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Choose My Own Adventure

Yes, I did it! I wrote *5* Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books for Bantam/Edward Packard back in the day. Recently the delightful Molly Tanzer interviewed a few of us original writers - and readers! - and.... series creator Ed Packard himself!  What a nice guy he was - and clearly still is.  And now her piece on CYOA is up on Fantasy Magazine's online, um, magazine thing. You can read it here.

I found out about CYOA's at a World Fantasy Convention, when a very nice Bantam editor  (Ron something?) was there showing them off.  "Hey," I thought; "I could do that!"  And I needed the money because my first novel, Swordspoint, was taking a whole lot longer to write than I thought it would.  So I put together a proposal, and went in to see the CYOA editor.... And I made a little money.  I wrote a little novel.  Or two.  (And then I got a Real Job....and my books were published . . . but that's another story.)

*Oh, OK, here they are:

Outlaws of Sherwood Forest (#47). 1985.
The Enchanted Kingdom (#56). 1986.
Statue of Liberty Adventure (#58). 1986.
The Mystery of the Secret Room (#63). 1986.
Knights of the Round Table (#86). 1988.

(They're all listed here in my newly-revised Complete Bibliography, too.)

ETA:  And most of my illustrations were by my friend & neighbor, Judith Mitchell.  We had fun with that - I had her draw my old boss as the Sheriff of Nottingham! (I was temporarily her art agent, too - mostly because she was anxious about taking her portfolio 'round, and I wasn't.  This was the best gig I managed to get her, I think... Not really cut out for the agenting game.)

This just in:  And Kat Howard's companion story in the same "CYOA" edition of Fantasy Magazine - titled, not coincidentally, "Choose Your Own Adventure" - is dedicated to
So says Kat in her Author Spotlight.  
I am suitably chuffed.  And touched.  And delighted.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2011 10:08 pm (UTC)
I have read (played?) Outlaws of Sherwood Forest and Knights of the Round Table.

And possibly The Enchanted Kingdom, but I'm not sure, given how long ago that was...
Apr. 4th, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC)
Could you write a little bit about the physical process of writing those books? It sounds incredibly complicated. And were the outcomes really arbitrary, or did you try to have them make sense?
Apr. 4th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
Ha. I remember The Enchanted Kingdom. I had that one and another about a unicorn...

Apr. 4th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
I never got to read one of the Choose Your Own Adventure books--I was born '91, so their popularity appears to have declined before I could get around to them.

Also, am I the only who immediately reads CYOA as Cover Your Own Ass?
Apr. 4th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
Also, am I the only who immediately reads CYOA as Cover Your Own Ass?

OMG, I came here to make this EXACT comment. No lie. ;p
Apr. 4th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
Of course we all did!
Apr. 4th, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I remember reading some of those, back in the day. :D
Apr. 4th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
I just bought a few of these when I went into a Kushner buying frenzy. Looking forward to reading/playing them too.
Apr. 4th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
My sister used to own The Mystery of the Secret Room, in French no less.
Apr. 4th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
I used to see those crop up on Thriftbooks when I did searches by author's name. For a while I think I was convinced there were two Ellen Kushners.

And now I've gone and ordered The Outlaws of Sherwood. My curiosity is too great. And I loved Choose Your Own Adventure. I still have a bunch of D&D-themed ones sitting in a closet somewhere. I used to take twenty or so bookmarks to hold my place at every decision so I could explore the story fully.
Apr. 5th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
I have a copy of Statue of Liberty Adventure. It lives in our guest bathroom and is quite the conversation piece.
Apr. 5th, 2011 02:08 am (UTC)
Was Mystery of the Secret Room the one set in Scotland, where there was a castle, and twin ghosts, and the evil twin was named Emily?

I've been trying to remember that book for years!
Apr. 5th, 2011 02:47 am (UTC)
I loved those books.
Apr. 5th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC)
You know, I'm almost certain I read the Sherwood Forest one. It was published right in the middle of both my Robin Hood and my Choose Your Own Adventure phase, and I can't imagine I would have missed it. Our local library stocked a *lot* of CYOA books around that time.

The Mystery of the Secret Room also sounds familiar, come to think of it...

(I used to read them through once properly, and then go back and work out all the other possible stories through the book...)
Apr. 5th, 2011 10:54 am (UTC)
Yay, dedication!
Apr. 5th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
I remember being with a friend who brought one of these to a Readercon for you to sign, which is the first time, I believe, that we met. :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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