Author Interview: Tom Torre Loves D&D & Pizza & Whiskey
The Davis Girl (TDG): Everyone, I am joined via Google Hangouts by fellow snack-loving, D&D playing, Dungeon Master himself, author Tom Torre. Welcome Tom!
TOM TORRE (TT): Pleasure to be chatting with ya!
TDG: Fun fact, I might have screamed when I saw your tweet about “Dungeons And Drafting” but what in the world *is* it and why does it sound so amazing?
TT: Dungeons and Drafting is this bizarre concept I had been dabbling with for the last few years that has finally come to life! It’s basically taking four awesome authors, throwing them together into a hopefully never-ending Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) campaign, all while they discuss the creative industries. What better way to talk about writing, and using your imagination in the creative world than by playing Dungeons and Dragons?
TDG: Oh my giddy aunt that’s awesome. How does this game-based talk happen? In real life? Virtually?
TT: Since we live in the future, we’re able to do this virtually. We all live in different spots across the US, so we’re using a website called roll20 that allows us to play D&D, and see each other over web cams at the same time. Basically, we’re using this as a way of recording a D&D styled publishing podcast. One day we hope to play in real life.
TDG: Who are the founding members?
TT: We have Brooks Benjamin who writes primarily middle grade (MG), Sean Easley and myself who both write MG and young adult (YA), and MK England who writes YA.
TDG: How did you find each other?
TT: Last year, I posted a random tweet saying how I wanted to do a D&D publishing podcast. Brooks was the first to respond and was basically saying “MAKE THIS HAPPEN”. Soon after, Sean responded to the same tweet and said “I want in.” Part of me thought it was a great idea but how serious were we about it? When I brought it up a week into 2019, Brooks and Sean were still sold on the idea and we jumped right into planning. After a few discussions on how this would actually work, Sean mentioned how huge of a gamer and awesome of a writer MK was and then she signed on!
TDG: Have any of you met in real life yet?
TT: I was lucky enough to meet Brooks a few years ago at a writers convention in NYC. He’s also the one I happen to know the longest and we got our feet wet into this industry at the same time. We’re basically separated at birth. Sean, MK, and I have yet to meet, but I’m sure we’ll fix that in the near future!
TDG: Why D&D? Why not just a live video stream or a podcast to talk about publishing?
TT: I love a bunch of other literary podcasts. When we started talking about how this would work, we wanted to do something that would allow us stand out from your average podcast. As authors, we’re forced to be creative and use our imagination to build words and characters. D&D is all about that. Our players have all created Bards who are on their own journeys in the D&D world, just like authors in the publishing world. We wanted to put a twist on the whole topical publishing podcast, and our twist comes in the form of a cursed magical item in the game which forces our players to discuss randomly rolled topics. We have tons of topics.
TDG: Randomly rolled topics?
TT: Well, I don’t want to spoil too much. But we all know about the twenty-sided dice (D20) in D&D. Who’s to say what happens when you come upon a curse in the game that forces you to talk about a topic. Each number is designated a topic – anything from world building, inspiration, writing to market, taboo topics in MG or YA, struggles, schedules, woes, etc. This cursed item is intertwined into the D&D campaign. So our players roll a D20 to decide what sort of topic they’ll be talking about. Like if one of our players rolls a one (a deadly miss/critical hit/crit), they may be forced to read some of their early works or badly executed writing.
TDG: Clever, Tom.
TT: Rolling a crit, we may even read some of our viewers’ writing or other bonus perks.
TDG: What other games do you enjoy when you’re not in a D&D campaign?
TT: Anything and everything. Games are my escape from writing or just dealing with real life in general. I’m a sucker for anything tabletop, and some of my favs are Clank!, Pandemic, Zombicide, Last Day on Earth, and Munchkin. In the video game realm I’m a sucker for a good RPG or a game that will scare the heck out of me and make me cry. Anyone ever play Amnesia!? oh my god….I just can’t even think about it anymore.
TDG: Agreed. Gaming is more like task-switching if I want to stay in a creative mode but need a break from text.
TT: Exactly. It’s my brain’s way of rebooting.
TDG: Any gaming in your writing?
TT: Gaming is always there. I am currently on submission with a book centered around D&D and the friendship it brings to the table. Gaming is where my heart is so I’m glad I am able to incorporate it in my writing.
TDG: How did you get into gaming?
TT: I’ve been gaming for as long as I can remember starting with an Atari 2600 that my dad bought, and it’s been going strong even to this day. I even collect old games in my spare time, slowly filling up all available shelf space with books and NES games. Some of my fondest memories include just sitting on the couch with friends playing Mario Kart or Goldeneye. Yelling and screaming into the wee hours of the morning while drinking Slurpees and eating bags of chips.
