Today I am very excited to introduce you to a delightful young character I got to spend some time with recently. She comes from a family of dragon riders, which is intriguing in and of itself. And her book releases today! Although there are more books in the series, this one is special because it’s a prequel, and if you know me at all, you know I love prequels!
Anyway, a little bit about the book before we dive into the interview, shall we?
In a world where dragons fly free and dragon riders are honored by all, sixteen-year-old Mere struggles with her place. Everyone in her family is a dragon rider, except for her. When a bully begins to rub it in, Mere’s insecurities come to a head. Upon seeing her so upset, Grandma Duskya gives Mere her old journal; a book inscribed with the family’s special heritage.
Will Grandma’s journal help Mere see that not everyone has to be the same to be special? Will it help Mere acquire the courage to stand up for herself?
Start from the very beginning in this exciting prequel to the middle grade fantasy Dragon Courage series, Dragon’s Heritage by Kandi J Wyatt.
I was told by the woman at the door that the character I have come to interview is out in the herb garden. I meander over the lawn and find the young girl on her knees in the dirt, her hands covered in earth as she pulls weeds from among the tender plants. Her blond hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail, though the work she has been doing has caused some strands to fall loose. There is a smudge of dirt on her face where she has already impatiently brushed her hair out of her eyes.
“Mere?” I say tentatively and she looks up at me, her blue eyes questioning. I walk forward. “I’m here with the InterFiction Gazette to interview you. Did they tell you I was coming?”
Understanding dawns in Mere’s eyes. “Oh, you must be the one Aunt Allesandra was telling me about. I don’t know why you’d want to chat with me, but I’ll gladly help you in any way I can.”
I grin. “Marvellous! I hear you are from quite the family of dragon riders. What is your relationship with your family like?”
Mere bows her head but then raises it. “Here, let’s go over to the bench under the tree. That might be a bit more comfortable for you.”
She leads me past lavender, rosemary, and calendula to a bench under a large oak tree at the edge of the garden. I sit down and glance around, enjoying the serenity of the day. It is one of those picture-perfect summer days, not too hot with a hint of a breeze, and a perfectly blue sky overhead filled with fluffy white clouds that drift lazily by and occasionally offer moments of shade.
“Now, that we’re more comfortable, let me answer that question. My family has been dragon riders for several generations. I’ve grown up around dragons for as long as I can remember. But you asked about my relation to my family. That’s an easy question to answer.” Mere reaches over and plucks a stem from beside her and plays with it. “I have a younger brother, Glen. We were inseparable growing up. Nowadays, he spends most of his time at the dragon colony getting ready for the youngling challenge when he’ll be promoted to full rider status.”
A bird calls up in the tree, and Mere glances up. “Ma and Da are the greatest. I love spending time with Da in the forge. Well, more so in winter than in summer.” She chuckles a beautiful sound. “I can talk with both Ma and Da about anything I want. They understand most of anything I have problems with. If Ma or Da don’t’ understand, then I can walk out to the dragon colony and chat with Grandma Duskya over a cup of tea. Grandma and Grandda are the best. They love Glen and me no matter what. As for Aunt Allesandra and Uncle Darryn, I’d love to be apprenticed to Aunt Allesandra in her midwifery. I love the herbs here and helping people.”
I nod, writing as she talks and then look up. “So, I’m extremely intrigued by your family’s profession. I’ve always loved the idea of dragons, but we don’t have any in the world I come from. Can you tell me what is a dragon rider, exactly? How does a person become a dragon rider?”
Mere’s eyes widen. “You don’t know about the riders?” She takes a deep breath. “Okay, well, a dragon rider is a person who has been chosen by a dragon.” A dreamy look comes to Mere’s face. “They experience a bond with their dragon that only death can break. I hear tales of different ways of a person becoming a rider, but most colonies abide by the dragon choosing who he or she wishes.”
I feel the skin on my scalp tingle with eagerness. I would love to live in this world! “So are you going to be a dragon rider?” I ask.
Mere glances down at her hands. “I wish. So far, no dragon has chosen me. My ma and grandma keep telling me dragons can choose a rider no matter their age, but most are chosen by the time they’ve seen twelve winters. I’ve seen four more winters than that.”
