Tricia “Trish the Dish” Riel Takes You On a Magical Journey

Trish promo photo

Tricia Riel, is an artist of many talents. We first met in Humboldt, California, where she shared the secrets of juggling, character development, voice acting and publishing. We met during my time with The Humboldt Circus . Her book Zephrum Gates series is the subject of our interview.

Finding a female-led story can be difficult for many. From Jack and the Beanstalk to Harry Potter, there are many stories out there that feature adventurous, jump-into-action boys, but what about the gals? Enter Riel’s magical novel, Zephrum Gates.

The female protagonist in Riel’s story is assisted by “a number of eccentric and magical people at her school, Fiddlestick School For Alternative Thinkers With Unusual Abilities.” The narrative strays away from the “damsel in distress” motif–found in many fantasy and fairy tales–as Zephrum Gates finds herself at the forefront of encounters with dragons, goblins and other strange magical beings. Riels own interests in circus arts can be found in the pages of this novel as the female protagonist and her friends put on a theatrical performance that is, as Riel describes it, “Out of this world.”

A magnificent performer herself, Tricia Riel, has worked as a drama teacher in San Francisco with “Kids on Camera;” been a physical coach at “Circus Smikus” in Vermont, “Camp WinnaRainbow” in Northern California, “Swivel Arts” in San Francisco, “Island Gymnastics” on Martha’s Vineyard, and at the “Arcata Playhouse” in Arcata, California.

ZG 6x9 Front Cover with text

A great story…with unusual characters….and odd situations. Zephrum Gates & The Strange Magical Treasure is a memorable tale that will tickle you to the point of wonder & hysterics.

Tricia Riel, Author of
Zephrum Gates & the Strange Magical Treasure

Michael Ray:

Tricia Riel, “Zephrum Gates and The Strange Magical Treasure” is the second installment in your collection of novels, how have you grown with your characters over the course of these two books— the first being “Zephrum Gates and the Mysterious Purple Haze?”

Tricia Riel:
The first Zephrum Gates Book was really about “creating the world of Zephrum Gates.” Since the beginning of the story, each one of the characters has deepened & become more real for me in some way. They have each developed their own motivations & their own character arcs. Honestly, their process is a surprise to me as it evolves. As this story has progressed, I think each character has developed a stronger wish towards a larger goal. Personally, I feel I have grown with these characters… in that MY larger goals have also become aligned with THEIR wishes to thwart evil & work towards a more sustainable future.

Where did the name Zephrum Gates come from?

Because I am an Air sign by birth (Astrologically speaking), I feel that my own basic nature of AIR is a primary factor in anything I would write. Zephrum comes from “Zephyr Winds”… which relates to air & wind. Zephrum Gates is a voice that (for me) must be developed & cultivated in these times.

Although she doesn’t know it, Zephrum is a kind of “intellectual visionary.” What she thinks & wishes for… is something that ultimately becomes. Her “world” is more possible than we know. Our thoughts really CAN become things. Imagine the possibilities & they can become more real than we’ve ever expected.

Both Zephrum Gates books seem to possess, within their titles, fantastical elements. The notion of treasure, mystery and the unknown is definitely present. To whom will this book appeal to most?

I am writing to those who are “young at heart.” It is a fictional fantasy of FUN. Although the books are geared towards Young Adult Readers, I am hoping that the stories have a wider appeal to MANY age groups. I have not held back on vocabulary, so “grown ups” are likely to enjoy these stories as much as younger readers. For the YA readers, they should be ready to expand their knowledge base… as well as their lingo.

In reading your novels, what can the reader anticipate?

The first Zephrum Gates book is a fantastical tale that engages you beyond what you might expect. People tell me that after they have reached the end of Chapter 6 of the first book, it’s too late to turn back.

For “Zephrum Gates & The Strange Magical Treasure,” it’s likely to be a journey from one unforgettable predicament to the next. Magical experiences, earth wisdom, & many twists & turns are part of the adventure.

Favorite quote?

Mmm… That’s tricky. There are a lot of great quotes within the book, especially things that are said by Zephrum’s Great Aunt Gussie. Even so… when I really think about it, it is the Dragon’s Wisdom that REALLY sticks with me. One of the things he says is, “The living code of dragon and wyvern runs deep. This is why we have thrived since the beginning of all time, and why we will live until the end of all things. We are linked with the land, and have been able to overcome great obstacles by the use of our boundless wisdom.”
If we could ALL adopt this philosophy, who knows how our culture & our world would change & evolve?

Lastly, where can a copy of your books be purchased?

“Zephrum Gates & The Mysterious Purple Haze” can be purchased ANYWHERE. It’s available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, the official “Zephrum Gates” website ( ), & is listed in EVERY bookstore data base in the US & the UK. At this point, it’s likely available in more locations than I know. Search & you will find.

“Zephrum Gates & The Strange Magical Treasure” will be available through Amazon, beginning mid-October. Order through them first. After that, all other outlets should also be available.

ZG 6x9 Back Cover with text

ANY local bookstore in the US that carry books published by “Ingram Press” or “Baker

& Taylor” should have the book readily available. Pretty much, that’s EVERYBODY!

If your local bookstore does not appear to carry it, REQUEST it… & it will be on the shelves SOON. Ask the bookstores to notify you.

For the fans in the UK, “Gardeners” should also have the new Zephrum Gates book listed. This means that ALL of the UK bookstores will likely have “Zephrum Gates & The Strange Magical Treasure” in stock soon after all of the US distributors.

Michael Ray

Bachelors of English Literature
Humboldt State University.

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