Rayden Valkyrie, as a character, rose up during a time of trial in my own life. She served as an inspiration to me, even as her story and the world around her began to take form in my mind. I have mentioned many times how I would love to see her become a source of inspiration and encouragement for others going through hard challenges.
A sense of honor, self-empowerment, self-determination, and confronting the evils in the world without having that darkness consume your own heart in the process are just some of the characteristics intrinsic to Rayden. She is a very positive figure of strength on all levels; in mind, body, and spirit.
Bringing her into the world, through the stories on page and on screen is a wonderful process, but it is a process that sets her free to the audience. The manifestations resulting from that process are very individual in nature.
I have been very honored to receive a number of messages from readers who have also found a very special connection to Rayden. They have shared their own stories of trial and how Rayden resonated with them. These are the kinds of messages I find most rewarding of all, in terms of hearing the positive influence and impact Rayden has had in their lives. Rayden has become something special to each of them, in an individual way.
Rayden’s first fan art has begun to show up in public, created by some extremely talented individuals. It is really exciting to see the visual interpretations of Rayden by these artists. They have their own take on Rayden, and their view of her might have some noticeable differences from the Rayden that I have in my mind and heart.
Then, there is the TV Pilot that is now in post-production, starring Brock O’Hurn and Sol Geirsdottir. Sol portrays Rayden for the first time on screen. For a great many, the TV Pilot will be their first encounter with the Rayden Valkyrie character. The TV show will shape their perception of the character and what Rayden is about. The collaborative process of visual storytelling in movies and TV shows also introduces some elements that have some differences with the way that I see Rayden. From books, to art, to the TV Pilot, Rayden is going from books, to art, to the TV Pilot, Rayden is going farther into our world.
Readers, artists, and TV audiences alike are going to have their own view of Rayden and what she represents. The character, in a way of describing it, has been given to the world, and Rayden will be walking on her own in hearts and minds everywhere.
I have lots of Rayden Valkyrie stories that I would like to tell in the future. I want to tell them on the page, on screen, and even in other mediums such as gaming. Yet at the same time, I see that she is taking on a life of her own and being adopted by audiences of all kinds, and those individuals will have their own bond with Rayden in a manner that is unique to each of them.
That is a sobering thought, as it brings in all manner of expectations and hopes from the audience out there while I engage in revealing more and more of Rayden’s story over time. Will Rayden’s full story meet all those expectations and hopes? For some, yes, and for others no, as those expectations and hopes will be anything but uniform in nature. Everyone is different. But overall, it is my hope that no matter what audiences might expect in the future, they will always see that Rayden is true to herself and ultimately lives up to the principles that guide her.
Giving your favorite character to the world is not as easy as it seems on the surface, but it is the only path to take. A character is meant for an audience, and they must be set free through the creative arts to grow and thrive in the hearts and minds of individuals everywhere.
Heart of a Lion is Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.
Teaser Trailer Link for Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot:
About the author: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).
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.