Episode 410: Writing a YA Series Inspired by Superhero Stories—Interview with Brett Riley

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Brett Riley. We’ll be talking about his YA fantasy/thriller novel, Freaks.

Have you signed up to be a DIY MFA Radio Insider yet? This is an exciting new monthly newsletter especially for our podcast listeners. Every month, you’ll get an email from our podcast producer with recaps of the most recent episodes, a curated Listening List of episodes on a particular theme, and other fun goodies we only share via email. Best of all, it’s free to join! The theme for May is Short Stories, and you can become an insider by signing up with your email at diymfa.com/insiders.

In this episode Brett Riley and I discuss:

  • How he portrayed and deepened the bond between his main characters.
  • The double-sided nature of superhero powers and why he showed his characters’ weaknesses.
  • Why it’s fascinating to let superheroes be bad and what that exploration reveals.

Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

About Brett Riley

Brett Riley is the author of The Subtle Dance of Impulse and Light (Ink Brush Press), Comanche (Imbrifex Books), Lord of Order (Imbrifex), Freaks (Imbrifex), and Travelers (2022). His short fiction has appeared in journals such as The Baltimore Review, F(r)iction, Solstice, Folio, The Evansville Review, and many others. His nonfiction has appeared in CrimeReads, Role Reboot, Broad River Review, Rougarou, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Literary Orphans, Under the Gum Tree, Wild Violet, and Foliate Oak Magazine. He lives in Henderson, NV.

You can find him on his website or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Hunted by monsters. Wanted for questioning. Late for class.

Four high-school friends suffer daily humiliation at the hands of three bullies. When the friends accidentally open a portal to another dimension, they unintentionally allow terrifying, other-worldly creatures to invade their small Arkansas town. Discovering that they are now endowed with strange superpowers, the four teens dub themselves “Freaks,” the very name their tormentors used to ridicule them. The Freaks must fight to save the lives of family and friends now in mortal peril and thwart a secret government task force that appears to be hunting them.

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Link to Episode 410

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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