Rival Gates (R.G.): Thank you for inviting me to be a guest author on In The Harem blog.
Young: It's my pleasure to have you here, Rival. Thanks for popping by. You are probably better at introducing yourself than me. :)
R.G.: I am Rival Gates and I am here to share my passion for Epic Fantasy Writing with your readers. My book series is titled the "Sapphire Chronicles". It begins with Book 1 "Quest for the Red Sapphire" and continues with the sequel "The Sapphire Crucible".
Young: Before your talk about your books, give my readers glimpse into your life and what led you to write this series.
R.G.: I grew up in a wonderful family headed by my father, who was an editor, and my mother who taught in a high school. Out of the many great moments growing up, I remember most fondly our after supper talks. We may have been at the dinner table with a pot of tea or on the porch swing but we sat and told stories.
At one point or another, everyone in the family would tell some sort of tale. Some were true and others were invented purely for entertainment value. However, each person told their story differently. Perhaps the differences were the places where pauses were implanted for affect. Other differences were facial expressions, tone of voice or even something as simple as the order in which the story was told. I was enchanted and learned different traits from my parents, brothers and sister that helped me form my own style.
Young: It is indeed wonderful to grow up in a nurturing environment.
R.G.: My father always said, "The best writers are the best storytellers." He was the greatest storyteller I have ever heard. I began writing this saga in my early teens and worked on and off on it for decades. Dad spared no punches in his review of my work and it only made me strive to produce a better product. A couple of years back my mother., my biggest fan was lost to cancer. At our last meeting she made me promise to have my work published so that others could enjoy my stories. That promise was fulfilled with the release of "Quest for the Red Sapphire" by Solstice Publishing.
“Quest for the Red Sapphire”
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1mSIAkT
Young: You mentioned that "Quest for the Red Sapphire" is published with Solstice. How did you discover Solstice Publishing?
R.G.: It was really Solstice discovered me. I had signed with a smaller company who were bought by Solstice. It was a great marriage as Solstice gave me the avenue for my writing to be noticed.
Young: As you are aware, Solstice Publishing is also my publisher for my seven books memoir series; A Harem Boy's Saga; a memoir by Young. They are delightful publishing house to work with.
That brings me to the next question; Where did your inspiration come from for this book? Was there a character that just had to be heard? Was there an event that inspired you to start writing?
R.G.: It all started with this idea I had for a sword I wanted to call Falconfeather. It was to be made from the thigh bone of Talana, Queen of the Falcons and into it she poured her immortal soul from her dying body. The sword would never break, dull or become lodged in an opponent. The blade was neither good nor evil but only lived to hunt and kill. It had telepathy with its master, the main character's father Dirk Grithinshield who goes missing early in the book. Then I developed Dirk and his son Linvin. The story just exploded from there but it all started with a cool sword.
Young: How cool is that!
R.G.: The book centers around Linvin Grithinshield, a half-elf general called home from the goblin wars to run the lucrative family trading business after his father's disappearance. Only after his mother's murder does he discover his destiny is to be the Master of the Red Sapphire, the most powerful magic any mortal can possess. Together with his wise but mysterious Uncle Anvar and his infuriating cousins Bander and Rander, Linvin must flee the would-be assassins and find the gem before the sinister forces from whom he flees find the stone and take it for a dark purpose.
Young: Before you give too much of the plot away, here's the next question I have for you. Describe to my readers the genres in which you write - for example paranormal, contemporary, westerns, etc? Do you write in more than one genre or area such as poetry, non-fiction, or do you have a different process when you're writing different kinds of fiction or non-fiction?
R.G.: I write High Fantasy or Epic Fantasy. My theme is a common one but that was done on purpose. I like the challenge of taking something that others have tried their hand at and making it my own. I love the genre and love to have strong characters to root for and against. What I enjoy the most is putting my protagonist in an impossible situation and having them find a clever way out. I want my readers to think and try to put themselves in the story.
Young: Do you have any other projects you're working on?
R.G.: I am working on a follow up to "Sapphire Crucible" called "Mandrean Revenge". It's very exciting.
“The Sapphire Crucible”
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1n8o0yN
Young: Give my audience a teaser of the "The Sapphire Crucible".
R.G.: "The Sapphire Crucible" picks up where the first book left off in the quest. The party is taken prisoner by the twisted Lord Mandrean and his Necromancer. They each have their own plans for Linvin and his crew. It is safe to say that neither plan is in the group's best interest. Linvin must find a way to eascape, find the Red Sapphire and make it home alive. The task will not be easy. The pair of Mandrean and Necromancer are like nothing Linvin has faced before. Enitre armies will be brought into the chase as the book reaches a climax of epic proportions. If there is to be a victory on either side, the price will be high. The ending is not to be missed.
Young: Does your background - in terms of job, family, geographic location play into your writing? What kind of research went into your storytelling?
R.G.: I have extensive retail management experience and it shows in "Quest for the Red Sapphire" whenLinvin must take over the family merchant empire. I had to picture a wealthy family without the government imposed checks and balances we have today. It took me a long time to come up with a balanced way to run Linvin's finances so he would be free to go on his quest. That part of the book took a long time to write.
Strong character development abounds with a healthy dose of action and puzzles to solve. Most
importantly, I added many instances of my favorite questions as a reader. Nothing grabs hold of me so much as asking the questions, "How are they going to get out of this one? There's no way they will escape this time, is there?" Then the answer comes in a way I never anticipated. That cements a good story for me. It is fianlly available on Amazon.com and Kindle. I hope you enjoy them and the books to follow.
Young: What is your mind set or process as you sit down to write? Do you have a playlist going? Do you need complete silence? Are you a 6 am writer or an 11 pm writer?
R.G.: I'm a night owl and like mornings as much as vampires. Most of my great ideas come at night. That is also the time when the children in the house are asleep and it is finally silent. I also write when the children are at school on my days off. I need quiet. All the events must flow in an order like a river in my mind and music or other people are like rocks in the river, changing its path and impeding its progress.
Young: How do you balance writing with work and/or personal life?
R.G.: It is a difficult dance where writing often gets pushed to the back burner. What I do to maximize my writing time is go through the upcoming chapter in my mind every night until I write it. Then when I have a chance at the computer I can let the river flow and my work pours out easily.
Young: Any words of advice for aspiring writers?
R.G: Let writing be your recreation, not your job. As soon as you see it as a job it won't be fun anymore. It will be work. Then your writing will suffer. The most writing I ever deleted was when I had a deadline and it felt like work. The words didn't flow like they normally did. Write for yourself, not for others.
My final advice - Read what you love and love what you read.
Young: Readers can connect with Mr. Rival Gates at:
Web Site: http://www.rivalgates.com/