Continuing with my series featuring Astraea Press authors, today I’ve got Leah Sanders as my guest. She will give us a few, possible unknown, facts about the saint and talk about her new release.
Thank you, Lindsay, for inviting me to join you today to share about my new release, Sacred Ring, a young adult adventure story about three kids who go on a quest to find the Sacred Ring of Saint Valentine.
With Valentine’s Day coming tomorrow, I thought a bit of Saint Valentine trivia was in order:
Did you know Saint Valentine was the name of fourteen different martyrs who died in Rome?
Did you know the saint in question was believed to be martyred around A.D. 270?
Did you know holiday commemorating Saint Valentine was first instituted in A.D. 496?
Saint Valentine plays a historical role in Sacred Ring, his story and the legends surrounding his death are a large part of the foundation of the story. The real stimulus of the plot, however, is the characters: Kynan, Michael and Brianna. They make it what it is and drive the story through to the end.
Characters are real.
Ask any avid reader. Better yet, ask almost any teenage girl if Edward is real, and I promise you they will first jump up and down in excitement; second, clap their hands with glee, and third scream, “Oh my gosh, he is gorgeous! I’m so going to marry him!”
Is he real?
But try explaining that to a room full of middle school girls, and you may just get scalped.
What makes characters so real and loveable in a story? How do you develop a character that is so real, so amazing, so memorable that people wish it were actually true?
It isn’t always easy, but writers have to think about all the time. How would my hero react in this situation? Is this going to make the heroine angry? Sad? Happy? Will readers be able to identify with what this person is going through? Or will they hate him and want to cause him physical pain?
A good character is one developed enough for readers to identify with. I like to write flawed characters, people who seem normal to the reader but have redeeming qualities. You can tell when you’ve developed your character well when readers have emotional reactions to them. Love him or hate him. The point is, you need to find a character you know you can easily write about, name that character, and then begin to build him.
What are his defining features? Eye color? Achilles’ heel? Personality traits? Etc.
The characters in Sacred Ring feel real to me. And don’t laugh, but one of my middle school students looks and acts so much like Brianna, I’ve actually called her by that name on more than one occasion. You kind of get attached after spending so much time with your characters. Hopefully you will like them as much as I do.
Nothing in Kynan Murphy’s life is going right. His grades are horrible, he’s always in trouble, and the girl he likes doesn’t know he exists. But things go from bad to worse when his parents tell him they have decided to split up. Angry and confused, he wants nothing more than to lash out against the world. The closest thing he can find, however, is the Saint Valentine shrine during a school field trip. Armed with some fireworks and encouraged by his best friend, Michael Connell, he’s all set to vent his frustration with life.
His best laid plans fail when a mysterious priest confronts him, sharing an ancient secret about a hidden ring with special powers. Kynan believes the answer to all his problems and the only way to fix his parents’ broken marriage is to find the ring — a task he won’t be able to accomplish on his own.
It was easy enough to convince his friend Michael to join him, but the irritating Brianna Collins insists on tagging along. Fortunately, her knack for language and interest in history is a valuable asset in the search. Their quest leads them to the northern coast and into dangerous territory where, in spite of their good intentions, they may lose their own lives.