Cobalt City Rookies is a young adult trilogy that features three novels with superhero, teenage protagonists. They all take place in Cobalt City, where superheroes have always run rampant. However, in recent years there’s been a decided lack of heroes, and these teens are stepping into the gap, like Morgan, a hacker from Hong Kong. His handle is “Wrecker of Engines,” which long-time Cobalt City fans will recognize from previous tales. Morgan faces a steampunk villain and befriends librarians while searching for family history and coming to terms with complex relationships in this book.
This interview is with Rosemary Jones, who wrote the first book in the trilogy: Wrecker of Engines.
TPP: So how did you select the Wrecker of Engines as your Cobalt City Rookie?
Rosemary Jones: First and foremost, I fell in love with that name. Nathan Crowder, the creator of Cobalt City, mentioned to me he once came up with the name of Wrecker Of Engines. He saw him as an early Cobalt City hero, a typical 1940s masked man with a fedora. The type of character who might turn up in the pulps. I love that era — and the artwork that went with it — and so I created a story about the original Wrecker for Cobalt City Timeslip.
TPP: So does this Wrecker wear a fedora too?
Rosemary Jones: No. Morgan Lee is a descendent of the first Wrecker but he’s a very modern teen. And that was part of the fun of this project — guessing what the Wrecker of Engines would mean to this generation. The original Wrecker fought against scientists and machines of war. This Wrecker operates in our digital age and wrecks villains’ plans via his smartphone. And he wears a hoodie rather than a fedora.
TPP: He also is very active.
Rosemary Jones: Oh yes. Like his ancestor, he’s not afraid to go out, investigate crime scenes, and even trade a few punches.
TPP: He lives in the Adventurers Club, doesn’t he?
Rosemary Jones: Yes. That’s a nod to the city’s history and the history of the Wreckers. I introduced the Adventurers Club in Timeslip as a gathering place for explorers, scientists, and others. It’s been unoccupied now for many years, but this Wrecker is bringing it back to life and learning a few of its secrets. Also, I always loved those YA novels where the teen had to make it on their own. And Morgan is on his own. He’s on the run from gangsters and he’s lost all his family. Like many loner superheroes, he’s rich so he can afford to rent the whole building even though he’s only seventeen.
TPP: And he finds that there are other people living there?
Rosemary Jones: Well, at least one person, Tidwell. He takes care of the place, and, automatically, anyone who lives there.
TPP: But he’s not an ordinary caretaker.
Rosemary Jones: He does seem to have a few magical secrets of his own, doesn’t he!
TPP: Then there’s Lizzie — she seems to be tied to the Adventurers Club’s history – and there’s definitely some mysteries surrounding her.
Rosemary Jones: Lizzie was a superhero and a rookie in a different age of Cobalt City. Now she see the same problems building up again that destroyed her friends. Only she can’t tell anyone. That’s a frightening place to be for a hero.
TPP: Besides the Club, a lot of action happens at the Library. Why did you pick a public library for superhero battles?
Rosemary Jones: I’m a bit of a library junkie. I love the physical buildings as well as the collections that they house. When I travel, I make it a point to visit the great libraries like main branch in New York City or the Library of Congress in D.C. The Cobalt City Library is a homage to all those places! And, being Cobalt City, you’re going to encounter superheroes and supervillains there. As well as librarians.
TPP: Ah, yes, the librarians. They are a bit different…
Rosemary Jones: Well, they live in superhero-riddled Cobalt City. I love imagining how ordinary people, like Hubert the graduate student, might react to that. In Hubert’s case, he’s building databases like any graduate student in his discipline. But he’s building them to define what a superhero is. But the librarians are just people, so they are pretty vulnerable when a villain invades the Library. They need some help, quick, or things are going to get nasty.
TPP: Lucky for the librarians and Lizzie that there is a new Rookie in town.
Rosemary Jones: Yes, indeed. Especially one who likes science as much as Lizzie, computer data as much as librarians, and knows how to make things work.
TPP: Or wreck them if needed.
Rosemary Jones: Certainly.
All three books, including Rosemary’s Wrecker of Engines, can be found in the Cobalt City Rookies e-book. The trilogy is available for the Kindle, the Nook, or DRM-free in both formats plus a bonus PDF. It’s $4.99 and free to librarians (just email [email protected]!). Listen to a free audio excerpt from Wrecker of Engines right here!
Rosemary Jones writes stories about superheroes in Cobalt City, adventurers in the Forgotten Realms, and a host of other fantastic events. You can find out more at http://www.rosemaryjones.com