Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Dragon Courage Series by Kandi J Wyatt

Kandi J Wyatt is a wife, mother of five, teacher, artist, and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories and Christmas programs, and drawing with graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. Kandi also enjoys photography, thanks to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey as both his model and apprentice, and she occasionally serves as his assistant when he needs a “light stand with feet.” To learn more, visit

Connect with the Author

About the Book

The world of the Dragon Courage series is full of adventure. In book one twins Ruskya and Duskya must fight for their dragons' future. Book two follows Braidyn's quest to bring back a dragon egg that has been stolen. In the process he discovers a heritage he didn't know he had. Kyn and Ben'hyamene take on wild dragons in book three and learn that peace is better than a dragon's revenge. Duskya and Kyn help a new rider find the cure for bitterness in book four. A stray memory from a wild dragon sends Kyn on a mission to help all young dragon riders gain their wings; the process brings all of the riders of the Dragon Courage series together into one place for book five.

Get them today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?

Yes, I am very busy. I am wife to my knight in shining armor, mother of five children (four of whom are at home right now), and teacher to 50 Junior High and 40 High School students.

What genres do you write?

I write clean fantasy for anyone ages 10 and up and Christian Historical Fiction. My fantasy is written with kids in mind, but several grandparents have enjoyed reading my books, including some who never read fantasy saying they "didn't get it", but they can understand my fantasy writing. When I write Christian Historical Fiction, I usually take a Bible story and rewrite it to make the story take on a new light so people can see it with fresh eyes.

What inspires you to write?

I keep writing for the kids. I see the ones who don't want to read or don't like reading, and I want to give them something to draw them in and not let them go. I try to give them adventure and not too long of chapters. I work on not speaking down to them but using vocabulary that is my normal every day words. I figure they can learn when they read. I also want to teach without teaching. From many of the reviews I've seen of the Dragon Courage series, I'd say I accomplished that goal. I also write for the kid who loves to read and can't get his or her hands on enough books. These kids are the ones who push me to keep writing. They finish my books in a day and are eager for the next. As long as I know kids, I will keep writing.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

It wasn't until this past winter that I first considered myself an author. I was always a "writer". Even when Dragon's Future was first published last August, I still struggled with saying I was an author. The authors I knew had received special training or were very prolific and fit the role. I was just a teacher and mom whose books were published. Finally, about December as Dragon's Heir was ready to be released, I realized that I was an author. It was about then, that I decided I wanted to make it work as an author. I was willing to keep writing, publishing, marketing, and learning what it means to be an author.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

Christmas time this last year, my whole family got together for the first time in many years. We met at my sister's house. My brother and his family came as did an uncle I hadn't seen in too many years. Before everyone arrived, though, my family showed up. We spent the night ahead of everyone else. I gave my niece Dragon's Future and Dragon's Heir. By the time we went to bed, I saw her curled up reading. I pointed it out to my sister who shook her head and said, "That's the first I've ever seen her like that for any length of time." After the adults went to bed, the eleven-year-old girl who doesn't really read, stayed up reading her aunt's book! That was priceless.

Another similar incident just happened. I had an event at our local library and taught the kids how to draw dragons. Afterward, I couldn't decide which drawing would win a copy of Dragon's Revenge. So, we left the kids' drawings hanging in the library for two weeks and let the community vote. The vote turned out very indecisive. So, I decided to give a copy to each of the boys who drew. I hand delivered two of them to two brothers before church. As I came in after Sunday School and got settled down for the main service, I found the youngest boy fully absorbed in the book and curled up on a chair with his knees up to his chin and the book on his knees

What made you decide to self-publish?

The decision to self-publish was literally thrust upon me one wonderful Friday in April. I had just had one of the best days of my life as I reunited with friends I'd known since I was ten and seen their grandson and my son graduate from a one year Bible school program. We then went tourist shopping with my parents and just enjoyed the day. Finally, we made our way back to the motel. There awaiting me on my computer and in the internet world was news that my publishing company was closing within the month! I sat stunned and unbelieving! The only reason I had my books out in the world and even considered myself an author was because of my publishing company who gave me a place to express myself and accepted my books as valuable.

