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I Had A Lot Of Fun Writing

Isabel Ricardo Author Interview

The Last Conspirator follows Captain Gualdim who challenges Spanish power through the streets of Lisbon in the midst revolution. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

I did a lot of historical research and consulted countless books that describe that time period and its events. Apart from Laura, her family and the three knights, all the characters in this book existed in History.

This seemed like a fun book to write. What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

There were many scenes in this historical novel that I had a lot of fun writing. Perhaps what amused me the most was chapter 31, in which the main male characters – Pedro, Afonso and Diogo – disguise themselves as friars to go to Saint Jorge’s Castle to free Laura’s uncle who was imprisoned there. I laughed a lot when creating the descriptions and the fun dialogues.

Which character in the book do you feel you relate to the most?

I identify a lot with Laura de Noronha. I loved creating her!

Do you have plans to write more books featuring the characters in this book?

Yes. I am currently writing another historical novel, that succeeds the events of the Revolution of 1640, which involves these characters, as well as a new main character who also existed in History and whose ultimate fate was quite tragic.

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1640. The Spanish dominance over Portugal has been going on for sixty years, but something is different. Murmurs of revolution are in the air. A wind of change whistles in the streets. There’s talk of the enigmatic Captain Gualdim, who challenges the Spanish power through the streets of Lisbon in the midst of plots in the darkness and the Spanish dominion threatens to burst. Duels, ambushes, treachery, and love envelop the three knights who live through all kinds of trouble and the most dangerous and astonishing adventures. At the same time, an audacious masked man arises, ambushing Spanish soldiers and covering in ridicule his greatest enemy, the Minister of Portugal, who does anything and everything to unmask and kill him, suspicious that he is one of the three knights in disguise. The compulsive reading of this historical novel takes us on a journey through time and “lands” us, surprisingly, in the construction of the 1640 Revolution, and allows us to participate in the secret gatherings to overthrow the Spanish government and restore Portugal’s independence. An exciting plot, a dynamic narrative, fascinating characters, and a lot of mystery, suspense, and action. THE LAST CONSPIRATOR will unequivocally enthrall you.

The Last Conspirator

This is a riveting historical fiction novel set in 1640’s Portugal under the rule of King Filipe. The discontent of those who live under him continues to grow. The people begin to revolt against the many changes that benefit only one person, the king. A masked man, also known as Captain Gualdim, fights the king’s soldiers in order to give back to the townspeople. Three knights Don Diogo, Don Afonso, and Don Pedro, all considered fine men by anyone’s standard, set out to unmask captain Gualdim and find out who he is once and for all. The three knights fight for the hand of Laura de Noronha, the beautiful daughter of Don Antonio de Noronha, who has become involved with the masked man. Will Laura’s secret life be uncovered? Will the knights discover who the masked man is?

Author Isabel Ricardo provides readers with an action-packed historical fiction novel that’s colored with Portugal’s rich history. Each character is introduced with a description of what they look like and their mannerisms. While I think this makes it easy for readers to visualize the characters, I would’ve liked to have the characters introduced through the story, rather than the author telling us. I like that Laura’s character is still feminine, but she also has a spunky side to her. This makes her character fun to follow because you don’t know what she’s going to say next.

The author’s writing style is playful yet serious at the right times. I enjoyed the playful banter between the three knights. The flirting between Laura and Don Pedro is sweet and it shows his charming side. The tension begins to rise as everyone in the story begins to suspect that one another is the masked man. This made the story hard to put down because I too wanted to know who he was. The plot twist threw me for a loop and was something that I did not expect. It was a shocking but pleasant surprise and I wouldn’t change the ending.

The Last Conspirator is a lively historical fiction novel for fans of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers or for readers looking for an adventure story that channels Johnston McCulley’s The Curse of Capistrano.

Pages: 476 | ASIN: 1949868699

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Inspired By My Daughter

Isabel Ricardo Author Interview

Sofia Gama and the Templar’s Prophecy follows a schoolgirl that inherits ancient magic and is part of a plan to save the world from evil. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for this series and, in this case, the first volume “Sofia Gama and the Templar’s Prophecy” came to me during a bus ride from Lisbon to Nazaré, when I was listening to the song “I save the World today” by Eurythmics on the radio, which inspired me for this whole series. During the whole ride I wrote everything on everything I could get my hands on (I always carry a pen and some paper with me), including my checkbook, ruining the remaining 20 checks in the process…

The creation of “Sofia Gama and the Templar’s Prophecy” was very unusual. Curiously, it was all written during night time. I would wake several times to write, in the dark even, fall back asleep and so on and so forth till morning. During the day I’d transcribe my notes into the computer, because if it takes me more than three days to do so I won’t be able to figure out what I have written… I wrote very fast in order to keep up with my imagination and some times even I have a hard time deciphering my own handwriting, which can be a little bit frustrating!… The physical appearance of the character was inspired by my daughter Inês.

