Remember how I told you a big ebook giveaway this month? Do you also remember how I said we would be swapping interviews? Well, I am here to fulfill the latter promise. Say hello to Kendra E. Ardnek, the fantasy author who gave us Water Princess, Fire Prince.
Tell us a bit about the origin story of Water Princess, Fire Prince. Why did you want to write this book in particular?
The story came to me in the shower. I was trifle upset with my life at the time, and a trifle too obsessed with Narnia, so I was making myself escape doors all over the place. So, it was the most natural thing that, one evening, the thought, “Hey, it’d be awesome if I’d just close my eyes and end up under a waterfall in another world.” And unlike the other stories that I messed around with at the time, this one just stayed with me, and I eventually made it part of my Rizkaland Legends. Why this story? Because it had the most straightforward plot of all of the Legends that I’d planned up to that point, and the most contained cast, so I figured it’d be a good starting point for the series.
Of course all of an author’s characters get a little piece of him or her, but do you have one character who is remarkably like you?
There are three characters in the book who, at one point or another, were me. Clara, the titular Water Princess; Amber, the villainous Lady Dragon; and Laura, the Doorkeeper. Way back when the story first came to me, I was the one who went to the other world, but I eventually let Clara replace me. She retains much of my personality and weird logic, though she’s far more athletic and schedule-oriented than I am. The Rizkaland Legends themselves began life as a series of plays, and in them I was going to play Amber, because we were short on actors, and we’d realized that my other character, Petra, didn’t share any actual scenes with the villain. She retains my hair and one of my weaknesses. Finally, Laura. Laura is based on a character that I had retired, Sandra Elizabeth Nedor, who was going to be my penname. Laura probably retains the most of me – personality, weird logic, wanderlust, though she’s a much sadder version of me.
What was the hardest part of writing this book? What was most enjoyable?
Ooh, I don’t know. I’d say that the hardest part was Andrew, because he was my first male character that I really worked with and developed, and Clara was the most enjoyable, because I love her wit.
What’s the nicest thing a reader has told you about your book- be it in a review or elsewhere?
I’ve had several people tell me that the world that I created is one of the most unique that they’d ever read, and I consider that to be a high compliment. I love worldbuilding, and I’ve poured years of work into Rizkaland.
It’s been a raging debate for years: as a Christian writer, how do you handle magic in your stories?
Here’s how I look at it – how did Jesus draw a crowd? He performed miracles and told stories. There’s something in every human being that thirsts for the supernatural. I can’t perform miracles, but I can tell stories, and I can tell stories that have the supernatural in them. I don’t take a good vs. evil approach to magic, though, instead I use what I call the “natural” system. Natural magic, which is part of the natural rules of a world, but are simply different from our rules, or hard to explain. Supernatural magic, which is power from God, ie, miracles. And, finally, Unnatural magic, which is the power that Satan tempts people with. Unnatural magic is usually a twisted version of Supernatural or Natural, since Satan has no power save that he was given.
If you were to write in another genre besides fantasy, what would you pick?
I’ve dabbled in science fiction, though it’s a rather fantastical version of sci-fi, and last month, for NaNo, I wrote a Superhero Dystopia. I’d also like to do some historical fiction, at some point. Fantasy is my comfort genre, though.
What writing project is next on the list?
I’m currently working on three. Poison Kiss, a Sleeping Beauty short story where the jilted fairy decided to use True Love’s Kiss to curse the princess, rather than the typical spinning wheel. Love and Memory, the third volume in the Rizkaland Legends. The Worth of a King, which is a sort of companion to the Rizkaland Legends – it’s an independant story, but it is a chapter in Amber’s backstory, back before Amber became the Lady Dragon and turned evil.
Randomness: would you rather have a horse or a dragon for a pet?
One of my characters actually gave me my own dragon a couple years ago. Her name’s Sunset. I’m not really a horse person.