Friday, April 11, 2014

April A to Z - J is for Jamie Fry aka the Warlock

Good day to you all!  The gamebook interviews keep pouring in.  Here is Jamie Fry aka The Warlock, aka the webmaster of the official Fighting Fantasy website.  He is also the creator of the Fighting Fantasy Collector website, which is no longer being maintained, but it is still a great resource for Fighting Fantasy material.  Jamie also releases his Collector list every year.  You can also follow him on Twitter.  Here is the interview...

How has the last 12 months of being the Warlock of the official Fighting Fantasy website gone?

Pretty much the same as it happens. I would like to find more time to induldge but what with everything else I cannot seen to find the time. The books are still as popular as ever and I get a steady flow of enquiries. I have passed on a lot of merchandising enquiries onto Steve and Ian lately but not sure where they are headed. It has been a quiet year for outings as well as we do not get enough support from Icon books which doesn't help.

What's the best thing about being the Warlock?

It is a great privilage and it humbles me .The fact that I am called the Warlock is amazing. I sometimes feel like I have special powers! That I get to hear about FF related news very quickly and get to tell the world first (most of the time!) and I get to see and hear about stuff before most people and I have good, direct contact with Ian and Steve. Maybe I should exploit my position more? It does make me feel part of the team and not just a fan. I should dress up and go on tour in Schools.

Is there anything big coming up that you're allowed to tell us about?

No and No. Even if I did I would be under strict orders to keep quiet, even the Warlock has gagging orders! Seriously though I am wanting to see a few ideas floating around to become reality such as a board game and the books turned into audio gameplay versions. I could at any moment receive an e-mail asking me to launch something or other and it will be the first I have heard of it as Steve and Ian like to keep things close to their chests right up to the last minute. On a personal note as it is not official Warlock business, I am having my Collector's guide made into an app, very early stages but all the same exciting. You can definitely pass on that the House of Hell movie is not going to happen. Fans want new books but that is falling on deaf ears, maybe we should write official ones!

How is your Fighting Fantasy collection coming along?

Fine, although I am struggling to find the books locally as I can only ever find them on-line. I seem to be amassing more artwork of late but that is expensive to collect regulary. Extra special collectables with provenace is what i am after now really as I have most things. Original artwork seems to be released more often these days and more accessible but quite often you have to make contact with the artists direct as these pieces rarely make it to sites like ebay. I have started hunting down news articles and interviews as well. I, like a lot of other investors are still waiting for the 'You are the Hero', come on Jon! I really need to do the collection justice and display it properly.

What kind of rare Fighting Fantasy merchandise do you think more people need to know about?

i think it is the draft manuscripts that Steve and Ian etc still have including the maps they have hand drawn in the planning stages. The preliminary drawings for the interior and cover art. Sample books cover never released and things like the early moulds and models from Clarecraft etc. These things are rare and hard to come by. Iam sure there are still posters out there I am not aware of.
Is there anything else that you are looking for?

Something from the personal collections of Ian and Steve I haven't already got. I am starting to show interest in collecting the foreign titles as well. I am still missing a few newer box sets, some of the older software and the plastic figures are a few of of things still to get.
What makes a gamebook stand out for you?

I am sure it is the artwork as I never get the same feeling when I read other gamebooks without it. It sets the scene for me and I can imgine myself immersed into that environment. It makes the book a much richer experience to enjoy. It conjours up (I am the Warlock after all) other scenes in my head and able expand the setting beyond the words. Good descriptions otherwise are key.

What spoils a gamebook for you?

No artwork or even bad artwork. Bad writing and short paragraphs and in contrast if the paragraphs are too long with little choice or interaction.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to write a gamebook for the first time?

Start to think about what genre, space, fantasy etc you would like to write about. Start planning/creating your own world, places, people, monsters, encounters,  items, names, tests, traps etc. Think of a storyline and about the setting and the maps, the terrain, how it will flow and the different spin-offs that could be created in the story. The hard part is putting it altogether and making it work. This is rich coming from someone who has never written one so I feel unqualified really to comment otherwise as the drivle above is my poor attempt at having a go.   

What is your wish for gamebooks? 

Not sure as I am torn between more apps that put a new twist on the original with new content and wanting new phsyical books to play. I for one would like to see more merchandise.

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