First, a bit about Kandi:
Kandi is a wife, mom of five, teacher, artist and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy, writing Christmas programs, drawing using graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. She also enjoys photography. Thank you to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey in photography as well. She is both his model and apprentice. On occasion she’s his assistant when working with clients and when he needs a 'light stand with feet'.
Why did you pick to write books for Middle Grade and Young Adults?
I have always loved the books my kids have enjoyed. When I began writing, I wrote for them. They were in the middle grade to young adult genre. I wanted to give them good, clean books so they fall more into the middle grade genre. My most recent work in progress will be middle grade because I am writing for junior high students.
What types of books do you like to read?
I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and uplifting Christian fiction. I have found Clive Cussler’s Oregon and Fargo series to be quite fun and intriguing as well.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
I enjoy spending time with my family, photography, and drawing.
Tell us about Dragon's Future and how the story came to be.
Dragon’s Future is about a set of twins who become dragon riders. They learn of a dragon rider from another colony which is after a mysterious plant with the power to renew or destroy the dragon population. The twins and their friends must fight for their dragons’ future.
The story came about on a Christmas vacation. The family was traveling to Eastern Oregon to be with my husband’s family. Along the way, there was a discussion about how we named our daughter incorrectly. Her name is Dawnya, but she hates mornings. I jokingly asked if she should be called Duskya. Later that same evening, we traveled past Three Mile Canyon, Oregon. I saw the sign, and in my mind’s eye, I saw a dragon breathing fire down a box canyon. The two events merged to create the story.
Here's a peek at Dragon's Future:
Every child of Woolpren dreams of becoming one, but only a few are chosen. Now, ten-year-old twin brother and sister, Ruskya and Duskya, have been chosen to join an elite group of riders: dragon riders. Full of awe and excitement, the twins leave their mother, and their home, to train for their new lives.
Fifteen years later, dragons are becoming extinct, and riders are rare. One day, Ruskya is at the general store in town when a man announces that he is recruiting new dragon riders. Ruskya goes undercover and discovers that there is another colony of riders with their own agenda—a quest to find a mysterious plant that could restore the dragon population, or destroy it. When a battle erupts between the two colonies, it’s up to Ruskya and his friends to fight for their dragons’ future and their lives.
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
There are five books in the Dragon Courage series. Dragon’s Future is Book 1. Dragon’s Heir follows Braidyn, a character that we meet in Dragon’s Future, as he is older and coming of age. He must temper his need for justice with mercy, or he will lose everything he holds dear. Dragon’s Revenge, Book 3, follows Kyn, the youngling from Book 1, as he tries to fill the hole that his twin left. He travels to a new land finding wild dragons. He and his new friend must figure out how to bring peace to the land. Dragon’s Cure, Book 4, deals with Duskya’s daughter, Carryn. Carryn must learn to forgive or to be held as a prisoner in her own heart. Finally, Book 5, Dragon’s Posterity, follows Ruskya’s son, Ardyn and Kyn, as they create the youngling challenge. Together they help younglings transition to full-fledge riders.
My other book is The One Who Sees Me. It is a historical Christian fiction. I took a story from the Bible and rewrote it in a different time, place, and changed the names. In essence, it is taking a new look at an old story. The reader follows Faru through life as she is sold from one master to another. Every time she thinks life is great, she gets a curve-ball thrown at her. She must adapt and learn to trust The One Who Sees Me.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
I am working on a middle grade fantasy about four eighth graders. There are three boys and one girl. They find what they think is a thunderegg on the beach. Their science teacher helps them out and tells them it isn’t a stone at all. They are surprised and vow to keep what they have found safe. It is the first in probably a trilogy that deal with junior high kids and fantasy creatures. They are set in a fictionalized version of my home area and the school where I teach. Last year when I taught a junior high study hall, I found students who hated to read. I wondered why not get them to read by writing them into a story. This is what has come from that idea. I hope to work on it during National Novel Writing Month in November.
What advice do you have for other authors?
Keep writing. Keep networking. Make yourself a real person. Enable people to get to know you. One thing I have learned about being an author is it is so much more than just writing. You must interact on social media. This is more than saying, “buy my book.” It is a matter of letting people know what your interests are and sharing about them. I don’t sell a book by saying, “buy my book”. I sell books when I introduce myself, talk about my kids, and why I write. Eventually, someone says, “what is your book about?” That is when I sell a book.
Anything else you want readers to know?
I never dreamed of being a published author. I still sometimes have trouble saying I am an author. However, it has been a joy to get to know people I would never have had the opportunity to meet. I would love to some day actually have face-to-face contact with these new friends.
Where can readers find you and your books?
My books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. Here are the Amazon links: