From #MarvelPress... Black Widow: Red Vengeance by Margaret Stohl (Interview & Giveaway) #RedVengeance

(Review copy and giveaway compliments of Marvel Press.)

I'm a huge Marvel and Avengers fan, but specifically a Black Widow fan and loved the first book in this series when I read it last year (you can see my review here)! Marvel Press was kind enough to send me a copy of the sequel and also provide a signed copy to one of you guys for a giveaway. Woohoo! I'm also reviewing the book today here.

I also had the awesome opportunity to join seven other bloggers in a conference interview with the author, Margaret Stohl. (Gush much? Why yes, I couldn't help it as I'm a little bit of a fan.) Check it all out below...

Black Widow: Red Vengeance
by Margaret Stohl
YA Super Hero, Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 416 Pages
October 11th 2016 by Marvel Press

Summary

Emotions are dangerous, which is why the graduates of Moscow’s famed spy school the Red Room are taught to keep their enemies close and their loved ones at a distance. Black Widow and Red Widow, also known as Natasha Romanoff and Ava Orlova, forgot that lesson once, and they won’t forget it again.

But the Widows have inherited something else from their shared Moscow past: a relentless need for vengeance—Ivan Somodorov is dead, but his network of terror remains.

While the Widows search South America in order to extinguish a smuggling operation with ties to their old nemesis, their own Red Room not only attempts to assassinate them both but also hacks their secure S.H.I.E.L.D. network. As a result, Ava and Natasha find themselves thrust into a trying mission of international intrigue that takes them throughout the world and back to New York City, where their friends Dante and Sana become unlikely targets as well.

Once again, nothing is as it seems, no one can be trusted, and no one is safe—not unless the Widows can stop a conspiracy involving stolen nuclear warheads, mind-altering chemical weapons, and ultimately, betrayal by old friends and enemies alike.

   
(Affiliate links included.)

Interview Excerpts

You guys, it was so fun being a part of this, especially with bloggers that have been blogging a lot longer than I have. It was an interesting set up and definitely something I would love to do again.

I tried to pick out the parts of the interview I thought you guys would like to read. It was hard not to want to post the entire thing. Enjoy!

Ms. Margaret Stohl: This is Margaret, hi, glad to be here! My book is Black Widow: Red Vengeance, so it’s the sequel to Black Widow: Forever Red. . . . There’s a lot of action, some big enemies and, of course, some emotional stuff as well.

It’s more of an exploration of Ava, the younger protagonist, becoming the Red Widow and her own character with her own mission, goals, and personality, and clashing with Natasha, the Black Widow, who has her own very specific personality.

There’s a lot of action, some big enemies and, of course, some emotional stuff as well. 

ComicBooked: [D]id the movie version of Black Widow influence you at all in how you portrayed Natasha in the books?

Ms. Margaret Stohl: Yes, I always have Black Widow from the movies in mind because I think she’s done such a great job for so many of my readers in bringing the Black Widow character to life. Black Widow has been around for 50 years, she really has had so many creators. But I specifically think that her current cinematic version is incredibly successful with the book. I’m a fan.

Fiktshun: What was it like incorporating new characters, particularly Ava, into the Marvel universe and what was it like getting into the heads of existing characters like Natasha and Tony Stark?

Ms. Margaret Stohl: Everybody who knows me knows that I have a wicked Tony Stark sitting on one shoulder at all times. I’m famous for writing Tony Stark banter. It’s the love of my life. I can’t not make terrible Tony Stark jokes. It’s sort of my alter ego. . .

It is amazing to create a character for the Marvel universe. As we finished doing the comic, the one shot for Ava, I got to see Alexei for the first time. Getting to see your babies in color is an amazing thing. I think I will never get over that.

I look forward to seeing more Natasha and more Ava in Marvel comics. I love what they’re starting to do now with teen characters. And I also love that they’ve been so great about including me in their creative summit. They give me a monthly book and want to hear what a teen audience really cares about, which I think is amazing.

PageTurnersBlog: The characters and the people in the book are contemporaries of the Avengers and worship them as we would in our world. Was this always an aspect of the story you wanted to explore or did it just come out as you were writing the characters?

