Maria Elena thought she’d sworn off gaming forever. But she hates her new internship, so her brother Balt convinces her to play Heroes of Avonell, a cutting-edge virtual-reality video game with such complex programming that it’s like the non-player characters are self-aware.
Disappointed with the usual cliché job class offerings, Maria Elena’s character Quinny stumbles through a glitch in the game and ends up in Caed Dhraos, a strange city populated with friendly monsters. Quinny decides to work for the resident dark lord as part of his magic personnel, but she can’t tell anybody she’s playing in off-limits areas of the game—not even Balt. Soon Quinny finds herself getting to the bottom of a mystery surrounding an ancient demon and why Caed Dhraos is suffering from the Blight.
But the artificial intelligences in the game really are self-aware, and some of Avonell’s so-called “heroes” have decided they don’t like humanity very much. The game has gone out of control, and Maria Elena and her new friends have to find a way to set things right. Can she save Avonell – and Earth – while juggling her real job and trying to salvage her crumbling relationship with her brother?
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I love to write in a quiet, solitary place. It keeps me focused on my thoughts. I also find that I like to write near windows, because sometimes I just need to take a break and look at a nice view for a minute. As for when, I really write whenever I can find the time. Mostly afternoons, but I try to sneak some writing in the morning when I can.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I’m pretty straightforward. Most of the time I just sit myself down and make myself start writing.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
I mostly just drink water while I’m writing, but sometimes if I find my mind wandering, I’ll eat a mint to stay focused.
– What is your favourite book?
Probably The Hobbit. It was so inspirational to me when I was younger and gave me an idea of the sorts of worlds and adventures I wanted to create.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I actually have an idea for a historical fiction novel with no fantasy/sci-fi elements, which is extremely unusual for me. I’m still deciding whether I want to keep it realistic historical fiction, or try to add some fantasy/sci-fi to it.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Yes, quite often characters will be based on aspects of my family members and people I know. Maria Elena’s family was based a lot off of my own family. Many of my characters also draw from various aspects of my own personality.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Usually if I’m out of the house and I get a writing idea, I’ll just keep thinking about it until I get home and write it down. Once I wrote a story that I got so into, I had to keep a notebook by my bed because the story was all I could think about as I was going to sleep and waking up, and I had to scribble down everything I brainstormed so I wouldn’t forget it when I went to sleep or started the day.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
Horror. I’m not a fan of being scared.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I would love to co-write a book with James Gurney, the author of the Dinotopia series. I really admire his worldbuilding and his artistic skill, and I think the two of us working together could come up with some really fun ideas.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I’m planning a novel that takes place in Scarborough, England, so I would love to travel there and immerse myself in the area for a bit. I’d also like to take the opportunity to do some local research about English folklore, as that will be a key element of the novel.
Thank you, T K Aripse and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the Author
T K. Arispe is an illustrator, gamer, and unashamed nerd with a background in animation and webcomic production, including the webcomic Trainer Wants to Fight! which somehow got its own page on TVTropes. She loves interesting stories, well-crafted worlds, and memorable characters, and is passionate about creating quality, intelligent, slightly offbeat media that everyone can enjoy. Most of her story ideas come from random research binges, usually in the fields of theoretical physics, computer science, or oddly enough food history. She lives in California, where she enjoys not having to deal with snow because it is terrifying.