Kendra E. Ardnek is publishing the third book in her Bookania Quest series! In honor of My Kingdom for a Quest's release, I'm interviewing the author herself!
1. How and when did you decide to become an author?
I didn't choose the the author's life. The author's life chose me.
It may date back to my infancy when my mother would check out classics, such as books by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Robert Louis Stevenson, and of course fairy tale collections, and let me listen to them during my naps. (In any case, it did lead to me talking early, I had a vocabulary of about a half-dozen words at four months).
By the time I was eighteen months old, I began making up stories of my own with my blocks, stuffed animals, crayons, silverware, whatever I happened to have in my hands. (I especially enjoyed getting my blocks/silverware/crayons/
When I began kindergarten (a full year early, since my mother had run out of preschool for me to learn), my curriculum included making up stories, having my mother write them down, and me tracing them. I distinctly remember one involving the ugly duckling.
As the years went by and my stories became more elaborate, both the ones I was writing for school and the ones I made up with my toys. I still have "How Paul Bunyan made Pike's Peak" and "Ruthastilskin" in my desk somewhere.
When the LotR movies came out, my sister and I were curious about them, but since they were over our head at the time, my mother sat down and told us a simplified version of the first two movies, and then got the Hobbit out on book on tape and let us listen to it. My sister and I were sold, and we started making up stories about ourselves as hobbits, calling ourselves Tigerlilly and Marygold Bunnitoes. Unfortunately, we learned that hobbits were copyrighted, so we made up our own race of people called the Elvings, which led to my WIP Infiltration.
I got writing seriously when the first of the new Narnia movies came out, and I was dissatisfied with some of the small changes they had made, so my sister, a friend, and I decided to remake the movies, except in modern day, with four girls, since our cast and prop department was limited. Which meant that we would need a script. As the oldest of the three of us, and the most adamant about the plot, I was elected to write it. That story became my baby, and I wrote it three and half times, each time getting further and further away from the plot of TLWW, and I was convinced that I was going to become a famous playwright.
Except that my plot was getting more and more complicated each time I wrote it, and I didn't have enough friends to play all of the parts. So I did the logical thing and decided to turn it into a book and become an author instead. It's now the second volume of my Rizkaland Legends, the first book of which I'll be releasing later this year.
The rest, as they say, is history.
2. The Bookania Quests are all based on fairytales. Is there any fairy tale you would consider too set in stone to make its way into Bookania?
The straight up answer is no. Bookania is a HUGE world with a lot of history, and any and every fairy tale fits somewhere on one or another of its pages, somewhere in that history. However, the series itself is about a very small portion of the world, and as a result, there will probably will be ones that I'll never get to directly factor in, not because they're too set in stone, but because they don't fit well with the other stories. I shall try my best, but there are just so many fairy tales in the world, from so many cultures.
3. Is there one particular fairytale character that you can't wait to start writing about?
Um ... one ... um ... please don't ask me to limit myself to on character. I have a LOT that I'm looking forward to, such as:
The Prince and Princess from "The Brave Little Princess" in book 4
Rapunzel in book 5
Cinderella and Penelope from the Odyssey in book 6
The Snow Queen and Mulan in book 7
The Goosegirl in book 9
Tom Thumb and Thubelina in book 10
Some characters from "Felicia and the Potted Pinks" in book 11
Red Riding Hood, the six swans, and Paul Bunyan in book 12
The descendant of the previous Arthur in book 16
Snow White in book 17
George and the Dragon in book 18
The Twelve Dancing Princesses in book 19
The Princess Bride in book 20
The Frog Prince in book 21
The Fisherman and his Wife (and their daughter) in book 22
And beyond that, none of the books have exact locations, but I'm also looking forward to the fox and Golden Princesses of "The Golden Bird" and "Faithful John," working with "The Little Mermaid," writing the book about Swan Lake, and so on and so forth. Don't make me chose. I have so many great characters planned for this series, and I can't wait to write with any of them.
4. Is there any character or pair of characters in all of your writings who are your favorites?
For individual characters, that would be Maryanne, who I'll be introducing into the Bookania series hopefully sooner rather than later. She's one of those rare characters who instead of complaining about how hard a life I give her, brings me suggestions of how things can go wrong. She's such fun to write with.
For a pair of characters? At the moment, that might be Clara and Andrew. They're a great team, have such a wonderful dynamic. I loved writing with them last year for NaNo, and I'm looking forward to plunging into their edits so I can release their book later this year.
