Today marks the highly-anticipated simultaneous release of both the ebook and audiobook of Tevagah’s Prophecy Approved Companion; Book One, The Chosen One, in partnership with Aethon Books. To celebrate, we wanted to give you an exclusive look inside the mind of the author. Read on to find out what makes her tick, her favorite books, and more!
What compels you to write GameLit as opposed to other types of SFF?
I wanted to write a story from the perspective of an NPC, so GameLit made the most sense. I managed to roll sci-fi and fantasy into it too, which was awesome.
Prophecy Approved Companion is told from the point of view of Qube, an NPC who serves as the companion to a player with a “break the game” mentality. What inspired you to write from the POV of an NPC
You and I know why we smash open those innocent barrels and repeatedly attempt to jump over the waist-high wall, despite the perfectly serviceable gate just around the corner. But what must that look like to someone from the outside? The answer is the actions of a total lunatic, and someone who shouldn’t be trusted with a sharp rock, never mind saving the world.
So, I thought it would be fun to see what kind of mental gymnastics an NPC would be forced to perform to keep believing in someone who did half of the weird stuff we normally do when playing a game.
What was your inspiration for Sexy Screamy Spider Lady?
A game I play with my friends is watching music videos with the sound turned off and trying to describe them. Once you lose the “hook” of the tune, you can really see just how messed up so many of them are (especially in how they portray women). A staple of video games is the sexy elf love interest. I wanted to remove the “hook” of physical beauty so I could make fun of how messed up the underlying behaviors were.
So, it was just a case of thinking of the un-sexiest combination of characteristics I could, making sure they were forest-themed, and then mashing them together.
I don’t know why I made the stitched-on faces children, though. Something about the specificness of that detail always struck me as funny.
If you had to pick a video game that’s most similar to one of your books or has most influenced your writing, what video game is it and why?
The Divinity: Original Sin series and Neverwinter Nights 2 had a surprising amount of influence on my writing. Obviously, there’s the classics (Zelda, Skyrim, Dragon Age); but I found myself drawing from the sheer weirdness that comes from more niche games where they expect the player to be familiar with the conventions of the genre.
What is your favorite game bug?
Rare candies duplication exploit in the original Pokémon Red and Blue. Missingno can never be caught!
What are your top five favorite books (by other authors)?
Oh boy, a dicey question.
Fredrica by Georgette Heyer, because she is the queen of Regency era fiction and her wit is sparkling (picture the sparkle emojis around that word).
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (don’t Google the title at work) because the crimes it deals with are still relevant and the creeping horror and paranoia haunt me every time I read it.
Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett because I love me some affectionate mocking of tropes.
The Wandering Inn by Pirate Aba because it was the first webnovel series I ever read.
…and generally whatever book I’m currently reading.
What are the themes you write about in your fiction, and what about these themes appeal to you?
One of the major themes of the series is the idea of humanity and personhood. Almost none of the characters in this story are human. But they’re all people. That friction between being a person, and being treated like one, is something I find intensely interesting, especially at a time when empathy is so desperately needed. This is where the sci-fi roots really show, and where a lot of the more subtle horror and harder questions come from.
Intent vs impact is another theme. It was important to me that none of the devs, or the player, intended any of their actions to have the impact they did. A lot of the comedy comes from Qube assuming grand intent, when really, there rarely is any. Or if there is, it’s never what she thinks. I think it’s tempting for all of us to ascribe intentions to others and to events, often in an attempt to cling to the belief that things happen for a reason, or are a result of something we can control. But reality is often messy and stupid, and I have a lot of fun playing in that mess.
And finally, the classic coming of age theme. Each of the main characters are on a journey to become fully realized beings, and I have a lot of fun plotting out the various paths they take to arrive at some semblance of adulthood. Will they make it there? Who knows !
How do you find the experience of listening to an audiobook differs from the experience of reading a book?
The layers, man, the layers. You have the base blueprint — which is the text — but then you have people coming in and layering their own interpretations over it, adding complexity and nuance on top of the original. An audiobook is an interpretation and adaptation of the book, with a crew coming together to bring it to life for a completely different sensory experience. It’s being able to drive along listening to a book and feeling the bass rumble of the grizzled old veteran in your bones, and hear the break in a young woman’s voice as she realizes she’s been deceived. It’s a performance as much as anything else, so I can’t devour the text in a few hours like I normally do; rather, it forces me to sit back and listen to it all play out.
What genres do you enjoy outside of GameLit?
Fantasy, sci fi, detective, and LitRPG.
Give us a fun fact about yourself!
When people first meet me, they think the stories I tell about things I’ve done or encounters I’ve had are jokes, or exaggerated for comedic effect. Nothing brings me more joy than their slowly dawning realization that I’m not joking, and my life is just very, very weird.
The Chosen One is now available on Audible! Click here to check it out.