• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

SCORE!! I tracked down Pick your Plot author Dan Keidl and tortured him until he agreed to an interview !


Ok so maybe tortured is a wee too strong a word, but when I realized my error in not interviewing gentlemanly Dan Keidl who co authored Armageddon: Pick Your Plot with AJ Lauer, I decided to make amends.

CYOA Cover Amazon w Crops

 Here’s what Danno had to say…

UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN:  Welcome to our interview! Let’s get started. Do you drink coffee?

DK: I dooooo, but I only had it for the first time a couple years ago. Now I love to drink it socially but I don’t have it on my own. I guess I missed out on acquiring it as a habit?

UL.  It’s never too late to pick up a bad habit. Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?

DK: Yes. Oh wait, do you mean one or the other? I guess… donuts. Or really warm cookies. I like ’em when they’re soft, you see, and I’m not intimidated by the prospect of getting donut/cookie crumbs all over everything if necessary.

DK: I can safely say I HAVE dunked a cookie and a donut into coffee in my life, but I haven’t had a lot of time to practice that particular skill. On the other hand, I am a pro at dunking cookies in milk. You know how some rare, uncannily lucky people are skilled at making a smores marshmallow perfectly golden tender without igniting it or anything? I’m like that, but with dunking cookies. Do they give out awards for that sort of thing?

UL: Why yes, Dan. Yes they do.



CONGRATULATIONS!  Now tell us, how did your book get started?

DK; Let’s see, it was the year of the Mayan Apocalypse, 2012, and I was brainstorming a good theme for my annual themed birthday bash. I settled on Choose Your Own Armageddon as the tongue-in-cheek concept, and in a foolhardy display of hubris decided that the right party favor for such an event would be an interactive fiction book based on that idea. AJ generously agreed to be enlisted and we wrote furiously for two weeks in order to have it bound on time. And when I say furiously, I mean passionately, disciplinedly, and often deliriously past the point of reason into the wee hours of the morning. I believe the cover art came about at roughly 3am on the last day before I had to get them printed and to the bindery? Altogether it was a feat I am still proud of and thankful for to this day. 

UL: Wow. That is some feat. What else have you written?

DK: I… ha ha, does being occasionally clever on Twitter (@dankeidl) count? AJ and I are collaborating on another adventurous interactive fiction novel which will knock your socks off. And the world ends less often, in this next one. I’ll make a point of letting you know when that’s coming out. Just thinking about it makes me grin.

UL:  Great. I love the idea of the world ending less often. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

DK: All right, I want to make this a little serious because I’ve given this a ton of thought of course, as I think most people have. When it comes right down to it, the real limiting factor that keeps me from doing everything I could imagine wanting to do in life is risk assessment. I’d really like to be able to make a difference in disaster areas, disease-ravaged areas, warzones: the places where humanity is really suffering and really, truly, needs help. But I can’t go there without a significant risk of suffering the same fate myself.

So the clearest superpower to have would be the ability to heal and recover from injury, like Wolverine from X-Men. I don’t even need the claws and grafted adamantine skeleton. Although I wouldn’t turn down looking like Hugh Jackman.

And if I had to pick a useless superpower? I would take the ability to control orange juice and make it do whatever I wanted. Put ’em together and my super-name would be, uh… Zesty Wolverine?

UL: Zesty Wolverine?  I like it! As for your serious superpower? I dig it. Totally. What makes you happy?

DK; Stories. Storytelling, and discussing and examining challenges, problems, the human condition more generally using fictional narrative like books and games. Also Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

UL:”X” never, ever marks the spot. (raising eyebrows) Wrapping up now, anything else you want to tell us?

DL: I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to get to know you a little, Pam, and I appreciate your interest in our book.  Kids at home: Don’t forget to spend some real time figuring out what you’re passionate about, stick with it and follow through. Accomplishing things takes work, but succeeding against adversity is a feeling you will never forget. Don’t forget to share your struggle and your success!

UL: Great advice for the kiddos. Also brush your teeth and clean your room.