What is this book about?
This is a story about a couple of brothers who live almost entirely in the world of online video games because their home life is so difficult. Reggie, the older brother, attains the Master level fighting the predator ECHO-6 of the unbeatable Echo’s Revenge online game. This achievement catches the attention of the game company, gaining him an invitation to a special focus group. When their mother’s explosive, controlling boyfriend finds out that Reggie has sneaked out to attend the focus group, he becomes so angry and violent that Reggie fears not only for his own life, but for his little brother’s, too. Reggie and Jeremy decide to run away to their father’s house, 1,200 miles away in Pasadena. Along their trek, bizarre things keep happening, like their other gamer friends getting kidnapped, strange encounters with off-the-grid characters who show up just when they need help, and the feeling that they are somehow being stalked. Then, when they least expect it, they have a nightmarish encounter with a real ECHO, but it’s a thirty-foot-tall version trying to capture them as it rips up the streets of San Francisco. They beat this new ECHO-7, and finally make it to their father’s house, only to be ambushed again and imprisoned in a cauldron deep inside a mountain in Death Valley. Here, they must fight to survive each day, but they meet a very strong female character who helps them. The brothers find and develop their loyalty to, and faith in, each other, as well as receive an education about codes of conduct. In the end, they also find that someone very close to them has been a protective force watching out for them all along, which is a big surprise.
How did you get the idea for this book?
I got the idea for this book when I was working on an experimental, high-tech simulation project. Our boss was a very technically aggressive visionary who demanded daily innovation to blend technologies together to create an overwhelmingly immersive simulation experience. I had a vivid dream which I never forgot about creating a T-Rex sized creature that had its own mysterious, unfathomable agenda. It got loose and terrorized us, almost running over my boss and squashing him as it escaped. The idea turned into a 500-page story, which was way too long, so I rewrote it as three books, separate stories taking place at the same time, told from different perspectives. The first book is the kids’ story, the second is the adult game designers’ story, and the third is the creature’s account of what happened, all told in parallel time, so that every time you read another book, the previous ones take on a new meaning.
Is this your first book? If not, what else have you written?
I’ve edited and written many other books and forms of entertainment, but this is my first novel. I have spent most of my life as a creative “gun for hire” supporting creative high-tech enterprises, as a business and creative development team leader, editor, writer, manager, and entertainment producer.
When did you start writing? Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
I didn’t start writing until I was an adult. I was simply too busy working on so many projects. My advice for beginning writers is to read as much as possible and become engaged in activities where you can observe humans interacting. Focus on conflict and how it influences human behavior and changes personalities. This is what causes Reggie and Jeremy to gain integrity and mature.
Why did you decide to write a book in this genre?
I decided to write a YA novel series for summer reading because every kid should read as much as possible over the summer. I wanted tweens and teens to know what it’s like to work really hard on something difficult for a long time and then, when you fail, how to recover and accomplish your mission. I wanted to give video gamers a little glimpse of what it’s like to create a game, and when things go wrong, how designers attempt to solve problems. It was a natural extension to include connections to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) concepts in an entertaining, but realistic way. So I developed the idea of a novel series that connects to an online investigation that in turn connects to real world STEM manifestations, such as coding, robotics, real tech companies, tech camps and summer schools, etc. I also wanted to excite video gamers about real games, and real world game theory applications, while hopefully helping them to become more engaged readers along the way.
Do you plan a sequel or future books?
The sequels are:
Book 2: The Other Side: The adult game-designers’ side of the story, which comes out in May 2013.
Book 3: ECHO’s 99.99%: ECHO-7’s side of the story, including his 99.99% Path, which comes out in May 2014.
Books 4-7: The ongoing investigation.
Do you have a website? How can we order this book?
The website, which continues the investigation between books coming out, as well as STEM links, can be found at http://echohunt.com/.
The book can be ordered from Amazon and from bookstores.
The ebook can be ordered from the following ebook retailers:
The author is generously donating two signed physical copies of Echo’s Revenge: The Ultimate Game to residents of the United States, plus 2 ebook versions of Echo’s Revenge: The Ultimate Game to residents worldwide. To enter, simply fill out the easy Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway will end on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST.
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