Tangled up in Kendra E. Ardnek’s Hair We Go Again

K.A.:
Please join me in welcoming Kendra E. Ardnek to the blog today. She’s the author of the Bookania Quests, a fantasy fairy tale mashup series for preteens. The fifth book in the series, Hair We Go Again, releases in August.

Welcome, Kendra! Before we journey into the Bookania world, tell us about your upcoming release—Hair We Go Again.

Kendra:
Still reeling from recent trauma, Robin and Eric struggle to find stability in the midst of increasing tension both at home and with others. When friends ask their help to rediscover their castle, lost during their hundred-year sleep, Robin and Eric agree to help. But this castle holds secrets of its own—including what may be the fate of Eric’s long-lost brother—launching them on another quest. Meanwhile, Maryanne’s busy on a much more important mission of her own: find a jackalope. Yet no one’s ideas seem to coincide with hers, and family disagreements muddy everything. Can healing ever be found when people refuse to communicate?

K.A.:
A jackalope? Those don’t pop-up in too many stories, nowadays. I really want to ask why she has to find a jackalope, but that seems like a rabbit hole best left for readers to discover. ;)

What kind of world is Bookania?

Learn about the mythological jackalope on Mythology.net.

Discover the jackalope lurking in the Smithsonian’s collection on Smithsonian Insider.

Kendra:
Bookania is a psedo-medieval Europe-esque world spun out of the legends and stories that we of the real world tell. Important countries to the north are Fronce, Briton, Germaine, Locksley, and the Broken Country that lost its king three hundred years before, Just south of them are Winthrop, Normandy, and Scotlund. A large desert known as the S’Thera covers the southern part of Winthrop, and Normandy is home to Skewwood forest, once known as Sherwood, where things aren’t always as they seem…

K.A.:
How does Bookania compare to our world—how is it similiar or different?

Kendra:
It’s based on our world, but possibility is reality, and there’s altogether more magic. Its purpose is to contain the stories that we, as society, tell, and as such, it’s home to fairy tales, myths and legends—and even some historical figures who’ve attained legendary status. The stories play over and over, generation to generation, never quite the same way twice. 

Kendra:
It actually exists inside a book—I only described one page for you. There are hundreds more—each with fairy tales playing out differently.

K.A.:
Such a unique story world! What inspired you to create the Bookania series?

Kendra:
My love of fairy tales and the desire to cram all of them into one world. It’s evolved from there. 

Jackalope sighting!

K.A.:
Tell us about some of the research you did for these stories.

Kendra:
Mostly just reading fifty bajillion fairy tales and their retellings! And a lot of medieval books. I don’t think too hard when it comes to the logistics of this world. It’s made of story, after all.

I did research the proper uses of you’s archaic forms, ‘cause I had characters using them in the first couple of books. It also made me sad because we’ve lost a lot of nuance by reducing “You” to just one word. 

K.A.:
Anything else you can tell us that readers may be interested to know?

Kendra:
I actually focus on a page of Bookania that is just coming out of a hundred-year period without magic, which is a lot of fun to play with. 

K.A.:
Hair We Go Again is available for preorder on Amazon.

And, you can grab the first book in the Bookania Quests series—Sew, It’s a Questhere, on Amazon for free.

K.A.:
Great to have you here, Kendra! Thanks for giving us a tour of the Bookania world and introducing us to your latest release, Hair we go Again.

About Kendra E. Ardnek

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She’s been or acting them on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. “Finish your story, Kendra,” is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children’s tales that glorify God and His Word.

You can connect with her at her website or blog, or on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube.

 

 

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Travel to Katie Clark’s Whispering Tower

K.A.:
Excited to have Mrs. Katie Clark on the blog today talking about her newest release, Whispering Tower.

Welcome, Katie! Before we launch into all the behind-the-scene fun, tell us about your story.

Katie:
Whispering Tower is a young adult time travel novel.

