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Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author Chloe Gilholy about her life and career, what inspires her to write, and the story of her new book, Game Of Mass Destruction.

Tell me a bit about who you are

Chloe Gilholy, author of Game Of Mass Destruction, interview on The Table Read

I am a healthcare worker in Oxfordshire. I am also a fan of Japanese anime and manga. My favourite genres would include poetry and sci-fi but also read books outside those fields.

Outside of my main job, I have been a content creator for many years. I started with fan fiction then expanded towards original fiction and article writing on Vocal and Medium. Whilst I have no university degrees, I have diplomas in Health & Social Care and Art & Design. 

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When did you first WANT to write a book?

I had always enjoyed writing ever since I was younger. Seeing people put their work out there made me want to put my work out there too. It wasn’t until 2017 I took my writing to the next level and dabbled properly in self-publishing after enrolling in a writing course at a local arts centre. 

When did you take a step to start writing?

My first steps into writing was writing short stories as a child and giving them to my grandmother. The earliest story I remember writing was a fan fic about Jackie Chan teaching the cast of Pokémon how to sing. 

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

It took me a couple of months. After writing classes I got a burst of inspiration and would write in coffee shops. 

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

Game of Mass Destruction was first published serially on Wattpad 2019. About a year later in February 2020 I published the novel via Amazon and new editions have been released and it has been constantly updated. The idea had been in my head for years. Even when I dropped  it as a teenager, the idea still lingered. 

Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Game Of Mass Destruction?

Inspiration from my favourite books like Hunger Games and Battle Royale. The long list of complex characters.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Game Of Mass Destruction?

Chloe Gilholy, author of Game Of Mass Destruction, interview on The Table Read

Cutting the long list of characters. I had planned to have 40 contestants but after experiencing how hard it was to keep track with everything I decided to cut it down to 20. Still a lot to manage but a lot more manageable.  

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Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

 Funny story, originally Yuzuko wasn’t going to be the main protagonist. It was actually meant to be Bobby Fishman. Game of Mass Destruction was designed to be a follow up to my novella Fishman where the titular character attempts suicide but is saved by a stranger. Bobby and Todd’s friendship is inspired by Susan and Mitzi’s friendship from a video game called The Cat Lady. I had a big thing for horror indie games at the time, and Harvester’s The Cat Lady and Yangyang Mobile’s The Letter inspired me to create my own characters that have their own minds and stand out from each other. 

But whilst working on the novel, Yuzuko ended up taking over and becoming the main star. Her name Yuzuko can be literally translated as citrus child to highlight the bittersweet life she lives and the moral conflicts she has during the novel. Her last name Shikumi can be translated as construction which is the opposite of Destruction. 

I picked Yuzuko because of a manga series I enjoyed called Citrus. The main character is called Yuzu. 

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

I wrote the main villain, Sia Bucks to be unlikable on purpose. She’s vain, bitter and has no shame letting people die for the name of entertainment. She’s also willing to lie and do anything to get her own way. She started her own gameshow about destroying robots to trash on her ex-husband’s ideals that robots and humans can live as one society. Her ex-husband and her are Yuzuko’s grandparents but Yuzuko does not know about her blood relation to Sia until later in the novel. 

Chloe Gilholy, author of Game Of Mass Destruction, interview on The Table Read

These traits that Sia has are shared with many politicians and the entertainment industry as a whole. Despite that, Sia is the most popular character in my book. I’ve had lots of comments say how they love Sia. I think people love villains who are unapologetically nasty like Queen Cersei.

With Sia’s physical traits (purple afro and silver lipstick). You can thank Ru Paul’s Drag Race for that! 

What is the inciting incident of Game Of Mass Destruction?

 I would say the scene where Sia brings Yuzuko and the other contestants into her island to explain the rules is where things really kick off. The true nature of the games and the point system shows Sia off and how the contestant succumb to madness for extra points and take down robots and try to become billionaires. Some of the contestants would do anything to have fame. 

What is the main conflict of Game Of Mass Destruction?

 The main conflict of the book is Yuzuko’s moral struggles. She loves her grandfather and her way of life. It isn’t until she is out of that place does Sia reveals that she is Yuzuko’s grandmother is the confrontation and scene that I enjoyed writing the most. 

Did you plot Game Of Mass Destruction in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

It was a combination of both. I had already used the plot idea for fan fics and a project in my School homework. So when I used it for my novel, I had planned some bits and pants through a lot. 

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Game Of Mass Destruction need?

Because I don’t have a lot of money, I try to do most things by myself which is very hard. Luckily I found some tools online that help me. For book covers, I use a combination of GIMP and Canva. For formatting and file conversions I use Draft2Digital. 

Chloe Gilholy, author of Game Of Mass Destruction, interview on The Table Read

Game of Mass Destruction is the only book I’ve had professionally edited and it was a great help. It brought a second pair of eyes and advise on different words and things to change to remove possible copyright issues. 

I’ve published over 10 books and a lot of work online. A lot of it could do with tweaking, that’s why I think my first book, Drinking Poetry and my last novel, Game of Mass Destruction are my best works. 

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

Don’t be disheartened by 1 star reviews or people who DNF your work. Use it as an opportunity to get better and work towards it. I had a one star review on Game of Mass Destruction and after that I got the book professionally edited. It had a five star review after that and it’s now being translated into four other languages (Italian, Spanish, Hindu and Portuguese). 

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

I’ve just finished my first draft for a fake romance novel. It’s about a male duo who pretend to be an item under their manager’s request to sell records. There’s still a lot of work to be done on it, like some extra scenes and more character development, but I am glad to have the main base of the story down. 

I also plan to finish off a prequel to Game of Mass Destruction as well as work on the sequel. 

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And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I got featured in the Banbury Guardian (a local newspaper) that was a surprise. I thought I would try contacting local newspapers and was surprised one called me back. It was a nice feeling and a big shock. 

Another proud achievement I’ve had is having my work available in other formats and languages which I didn’t think would be available to me as an indie author. 

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

 Twitter, Instagram &Wattpad: @chloboshoka 


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