I interviewed Rival Gates, up-and-coming author, about his book Quest for the Red Sapphire. In 2013, his first installment of his new fantasy series was published.
I was born in Port Huron, MI and was the youngest of four surviving children. At the age of five my Father took a position as a magazine editor in Toronto, Ontario Canada. We moved to a large city just outside Toronto called Mississauga. The different cultures and demographics to which I was exposed formed many of the ideas for my story.
I did not attempt to publish it until the longest supporter of my writing, my Mother, became terminally ill. She told me the last time I saw her how proud she was of the story I had created and made me promise to publish it and share it with the world. With the loving support of my wife, our three children and the help of the good people at Alpha Wolf Publishing, I am fulfilling that promise. I present to you the first part of the saga which is my life’s work, “Quest for the Red Sapphire.” May it bring you as much joy to read as it has brought me to write.
- How did you decide to write a fantasy novel?
I wanted to create a world of my choosing. Everywhere around I saw rules and guidelines. I wanted to be the one making the rules. If I wanted to have elves five feet high…I could. So I invented everything from the map of the world to the types of people to the technological status of the society. Fantasy allows the writer to embrace all the notions they want represented in a book without the limitations of our world.
- Whenever I have an idea or scene in my mind to write about, I always lose interest after a while. What are some tips and tricks you used to keep yourself on task when writing?
Every scene is a game to me. I start out with a blank piece of paper and write the idea with a circle around it. Then I write in other characters involved. How would they react to one another? What would be said? What would be the source of friction? Then secondary ideas come to mind after I write my thoughts down. “Oooo he’s not going to like that. He would probably react this way. That would make this person bring up the other issue.” Then it would blow up from there. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the scene would start to take shape. Once I had a pretty good idea of how the events would go, I would look at my storyboard of events in the book and see where it would fit in best. From there I would work out the dialogue that would connect the events together. After reviewing it to make sure it makes sense, I would write it.
- Quest for the Red Sapphire contains a lot of back-story concerning legends and historical events in the world you’ve created. How’d you keep track of the details of the setting?
I drew my own map of the world I had created and stared at it every day. I came up with the main points of the story and brought it to my father, the editor and fan of pure Science Fiction. He tore it to shreds, literally. My father quizzed me on matters that weren’t in the book because I didn’t realize they were important. Then I started to think like him. If you are going to write a series, you need to look at it like constructing a building. You need a strong foundation to hold up everything you will build on top of it. Any flaws in that foundation will cause the whole thing to come crashing down. The hard part is not just blurting everything out at once. I’d like the reader to have to think and put the pieces together for themselves.
- What’s your favorite book and why?
The most influential book I ever read was “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis. Before I read that I had trouble finding a genre that really made me wonder. Then I read that and saw the imagery and use of characters. There was an entirely different world where trees and animals could talk and it was always winter but never Christmas. (That was a mindbender for a child) It totally captivated me and engaged me to read the series.
- What pushed you to sit down and start writing Quest for the Red Sapphire?
My early teen years were not going well. My father was out of work and the family struggled. I was picked on every day at school on the playground and was involved in at least two fights per day just to protect myself. I needed an escape from reality. My mother suggested taking my talent for short stories and writing something just for me. That nugget blossomed into a series of books I am now sharing with the public.
- Can you give us some teasers about Book 2?
The main characters are now well developed and it is time for major action! There will be new characters that will totally change the dynamic of the group and more than a few surprises. A very strong female character enters the mix and has a strong effect on the outcome. Your questions will be answered but new ones will arise. It is a thrilling ride!