Just recently, Jason Brannon - author of The Tears of Nero - opened up Deadbolt Escape Rooms in Tupelo, Mississippi. What is an escape room? What made Jason want to open up a business like this while also working on his fiction? We explored these questions with him, and we've also put the digital edition of The Tears of Nero on sale for 99 cents today through Tuesday, August 9.
What Is An Escape Room?
An escape room is a game with a specific scenario where participants have a series of riddles and puzzles to solve within an hour in order to “escape". Currently, our room scenarios are 'The Magician's Last Trick', 'The Black Rock Mystery', and 'The Fury of Nero'. Contestants must either discover the secret to The Amazing Silverstone's success, find the missing Black Rock gold, or escape the clutches of the evil madman, Nero.
What Made You Want To Go Into The Business Of Escape Rooms?
My brother and I have done a few of these for fun in different towns like Memphis and Nashville and thought that Tupelo, MS needed one. As a team, he and I complement each other very well and bring different things to the table. He is very much the hands-on guy who is responsible for the look and feel of each of the rooms at Deadbolt. Given my writing background, I bring my own creativity and storytelling ability to the business. As a writer, I am always plotting and figuring out how different parts of the narrative puzzle fit together and this seemed like a logical step for me. It's always a very exciting feeling to see one of my books in print. However, seeing people interact with a physical, interactive representation of an idea is just as thrilling. One item of note that I am particularly proud of: some escape rooms purchase their ideas, puzzles, storylines, etc, but not us. Deadbolt Escape Rooms has all-original storylines, room scenarios, and puzzles. We have written each room from scratch, scripted each story, and devised each trap from which contestants must free themselves.
You’re Creating A Room Based On Your Book, The Tears of Nero. Can You Give Us A Little Bit Of Background To The Book And The Room Based On It? What Made You Interested In Nero’s Character And History?
The book focuses on a madman who has patterned himself after the Roman emperor, Nero, and trapped five strangers on an island that may or may not contain the key to Armageddon. The room based on the book focuses on Nero and a group of victims he has recruited for the sole purpose of loosing the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Nero is a very unhinged character that is obsessed with the end of the world, and that obsession has spread to our own dark little corner of Tupelo, MS. As for what drew me to the Nero from history - you would be hard-pressed to find anyone else so egomaniacal, twisted, and savage. When trying to decide what kind of madman to write about, the traits he embodied were at the top of the list.
Do You Have Plans (Secret Or Otherwise) For Other Rooms In The Future?
Our plan is to change rooms on a semi-regular basis so that gaming enthusiasts can return over and over again for new adventures. We have a list of room ideas a mile long. The question isn't whether we have plans for other rooms...it's which room will we choose to create next?