Today I am thrilled to welcome author Valerie Ryan to the blog for an interview!
Tell me a little about your book, Seven of I: The Keeper of the Words?
The story takes place in the future many centuries after what is called “The Wrath of God”. The main character, Syntyche, tells the story the best way she knows how and uses information she has gathered from her friends. She is not only a reluctant hero, but a reluctant story teller as well. The only reason she is writing the story is because she was told she has to. You see, she is only 15 years old and trying to live a normal life. Well, as normal as you can when you can see guardian angels walking around and live in a mansion with a very wealthy father with a diverse staff always around. Syntyche learns about a prophecy, one that she is supposed to be a part of, and begins to unravel the secrets behind it. She is to help assist in closing the seven gates of Hell. The tricky part will be to defeat the seven demons who guard those gates. In order to do this, the seven Archangels must be witness, while humans who are either blessed or cursed with a virtue and sin must help. The prophecy is very specific, but the people involved don’t really like specifics. Add into the mix a Griffin, phoenix, dragon and a demonic soul watcher to help, and you have a story with endless possibilities.
I’ve spent many years researching the book and the stories about the hierarchy of the angels, deadly sins and virtues come from the Book of Enoch and the teachings of Pope Gregory I. With inspiration from the Divine Comedy by Dante.
Will there be a sequel to Seven of I: The Keeper of the Words, if so what will that be like?
There will be seven books total in the story. One book for every sin, virtue and gate of Hell. The first book deals with the sin of lust and the virtue of chastity. The second book will deal with Sloth and Diligence and each new book will continue on with the sins and corresponding virtue. I want the books to be young adult friendly, so I’m not going into great details about the sins or lecturing about the greatness of the virtues. There are hints and actions that can be inferred as what is going on based on the knowledge of the reader. I am also trying to make each book friendly to anyone of any religion which is my greatest challenge. After saying all this, the books are more about the characters and their interactions with the prophecy, and also about growing up.
What do you think makes your novel unique, or what is a special feature of it?
I think that my stories are unique because it is about working together and how you cannot defeat evil without it being a group effort. They go back to the tradition of good versus evil where the evil is identified with familiar names that we’ve all heard. The twist is the angels. Many people forget that demons are fallen angels which does complicate things. My stories will never forget that characteristic about them.
Do you have any other projects planned, what are you currently working on?
Writing the Seven of I books are taking up a good portion of my time. That said, I’ve been thinking of writing a non-fiction book for parents raising children who are ADHD. I am ADHD and am currently raising two children with it. I’ve found myself talking to many parents explaining the children’s behavior and have been told I should write out it.
What is the biggest thing you have learned in the journey of having your book published?
Having my book published by a publishing company did not mean much. No marketing is done for authors and very little editing. I learned that I have to be self-sufficient and I’ll have to try to find the money to have my next book edited by a professional. I’m looking into different avenues of self-publishing for my next book or hoping to find a literary agent.
What advice could you give to aspiring authors?
Remember being an author will not give you tons of money or lots of recognition. Just write because it is in your heart to write. Tell stories and read many books. Talk to people and watch everyone you meet for idea’s.
The cover of your novel is gorgeous! What advice could you give to other writers to get great book covers?
Let me tell you something about my book cover. This is one of the few reasons why getting a publisher is better than doing it yourself. The book cover designer at the publishing company asked me what I would like for my cover. I gave him detailed descriptions of what I thought would be good. I was a bit wordy and tried to be descriptive. What he sent back was nothing what I expected. He took just a few words and one description and came up with one of the best book covers I have ever seen! I’m so glad he didn’t listen to a word I said. I am so happy with it.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I love the idea of 7 books using the 7 sins and their corresponding virtues. I can't wait to read your novel! I also think a book on ADHD would be very helpful to many people. Thank you for also sharing helpful information for other writers. Being self-sufficient is key, becoming a published writer is quite the learning process. Thanks again for joining us. I hope you all enjoyed this and will check out Seven of I: The Keeper of the Words!
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