The Growth of a World and the Stories Told About Those Who Inhabit It
The original storyline that I had written as the foundation for the Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV pilot featured the Ragnar Stormbringer character (played in the TV Pilot by Brock O’Hurn). I had developed a full backstory for Ragnar when I wrote the screenplay, and in the new storyline he serves a very essential role as a complimentary heroic character to Rayden Valkyrie.
The two characters balance each other very well. They are different in nature, with their own strengths and weaknesses, but both are the kind of heroic figures that rise to meet any challenge. The deeper I journeyed into the development of the TV Pilot, the more I wanted to find a way to get more of Ragnar’s story told.
During the same time period, I had been looking for a way to get more new stories to my readers in between the larger novel projects. I want my readers to be able to enjoy and explore the worlds that I work to bring to life, and I decided that a great way to address this would be to write stories of novella length.
I have to state at this point that I am the kind of writer that will not put my name on something until I get it to where I know, without doubt, that I have given the work my best effort. I do not rush anything. If it has my name on it, I stand behind it, come whatever may when it gets released.
In this sense, I have found that I can generate stories of novella length that meet the standards I set for myself at a pace where I can have enough material prepared to see about one new title released per month. This also does not inhibit my development of larger novel projects, such as my recently announced YA cross-genre title Dream of the Navigator.
The novella-length of these Ragnar (or Rayden) tales give me enough room to allow for more development of plots and characters than I am able to do within the limitations of a 5-10,000 word short story. I have found the novella it to be a perfect medium for an action-driven, character-driven, stand-alone tale such as Depths of Night.
The novellas are also faster reads and low-priced, which are further attributes to this series of releases. I have already had several readers message me that they read Depths of Night in one sitting, which is wonderful not only because it really grabbed and kept their attention, but also because the readers will not have long at all to wait until more Ragnar adventures are available.
I do plan to develop some larger novels in relation to Ragnar, where I will reveal how he got the moniker “Stormbringer” and how he came into possession of his war axe, Raven Caller (and why it got its name). But in the meantime, I saw a great opportunity to begin telling Ragnar’s story, explore the world that he shares with characters like Rayden Valkyrie, and deliver regular new tales to my readers. The novellas will compliment future novels very nicely in developing Ragnar’s story and furthering the reader’s exploration of his world, just as the ones featuring Rayden do for her story.
In my eyes, the stand-alone novellas are a win-win-win. I can grow as a writer, take care of my loyal readers, and expand one of my creative worlds. Depths of Night has been a great first step and there is a lot for readers to look forward to just ahead!
About the Author
Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.
Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.
About the Book
Depths of Night
by Stephen Zimmer
After a harrowing end to a long sea journey, the famed northern warrior Ragnar Stormbringer and a force of warriors step ashore in the lands of the Petranni, a tribal people known for their workings in silver and gold. The search for plunder takes a sharp turn when homesteads, villages, and temple sites show signs of being recently abandoned.
When it is discovered that the Petranni have all taken refuge within a massive stronghold, Ragnar and the others soon fall under the shadow of an ancient, deadly adversary. Wielding his legendary war axe Raven Caller, Ragnar finds his strength tested like never before.
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