We are in the middle of mountains of boxes and paperwork and the BIG move. So naturally, Ralene Burke, one of my close friends and fellow writer (who may or may not have talked me off a cliff a time or two) would have a book releasing. Ha! I feel so bad to be missing in action on this special time of hers, but I couldn’t not participate in her blog tour! So I invited her over to share about the world she created. And to top it off, next Tuesday, she will be throwing a grand party over on Facebook. Go and help her celebrate. Ralene really knows how to throw a good party. 😀 I will probably be in the middle of packing, but I’ll try to pop in and say hi. So maybe I’ll you there?
And without further ado, please welcome Ralene Burke!
One of the most interesting (and fun) parts of being a fantasy author is the opportunity to build your own world and populate it with new and different cultures. With Armor of Aletheia, I embraced the chance to start from scratch and build the world of Olam, and the Three Kingdoms (Aletheia, Soter, and Tzedek). Creating the physical world and seeing how that would impact the cultural world was fun and inspiring!
The Physical World
From an environmental and topographical perspective, the kingdom of Aletheia is much like Alaska. The northern and western part is a frozen, mountainous tundra, while the southern and eastern sees more seasonal changes. There’s a large forest in the southeast, and a barren wilderness that forges a path between the mountains and the river that divides Aletheia from the other 2 kingdoms.
While we don’t see much of them in this first book, Soter is mostly made up of wetlands, and Tzedek is a plateau of plains.
When it came to naming these kingdoms, I took keys from the premise of the book. A woman is tasked with retrieving the 6 pieces of sacred armor in order to defeat an ancient evil. Each piece of armor has a power attached to its virtue. For instance, the Belt of Truth gives the wearer the ability to see a person’s past and present to see why they are the way they are (also a way to see if people are lying). In Greek, Aletheia means truth. Also, Soter means savior/deliverer in Greek. Tzedek can mean righteousness (as well as justice).
The Cultural World
Each kingdom has some very unique aspects of their culture. And it is pinpointing those unique traits and how they apply to everyday life that really help the world to come alive.
Popular among my early readers, Aletheia has a tradition that is used both as a hello and farewell in more emotional situations, called the Blessing of Three Kisses. A kiss on each cheek for love and joy and one on the forehead for wisdom. Also, as a highly religious people, Aletheians often send off people with blessings like “May the Creator’s might be with you,” or “May the Creator’s strength be with you.”
Because their world is so cold for most of the year, much of their clothing is made from heavy wool and is lined with fur. While this doesn’t get highlighted much in the story, it is one of those facts that story enthusiasts may pick up on.
I had so much fun creating the world of Olam as I wrote Armor of Aletheia. I especially enjoyed learning about the Aletheian people. Now, I’m almost finished writing Sword of Soter, Book 2 in The Sacred Armor trilogy, and it has been most interesting to see how vastly different the Soteran people are from the Aletheians. They have different priorities, different ways of doing everything from receiving guests to worshiping their Creator. I won’t give away too much, though, especially since I’m still learning.
So the next time you read a truly unique fantasy (or sci-fi) novel, think about the work that went in to creating that world and those cultures. Each tradition, each environmental challenge is not there by accident. It is intentional and unique, purposed by the world’s creator.
Armor of Aletheia
The death of her king changes Karina’s life forever. Fleeing the royal house, she must leave her life behind to seek out the Armor of the Creator–to save the very people who now hunt her.
Faramos, the evil warlock waiting to unleash hell, knows the Creator has already chosen his warrior, so he sends his bounty hunter to retrieve her. After Tristan abducts her, he witnesses Karina’s gentle nature and strong independence, and he finds he can’t complete his assignment.
Together, they set out to retrieve the armor and defeat the hordes of creatures sent to destroy them. But is Tristan’s heart secure as he faces certain death for defending the queen? And will Karina have the courage to become all the Creator intends her to be? Failure will condemn the world to eternal darkness.
About the Author
Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone SHINE BEYOND their circumstances! Her novels, Bellanok and Armor of Aletheia are available on Amazon.
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .