What’s the story behind Kubrick’s Game and what is it about?
After reading puzzle-adventures like Ready Player One and The Da Vinci Code, which were thrillers based squarely on the author’s passions, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would write about if I were to base a story on my own passions. The answer was immediately clear – Stanley Kubrick. He has been my favorite film director since I was 15 years old and his films are famously filled with symbolism, controversy, and mystery. After figuring out the story, I set to work on creating the most diabolical, intricate puzzles ever seen in literature. I worked with the puzzle maven of Fantastic Race (FantasticRace.com) and they helped me create the puzzles found in the book. From there it took years of research and editing to weave all of the elements into a coherent and entertaining plot.
The plot centers around a 20-year-old autistic film student named Shawn Hagan who discovers a hidden game within the films of Stanley Kubrick that seems to be leading to a mysterious treasure the legendary film director left behind. But when nefarious groups emerge who have also discovered the game, it’s a race against time to uncover Kubrick’s treasure before it falls into the wrong hands.
You were most well-known for your middle-grade books and picture books. Was it difficult to transition to an older audience.
Yes, that was actually one of my biggest challenges. Since 2009, I had been almost entirely focused on writing my series Scary School with HarperCollins. Book 4 of that series came out in 2015. It was designed for 7 to 12 year-olds, and in writing for that age group, I had become adept at short punchy sentences and a simple enough vocabulary that any eight year old would be able to read it. I also write the bilingual picture book El Perro con Sombrero with Holt/Macmillan, intended for 3 to 8 year-olds, so that had to be even simpler than Scary School.
When writing my first book for a grown-up audience, I had to practically reteach myself how to write in a completely different style, with longer sentences, more description, more complex emotions, and a more expansive word palette. The editing process took longer than it normally would because I had there was so much work to be done in making that style change, but I think that it all eventually paid off.
What attracted you to the subject matter of Stanley Kubrick?
I believe Kubrick is the greatest film genius we have ever had. His films were years ahead of their time, oftentimes not fully appreciated until 20-30 years later when audiences finally figured out what was actually going on between the frames that is impossible to recognize on a first viewing.
The matter of well-known conspiracy theories is also a subject many are interested in, so I thought it would be fun to explore those through the process of a fictional thriller, such as the faked moon landing theory, freemason symbolism, and the mystery surrounding his death.
The more you dig into his films, the more treasure you seem to find, so I very much enjoyed the characters uncovering all of the secret meanings of his films, while demonstrating how interesting and intricate film analysis can be.
I heard there is a real life treasure hunt. Is that true?
Yes! When you finish the book, you are given instructions to follow should you wish to participate in a real life treasure hunt we have set up. I worked once again with the Fantastic Race puzzle geniuses in creating this game, which includes solving a series of puzzles and tasks over a period of many months. Prizes and glory await at the end!
Reading the book will be necessary to complete the game, but you can actually get started without reading the book at DerekTaylorKent.com/the-game The codes to unravel the first clues are in the book, so reading will definitely help, but you may be able to figure it out on your own.
Will there be an Audiobook?
Yes! The audiobook will be out at the end of October and narrated by Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jonathan Frakes, and a supporting role read by Community and Talking Dead’s Yvette Nicole Brown.
[Words And Peace is very late in posting this interview, the audiobook has been released!]
We are very proud of the audio book and spent over a month on it’s production, so we hope everyone will enjoy, because we think it’s something very special.
Thank you! Please feel free to visit DerekTaylorKent.com for more info, book trailers, and to sign up for the fan newsletter to stay posted about future books and the treasure hunt.
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