Monday, December 30, 2013

Quest for the Red Sapphire by Rival Gates: Interview


Why did you decide to write fantasy novels?  I always enjoyed writing.  When hard times hit my family, the outlook was quite bleak.  I wanted to escape but not actually leave.  I wanted to dive into a totally different world.  So I made a world by my own rules with characters I chose.  There I spent my days dreaming about how different it would be.  At last I decided to write a short story.  That kept getting longer and longer until I had a novel.  There was still more I wanted to say, so I continued to plan more books until the “Sapphire Chronicles” were laid out.


How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?  My personality appears in some form in nearly every character I have created.  Not only my life experiences but also those of my parents, grandparents and siblings influenced my writing.  I am also an avid student of history.  Many of my battles, for example, are inspired by true events. 


When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?  I grew up in Canada (though I am an American citizen) and entered a Provincial Short Story Contest.  I faired very well and my paper was well received.  At that time I began to write simply for pleasure and do so at every opportunity.  The manuscript for “Quest for the Red Sapphire” was completed for decades.  I never quite felt it was done.  Then my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  At our last visit she made me swear to have my book published so others could read the story.  I kept my word.


Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?  Much depends on the time I have to spend writing.  If that was all I was focused on, I could produce a book in 6-12 months.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?  Long ago I was taught that Earnest Hemmingway believed that you should always stop writing when you still have something left to write.  By doing that, when you begin again you have something to start you off.  I write on regular days but will add time when an idea strikes me that simply must be put to paper.

Do you feel humor is important in fantasy writing and why?  Humor in the form of comic relief is vital in writing fantasy.  If you just have endless tension and troubles, it can exhaust the reader…and the writer for that matter.  Every little while you need some levity.  It breaks up the story into digestible chunks.  If you do not relive that stress, the book becomes nothing more than an instruction manual.


What are your thoughts on love scenes in fantasy novels, do you find them difficult to write?  I have kept them to a minimum in my books.  I have no problem writing them but I want young readers to enjoy my books as well as adults.  I can accomplish this best with fewer love scenes.


What kind of research do you do?  I have a set time period in mind for my books.  That means the technology I use must be consistent with that period.  After all, you cannot have everyone with swords except one person with a gun.  So I research history.  I draw inspiration from the past.  The research can be anything from books to the internet to television.

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.

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I was born in the USA and moved to Canada when I was 5. My mother was American and my father was originally Canadian before trading his citizenship. I lived in Canada until I graduated high school. I returned to the United States where I graduated from Michigan State University. While I was there I met the most wonderful woman on this earth and amazingly she agreed to be my wife. We have been married well over 20 years and have three beautiful children.

I began work on my series of books at age thirteen during a difficult time in my family's and my life. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I decided to escape to another of my own creation where I could create the characters. What started as a short story turned into a novel and then a series.

I sat on my work for years, sharing it only with my immediate family. Then my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The longest supporter of my writing made me promise to publish my work and finish the series. This is my attempt to keep that pledge. Enjoy the ride!

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