Ms. Margaret Stohl: Marvel is very aware of that and one of the really fun things they uphold is this motto: “The world outside your window.” You really see that in a way you don’t necessarily see it with Gotham or other invented comic worlds. You really see that this is New York, this is Rio, this is what’s going on.

NovelNovice: From your Icons and Beautiful Creatures books, one: which character do you think Natasha would be most likely to recruit for the Avengers, and two: which one do you think Ava would most likely be friends with?

Ms. Margaret Stohl: That is a really good question. Ava is an outlier. Ava is kind of tricky. I actually think Ava would get along pretty well with Ethan Wate, who was our main character from Beautiful Creatures, mostly because Lena, the enchanted Caster girl who is at the heart of that book and who he falls in love with, is so complicated and so messed up in her own way. And for her he would also be able to support Ava. So that would be my take on that.

Although, I think all of the Icons characters would be an interesting challenge for Natasha in terms of the Avengers, because they are such a mess. But I think for Ro, who is sort of the explosive rage teen, they might see him as the character with the most untapped potential and they might want to work with him on that. Although they would never let him near the Avengers for like, ten years, because he’ll just destroy the world.

WishfulEndings: What do you find the most interesting and the most challenging about Natasha and Ava’s relationship?

Ms. Margaret Stohl: I found that Ava and Natasha, because they’re both Widows and they’re both powerful, have some very specific damage that they share, some at the hands of the Red Room, so they’ve both been through that. Also, they’ve both loved, in different ways, the same person, Alexei. That’s so much in common that sometimes they think, “There’s this one other person who understands what I’ve been through and we need to be everything [to] each other.”

At the same time, that’s not what happens, particularly with a mentor figure, particularly with an older woman and a younger woman. Really, Ava needs space to grow into the hero she is, and she needs to be able to see herself differently than how Natasha necessarily sees her.

So, I love that. It’s a dynamic I understand with my own family. I understand it as a daughter and I understand it as a mother, sort of on both sides. I see it even with the big sister and the little sister in my own teens. I get that.

I also love-- and I didn’t know this was going to happen-- I love how the book mirrors something that’s going on right now in Marvel’s Civil War II between Carol Danvers, who is Captain Marvel, the character I’ll be taking over, and Kamala Khan, who has worshipped Carol for so long, and has aspired to be her. You know, Ms. Marvel is Carol’s old name, the mantle she wore, and now Kamala has it.

You have to be able to topple your heroes to keep your place in the world. So it’s been a really interesting character arc to play with.

You have to be able to topple your heroes to keep your place in the world.

MundieMoms: I love the way you write strong characters. I think readers can relate to your books, and so my question is, what have you enjoyed discovering or developing with Natasha in the main story? Additionally, as a whole, I think your characters are inspiring women and I think so often women in Marvel get misunderstood by fans. Can you speak to that?

Ms. Margaret Stohl: I am all about women of Marvel. Being on the Women in Marvel panel at Comic Con was one of the greatest “big first” moments of my career.

It was really exciting to get two Widows together in the second book. But it was super exciting this time to get Captain Marvel together with Carol Danvers, so Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers, together with Natasha Romanoff, Ava and Maria Hill, who runs Shield.

In some of those meetings, I have four kickass Marvel women together living in the world. . . . Now it’s not even, “can you talk about a woman,” it’s, “can there be more than one woman prominently featured in a superhero story?” And the answer is yes. That is a goal of mine.

Women are as interested in saving the world as men are. I think women heroes are as heroic as any hero. I also think that, like anybody, woman really thrive in a circle of friends. So I love putting together a group of empowered women who empower each other. Women not competing with each other is one of my favorite things in the world.

So I love putting together a group of empowered women who empower each other. Women not competing with each other is one of my favorite things in the world.

ComicBooked: Natasha’s background is definitely for more mature audiences, while Ava is a character that would draw in more of a Young Adult audience. Did you struggle to contrast these two characters or was it actually a little easier because of their differences?

