The Healer’s Rune by Lauricia Matuska

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 | 11 comments

The Healer’s Rune by Lauricia Matuska

The Healer’s Rune has something for every lover of fantasy, ancient stories, hidden myths, deserted temples of a lost civilization, and a brave heroine. Author Lauricia Matusaka teaches high school literature and creative writing. One of her main goals is to provide a good clean story with a Christian worldview that any parent can feel good about their child reading. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know her and reading a little about the creation of this first book in the Ceryn Roh trilogy. Leave a comment sign in on the Rafflecopter a chance to win a print copy!


Fabulous Fridays

The Healer’s Rune

Welcome, Lauricia! We are kindred spirits in that I was also in remedial math and advanced English! Tell us about the path that led to you becoming an author.

I’ve wanted to write professionally since about the sixth grade. When I was twelve, there used to be a Saturday cartoon program that would turn books into cartoon movies. I was so disappointed with one that I had just watched that I went into the kitchen to complain to my mother, who responded by challenging me to write one that I would enjoy.

From that moment I was hooked. However, well-meaning adults who heard that I wanted to be a professional writer would ask me how I planned to eat, since writing is rarely lucrative, so I figured I’d better follow another career path. I still wrote in my free time, though.

I loved outer space and the stars as much as I loved reading and writing, so I decided I would become an astronomer. While I earned an A in honors freshman composition my first semester in college, I also barely passed remedial college algebra with one point the third time I took the final (students were allowed to retest twice at the university I attended). When I asked the teaching assistant for my astronomy lab how many years of math he had to take to get his undergraduate degree, and he said six, I knew that God had not called me to be an astronomer. I spent that Christmas break praying about what to do with my future, and decided to change my major to English literature when I returned in the spring. Since then I’ve studied and taught reading and writing in various venues and worked at honing my craft until The Healer’s Rune was born.

Tell us a little about your family. 

I’ve been married to my husband for 21 years this January. Together we have two boys, one who is fourteen and one who is twelve. The fourteen-year-old loves to read fantasy as much as I do, but will rarely read what I recommend, so I let his best friend recommend the really good stuff. The twelve-year-old has Asperger’s Syndrome, and his vision tiles a bit awkwardly. This makes reading hard for him, so he’s not a big fan, but he’s getting there. We have four dogs (even though I’m a sold-out cat person), a mixed flock of chickens and ducks, two birds, and a rat. Three of us love puns, the worse the better, so our house is full of much good-natured groaning and laughter.

You teach literature and creative writing, how do your students respond to having a published author as a teacher?

When they first find out I’m a published author, they are a little awed. However, as I’m also an authority figure, that awe soon dwindles, relegating me to regular teacher status. It reminds me of Mark 6:4, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home” (NIV), but that’s a good thing. It’s hard to get students to feel free to take chances in their own writing if they are intimidated by mine. Mostly, they just find it quirky that I correctly punctuate all of my text messages and compulsively edit/revise my emails and social media posts.

How do you balance writing with teaching, family, and life?

Balance? Not to address the question too lightly, but in my life there’s no such thing. I have Lupus, so I have less stamina than most people, and it regenerates more slowly. This means teaching and family get what energy I have, because I can’t put those two responsibilities off, and writing gets whatever’s left if there’s any to spare. I try to write for at least an hour every day, and my family is very good about helping me carve out that time and reserve that energy, but too often it just doesn’t happen. This used to pain me because of the emphasis writing masters place on daily practice. I had to adapt, though, and become okay with the reality that some days I just can’t write. Those days still pain me, but now it’s more of a phantom itch in my fingers, a longing to use pen and paper in a creative way, rather than a guilty ache of self-recrimination.

Tell us how you created your story world for The Healer’s Rune and Ceryn Roh trilogy.

The story originally came from a real incident with my dog, Bree (the namesake for Sabine’s dog). She was barking at the wall one night, and when I looked to see why, I couldn’t discern anything. As I went back to sleep I figured it was probably a squirrel running along the wall, but I thought “What if…”. That’s how the scene with Aodhan falling through the portal came to be.

The next crucial element came from my love of the fantasy genre and my desire to stir it up a little bit. When I began writing The Healer’s Rune, it was a common fantasy trope for humans to arrive in a new land and dominate the indigenous fey. I had yet to read a story where the fey race dominated humanity, and I wanted to explore what that might look like.

