Update 10/30/2014: The project has been renamed The Stranger Safety Squad, and it’s live on Kickstarter. Check it out!
In 2012, I sat down with an author friend of mine (and co-owner of Lake 7 Creative, LLC), Blake Hoena. I had the beginning of an idea, but I needed help fine-tuning it. I’ve always loved interactive Choose Your Path books, but I wanted to develop a simpler way to utilize the format—one that didn’t require a reader to jump around in the book. Basically, I wanted a Choose Your Path format for picture books and for early reader chapter books.
Blake and I sat down at a local cafe and started throwing ideas back and forth. What we ultimately came up with was such an obvious solution that I can’t believe it took us that long to figure it out. It was new (at least, new to us; I don’t know if it had been done before) and brilliant. It looked like this:
Our new Choice format fit my criteria. It was interactive; it was age-appropriate (no choice led to death); and it was easy to use. Basically, the reader made a choice and followed the arrow to the corresponding paragraph. The right choice kept the story going. The wrong choice redirected readers to the right choice.
We were excited about the format, and since I was already busy with other projects, Blake became the first to give it a go. He wrote a book called Campfire Crisis.
He realized the same thing I did about our new format: It provided a perfect opportunity to educate, as well as entertain. Campfire Crisis was very much a book about camping safety tips.
My educational ideas for the format were a little less marketable but more “public service announcement.” I wanted to do an interactive book about bullying and one about avoiding kidnapper tricks. Both ideas have been floating around in my mind for well over a year.
At last, a potential opportunity has presented itself! To make a long story short, a Kickstarter promotional agency has offered to run a free campaign for me in exchange for an honest review of their services. It doesn’t seem right to cash in on this opportunity with a blatantly commercial new idea. Instead, I’m going to see if I can kickstart one of my PSAs.
The project is called Kidnappers, Beware! I’m going to see if the promo company’s services can raise $1,200. That would be enough to pay for illustrations and to pay the expenses associated with a successful campaign.
Kidnappers, Beware! will launch next week on Kickstarter.com and will run for about a month.