One of the main writers of the Choose Your Own Adventure series has died aged 78. RA Montgomery was also the key to the books getting published.
Although some obituaries are listing Montgomery as the creator of the series, that’s not entirely accurate. The idea itself is usually credited to Edward Packard, who developed the branching narrative when he was making up bedroom stories to tell his two daughters and they suggested differing ideas for what could happen next.
Montgomery co-owned a small children’s publishing house named Vermont Crossroads Press and agreed to publish Packard’s first book using the concept, named The Adventures of You on Sugar Cane Island. After that did surprisingly well, Montgomery took the idea to Bantam Books, which published the series between 1979 and 1998.
Packard and Montgomery wrote many of the early books in the series, which had several revamps and spinoffs. Not including reprints, Montgomery wrote around 50 Choose Your Own Adventure books. He also helped develop two Atari games based on the books.
Montgomery remained involved in the series even after the rights moved on to other publishers. As recently as last year he was still writing some original Choose Your Own Adventure books in a special series aimed at children aged 5 to 8, younger than the original target audience.
The series had many fans, with Neil Patrick Harris recently using the format for his autobiography. Another fan even went to the effort of creating data visualizations to track the pattern of potential paths through the storylines in a dozen of the books.