Today is the release day of My Kingdom for a Quest bu Kendra E. Ardnek. This book is part of Kendra’s Bookania series and is an Arthurian retelling. I’ve never read an Arthurian retelling before, but I am obsessed with retellings of any kind, so this book and the series is high on my to-read list. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kendra, and I loved how in-depth her answers were. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the interview, but first, go check out her books and her fabulous blog. I promise it’s worth it.
About the Book
Back Cover Blurb:
Arthur is the rightful king of Briton, but his Uncle Mordreth refuses to give up the regency. Arthur and Grandfather are now returning with allies to wrestle the kingdom from his uncle’s grasp. But not all is as it seems among his allies, and everyone has secrets. New loves, old loves, lost loves, kingdoms conquered and kingdoms stolen. Who is the real “rightful heir” and will the nearly forgotten sword in the stone finally answer this question?
About the Author
Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairy tales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She’s been practicing her skills 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 also glorify God and his Word. You can read more about her on her blog, knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com.
Some of Kendra’s Books That Are Free For a Limited Time
14th-18th: Sew, It’s a Quest
14th-18th: The Woodcutter Quince and Other Stories
14th-17th: The Ankulen
14th-18th: The Woodcutter Quince and Other Stories
14th-17th: The Ankulen
1) Where did you get the inspiration for this book?
My mother told me to write it and I obeyed. I’ve always enjoyed fairy tales and rewriting them, but I’d been ignoring them for a few years in favor of rewriting Narnia, so my mother told me to get back to my roots and start a series of fairy tale rewritings. A few weeks later I was folding laundry, and a character came to me complete with a name, basic backstory, and appearance. Robin, the best swordsman in the world due to a Fairy Godmother mistake, brown hair, brown eyes. I decided she was perfect for my floundering Sleeping Beauty retelling, and thus the series was born.
This particular book sprang from a scene in Take where I’d been stuck writing, so I took it to my mother to help get me out of it (something I do a lot). She questioned the motive of a character, and suddenly I had a whole bunch of backstory I hadn’t known about previously, and an Arthur character. And since I now had an Arthur, I had to deal with him properly and give him his own book.
2) Which of your characters is your favorite, and why?
Out of this book, or out of my characters in general? I’m not certain I could chose a favorite character in this particular book (Robin, Shira, and Eric were all just so awesome to write with), but my favorite character of all time is actually one that I shall introduce into the Bookania series in book four. She’s been such fun to work with in my prewriting, since she’s one of those rare characters who rather than complaining about how bad a life I’ve given her, actually brings me ideas for complicating it.
3) Do you have any tips for writing a retelling, as you have done with My Kingdom for a Quest?
I have guest posted twice on this subject, here and here, so yes, I have a few things to say about the subject.
However, I believe the most important advice would be to immerse yourself in a tale. Read as many versions of the tale as you can find, including whatever retellings you can lay your hands on. Discover the heart of the story, and then make it your own.
4) Walk us through your writing process. What steps do you go through when writing a book?
Umm … writing process.
It all starts with an idea (novel concept, right?) such as, say, a sequel to Sleeping Beauty, or the story of a girl who goes swimming and ends up under a waterfall, and a prophesied hero who has to fight a dragon. If it’s a good enough idea, it’ll keep coming back and pestering me until I tell it, yes, I’ll write a book about it.
And I may or may not attempt to write said book … but I keep writing myself into corners because what I had is a good idea, not a good book. So I’ll sadly put it aside and go to work on something else.
Some time later, I’ll stumble across some plot twist, theme, character, something that clicks with the story idea and turns it into book material. A girl whose gift was messed up by her Fairy Godmother. A Fire Prince and including it in my Rizkaland Legends.
I write the first draft. This can take anywhere from a month to five years.
I let it sit, then read it over, decide that it’s full of holes, and begin operation rewrite. Frequently I’ll switch up the medium for this step. If the first draft was by hand, I’ll type it, or vice-versa. This usually takes a shorter amount of time, though not always.
I let it sit again while I focus on one of my other projects, and then I email it to my kindle and read it through, leaving myself notes, and then I apply the notes to the story.
I send it out to beta readers/editors, let them tear it up, and then apply most of the changes they suggest.
I format the book and get my cousin make me a cover art.
I hit publish and have a party.
5) How long did it take for you to plot, write and edit your novel? How long does it usually take?
Hang on while I determine when I discovered this story … I think it was about Christmastime after the publication of the first book, so … three years. This is twice as long as it took me to plot and publish said first book (eighteen months), but the book I’m publishing later this year has been in my head for at least twice that (somewhere between six and eight years … I’m not entirely certain how old I was when it first came to me. If I can get the final draft finished, next year I’m hoping to publish a book that I’ll have been working on for ten years.
So it all depends on the book.
6) I know you write part of some of your books longhand. Has this changed your writing style in anyway?
When I started writing, I didn’t have a computer. I had lots of notebooks and plenty of pencils, so I made due with what I had. When I finally did upgrade to a computer, I really liked it … and I didn’t touch a notebook (other than for notes or a quick script) for a while.
But then my computer died, and it took me about six months to save up for and buy a new one. In the meantime, I had to either write on my tablet (which hurt my fingers), wait for someone else’s computer to be empty (which was inconvenient) or write longhand. I wrote the entire second draft of the book I published that year in about four months, finishing it just after I finally had a computer again.
I enjoy writing both ways, both have their own ways of killing my wrists, each uses a different portion of my brain. Typing is quicker and gives me access to research at a moment’s notice, but notebooks have fewer distractions and don’t require me remembering my charger cord.
Does writing longhand change my writing style in any way? I don’t know. It’s part of my writing style.
7) And finally, what is your go-to writing fuel?
Water. The nectar of life. Sorry if I’m boring, but that’s what is most consistently on my desk.
Now, go check out Kendra’s blog and her books. Then, come back here and let me know what your writing process is like.