Conor Kostick, author of the brilliant sci-fi series The Avatar Chronicles, chats about imagination, online gaming and the growing popularity of LitRPG.
In 2003, I had an idea for a novel, which was inspired by a newspaper article claiming that the value of trades of virtual goods was sufficiently large (several billion dollars) that if it were a country it would rank greater than Bulgaria. What, I wondered, if this trend were to grow until your activity in virtual environments really mattered? What if the celebrities of the world were not sports stars and music stars, but gamers…?
I wrote Epic extremely quickly. In all the years and books since, I’ve never experienced anything like the same immersion in the world of my imagination. It was the summer between finishing my degree and starting a PhD and I knew this free time was precious. So every evening I would write until the early hours of the morning and during the day I would edit. So intense was my involvement with the book that my dreams were filled with it and I learned the value of keeping a notebook and pen beside me.
I’d wake up with an insight, jot it down, and fall back to sleep. Continue reading “Conor Kostick on Ready Player One, Epic and LitRPG”
Author Conor Kostick, he of the critically-acclaimed Epic and Saga, recently gave a talk to a group of students, which he does regularly. The difference being that this time Conor was in Ireland, and the school was in New Hampshire in the US. Conor’s books are hugely popular throughout the US, and with the aid of Skype, he’s able to connect with his fans overseas and take part in events. Teachers and students at the New Hampshire school reported that their event with Conor was a great success and that it was a thrill for them to be able to talk to one of their favourite authors.
Conor is also the author of The Book of Curses for younger readers, and Move, for older readers. He is the recent recipient of the Reading Association of Ireland Special Merit Award 2009, not only for Move, but also for his overall body of work and his contribution to science-fiction writing for children. He looks forward to taking part in lots more transatlantic events in the future!
The Reading Association of Ireland Book Awards were presented last night at the start of their 33rd conference in St Patrick’s College, and there was a clean-sweep for O’Brien Press books. Represented on the night by Michael O’Brien (Publisher), Susan Houlden (editor), Ruth Heneghan (marketing) and myself, we were abuzz with anticipation: these awards were the first for Irish children’s books, are selected and judged by an expert panel of judges (who remain anonymous, under the terms of the awards) and are awarded every two years. Continue reading “Two awards for O’Brien Press books.”
Another hit for Epic by Conor Kostick in the USA: it has made the International Reading Association’s list of Young Adults’ Choices. This is a list of about 20 books selected as the very best of young adult reading for the year, and is quite some honour!
Between this, the two new foreign editions and the birth of his new little baby girl, this has been quite some week for Conor …
Please accept my apologies if all these foreign covers are boring you, but I just find them endlessly fascinating! It’s also a little unusual to get two new international editions of a book in within days of each other, so let’s celebrate!
To the left we have the Czech cover for Epic by Conor Kostick, one of my favourite O’Brien Press books of all-time, and one which has had a wide array of different cover approaches already. In this case they seem to have taken at least one element from each of the existing covers and put them all in there — there’s even a spot-UV layer (shiny stuff on a matt background, for those who don’t know the jargon) with extra elements, which does not show up on a straight scan like this! It’s also a nice, meaty hardback: if only we had a market for hardback children’s fiction in Ireland …
To the right is the Serbian cover, again with quite a bit of finishing — the dragon on the bottom-right is all in red foil, and the white panel for the type is embossed.
So Epic has now had hb, pb, gloss, matt, spot UV, foil (various!), emboss (several) and holograms on the cover: though thankfully not ALL at the same time! now, read the book and see why so many people felt it was worth translating — well, you didn’t think we’d get away without a blatant commercial plug from time to time, did you?