = )

You have to be willing to make changes and work your butt off.


Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo

Editor: John Johnson

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

TV CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed
Submit the first stages of your film and get full feedback!

By writingfest

Monthly Festival showcasing the best of new novels from around the world. Novel transcripts get performed by professional actors. OR, we also turn novels into movies and seen by 1000s online and at various film festivals.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: