It's here! The book I started reading half a year ago and have mentioned many times on my blog. I present to you, Kendra E. Ardnek's latest book Lady Dragon, Tela Du!
I'm not going to fangirl much right now as I have a review coming next week, but this book surprised me a lot. Since I knew the inspiration, I thought I knew where it would go. But it didn't, Kendra went far above and beyond my expectations. This book doesn't exactly sound like Narnia does it?
Two girls with one face
Two girls with twisted fate
One in purple, one in red
One shall speak the other’s death
Who shall win their final war?
Lady Dragon or Tela Du?
Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised a fifty-year reign over Rizkaland and nothing can stop her from claiming it. But when you've lived six thousand years, fifty is such a pitiful number. Only one person can keep her from making this reign permanent - the Tela Du, a girl who shall share Amber's face.
The last thing Petra wants is a magical world interrupting her plans for a normal life, let alone an ultimate battle against the Lady Dragon with only one prophesied survivor. She has her childhood best friend, Reuben, at her side, but she's not sure if he's more of a help or a hindrance right now. Though she'd much prefer to just return home and forget about this whole crazy affair, things change when she discovers that the world has surprising connections to her own family - including her sister who disappeared without a trace two years before. Still, Rizkaland can't possibly expect her to risk her very life, can it?
Well maybe it is a bit like Narnia, but it delves more into character interactions. The depth of emotion is stunning. But I'm getting sidetracked, this isn't supposed to be a review, I'm actually interviewing Kendra. Since I know her reasonably well I tried to ask deeper questions. Mostly.
Me: What is your name, what is your quest and what is your favourite colour? (Umm, I'd been listening binge listening to Lasers, Dragons and Keyboards. That is their intro question.) But what is your quest?
Kendra: My Quest is to find interesting ideas, turn them into stories, and get them into the hands of people who will enjoy the story.
My name is Kendra E. Ardnek and my favorite color is purple.
What is your favourite place to write?
I will write just about anywhere, and I don't really have a favorite. Most of my writing is done at my desk in my writing cave, though. (I call it a cave because it's under my loft bed. Which is awesome.)
What is your definition of success in writing?
Writing stories that connect with people. I write for myself, first and foremost, but if the story I write doesn't connect with people, I feel like I failed. And if my story brings people together, that's even better.
If you didn't write what would you do?
Go crazy? Flip hamburgers at McDonalds? Make more hats? I really don't know.
If you were offered an expenses paid trip to one place in the world, where would you go?
Germany. I do not know why, but I'm a bit obsessed with the country, and they have some cool castles over there that I'd like to explore.
Castles are cool. Personally I want to visit South America for story research.
Kendra, you've written a lot of drafts of Lady Dragon, Tela Du. Was there anything big that surprised you about this one?
Laura's Voice did rather come out of nowhere, as did some of the final details. I also wasn't aware how connected she was to Amber and Granite's immortality until I wrote this final draft. And while previous drafts had focused more on Petra's sisterly relationship with Ashna, Petra's romantic relationship with Reuben played far more of a role. Also, Noraeto surprised me by already knowing a plot twist ahead of time.
Fascinating. I've always wondered what came up in what draft. I love those details that seem to come out of nowhere.
Did you do any interesting or odd research for this book?
I do not remember all of the research I did for the book, for it was done over the course of nearly eleven years. There was the six months of "Read as many non-Narnia fantasy books as I can while avoiding Narnia like the plague," though. I read some interesting books during that time.
And during the last draft, I did look up Cherokee marriage proposals.
Ah, yes. *grins*
Is any part of the book inspired directly by personal experience? Or any of your other books?
While I can't say that it's a direct inspiration, this book is the story where I poured a lot of my pain after losing my Grammy seven years ago. Also, Reuben's reaction to arriving in Rizkaland is what I'm pretty sure my reaction would be if I were to actually end up in another world.
As for other books? Well, there is a pie scene in Do You Take This Quest? inspired by an actual argument between two of my cousins a few Thanksgivings ago.
That scene is fun. I never would have guessed.
What is something you want people to take away from Lady Dragon, Tela Du?
The knowledge that God is in control and has a plan, no matter how impossible things might seem, and the power of forgiveness, even when it's difficult.
What is an overarching theme for the series?
It seems to be the fact that God is in control, though that's a theme that is common with almost all of my writing. Sacrificial love and commitment is another theme.
And that's just what I thought. Sometimes I wonder if I'm understanding books the way the author intends. It's so easy to jump at one thing and decided that's the theme. It was great to have you, Kendra.
Thank you Anna
And just in case you don't already know everything about Kendra, I have the official bio.
Kendra E. Ardnek is a homeschool graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers.
You can find her on her blog and website. Add the book on Goodreads, and if I've managed to convince you to buy it you can get it on Kindle and as a paperback. A wonderfully thick paperback.
Also Water Princess, Fire Prince, Book 1 of the Rizkaland Legends, will be free until the 23rd.
To finish Kendra is letting me share a delightful little snippet.
Ashley didn’t hesitate. She ran back out of the house and then walked across the street to Queen Michelle’s house. Summer answered the door when she knocked.
“Did Petra change her mind and chase you off?” Summer asked, narrowing her eyes as she leaned against the doorframe.
Ashley took a step backward and hastily shook her head. “I – I need to talk to your mother.”
“Because…” It was sometimes so difficult to not mention Rizkaland to people who didn’t know about it. “Because Mum wants to talk to her.”
Summer rolled her eyes. “You do know that you really don’t have to call her that just because Petra does. In fact, it annoys Petra when you do. Unless you enjoy annoying Petra, and last time I checked, you didn’t.”
“Mum suits her,” Ashley quickly answered, glancing down. “It sounds more respectful than ‘mom,’ and I can’t call her ‘Mother.’”
Summer raised an eyebrow, but instead of questioning Ashley’s statement, she straightened with a toss of her hair. “Well, why are we standing in the doorway wasting cold air? If you want to talk to my mom, come in and find her. Last time I checked, she was home.”
There will be more fun stuff about the book in these places today.