Mar 18


Author Interview—Alyssa N. Vaughn, On the Run: Rogue Heroes

Posted by: K L | Comments (19)

Awaken your powers and save your friends! Uncover the secrets that the military has been hiding about Activated people, about your family, and about you.

On the Run: Rogue Heroes is an interactive teenage-superpower novel by Alyssa N. Vaughn. We sat down with Alyssa to talk about her work. On the Run: Rogue Heroes releases this Thursday, March 21st. You can play the first three chapters for free today.

You’ve got an extensive list of short-story credits, but this is your first novel-length publication. What were your favorite aspects of moving from short-form to long-form, and what were some of the challenges?

One thing I really enjoyed was getting to develop the world and characters of the story in more depth. With my short stories, I usually have an idea I want to get across and everything takes a backseat to that since I have more limited space. Since I had more room to stretch out, so to speak, I really felt like I had the ability to get more of what was in my mind onto the page–or screen in this case.

As I got further into development for On The Run, I think this ended up being one of the biggest challenges as well. With a short story it’s so easy to say “this is the end”, go through it two or three times, and feel really satisfied with your final draft. With On The Run, I felt like there was always something new I could add, something I could improve, so it was really hard to get to that last deadline and say “it’s finished.”

On the Run offers a darker and grittier take on superheroes: government conspiracies and coverups, exploitation of powered people, and military conscription. What led you to take this approach, and what were some of your media influences and inspirations?

I was a big fan of the X-Men growing up, and I always thought that the political storylines from the various adaptations were the most realistic in the way the government and general public would react to an outbreak of superpowers. Fear. Control. That vicious cycle of giving up rights in return for supposed safety.

Like a lot of fans, high-school-aged me dreamed up my own characters to join in on the adventures I loved so much, but I gradually became more interested in the stories of these new heroes.

There was one YA novel I read by Eoin Colfer, The Supernaturalists, which is a science fiction story of teenagers living in a technocratic dystopia, sneaking around rooftops and alleyways trying to do good using their recently acquired supernatural abilities. At the time I read it, I was really taken with this idea of teenagers going out and doing things on their own.

These ideas simmered around in my teenage brain and eventually became, in my sophomore year, the first hundred or so words of an interaction between the PC and Yeni, although those were not their names. Plus a handful of very bad character sketches.

Despite the serious themes, On the Run has a healthy amount of banter and shenanigans among its characters. How did you maintain the humor amid this story’s darkness?

To be honest, I’m not sure that I could write a one-hundred-percent serious story, because even in dark times (maybe especially then) I tend to look for something to laugh at. There were definitely a few moments when writing the story that I really felt somber, but heightened stress, confrontation, filling awkward silences? I go for the funny. At least it relieves some of my tension.

This game also focuses very strongly on the experience of being a teenager: struggling with your identity, growing into independence, learning how to see your parents as flawed humans, and more. What drew you to the decision to have younger protagonists?

One of the parts of the story I really wanted to tell originally (when I myself was a teenager) was this conflict between children and parents. In my high school journals, I would have scenes of the parents aggressively seeking out their children, while the teenage protagonists cleverly outwitted them.

While the adults in On the Run are less antagonistic, I still felt strongly about this idea of having the young protagonist confront the older generation about their actions. I feel like adults, facing the same problems all the time, can get bogged down in their perspectives. A lot of teenagers try to enter conversations in good faith and have so much positive energy and just get shut down. I wanted this game to reflect their genuine experience but also be somewhat cathartic for anyone who’s felt that way.

What other projects are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a fantasy YA novel and hope to participate in some upcoming game jams through!

Notable Replies

  1. Avatar for K.L K.L says:

    And here’s the trailer!

  2. The links to the first three chapters don’t work. It just shows the title and author name, no story.

  3. That’s a browser-based bug. Try another browser or try refreshing or clearing your browser cache/cookies for the website, and if that doesn’t work, write in to and they can help you out in more detail.

  4. I have to ask when we get to commit the murder because I want to kill a lot of people and extremely ruthless

  5. To note, there are still a couple of things that will be updated before the full game release, including the chapter and stat screen headers!

Continue the discussion at

14 more replies


Avatar for system Avatar for abbytrevor Avatar for Natman1025 Avatar for Shadyaddams Avatar for Koi2.0 Avatar for callisto Avatar for wraithmaster20 Avatar for AletheiaKnights Avatar for Abdu_nimer Avatar for Ronin_101 Avatar for AnneWest Avatar for Keller Avatar for Zarkrai Avatar for K.L

Subscribe by E-mail