Sofia is a young girl that has to discover herself and her destiny. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The crucial plot is the presence of the Portuguese language in the World, spoken by roughly 260 million people spread out over the five continents. In my young adult books, I always strive to impart information that I deem valuable and enriching, knowledge that stimulate the thought process and which transmit human values that allow for a better development, as better citizens. I care about finding interesting facts related to the place or subject about which I am writing at the time, in order to provide the reader with this pleasure of learning something new. Learning something new while you read is very important to me. If we can associate the pleasure of reading with learning about different subjects, all the better.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The Portuguese Discoveries, the Language, History, friendship, loyalty, courage, camaraderie, imagination. My main goal is to captivate youngsters into reading more and provide fun, adventure, mystery, excitement and suspense to my readers.

Sofia Gama and the Templar’s Prophecy was very special to me since it allowed me to enter a submarine belonging to the Portuguese Navy, since it was impossible to enter the German submarine from World War II that lays sunken in the depths off the shore of Nazaré. Not to mention the amazing experience of being in direct contact with the dolphins in the Lisbon Zoo, since I always visit the places where my books will take place. In addition to that, this book was an amazing hit in Portugal and Brasil, not only among the young, but among grownups as well, for it captivated them too – I received feedback from some amazing cases. From the many readers that read this book multiple times, two readers stand out: an eleven year old Portuguese boy who read it 13 times, and a Brazilian woman who read it 8 times.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently writing my next historical novel, in Portuguese. Later this year, Underline Publishing will release “The Forgotten Treasure”, the second volume of The Port of the Grail trilogy, in succession of “The Quest for the Lost Map”. There will also be a new adventure: “The Adventurers in Underground River”.

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Many years ago, a battle against Evil was won, but not completely. The Lord of Darkness was imprisoned only for a thousand years. To defeat him forever, three Warriors of Light would arise as was prophesied by the Grand Master Templar. A Brotherhood was created to protect these Warriors, who would be born on three different continents, but speak the same language. Each of these three special children would have one medallion and be bound to one animal and one of Nature’s elements. For centuries the prophecy was passed on, from generation to generation, until their arrival…
Meanwhile, the Enemy’s mission is to destroy the messenger of the prophecy and keeper of the medallions and prevent, at all costs, the birth of the future Warriors. Almost a thousand years have passed, and one of the warriors has just been born… Pursued by the Enemy, Sofia Gama takes refuge in a quaint little town where a big secret resides: Nazaré.
SOFIA GAMA AND THE TEMPLAR’S PROPHECY is an exhilarating and engaging story, filled with emotion, adventure, and suspense that will make readers stay glued to the page. The Warriors of Light is a captivating and fantastic young adult series that has delighted readers of all ages.

Sofia Gama and the Templar’s Prophecy

From the country of Portugal comes a fresh new take on the genre of middle-grade fantasy. In the days of the Templars, heroes bravely sacrifice everything to seal away a deadly threat. But the forces of evil are not so easily extinguished. The insidious force remains, seeking to one day overthrow all that is good in the world.

Sofia Gama, a Portuguese schoolgirl in the modern day, soon learns that she is a part of this mysterious world of magic and mystery and will have her own part to play in saving the world from utter annihilation. However, when the truth of her story comes forward too quickly, Sofia must harness the strength within her spirit to do what is right and protect those she loves.

Translated from its original Portuguese, Sofia’s story is a fantasy adventure that thinks outside the box. A tale is woven over a thousand years of world events, the interplay of the fantastic and historical meld together perfectly. The historical information was, in most respects, correct. However, as this book was originally in another language, there are a few interestingly translated words throughout. Additionally, I was nearly a quarter of the way through the book before Sofia’s part of the story truly began.

Once the book takes off, it is a nonstop rollercoaster of an adventure. Sofia and her best friends Eduardo, Joana, and Filipe face dangerous magic, evil henchmen, and despicable bullies. The descriptions of the Portuguese coast and school life, something an American audience seldom gets to see, were the best moments of this story. Add that to the unique perspective of a magical world where there is no separation between the sacred and the secular, and you get an incredible adventure that’s as out of the box as it gets. From hardcore single dad Miguel to the spunky Joana, the characters in this narrative are as vibrant and memorable as the colors of the rainbow.

A tale of faith, family, and friendship, Sofia Gama and the Templar’s Prophecy by Isabel Ricardo is a thrilling young adult fantasy novel. This in-depth book is perfect for avid readers who crave something new and great for ages 12 and up due to fantasy violence, fatalities, and mild language. An original take on an established genre, Sofia’s story is packed full of surprises and suspense in a truly unforgettable story.