A few years into the writing of the story, 9/11 happened. Conspiracy theories abounded, making me wonder what it would be like if everything we were told by the government or taught as history was a lie. I knew that tyrants like Hitler wanted to eradicate reading so that people would forget the truth of history, so I thought that would be a good place to start.

Once I had these three elements, the story world was pretty much established. The rest fell into place from there.

How do you design your characters and choose their names?

My characters are a combination of who I am, who I don’t want to be, and my desire to do something original in a well-explored genre. I’ve adored the name “Sabine” since I read Alexander Duma’s The Three Musketeers, so I just had to use it. “Aodhan” came from an Old English word, “Aidan”, but since “Aidan” became popular as I was writing The Healer’s Rune, and since I like the names for my fantasy characters to be pronounceable but slightly uncommon, I tweaked it a bit.

The visual image of my characters usually comes as I flesh them out in my imagination. I didn’t even think of using portraits found on the internet, or pictures of famous actors, as the basis for my characters until a year or so ago, when I heard it was a popular practice. I’m considering that as an option now, though, because it’s really hard to find a picture that looks like someone who only exists inside your head! My Pinterest boards for the Ceryn Roh Saga and The Healer’s Rune have images of some actors that I’ve tagged as inspirations for certain characters, but those are really just approximations. They were the closest I could get to what I see when I envision my characters.

If you could spend a day with any author who ever lived, who would it be and what would you do?

Madeline L’Engle (answered without even a breath of hesitation). Talented, determined, endearing, and personable, she is the epitome of what I want to be as a writer and is the largest inspiration for what I want to achieve with my writing. Her book titled Madeline L’Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life is a kind-of manifesto for me. In one part of it she mentions how, even though she did not set out to write stories about God, she received fan mail asking questions about God and how, through her responses, she was able to minister to the readers who sent those letters. I would love to see my writing have that kind of impact.

As for what we would do, I’d be thrilled to simply have coffee at her house, mostly because I’m pretty sure her house is the model for the house in the Wrinkle of Time stories, but also because to be busy doing something would take away from the face-to-face time. Just to have a casual visit with her would be awesome.

What, in your mind, distinguishes your book from other books out there in the same genre?

As much as I love the fantasy genre, it has come to the point where there’s not much that is new. I’d like to try to take some of the worn-down aspects of the genre, twist them a bit, and give them new life. Also, I’m distressed by the increasing amount of gratuitous sexuality that has become acceptable within the genre. I imagine young girls in the library looking for a new book to read, just like I did on so many weekends, and I can’t stomach the thought of exposing them to that. In my mind, The Healer’s Rune turns a familiar trope into something that’s a bit new and offers a story that parents don’t have to worry about if their children pick it up off the shelf.

As a teacher and Christian author, which do you think is more important: to entertain or teach/inform? How do you combine the two?

That depends largely on the purpose of the author, and varies from work to work. This is why there are so many different literary genres! There are devotionals, study Bibles, and other tools out there created expressly to teach, non-fiction resources created expressly to inform, and fiction works created expressly to entertain. The best writing in any genre, however, can do both.

I believe and teach that an author’s worldview is woven throughout everything he or she writes. I train my students to identify the worldview dominate in any work they read so they can evaluate it according to Biblical standards and decide what to hold on to and what to lay aside. My personal discipleship relationship with Christ can’t help but be reflected in my writing, and that’s exactly how I want it. My target audience is teens/young adults/new adults in the general market, especially the unchurched because, in my imagination, I would be able to really touch them and form a bond that would allow me to speak into their lives, just like Madeline L’Engle did with her stories.

Please share the opening passage from The Healer’s Rune with us.


Sabine huddled in a window niche, her knees pulled up to her chin and her teary gaze not quite focused on the dark ruins around her. She knew it was time to go—lingering would certainly mean capture—but she could not force herself to rush to her friend’s death.

A stone’s throw in front of her, a shower of brick dust rained onto the floor. Sabine started, her muscles tensing as her thoughts ratcheted from mourning to high alert.

Straining to hear beyond the thump of her pulse, she concentrated on identifying the sounds that surrounded her. Crickets and frogs chirped in the grass … an occasional bird chittered drowsily overhead … a breeze rustled leaves nearby … all normal sounds, characteristic of the forest just before dawn.

She pulled her cloak closed around her.