TDG: But what FLAVOR Slurpee, Tom?
TT: Mountain Dew Baja Blast mixed with Cherry Pepsi.
TDG: What are your gaming snack preferences now?
TT: It’s gotta be Cheetos…always Cheetos. Clean up the orange stained controllers later.
TDG: Nice. What about during a D&D campaign?
TT: Funny you ask – all of us are eating something as soon as we start recording. We’re all going to have to order a pizza, because PIZZA IS A STAPLE to any good D&D campaign. If I have a slurpee now, my head would probably explode.
TDG: That’s accurate.
TT: Oh and for the adult side of me – whiskey. We’re basically going to be called “Dungeons & Drafting & Pizza & Whiskey.”
TDG: What are you most looking forward to with Dungeons & Drafting?
TT: We want to show fellow creators that we’re all in the same boat. We all go through the same ups and downs during the process. You are not alone. We feel the pain and the joys. We want it to be an outlet for people to listening to a bunch of crazy authors joke about the industry, have a good time, and hopefully teach people a thing or two. And get a laugh in the process when I force people to die from giant rats because I am an EVIL Dungeon Master (DM).
TDG: Are you the only the DM for Dungeons & Drafting?
TT: I’ll be the first DM, but we’ll be alternating as episodes go on and our campaign changes. We all want a chance to create a game world and ruin the lives of the players.
TDG: What game has been on your shelf FOR-EV-ER that you just haven’t gotten around to playing yet?
TT: My “to-be-played” pile is so big I don’t even know what’s in it anymore. Video game wise, I still haven’t touched Horizon Zero Dawn and I need to. As for board games, I have yet to play Arkham Horror because I can’t find anyone to sacrifice eight hours of their day to play it.
TDG: How will us kids at home be able to experience the Dungeons & Drafting sessions?
TT: We’ll be putting it up both as recorded YouTube videos so you can see us play, and as podcasts. Down the line, we’re going to offer some live sessions to Patreon subscribers.
TDG: Is there a set schedule we can follow?
TT: We’re still setting up our schedule but it’ll be one episode a week starting in March. We’re recording a bunch right now so we can post one week at a time. We just hope we can get enough content in, because we’re constantly cracking up during the filming.
TDG: Will the videos be edited?
TT: Not heavily, but we will have bloopers and outtakes for our Patreon subscribers. And trust me there are going to be a lot.
TDG: Seven hells, I should hope so.
TT: Fun fact, we already had issues where we summoned a demon and my power went out. This is not a joke.
TDG: Wait, what?
TT: [Evil laugh].
Who summoned the demon? WHY WOULD YOU SUMMON A DEMON, TOM?
TT: We were testing things out and we just joked around with demon summoning music and monster tokens. As soon as I started messing with it, the power in my house went out.
TT: This will definitely be part of the bloopers because Brooks messed with my head. He convinced me my house was corrupted. By demons.
TDG: Well it probably was, Tom. Was this recorded or no?
TT: Yes. Up until the power outage. And the aftermath. Luckily I moved out of that house so the demon is probably stuck there. Stinks for the people that moved in [evil laugh].
TDG: Right. Final question before your lightning round: Is there anything I have not asked yet that you want to tell the kids at home?
TT: If you ever want to get into a creative industry the most important thing is to have friends who have your back. This is one of the reasons why we wanted to do this.
TDG: Well said. NOW IT IS TIME FOR THE LIGHTNING ROUND. ONE WORD ANSWERS ONLY.
TT: Wait, what?
TDG: [Evil laugh] Cats or dogs?
TDG: Monsters or demons?
TDG: Ranch or blue cheese?
TT: Blue cheese.
TDG: Hamburgers or S’Mores?
TDG: Mittens or gloves?
TDG: Sharks or tornadoes?
TDG: Drafting or revising?
TDG: Revising or sharknadoes?
TDG: Puppies or Cheetos?
TT: WHY!??!?!?!?! How about puppies covered in Cheeto-dust?
TDG: Sold. Thanks for joining me today! And from all of us here at The Midnight Society: STOP SUMMONING DEMONS INTO YOUR HOME, TOM.
TT: I’ll try [evil laugh].
Follow the whole Dungeons And Drafting team on Twitter!
“So the demon is probably stuck there.” Poor demon, promised pizza and gaming, and now without both. This is why demons are so angry, Erica.
Great interview and I’ll definitely check the podcast out.