Shannon Gilligan is the CEO and Publisher of the hugely popular Choose Your Own Adventure® (CYOA) gamebook series. She has worked in the field of interactive gaming and storytelling for more than 30 years. CYOA had part of its genesis in role-playing games and education and is widely acknowledged as a stealth reading program.
Gilligan first joined CYOA as project manager of an adaptation of two Choose Your Own Adventure books into games for the Atari console in 1982. She began to write for the series as one of many CYOA writers soon after. In the early 1990s, Gilligan was “evangelized” by Apple in their legendary program to persuade and support creatives outside of technology to develop software for the Mac (Apple) platform.
Her mystery game "Who Killed Sam Rupert?" subsequently became the first commercially distributed game to include Quicktime. She formed Spark Interactive to continue her work on game design for the Mac and the PC, and produced and directed Comic Creator, voted Best Software of the Year by People Magazine in 1995. In addition to her pioneering interactive gaming contributions, Gilligan published her first book at age 22, and has penned 14 CYOA titles. In 2003, she and her husband R.A. Montgomery cofounded Chooseco, a purpose-built publisher, for the relaunch of the CYOA series in print and ebook forms.
The series has expanded to more than 100 titles and includes baby board books, picture books for younger readers, and a popular and historically accurate CYOA Spies series based on true-life spies. Gilligan is currently at work adapting CYOA into an interactive cartoon series, while also steering CYOA into new markets in education, gaming, and software. She is a board member of Partnerships for Literacy and Learning and feels strongly that commerce can be positively involved with education.