Today I'm very happy to have the opportunity to interview fellow Red Adept Publishing author J. Leigh, who has recently released her debut novel, high fantasy WAY WALKERS: TANGLED PATHS. This is the first book in the Tazu Saga. Be sure to hang around until the end of the interview because our mutual publisher is generously hosting a giveaway for this blog tour.
Hello, J., and welcome to Manuscripts Burn! I understand you've written a CoG. Can you explain for our readers briefly what a CoG is? And feel free to shamelessly self-promote!
Happy to be here! Actually, CoG stands for "Choice of Games" which is the company that developed the computer code Choicescript, which enables the creation of these 'choose your own adventure'-type app programs. I'm actually under their user-made games branch, Hosted Games, along with a lot of other independent and talented writers. Basically, what's been done is the creation of an interactive novel, that reads like a book but plays like a game, complete with choices of what the main character (typically 'you') decide to do in the story, and stats that supplement your choices and determine what outcomes you get. They can be simple or complex, though admittedly, my Way Walkers: University 1 & 2 are quite intricate, with dozens upon dozens of variants for each play-through.
So I understand your CoG takes place in the same universe as TANGLED PATHS. Can you tell us, do they intersect? Can we enjoy one without the other?
Yes, they do. However, while there are a few 'Easter eggs' to be found in TANGLED PATHS for those who've read University 1&2, the two take place several thousand years apart in the timeline. So, you can easily read one without the other, though I believe anyone who liked one will most likely enjoy the other. University is a little lighter, a little more playful, while TANGLED PATHS is a bit darker, and more introspective. (Though it still does contain plenty of my surprising moments of humor.) Both still center on the importance of choice, and how a person's choices can affect not only their own lives, but the lives of others. It's a central theme of Way Walkers, and to be honest it was fun to approach it from two very different styles.
What's it like to write a story with so many branching paths? How does your planning differ from writing a static novel?
Oh, the fact that I plan at all! In both styles I am a very character-driven writer, wherein I let my characters 'take the reins' so to speak to drive the action forward. Traditionally, this leaves me room to 'shoot from the hip' and do a lot of my writing on the fly based on the personality of my main character. When writing a choose your own, I have to consider so many character types, so it's like writing a dozen different stories with a dozen different personalities. As I've learned, this can easily lead to over-branching, where too many side plots lead me down a road of insanity all for a very small portion of the readership who'll actually pick some of the more obscure branches. In the end, I have to be very particular about what choices I offer to readers, and that in and of itself leads to a considerable amount of planning and thought.
Thanks for being with us today, J.! Do you have any closing words for the audience?
Thanks for having me! I'd just like to say thanks for reading, I hope you give TANGLED PATHS a try, and if so, I hope you enjoy taking a little walk in my world. I'm just a big fan myself, and I love to talk to readers on the Way Walkers Facebook fan page and in my blog, so feel free to come on by and see us!
About the Author:
She currently lives in southern New Jersey with a chow-chow, several cats and fictional cast of hundreds.
Leigh’s published works include a ‘choose your own’ type interactive novel Way Walkers: University with Choice of Games.
You can follow her on her blog or on Facebook.
Synopsis of TANGLED PATHS:
Twelve Ways create a thousand tangled paths.
Hatched from an egg but unable to shift into dragon form, Jathen is a Moot among the Tazu. His rightful throne is forbidden him because of his transformative handicap, and neither his culture nor his religion offer acceptance of his perceived flaws.
Driven by wounded anger, Jathen strikes out across the vast world beyond Tazu borders, desperate to find a place where he feels accepted and whole. Though he travels with the most trusted of companions, sabotage and conspiracy soon strike his quest. Jathen and his allies must struggle against man and magic alike, at the mercy of forces beyond their ken.
As Jathen presses on, his questions of belonging are surrounded by more of identity, loyalty, and betrayal. Where will the path of his destiny lead, and will he follow or fall?
Be sure to purchase TANGLED PATHS at:
Barnes & Noble
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