But I also adore Robin and Robert or Robin and Eric, Samson and Madeleine, and Maryanne and her brother (or her cousin, she and her cousin are an interesting duo as well), in Bookania; Reuben and Petra, Kath and Rich, Lucy and Laura, Jon and Jin, and Goldi and Advar in the Rizkland Legends, Shasta and a still unnamed character (which is frustrating) in The Trilogy of One; Collie and Gardenia in the Trilogy of Secrets, Jyson and Stardrana in Half-Hidden; Roxanne and William or Roxanne and Riley, Fiona and Lauren or Fiona and Ian, and Lucy and her still-unnamed friend in HaV Academy; Elsie and Elyse and Lillillil and Rikkard in Mikada; Adrian and Obsidia, Obsidia and Delaney, and a couple other pairings in in The Worth of a King; Simmon and Nixa in Fire and Song; and ... I think now's a good place to stop.
5. Tell us about your fascination with twins.
Umm ... isn't everyone fascinated with twins?
I think the core of it is the fact that I love relationships, the dynamic of two people working together, whether they be friends, siblings, or love interests. However twins take it to a whole new level. They've been together since before their birth, and I love exploring that dynamic, whether this has made them best friends, or bitter enemies. I enjoy separating identical twins to examine how they're similar and how they're different at the end of it.
That list of character pairs up there? I'm willing to say at least half of them are twins, though some of them are plot spoilers, so I can't say exactly who. They're such fun to work with.
6. What impact does your faith have on your writing?
Sometimes less than I'd like it to. But isn't that the case with everything in our Christian walks?
Because of my faith, I keep my writing clean. In my romances, I never go past kissing (with minimal description) and that's usually only if they're married. I try to focus on the sacrifice and personality-compatibility part of love, which is a much better foundation than physical attraction. When writing battle, I keep descriptions of violence minimal. And though I frequently include magic in my worlds, I try to draw firm lines between Natural Magic (part of the way the world works, or actually is actually technology, or it's slight-of-hand) Supernatural Magic (Which is the intervention of God on the part of man - think miracles or the Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time in Narnia), and Unnatural Magic (Witchcraft. I never portray it in a good light.)
When I worldbuild, I try to let God's touch shine through in its making. I want to make sure that a visit to my worlds will allow my readers to understand our world better, and that in getting to know the Author/Alphego/Elonodi/Yshew or whatever I call him in a particular world, will allow them to see a side of God they hadn't seen before.
Most of all, I like to work various Biblical themes though my work: Forgiveness, Sacrificial Love, friendship and family, faith and trust in God, obedience, waiting on God's timing, the power of God, acceptance of the way God made you, refusing to be second rate, the battle of good over evil, the triumph of good at the end, the differences between men and women in a Biblical sense, leadership, sanctity of life ... that sort of thing.
7. When can we expect Book Four of the Bookania Quests?
Err ... um .. sometime after it's written. Currently the document has less than a thousand words. I need to break through the opening chapter, and then I think it'll flow better, but at the moment, I'm a bit stuck and haven't made myself sit down and get unstuck. I'm hoping to have book 3.5 out in time for Christmas, but I'm not certain I can make promises there, either, since it doesn't even have a hundred words.
8. Tell us four amazing book titles that we should check out, and why (the more unknown, the better).
Oh, wow. Unknown, but amazing books that you guys should check out. Let me go consult with my Goodreads shelves.
Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight. The second book is releasing tomorrow. It's an amazing series, and one of the few that have reduced me to fangirl flailing. It's Christian Fantasy, but it tastes almost historical because it deals not with a straight up battle between good and evil, but with Christian Persecution.
The Rhyme of the Willow Trilogy by the Sullivan Bothers. These books were weird, but in all the best ways, and the world building was delicious. Basically, don't touch any plant that you don't know what it is, and even there be careful.
The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar by Edward Lee Fodi. On top of the fact that I share a name with the main character, these books were just such fun! So many twists and turns.
The Light Princess by George MacDonald. There are a few too many songs in this book, that I frequently forget, they mean that little to the story, but it's a great book. I know most people think of The Princess and the Goblin or the Ph one when you mention George MacDonald, but this one is my (current) favorite. On one hand it's a Sleeping-beauty type fairy tale that will keep you laughing, complete with a curse at the Christening, on the other, it's a beautiful allegory that will reduce you to tears.
Live long and prosper.