A new series from award winning Author, C.R. Richards: The epic tale of two men begins. The first – a man of honor trying desperately to turn his country from civil war. The other – a boy struggling to discover his destiny before agents of evil find him first.
Coveted by two ancient enemies of a long forgotten age, the continent of Andara holds the key to victory in an endless struggle for dominance. Eight hundred years have passed since the god-like Jalora struck a bargain with the first King of Valdeon. The Lion Ring, symbol of the covenant and conduit of power, gives its bearer incredible abilities. The ring’s borrowed magic protects the people of Andara from covetous evil, but there is a price. As with most predators, the Lion Ring must feed. Only the blood of the D’Antoiné family line will satisfy its hunger.
A rival for Andara’s treasures, the Sarcion has waited impatiently for its time upon the land. Whispers of treason in the right ear aid its treachery. The King of Valdeon mysteriously disappears, leaving his lands in danger of a civil war by the hand of a murderous usurper. His Lion Ring is lost and the covenant is broken. The Jalora’s power begins to seep away from the land. Evil’s foothold grows stronger. Can the Lords of Valdeon, Sacred Guard of the covenant, stop the tides of war? Or will Andara fall into chaos? The future rests in the blood of a boy…
A huge lover of horror and dark fantasy stories,
- R. Richards enjoys telling tales of intrigue and adventure. Having began writing as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper, Richards has worn several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer and cranky editor. She has now published a handful of novels, including Phantom Harvest – book one in The Mutant Casebook Series – which took home the EPIC eBook Award for Fantasy in 2014. Richards beat out entries from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and other English speaking countries.
The youngest of five army brats, Richards was born on a military base in Utah. She spent much of her childhood in the back of her family’s sky blue station wagon on trips to see her grandmother – who would show her how to spot faeries in the backyard. “Sometimes she’d put candy in small silk slippers and tell us the pixies had done it,” says Richards. “She’s the one who gave me my love of fantasy creatures.”
Her most recent literary projects include the horror short story, Lost Man’s Parish and the newly-released dark fantasy thriller, Pariah. She is an active member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Horror Writers Association.
In January, Richards releases her epic fantasy novel The Lords of Valdeon, the first installment in the Heart of the Warrior series. Through her storytelling, Richards aims to reach lovers of fantasy who are exploring alternatives to the traditional status quo. Her message is simple: One person can be a catalyst for change.
Interview: Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m the youngest of five army brats and was born on a military base outside of Ogden, Utah. My parents had spent a few years in the territory of Alaska (before it became a state) with three small boys. The army moved them to Washington state where my sister was born. And when my dad got the order to pick up and move the family to Guam, my mother was done with Army life. Dad retired from the military shortly after I was born and we stayed in a little Utah town with no freeway exit or library. I wore out bus seat cushions making the trek to the closest library in a neighboring city.
Relying on PBS, the library and my father’s stories of his travels around the world, I began to form a vision of what I’d like my life to look like outside of the tiny town. Journalist, software developer and eventually project manager, I took up the traveling life. But our true natures never leave us. I came back to my storyteller roots in the Rocky Mountains – this time in Colorado. Here in Denver, I’ve found a wonderful group of fellow storytellers
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
All my story ideas start with one pivotal scene I envision in an intense and vivid dream. The first seed of an idea for the Heart of the Warrior Series came to me when I dreamed of a boy from the 18th century. He was kneeling beside his mother’s grave in a cemetery beside a high seaside cliff. A strange man joined him there. The scene made me wonder who the man was and his relation to the boy. They were strangers. I could tell from the man’s dress, he was a foreigner.
I began to ask several “What if” questions to flesh out the story: What if the man was the boy’s estranged father? What if his mother had hidden him in the remote village? WHY? Who are these people and what brought about the tragedy that bound them to one another? I wanted to find out and the only way to get to the truth was to write the book.
How do you create your characters?
My characters aren’t shy. They knock on the door of my subconscious until I pay attention to them. Like actual living human beings, these characters have multiple facets to their personality. It’s difficult to capture the important aspects of their natures and leave the fluffy bits out of the story. I was given a few excellent tools on character development from a course I took online from Writer’s Digest. My favorite tool is a questionnaire in the form of an interview with your character. It starts off asking you to decide which actor/actress you’d cast to play each of your characters. Then it goes on to have you ask each of your characters what is the most important thing in their lives? What drives them?
A special note about antagonists: These “Opposition Characters” are perhaps the most important folks you must develop. The premise of your story will be successful or fail depending upon how well you’ve developed your bad guy. What motivates them? What power or skill do they have that is the greatest threat to your protagonist?
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
In a large family of third generation Welch descendents, someone always had a song or a story on their tongue. My childhood was full of music and storytelling. Mix in a grandmother who loved the wee folk and you get inspiration for a young mind to carry on the storyteller tradition. I entered my first “real” short story in a contest in third grade and won. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I’m an active project manager who runs around the country meeting with my teams to make certain our projects stay on track. I’ve had to train my creative brain to write anywhere I can take a laptop. It sometimes draws attention. I remember sitting at my gate in the San Francisco Airport writing up a storm. Then I felt this weird sensation at my back. A group of nosy tourists were leaning over my shoulder reading what I was writing! They scattered away when I turned around and gave them my “you’re bothering me when I’m writing, so I have to hurt you now” face. In my defense, I hadn’t had my cup of tea yet. It’s an important part of my writing process.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Most of my ideas (if not all) come from dreams. I’ve trained my sleepy self to wake up enough to jot down the dream. The next day, after the first cup of coffee, I structure the story idea into a basic outline. I used to keep a dream journal on my nightstand, but that’s old school. My iPad has taken its place.
What do you like to read?
Almost anything I can get my hands on! My favorite genres are Mystery, Thriller/ Suspense, Horror and oh yeah…Fantasy/ Sci-Fi.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring authors in regards to writing?
Going from a story idea to a published book can be daunting. It’s like standing at a trailhead at the base of a huge mountain. You wonder how you’ll ever hike all the way to the top. I wish I could say the feeling goes away after you get your first book out there, but I feel this way with each one of my books. Outlining helps to break down your story into bite-sized chunks. It’s much easier to focus on a small scene rather than the book as a whole at first.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I want to thank my fans and supporters for your encouragement. The Lords of Valdeon is a story very dear to my heart. I’m thrilled to share