Katie:
Stuck in London for one of her mom’s work trips, Skye Humphries can’t help holding a grudge when she ends up roped into a summer tour group with Philip-who-crushed-her-heart. But when Skye and Philip find themselves barreling through time after unsuspectingly opening the veil between the past and present, they’re thrust into a world where Skye’s very life is in danger. If she’d known her choices were between summering with Philip or being sacrificed to the god of the skies, Skye might have changed her attitude. Now she must figure out what’s most important to her—getting even for the past or having a future.

K.A.:
Traveling with the person who broke her heart and forced to choose between getting even or having a future? Seems like a situation that’ll change a person’s perspective. What inspired you to write this story?

Katie:
I actually get asked this question a lot, but I never answer it for this series! That’s because these stories have a tad of a mystery going on, and giving too much information gives away the surprise! So your readers will just have to read the book to learn more (hee hee!).

K.A.:
Lol. An air of mystery definitely adds to the fun. So, will reading demystify your source of inspiration? ;-)

Katie:
Haha. Reading the story will help others see and understand what the inspiration was for each story.

K.A.:
Tell us about some of your research. In the story, they travel back in time. What time period do the travel to and where do they go?

Katie:
Ancient Mesopotamia, specifically ancient Sumer.

K.A.:
What was the hardest part of researching an ancient time period?

Katie:
The hardest part of pulling the book together was the elements that took place in the past. Whispering Tower is a time travel story—I did a lot of research to make it accurate, but I did take creative liberties because after all, it’s fantasy!

Dig into Sumerians and Mesopotamia on Khan Academy.

K.A.:
It’s easy to see how that could be a challenge, especially if the story goes in a direction that does fit neatly into a pre-existing timeline. What’s the most interesting discovery you made writing this story?

Katie:
I love researching the past, and my favorite discoveries had to do with learning some of the history associated with the ancient middle east. I loved learning about the social classes, and the styles worn during that time period. Would you like a picture?!

9 things you many not know about the ancient Sumerians on History.com.

K.A.:
I’m a huge fan of Easter Eggs. Any hidden references, details, or tidbits readers should keep an eye out for?

Katie:
Well, no Easter Eggs per se, but I did try to use some symbolism. Sand is used throughout the story to symbolize feelings of restlessness and unease. You guys can be the judges on whether I pulled that off!

K.A.:
Whispering Tower is available on Amazon and at other book retailers. Or, if you haven’t read the first book, you can grab both books here.

K.A.:
Great to have you here, Katie. Thanks for giving us a backstage tour of your latest release, Whispering Tower. Looking forward to reading it!

About Katie Clark

KATIE CLARK started reading fantastical stories in grade school and her love for books never died. Today she reads in all genres; her only requirement is an awesome story! She writes young adult speculative fiction, including her romantic fantasy novel, The Rejected Princess, a supernatural survival novel, Shadowed Eden, and her dystopian Enslaved Series.

You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

 

 

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Awakened by J.F. Rogers’ Astray

K.A.:
Welcome, J.F.! Thanks for stopping by. I’m eager to learn about the world of Astray. Before we dive in, tell us a bit about this first book in your Ariboslia Christian fantasy series for teens.

J.F.:
A mysterious amulet leads Fallon to everything she’s ever wanted…and possibly her death.

After a lifetime with no knowledge of her parents, troubled seventeen-year-old Fallon Webb receives a necklace once belonging to her mother. The amulet leads her on a life-changing journey through a portal to a foreign land where she encounters unusual creatures, shape-shifters, and something she’s always longed for—family.

In Ariboslia, Fallon learns her mother is alive. Vampire-like creatures have her, and many others, captive. Most distressing is the prophecy that devastated her family. Can she trust it? Because if it’s right, Fallon must destroy the vampires’ leader—her uncle—to rescue her mother and free her people from the threat.

Unprepared and afraid, Fallon sets out on the journey, with no skills to assist her quest and no other way home. In her travels, she learns about the One True God and how desperately she needs Him. Perhaps, with His help, she’ll find a way to fulfill her destiny and stay alive.

