Severna Park High School Student Pens A Fantasy Novel With Adventure And Espionage


In her debut fantasy book, “Gift of the Fallen,” Severna Park High School junior Sabrina Richter weaves a tale of mystery, adventure and espionage in a magical world.

Richter started writing in May 2023 after spending about a year coming up with the plot. She was inspired to write after she came to a realization while reading fantasy books.

“I just wanted the plot to go a certain way and it never would because it was someone else’s book,” Richter said. “I decided at some point to write a book that I would want to read. I want to write a book that goes exactly the way I would want it to go.”

Richter created the medieval continent of Anzelon with the human country of Valea and the neighboring Shalin Empire, populated by the magical faul race. The plot centers around Melkin Evarith, a spy hired by Valean Queen Gladia to infiltrate the sacred annual negotiations between the two countries and uncover the truth after a series of mysterious explosions in Valea sparks fears of a Shalin plot.

Inspired by fantasy and adventure series, including “Ranger’s Apprentice” and “The Lord of the Rings,” she wanted to create non-romantic character dynamics based on those characters working together on an adventure. She was also inspired by how her favorite fantasy authors crafted their plots.

“I’m the kind of person that hates plot holes and contrivances. I want everything to logically flow and that will take precedence over everything else,” Richter said.

She decided to write under a pen name, S.B. Richter, to manage the expectations that some readers might have of female authors.

“I think there’s this totally reasonable stereotype that female authors will write romance books,” Richter said. “I’m not disguising my name, but I wanted that first impression to not be a romance book, because it’s not a romance book. It has no romance in it.”

At first, she felt that the project sounded more like a creative writing project than a book. Through rewriting and editing, a more professional writing voice emerged.

“It was practice,” Richter said. “A lot of practice with writing, and this was a great experience to get that practice.”

Series like “Six of Crows” and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” also influenced Richter’s style, inspiring her to periodically shift perspectives to different characters.

“You have this group of main characters that are traveling together,” Richter said. “I think that having the different perspectives is really important to see all of their thoughts and how they are processing the events that are going on. There’s sort of a point in the book where every main character feels like they are the center of the action.”

Aside from her writing and schoolwork, Richter also works a part-time job and has a role in the stage crew for major Severna Park High School productions including “Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival.” It can be difficult to fit writing into her busy schedule.

“Sometimes it’s a frustrating process, but a lot of times, I genuinely enjoy it and it’s a good break from the work,” Richter said.

Even though she had roughly a quarter of the plot planned out when she started writing, Richter still ran into tight spots trying to figure out where the plot would go as she wrote, which taught her about organization and planning out arcs.

“I’ve really grown as a writer doing this,” Richter said. “It’s been such an educational project.”

She’s currently working on a longer project planned as a duology or trilogy separate from the “Gift of the Fallen” world. It’s expected to be about a disease spreading on a warfront with plotlines about overcoming government corruption and a military commander gaining the respect of his troops set in a 1500-1700s era fantasy world.

Although she has almost the whole story planned out chapter by chapter, Richter anticipates that she will be working on the project for at least two years.

“I want to make sure the plot is consistent throughout all of the books before I release any one of them,” she said.

Paperback and e-book copies of “Gift of the Fallen” are available for purchase on Amazon. The Kindle version can also be read through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription.


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