J.S. EARLS is a multi-media author and editor whose diverse credits include a series of interactive stories for the National Geographic Channel, graphic novel adaptations of several Ted Dekker bestsellers, editing Lamp Post’s Manga Bible series and creating the critically-acclaimed Pistolfist series. He lives in the Tampa Bay area with his wife Daisy and their two children.
Did you enjoy Choose Your Own Adventure books as a child? Do you have a tween or teen, or still like to try your hand, see what would happen if you decided to go one way instead of another? Then The Realm Unseen is for you…
“If cannot see something, does that mean it doesn’t exist?”
From National Geographic gamewriter J.S. Earls comes the dynamic interactive thriller FictionAddict.com calls “a must read for anyone seeking the ultimate storytelling experience.”
Based on the audio game and inspired by a classic, author J.S. Earls welcomes you to a world of wonder. A world where YOU are the star of the story and you alone hold its fate in your hand.
Unlike other interactive adventures, every decision you make is — literally — a matter of life and death. This also means there is only one way to “win”.
Oh, yes…and you also happen to be blind.
So prepare yourself. You’ll need every ounce of strength and ingenuity you have to survive — not to mention uncover the Secret of the Century!
Welcome to the deadliest day of your life. Welcome…to THE REALM UNSEEN.
We had the opportunity to sit down and discuss the book, and find out a little more about this exciting story. It is our pleasure to introduce you to J. S. Earls.
1. The book is modeled after a longtime favorite: Choose Your Own Adventure (CYA) Stories. What inspired you to write in that format? What was the most difficult/rewarding part of that project?
I always loved interactive tales like Choose Your Own Adventure books and role-playing games. I’m really a cross-genre kinda’ guy, so I also appreciate media that (successfully) incorporates multiple formats.
The most difficult aspects of writing in a format like this is that it has to be so “choice” driven. And, while that’s very different from being character or plot driven, I did try to infuse a lot of those elements as well. As a “responsible” writer, you also tend to make the moral choices the correct one. However, that really makes things easy and, honestly, a little boring. So I mixed it up. Just because you make the right moral choice, doesn’t mean it’s the safe choice. Like firefighters, police officers and soldiers, sometimes the correct moral choice costs you your life. It’s the same in The Realm Unseen, and I do make note of that.
There are a few rewarding aspects of The Realm Unseen. The original, interactive audio version — which the novel is based upon — is turning out incredibly well. It’s also rewarding when you get the reaction from readers you were hoping for. I’ve been around when several people have read The Realm Unseen and watched when people cried when a certain character died and then, literally, stand up and cheer when another returns in the finale’. Nothing is ever perfect, but when your readers get that invested in the characters it’s really something special.
2. What is your connection with the Invisible Man? What makes that a timeless work, in your opinion?
Invisibility plays a major role in The Realm Unseen and, when I write, I do a ton of research. Naturally, I included H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man among my research material and, as I read it, I really began to appreciate it for what it is — an interesting character study with some intriguing moral dilemmas. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s really stood the test of time. It’s literary technique also pulls you in and has you ripping through the pages to find out what happens next. As he did with his other sci-fi novels, Wells reveals the honest, stark contrast between the violence and innocence of life. Regardless of the medium, contrasts and conflict are at the heart of any good story. And getting the reader so engaged that they ask “what if this happened to me? What would I do if I were invisible?” Connecting with your audience. That’s what matters most.
3. You have background in graphic novels — what is your favorite series and why?
Wow. That’s a really tough question because graphic novels — like novels and TV shows and movies — are so different from one another. I really like Doug TenNaple’s stuff. Alex Ross’ work on Kingdom Come and Marvels. I also enjoy ones by Ben Avery like Armor Quest, Time Flyz, and Lullaby. I’m also really proud of The Lost Books series I adapted. We put a ton of work into those, to really make them flow well together and, overall, I really think we succeeded.
4. What authors inspire you?
I appreciate and find myself inspired by different authors for different reasons. At this point in my career, I have several authors who are friends or acquaintences of mine — Ted Dekker, Eric Wilson, Robert Liparulo, Brad Meltzer, Andrew Klavan, Jeremy Robinson, Dwight L. MacPherson — who inspire me in personal ways, far beyond their formidable writing skills. I enjoy reading a lot of people (again, for various reasons); Koontz, Peretti, Card, Gutteridge, Preston & Child, Tolkien, Lewis, Grisham, Chricton and, of course, the classics by Verne, Doyle, Dickens and Wells (yes, I actually do read them).
5. Do you have any hidden talents? That your readers might not be aware of?
Well, I was an orthodontic lab tech for 20 years. Is that a talent? I was also in an award-winning, Floridian rock band for a few years. I’m also pretty good at cooking. Well, at least my kids tell me I am.
Thank you so much for coming by, and celebrating your release. If you have a question for Jeff, please leave a comment. One lucky commenter will receive a complimentary e-book of The Realm Unseen.
And, if you haven’t already, view the trailer here…