Published by Solstice Publishing on December 18th 2013
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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.
Interview with Rival Gates
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
This is the 3rd book in the Sapphire Chronicles series, the maniacal Lord Mandrean was nearly killed in book 2 by Linvin Grithinshield and he wants his revenge. Destroying Linvin will not only bolster his self-esteem but it will restore the faith of his riotous subjects.
What makes your book unique?
Everyone in the book has a hidden agenda. Some want Linvin dead and some want Mandrean dead but everyone wants them to square off once again. It is hard to tell the good guys from the bad ones.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
I planned this years ago when I came up with the series. Mandrean was humiliated and he’s such a juvenile personality, he would surely want retribution. All I had to do was think like a spoiled brat.
Is there any message you want readers to get from reading the book?
I want readers to get the message that nothing replaces family. A family always has your back. And even if you experience great personal loss, you only have one family and you must be there for them.
How long did it take to write the book?
While publicizing my other books it took about a year to write.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
Necromancer is my favorite character to write. He’s just such a smart mouth. He is evil yet hilarious at the same time. A complex character, Necromancer always has something colorful to say.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I outline my whole story before I write it. Then I have a guide to follow and I don’t leave anything out. There are times, especially during dialogue, when I get going on a point and end up adding it spontaneously.
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
I would involve Mandrean’s concubine Betrimpia more in the plotting. She is an important character who has a minor role in the story.
How did you come up with the cover?
The artist wanted my ideas. I wanted the embattled protagonist (Linvin) displayed ready for war yet unaware of the evil, demonic forces watching him and about to ruin his world. The image had to invoke fear in the viewer and I believe it does.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
In grammar school when I won a provincial contest (Ontario) for an essay I wrote I knew this was something I wanted to pursue.
What was the first story that you ever wrote?
It was a bad vampire story with the protagonist killing the vampire with a Swiss army knife opened into the shape of a cross. I must have been about 9 or 10 when I wrote that. To this day I just can’t write horror.
What is your favorite genre, and why?
Fantasy, particularly epic or high fantasy is what I love. I love heroes and fight scenes and finding a way out of no-win-situations. The other great thing is that there are no rules. The writer can make them up for their world. How much fun is that?
Are there any books you are absolutely inspired by?
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Hobbit
What are you working on next?
I’m working on the 4th book in the series called, Repercussions Abound. It is a climax of this part of the story. As the title suggests, things end very badly for just about everyone. There are more shocks in that book that I can list. It will be a mind blowing book.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Judge all criticism. If they have a valid point, work to correct it. If it’s just one person’s opinion and you and your beta reader (always have a beta reader) think your work is fine as it is, leave it alone and move on. Constructive criticism helps but negative people will just pull you down. No one will believe in your work if you don’t.
How do you juggle writing with family time?
That’s pretty tough. You have to make time for both. Usually the time that would just be for me goes to my writing. The rest of the free time goes to my family.