Author Interview: Jac Colvin (November, 2018)

2018-11-27 · by Stewart C Baker
tagged Blog / Interviews

Jac Colvin enjoys writing interactive fiction in the fantasy genre and “Ocean’s Call” is her second story to be published with sub-Q. (The first being “Lost Ones.”) She has also written two gamebooks for Hosted Games, with a 3rd due to be published next year. When not underwater, she can be sometimes be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jacicgamebooks/

This interview took place via e-mail in November of 2018.

Jac Colvin

Jac Colvin

sub-Q: “Ocean’s Call” and “Lost Ones” (our March game from you) both feature mythological creatures of the water. What inspires you about the world beneath the waves, and do your creative endeavours change what you experience while you’re down there?

Jac Colvin: Each day is never the same under the surface of the water. There’s always something new to see and plenty of inspiration for writing ideas to be found there. It’s an entirely different world with its own unique set of inhabitants that range from beautiful to bizarre. If you’re lucky it might be a massive whale far bigger than anything on land that swims over to investigate, graceful rays that fly through the water instead of air, or even hordes of gigantic crabs marching along the seafloor in their thousands. Some things you see down there, I doubt I could have dreamed up myself. Sometimes when the water’s murky though, your imagination can run wild thinking about what could be down there, hiding just beyond your ability to see it.

sub-Q:These games and others you’ve published both use choicescript, a scripting language from Choice of Games. What advice do you have for game writers or authors who want to try out choicescript for their own work?

Jac: I find Choicescript is really nice for coding those classic choose your own adventure type stories in particular, with the added bonus that it is easy to personalise the game using variables and stats. It is pretty versatile though, and I’ve seen it used for everything from resource managing games, to text only adventures with no stats involved.

There is a little bit of a learning curve, particularly if you’ve never coded before, but the language itself is actually fairly easy to learn once you get the basics down. Some good resources to get started are guide on the Choice of Games website and the ChoiceScript Wiki. I also recommend signing up for the Choice of Games forum, as there’s a great community there who can help with questions, feedback for your game and any coding issues that may arise.

sub-Q: The mythological Charybdis was cursed by Zeus to drink–and then disgorge–sea water. Is the character in Ocean’s Call the same as this mythological creature, or do you have a different vision for the being who’s summoned the player into the ocean?

Jac: Yes, that’s the one! I thought it seemed somehow appropriate since Charybdis was a nymph and child of Poseidon before being transformed into a monster, that she’d be able to recognise and perhaps be involved in invoking a little transformative magic of her own. She was imprisoned and cursed by Zeus into her role, so you have to wonder what she might have planned if she were to awaken in a time when the old gods no longer hold the power they once did.

sub-Q: Do you have a favourite mer-creature? How about a least favourite?

Jac: Although I have a soft spot for mermaid stories, I also find there are a lot of creatures which I wish turned up more often including selkies, rusalki and the horse-like kelpies.

I’m not sure that I have a least favourite, although there’s quite a few I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t want to come face to face with in real life!

sub-Q: What’s coming up next?

Jac: I recently finished writing an interactive story for Hosted Games, which I hope will make an appearance early next year and is based on the tragedy of Oedipus Rex. I’m also currently working on finishing a game called Abysm’s Veil, which has a more modern interpretation on the rusalki that were seen in “Lost Ones”.

sub-Q: As always, it’s been a pleasure to chat with you. Thanks for letting us catch up! Readers, be sure to check out Ocean’s Call and Lost Ones so you don’t miss out on Jac’s excellent work.

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