Thursday, September 2, 2021

MEET THE AUTHOR: DON BOSCO, author of Night of the Six-Headed Robogator, published by Penguin Random House SEA

Note: This showcase features five kids’ fiction authors, all proudly published by Penguin Random House SEA. When the pandemic is over, we'll get back to in-person book launch events. But for now, enjoy this virtual version. More info here.
Please introduce yourself!
I'm from Singapore. I write thrilling adventures for kids, packed with mystery, action, science fiction elements and also lots of laughs. I started out writing and publishing stories with my two sons back in 2011. Our books eventually got picked up by other publishers. I'm mostly known for creating the Sherlock Hong series, the My Blade Quest series, the Lion City Adventures series, the Secret of the Chatter Blocks gamebook, and now the Last Kid Running gamebook series. These past few years I've mainly been working on gamebooks, which are interactive stories where you choose what happens along the way and try to complete a mission or solve a mystery. It's a lot of fun! 

Tell us about your book.
The Last Kid Running gamebook series is about an eccentric and very rich inventor named Dr Tomato Yamato, who has created a massive running competition with the latest gaming technology in order to inspire kids to come together, take on new challenges and really enjoy running. When you read this, you’ll be role-playing as Runner X, a young and surprisingly talented competitor with a most unconventional running style. In each book you’ll have to clear five levels of AR/VR challenges, while dealing with the other competitors and also various strange events along the way.

I’ve also added sections that actually encourage kids to create their own gamebooks, and share these with their friends.

Thanks to the great team at Penguin Random House for their support in making this series happen!

What was your creative process like?
Each book features five levels of challenges, designed like five levels in a computer game. After each level, the runner with the lowest score gets kicked out. First I designed all the levels, and made sure that they would be fun to play. Then I created an over-arching plot for the book, to tie the levels together and create a rich story environment where the other competitors are also trying to do their own thing. I use Twine a lot for this. It's an open source tool (free) for creating interactive fiction. You can use it to make all kinds of choice-based games. Amazing indeed. Then I got my family and friends to play test this, and made improvements along the way, until it was ready to be released.

Has the pandemic affected your book promotion?
We don't get to have book launch events, or school visits, so that's a missed opportunity to connect with readers. But I've been lucky to connect with a number of gamebook collectors from around the world, and tell them about my series. I’ve also connected with indie game developers online, and also some AR/VR creators, because the games in my book feature a lot of these technologies.

Any advice for aspiring writers who want to write or launch a kids' novel in the coming year?
Share bits of your story online, and see what readers have to say. The internet is a great way to find an audience for your work.


You can check out the other four authors here, they’re all eager to tell you about their lovely books.