Meet Author Richard H. Stephens
Q: How old were you when you first started to write? What was the names of that first story?
I was 9-years-old. Because of my love of Hardy Boys’ books, I decided to write something similar. I combined my last name with my best friend’s last name and called the book: The Stobetts and The Falls that Weren’t.
Q: What about the fantasy genre inspired you to take it up?
When I was around 16-years-old, I read The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and Lord Foul’s Bane, by Stephen R. Donaldson. I was so taken by the genre, my love for reading and eventually writing fantasy was born.
Q: How did your various careers help shape your writing?
To be honest, neither of my careers helped shape my writing. Working as a shipper in a bakery for 22 years had nothing to do with what I write, and working in a policing environment only served to make me want to forget what I encountered on a daily basis.
Q: Tell us, readers, about your novel, Keeper of the Jewel.
Keeper of the Jewel is the story of the rise of an elf queen—a queen who is referenced as a historical figure in the previously written series, Legends of the Lurker.
The book starts out with the present queen uncovering a plot to assassinate her only living child, Princess Ouderling Wys. After communicating with the Fae for help, and not trusting that her Home Guard are capable of protecting Ouderling from a malevolence she encountered beneath the royal palace, the queen exiles Ouderling to the only place she believes capable of keeping the princess safe—a dragon colony! On the way to the dragon colony at Highcliff, the entourage escorting the princess is slain and questions about the queen’s brother’s loyalty to the crown are thrown into the mix. Overseen by a goblin high wizard, Highcliff harbours a group of dragons who have remained behind after their nefarious leader, Grimclaw, deserted the elven kingdom many years before taking with him the bulk of the dragon population. Throw in a conniving human wizard, and a wraith who was thought to have been killed long ago, the princess’ very life lies in the balance.
Q: Who are the main characters in Keeper of the Jewel?
There are several characters integral to the plot. In order of appearance, they are:
Khae Wys, the Queen of the Elves
Ouderling Wys, the Princess of the Elves—a spoiled teenager
Orlythe Wys, Queen Khae’s disgruntled brother—aka, the Grim
Afara Maral, a conniving human wizard
The Dragon Witch Wraith, the ultimate evil in the storyline
Jyllana Ordalf, Ouderling’s personal bodyguard
Scale Wood, a bumbling want-to-be wizard
Aelfwynne, a goblin high wizard
Pecklyn Ors, an ever-smiling Highcliff Guardian
Dawnbreaker, a purple dragon
Balewynd Tayn, a ruthless, no-nonsense Highcliff Guardian
Mirage, a blue dragon
Perch, an old wyvern
Eolande, an old goblin caretaker of the Crystal Cavern
Q: Who are some of the minor characters that readers will
Hammas, the practical King of the Elves
Marris, a horse groom
Xantha, an elder Highcliff Guardian once known as the Demon
Bale Tayn, head chamberlain of Grim Keep
Dithreab, an eccentric wood sprite
Demonic, a red dragon loyal to Afara Maral
Zorain, a white dragon
Q: Which of your characters did you enjoy creating the most?
Which was the most challenging?
High Wizard Aelfwynne answers both of those questions. I have never written about a goblin before, so I wasn’t sure how to portray him at first. I knew he would be persnickety and gruff, but I struggled with how he had come to be the head wizard in a land of elves and how he would be perceived by those under his
care. In the end, I believe he has become a character everyone learns to love for his odd mannerisms.
Q: What is the name of the next book in the series after Keeper
of the Jewel? When does it release?
Dragon Sect is book 2 in the Highcliff Guardians. It was released in November of 2021. Book 3, Windwalker, is set to release early summer, 2022.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
Windwalker is nearing completion at the time of responding to this interview. Once done, I will begin the 4 th and final book in this series, When Legends Rise.
Q: What is your go to beverage when writing a new book?
I don’t really have one. It’s generally milk, tea or water unless it’s later in the day, and then it’s rum and Pepsi or a merlot.
Q: Which of your novels was the most difficult to write?
That would definitely be the first book, Soul Forge. Due to 2 careers and 5 children along the way, it took almost 36 years to write.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers in your
Every fantasy author will approach world building and magic systems in a way that makes the most sense to them. For myself, I don’t sweat the minutia of the genre. I simply kick my characters out the door and discover the world through their eyes.
Q: Would you ever write beyond the fantasy genre, or no?
If I live as long as High Wizard Aelfwynne, (700 odd years old,) I might. Seriously, I have at least another 20 books in my head that will fill in the entire Soul Forge Universe timeline, so unless I learn to write faster, I don’t see that happening.
Q: Tell us, readers, about being a podcaster. Do you have your
Yes. It’s called, ‘Lurking for Legends,’ a play on the name of my best-selling series, ‘Legends of the Lurker.’ In it, my co-hosts and I invite people from all walks of the publishing world to come on and talk about what they do. We interview authors mainly, but have had editors, narrators, cover artists, and a wide variety of guests who incorporate one or more of those skillsets.
Q: Where can readers find you and your books online?
The best way is through my website at: www.richardhstephens.com
My books can be found most anywhere digital books are sold. I also sell autographed copies and ship them worldwide—just visit my website to contact me.