Before I began draft­ing Ring of Solomon, I nev­er imag­ined that I would ever write — let alone pub­lish — a Jew­ish fan­ta­sy mid­dle-grade book. Grow­ing up in the ear­ly 2000s, I nev­er had a chance to read mid­dle-grade fan­ta­sy with char­ac­ters who were like me: char­ac­ters who were Jew­ish or queer, or even those who were raised in inter­faith families.

Instead, I would find myself men­tal­ly adapt­ing the char­ac­ters as I was read­ing, so that they would be like me. So that, despite what was writ­ten on the page, they would share my own thoughts, feel­ings, and experiences.

When I was work­ing on my pre­vi­ous nov­el, The City Beau­ti­ful, I could­n’t envi­sion a place for it in the mar­ket. I thought it was too queer to be Jew­ish and too Jew­ish to be queer. After it was pub­lished, I was deeply moved to find how well it was received by both Jew­ish and non-Jew­ish read­ers and queer and non-queer read­ers. I real­ized that there was a place in pub­lish­ing for sto­ries like mine, for char­ac­ters like me. And this rev­e­la­tion led me to begin work­ing on Ring of Solomon.

In The City Beau­ti­ful, I felt it was extreme­ly impor­tant to adhere to both his­tor­i­cal and reli­gious accu­ra­cy, giv­en that the sto­ry is sit­u­at­ed in an his­tor­i­cal set­ting and deals with dark top­ics. But with Ring of Solomon, I let myself have some fun. I bring in char­ac­ters from Jew­ish leg­end and folk­lore, such as Ashmedai, the king of demons, and the three mon­sters born at the dawn of cre­ation; yet I por­tray them in a way that is light­heart­ed and thus more acces­si­ble to young read­ers. I also incor­po­rate King Solomon’s ring, which the pro­tag­o­nist finds at a flea mar­ket. I love going to flea mar­kets and antique stores, and thrift­ing has been a pas­sion of mine since I was a teen. So I jumped at the chance to intro­duce yet anoth­er of my inter­ests into my writing.

My hope is that Ring of Solomon is a fun and immer­sive adven­ture that read­ers of all upbring­ings, faiths, and world­views can enjoy. I hope, too, that when the book comes out, it will reach kids who see parts of their iden­ti­ties, emo­tions, and expe­ri­ences in Zach’s and Sandra’s char­ac­ters — and, per­haps for the first time, they will see them­selves as heroes.

Aden Poly­doros grew up in Illi­nois and Ari­zona, and has a bach­e­lor’s degree in Eng­lish from North­ern Ari­zona Uni­ver­si­ty. When he isn’t writ­ing, he enjoys going to antique fairs and flea mar­kets. He can be found on Twit­ter at @AdenPolydoros.