“Oh,” I grimace sympathetically. “Well, I’m sure your ma and grandma are correct. Maybe your dragon will just be extra special or something. Can you tell me a little bit about this world you live in? What is life like here?”
Mere bounds to her feet and twirls around. “I wish I could take you on a dragon ride and show you this world! It’s so wonderful. Here around Boeskay we have some of the best farm land. Dragons help fertilize the fields by burning off the stubble, and the farmers plow it under along with all the wonderful properties the dragons give it.”
She bends down and digs into the loam at the edge of the garden. When she stands, she’s holding some of the rich, dark earth. “See, here?” She pushes the loam closer to me. “Do you see the beautiful aqua sparkles? That’s from Aquata, my uncle’s dragon. And if you look really carefully, you may see turquoise from the first dragon to help this farm.”
Mere dusts the dirt off and sits back down. “My cousin lives north of here about two days by dragon flight. They live in canyons. Uncle Kyn has friends to the west of us in The Carr. It’s a valley full of water where dragons once were wild. Uncle Kyn and his friend help bring peace there. Other dragon riders live to the north and east of here in the sandhills and still more are south of here fighting a slave trade to the mines. That pretty much sums up my home. I love it here. I just wish I knew where I fit in.”
“I wish you could take me on a dragon ride, too,” I echo wistfully. “This is a beautiful land. I could stay here quite happily for many days. I can tell your world is very different from my own, we do not have dragons where I come from. Are there different kinds of dragons? Are all dragons friendly?”
A smile lights up Mere’s face. “There are as many dragon colors as there are in the rainbow and then some! Ma’s dragon is periwinkle, while my uncle’s is aqua. Grandma’s dragon is silver and Grandda’s is a stormy-blue. When we go to the Youngling Challenge, all the dragon riders come together. There’s all shades of blues, greens, reds, and anything in between.”
Mere scrunches up her face. “Are all dragons friendly? That’s tough to say. There are the wild drakes of The Carr that just want to be free. I don’t think they’re not friendly, but they are wild. I guess, the best way to say it is just like people some are good and some are bad. Dragons are the same way. Most are good, but a few turn bad.”
I look up at her words, my curiosity peaked. “So besides the wild drakes and any dragons who turn bad, what sorts of dangers are there in your world? Here in this garden, things seem fairly idyllic, but most good stories have a villain of some kind. Are there villains in your world? Can you tell me about them?”
“Villians?” Mere tosses her pony tale back behind her. “I don’t know about villains. I know when I was little and Grandma told us the story of Aunt ‘Rena, both Glen and I thought Rider Tyrell was a villain, but then we learned about second chances and forgiveness.” She stared off into space. “Sometimes, I like to think Nellie’s a villain, but in reality she’s just a bully. I guess the only real villain I’ve heard of is Kyanos. He was in charge of the dragon colony here in Boeskay before Grandda.”
Regretfully, I straighten. I can tell that the interview is coming to a close, though I would prefer to linger. “One final question, how do you feel about your author? Is there anything you’d like her to change about your story?”
“Author? I don’t know what you mean? Grandma Duskya is an author. She wrote this journal I’m reading right now. I love her and the story she’s telling. I don’t think I’d have her change anything in the journal. Does that answer your question?”
I smile at her. “Yes, it does. Thank you so much for letting me interview you, Mere. It has been a true pleasure.”
Instead of just heading straight home, I go back to the house and bid Aunt Allesandra good-bye. She makes sure to give me a cookie, which I munch on quietly as I leave the cottage and wander towards the village. A dragon swoops low overhead, its young rider giving a wild, cheerful cry of delight as they pass me by. My InterFiction badge begins to blink and I sigh, brushing the cookie crumbs from my hands and fervently hoping that Mere gets picked by her dragon soon.
About the Author
Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.
To learn more about Kandi J Wyatt’s books, consider connecting with her on her Website or on Facebook.
You can find a copy of Dragon’s Heritage to purchase HERE
What do you think of Mere and her world, dear Reader? Are you as intrigued as I am? Do you have any questions for Ms. Wyatt? Please leave them in the comments!