Yep, time flies.
October 2015 marks the ten-year anniversary of Kendra Kandlestar and the Box of Whispers being published. It wasn’t my first book every published, but perhaps my most significant.
In that time, the book has had multiple reprints in both paperback and hardcover, won the Mom’s Choice Award, been nominated for the Chocolate Lily Award and the Surrey Book of the Year, and been featured in CCBC’s “Best Books for Kids & Teens.” It’s been published in China and across all the digital platforms. (Back in 2005, digital publishing didn’t really exist—can you believe it?) And, of course, it spawned the rest of the series: The Door to Unger, The Shard from Greeve, The Crack in Kazah, and The Search for Arazeen.
Earlier this year I began to wonder how I would celebrate—or at least recognize—such a momentous anniversary. Coinciding with this anniversary is the fact that this year saw the publication of the final installment in the series, so it seems that I should do something.
Well, after some discussions with my publisher, I decided the best way to celebrate the anniversary is by giving something away. And I mean FOR FREE.
So what exactly is the gift?
Well, details on that are coming soon! But let’s just say, if you are one of those young readers who has been emailing me begging me for more of Kendra, then you will be pleased!
As part of the celebrations for the release of my new book, Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for Arazeen, I am introducing a new character each week. So far, I’ve introduced Tuttleferd T. Thistle Toe, Paipo Plumpuddle, and Charla Charmsong.
This week’s character is another animal: Timmons Thunderclaws.
Who he is:
In The Search for Arazeen, this ornery old badger serves in the underground resistance known as Knights of Winter. In his much younger days, he served in the role of captain of the Een Guard. He retired from that position to try and live out his days in solitude in the outskirts of Een, but his loyalty to to the sorceress Winter Woodsong compelled him to return and join her resistance movement against the would-be emperor, Burdock Brown.
Where he came from:
To be honest, Timmons Thunderclaws isn’t an entirely new character. He was mentioned in Book 3, The Shard from Greeve. Winter Woodsong sent Kendra and her friends to go hide with the badger, but they never made it that far, and ended up getting sidetracked. Even though we didn’t get to meet Timmons in person, I liked the idea of the character enough to then show him in Book 4, The Crack in Kazah. Timmons appeared during a scene when Kendra travelled back in time and saw the badger guarding the Elder Stone during her parents’ youth. He was never mentioned by name, but he did get an illustration:
Finally, in The Search for Arazeen, Timmons gets some proper page time, complete with significant lines of dialogue. He plays an important role in the events at the end of the book. He represents one of those minor characters who has turned out to be a particular favorite of mine.
If you lived in the Land of Een, you’d be celebrating Jamboreen today—the biggest and most exciting holiday of the year. I have always thought of it as part county fair, part Halloween, and part circus.
The Jamboreen featured prominently in Kendra Kandlestar and the Crack in Kazah, but since I will be teaching a creative writing camp in Korea this summer based on the theme of the circus, I decided to revisit the idea of the Jamboreen by creating a ticket and an invitation (or a poster, if your prefer) for the event.
These will be great activities for my students, too; they can create their own circuses or carnivals and then design all of the paraphernalia to go with them!
Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I would address a question that I get a lot, especially from my older readers: “Is Kendra going to fall in love?”
Well, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been playing with that notion. In particular, I’ve always loved the idea of a love potion mix-up, much as happens in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
But I feel that sort of scenario is better suited for some of Kendra’s sidekicks—and, if you have read The Crack in Kazah—you will remember that there are some unexpected situations that develop between some of them.
And, of course, there is the full-blown romance that occurred between Kendra’s parents, Krimson and Kayla, when they were teenagers. The Crack in Kazah covers that too! The illustration below shows Kendra’s parents at the annual Jamboreen festival. (I admit that Kendra’s mother doesn’t really look like she’s in love in this illustration, but, as Winter Woodsong says, “Love is a cruel master.”)
As for Kendra, well let’s cut her some slack. After all, she is only twelve (though she does turn thirteen in the fifth book, Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for Arazeen).
And, as always, I will leave you with this last statement, which is how I so often answer questions: “Be careful what you wish for, because I rarely deliver what you expect.”