Erin Hoffman is a third generation San Diegan, growing up in North County before attending college in upstate New York. She eventually landed in the Bay Area, where she works as an educational video game designer. Video game franchises she has worked on include Kung Fu Panda World, Shadowbane, GoPets, and Frontierville. At the GlassLab (a division of the Institute of Play) Erin is the game design lead on SimCityEdu: Pollution Challenge, a version of the recently released SimCity modified to teach environmental science in middle school classrooms. She is a novelist, essayist, and speaker, with work in Polygon, The Escapist, Gamasutra, and more. “Shield of Sea and Space”, the final volume in her fantasy series “The Chaos Knight”, was recently published from Pyr Books, an imprint of Prometheus.
For what age audience do you write?
So far my published work is all adult fiction, mostly in fantasy and science fiction, but my current project is middle grade science fantasy. I'm having a ton of fun with it. I've made video games before for middle schoolers, and where they are in the arc of their life stories is really fascinating to me and wonderful. Middle school is also when I first fell in love with fantasy and science fiction -- "the golden age", they call it. My Chaos Knight novels are printed as adult, but Library Journal calls them appropriate for young adult readers too, which I think is great.
Henry: As a Warhammer Fantasy Battles fan, I have a special place in my heart for Chaos Knights.
Tell us about your latest book.
“Shield of Sea and Space” is the final volume in my “Chaos Knight” trilogy. It's not the end of the stories I have to tell in Andovar, but it's the end of a story. Growing up, I always loved fantasy trilogies that gave you a sense of completion while also feeding your hunger for more stories in the same world. That's what I set out to do with “The Chaos Knight”. The trilogy is the story of a sea captain who ultimately sets in motion a massive change in the world, bringing back an age of magic and magically-enabled technology after centuries of dormancy. It's a story of responsibility, in a way; an exploration of the consequences of initiating worldwide change.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
I think a great book prompts a reader to ask and answer important questions about themselves. “Shield of Sea and Space” follows through on some of the philosophical underpinnings of the early part of the series, as the hero is pushed further and further to expand his own limits and awareness of the world. I'm also just in it for the sheer fantasy -- the transportive experience of going somewhere full of magic and adventure. One of the most vivid memories of my childhood was reading a Madeline L'Engle book during a cold rainstorm; my family was freezing, but the scene I was reading was set in a desert, and I was so hot I had to take off my jacket. Evoking that kind of vivid experience from reading has always been my goal.
Henry: It may tickle you to know that I am a distant relative of Madeline L'Engle.
Read the rest of this interview at Henry Herz's blog on fantasy and science fiction books for kids.