Michigan born Ontario raised author Rival Gates has a foot in two countries and two worlds. His first novel, QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, Book 1 of the Sapphire Chronicles, had its genesis in a young man’s dreams, becoming a reality in adulthood as a finished work under the auspices of Solstice Publishing. Rival owes his determination to supportive family members, but the drive to realize the written word is wholly his own. QUEST fuelled an imagination for years, but it has sparked a career that will span many years to come. Welcome, Rival.
QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, BOOK 1
General Linvin Grithinshield was used to enemies trying to kill him on the battlefields of the medieval world of Lavacia. Now he has the fear of being killed anytime, anywhere. He thinks he is summoned home from the goblin wars to oversee the family merchant empire after his father’s disappearance; and for a while he is right. Then his mother is assassinated and Linvin’s true purpose is revealed. He must seek out and find the all-powerful Red Sapphire and claim its might before the murderers find it…or him. With new dangers around every turn in an ever-escalating spiral of violence, he must prove himself worthy of the gem and lead his party to success against insurmountable odds. To fail would mean death for far more than just him. The world, itself, could fall into permanent shadow and darkness.
Linvin was still. He closed his eyes and tried to put aside the events of the day. At last he spoke, “My life makes no sense to me. There I was, growing up with my parents and then out of nowhere my father tells me, ‘I must send you away, son. You are destined for something greater than the life I can provide. The greatness in your future lies down a separate road than I must travel. To prepare for that, I must send you to the greatest teacher you could have, Sedemihcra.’”
“‘You will be trained to be a soldier, a commander and a leader of men. He will also train you to use your mind to solve problems that force alone cannot solve. He will set you on the right path. When the time is right and your training is complete, I will send for you to return home.’”
“I asked him what was at the end of my path. He had such passion in his voice as he told me, ‘One day you will make an unrivaled difference in the lives of others. The weak, the helpless, the oppressed; all will one-day look to you as their champion. They will be counting on you. I will be counting on you.’”
“‘To send you away is the hardest thing I have ever done. Your mother is against this but the time has come for you to begin your training. There is so much at stake, son. You will have the chance to stand up to tyranny, oppression and all the evils of the world. That task will fall to you alone. You can rise to the challenge or turn your back. If you do turn away though, millions of people will suffer. Terrible storms are on the horizon. You are the only shelter the people will have. So you see my son, that is why you must go.’”
Anvar sat his stein on the rail and began to pace. “Your parents agonized over the decision and your mother was indeed set against the entire idea, but in the end, your father would not defer. He sent you away because he knew that you needed training.”
Linvin finished his ale and refilled the great vessel. “I had many years to ponder those words as I grew up in Valia. It never made sense to me but I had to trust my father’s judgment.”
“So here I am at last, summoned home to fulfill my destiny. As it turns out, I am destined to be a merchant or politician and marry some cold, greedy woman who comes from the right family. I will settle down, make more money and be a proper member of society.” Linvin’s tone had been sarcastic and his movements, grandiose.
He approached Anvar in a combination of frustration and anger. “So, dear uncle, best friend of Dirk Grithinshield, is this the life for which my father sent me to be trained?”
QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE is on sale on Kindle for .99 and can be bought at http://amzn.to/1npYd0S
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.
When I was thirteen, my Father’s declining health forced him out of work and our family struggled. It was at that time that I decided to channel my negative energy into a constructive purpose. I set out to write a short story about a magical gem called the Red Sapphire. My brothers teased me that such a stone was simply a ruby. That irony was part of the attraction for me. After all, who would be writing about a Red Sapphire? Years went by and we moved down to my Father’s home town of Harrow, Ontario on the shores of Lake Erie. It was a drastic change from city life and I found myself retreating more and more into my ever growing story. By age fifteen I had a two-hundred page hand written manuscript.
Advancing from high school to college at Michigan State University there was little time for writing and the project sat in a drawer in my parent’s home. In spite of my lack of attention to writing, every night I would fall asleep working out details of the book and the series to follow.
I met a wonderful woman at Michigan State who agreed after graduation to become my wife. As we started our family I began a career in retail management and sales. For over twenty years I excelled in the field and even incorporated some of my knowledge into the book. I hold my position in the greatest esteem.
While I rewrote the story several times on my computer, 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 Solstice Publishing, I am fulfilling that promise.
When my Father (ever the editor) read the book, he told me how proud he was and that somewhere he knew my Mother was equally proud. 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.
