Category Archives: From the Author

Profiles of the authors of our murder mystery games.

From the author: Jessica Andrews

Here’s the third in our occasional series of author profiles. This time it’s Jessica Andrews – author of our 1930s murder mystery Death on the Rocks.

Jessica Andrews
Jessica Andrews

Jessica is a freelance history book editor from south east London. She‚ adores a good mystery as much as a good party, and ever since she discovered that the two could be combined, she was sold. She has been forcing her friends to play murder mystery games with her since the age of twelve, and she is not averse to donning a false moustache when the need arises.

Her love of history makes her inclined to write murder mysteries set in the past, and her particular obsession with the Golden Age of Detective Fiction of the 1930s is what led to the creation of Death on the Rocks.

Jessica wanted to create a game inspired by Agatha Christie, her favourite detective fiction writer, and her game was particularly inspired by the spooky, claustrophobic atmosphere of And Then There Were None, where the characters are also stranded on a small island off the coast of England, unable to escape when murder strikes.

Death on the Rocks
Playing Death on the Rocks

She decided the 1930s was the perfect time period for her mystery, as pre-war innocence and glamour was fast becoming complicated by shifting political currents and the fear of impending war. She was also interested in recreating the poisonous, gossipy atmosphere of small village life, where a hotbed of secret passions and scandals might exist behind the picture perfect cottage doors.

In pre-war days, it would not have been uncommon for glamorous nobility in a big mansion house to necessarily co-exist with those poorer folk working in the village, and this gave her the chance to explore a wide range of colourful characters.

Jessica really enjoyed writing her game, but couldn’t have done it without the patience and encouragement of her editor, Mo.

Jessica can be found on Twitter @deadnightgames, Pinterest and Instagram, both @redsequin.

From the Author: Becky Channon

Second in our occasional author profiles, this time it’s the turn of Becky Channon – author of A Heroic Death and A Speakeasy Murder.

Becky grew up in London, England, and (mis)spent her youth writing comic short stories with her brother. Much later, her brother asked her to write him a funny superhero-themed murder mystery party for his upcoming birthday. Becky wrote this in a couple of weeks, and the party was very successful.

A Heroic Death
A dramatic moment in Becky Channon’s A Heroic Death

Heroic submission

Having previously hosted both Curse of the Pharaoh and Death on the Gambia, Becky was already a fan of Freeform Games and saw on our website that we were looking for new writers. So after the party she decided to submit her game.

We were interested in her superhero game, but Becky was surprised to find that the process of transforming her game to fit the Freeform Games template (along with adding extra characters, playtesting, and editing) took considerably longer than writing the original game. However, nearly two years later A Heroic Death was released.

Speaking easy

As a fan of the 1920s, Becky had been disappointed that Freeform Games didn’t include a 1920s speakeasy-style game in our catalogue. And as there still wasn’t one after A Heroic Death was published, she decided that she’d have to write it herself.

A Speakeasy Murder
Enjoying Becky’s second game – A Speakeasy Murder

This new game was almost three times the size of her first, but Becky knew the process now and A Speakeasy Murder was produced and developed faster than her first game, despite it being much harder to find enough volunteers to playtest it.

Becky had enormous fun cramming the game full of as many cultural references as she possibly could. Can you spot them all?

From the author: Murder on the Dancefloor’s Terence Smith

To coincide with the launch of Murder on the Dancefloor, we asked the game’s author, Terence Smith, for a few words describing where the game came from:

“My involvement with Freeform Games began with my 15th birthday in 2010. I was a drama student at school and, along with my friends, played Lei’d to Rest. This was followed by many more over the following years including Under the Big Top, Who Shot the Sheriff?, Casino Fatale, The Night Before Christmas and a playtest of A Will To Murder.

Terence Smith (right)
Terence Smith, our newest author, in Under the Big Top
Terence playing Under the Big Top

“The first playtest of Murder on the Dancefloor in 2012 was also the first time I had hosted a Freeform Games murder mystery (until then I’d always played a character while someone else hosted). That was quite an experience!

I made some changes to the game, and it was again playtested in early 2014 in England. I was on holiday in the UK with my parents at the time, and I had the pleasure of meeting Mo and helping to host the game for another very successful playtest.

I had a real sense of accomplishment from seeing the characters and storylines (revolving around Ricky’s murder and the dance-off at the diner) take place in front of my eyes.”

Murder on the Dancefloor is now available here – we hope you like it!