J.F.:
If you enjoy visiting alternate worlds that feature fast-paced adventure, supernatural creatures, compelling characters, and exciting plot twists, come to Ariboslia.

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Inspiration for book 2, Adrift
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Inspiration for book 2, Adrift

K.A.:
What an exciting story line. Vampires, prophesies, and alternate worlds all intertwined with family conflict and a journey of faith. Just reading it got my pulse racing.

What other creatures can we expect to find in Ariboslia?

J.F.:
Ariboslia is another realm that exists alongside ours. The original inhabitants, the pech, are small dwarf-like creatures. They create megaliths and amulets that allow for travel between the realms: Ariboslia and ours. Shapeshifters existed in our realm long ago, but the humans began to revere them as gods. The One True God became jealous and transplanted them to Ariboslia and memories of shapeshifters in our realm faded, eventually becoming myth. Unfortunately, the new inhabitants in Ariboslia drove the pech underground.

K.A.:
What does Ariboslia look like? Is it very different from Earth?

J.F.:
Since Ariboslia takes up the same space as Earth, the sky is the same and there are many similar landscapes: oceans, lakes, mountains, etc. Many of the animals and food are similar. But there are things that don’t exist here such as living grass that retreats so it won’t be stepped on, flying toads, fur dragons, and—of course—the pech and shapeshifters (gachen and selkie).

K.A.:
You mentioned the original inhabitants, the pech, were driven underground. In the history of this alternate realm, how did their downfall come about?

J.F.:
At one point, the clans were all united as believers in the One True God. When some clans started worshipping false gods, war ensued. Two women, hoping to save their husbands, resurrected Morrigan—the Battle Crow. But she wasn’t fully resurrected. She was undead. The first fasgadair (vampire). When the main character, seventeen-year-old Fallon arrives in Ariboslia, their realm is becoming overrun with vampires.

K.A.:
This world has a lot of past, present, and, I’m betting, future conflict. So what inspired it all?

J.F.:
Ariboslia was sparked by the song, “Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche. Because of the song, I originally envisioned Ariboslia as a dream world Fallon visited while her body was asleep here. But every time I’d try to write, the story fell flat. When I finally submitted to the One True God personally, the book practically wrote itself and became a very different story.

K.A.:
That’s such a great song. Sounds like writing this story was it’s own journey. Tell us about some of the research that influenced your story world.

J.F.:
I researched some Gaelic and Celtic myths. The gachen are very loosely based on the Sídhee (shee). Morrigan is a well-known mythical character who has appeared in many different stories including Authurian legends. She’s had many names such as Morrigan, Morrigu, Morrigana, Morgan, the Battle Crow, the Battle Queen, the Phantom Queen, etc. The selkie come straight from Gaelic myth. But, as with everything, I like to shake things up.

Learn more about Morrigan on Mythology.net.

K.A.:
As our fabulous travel guide, is there anything else readers should know?

J.F.:
It’s a great place to visit and one of the cheapest trips you’ll ever take!

K.A.:
Lol. Traveling by book is certainly a wonderful way to explore. Especially on a budget!

K.A.:
You can pick up a copy of Astray here.

And if you scroll down the homepage of J.F. Rogers‘ website, you’ll find details on how to snag a free copy of an Ariboslia short story called The Redeemed.

K.A.:
J.F., it was great to have you here. And thanks again for the guided tour into the world of Astray!


About J.F. Rogers

J.F. Rogers lives in Southern Maine with her husband and daughter. She has a B.S. in Behavioral Science and teaches a 5th-6th grade Sunday School class. If she’s not visiting Ariboslia, you can find her buried in snow or kayaking, depending on the time of year. Or at church. She enjoys reading, watching television, going to concerts, drinking coffee, and gabbing. But most of all, she’s a believer in the One True God and can say with certainty—you are loved. Connect with her at jfrogers.com.

You can also find J.F. Rogers on Facebook, Pinterest, or Book Bub.


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