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Interview: Alexandra Monir Talks ‘Black Canary: Breaking Silence’, Dinah and Ollie, & Taking On Black Canary In The Future

Alexandra Monir’s latest book just hit shelves and what a way to close out the year!

Monir joins Leigh Bardugo (Wonder Woman: Warbringer), Marie Lu (Batman: Nightwalker), Sarah J. Maas (Catwoman: Soulstealer) and Matt de la Peña (Superman: Dawnbreaker) in the pantheon of DC Icons novels. Monir gives us a refreshing origin story for Dinah Lance in Black Canary: Breaking Silence.

Not only did I get the chance to review the novel, but I also had the opportunity to send through some questions to Monir about Black Canary: Breaking Silence. The talented author spoke about her love of the character, the world-building, Dinah and Ollie’s relationship and whether or not she’d like to tackle more things Black Canary! Check out the interview below:

Black Canary: Breaking Silence by Alexandra Monir
Black Canary: Breaking Silence (Cover art by Jen Bartel | Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

What was it about the character of Dinah Lance/Black Canary that spoke to you most?

Alexandra Monir: I was most struck by the fact that Dinah’s power is not something external or supernatural, but instead comes from her voice–something we all possess! That was something that really moved me, especially knowing how women have been silenced throughout history, and still are to this day in countries like my family’s home country of Iran. The fact that DC Comics created this character who can literally save the world with her voice is just so amazing and empowering.

I really enjoyed this new take on Dinah’s origin story. How was the process in coming up with the story?

AM: Thank you so much! This was one of those magical writing moments where the inspiration hit and I was off and running. I started with a basic concept of, “what if we lived in a world where women’s voices were silenced…except for one” and from there it just flowed. That initial idea came to me because of my family’s history in Iran, so I could all too easily imagine this world and I knew I wanted to see Dinah there, breaking down the barriers with her voice.

Although the dynamic between Dinah and Oliver was changed with her getting the spotlight she’s deserved for some time, their chemistry still remained tried and true. Is this something that was important for you between the characters and what were some of your favourite moments to write between them?

AM: Absolutely!! Writing Dinah and Ollie’s relationship was probably the most fun part of the book for me; I must have been grinning like a dork the entire time! 😉 It was hugely important to me to honor and respect their relationship in the canon, but getting to reimagine them as meeting and falling in love in high school allowed me to put my own spin on it. I loved writing all the scenes of banter between them before they get together, and the big reveal of their superhero identities was probably my favorite. Oh, and the scenes leading up to and inside Arkham Asylum between them were also so exciting to write!

What do you hope that readers take away from Black Canary: Breaking Silence?

AM: Going back to why Dinah struck such a chord with me, I hope the message readers take away from the book is that the most important power we have to change the world is our own voice. It’s about using our voice to stand up for what’s right and to make the world a more equal, better place, and that’s something any of us can do – no super skills needed!

If there is another opportunity to take on Black Canary again in the future, perhaps in another book or even a graphic novel or comic book, would you?

AM: I would love nothing more! I’m crossing my fingers big-time for a graphic novel adaptation or a TV series adaptation- dreaming big! 🙂

Alexandra Monir’s Black Canary: Breaking Silence is available for purchase now. Be sure to pick up a copy!

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