Synopsis: A medieval story of love, honor, and courage.
As a young prince grows up and advances through the military ranks, with his true identity unknown to his friends, he meets a young girl and they become friends. As the years pass their friendship blossoms into true love, knowing that she already has an arranged marriage and he being royalty most certainly has one as well, they still continue with their relationship. As their friendship progresses he must be courageous as he goes through many trials, testing his love for her, his loyalty to the kingdom, and in doing what’s right as an officer and a gentleman. The story spans multiple generations, their families deal with many problems, going from the pain of death, to the joy of birth as they feel the blood of the ancient kings running through their veins.
The book was written with young adults in mind, however with no foul language, graphic sex or violence they are appropriate for reader’s as young as ten. The author allows the reader’s imagination to fill in between the lines with their own experience, so even parents and grandparents will enjoy them.
The story begins with King Burkhart, who is an evil tyrant of a king, holding his beloved wife and queen as she is dying from giving birth to his first born. Suddenly the door is kicked open! Colonel Langward from his own army, now fighting to take the kingdom from him, is standing there with his bloody sword in hand. As King Burkhart kneels at his conqueror’s feet hoping for death so he can join his beloved wife, his only true love, he hears the cry of his new born child! The new king has compassion and instead of killing him, allows him to live to raise his daughter but he must live among the very people he abused as king. He is given only what he can carry with him and taken to a small village. On his first night there he wakes to find the tiny house on fire. He grabs his infant and the bag with their few belongings only to find the door will not open, it’s blocked! He breaks through the door to find the enraged villagers that are burning the house, he runs trying to find a place to hide as he is pelted with rocks. He runs to a bridge over a brook and crawls under it, into to the mud to protect his infant knowing he must survive, if only for her. For the first time in his life he is truly afraid of death, but not for himself, for his daughter.
I grew up in a small town in Utah before going to Dixie College where I took Fantasy Lit and writing classes. Yeah, most college students complain about having to write papers for classes and I’m one of the crazy ones that took the class where that’s all you do is write essays and papers.
What inspired you to start writing books?
I started daydreaming and writing them down. Before long I realized that what I had was more of a novel than a short story.
What kind of books are they?
The Ancient Kings Series is mostly medieval fantasies with romance, action and history along with some sci-fi and magic mixed in. The first book of the Under the Dragon Moon series, Journey Home to a New World takes characters out of their medieval setting and puts them on a space ship to find the home world of their ancestors. Although they are in a series, each book stands alone, so you don’t have to start with the first book in the first series.
What attracted you to write about medieval times?
It’s always been a period of time I’ve been fascinated with. While the Ancient Kings Series is set in medieval times exploring the struggle for power and land along with finding love and personal identity, when I started writing the Under the Dragon Moon series I mixed in some sci-fi, but retained the idea of the medieval living conditions for some of the groups of people.
How did you come up with the titles for the books?
Blood of Ancient Kings is actually part of a quote in the book that presents the idea that it is not one’s ancestry that makes one noble, but one’s deeds.
Quest of the King was originally Glynis Quest after the place the main female character came from, but my husband suggested the change.
Three Kingdoms of Alessandrine came from the evolution of a nation from three independent kingdoms.
Journey Home to a New World my husband came up with after reading it.
Return of the Dragon Moon was split off of Journey Home to a New World and was given that name as the title book for the Under the Dragon Moon series.
The People of the Red Cliffs was named because of a vision the queen dragon in Quest of the King had about a world with red cliffs under a violet sky.
Do you model your characters after people you know?
I really haven’t based my characters on any individual person, the characters seem to take on their own individual personalities. One of the key characters is a young woman named Marriah. When she is first introduced in Three Kingdoms on Alessandrine she is unable to speak and near death. As the story progresses she grows into a confident young woman who becomes an important influence for many of the other characters.
What do people get out of reading your books?
I wrote them for entertainment, but each has an underlying positive moral message. A recent review commented about how Quest of the King reminded him of the Boy Scout Law. I have ten year olds enjoying my books as well as their parents and both get something a little different out of them.
Do current events influence your writing?
Although my books are not driven by current events they do relate to current events. While Blood of Ancient Kings was actually written a few years ago, the messages it gives regarding the role of government still rings true today. It opens with a ruler becoming corrupt and abusing their power at the expense of the people until the ruler is over thrown. Similar situations have played out in governments just recently.
What age group do you write for?
I wrote them with young adults in mind, but there is no foul language, graphic sex or violence so they are appropriate for ten year olds and up. I allow the reader’s imagination to fill in between the lines, so even parents and grandparents can enjoy them.
What character is your favorite?
One of my favorites is Haskell. He has the caring personality of a grandfather with an interesting sense of humor. He’s introduced in Quest of the King, but is in several of the other books as well.
What comments have your readers made?
After reading Blood of Ancient Kings one said, “I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next to these people I had come to care about. Not only is it engaging, but it has an underlying moral to it, which is carried throughout the series. I like reading about people with integrity. Another plus for me was the complete lack of gratuitous sex or foul language. I was completely comfortable letting my 12 year old son read the first book, and he literally jumped with excitement when he learned there would be a second and third book. It is well worth the read.”
Are there any more books you are working on?
There are several more that I am working on that will continue the Ancient Kings Series and a few more in the Under the Dragon Moon series.
Where are your books available and how much do they cost?
The paper backs are available at most Book stores and also online at vjogardner.com for $18.95USD. They are also available on Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble for Nook, iStore for iPad and Kobo for other e-readers. The ebooks are priced $2.99USD.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Write about something you’re comfortable with. Writing classes can be very helpful as well. Don’t worry about everything being good enough to put into print, that’s what editing is for. Just keep writing. The best stories write themselves and sometimes take you in unexpected directions.
Growing up, I was a voracious reader. In college I took Fantasy Lit and writing classes. I’ve always enjoyed observing people and how they interact based on their individual experiences and upbringing. I found that I enjoyed writing to take a break from the reality of life. After trying my hand at a variety of jobs, I felt it was finally time I begin to publish what I had been writing.
There have been so many great authors that I have learned from and a few very poor ones. I do not presume to compare myself to any other author’s style but only attempt to tell the story in such a way as to immerse the reader in the story. Just as some of the characters spend most of their time trying to figure out where they fit in this life, I too have been searching for a place where I fit only to realize that it’s the journey of discovery that is the most important part of life.
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