Probably a mouse, she reasoned as she scanned the shadows for a safe explanation. Or a night-cat stalking one last meal. Still …

The air felt heavier, as if another presence stood close by.

But that was silly. The Dryht castle was long abandoned and was not haunted by its former inhabitants. Sabine stood to leave. Whatever had just happened, she didn’t appear to be in immediate danger. That would change, however, if she were late to the execution.

Before she took a step, a quiet noise scraped the darkness across from her.

She peered into what was left of the ancient Dryht temple. The moon was still high enough to illuminate small patches between the oak and cedar saplings that grew among the grass-lined floor stones, but it wasn’t full enough to show what moved among their needles and leaves.

Sabine tried to swallow, her mouth suddenly dry, and to reason through her fear. Although it was possible she had been discovered breaking curfew, it was not likely. All of the Rüddan stationed in her village were busy preparing for the execution.

Sabine shifted her weight, angling for a better view. An explosion of snapping twigs and flapping wings made her jump, a surprised shout catching in her throat. She flinched as a raven the size of a large cat landed nearby.

Sabine relaxed.

Just a bird.

Still … why did she feel as if she was not alone?

Cocking its head, the raven focused on Sabine. Intelligence gleamed in the blue depths of its eye. The directness of its avian inspection felt sinister, somehow, as if confirming local rumors that the birds were used as Dryht spies.

Stop it! Sabine chided herself. Just because her neighbors mistrusted the birds, that did not make the rumors true. The villagers of Khapor told many stories of hauntings in the woods, but Sabine had yet to experience one.

The raven stared, showing no signs of moving.

“Whoever you are looking for,” Sabine said to the bird, “is not here. No one has been here for a few years, since the plague that wiped out most of the Dryht race. Well, no one except me.”

As if pondering her inconceivable flaunting of the law, the bird cocked its head to the other side, leveling a green eye at her this time.

This difference in eye color unsettled her.

“I am pleased to have met you, I’m sure,” she stammered, attempting to mask a growing sense of trepidation with a show of wit and bravado. “However, the sun is rising, and I am expected in the village.”

A sudden vision of ravens feasting on her friend’s body after the execution silenced her. Turning away from the bird, she hurried out of the temple.

Book Blurb:

Lauricia Matuska has taught high school literature and creative writing classes for more than ten years. She first discovered the realm of fantasy by traveling with Lucy through the wardrobe to Narnia. Since then, she has established dual-residency between that world and this one, and she currently serves as an ambassador to contemporary youth and young adults. The Healer’s Rune is the first novel in her Ceryn Roh trilogy.

About the author:

Lauricia Matuska has taught high school literature and creative writing classes for more than ten years. She first discovered the realm of fantasy by traveling with Lucy through the wardrobe to Narnia. Since then, she has established dual-residency between that world and this one, and she currently serves as an ambassador to contemporary youth and young adults. The Healer’s Rune is the first novel in her Ceryn Roh trilogy.

Connect with Lauricia:


Facebook Author Page:


Google+: Lauricia Matuska –


Twitter: @LauriciaMatuska

Book Link:

Amazon Link:


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  1. It’s comforting to hear that other writers struggled with math like I did. I guess we’re in good company!

    • hehe. I’m beginning to think that it’s a qualifying trait for writers. ; )

  2. My first thought was that the cover was breath taking. Then as I got to looking more at about the story and everything, and your interview. I was really intrigued and excited. 😀

    • Thank you! I was very fortunate to have a talented cover designer. She truly captured my image of the book very nicely. If you do read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can leave a review on Amazon or GoodReads, or contact me via the email listed on my website at

  3. This was a great interview! Lauricia, I’m a fan already and would love to read your book. I don’t generally read fantasy, but I’m intrigued. Thanks.

  4. Thank you so much, Nan! I hope that you enjoy it immensely. Make sure to let me know what you think! You can leave a review on Amazon or GoodReads, or contact me via the email listed on my website at I can’t wait to hear from you.

  5. The Book sounds interesting; love reading about healers and their methods. The Christian view gives it a fresh aspect

    • Thanks, Vi. If you pick it up, I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to let me know!

  6. I love reading about healers and the Christian view offers a fresh aspect to the fantasy tale.

  7. Sounds very intriguing and looks like a great read…lovely cover, also!

    • Thanks, Linda! I’m totally in love with the cover, as well. <3

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