Rise of the Guardian
by LJ Andrews
Genre: YA Fantasy
Abandoned by his family, Killian is given one chance to find answers to his past in a strange, new realm. The mysterious community protecting the realms promises to reveal what he seeks if he helps find lost relics that bestowed with the power of all realms. Strange abilities soon manifest within Killian, catching the deadly attention of a dangerous secret-society also seeking the relics only to destroy his home realm they view as an abomination. Killian must find the relics before the society or billions of lives will be lost. Killian soon learns sometimes the closest allies are the most devious enemies.
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Warm, light seeped into the small room. A single mattress was pushed against the side wall covered in mismatched sheets, and a cheap plastic box of drawers held a few simple clothes. Killian Thomas breathed deeply trying to slow his heart as the happy sunrise shook him from his fitful sleep. The dark, lurking figures from his nightmare had hissed and argued angrily in a damp, moss ridden hallway. Their conversation was wicked to the core, but the most upsetting part of their devious plans involved his death.
Rolling from the old mattress he wiped the sweat off his face and pushed back his thick mud-colored hair. The nightmares were getting worse, and the two mystery villains seemed to be creeping into his mind more often, as if it were something Killian needed to know. He didn’t know why he was being haunted with dreams filled with people seeking to kill him, he was no threat to anyone. In fact he felt quite the opposite. There was nothing extraordinary about him, just a young man with no family, few friends—mediocre in every sense.
The thoughts toppled through his mind as he rubbed his sky-blue eyes trying to wipe the memories of the distant corridor from his mind.
Q&A with the Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I have always loved writing, since I was young. I used to write plays and short stories with my friends all the time. I grew up and went to college where I first majored in English, then felt like I would never make money so I changed from my first love and received a degree in Occupational Therapy (word to the wise, get the education you really want). I have worked in Occupational Therapy for five years, and I do love the patients I have been able to work with, but my love for literature never changed. I became a copy editor on the side by earning a certificate, and then I finally made the decision to write my book. Slowly I have drifted back into the literature world, while keeping my day job very part-time and raising my children. I love it and my only regret is I wish I would’ve followed my dream sooner.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
As I said above I’ve always loved writing, but I didn’t actually decide to write my first novel until three years ago. I was tired of just dreaming about it so I really got serious about it after my third little one was born and started brainstorming ideas until I had one that just really resonated with me and felt right. That is how Rise of a Guardian came to be.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
I love Jane Austen, I have read pretty much all of her books and find them fascinating. My favorite course in college to the day was British Literature so I love Old English with the King Arthur legends. I think that is why I added some Arthurian plots to Rise of a Guardian. I admire J.K. Rowling and her fight to succeed with her writing, she inspires me to never give up. C.S. Lewis is amazing, I read the Chronicles of Narnia when I was about 9 and have never forgotten how that world inspired me. My two favorite fantasy authors at the moment are Brandon Mull and Brandon Sanderson. I feel Rise of a Guardian is a good mix between their style of fantasy.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like?
And how does your writing routine fit into your day? It’s not that exciting, trust me. I wake up super early because my kids demand food before they die of hunger. I only have one child in school so we get ready and rush off to car pool and brave the swarm of sleep deprived parents dropping off their kids. Then we come back, clean up the house, hopefully play outside if the weather is nice, balance the budget while my boys beg me to build Legos with them, then I put the youngest down for a nap and let the older one do some quiet time and that is when I try to write, or work on marketing strategies. After nap we brave the school pick up and come back. It’s basic stuff after that, homework, dinner, tub time, bed time, then I write again until my husband gets home from night school. By then I’m pretty much done and ready to turn on a show on Netflix. It can be hard to squeeze in writing, but my kids are aware of my goals and actually have been huge inspirations for my books. I have little hidden writings dedicated to my crazy munchkins all over the book.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
The first book I started to write was about the fountain of youth…it never felt right. One day I was driving home from someplace I can’t remember and the image of a beautiful, ebony haired woman with silver eyes came to mind. I knew she was a queen, I knew she lived in a different realm. After that I was amazed at how quickly the rest of the setting and outline fell into place. The fountain of youth story went on the back burner and Rise of a Guardian fell right into place.
6) What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
My book can relate to many ages. Yes, I’ve labeled it as young adult because of the character’s ages, however I would be perfectly happy to see a twelve year-old reading my book. There isn’t any strong language, graphic romance, or gut wrenching gore. It is exciting action and mystery swirled with fun fantasy worlds that I feel are one of a kind. Creating a totally original book is incredibly hard to do, I would say close to impossible as you will always find elements from others who have inspired you in your writing, but the realms and the different fantasy elements are unique to me because…well they just kind of popped out of my mind. Sometimes I’m not even sure where I thought of the names, powers, or realms. I think people will find it very entertaining and another quality fantasy to place on their bookshelf.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Queen Maurelle from the realm of Cimmerian. She was the first character I thought of so naturally she is my favorite. I honestly didn’t base Maurelle off me. She is a strong woman with a deep history that isn’t written, though I know her backstory obviously. I would like to say I am strong as well. And she’s magical, who doesn’t want to have magical powers?
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
I loved writing the end. I knew how it was going to go and I loved getting lost in my own story and feeling the excitement as if the scenes were playing out in front of me like a movie. I also loved creating the worlds. Whenever my characters describe, or travel to a different realm I loved playing with different fantasy elements to create a unique, exciting world.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
This first book is really about my protagonist, Killian, finding an inner strength that he never believed in. He didn’t always have it easy, so believing in himself doesn’t come naturally. I want people to walk away from the story feeling empowered with themselves. Hopefully they feel that whatever it is they’re dealing with, if they surround themselves with good people, and believe they are strong that they will succeed in whatever it is they are trying to do.
10) What are your hopes for this novel? My hopes are huge for this book.
I would love to see it on bookshelves all over because it is such a labor of love for me. The bottom line I think every author hopes for is that they can entertain and bring a little happiness in this crazy world, even if only one person reads it. That is my ultimate hope, to bring people happiness with my stories.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I have the next two installments in The Lost Relic series. Book two is nearly complete. I also have some fun adventures planned in the historical side of things. I have a series that involves Vikings I am beginning to outline that I think will be very fun and is dedicated to my amazing grandpa…we’re Swedish you see, and we like to pretend our family is pretty much the toughest group of vikings around. So keep your eyes out for that. I have another middle grade fantasy series I’ve been playing around with that involves dragon poachers, but I think that won’t begin until next year sometime. I’ve learned once you start writing the ideas never stop coming.
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About the Author
J. Andrews has been reading since she was five, and writing since she was six. L.J. lives with her husband, three children, two dogs and two pet rats…yes rats, in a small town nestled in the mountains of Utah. She enjoys playing with Legos, Batman action figures, toy cheetahs, making chocolate chip cookies, and of course writing stories when all her little people are sleeping.