Batman: Nightwalker — A Conversation with Author Marie Lu

Marie Lu talks to us about the best parts of adding to Batman canon!

Batman: Nightwalker is a thrilling, character-driven young adult novel that proves you don’t need the Dark Knight to tell a good Batman story. It’s part of Penguin Random House’s DC Icons series, exploring some of DC’s most iconic characters in a young adult book format.

The books in the series are penned by some of young adult literature’s most exciting authors. Batman: Nightwalker comes to us from Marie Lu, the bestselling author of the Legend series and recent YA release Warcross.

We had a chance to talk to Marie Lu about her addition to the DC Icons series—what it’s like adding to Batman canon, why she cares about Gotham City, and what we can expect from her next…

Den of Geek: I’d like to talk about your knowledge of Batman before coming to this book. I saw in your afterword that you, like me, grew up on the animated series. What impact did this have on you as a fan and a writer?

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Marie Lu: I didn’t know much about comic books as a kid, but I watched my share of after-school TV, and Batman: The Animated Series was one of those shows. It was my introduction to superheroes of any kind. Something about the fact that Batman was such a dark hero figure, that he had a complicated relationship with the police and with the people of Gotham, really appealed to me. Why was this billionaire so serious and haunted? Maybe he’s the reason why I like to write dark characters.

What’s the best part about writing a Batman book—even if he’s not quite Batman yet?

I mean, the fact that I get to be part of the Bat canon is in itself one of the best parts! I also realized how little I understood Bruce Wayne as a character. Everyone loves Batman; he’s the Dark Knight, the hero of Gotham. But who is Bruce Wayne? Why would he be a likable person? I didn’t get him until I had a chance to explore what makes him tick as a young man coming into his inheritance.

(Aside: The most fun part was creating my own Bat universe villain, Madeleine Wallace. I loved writing about her!)

There’s a lot of impressive, yet realistic technology used throughout the book. How did you balance science and science fiction to create the world of Batman: Nightwalker?

Science fiction is basically just science that hasn’t been invented yet. I find tech’s bright and dark sides really fascinating, and Batman has always been a perfect vehicle (no pun intended) for exploring new tech. To figure out what makes realistic science fiction, I asked myself what problems I wished today’s devices could solve. I would then put those wishlist solutions into Bruce’s tech.

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What do you hope readers will walk away with after reading this book?

A sense of pride for their lives and their homes. Gotham City is worth fighting for, and so is our own imperfect world.

Do you have a geeky guilty pleasure of the moment?

At the moment? I’m absolutely addicted to playing Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Ancient Egypt! Assassinating bad dudes! I could play for days if I didn’t put on a timer.

Would you like to plug any one of your books or other projects you’re working on?

My next book out in Fall 2018 is the sequel to Warcross, my current science fiction duology about bounty hunters and hackers and games. No title yet. Warcrosser, maybe? Then my book The Kingdom of Back releases in 2019. It’s a historical fantasy standalone about Mozart’s sister, and the magical kingdom called Back that she and her brother create while touring the royal courts of 18th century Europe. It’s my “odd” book, and I’m excited about it.

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Batman Nightwalker is now available for purchase. The next books in the DC Icons series will be Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas and Superman by Matt de la Pena.