Pages: 417 | ISBN : 1949868605

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That Playful Little Ghost

Isabel Ricardo Author Interview

The Ghost of the Torn Underpants follows a ghost that is given a unique name and is teased for it, he learns to accept his different name with the help of a new friend. What was the inspiration for your story?

The inspiration was really my children. I used to try to spook them by going into their room with a sheet covering me, waving my arms and yelling that I was The Ghost of the Torn Underpants. Of course they would always burst out laughing. At a certain point, young children accompanying their older siblings to signings of my THE ADVENTURER’S series asked me to write something for them too, and so I indulged them. I reminisced in that game I used to play with my children and one summer I decided to write the story of that playful little Ghost who was marginalized by others due to his crazy name, and was deeply saddened by this. And it has been a great success!

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Pedro Pires?

After writing this book I searched for an illustrator whose work I admired a lot, Pedro Pires. In this case I sent him the book and left it to his creativity. I had no idea what would come out of his hands. When we hear about ghosts, we always have this common image in our minds, but the illustrator’s vision was very original and innovative, with a ghost with red hair so long that it even wrapped around the lamps. I was surprised by the final product, but I enjoyed the uniqueness. And it was a good choice indeed, because kids love him and they really like his different and strange look.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The main theme is the acceptance of difference and diversity. This book has a pedagogic component to it. I wanted to demonstrate to all children, through a fun way, that we are all different, but at the same time, all the same. We all have hearts and feelings that must be respected and we must not treat differently those who are different from us. This way, children learn to accept and respect difference with ease. During the course of this story, we also discover the value of friendship.

This is a Portuguese children’s literature bestseller, with successive editions, very dear to children of all ages, as well as Educators, Parents and Teachers.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently writing my next historical novel, in Portuguese, which always takes longer as it requires very deep and comprehensive research. Later this year, Underline Publishing will release “The Enchanted Forest”, as well as “The Forgotten Treasure”, the second volume of The Port of the Grail trilogy, in succession of The Quest for the Lost Map. There will also be a new adventure: “The Adventurers in Underground River”.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

The Ghost of the Torn Underpants is a very entertaining book about a playful ghost, who tore his underpants, becoming forever called: The Ghost of the Torn Underpants. Aimed at children from 3 to 10 years old, this story amuses and, at the same time, teaches kids that we are all different, but all the same. This title has the collaboration of Isabel Ricardo, a renowned Portuguese author of many successful children’s and youth collections, and the talented illustrator Pedro Pires. Let’s have fun together!

The Ghost of the Torn Underpants

A ghost has the unfortunate luck of getting bestowed the name Ghost of the Torn Underpants. Now the way it works is once another ghost gives a name to an unnamed ghost, it can not be changed; that is just how it works. Upset and frustrated at the constant teasing he endured after receiving this name, Ghost of the Torn Underpants moved to a new mansion alone. He was very lonely, but it was better than being teased nonstop over a name he could not change.

One day the ghost postman brought him an invitation to a party at his old mansion. He decided to give it a try as he was lonely all alone. He found a girl ghost sitting alone when he arrived, looking sad. When he asked her what her name was, she shyly said it was Ghost of the Backwards Dress. She was teased just as much as he was, and they formed a friendship. Together they learned to love their unique names and realize being different does not make you a bad person or less worthy of friendship and respect.

The Ghost of the Torn Underpants, written by Isabel Ricardo and illustrated by Pedro Pires, is a captivating children’s story about differences and accepting those that are not the same as you. With the increase in diversity in schools, there are many names children have never heard before. I think this book is an excellent resource for teachers and parents to show that names are unique and not something to be teased about. Ricardo teaches children about acceptance of themselves and others, standing up for themselves, and the value of friendship.

The bold and beautiful watercolor illustrations bring this meaningful story to life. The Ghost of the Torn Underpants has bright red hair that waves like a flame. This makes him stand out visually as well as his name, drawing attention from the other ghosts that fit a more traditional appearance. All the illustrations are engaging with small details that children can pick up on and look for. This is further enhanced by an exercise at the end of the book. The author asks questions about what children saw in the pictures, like how many letters the postman carries.

The Ghost of the Torn Underpants is a well-crafted children’s book combining important messages about acceptance, diversity, and friendship. The author writes in a manner that young kindergarten children will understand the message but is mature enough that children in older grades will be drawn to the story as well.

Pages: 37 | ASIN : B08QG9NGK8

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All I Had To Do Was Write

Isabel Ricardo Author Interview

The Adventurers and the Treasure Cave follow four cousins that despite their differences come together to solve a mystery involving a WWII submarine. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I idealized “The Adventurers and the Treasure Cave” at the request of readers who, after having read my first published book: “The Enchanted Forest”, grew up in the meantime and asked me to write adventure books that would be different from the ones available on the market at the time. I remembered those first adventure books I wrote when I was 11 years old, books that had pleased me so much, so I decided to humour them and thus, “The ADVENTURERS” were born. Instead of creating new characters, I took inspiration from my nephews. I also did not wish to include a dog, as was usual in this kind of young adult book, and so I took inspiration upon a friend’s pet crow, who can mimic everything and everyone in perfection, creating the most hilarious situations. The villains were also inspired by real people, who, in some way, I felt had wronged me. As for the location, it had to, of course, be Nazaré, my hometown that is so very special to me and such an amazing source of inspiration.

