Author Kristy Boyce Shares Her Inspiration for Dungeons and Drama

We love all the fun, nerdy elements of Kristy Boyce‘s Dungeons and Drama, so we asked her to share a little bit about how her high school experiences with musical theater and D&D helped inspire her to write this romcom full of fake dating hijinks! Read on to hear what she had to say.

One of the joys of writing contemporary young adult fiction is being able to include activities and hobbies that I love in my books. For my YA romance, Dungeons and Drama, I was able to write about musical theater and D&D, both of which were a part of my own high school experience.

My first foray into musical theater was being a chorus member in The Sound of Music as a freshman. I had grown up in dance and loved watching recorded versions of musicals that my mom would bring home from the library, but being on stage in a musical lit a new passion in me. I participated in our school musical each year of high school, and although I never auditioned for a speaking role, I moved up to being a lead dancer and choreographer by my senior year.

I loved everything about the experience: goofing around with friends, rehearsing until scenes were just right, prepping our costumes, and show nights, of course. I tried to imbue that same love for theater into Riley, the main character in Dungeons and Drama.

I also first got into D&D in high school. My best friend and I were dating boys in the same D&D group, and they eagerly recruited us to join the campaign and hang out on Saturday afternoons. Instead of playing at a game store, like the characters in the book, we rotated playing at people’s houses. It wasn’t hard for me to write Riley as being clueless about the game because that’s how I felt about it at first. But what I immediately loved was how the game bonded us as a group. Suddenly, we were working together in the campaign, and by the end of each session we had new inside jokes and shared memories.

I wouldn’t say these two worlds overlapped in my own life the way they overlap in Riley’s—although we did recruit one of the guys to be a dance partner in Hello, Dolly! senior year! However, as an adult I began reflecting on my experiences and how much connection there is between theater and D&D. In both cases, people are asked to play a role, to step outside of themselves and embody someone else. As soon as this occurred to me, I knew I had to write Dungeons and Drama! I wanted to explore the idea of two people coming together, thinking they are so different, only to realize that in reality they both have the same core passions and interests. And, of course, throwing some fake dating into the mix only makes it more fun!

It’s been one of the greatest joys of my life to share this story with readers and hear how much it resonates with them. Some have said the story is “niche,” but that has not been my experience. So many readers have told me that it feels like I wrote this book especially for them. They see themselves in the characters and I can’t think of a bigger compliment—to write something that is both specific and universal simultaneously.

Read the Book

Dungeons and Drama

Dungeons and Drama

A national bestseller!

When it comes to romance, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to play games. A fun YA romcom full of fake dating hijinks!

Musical lover Riley has big aspirations to become a director on Broadway. Crucial to this plan is to bring back her high school’s spring musical, but when Riley takes her mom’s car without permission, she’s grounded and stuck with the worst punishment: spending her after-school hours working at her dad’s game shop.

Riley can’t waste her time working when she has a musical to save, so she convinces Nathan—a nerdy teen employee—to cover her shifts and, in exchange, she’ll flirt with him to make his gamer-girl crush jealous.

But Riley didn’t realize that meant joining Nathan’s Dungeons & Dragons game . . . or that role playing would be so fun. Soon, Riley starts to think that flirting with Nathan doesn’t require as much acting as she would’ve thought . . .

Did you enjoy hear from Kristy Boyce about the inspiration behind Dungeons and Drama? Discover more author exclusives here and get social with us at @getunderlined!

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