I was recently interviewed at writing.ie and this excerpt from the feature is worth further exploration. Just what is the appeal of LitRPG? What do readers want and what would make us feel short-changed if it was missing? I was talking to fellow Sci-Fi author Oisin McGann about this and he asked a crucial question: what is it that readers of the genre enjoy? Naturally, like any read, you want an immersive world, engaging characters and a page-turning plot. But when future readers pick up a Level Up book, what, specifically, will they expect? Here, I think part of the answer lies in a weakness in online games as an art form. Some games are beautifully written (and as an aside, if Bob Dylan can get the Nobel Prize for literature, watch out for a game-writer winning it!), but their narratives are all pretty much distorted by the market. A company that has invested millions in attracting a massive user-base of subscribers does not want the story of their game to end. So they put arbitrary challenges that absorb hours and hours of game time in the way of players. And there’s never a fully satisfactory closure of story lines. The owners have to keep the game going. I think readers of LitRPG enjoy both the usual attractions of SciFi, plus the vicarious pleasure of seeing a character progress within a game world in a fashion that would take years of actual gameplay. And too, the enjoyment of ending a story with a proper aesthetic payoff. In short, if you buy a book branded LitRPG, you expect the online game to feature very strongly. I’m tempted to say, it’s a genre for gamers, because people who have invested a lot of time in playing online games will really appreciate this aspect of the books. But that’s too narrow because in the same way as you don’t have to be interested in a particular period of history to enjoy historical fiction set in that era, you don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy a good book with a gaming premise.