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2/22/2018 2 Comments
Steampunk and the Bible is an unusual combination. What gave you the idea to write Esther's story as steampunk?
Yes, steampunk and the Bible is an unusual combination. Even though I have another Biblical retelling published, this was my first attempt at it. Hayao Miyazaki gave me the inspiration for this blend. I love Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle. So, they became the impetus for the background. Since as far back as I can remember I have loved the story of Esther. The court intrigue, absolute irony, and the story of a woman who stands for what’s right has made me return to the story to read it over and over again. With Hayao Miyazaki’s worlds floating through my mind and the inspirational music of Joe Hishaishi ringing in my ears, the story of a young girl forced into circumstances she has no control over came to be.
That’s so cool. I love Howl’s Moving Castle and many other books by Diana Wynne Jones. But it was my grandsons who introduced me to Hayao Miyzaki's animated movies. For my readers who aren't familiar with them here's an interesting interview.
Kandi, how long did it take you to write this book?
That’s a good question. I had to go search an old art account where I had uploaded it to remember when I had started it. According to my comments there, it was started for National Novel Writing Month in November of 2011. The last upload, Chapter 9, lists May, 2012 as the submitted date. The book sat unfinished on the site; in fact, I don’t know if I have any other backup of this story’s origination other than there.
This past summer, I realized my original plan of having my Ancient Egypt Biblical retelling ready by March wasn’t going to happen. The Ancient Egypt story had grown from a stand-alone to a trilogy, but I didn’t have the second and third books written. That left me needing something to publish in March. I wasn’t ready with the fantasy trilogy I have going, so I went looking for something I could do. That led me to the art site where I found Saving a Race—the original title for To Save a Race.
From the middle of July through August, the rest of the story came into being. I sat down and focused on writing. To my amazement, I was able to sink into Nubbikford and the duke’s castle.
Do you have any other Biblical retellings planned?
I have published The One Who Sees Me, a Biblical retelling of Hagar. That was also a National Novel Writing Month story. It’s considered a historical fiction since it’s set in a medieval castle. Besides that, I’ve written book one of an Ancient Egypt Biblical retelling. Unlike The One Who Sees Me and To Save a Race, this story takes place in Biblical Egypt during the plagues. However, instead of being from the point of view of an Israelite family, it’s the story of a young Egyptian scribe and his family as they deal with the upheaval of their lives by the plagues.
I honestly wanted to finish the tale with the last plague, but God had other plans. Our Sunday School class studied Exodus through Deuteronomy. That led me to realize there were too many other lessons to tell. This means that I’ll have to kill off some characters—the exact reason I didn’t want to make this anything more than a stand alone.
Are you a plotter, pantser, or a combination of both?
I’m definitely a little of both. When I write Biblical retellings, I have a basic outline which really helps, but I find there are some characters that just come in no matter what. I enjoy the free-flow of my fantasy writing that enables me to fly by the seat of my pants, but even there, I find myself writing down notes and planning a bit—things like names, main ideas, etc.
When did you first realized you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was young. During high school my teachers elected me to go to my first writer’s conference. The better question would be “when did I first realize I wanted to be an author?”. That happened somewhere about five years ago. I had my Dragon Courage series written and wanted to publish it for my kids. While I considered this, I went with my two middle children to a local writer’s conference in 2015. A presenter indicated that her publisher was accepting submissions. I debated, but out of fear, I didn’t tell even my husband when I hit submit that weekend. Three weeks later, I had an acceptance letter! However, even then, I didn’t consider myself an author. It wasn’t until after the fourth book was published and my publisher went out of business, that I made the conscious choice to be an author.
What authors have inspired you?
Michael Phillips was a big inspiration to teach through an engaging story. I love his Secret of the Rose series which had a lasting impact on me, not because he preached at me but because his characters’ lives were such wonderful examples of Christ-likeness.
Where and when do you write?
The majority of my writing is done in my bedroom. I have a recliner that my husband picked up at a yard sale for him. I love sitting in the recliner in the mornings and writing. Since I’m a school teacher, the majority of my writing is done during the summer or on school breaks.
Who encourages you in your writing?
I think my biggest encouragement comes from the Fellowship of Fantasy group. They’re a group of clean, indie, fantasy authors. As for people around me, my parents and my husband are the ones who keep me going. My kids are always interested in what’s going on. My youngest was the one I wrote for at the beginning.
What’s one tip you’d share with other writers?
Keep writing. Don’t let the reviews get you down. Realize the right reader is out there. You just have to find him or her, but when you do, you’ll have a fan.
A brief summary of Kandi’s book To Save a Race
When Duke Callon divorces his wife and decides on an uncanny way of choosing his next duchess, Arianna's left with little choice. Faced with the intricacies of politics, Arianna struggles to find her place. Just as she thinks she has her footing, a decree, issued with the blessing of her husband, calls for the extermination of her entire race.
A young innocent girl, a capricious duke, and a decree that will change everything. What will it take to save a race?
Follow along in this one of a kind Steampunk Biblical retelling of an Old Testament classic by Kandi J Wyatt.
The book comes out March 6th. However, it’s up for pre-order. Check it out here: https://www.books2read.com/u/49PG5k
Thanks for sharing with me, Kandi. This was very interesting.
Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that's her own five or the hundreds of students she's been lucky to teach. When Kandi's not spinning words to create stories, she's using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.