Currently, this collection is composed of 14 published books with many sold out editions.

How did the mystery develop for this story? Did you plan it before writing or did it develop organically?

After idealizing the characters and becoming convinced that this first adventure would take place in Nazaré, I reminisced in ancient legends that my grandmother used to tell me about the history of Nazaré, such as the cave called Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth), who the elders claimed was a meeting spot for pirates, for Nazaré used to be plagued by the likes of them. I also decided to include the real story of the sunken German submarine, a little ways into the ocean in front of the beach, since I thought youngsters would get a kick out of knowing this, such as I did when I first heard about it. In addition, during my research I came across a very ancient book that was written by a monk in the 17th century, who portrayed the history of Nazaré and thus, the plot came to me naturally. After this, all I had to do was write. The completed work gave me immense pleasure.

What research did you do for this novel to get it right?

I always visit the sites where the story will take place, in order to better capture the ambiance and, this way, better transmit it to my readers, encouraging them to later visit those same locations. My main goal is to captivate my younger audience into reading more and provide to them the charm and enthusiasm I used to feel when I was their age. In this particular case it was different, since I’ve always lived in Nazaré and everything was familiar to me. All I had to do was investigate all the information, return to the sites and photograph them, in order to facilitate the illustrator’s work.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently writing my next historical novel, in my native language which is Portuguese, which demands very deep and intense research and a lot of focus. I am also preparing a few children and young adult books to be published later this year by Underline Publishing, such as: “The Enchanted Forest”; “The Forgotten Treasure”, the continuation of “The Quest for the Lost Map”, which is set to be released in the second semester of 2022; and also another adventure with these five special friends: “The Adventurers in the Underground River”.

I have also very recently published “Sofia Gama and the Templar’s Prophecy”, the first volume of the Warrior’s of Light, that I think will positively surprise and excite readers. In March, the historical novel: “The Last Conspirator” is set to be published by Underline Publishing as well.

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Bea and Chris, along with Jack, a crow who loves to mimic everything he hears, meet their cousins Tony and Daniel. They immediately dislike one another. Bea and Chris are upset because their parents sent them to spend the summer at the home of an aunt they hadn’t seen in years. Tony and Daniel are upset about having to share their rooms with their annoying cousins. Conflict is inevitable. However, due to a whirlwind of surprising events, a friendship arises. The bond that unites them is their suspicion over one of Aunt Christine’s lodgers, an ancient book on the history of Nazaré, and a German submarine from World War II sunken in the nearby sea. They must also escape two dangerous thugs who seek a mysterious CD and will stop at nothing to get it.

The Adventurers and the Treasure Cave

There is something mysterious going on, and Chris and Bea can’t quite pinpoint what it is. They know very little, but they work hard to put all the pieces together. They know this trip to their cousins’ house is sudden, and their father acts very suspiciously. Their mother is distracted–more than is typical for her. Nothing is adding up, and the two of them know one thing–this plan to stay with cousins they don’t actually remember meeting is the last thing they had on their agenda. Something is waiting for Chris and his sister, Bea, but what?

The Adventurers and the Treasure Cave, by Isabel Ricardo, follows the relationship between young cousins forced to spend time together despite their differences. However, when suspicious circumstances send Chris and Bea to stay with Tony and Daniel, things become heated before they have a chance to begin their adventure together. Between the differences in the way they are being raised and the distraction of Chris and Bea’s pet crow, Jack, it seems these four will never be able to come to an understanding, much less get to the bottom of the mystery before them.

Jack keeps the story light and brings something new to every page. Ricardo does a beautiful job of writing the family dynamic–the family unit is a strong part of Ricardo’s overall theme. We don’t all have perfect families where everyone always gets along and actually wants to be together. Her description of the altercations between cousins is dead-on and adds an element of reality to her tale. The little quirks she includes make her characters believable, and their exchanges are relatable. As a teacher, I love incorporating history into this fiction story. I appreciate the opportunity to bring history and geography into lessons whenever possible. I will state that there is mild cursing, so it’s not a book I would choose to read aloud with students. Ricardo gives readers reasons to explore outside the book once they are done reading and encourages the study of historical events and the origins of legends.

The Adventurers and the Treasure Cave is a wonderful mystery for younger readers who enjoy historical accuracy mixed in with their fiction. With vivid imagery and relatable characters, this exciting novel will quickly win over fans.

Pages: 199 | ISBN : 1949868354

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