Author Interview with Troy Osgood

Born and raised in the granite state of New Hampshire, Troy Osgood is a lifelong and avid reader of comic books and novels (mostly in the fantasy, sci-fi and adventure/thriller genres). The ongoing serial storytelling methods of comic books and television has always fascinated him and provided inspiration for his writing. He’s always had a love of creating and world building and dreams of someday seeing his creations expressed across all media: books, comic books, movies, TV and even toys.

When did you first start writing fiction?

When I was a kid. I don’t remember the grade, second or third maybe, and we were given an assignment to write a book. I wrote (and drew) an adventure about a knight entering a dark castle. Don’t remember the details but that was my first time writing and I’ve been doing it ever since. I wrote throughout the years but never went anywhere with it. Always kept creating. Mid-90s got close to having some comic books published but that all fizzled out. 

And then in 2014 or so, Amazon created Kindle Worlds and one of the worlds was G.I. Joe. Kindle Worlds was official fanfiction and the writers got paid. Not much, but still got paid. Only some properties were available and G.I. Joe was one. I’d always been a Joe fan (comics more than cartoon) and have a big toy collection that I still add to. 

This was a property I loved so I started writing and published my first book; G.I. Joe: The March of Cobra Volume One: The First Strike. People bought it. They liked it. I realized that I could do this thing called writing. So I did. And haven’t stopped. I self-published my first novel in April of 2016, the Skeleton Stone. The first in a series called The Taleweaver’s Song, which was patterned on the old Forgotten Realms Harpers series. Published a couple space opera novellas and then hooked up with Aethon Books for Sky Realms Online.

Kindle Worlds shut down a couple years ago and well it never made me much money, but without it I probably wouldn’t be here writing and publishing.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Paper or eBook?

I love reading hardcover or paperback but I don’t anymore. Space was a concern as well as my job. I travel some for work and it’s hard to take 3 or 4 books on the airplane and in the hotel. So I switched to eBook and am now pretty much exclusively eBook. I still pick up some hardcovers (mostly anything Michael J. Sullivan puts out and I picked up TImeless by R.A. Salvatore because he was doing a signing in my town and got it autographed by him). I started listening to audiobooks recently. For the longest time I wouldn’t because I could only find time at work and I get interrupted a lot. But with Sky Realms Online going audio, I wanted to check out the narrator and started listening to audio books.

So now I tend to have two books going at once (which I had never done before). I’m reading one on the kindle and listening to one at work. I still get interupted but manage to do an audiobook or two a week.

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What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Faerie Tale by Raymond E Feist

I have seen it getting some praise in the various facebook groups but for a long time it seemed no one knew it existed. It’s probably my favorite book of all time. I’m not sure why I love the book so much. It was my first experience with urban fantasy (I suppose that’s what it would be classified as. I’m not a fan of all the subgenres. It’s all fantasy to me) and I just fell for the story.

Of your books, which is your personal favorite? Why?

Sky Realms Online: Grayhold. The Skeleton Stone will always have a place in my heart as that was the first book I published (which is now unpublished and will be undergoing some reworking before publishing again). Grayhold had been my longest book (before the sequels, Silver Peak and Axestorm) and the quickest to write. It’s also been the most fun to write. Although the both sequels have been as much fun to write and are really developing the characters and adding to their world. Currently on book 4, Greenfire, and that will really ramp up what the world and story is about.

You can make one LitRPG book (not your own) a movie. Which is it and why?

Probably Viridian Gate Online by James Hunter. That one, I think, shows off what litRPG is all about. It’s got the “trapped in a game” aspect. Got leveling and classes. NPCs. And corporations trying to lord it over the common man. That would play well in today’s climate. The other choice would be Stonehaven League for some of the same reasons but Devon’s anxiety in the real world could play well on the screen. The empowering aspect of gaining confidence and growing as a person would be great as the theme of the movie.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yeah. It exists. For me it comes in the form of a wall where the story just comes to a screeching halt and doesn’t want to continue. I write and write and just slam into that wall. The plot just stops. I know where I want to go but not how to get there. It happens on every thing I try to write. That’s one of the reasons I have so many projects ongoing. When I hit the wall on one, I switch to another and go to town on that one for a while.

Are you an outliner or pantser? 

