Just several days ago the first translated French gamebook was published in Bulgaria - "Transomnie" - which was also the beginning of a new series - "Heroic Calling presents". Here follows an interview with the author of the book, Emmanuel Quaireau, given exclusively for the Bulgarian fans of the genre.
Hello, Emmanuel. Tell us more about yourself. What is your current occupation and how did you become a gamebook author?
Hello! I am 36 years old, I live in west France, near the Atlantic Ocean. I work in the field of Tax Administration, but don't expect me to write a gamebook on that topic. :) Since as long as I can remember I have two huge passions: games and books. In my childhood I often pestered my parents and friends with my constant desire to play different kinds of games. When I first discovered the gamebooks in the late 80's, inevitably I fell in love with that genre. Eventually, the RPGs and boardgames took their place. Then, about 8 years ago, I came across a French forum about gamebooks, "Rendez-vous au1" (Turn to 1), and this revived my interest to the genre. A competition takes place there, Yaztromo, in which authors participate with their gamebooks. The members of the forum then read, comment and vote for their favorite one. I was enthusiastic to participate, starting with „Les Sabres d'Asguenn”, which was very well received and thus I wrote its sequel - "Le Cinquième Bataillon"). Another two followed - "Transomnie" and "Du Sang sous les Vigness".
What kind of gamebooks do you prefer and which are your favorite ones?
I prefer the long series with well-developed world and continuous story the same character, probably because I like a lot the RPGs, in which you can sometimes develop a character years and years. That's why I like „Way of the Tiger”, „Blood sword” and „Lone Wolf” series, as well as the French saga for "Father Jean". If I have to be more specific, my favorite ones are "The Chasm of Doom" (4th book of the Lone Wolf series), which offers a truly great battle, as well as "Usurper" (Way of the Tiger's 3d book), mainly because of the impressive enemies that one can face there.
Of course, I prefer well written gamebooks, but the "game" part is extremely important for me. Although I like many "Fighting Fantasy" books, I often find them too hard to win without cheating, and I don't cheat in gamebooks... With that said, "Trial of Champions" is one of my favorites because of its unique competitive feel.
So, now we have a French gamebook translated in Bulgarian... How did it happen that "Transomnie" is the first one?
Nicolay Gyoshev of the "Heroic Calling" team contacted me with his idea to start a new series of translated gamebooks. He was searching for something, which was not the typical fantasy, so "Transomnie" was our best choice in that direction.
I, as well as most people in France, know too little of Bulgaria. What I found interesting was that there is a large society of gamebook fans and that there were many published gamebooks, written by Bulgarian authors. I was very enthusiastic about the publishing of "Transomnie" in Bulgaria.
What inspired you to write a gamebook in that genre? Your readers are already waiting for a sequel. Are you planning something else in that Lovecraft's style?
All of my other gamebooks share one fantasy world, so "Transomnie" is an exception. It also differs with its small size, since my other gamebooks have 200-400 chapters.
I grew up with John Carpenter's movies and the books of Stephen King, both influenced by Lovecraft. One of my favorite RPGs is "The Call of Cthulu" taking place in a world, created by him. I was inspired by that great author, particularly famous in France. The names and places in „Transomnie” are also influenced by his work.
I do not plan any sequel, since the story line is not fit for such; as in Lovecraft's books, it's an "one-shot" scenario. I am willing to write another gamebook in the same setting, though.
What are your future plans in the gamebook genre?
I am currently working on a script of comix-gamebooks, which will be published in France by Makaka. I finished the first one, “Captive”, which should be published by the end of this year. The artwork is done by MC. It's about a policeman in present times, whose daughter has been kidnapped. He has to save her with the help of two of his colleagues. It all takes places in a mysterious mansion, with a feel similar to "Alone in the dark". Once again - Lovecraft's influence.
I am also writing the script for another comix-gamebook, coming up in the beginning of 2015 and illustrated by Benjamin Jurdic. The adventure takes place in an Asian fantasy setting and the main character is an assassin. I wouldn't disagree if you find it similar to "Way of the Tiger".
Regarding the standart gamebooks, I am planning to finish the "Gloire Posthume" trilogy , the third of my fantasy series („Les Sabres d'Asguenn” and "Le Cinquième Bataillon"), by the end of 2014 with the title Valunazia. These books are written in first person, as if the main character is telling the story.
In about a month you are coming to Bulgaria? What is the reason of your visit and will you meet the gamebook community here?
That's right, I am arriving in Sofia in the end of May and I am planning to stay in Bulgaria for about an year. I want to learn more about your country, to have time to write and to learn your language. I've already started a foreign language course.
I had a strong desire for such change without a specific idea in which country to go. Although I travelled a lot in my youth, Eastern Europe is unknown to me. When Nicolay contacted me about "Transomnie", the idea to visit Bulgaria came across my mind. I read online a lot of feedback of French people, who have visited Bulgaria, and thus I made my choice. All of them were astonished by the beauty of the country and the hospitality of its people.
Of course, I will be happy to meet the gamebook fans in Bulgaria. That's why I have to learn the language as fast as possible, so that we can understand each other better.
Thank you, Emannuel! We are looking forward to meeting you soon!
Last, but not last, here are samples of how the Transomnie mobile applicaiton looks like.
If you want to check out more articles in English from the Bulgarian gamebook society go to the article index.