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Synopsis via Goodreads:
Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered.
Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death.
About the Author
Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of Aberrant. The Young Adult/New Adult Romantic Dystopian Adventure, Aberrant is the first in a trilogy, released April 17th, 2013. Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories. Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA/NA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She also enjoys photography, traveling and of most of all writing.
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Casmerelda, The Black Plague, and How a World was Born
I began with an idea for a story. Isn’t that normally how books are written? I loved the series Dead Like Me on Showtime. It was on from 2003 to 2004. Way too short a lifespan for a fabulous show. So I got to thinking, I haven’t read any books about grim reapers and certainly not any that were geared to a teen audience, quirky, and different. That was the thing about Dead Like Me, it was different. It was humorous, light-hearted, had a love story mixed in, and had characters you were rooting for the entire way through.
As I was beginning to let my story take shape, I wanted something that went beyond reapers and pushed the boundaries into something fantastical. A mix of paranormal and fantasy. The princess idea was born.
I didn’t want my main character, Princess Ophelia to solely be a princess from our current land, there had to be more. So, the initial plot took place in the 1400’s, specifically 1346 when the Black Plague spread along the Silk Road. What better way to kill off massive amounts of people than let a virulent disease do it?
Complication: There were no monarchies (no princesses) where the story was taking place. At least not in that time period. Which obviously made things difficult. Either pull the novel away from historical fantasy or get the facts right.
I tugged with the idea of how to make it historically accurate, and then decided the language would have to match. I didn’t like the sound of, “You’re going to kill my beau.” I preferred it read “boyfriend.” That was just one instance, there were several language issues and I strongly felt the story would be better set in a fantasy world that parallels our history. Casmerelda was born.
“Listen, kid, I don’t care what you believe in. It’s not for me to say what’s true and untrue, real or unreal. My assignment was you. You get to be one of us, if you want it. Otherwise, you move on, life is over, kaput.”
Ophelia backed away from the stranger. For the first time, she realized she didn’t feel cold and wasn’t shivering. Is this what being dead was like? “One of you?”
“A grim reaper.” He held out his hand to properly introduce himself. “Edon Montgomery, head reaper and old soul.”
Author Interview with Ruth Silver
Where did you get the idea for a story about grim reapers?
I absolutely loved the show Dead Like Me that was on Showtime many years ago. It was quirky but offered a different perspective on death. That’s what I was going for when I wrote Dead Girl Walking.
If you had the chance, would you want to become a grim reaper?
No thanks! I’d probably struggle a lot with following the rules. Actually, I’m positive I’d be kicked off (if that’s an option).
Can you tell your readers a secret about writing your Royal Reaper series?
Originally the story was going to take place in the 1300’s during the Black Plague along the Silk Road. It became overly complicated with where the story took place and there not being a kingdom nearby to have a princess actually exist. I wanted it somewhat to follow history, but it was too complicated (not to mention the archaic language). So, I opted instead to make it a paranormal fantasy, put the characters in a fantasy world and still have historical events parallel our past.
Do you think book endings should be HEA (happily ever after)?
I prefer to read stories with happy endings. I’m okay if it’s a series and you’re going to torture my favorite characters and cause them lots of heartache at the end of book one or book two, but by the end of the series/story, I want a satisfying conclusion.
What other paranormal novels do you like?
Recently I was reading CC Hunter’s Shadow Falls series, which I’m in love with. I also love The Mortal Instruments series which falls between paranormal and urban fantasy.