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Guest Post: Chris Davis on the Origins of DM Press and 'Stay Awhile and Listen'

Posted by  DavidLCraddock  Jan 16, 2014

News

Oct 21, 2013

Shortly before STAY AWHILE AND LISTEN: BOOK I's release last October, Chris Davis, a fellow member of the Shacknews.com community and an aspiring writer, asked if he could interview me for his News Writing and Reporting course. I was flattered and more than a little bemused. It's not every day a college student asks to interview you for a paper! I agreed to the interview because I thought it would be fun to let someone else write about SAAL for a change, and because I happen to empathize with writing students who enjoy chasing interesting stories (if I may be so bold).

His paper turned out well. I think you'll think so, too.

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David Craddock peeks behind the curtain at Blizzard Entertainment

Written by Chris Davis; edited by Ashleigh Davenport and Rory Jones.

Posted with Permission

Author David Craddock gets behind the scenes at world leading video-game developer Blizzard Entertainment in his new book Stay Awhile and Listen (SAAL) while he and his wife Amie start their own publishing company. 

Craddock is an accomplished writer, having published several short stories and with an upcoming novel Heritage: The First Book of The Gairden Chronicles due out in 2014. Craddock has also written about video games for several magazines and websites including PlayStation: The Official Magazine, Official Xbox Magazine, Touch Arcade, and Shacknews. 

"Writing is what I do," said Craddock in a Skype interview, but that has not always been the case. At first Craddock studied Computer Science (CS) in college while taking the occasional writing course "just to relax." That all changed one semester after he wrote a paper on Harry Potter. The professor liked the essay enough that she had Craddock read it aloud. When she found out Craddock was a CS major, she told him to "Quit fooling around with computers; you're a writer and you need to write," and Craddock remembers at that moment "a light bulb went off." 

Craddock took her advice and pursued writing, but he never did stop "fooling around" on computers. He continues to play video-games but chose to write about them instead of creating them. 

Blizzard is one of the largest game companies in the world with extremely successful titles like Diablo, Warcraft, StarCraft, and World of WarCraft, as well as many expansions and sequels to those games. 

Craddock has been a Blizzard fan since he was first introduced to Diablo as a young man in 1996. He played the game so often that he said, "I would close my eyes and the map grids were burned in my eyelids." Fast forward to 2008 and Craddock becomes friends with Eric Sexton, an artist that worked on Diablo and Diablo 2. 

"I was just reveling in the fact that one of my new friends worked on two of my favorite computer games ever," says Craddock, "and so I had an epiphany one day to ask Eric if I could interview him for a book." Eric said yes and the project exploded from there. 

"I think everyone who plays games likes the idea of peaking behind the curtain and wondering how do they do that," said Craddock, and he intends to give SAAL readers that precious peak behind the curtain. 

When research began in 2008, Craddock intended to focus only on Diablo and the developers at Blizzard North, but the project quickly expanded when he realized that "it isn't like Blizzard North operated in a vacuum." Five years later, SAAL is now a three-part series covering most of Blizzard. Craddock says he still focuses on Diablo because "what you'll find as you read the series is that the story of Diablo is really the story of Blizzard." 

Craddock interviewed over one-hundred ex-Blizzard employees for SAAL. "I was meeting some of my game design heroes," says Craddock about interviews he conducted. "Stay Awhile and Listen is my book, but the story is their story." 

The interviews are all with ex-employees because Craddock was unable to get official blessing from Blizzard Entertainment. He had several meetings with them and said that "they were ready to sign up, but that would have required me signing away most creative control, and I wasn't ready to do that," Craddock says. Even so, he was able to combine his interviews with published material to fill in any holes. 

Craddock wrote SAAL by combining quotes from individuals, background information, and his own narrative. "It was like I fashioned the skeleton," Craddock says while quotes from the interviews are "kind of the meat on the bones." 

To publish Stay Awhile and Listen, Craddock and his wife, Amie, started their own publishing company – Digital Monument Press (DM Press). They made this decision after one publisher who expressed interest in books on games had never heard of Blizzard. "I just remember thinking," Craddock recalls, "you've never heard of Blizzard and yet you're looking for books about games?" At which point Amie asked "why don't we start our own publishing company?" 

"I write books and she handles the other stuff," Craddock said, laughing. The "other stuff" includes all the business aspects of DM Press, designing the cover of SAAL, building the DM Press website, and helping to edit manuscripts. 

The couple hopes that DM Press can grow into the go-to publisher for books on video games, "especially [for] developers who want to write memoirs," according to Craddock. 

The first SAAL is available on Kindle, iTunes, Nook, and Google Play. More information available on DM Press and SAAL at their website: www.dm-press.com. 

Author Bio:

Chris Davis is a full-time student in the Metro-Atlanta area. After spending his early 20s in the workforce, among other activities, Chris returned to college at 27 with a renewed interest in Writing and Politics. He has always been an avid reader and had a borderline unhealthy relationship with video-games. In addition to being a full time student he maintains a modest blog at www.infobiter.com.



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