Monday, March 18, 2013

Interview with Kendra Ardnek

Kendra, Welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Greetings and Salutations! I'm a eighteen-year-old homeschooler who likes to over-study and draw out research as long as possible (especially in history and science) and is thus not yet finished with highschool. I'm the eldest of four children (my sibs range from two to fourteen years my junior) and the official cook of my family.

I've been making up stories for as long as I can remember, but didn't start writing seriously until the Narnia Movies came out when I was ten and I was completely unsatisfied with them and was sure I could do much better, and I published my first book when I was sixteen and a half. When I'm not writting, you can usually find me knitting, crocheting, studying, cooking or cleaning the kitchen.

25% of the royalties from my books go to Compassion International's Water Program:

If you had to describe your homeschooling years in five words what would they be?
Crazy. Fun. Books. Computers. Learning.

How did your homeschooling years shape you as a writer?
Because I was homeschooled, I' have been able to spend a lot of time with my mom - who, as the dedication in Sew, it's a Quest states, ought to have been an author herself. She introduced me to literature from the cradle (literally - I took naps listening to the classics on book on tape, or so I'm told), and has instilled in me her love for the written word. She's my initial bounce-off for most of my new ideas (and the source of many) and my toughest editor.

What inspired your book, Sew, it's a Quest?
I'm a huge fan of fairy tales, so I've been rewriting them since I could hold a pencil. (And I was retelling them before that.) One day, when I was fifteen, I had a random idea of a girl who had accidently received the gift of "best swordsman in the world" from her Fairy Godmother. I then realized that my Sleeping Beauty retelling could use this new character ... and she soon took over the book.

What is it about?
I like my mom's summery best: (It's not the one on the back of the book, but I still like her summery best)
A twin prince and princess are gifted with talent from their fairy godmother. They have typical parents, who love them dearly, and want only the best for them. But something went wrong and now they have each others gift. How to fix it?
Just in the nick of time, a brave knight discovers the fairy godmother, but upon returning to court he reports that now the twins must go on a quest to find her themselves and explain the mistake and request it be righted, and before their 18th birthday in 4 months.
Adventures abound as they fight off horse theives, rescue a strange damsel in distress, find a fine castle hidden in the forest, a princess who cannot get her words straight but can talk to birds and work any math problem, captured by Robin Hood and taken to his camp, and then capture a rival prince .... many strange things happen to them as well - have you ever wondered about that silver lining in the clouds? or how to fix cubed roots for supper?
But the 4 months is running out.
Their 18th birthday is rapidly approaching - and they are still searching. Does the strange damsel hold the key as she claims? And what is happening to Sherwood Forest and Maid Marian's potatoes? What became of their missing great aunt and how does the rescued damsel know who she is - since their aunt has been missing for almost 100 years! And the biggest question of all ... if they find their fairy godmother - will they really want to change who they have grown up to become due to the influence of their talents?

Who will enjoy it?
It's written with preteen girls in mind, but it also makes a great read aloud for a younger audience.

Where can people buy it?
It's available paperback through createspace and on Kindle through Amazon:
You can find the links to my other works in a nice, organized list here:
Someday I'll figure out a way to sell signed copies ... but I haven't stumbled on that secret yet.

What were your favorite books growing up?
Oh, wow, um ... that's quite the list

Most any Fairy Tale.
The Boxcar Children
The Hobbit and the Lord of the RingsÂ
The Chronicles of Narnia
Pretty much anything by Dr. Suess.
The Elsie Dinsmore Series
Most of the Raggedy Ann and Andy books
Most of the American Girls
The Wizard of Oz Series.
The Magic Tree House (After the first book.)
The Magic School Bus
The Madeline series
The Nutcracker. (I was actually more a fan of the ballet, but the book was good too.)
James and the Giant Peach
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Various other books by Roald DahlÂ
Charlotte's Web
Laura Ingalls Wilder's books.

.... And there were probably more ... I just can't remember them ... Maybe if I roam the shelves the next time I visit the library, I'll call more to mind ...

What are some of your favorite authors now?
C. S. Lewis is my absolute favorite because of Narnia and his Space Trilogy (as well as a few other works that are pure genius.) and Tolkien comes in second, followed by a list of pretty much any of the Fairy Tale writers/collectors (The Brothers Grimm, Anderson, Andrew Lang ...) I blame my writing career on these those three.

After them in no particular order:

Martha Finley
Jane Austin
Frank L. Baum
The guy who wrote The Princess Bride
Joni Erickson Tada
Charles Dickens
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
E. Nesbit
George MacDonald
G. A. HentyÂ
E. B. White
Madeleine L'Engle
Roald DahlÂ
Laura Ingalls WilderÂ
As well as a number of my fellow Homeschooled Authors, but I'm not saying who since I don't want anyone to feel left out. Oh, and my mom and aunt, though they have never really published anything.
I have many more favorite authors, but I can't remember who they are.

How does your faith affect your writing?
Almost all of my serious work has some sort of allegory in it somewhere. It's not very clear in Sew, It's a Quest, but in others it's pretty blatant. For instance The Ankulen, which I plan to release sometime this year, is my attempt at showing a picture of the complete inferiority man has to God - and yet He still sent His Son to die for sinful us.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
You might have the best story idea in the world, but if you don't actually take the time and energy (and brain juice) to actually write it, it isn't worth a dime. So get writing!
But don't forget to do your schoolwork and wash the dishes first.

Do You have any final thoughts?
I'd like to thank you for having me here. You have a wonderful blog and are doing a wonderful job of gathering us homeschooled authors together!

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