GeekMom: Gaming and Literacy with One More Story Games

by Karen Walsh

A few months ago, a woman in my TechLadies Facebook GroupJean Leggett, posted about her company One More Story Games and her upcoming game based on the Charlaine Harris Lily Bard series. After a few conversations with Jean, I started reading the series and fell in love with Lily. In fact, of all the Harris books I’ve read, I’m pretty much feeling like Lily Bard is by far my favorite of her characters.

Lily Bard’s physical strength allows her to continue her daily battle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder arising out of a violent rape. Curious to see how Leggett managed to bring this story to life, I sat down to interview her about her company and game.

GeekMom: OK—so, let me start with—tell us a little bit about how you ended up moving from stand-up to video game development?

Jean Leggett: Six years ago this summer, my husband, the games industry veteran, nearly died while we were in Dallas. He was working for Zynga and we decided we’d come back to his hometown to recover. Given that we didn’t have kids or a mortgage or any real debt, we thought we’d take the chance on doing what we loved—a radical idea. For him, it was developing StoryStylus, the game creation platform for authors. For me, I was going to do my speaking, coaching, and stand-up comedy.

About a year in, it seemed that my admin wizardry and keen hustle would be amazing for OMSG, so I stepped in to do operations, grant applications, investor fundraising, etc, and I’ve been in this role for 4+ years now. I have an English degree from Simon Fraser University (Burnaby BC) and a background in web design and database development, so it lends itself quite nicely to managing and helping design tools for writers

GM: You have a new game this month—based on a Charlaine Harris series—tell us a little bit about how that started.

JL: We’d gone to Bouchercon, the world’s largest mystery reader/writer conference, which was being held in Long Beach, CA in 2014. After Charlaine was finished signing books, I waited to approach her and asked if she’d considered turning her books into games. She replied that she’d done that before but it didn’t work out. My reply was, “Is that something I could help you with?” She gave me her card and said, “That would be lovely, dear.”

About 6 months later, we started the conversation with her agency, and in February 2016, we were able to announce we’d signed Charlaine Harris and that we were adapting the first novel in her Lily Bard series. I loved the LB series because Lily is a woman who has had some serious physical and emotional trauma in life but doesn’t need anyone to rescue her—she’s still coping with trauma but in her own way.

Click below for the full interview.

An Interview With Jean Leggett: ‘Shakespeare’s Landlord,’ Literacy, and Gaming