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Magic Mansion forged a special bond between Dev Bentham and me because I got to know her during the polling process. What polling process, you may ask? I wrote Magic Mansion as a choose your own adventure type story. Because the concept was that the characters were participating in a reality show, the competition was periodically voted off—and I let readers do the voting in my monthly newsletter. There was a spot each month for readers to leave additional feedback on the polls, and Dev always sent me the most wonderful notes.

Today she’s put together a few questions for me about the novel.

Dev: I’ve always wanted to know how much you plotted/thought ahead each month and how much was all new after you'd seen the results of the poll.

Jordan: Because I couldn’t predict who would get voted out, I had to be incredibly flexible. The way I remember it, I really couldn’t do any planning at all. It was sort of like being part of an improv group. Each month I got my prompt and I ran with it.

Dev: Had you thought up the challenges?

Jordan: You would think I could at least do that, but no. The challenges were designed to shuffle different magicians to the top of the pack, so I’d think of things that the magicians would either really do well on, or really stink at. And I’d need to know who my “cast” was that week to design the challenge. Sometimes it was exciting to have someone unexpected win or lose a challenge, but for the most part I wanted the scoring to seem realistic.

Dev: And was there ever a week where you were rooting for a different character than the readers chose?

Jordan: (spoilers ahead)

The first two votes ended up opposite of how I hoped, which was a real eye-opener. First, readers voted in Kevin Kazan, who cheated on his very first challenge. I was stunned. That turned out to be a great boon because I ended up with this cutthroat competitor for Ricardo. Once Kazan was in, I made sure he never ended up in a position to get voted out.

Then Charity Young and her dummy Oscar got voted out. I was really disappointed in that, because I’d planned to gradually reveal Charity’s personality, this passive-aggressive sourness, through her ventriloquism. But I had to work with what I was given, so instead I sent her out with a bang.

This early vote really changed the feel of the Gold Team. With the negative energy gone, they bonded strongly and transformed from underdogs to the team to beat. That’s a classic plot arc that readers can really get behind.

Find Magic Mansion in Kindle and paperback at http://amzn.to/1PzADLX

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