Playing Tyler by TL Costa
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Received finished copy from publicist for review
Paperback 304 pages
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When is a game not a game?
Tyler MacCandless can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. He can’t focus on school, on his future, on a book, on much of anything other than taking care of his older brother, Brandon, who’s in rehab for heroin abuse… again.
Tyler’s dad is dead and his mom has mentally checked out. The only person he can really count on is his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. The one thing in life it seems he doesn’t suck at is playing video games and, well, thats probably not going to get him into college.
Just when it seems like his future is on a collision course with a life sentence at McDonald’s, Rick asks him to test a video game. If his score’s high enough, it could earn him a place in flight school and win him the future he was certain that he could never have. And when he falls in love with the game’s designer, the legendary gamer Ani, Tyler thinks his life might finally be turning around.
That is, until Brandon goes MIA from rehab and Tyler and Ani discover that the game is more than it seems. Now Tyler will have to figure out what’s really going on in time to save his brother… and prevent his own future from going down in flames.
I had the great pleasure of reading PLAYING TYLER earlier this month and was able to get an interview with the author, TL Costa. I think you'll enjoy it and hopefully, you'll enjoy the novel as well. I thought it was fantastic! I'm reviewing it tomorrow. It's a contemporary, thriller with some romance thrown in. The characters again are GREAT!
Here's a little about TL Costa-
1) Playing Tyler has a lot of gaming involved in it. If you were to create your own video game, what would you call it and what would the characters be?
I would like to say that I would make some sort of uber-intellectual puzzle game, but really, I would make a sort of comedy-adventure game, starring Chuck Norris and Elvis Presley who would have to fight aliens while riding unicorns. Something just off-the-wall crazy.
2) Say you are as gifted with code as one of your main characters is, what would you do with your skills?
So many possibilities! I would probably try and create an interactive reading experience site. Taking books and uploading the setting, characters, etc and having the reader take clues from the book to advance to the next level of a game based on the book. When I was little, I used to love the books where you could choose what happened next, so basically merge that kind of text into an almost videogame like experience.
3) What would your gamer name be if you had an online gamer name?
I have had many gamer names, very few I feel comfortable fessing up to in public. Let me see, a good gamer handle has always been sort of analogous in my mind to a good roller-derby name. Shepolocalyse? Slaughterella?
4) I loved the dual narratives! How hard was it to write from Tyler's point of view?
Writing Tyler’s point of view was very natural, as his voice is such a large part of his character, so it wasn’t all that difficult. What was a bit sticky was trying to write both Tyler’s scenes and Ani’s scenes the same day. When I first started writing the book, I had to compose Tyler’s sections one day, and then Ani’s the next. After a while, creating them both became so natural that I could write both whenever I wanted.
5) Tyler's biggest desire is to fly planes. Ani's to go to Yale. What was yours when you were their age?
To become a doctor. My aunt was a doctor in New York City and I’ve always thought that saving lives must be the most amazing experience. By the time I got into college, though, I fell in love with subjects other than just biology, and so I chose a different path. I still have a great amount of respect for doctors and other medical professionals, and when I am at my aunt’s house, I often pick up her medical journals and read them for fun. (Yes, I am a major nerd.)
6) Playing Tyler feels pretty finished, but I loved these characters. Any chance of a sequel?
I wrote it as a stand-alone. However, I really loved writing the book. So I have 14 different outlines for a potential sequel, and I hate all of them, so we’ll see.
7) What's up for you next?
I have two completed drafts of other books, and we’ll see if I can polish them up into something grand! If not, I have lots and lots of ideas…