I was very grateful that in the process of publishing, I had become friends with several indie authors. Because they could do it, I knew I could. I couldn't let my readers down. So, I began the task of getting all four books' rights and figuring out how to put them on amazon and then eventually to the other channels.

How do you come up with the titles for your books? Do you find it difficult?

Titles are difficult. Dragon's Future didn't have a name until I polled my junior high students last year in May. They actually gave it the final name! Often though the name just comes either from the setting or a happening such as Mythical Creatures of Myrtle Beach. It describes what occurs in Myrtle Beach in the trilogy. Right now, my current work in progress has no name other than Egypt Story. I don't know what I want. I'd accept input from your readers. It's an ancient Egypt story that retells the events of the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, but it tells it from the point of view of a middle- to upper-class Egyptian family. I'm keeping the point of view with the oldest son for the most part, but have some scenes from the father's point of view.

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

I use both real life and imagination. The Dragon Courage series was written as complete fictional fantasy; however, the places came from places I had been. Eastern Oregon and Northern Arizona inspired the setting for the canyons of Woolpren and Three Mile Canyon in Dragon's Future. My early years along the Mississippi River near Muscatine, Iowa, created Boeskay with its farms, river, and even tornadoes. When I wrote Dragon's Revenge, I was commuting fifty minutes one way each day for work. The drive took me through the Coquille River valley when the winter rains had swollen the river banks into the farm land. The image of a flooded valley where dragons and people lived together created The Carr.

My Mythical Creatures of Myrtle Beach trilogy that I am working on right now was based on a fictionalized version of where I live right now. I wanted to be able to affirm to my students that rural America is just as cool and awesome as big city America. I have the characters go to a school based off where I teach. They even were inspired by some of my students last year. The science teacher in the first book came from my own children's junior high science teacher. He was one who loved teaching and brought joy with him to the classroom.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

One of my latest books written was the first book in the Mythical Creatures of Myrtle Beach trilogy. I started it last May and finished it in December. It seemed like it took forever to finish it. The Dragon Courage series books were each finished in one month or just over. This caused some struggles because I couldn't remember things from the beginning, and I really wondered if it flowed together. Another difficulty with that book was I couldn't seem to be able to type it. I had to hand write the whole thing--all 40,000 words and then some. The story started in a little pocket notebook a student gave me and spread across two different spiral bound notebooks. Finally, I put it all together on the computer.

The absolute most recently finished book is Dragon's Past, the prequel to the Dragon Courage series. It started out as an answer to reviews on Amazon and a conversation with a librarian who was my first fan. I thought it would be a short story that could be given away for signing up for my newsletter. Well, 40,000 words later, it is a short fantasy prequel. What I found difficult with it was to realistically recreate my characters from book one as children. I had to go back to the prologue and keep them at that age and place in the character arc. They couldn't do things they could do later in the books. They were limited. I had to create others that they would interact with. I'm not sure how well I did, but I know I did answer the questions about why all the dragons' names sound similar and why there are either the annoying or beloved, depending on who you are, letter 'y' in every name. I also gave the feel of what it's like to be a youngling, or a trainee dragon rider. I hope I answered the question of why Duskya is so gruff. I'll have to give it to my librarian friend when it is published and find out if I did justice to the characters.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

Thank you! Really. If it wasn't for my readers, I wouldn't have continued into self-publishing when my publishing company closed in May. I would have said that was a fun and amazing time of life, but it's done and over. However, I had readers who were begging for book four of the Dragon Courage series. I couldn't disappoint Morgan, Danielle, the unnamed student who begged the librarian at school to purchase my books, or any of the other kids who have picked up the first books and dove right in without coming up for air until the book was finished. It does my heart good to see kids reading.

What has amazed me though is the amount of grandparents, aunts, and other adults (the gatekeepers if you will) who have taken the books and previewed them for their grandkids or nieces or nephews and are just as excited as the kids when the next book releases. Thank you for your encouragement.

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