My special guest today is Rival Gates. We’re chatting about his new fantasy novel, Mandrean Revenge.
Rival Gates has lived extensively in both Canada and the United States. He currently resides in Nebraska, USA. The son of an editor and English teacher, he began planning his series during his teen years. The Sapphire Chronicles took shape in his mind and manifested themselves into the first book in the series, Quest for the Red Sapphire. It was released in 2013 and caught the attention of readers. The following year, The Sapphire Crucible was published feeding the appetite of the growing number of fans of the series. Crucible answered many questions and raised others. Now the newest installment of the chronicles is out in Mandrean Revenge where Gates takes us once again back into the fray. Gates likes to develop strong characters and place them in difficult situations to create tension. He enjoys spending his spare time with his family and dreaming up new stories.
Welcome, Rival. Please tell us about your current release.
It has been more than 2 years since the half elf, Linvin Grithinshield returned from his life altering quest with the Red Sapphire as his prize in the medieval world of Letheria. Apart from surviving the regular assassination attempts he thought life had returned to normal. Far to the north in the Mandrean Empire, however, trouble was festering. In spite of Linvin’s best efforts, Lord Mandrean the 13th survived their confrontation and has been plotting his reprisal. With his empire on the verge of revolt he needs a show of force to display his dominance. Dispatching Linvin in front of his subjects would fill that role most handsomely. With the help of his evil Necromancer, Mandrean kidnaps Linvin’s Uncle Anvar. The elderly elf is the closest family Linvin has remaining and has been a father figure to him for much of his life. The emperor promises to release Anvar only after Linvin has surrendered himself for execution. Though Mandrean’s word has slight credibility, Linvin is given a terrible decision to make. With little choice Linvin sees no other option but to set out for the empire. He cannot delay as Anvar’s life will expire at the first frost of fall. That will become more troubling by the obstacles he faces along the way. Can Linvin reach the empire in time to sacrifice himself in Anvar’s place? Will Lord Mandrean kill them both? Or maybe, just maybe, Linvin can pull another miracle and save them both. One way or another, blood will be shed.
What inspired you to write this book?
I had always wanted to do a story where there could be no foreseeable happy ending. It makes the reader try to figure it out throughout the entire read. They will be hard pressed to find an easy answer to this problem. To make it even more difficult for Linvin, I threw in a huge obstacle.
Excerpt from Mandrean Revenge:
The beggar had observed the conversation but could not hear
what was said. When the officer came near, the man’s face became
concerned. He clenched his satchel and put it over his shoulder.
“You on the corner!” called the constable. “That’s no place for
you to stay. This is a busy intersection!”
The man looked at the empty streets. “It isn’t busy now,” he
“All the same,” the policeman answered. “Come with me, and
I’ll see that you get a bed to sleep in and some good home
The man was surprisingly distraught. “That’s real nice, sir, but
I’m waiting for a friend.”
“You can wait at the eatery. I’m walking a beat all night. If
anything moves in this town, I’ll see it. Now come on. I will not be
dissuaded in this matter.”
The man reluctantly took to his feet. Then his demeanor
changed most abruptly. “Please show me the way,” the man said in
a cheery voice. He followed the constable down the street and out
of Linvin’s sight.
“So how far is this place?” the man said while looking around.
“Not far,” replied the constable. “Their stew is my favorite.
Morda also can cook a bird that tastes…”
The man tapped him on the shoulder. When he turned to see the
human, he was caught off guard. The man thrust his ridged fingers
into the constable’s esophagus. The action crushed his windpipe
and dropped the elf in moments.
Jumping on the officer, the man put his hand over the elf’s
mouth to remove any chance of noise. The man scanned
completely around him while his victim’s eyes bulged and then
moved no more.
He closed the constable’s eyes. If you had kept your nose out of
this, you might still be alive. He dragged the elf off the road and
hid him in some bushes. You chose the wrong night to patrol town.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on the next book in the Sapphire Chronicles, Book 4. It is ready to go to the publisher. Fans will love it and have some big surprises.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote for years but did not consider myself a writer until my first book was published.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I have a day job in retail that takes much of my time. I write on my days off. It is hard to find the time to write. I have to set aside time to write and work on my books. Then I need complete quiet.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have to sit in a rocking chair when I write. When I need to think I just rock back.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer since I was 13. Other than that I wanted to be the General Manager of an NFL team.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I highly recommend the first two books in the series available on Amazon: Quest for the Red Sapphire and The Sapphire Crucible.
Read what you love and love what you read!
Thanks, Rival. All the best with your writing!