Author Interview: Firefly: What Makes Us Mighty by M.K. England
Fellow Browncoats – where ya at? The ‘verse deserved more than the shortened season and (excellent) movie we got. Good thing it lives on in books and comics – including the upcoming Firefly: What Makes Us Mighty. When M.K. said they were writing a Firefly book, we may have lost our shit a bit….a lot. It’s out July 19th but you can get a little insight in what to expect with our interview below! Check it out and pick up What Makes Us Mighty at M.K.’s local (linked below)!
What Makes Us Mighty (Firefly #7)by M.K. England
on June 28, 2022
A breakneck adventure for the Serenity crew in the seventh original novel tying into the much-missed Firefly series from creator Joss Whedon.
A simple job Serenity is bound for the planet Kerry with a hold full of sealed, unidentified cargo for the planet’s highest-ranking nobleman. The duke is a surprisingly genial man whose court brings all the fanciness and fun of Persephone’s high society but little of the pretension—and, most importantly, he’s got the promise of more work.
Some fine hospitality Obliged to stick around while Inara is with a client—and hoping to score future employment—the crew settles in. The liquor flows freely at court, and there’s food, entertainment, and comfortable lodgings to enjoy. Everyone is thrilled but Zoë. Her gut says something is off.
A vicious massacre When the duke’s estate is attacked in the middle of the night, Mal sends Serenity to safety while he and Zoë investigate. What they find turns the whole story of Kerry upside-down. Revolution is brewing, and each of them will have to decide where to make their stand, even if it lands them on opposite sides…
Interview with M.K. England
Talk to us about new characters we will meet in What Makes Us Mighty. What can fans of the show expect?
Ooh, I’m so excited for y’all to meet the new characters I’ve introduced in this book. One of my favorite things about the Firefly universe is the way that systems outside the core develop their own unique cultures and governmental structures (or lack thereof), and the Alliance truly doesn’t care how exactly things get run. Between that and the incredible diversity of environments in the ‘verse, there’s so much room to play. I’ve always been fascinated by the “nobility” we see on Persephone in “Shindig,” and I wanted to play around with what that might look like on a Border world instead. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I’ll say that I love Inara’s client in this novel, a woman who leads the Duke’s army, and that there’s a background queer relationship I was absolutely thrilled to include. I was pleased to introduce what I believe is Firefly’s first nonbinary character, a dancer who befriends River during the crew’s stay with the Duke’s court. Kaylee also makes friends with one of the ladies in the court, and it was a delight to include a friendship where two women got to empower and affirm each other throughout the story. I hope everyone loves these new characters as much as I do!
This is your second IP project (still keeping our fingers crossed for a Star Wars book!). What have you enjoyed most and what’s been most challenging?
Most challenging has definitely been scheduling. The turn-around times for IP projects tends to be very quick, which would have been fine if they didn’t both happen to come in a year when I had deadlines for three other books fighting for time! Both this book and my Guardians of the Galaxy book were drafted in around six weeks, and there was no time for second drafts. Major crunch time. There’s also just the slow process of waiting for information or approvals from various stakeholders who control the IP—a very necessary part of the process, but it has unpredictable effects on the scheduling.
And what I’ve enjoyed most? I mean… I don’t even know how to say it. Pure nerd-ish glee? The absolute joy of getting to write characters I’ve loved for years and years? I first watched Firefly back in 2005, and in the intervening years I’ve cosplayed Mal at a con, played the board games and Serenity RPG, made friends with fellow browncoats, and read so many novels and comics. To get to put my own stamp on the ‘verse is unbelievable. I also wrote this book near the end of 2021, when I’d been on deadline for a year straight while raising a 1-year-old and was hurtling toward some serious burnout. I was worried I would be too brain-crispy to write it… but when I sat down at my computer, the character voices were just there. It flowed, it was a joy to write, and it was an immense relief after the year I’d had.
(And yes, fingers crossed so hard for Star Wars! Let me write a squadron book of some kind, I promise I will crush it!)
Did you get to pick the title for book 7? If so, how did you come up with it? Or, if you were given the title, how did that shape the story?
I did! I actually picked this title right from the start, delivered along with the initial pitch for the book. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ll say this—in my opinion, one of the best moments in the series is at the end of “The Train Job,” when Mal is faced with the decision of doing the job as agreed… or doing the right thing. I believe facing that situation and making the hard choice is exactly the kind of thing that makes a person mighty. And that’s very relevant to this story.
What episodes or other Firefly media should fans review before reading What Makes Us Mighty?
This book is set somewhere in the time between the episodes “The Message” and “Heart of Gold.” I think the episodes that are most relevant are those that show where the characters are in their relationships to each other around that time period, so I’d recommend watching “Ariel” to get a handle on where Simon and Jayne are at, “War Stories” for a little Mal and Wash background, and “The Message” to refresh yourself on Mal and Zoë’s Unification War days, which are very relevant. You could also rewatch “Shindig” to see Mal, Kaylee, and Inara interacting with Persephone’s Core worlder style of nobility. Hell, that’s half the series already, so you may as well just rewatch the whole thing! There’s also a blink-and-you’ll-miss it reference to the first Firefly novel, Big Damn Hero, but it’s not important and you don’t need to read that one first. Each Firefly book stands alone!