Ms. Margaret Stohl: . . . I knew right away what my focus was. A YA lens is a very specific lens to look through. Understanding my genre the way I do, this is what I came up with: I knew very clearly we needed the clean protagonist, we needed a teen romance, we needed a teen lens to look at things.

In a way it was easier because they were so different and I could also look at the parts of Natasha that directly spoke to Ava, so she showed us the parts of herself that Ava could handle. At the same time, I would point out that teenagers are the smartest, most sophisticated people I know who are dealing with life’s huge issues from a very young age. In a way, adults spend a lot more time distracting themselves with more trivial things than teenagers.

It’s never a less sophisticated story you tell for a teen. In fact, authors are not successful when they try to dumb it down for a teen. That’s just not how a teen mind operates. You have a very sophisticated mind in your reader when you have a teen reader, you just don’t necessarily get into some of the darker content.

PageTurnersBlog: Fencing is a big part of book one and I know it’s been a big part of your family’s life as well. Did you always know you wanted to include it in the story somehow, or did it just happened to work out?

Ms. Margaret Stohl: Fencing is one of the reasons I’ve traveled internationally all the time. I have two daughters who were internationally and nationally ranked fencers. You know I, as the human doormat, wanted to raise badass daughters, and I did.

I didn’t really know that I wanted to write about fencing but in fact, I’ve written whole books under my bed about it. I didn’t know how it was going to come creeping into this book. Then, it worked out perfectly. That was because there are so many incredible Eastern European fencers. And once I got the Red Room thing together I was like, yes, this is where this needs to go. But I have always looked at it as a model of strength training for women and girls, I think that’s amazing.

I love the idea of putting a blade in a girl’s hand and teaching them to be fierce. It’s a thing that we don’t often get in the way we raise our daughters.

I love the idea of putting a blade in a girl’s hand and teaching them to be fierce.

WishfulEndings: . . . You talked a little bit about leveling the heroes and there’s obviously something tragic that happens in the first book. . . But I’m just wondering, as a writer, how does that feel emotionally, or how difficult is it to see your own characters struggle or get killed off?

Ms. Margaret Stohl: It’s terrible. I know it’s cheesy, but actually make myself cry when I write sad things about my characters. Sometimes people will come up and tell me that they read my book and cried and I always say, “I promise you, if you are crying, I cried more.” Which is so weird. But that’s the thing, everything is super real when you live in that world in your head.

Sometimes that’s the beautiful thing about narrative, that you never know what’s really going to happen. But definitely those are all real losses that I feel. When I like a book it’s because it makes me feel something, when I like a movie or a song, it’s because it makes me feel something. Sometimes that seems like the highest form of what a word or an image is supposed to do.

When I like a book it’s because it makes me feel something, when I like a movie or a song, it’s because it makes me feel something. Sometimes that seems like the highest form of what a word or an image is supposed to do.

I hope you found something fun or interesting from the interview! Don't forget to enter the giveaway below...

Other Books in the Series

Black Widow: Forever Red
Black Widow: Forever Red
by Margaret Stohl
YA Action/Adventure, Super Hero
Hardcover, Audiobook, & ebook, 304 Pages
October 13th 2015 by Marvel Press

Summary

Enter the world of the Avengers' iconic master spy

Natasha Romanoff is one of the world's most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow's infamous academy for operatives.

Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn't really the big sister type.

Until now.

When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned-and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava's dreams. . . .

Black Widow: Forever Red features all the heart-pounding adventure readers expect from Marvel, written by #1 New York Times best-selling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe that will thrill loyal fans and newcomers alike, as Stohl reveals the untold story of Black Widow for the very first time.

Read my 5-star review here.

   
(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author


Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times best-selling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures novels (also a major motion picture) and the author of the instant New York Times best seller Black Widow: Forever Red, as well as a contributor to multiple Marvel comics. Previously, Margaret was a veteran of the video game industry, working as a writer and designer before co-founding 7 Studios with Lewis Peterson.

Learn more about Black Widow: Red Vengeance at Disney Publishing here.


Giveaway

One (1) winner receives an autographed copy of Black Widow: Red Vengeance.
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Marvel Press.

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Have you read the first Black Widow book? Are you an Avengers fan?

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