Today I am thrilled to announce that we have Kendra Ardnek over as our featured artist! Been a while since we’ve had one of these, so please join me in extending her a warm welcome! I have not read any of her books yet, but I have been following her blog and her books are on my wishlist!
Kendra E. Ardnek is the author of:
Sew, It’s a Quest
Do You Take This Quest?
Saffron’s Big Plan and Other Stories
Her latest book is The Ankulen, which is a Fantasy (fairy tale retellings and Christian allegory)
Fifteen-year-old Jen can’t remember her imagination. She knows she had one once, though, and honestly, she’d like it back. It’s been eight years. One day she finds a young boy who claims to be one of her imaginary friends and that her imaginary world is being eaten by a hydra-like monster called the Polystoikhedron. He helps her find the Ankulen, a special bracelet that had given the ability to bring her imagination to life and together they embark on a quest to find friendship, healing, and perhaps even some family.
Q. Welcome, Kendra, and thank you for joining us this morning. When and why did you start writing?
I have been making up stories since I understood the concept (which was very early), and writing them down since kindergarten, so I always knew I would write in some form or fashion but I kept getting distracted by other things. Such as acting, knitting … deciding I wanted to be a fairy …
At last it was the acting that saved my writing career. I was disappointed in the *Chronicles of Narnia *movie (LWW). It wasn’t as if it was bad, but there were a few added scenes that I didn’t like, and a few that were taken out that I wish they hadn’t, so some friends and I decided to do our own movie – done right. Since I was the eldest of the group, most adamant about the plot, and liked writing the most, I was elected to write the script. Problem was, we were only three girls. One of us had a brother who also acted … so we turned all four kids to girls and changes just kept happening from there. Eventually, it changed so much, and the plot had become so complicated, I realized that I ought to turn it into a book. So I did, and I’ve never looked back.
Q. Why did you choose to write in this genre?
I love adventure and the impossible possible, so I naturally gravitate to the fantasy genre. I’m by no means limited to it, but almost all of my
books have at least a hint of fantasy.
Q. Which authors do you admire? Why?
C.S. Lewis, definitely. His ability to write allegory is amazing.
Tolkien, of course, since he’s the father of modern fantasy.
Gail Carson Levine. Her spins on fairy tales are amazing.
G. A. Henty. His books can be a little hard to get into, but very informative and well-researched.
Roald Dahl. You just can’t put his books into a box …
Molly Evangeline. She’s a fellow indie author, and her books are really good.
Jane Austen. She was amazing at plot twists and telling things as they were.
Q. What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Don’t be nervous. Just sit down and start writing. Don’t worry about how bad it is, no one writes a best seller the first time they pick up a
pencil. And don’t throw anything away. Hide it if you must, but don’t throw it away.
Q. How do ideas come to you?
Depends on the idea. Some of them come from books I’ve read and I think I can write their theme better. Sometimes my mother will get an idea and tell me to write about it (that’s how I got *The Bookania Quests*). The other week, I woke up with a completely random (but original) song in my head, and it’s lead to a story about a phoenix and a nightingale.
Q. Describe your process for writing/completing a novel.
First I’ll get an idea (see above), and I may or may not write it down. Then I let my brain mull over the idea, completely twist and change it,
then I’ll sometimes take them to my mom, and she’ll add even more dramatic changes, and then I’ll pull out a notebook or word document and attempt to start it in the wrong place. Then I’ll start over at the right place and write the first draft. Then I sit down and write an outline for draft two and completely rewrite the book. Then I send it around to beta readers, edit it, cross my fingers and publish it.
Q. What is your favorite thing you have written? Why?
At the moment, I’m quite fond of my newest release, *The Ankulen. *Firstly, because it’s new and still shiny. Secondly, because I love how the allegory worked out. Thirdly because it has a pretty cool concept. Imagination that can be brought to life? I mean, it’s an author’s dream!
Q. Would you be willing to share an excerpt from your latest book?
Let me dig one out … ah, here’s one I like – Jen’s reaction to seeing her imagination for the first time in eight years.
I drew in a deep breath, and opened my eyes. What I saw made me wish I hadn’t. Everything was dark, dismal. There was no color, no sign of life beyond the three of us. Everything was some shade of gray, even the sky, which was full of dark, angry clouds. What little light that found its way through was weak, and illuminated little more than the sharp, jagged mountains that loomed ominously over us. Shreds of color still clung to Tisha and Chris – but I …
I was the grayest of all.
Only the Ankulen still had color. Its gold was still as bright as ever, and its gems still sparkled purplish-pink.
“It looks like a meteor struck,” I commented, staring the barren landscape.
“I suppose it does,” agreed Chris. “If only one had. That would be an easy fix.”
“Are you sure this is my imagination?” I hesitantly asked. “Maybe we got the wrong address or something …”
“No, this is it,” Chris reluctantly replied. “This is what I’ve been seeing for the last – how long did you say it had been – eight years?”
“Is it all this bad?” I couldn’t see how it might be possible to have anything worse than the burnt-out grayness that lay before me.
“Not all of it,” admitted Chris, with a heavy sigh. “But compared to some parts – this is good.”
Q. Who would you most like to thank for their involvement in your writing career?
My mom. If it weren’t for her own love of fairy tales and writing, I probably would not be the author I am today.
Q. Can you pick a favorite character from your book or series? Why is that character your favorite?
In my Bookania series, my favorite character is Maryanne (or Dylana, Anna, or Apfel as she sometimes prefers to be called …) but unfortunately, she won’t show up until book five (though she may possibly have a cameo appearance at the end of book four …), and since I’m only have books one and two out, I’m not sure she counts. (She’s reading over my shoulder and has just pointed out that she doesn’t count, because counting involves numbers and she hates numbers). Anyways, I like her because she’ll take just about anything I throw at her and still beg for more. My other characters complain that she gets all of the good plots for that reason …
However, if you want me to pick a published character, I’ll go with Jen, the main character of *The Ankulen*. I managed to convince her that she was writing the book, so she gave me very little trouble (it’s a trick I have), and I don’t think I have ever connected as well with a character as I did with her. Besides, she has an Ankulen that can bring imagination to life, and that’s just cool.
Thank you, Kendra, for being a part of Featured Artist Fridays!