Total pantser. Mostly. I have the beginning and where I want to end up. Sometimes that destination is detailed and sometimes it’s rough. A lot of times I’ll write some scenes that take place at various points, without knowing those points, and fill in the gaps to get there.

Like in Sky Realms Online book two. I had the three parts of the story roughly thought out. Just the events I wanted the three parts to revolve around but not what the lead up or the resolution or even the actual happenings during those events. It was characters “do A”, “do B” and then “do C”. I finished and the original third part never made it into the book. It ended up in book 3. I have a scene I want to happen, a couple of them actually, but what book they will appear in keeps moving. I also know what the final two scenes of the series is.

What is your writing process like?

I try to write a minimum of 1,750 words a day. I need to do more to accomplish all that I want to, but for now that’s a good pace (increased from 1,500 words a night last year). My wife goes to bed early, around 9, each night. My daughters, age 6 and 4, are asleep already (sometimes the 4 year old fights it and stays awake longer). I read from the kids bedtime to wife’s bed time. So from about 9 to 11, when I go to bed, that’s my time to write.

And edit and market and review and everything else that comes with writing and publishing.

I boot up the laptop and start writing until it’s time to go to sleep.

How many hours a day do you write?

Two hours at the most but usually ends up 1 to 1.5 once I sit down, get the latest work open and start writing. Not enough. I need to get faster at actual writing. I don’t count editing/marketing time as writing but it all comes out of the same two hour block. I manage to get some writing done at my day job now and then, so that helps out.

Share a photo of your workspace and tell us about it?

My workspace is in transit and has been for a couple of years. I have a small office currently, which is a mess. When we moved into the current house there were plans to expand my office space so I could get my displays up. I collect action figures, LEGO, comics, artwork and other stuff. Always intended to put them on display but never got around to it. And now that we’re moving, the office is full of boxes.

The new space will be bigger and I’ll finally get everything up. So currently I work at a small desk with the laptop and keyboard. Nothing fancy. The pictures are of some artwork I have up that I look at well writing, a couple prints got from a Larry Elmore kickstarter and a piece done by a friend at Boss Fight Studio, a toy company. (pay special attention to the robed orc). The other piece is an original work I got recently of Princess from Battle of the Planets (I’m going to commission the artist to do the whole team).

Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?

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Michael J. Sullivan and Tad Williams top the list and have remained there for some time. Greg Rucka, Brad Thor, Lee Child.  I’ve always been a big comic book fan so some of my favorites come from there. Jonathan Hickman, Fabian Nicieza. Besides those I don’t have a favorite author as much as I have series and books from various ones. There are a few that I will read anything they write and some that will be more picky on. Like I love anything Star Wars that Timothy Zahn does but his other stuff is hit or miss. Love R.A. Salvatore’s fight scenes. Big fan of Nelson DeMille (John Corey is one of my favorite characters). David Eddings’ The Elenium and Tamuli are two of my favorite series. Weis & Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles has a place in my heart as it’s one of my earliest forays into Fantasy. I love Ed Greenwood’s Spellfire but the rest of his stuff doesn’t have the same connection. I’ve read all of Terry Brooks Shannara but for some reason, it’s not stuff I’ve ever been able to reread.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Probably telekinesis. Would make life so much easier. Or superspeed so I could type faster and maybe finally be able to write all these series and stories that I want to do.

Where do you get your ideas?

Anywhere and everywhere. It could be a scene in a movie that I liked and want to explore further. Could be a conversation that I have with a coworker that sparks a thought. My problem is that the ideas keep coming and never stop. I created an entire steampunk-ish world because of one picture of a statue I saw years ago. Someday I’ll even write that series. I have ideas for a couple different urban fantasies, a couple more different litRPG series (I recently mapped out the next couple years of litRPG), post apocalyptic, more sci-fi, some fantasy, some MG-YA fantasy. I want to do a couple series of books designed for my girls to enjoy as they get older. The ideas just never stop. And someday I’d love to be able to write comic books. That’s always been the dream.

What are your thoughts on how VR will affect the future of humanity?

