CSI Creator Anthony Zuiker Pushes ‘Digi-Novel’ Envelope

CSI franchise mastermind Anthony Zuiker is the first to admit that Level 26: Dark Origins, his initial foray into the interactive book realm in the fall of 2009, was a bit of a misfire. The cover art was too “masculine” and the opening companion website video resembled a snuff film.

But it’s hard to keep a guy like Zuiker down. In an exclusive interview with Mediabistro, he explains how he learned from his initial mistakes and sought to make Dark Prophecy, the second part of a planned trilogy, a more satisfying reader experience. It arrived in bookstores October 14th.

Says Zuiker:

Dark Prophecy is really the coming out party for my hero, Steve Dark, who is a special part of the CSI group. We shot a one-hour motion picture that can be watched and enjoyed separately from the book [at level26.com], so they didn’t fight each other in the narrative. And we’re able to have CSI, for the TV show, extract a villain from Book One and put that villain in the television episode and have the storyline continue in Dark Prophecy which drops the same day. So, it’s like the ultimate cross platform of the television-publishing experience.”

At the very end of the MB AvantGuild members area Q&A, Zuiker shares five keys for aspiring TV writers. Numbers two through five can be learned, but the first is borne out by the interviewee as clearly as it was by the recently departed Stephen J. Cannell. Namely, “Have some level of talent.”