1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
My father was a magazine editor and he would have an editorial in every issue. From a young age I can remember rushing to open the new magazine and looking for my father's name. It didn't matter what he was writing about. Often times it was about atomic energy and I couldn't even pronounce all the words. I only cared that my father's name and picture were in print. Dad used to tell me, "Once you're in print, you live forever." To be able to pass something on to future generations would be a great accomplishment.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I have never made any secret of the fact that I loved C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. There was some science fiction in there as well like Ray Bradbury but I simply loved fantasy. I have been reading and eclectic mix of suspense, science fiction, fantasy, and even my first romance! (It was quite graphic.) Mostly, I want to experience new things so I can grow as a writer.
3. What was the inspiration behind your the Sapphire Chronicles series?
I'm a writer that starts with an obscure reference and snowballs it. This all started after I had an idea for this awesome sword made from the thigh-bone of the Queen of the Falcons. The sword would be sharp as her talons, stronger than steel and light as a feather giving it great blade speed. Into this sword the dying bird would pour its soul and serve one good man. The sword itself was neither good or evil. It was a predator but wanted to be handled only by the honorable man (and later his son) who tried to save her life. The sword's name was Falconfeather. Then I needed to create a character, and a task to do , and a reason to do it, and a world to do it in, and so on.
4. How many books will the series span?
It will span 9 books as it stands right now.
5. You stated that your love of writing came from telling stories with your family as a child. Do you think that, had you not had such a supportive environment, you would have written the Sapphire Chronicles?
Ironically, my father tried to dissuade me from writing. He told me how terrible my work was. That only strengthened my resolve to do better. My mother was supportive but warned me never to expect to make a living off it and that the big author's made their money after their deaths. My siblings openly mocked me and thought I was a foolish child. Deep down inside, though, I knew I had a great story and I knew I could tell a great story. I learned from my family but took on writing by myself.
6. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life?
The cousins in the book were based on some relatives of mine and then given personalities from my brothers. Anvar was actually based a fair amount on my mother's teachings. Linvin is the character I always wanted to root for in movies.
7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
Science fiction has always had a close place in my heart. The problem was always that the science in the books I would read was beyond my comprehension. Now the genre has become less technical and more story based. I would like to try my hand at it and have some ideas.
8. What would you do if you were the General?
That's a good question. If I were the goblin general in the first chapter I would have sent my best troops in first to mow down Linvin's infantry and used my other goblins to cover the rear of the formation.
9. Was there any intended symbolism behind the Red Sapphire being an all-powerful tool caught between good and evil?
I wanted to show what an equal amount of power could do in the hands of a good person and what it could do with a bad one. It is similar to a police officer or a criminal each being given the same gun. What difference would be made?
10. Would you like to see The Sapphire Chronicles as films or a TV show? Who do you want to see play your characters?
It is a dream of mine to have my books made into movies. As a cast I would want a relatively unknown group who could become known for their roles in the movies. There would be one exception. I love the work of John Rhys-Davies. He would make a wonderful Anvar.
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I will finish the series and hope to become a well-known writer. Once my work is self-sustaining I could devote all my time to writing and my family
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
I'm a dreamer and storyteller but what I would definitely have given a shot is standup comedy. I used to do it when I was younger and think I could be pretty good at it. See, I just made you laugh!
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
Well, my third book is at the publisher and ready for editing. It should be out in the next 3 months. Right now I'm about half way through the fourth book. It's heavy in action which always excites me. There are some twists no one is going to believe, much less see coming.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
A good friend of mine is Angel Dunworth. I bounce a lot of ideas off her. I also talk with Todd Embry, Kate Collins and Mel Massey.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
Three things you would be surprised by: 1) I have a severe and permanent case of vertigo. 2) I played Dungeons and Dragons a lot growing up, 3) I have every Green Bay Packer victory on tape since 1992.
Find Rival Gates online via:
Official site (has all links)