I’m an architect at my day job and we use 3D modeling software for all our buildings now. That allows us to do VR walk-throughs to give the client an idea of what the finished product will look like. I see VR getting heavy use in that type of thing. Movies, entertainment. I think it’ll be a very long time, if ever, before VR replaces human interactions. We’ve all seen movies, read books, where humans just sit in VR chambers all day and that’s how they interact. I don’t think we’ll get to that point anytime soon. If ever.

I see VR helping in surgeries, building construction, making more immersive movies and games, but I think at some point we’ll put a limit on how much we allow it to live our lives for us.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

One of the joys of speculative fiction is that you really don’t need to do much in the way of research. As long as the worlds created follow a consistent logic, then good to go.

First video game memory?

Combat from Atari as it was the game that came with the 2600. Previously I had an old Texas Instruments 81, the classic TI-81, that had some games but I can’t remember any of them. The first video game that I remember playing was Combat. For it’s time, Combat was amazing. So many different options to choose from. Could play the tanks and play against each other, co-op or single player. Could even have invisible tanks. There were airplanes and boats. So much to choose from. Such a great game.

Another early one was Below The Root. I remember playing that during the day in school back in the 5th or 6th grade.

Favorite video game of all time is Legend of Kage and I’m trying to figure out how to work that gameplay/plotline into one of the novels.

What can fans expect from you next?

Lots. So much stuff. 

Book 3 in Sky Realms Online came out. I’m working on Book 4 that should be out by the summer. I also have two other litRPG series (one with a co-author) that will debut this year. Not quite sure of the time. Probably closer to the end of the year. I have a pulp short story in an anthology and a novella coming out under my pen name of T.O. Nichols (June and November). The first of two planned volumes of short stories set in the Sky Realms Online world should be out this year. I want to get at least one more, preferably two, novellas in my sci-fi series (Arek Lancer) out this year. I have a stand alone sci-fi story that is about 1/3 finished that I want to get out this year but realistically could be early next. I’ve started developing multiple other series.

I have my litRPG schedule planned out for the next couple of years.

My goal is to have something new by me being published each month, in any of the series or stand alones and either self-published or from a publisher. Along with the exclusive stories that are posted on my Patreon. I’ll have to work up to the once a month publishing. Goal for 2021/2022 is at least every other month. 2022/2023 would be good for every month.

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I have a Patreon (troynos) where I will be sharing WiP chapters as well as have an ongoing serialized story. The current one is in a fantasy setting. Others will be from that world, or the Arek Lancer sci-fi, and there’s a couple of stand alone shorts I’ve written that will appear there. I’m also releasing chapters from the main story that will be in the Sky Realms Online anthology. It’ll be a finished work of around 60,000 words. The anthology is going to be a big book.

Anything else you would like to add?

I’m a relative newcomer to Gamerlit/LitRPG but I’m glad I found it. It’s the genre I always wanted to write in. I started playing MMORPGs, my favorite type of game (followed by traditional single-player RPGs), back around 2001 with Ultima Online on the Chesapeake server (I was a Trammy). Did that for a number of years and then moved to Final Fantasy XI and played that for awhile but the grind got to me. I jumped onto the beta for Worlds of Warcraft and played that for a very long time. I’ve dabbled in a bunch of others, Lord of the Ring Online and others, but always end up going back to Ultima Online and World of Warcraft. It was when I was leveling my 2nd character (the dwarf warrior Seoman on Antheron, first was the Tauren Hunter Omusa on Illidan) that I had the idea of writing the adventures that my guild and I went on. I never got around to it, but that idea always stuck with me and then I found litRPG so many years later.

Now that I’ve found litRPG, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be writing in the genre as long as the readers want me to.

I love interacting/hearing from fans of the books, so feel free to track me down. I’m all over the various Facebook groups. I good place is also my new reader’s group (which has a contest to win a signed hardcover of Grayhold going on right now).

Paul Bellow

LitRPG Author Paul Bellow

Paul Bellow is a LitRPG author, gamer, RPG game developer, and publisher of several online communities. In other words, an old school webmaster. He also developed and runs LitRPG Adventures, a set of advanced RPG generators powered by GPT-3 AI. Here at LitRPG Reads, he publishes articles about LitRPG books, tabletop RPG books, and all sorts of DND content that's free to use in your personal tabletop campaign - i.e. non-commercial use. Enjoy your stay and reach out on Twitter or Discord if you want to make contact.

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