GameBookNews recently sent out its intrepid RHINO–MAN reporter to track down Jonathan Green, author of YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 – a mighty tome of additional Fighting Fantasy history, which is currently funding on Kickstarter. After dragging a hesitant Mr Green back to a CALACORM-guarded prison cell in our office (he repeatedly muttered ‘Scimitar’ during the entire journey), our brutish reporter interrogated him at length about this exciting new project – only once threatening him with a visitation by the GANJEES when Green’s evasive SKILL stymied our quest for answers!
At what point did you begin thinking about YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2, and when were you aware that a large amount of extra content would be available to fill a second volume?
I started making notes for the next edition of YOU ARE THE HERO after the book launched at Fighting Fantasy Fest 1, in 2014. For one thing, Damien Sparkes had his Fighting Fantasy miniatures on display at the event and I knew those would need to go into a future edition, as would the event itself!
Since that time I’ve collected more and more bits and pieces, some of it dating from the 1980s, but a lot from more recent developments, such as Titan Comics bringing out Ian Livingstone’s FREEWAY FIGHTER. It was only when I actually started to plan the outline for YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 that I realised just how much there was!
Was the 35th Anniversary of Fighting Fantasy a determining factor?
The 35th anniversary was a determining factor in bringing out YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 this year, even though I originally thought that I wouldn’t produce another edition of the book until the 40th anniversary in 2022!
Did reader feedback and suggestions influence the final content we’ll see in YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2?
Yes, to a small extent. I did ask the fans what they would like to see in the book, via social media, but some of their requests weren’t viable. For example, a popular request was for more Fighting Fantasy adventures, but they wouldn’t appear in a history of the series other than in summary as they did in YOU ARE THE HERO.
However, social media has connected me with a few fans whose work is now going to appear in the book. I already had the chapters planned, but they’ve provided additional content.
Were there any issues with YOU ARE THE HERO that you’ll resolve in YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2?
The biggest issue with YOU ARE THE HERO was that it was nine months late. That said, as it turns out, that’s nothing in terms of Kickstarters, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 has a very definite deadline of Fighting Fantasy Fest in September, so after this week pretty much all I’ll be working on between now and then will be Fighting Fantasy related!
One of the reasons YOU ARE THE HERO was late was because it kept growing! The more I found out, or the more interviews I conducted, the more I discovered I needed to include or the more contacts I made who provided me with more tantalizing titbits. I have a much better idea now of what a book such as YOU ARE THE HERO or YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 is like and so this shouldn’t be a problem this time. (Hopefully.)
Some copies of YOU ARE THE HERO were lost in the mail or damaged during transit – issues that regularly affect Kickstarter projects. I believe you’re adding tracking this time to hopefully avoid lost packages?
Actually the other big issue with YOU ARE THE HERO was that it was funded in the early days of Kickstarter (and within months of Kickstarter launching in the UK) and collecting payment for postage proved to be a nightmare. The book also cost more to post that originally predicted, and the Royal Mail did a fantastic job of losing numerous copies before they actually reached their various destinations around the globe.
Kickstarter now make it much easier for creators to collect postal charges from backers and I will be sending the books out by recorded mail to try and eliminate any problems that might arise because of Royal Blackmail – sorry! – Royal Mail!
In terms of avoiding damage to the books, the publisher has a much better system for packing books now, more akin to the packages you might receive from companies like Amazon.
From all of the people involved in Fighting Fantasy that you’ve spoken with for YOU ARE THE HERO, and those who will now feature in YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2, what have you learned about the series that unexpectedly surprised or intrigued you?
So much! Too much to go into here. You’ll just have to read the book(s) to find out! 😉
The recent desktop and mobile games from inkle Studios and Tin Man Games will no doubt feature heavily in YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2. Have you been provided with comprehensive material detailing the development of these games?
Well interviews are still being conducted, but both Tin Man Games and inkle Studios (who produced the Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! apps) are very keen to have their work featured in the book.
I also have a little insider knowledge with regards Tin Man Games’ ground-breaking adaptation of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, as I was on the design team during the initial phases of the project.
The upcoming releases of Ian Livingstone’s FREEWAY FIGHTER and Steve Jackson’s The Trolltooth Wars are exciting new developments that potentially spread the reach of Fighting Fantasy to new audiences. Are these projects the beginning of a new phase for the brand?
It all depends on how well these first titles are received and how readily people part with their hard-earned cash to own a copy. I know that Andi Ewington, the writer of the FREEWAY FIGHTER comic, has more scripts in the pipeline, and I know that Titan Comics would be keen to produce a fantasy title next.
I also believe that P J Montgomery, who adapted Steve Jackson’s The Trolltooth Wars as a graphic novel, is considering adapting other Fighting Fantasy novels in the future.
Whatever the long-term future of such sequential art projects, these two look absolutely glorious and will be a great addition to any fan’s Fighting Fantasy collection – or comic collection for that matter!
You’ve announced ‘Fighting Fantasy’s broadcasting history’ as an included topic in YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2. What type of content is planned for this?
Appearances on TV shows and interviews on the radio.
Is an extensive history book about Fighting Fantasy much easier (or more difficult!) to write as an author for the series?
I suppose in some ways it’s easier, because I know what it was like to work on the books from personal experience and I have made a lot of useful contacts as a result, but it’s also difficult in that I keep having to reference myself in the third person.
I know that some people felt that ‘Green’ featured in YOU ARE THE HERO way too much, and so he will take a bit more of a backseat role in YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2.
Will there be more Fighting Fantasy Facts in YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2?
I hope to include more Fighting Fantasy Facts, but only if I can find enough interesting snippets that won’t really fit in anywhere else.
Regarding Kickstarter stretch goals for YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2, you’ve recently stated that you’re ‘putting together something else for the loyal backers of this project’. Do you have anything to add about that at this point?
All I will say is that it will be very unexpected. 😉
Unfortunately, Jonathan Green’s LUCK and MAGIC are in healthy supply, as he deviously escaped from further questioning via the use of a Levitation Spell. We hear that he is now very busy managing the Kickstarter for YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2, and tirelessly working on this eagerly anticipated book.
Thanks for your time Jonathan – may your STAMINA never fail!