Kendra E. Ardnek // Author Interview & Giveaway

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.

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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.

Big thank you to Kendra for visiting! Enter the giveaway and find her on social media:

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The Wings of Antheon: Author Interview

Recently I had the pleasure of beta-reading a debut fantasy book. Ellyana J. Wenceslao, also known as E.J W on her blog, is another young author who, like myself, has a fascination for fantastical worlds, and she recently decided to publish her first book, The Wings of Antheon. Yes, you all have to know about this, and I’ll tell you why in a minute.

But first: a synopsis so you aren’t utterly lost.

The memory of the Great Battle against the Antheons is a story of long ago, now buried within the pages of history. Until one boy learns the truth: the Antheons live!

Peter, an Antheon living among humans, has a necklace, a secret, and the Duke he calls friend. But when he discovers that the Duke has been hiding his dark history, Peter’s only choice is to leave or face death. As he runs, doubts begin to set heavily about whether he can ever trust anyone again. His answer: he refuses to trust.

Forced to flee for his life, Peter embarks on a quest to find the lost Antheons – a quest where danger and adventure never seem to be more than a step away. But will Peter be able to overcome his own dark history and doubts before everything changes…again.

Now, I don’t often say that I really enjoyed a story. I’m picky that way. You might know that I dislike Marvel movies, and I didn’t even enjoy Dune. However, Antheon does belong in the short pile of books which I would read more than once. A rich mythical kingdom in England during the days of Richard Lionheart? Characters on quests that will change them forever? Mysterious secrets that need to be unraveled? Duh, yes.

So, without further ado, meet E.J and the Antheons.

Hannah: You have told me a little bit about the origins of this story, but can you share how you got the ideas for Antheons and the other elements of the book?

E.J: I got the idea from a toy I saw years ago when I was eight. I had forgotten about it until I started racking my mind for something to write about. I got the idea for the high King from many different books such as Narnia, Kingdom Tales and other books that held similes.  

Hannah: Can you tell us the names of your characters and give a one-word description of each?

E.J: That’s hard! But I’ll try.

  • Starlin: Prince
  • Starl: Brother
  • Rose: Sister
  • King Ruundar: Father
  • Queen Lincyin: Mother
  • Jotham: Uncle
  • Uundar: Villian
  • Sir Young: Teacher
  • Tecker: Advisor
  • Angela: Mischievous.

Hannah: What is your favorite thing about writing? Imagining new stories, world-building, killing innocent characters… what do you really like?

E.J: I enjoy creating relationships and places. Although deaths are tragic and heart-rending, therefore making them fun to write as well.

Hannah: What was the hardest part of the book to write?

E.J: The middle chapters. I was able to think of the beginning and ending, but something needed to go in-between, and it took me the longest time to figure that out.

Hannah: Why did you write the story of the Antheons?

E.J: I think there is in incredible lack of “good” books for teenagers. If you walk to the teen section of the library and just scan the books you’ll see words such as Blood, Death, Revenge, Vampire, Werewolf, Evil, and a bunch of other rot. Now, not that there isn’t blood, death, revenge, and evil in the world or that it shouldn’t be in books to a reasonable extent. (I’m not including Vampires and Werewolves. I honestly think those are ridiculous.)  Face it, you can’t have a battle without blood and death, and you can’t have a good guy without a bad guy. But that doesn’t mean there needs to be a whole book dwelling entirely on just that. I wanted to write something that teens, or anybody, can read and not feel uncomfortable and, hopefully, enjoy. I like to quote C. S. Lewis when he says, “Since it is so likely children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” There can be a bad, but there needs to be a good that overcomes.

Hannah: Why do you want people to read it?

E.J: Because I want to show people you can have a good story without making it weird and evil.

Hannah: Do you identify with any of your characters?

E.J: Yes. I would certainly say I and Starlin share the most characteristics.

Hannah: For good measure: if you could be any literary or movie character, whom would you choose?

E.J: … … … Um… I guess I’ve never really thought about it before. It depends a bit. If I were to be in the story they were in I would probably be Lucy Pevensie from Narnia, because that is my favorite movie/book ever! But if I were to simply look like they do I would pick Liv Tyler because she’s beautiful.

Hannah: Where can we find your book on July 3rd?

E.J: I will be publishing through Amazon, so you can find it there.

Hannah: Anything else we ought to know?

E.J: Honestly I think that’s everything! Although my brothers are trying to talk me into publishing my other books, also on the Antheons. I’ll probably have to agree. But when they will make it to Amazon is Fate’s decision. You’ll have to stay tuned. 😉

Thanks for doing the interview, E.J! In the meantime we will stay tuned for July 3. Maybe I can even talk her into doing a giveaway contest…

If you want more tidbits about The Wings of Antheon, check out E.J’s post at her blog, Chokmah&Kishron.