Web Site: http://www.rivalgates.com/
Facebook: Author http://on.fb.me/1qqrjiB
Buy Links for “Quest for the Red Sapphire”
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Purchase “The Sapphire Crucible”
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Goodreads “Quest for the Red Sapphire”
Goodreads “Sapphire Crucible”
Linvin looked into the darkness but only saw the swaying trees in the night’s sky. “That wolf sounded close,” he noted.
“That was no ordinary wolf,” Rander commented.
“What is so unusual about that wolf?” Linvin inquired as he found his bow and arrows.
“Remember those predators I was telling you about before?” Rander asked. “That’s one of them. You can tell from the low howl. Up here, we call them Trogoandras Wolves.”
“What is so special about those wolves?” Anvar asked.
“Well, to start with, they are the size of a full grown human. Their claws can effortlessly cleave flesh from bone. They have powerful jaws that can snap your thigh in two, like a twig. Inside their mouths, are two rows of teeth. The outer set is for tearing and shredding while the inner ones are for grinding.”
“They have been the bane of loggers and farmers.
You see, for all of the creature’s strength and power, Trogoandras have one flaw. Their legs are disproportionately short for their body. Most of the prey out here is long legged and too fast for them to run down, so they hunt in packs. One will mark a target and call for the pack to assemble. Then they will corner the herd they are tracking and attack. They are reasonably intelligent and crafty hunters, few escape the net of death they drop on their victims.”
“With the ax men driving away the herds from these woods, Trogoandras have set to devouring stock and as necessary, people.”
“They attack people?” exclaimed Linvin as he placed an arrow on the string of his bow.
“Sure do,” said Bander. “Lost two friends in the last month to ‘em. Can’t run as fast as deer, ya’ know. Out a control, them Trogos are.”
“I shouldn’t worry for now,” Rander told his cousin. “That was only one Trogoandras we heard. They seldom attack alone and will never come near a campfire without a pack. As long as we keep the fire going through the night, we should not have anything to fear.”
What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?
I have known people who had them and found them instrumental in their art. It has never been an avenue I have taken as my ideas flow from within. If you read the lyrics to the Pearl Jam song “Black” you will see the downside when the muse is gone. I like to look inward for inspiration.
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?
Often times fiction reflects a writer’s experiences in the world. There is a huge difference between a person’s capacity to love and the right opportunity to do so. Love is like a butterfly passing by. It doesn’t happen often and it is illusive when it is near. But if you are lucky enough to get your hands on it, you have something special, indeed!
Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?
Most of the time I am a “happy ending writer.” I think the books and movies with sad or distressing endings are fine, but I rarely want to read or watch them again. This life throws enough negative things our way. We seek entertainment to lose ourselves in another story and I think most people want to finish it happy.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Aside from my writing, I would like to be remembered for the lessons I have taught my children and hopefully for being a good father and husband.
If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to dine with Marco Polo and hear firsthand about all his wondrous adventures.
Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?
My mind is usually looking to the future as I am a compulsive planner. I reflect on the past and draw inspiration from there but I use that inspiration to plan for the future.
What informs your writing most?
I would have to say my imagination. I dream up different scenarios I think would be cool and then I find a way to fit them into my work.
Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?
It governs my charitable contributions. For example, hunger is a terrible thing worldwide. But before I send my money overseas I would rather feed the hungry in my city.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?
In a word: Doritos
Your greatest victory?
My greatest victory was publishing my first book. My father wrote for his whole life and never accomplished that. So far I have published two with more to come.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.
There was a girl in college I had asked out the same week I asked out my wife. It just so happened my wife was available earlier in the week and we went out. I knew right then that she was the one for me and I cancelled the other date. The other girl and I stayed friends throughout college. She went through a slew of really bad boyfriends and at one point asked me to leave my girlfriend (now wife) to be with her. I couldn’t do that. So she moved on after graduation and I never heard from her again.
What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?
One of my favorite themes is if you rush into a situation, it will almost always end badly. If you think it through, the answer is always there.
Who do you admire and why?
I admire the great artists of the past who were often unappreciated in their time but continued to do what they loved even without all the tools we have at our disposal these days.
Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?
Writers are definitely works in progress. We are like water. We bend around our surroundings and pick up characteristics of them. Writers change their styles over time and vary quite a bit on different pieces.
Thanks Rival, and best of luck with the series. Rival can be found on Goodreads. Be sure to add him to your MY BOOKS list.
Tomorrow: Educator and incurable romantic Susanne Matthews talks about THE WHITE CARNATION and more http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/
THE FUNKHAUSER ROAD SHOW; BLOG TOUR, DAY 3: Spotlight, Saph’s Book Blog, http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/
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